Central Atlanta Progress leads the downtown Atlanta charge

March 9,2018

Source: Rich McKay, Atlanta Business Chronicle

During my first year as board chair of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), I have had the pleasure of seeing the organization’s leadership, staff and members continue to work toward the realization of a downtown Atlanta that is vibrant, livable and economically viable.

For 77 years, CAP has played many roles in downtown Atlanta: steadfast champion, convener, steward and partner. It defined downtown through careful planning, focused efforts and attention to the details that make downtown a place people want to be. What stands out at CAP to me is the organization’s leadership.

Countless past achievements could be cited as examples of CAP’s impact, including the creation of Trees Atlanta, the formation of the Midtown Business Association which would later become Midtown Alliance, and the conception of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Even more compelling, though, is the leadership CAP is exhibiting during this period of rediscovery in downtown Atlanta. Many of CAP’s current projects promise to change the face of downtown and redefine the neighborhood. Later this year, the Atlanta Arts & Entertainment District will add vibrancy, light and energy to previously under-utilized spaces. The Stitch, while unfolding on a longer timeline, will generate even more impact in the urban core, reconnecting the heart of downtown by “capping” the I-75/85 Connector and bringing new real estate development opportunity to a key area of the city.

In addition to these larger-scale projects, CAP is leading the way through its day-to-day work. CAP promotes the economic vitality of Atlanta through private and public investment in new development, adaptive reuse of existing real estate, and recruitment of new businesses. CAP has also brought broad spectrum sustainability into focus by: working with the city of Atlanta and MARTA to activate initiatives like transportation demand management, giving downtown workers access to discounted MARTA passes; GreenSource programming, which provides the connections, resources and education necessary to enhance Atlanta’s environmental sustainability; and the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, which leads the national effort, with 638 buildings and 116 million square feet of office space participating.

Finally, the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan, the culmination of a year-long planning and community outreach effort, will serve as a guiding vision not only for CAP but also the city of Atlanta through the next 10 to 15 years. The plan extends beyond real estate to larger issues like connectivity, transportation and green space. 

While CAP’s vision for the future guides much of the work in downtown Atlanta and helps establish priorities for the heart of the city, CAP’s leadership supports the organization’s continuous movement forward. 

In 2017, CAP was guided by a 95-member board of directors and a 26-member executive committee. Both were composed of representatives from backgrounds as diverse as the Atlanta community, including nonprofits, hotels, law firms, real estate and, of course, downtown’s sports teams and attractions. In their service, these individuals work as a collective to amplify CAP’s message, provide invaluable input and help the organization build consensus in the community for critical projects. 

CAP’s 246 member organizations are also leading the way in innovation, sustainability and creative development approaches, bringing renewed energy to the downtown community and to CAP’s work. Sharing their hopes and ideas for Atlanta’s future, it is their support that allows progress to continue.

Downtown sits at the epicenter of the tremendous energy building in Atlanta, and this is only the beginning. Central Atlanta Progress, along with its board of directors and members, is setting the vision for this neighborhood and working to ensure it is realized.