With new, walkable streetscapes planned for the Buckhead Village area, a new zoning district planned for the same area that would encourage appropriately-scaled mixed-use development, and Buckhead-based assets such as the Atlanta International School already in place, Buckhead CID executives and board members had an idea about a compatible and supportive economic development approach. We wondered if members of the international business community, who generally come from interesting, walkable, urban places, might be interested in creating a vision for, and eventually locating in, an “international district” that could be integrated into this part of the Buckhead community. So we have pitched the idea to these business leaders, and the response has been most encouraging. Let me give some background and explain where I believe we are headed with this.
For a few years now, the CID has planned a streetscape do-over in the Village, to be funded with Buckhead CID tax dollars, a matching grant from the Woodruff Foundation and local property owners. We have been updating our plans and are now close to implementation. At the same time, we have been hard at work, using CID tax dollars and a Livable Centers Initiative grant, to update the zoning overlay for the village area. We believe Atlanta City Council will be approving this within the next couple of months.
On June 22, the Buckhead CID hosted the quarterly meeting of the International Partners Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Members of this committee include consulates and bi-national chambers. My questions to the group following my presentation were these: Could the kind of walkable environment that would result from our efforts attract them to the area; and would any of them be interested in working with us to create the vision and implementation plan? The answers: A resounding YES to both.
Stay tuned as we develop the next steps.