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Kenneth Disraili-Jean

State OF Atlanta

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In the summer 2007 issue of Atlanta Peach magazine, Lisa Borders, who is senior vice president of Cousins Properties, and president of the Atlanta City Counsel,and very close to Mayor Franklin had a few points to make about Atlanta.

First the issue of having large pockets of empty office space in Downtown and what it will take to remedy the situation.

According to Borders it's already happening. People are already coming back Downtown. She thinks there are about 45 projects on the books. If you look at that number, there is more development activity in Downtown Atlanta than there is in any other part of the city, including Buckhead. She also stated for corporate folks to come back to Downtown, there obviously has to be a safe, clean enviroment. From the puplic safety perpective, there has to be more police officers with a greater presence. Borders also stated that she knows Atlanta has lots of tourist who come through the city. Downtown is one of the main attractions, and the city government has to be mindfull of that, but not at the expense of the city's neighborhoods, but the city government has to recognize how valuable it is for the entire city to have the heart of the city to be a good place to be. And then interestingly enough the city has had the state come in and work with the city on signage. Borders said it is much easier to navigate Downtown based on the signage, not only for tourist, but also for Atlanta residence and visitors from the metro area that don't come Downtown all of the time.

Borders was also asked if Atlanta is becoming a more vibrant city and she stated from the city's perspective-they are seeing it happen right before their eyes and it's really acceleratiing- the urbanization of Atlanta, the influx of people coming back to the city, the density, and the thought that Atlanta can have different housing products beyond single-family residential homes. So Atlanta's neighborhoods are changing. The commercial development is changing, and the integration of that development is changing. For example Atlanta is having to rewrite zoning codes to accommidate all the mixed-use projects. Heretofore, you had housing in one place, retail in one place, and commercial development in one place. Now you have folks who are saying, " I'm tired of being in my car, I want to be able to go out on the street to the grocery store, or get a cup of coffee, or buy that outfit from the display window."

Borders also stated that this urbanization is not about just building tall buildings. Atlanta already has those. But never has Atlanta had this increased density and integration of product and this volume of product, commercial or residential. That is huge. All the activity going on in the city is marvelous- the jobs it creates, the people that it brings to the city, and the vibrancy that it brings to the city.

All of this sounds good to me personally, what are some of your thoughts on Lisa Borders comments?

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Well, I think it would be great to all (or most of) the empty office space downtown filled. That's been a pretty big problem over the past few years. More urbanization would obviously be great as well, but I agree with many here that Atlanta's never going to be another Boston, Philly, San Francisco, or NYC in that respect. Still, we should do all we can.

All things considered, I think Atlanta's doing fairly well right now.

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Atlanta is definitely on the right track when it comes to that; however, it appears as though the state of Georgia is doing all it can to ensure that Atlanta's traffic nightmares persist by essentially blocking any attempts at building a more extensive mass transit system. There is absolutely no good reason why MARTA should not extend into Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, etc. counties.

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There is absolutely no good reason why MARTA should not extend into Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, etc. counties.

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Atlanta is definitely on the right track when it comes to that; however, it appears as though the state of Georgia is doing all it can to ensure that Atlanta's traffic nightmares persist by essentially blocking any attempts at building a more extensive mass transit system. There is absolutely no good reason why MARTA should not extend into Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, etc. counties.

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I know we are getting off-topic here, but just fyi, of all the counties in the referendum which included Fulton, Dekalb, Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinett, only Fulton and Dekalb Counties voted to accept MARTA in the origional 1971 referendum.

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I wish the others had. MARTA would be so much better than what it is now.

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I wish the others had. MARTA would be so much better than what it is now.

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I agree, and I think we should have another voter referendum, and I think this time that the above mentioned counties would in fact join the system.

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I don't necessarily have evidence to prove it, but I have some doubt about that statement--at least when it comes to a few of the counties involved.

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IC, do you feel that they are comfortable having thier own independant transit systems verses being apart of one large system?

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IC, I agree with you that there are a few spots in Cobb or pretty much any metro county that could use a transit station, the question is a cost benefit one. Putting two stations in Douglas County would cost app. $2.5 Billion (17 miles from the HE Holmes Station to Douglasville @ $150 million a mile) that amount of money could build a little over 800 miles of stretcar lines in Atlanta. What system do you think would see more ridership?

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IC, I agree with you that there are a few spots in Cobb or pretty much any metro county that could use a transit station, the question is a cost benefit one. Putting two stations in Douglas County would cost app. $2.5 Billion (17 miles from the HE Holmes Station to Douglasville @ $150 million a mile) that amount of money could build a little over 800 miles of stretcar lines in Atlanta. What system do you think would see more ridership?

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Well this is all very interesting and no disrespect intended, but we might want to continue this under the MARTA Topic verses the State Of Atlanta, regarding Lisa Border's comments to Atlanta Peach Magazine.

So with that said, I think that the growth downtown will really give it a boost that it has not seen since the construction boom of the mid 1970's. And the astetics and growth of downtown may in fact bring companies back to fill the vacant space that she mentioned.

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Well this is all very interesting and no disrespect intended, but we might want to continue this under the MARTA Topic verses the State Of Atlanta, regarding Lisa Border's comments to Atlanta Peach Magazine.

So with that said, I think that the growth downtown will really give it a boost that it has not seen since the construction boom of the mid 1970's. And the astetics and growth of downtown may in fact bring companies back to fill the vacant space that she mentioned.

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I've got my eye on things around here, don't worry about it, KD ;) If the discussion about MARTA keeps up, I may see what I can do to transfer the discussion to the MARTA threads. But you do raise a good point, if we are going to have a discussion on MARTA, we should probably take it to the MARTA thread.

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