Published on April 7th, 2016 |4
Massell urges Buckhead to welcome Millennials as new ‘Profile of Power’
“Whereas Buckhead has long been recognized as Atlanta’s enclave of single-family homeowners,” Massell told a full-house audience at BBA’s breakfast meeting, “this profile is changing and must be accepted as the emerging leadership for tomorrow.
“Buckhead will no longer be a community of just private home owners,” Massell predicted. “It will be a mixture of old money and fresh thinking.”
Massell reported to those gathered at The City Club of Buckhead, that there were presently 48 new apartment complexes offering 14,953 rental units in Buckhead’s 28 square miles.
“These are developments that have been proposed, are being constructed, or are already renting since the 2012 economic recovery,” at which time Buckhead only had 12,704 such units he added.
“We will be more than doubling the number of rental units in five years, with a new population,” Massell estimated at around 24,000 (representing approximately 30 percent of Buckhead’s
“I’ve always been very optimistic about Buckhead, so we reported this growth with great pride, competing as we do with Midtown and other surrounding submarkets,” Massell stated.
He said this growth meant related real estate jobs, living quarters for a labor market, accommodation of the increased population to attract expanding businesses, relocating businesses and new businesses.
However, when the addition of 14,953 rental units being planned reached double the 12,704 on hand in Buckhead in 2012, “we began to get concerned….That’s over a 117 percent increase since 2012,” the longtime civic leader added.
“I’m concerned by the number of strip shopping centers with neighborhood convenience stores being demolished for the apartment buildings and I’m concerned by some of the four- and five-story stick-constructed buildings that won’t look very good in 10 years,” Massell said. “I’m also concerned by some of the high-rises that show little concern for the character of their surroundings.”
But Massell told the attentive full-house audience, “I’m mostly concerned, however, that we have not acknowledged the dramatic change taking place in what will become Buckhead.”
Pointing out that the mission of the Buckhead Coalition is to nurture the quality of life of those who live, visit, work and play in Buckhead’s 28 square miles, Massell said, “We have to take the blame along with the credit that our community has definitely become ‘The Address of Choice.’ As a result, we have built a better place and they are coming here to live.”
The former Atlanta mayor pointed out that all of the city of Atlanta’s population growth between the 2000 and 2010 census was 2,203 people, while Buckhead’s growth totaled 11,904. With the
new apartments, he said, “We could estimate a 24,000 increase in population—or a 30 percent increase in our present population—over a four- to five-year period. This is a tremendous impact on our residential profile.”
Massell predicted, “These renters will tend to be millennials. They will be tomorrow’s leaders in Buckhead and we better be their friends,” he added.
“These young men and women will need to find grocery stores, restaurants, dry-cleaners, gas stations, doctors, furniture outlets, hardware stores, gift shops, and more,” Massell explained. “We will need to be their friends, as they will bring fresh thinking and new ideas,” the aging Buckhead leader added.
Massell encouraged the Buckhead Business Association “to invite them, one by one, to experience the fellowship and networking you offer and, if practical, on a pro bono basis. Believe me they are coming.”
Massell reminded the audience that “the young guy who rented that $50 per month Adina Drive apartment six decades ago (just after getting married) later became president of BBA, head of the Buckhead Coalition, president of Atlanta’s City Council, the mayor of your city. So, dismiss any concept that renters are second-class citizens.”
He concluded by challenging the audience, “Let’s join together to make our new rental residents feel at home and we will benefit from their contributions in many ways. In the final analysis, they will provide Buckhead’s future ‘Profile of Power.’”