There’s something about the fall in Atlanta. There’s an energy that pulses through our city unlike any other time of year. The weather’s perfect. The kids are back in school. College campuses are bustling. But we’re seeing a whole new level of energy this year.
We’re witnessing a rebirth of our construction industry, which has been hurting since we experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The industry has bounced back in a big way. Four years ago, we had about $400 million in construction permits, but last year we issued $2.1 billion worth of new construction permits.
Buckhead Atlanta has risen up out of the ground and is now open for business. The $1 billion development is destined to become a premier regional shopping destination, where visitors will experience the best in luxury retail, dining, and entertainment. There will also be 275,000 square feet of custom office space and 370 residencies.
Residential and commercial development is booming everywhere in our city. Ponce City Market is set to open next spring along one of Atlanta’s most important historic corridors. And just this past summer, I attended the grand openings for the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Delta Flight Museum, and the College Football Hall of Fame.
We’re also making progress on important initiatives to retain Atlanta’s position as the dominant city in the southeast.
The Welcoming Atlanta Working Group completed the work they undertook over the summer to find innovative ways to foster a welcoming environment for every individual in our city, regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin. Our goal is to attract and retain the world’s best talent to secure our future economic growth and cultural vitality.
The Working Group provided me with 20 recommendations that fall into three key areas. First, improve community engagement and foster positive relationships between the receiving community and new arrivals. Second, develop and harness the talent of our strong multicultural workforce. And finally, build a community of trust between Atlanta’s foreign-born population and the officers entrusted with protecting our streets. As I begin to implement these recommendations, I remain deeply committed to sending the message, loud and clear, to anyone who is looking to build a better life, that they are welcome in the City of Atlanta.
As we enter the stretch run of 2014, it’s clearer to me than it’s been since I took office: Atlanta is back and getting stronger every day.
I wish all of you a fun, safe, and active summer. God bless.