Apartments Vital to the Beltline
2014 marked another big step forward for the Atlanta Beltline, one of the most exciting projects not only in the metro area but in the entire country. The success of the Beltline can be attributed to a whole host of factors, including a number of public-private partnerships, but it’s important to realize that the multifamily industry is right at the top of the list. Without the chances that apartment developers took in the Beltline’s early stages, there might well be no “live” in the Beltline’s burgeoning “live-work-play” environment.
Around the time that construction began on the Beltline, when the viability of the project and therefore their own apartment communities was far from certain, multifamily developers began building along the Beltline. The Pencil Factory Flats & Shops, located near the Eastside Trail that connects Piedmont Park to the Old Fourth Ward, was one of several apartment communities to open during the project’s embryonic stages.
New communities continue to spring up along the Beltline. Last fall, for instance, AMLI Ponce Park opened along the Eastside Trail, and more communities are in the pipeline. Overall, about $1 billion of single-family, multifamily and commercial development has taken place along the project, bringing much-needed urban, walkable environments to metro Atlanta.
The main attraction of the Beltline centers around walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading and other activities that make this “live, work, play” community thrive. The heavy use of the trails generates tremendous momentum for the project, which in turn compels the private and public sectors to continue funding it to the finish line. Apartments have been an absolutely vital component of the success of the project, bringing residents to the area who make up a large percentage of the swarms of people who use the trails.
The Beltline is currently slated for completion in 2030, at which point it would, if all goes according to plan, encircle the city with 22 miles of public transit and 33 miles of multi-use trails connecting 45 Atlanta neighborhoods.
The Beltline is but one example of how the multifamily industry is making positive impacts throughout Atlanta and the country. According to a study by the National Apartment Association and the National Multi Housing Council, apartments and their residents generated a $1.1 trillion contribution to the national economy and supported 25.4 million jobs in 2011. More than 70 percent of apartment residents’ spending stays within the local economy, providing vital support to independent businesses and service providers.
As both the Beltline and metro Atlanta continue to grow, apartments will be there to help them thrive and define the “live, work, play” lifestyle.
Tim Schrager is chairman of the Atlanta Apartment Association’s Board of Directors and a principal of Perennial Properties. For more information about the Beltline, visit www.beltline.org. For more information about the Atlanta Apartment Association, visit www.atl-apt.org.