By: Mark Vollbrecht, Principal of Zeller Realty Group, and Kyle Kenyon, Director at Cushman & Wakefield
Love them or hate them, Bird scooters are changing the way we commute. They are a connectivity solution that solves the last-mile challenge – a problem that has plagued our traffic-ridden city and is often cited as an excuse to not ride MARTA. You know the ones: “I would ride MARTA if my office building was just a little closer to a station,” or, “I have an offsite lunch meeting, so I need to drive my car to work today.”
At Buckhead’s Resurgens Plaza, we welcome Birds with open arms, or should we say nests. We are close to opening a nest at our building, so Resurgens Plaza soon will be a designated place to pick up scooters in the morning or for that lunch meeting.
The Bird scooters are just the latest example of how Buckhead is changing. It is not the preppy, exclusive old-fashioned enclave of Atlanta anymore. It is a place that feels young, connected, fun and interesting. The Millennial population is growing, and there are multiple initiatives underway to better connect the neighborhood. In addition to the scooters, we are excited about PATH400 and Livable Buckhead’s community programs. Of course, there is still work to do, including addressing the need for more affordable housing, but progress is happening.
According to Livable Buckhead, internal surveying and the growing tech industry show Buckhead’s millennial population is growing. Currently, there are approximately 2,700 multifamily units under construction in the Buckhead submarket, and many are expected to house millennial renters.
Livable Buckhead plays a critical role in shaping the district and attracting the next generation of residents and workers. This new era of young talent seeks mobility, connectivity, community programming and experiential dining and entertainment.
For instance, in honor of Biketober, Atlanta’s month-long effort focused on bikeability, Livable Buckhead hosted more than 300 people, who showed up via bike for a Hocus Pocus movie screening at Marie Sims Park. As another example, Miracle Bar, the pop up holiday restaurant at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, had long lines of millennials waiting in the cold for their instagramable drinks.
At Resurgens Plaza, we are underway on a significant capital improvement project to enhance amenity offerings and attract these highly sought-after millennial workers. Site work has begun on a rooftop terrace to appeal to this modern cohort, and in early 2019, we will deliver a bike hub located on the street-level off PATH400’s East Paces Ferry Trail.
Just like the BeltLine has spurred growth in neighborhoods like Old Fourth Ward, PATH400 is a catalyst for Buckhead. Urban trails are essential to connecting our communities, especially with new transportation options like Bird. A recent Urban Land article stated walkability might even outweigh transit access in valuing locations. Buildings like Resurgens Plaza that are both transit- and trail-oriented are becoming the most highly sought after in the market.
PATH400 runs along the spine of GA 400 and is halfway complete. The 5.2-mile greenway is part of the Buckhead Collection, a planned network of 106 acres of parks and trails throughout Buckhead. The Lenox corridor section of the path, which runs in front of Resurgens Plaza, is now under construction and will connect our office workers, along with surrounding residents and visitors, with the BeltLine, SweetWater Brewery and Lindbergh in fall 2019.
PATH400 is the connective tissue that’s been missing in Buckhead, a neighborhood often described as “elite” and “exclusive.” And there is some truth to these perceptions: 98 percent of the workforce commutes from outside Buckhead every day, which is a major contributor to traffic.
Livable Buckhead is prioritizing connectivity in the neighborhood to not only solve traffic woes, but also as part of the affordable housing solution. Car-free mobility throughout Buckhead enables more Atlantans to have access to the area. The Atlanta Regional Commission also has provided a grant to Livable Buckhead to develop a strategy that addresses Buckhead’s housing needs.
Back to the Birds
At Resurgens Plaza, we are in the middle of a Buckhead that is changing, and we are committed to partnering with a variety of organizations to make the right change happen here. For us, this includes a partnership with Bird scooters.
With Resurgens Plaza’s direct connection to the Lenox MARTA station, we see an especially high demand for both Bird and Lime scooters. These scooters expand MARTA riders’ ability to traverse through Buckhead – including to that offsite lunch meeting – car free.
Yes, we said “car free” and “Buckhead” in the same sentence. In fact, tenants at Resurgens Plaza clock in at an impressive 50 percent alternative commuting rate, meaning half of our office workers are riding transit, walking, biking or scootering to work.
So, for those who dare to venture north of Midtown, we invite you to come experience a more connected Buckhead. Bonus points if you arrive by trail, transit or Bird.
*Zeller Realty Group owns Resurgens Plaza and Cushman & Wakefield handles leasing for the Buckhead office tower.