Why Downtown Atlanta Attracts Millennials

April 21,2016

Downtown Atlanta is attracting companies that are looking to employ Millennials—and many of them are opting for Peachtree Center. But what’s driving these companies to the urban core? turned to Dean McNaughton, senior director of leasing retail for Cushman & Wakefield, to get his thoughts on the topic in part two of this exclusive interview. You can still read part one: Downtown Atlanta’s Retail Scene Exploding. What characteristics does the Downtown Atlanta submarket have that attract sought-after tech companies with Millennial employees?

McNaughton: Transit is among the top priorities for companies. They want to attract the best quality employees, including Millennials, and in order to do this they need to be in an environment where there are transportation options and the ability to commute without driving.

Downtown offers sidewalks, bike lanes and a streetcar service. In addition, downtown has five MARTA stations, including the largest in the system.

There is also a thriving restaurant and bar scene catering to the foodie culture that exists among the young professionals and college students. It’s easy to find delicious, affordable food from local chefs and restaurateurs without walking more than a few blocks. After-work entertainment is also plentiful, with sporting events such as Atlanta Hawks games and multiple music venues and rooftop lounges. Why are good, local restaurants important to mixed-use developments today?

McNaughton: Restaurants breathe life into a development, transforming a nine-to-five office environment into a community. Peachtree Center is becoming an 18-hour space due to popular foodie destinations like Panbury’s, which serves South African-inspired hand pies, Aviva by Kameel, which was named to Yelp’s “100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015,” local Tex Mex favorite Tin Lizzy’s and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken which serves award-winning, authentic southern fried chicken. In 2015 alone, we added three unique restaurants—all with local or regional ownership—and are poised to continue transforming Peachtree Center into a dining mecca and incubator for young innovative chefs, not just downtown, but for all of Atlanta.