The northern perimeter of Atlanta is gaining momentum as a center of economic development for the region. In a recent article published in Georgia Trend, the president and CEO of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, Tom Mahaffey, points out that many major corporations, such as Mercedes-Benz and State Farm, are developing headquarters in the area. This is in addition to the large number of companies that already have offices in the Perimeter, where more than 123,000 people work. As the article suggests, this area of town is extremely accessible due to its location and offers transit options to the quickly expanding workforce that these major headquarters are attracting, as well as viable housing options.
These leading corporations are focusing in on a certain demographic, the millennial population, to work at these headquarters. “They know the employees they’re trying to attract today-the millennials-are very transit oriented,” says Mayor Rusty Paul in Georgia Trend. Therefore, there is also increased focus on access to transportation as these businesses draw more millennials to the area. However, millennials are not only greatly influencing the economic development of the area, but the housing market as well. This influence and what it is millennials actually want out of a community was the topic of the Council for Quality Growth’s most recent publication of “In the Loop”. It points out that millennials desire certain aspects, such as walkability and health, in the communities in which they live. Therefore, millennials are choosing multi-family style housing so they can live in “high-demand urban areas” but not pay for the more expensive, traditional single-family style home. “Multi-family housing is an answer to traffic congestion, crowded schools, air pollution, and more,” says the Council for Quality Growth. In addition to being less expensive, this style of housing is more efficient in terms of space and is a “key component of smart growth”. It presents millennials with communities that are more walkable, have access to transit, and are in a desirable urban location. Therefore, as the Perimeter attracts more of the millennial population to its growing number of major corporations, the availability of efficient transit and multi-family developments is also needed. “Apartments and condos are springing up here to serve a working population that no longer wants to spend its off-job hours in a car,” says Mahaffey.
Since the demographic being attracted to this area is “transit-oriented”, there is also a focus on “transit-oriented development” in this area of the Perimeter to accommodate these professionals and their wants for living. A transit-oriented development (TOD) provides a more pedestrian friendly and mixed-use community where people can live, work, and play, which is the type of community millennials want most. The 100 Northpark project, from Texas-based developer Hines, is an example of the type of transit-oriented development the Perimeter is experiencing. This massive mixed-use project would include over 1.5 million square feet of retail, office, and multi-family space, in addition to a hotel. The location is near the Sandy Springs MARTA station and the project is expected to be completed by 2017. This project would provide a large community with multi-use aspects geared towards the millennials working at the corporations in the area. These transit-oriented developments provide improved access to public transportation and, alongside the flourishing economic development, make the area a place these millennials actually want to live and stay.