Millennials, urban renewal trends bring life to downtown Atlanta

November 1,2018


If downtown Atlanta wanted to, it could say “I told you so.”

For decades, cities like Atlanta had to watch residents and businesses follow the siren song of suburban living and working. All over the country, downtown warehouses, storefronts and close-in housing were so empty you could hear echoes along city corridors.

Atlanta’s sprawl was probably even worse than the outward migrations from cities like New York and Chicago, because we had no geographic impediments, says JLL Director of Research Craig Van Pelt. “It just went out and out and out, and the infrastructure wasn’t there to support that growth.”

But as the massive Millennial generation came of age in the early 2000s—and especially after the 2008 housing crisis—being an urbanite became cool again. Atlanta’s not a gloater, though. It’s just been waiting patiently for its time to come back around, and now it’s enjoying a steady inward flow of commercial and residential development.

The urban renewal started in downtown-adjacent areas like Buckhead, Midtown and Old Fourth Ward. As prices continue to climb in these areas, developers have begun shifting their focus to the metro Atlanta core.