By Savannah Durban, Communications Specialist
Last week at Bisnow’s Future of Cumberland event, one thing was clear – the Cumberland CID is firmly fixated on alleviating the transit woes of its burgeoning region. Since the Atlanta Braves brought their stadium to Cobb County, the number of renters, homeowners and office users in the area has skyrocketed. While the Cumberland CID has made tremendous strides to ensure that the Cumberland area remained one of the city’s easiest markets to enter/exit and to navigate, the market has been slow to embrace transit.
The CID has been focused on creating “accessibility to and mobility within the district,” said Tad Leithead, Cumberland CID Chairman and Principal of TLA. The Akers Mill Ramp and the North-South Connector are currently underway, and there are “additional projects on the horizon to stay in front of traffic.”
Now, Leithead said the market has to take advantage of Cumberland’s status as an emerging market, or be prepared to be behind for another 40 years. Historically, voters have shot down transit initiatives, but recent polls indicate 60% to 65% of voters would be in favor of a bill supporting transit. Now, the county and Cumberland CID are engaging consulting firms to run transit studies and determine viable options for the market. Additionally, Leithead said a strategy is being formed to get on the 2019 ballot with either a county-wide tax or special tax district. This could cost residents as much as up to a penny.
The Cumberland CID is seeking four major touchpoints for transit, including connections to MARTA, Kennesaw State, South Cobb and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. “It will take 20 years, but we will get it done,” Leithead said. “In the last 30-40 years, we have created the platform that will be the launching pad for the future. We are currently losing 45% of top office prospects because of our lack of transit. We need the infrastructure to support, not interfere with, economic development.”
Savannah Durban is a Communications Specialist based in Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office. Ms. Durban leads strategic media relations and thought leadership efforts for the Atlanta office, and oversees the firm’s online presence including managing the blog and social media efforts.