Yes Home to close in Midtown

Caleb J. Spivakretail48 Comments

yes home to close in midtown ~ what now, atlanta?

Midtown says no to Metropolis retailer

Yes Home, Midtown’s high-end home furnishings store, is closing.

Located in the Metropolis Building on Peachtree Street, the home furnishings retailer announced their closure on Facebook Thursday Night.

“Yes, the store is closing,” Yes Home posted to Facebook.

“Tommy and Keith want to thank everyone who supported Yes Home in the last seven years.”

Facebook fan, Kelly Campbell, posted to Yes Home’s Facebook page in response to that status update and said “I hate to hear that! Makes me sad that you all won’t be in the neighborhood.”

Keith Hobbs, partner at Yes, told What Now Atlanta in an email that “due to the down-turned economy, we fell 40 percent in revenues when the recession hit and it simply hasn’t improved.”

The home furnishings store is having a “closing sale” Friday morning at 10 a.m. Everything will be “50 percent off or more,” according to a flier posted to that same Facebook page.

Items on sale include furniture, accents, artwork, lighting and other home furnishings.

“We are sad for Midtown and all of our loyal customers too,” said Hobbs.

(H/T to reader Gabe Dalusky for emailing this tip. Photo credit: Midtown Patch)

Yes Home
921 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

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Caleb J. SpivakYes Home to close in Midtown

48 Comments on “Yes Home to close in Midtown”

    1. caleb j. spivak

      hi jonathan– we haven’t had the opportunity to speak with the owners about the closure– they just announced it moments ago on facebook. we’ve reached out to them for comment but our guess is lack of business. stay tuned.

      –cjs

  1. Jonathan

    I’m in San Francisco right now and the variety and concentration of unique retail that this city supports is astounding.

  2. AC

    $400 for a throw pillow! No wonder they are closing. I’m surprised it lasted this long. The actual style/design of the goods sold was attractive, though.

  3. Tammy

    “I’m in San Francisco right now and the variety and concentration of unique retail that this city supports is astounding…”

    Yes, and it isn’t overrun with thugs that throw rocks through storefront windows either.

  4. rerun delaney

    lived in SF for many years, and yes the retail is amazing. thugs may not break into store windows but watch your cars…i love tommy, and i’m sad to see them go. he’s also a very talented interior designer. i don’t think midtown is ‘closing up’ but i do think it’s giving way to more mass market retailers. i have mixed feelings about that, but there ya go.

  5. Johnny

    Yeah because SF is a real city. People move in and out of Atlanta like water in and out of a toilet. The percentage of people staying in midtown for over 20 years, 10 years for that matter is very very low. No one owns, they rent because they know Atlanta is not where they want to stay forever. That’s why businesses come and go so often. There’s no identity, no culture, no commitment. You all can comment about leave Atlanta if you don’t like then, guess what, most people have (Delta is ready when you are), that is why you’re stuck with a dead city. The people with these bright ideas for Atlanta aren’t doing anything to move Atlanta towards that bright idea either. I’m sure everyone including myself wants Atlanta to be more than it is for the last 15 yrs but no one is doing anything about it (ie: govt). People come through so often and never stay because there’s nothing worth staying for. We live in a sad city with limited growth opportunities.

    You can’t sell furnishings if no one lives in the building above.

  6. Bri

    Johnny is very right. It’s a difficult gap to fill with the action that is being taken. The culture isn’t growing because theirs no real ownership to the city in a way that will see the important things through to survive. Midtown is kind of a transplant area at that. A good area but not very highly community based

  7. Mike

    Johnny, over 100,000 people moved into the city of Atlanta in the last few years and you’re saying it is dead? A lot of people live in the Metropolis and condo sales here are picking up. San Francisco didn’t become what it is now overnight and it also had it’s growth spurt before the automobile, similar to NYC and Chicago. Too many people are impatient in this city. A lot of people in Atlanta DO CARE about it and want to see it improve. It takes time to make a “real city”, so either put your patience cap on, become involved, or get the hell out and stop b****ing and making up lies.

  8. Old South

    “People come through so often and never stay because there’s nothing worth staying for”

    I could not agree more. The people who did stay went to Alpharetta and the like, which were very nice and cheap. Now, though, folks are leaving there too. Employment is pretty much to whole shooting match with Atlanta. SF has employment but also all the splendor of NorCal.

  9. verizon please

    I too cannot wait to leave Atlanta. I may be one of the 100,000 idiots who made the mistake of moving into the city in the past decade, but count me as one of the 200,000 that will be moving out in the this decade.

    I’m selling my condo at a loss just to get out of here. The insular Southern mindset and overall conservatism of Georgia breeds intolerance toward gays and liberals, but it’s the growing crime rate that is finally pushing me out of here. We have roving gangs of young thugs invading everywhere: Lenox, Atlantic Station, Piedmont Park, Little 5, even Virginia Highland. Smash and grabs, shoplifting, drive-bys, muggings, robberies. The threat of crime is deterring creative and innovative businesses from moving here. The glamorization of the local hip-hop culture has turned Atlanta into a radically different destination city than its leaders envisioned. As for me, I want out.

    So I’m off. I’ve had amazing visits recently to San Francisco, DC, Chicago, New York, so I’m narrowing it down to those four cities where I have friends and contacts. Cities with walkable dense neighborhoods, liberal mindsets, lower crime rates, excellent public transportation and better shopping (i.e. fewer chain restaurants and stores).

  10. Pathetic People

    Some of you sound like whiny children. Atlanta is not even on the same tier as Chicago, San Francisco, and NYC, so why are you comparing them? Did you think it was? If you did, no wonder why you are disappointed. Seriously, just leave already if you hate it so much. Whether you believe it or not, there will be someone else to take your place and I’m sure in your new city you will find something else to complain about after living there for a little while. The grass is always greener on the other side, and people like you are impossible to please. Goodbye.

  11. AD

    If 100,000 people moved in the city what is the number of people moving out of the city?That is important so we can know real situation.

  12. Mother May I

    I think what people fail to realize is it’s not the QUANTITY of people moving to Atlanta but the QUALITY of people moving here. People here like to brag about how “fast” the area is growing, but that does not make Atlanta a bigger city. It makes it more of a sprawling mess. And now it’s a mess with a high unemployment rate. I see bad things on the horizon here.

    It appears that most (but not all) of the people moving to the Atlanta area these days are religious, right-wing, conservative, Republican whites from nearby Southern states OR poor, non-voting blacks with Section 8 vouchers (or wannabe Section 8 as witnessed by the East Point riot a few months ago) from the ghettos of New York, Chicago, DC, Baltimore, Philly, Oakland, Detroit, etc.

    Neither of these two demographics is known for their creative, artistic or cosmopolitan attributes. I for one, have given Atlanta five years of my life, never to get them back. It’s time to move to a city that I can be proud of to call home. My resume is out there and yes, Delta, I am more than ready.

  13. Looney Tunes

    “It appears” is subjective and is not fact – it’s what you *think* you see because you are a miserable person. And once you live somewhere else for 5 years, you’ll see those cities have problems of their own as well. So have fun being a nomad, moving from place to place because nothing will ever satisfy people like you.

    And fyi, the statistics do speak for themselves – not only has the city of Atlanta added over 100,000 people, many of them are white, educated, and have money. The people that have moved to the city in the last few years have raised the median income of the city substantially as well as skewed the demographics to the point where Atlanta is on the verge of no longer being a majority black city. So your whole quality vs. quantity thing is BS and something you made up because you are an irrational, miserable person.

  14. verizon please

    So then why did this place close down if 100,000 well educated white people with money moved to the city? Seems that would be their target demographic, no?

  15. Looney Tunes

    I don’t know – maybe because CB2 opened up down the street? Maybe because the ENTIRE COUNTRY is in a recession and people are cutting back?

    You make it seem like because this ONE store is closing that means everyone in Atlanta is now section 8 and conservative rednecks. I bet there is a store closing up in NYC or San Francisco this weekend – that must mean those cities are going down the tubes too! *rolls eyes*

    Listen, the recession has put a damper on attracting retailers to the Midtown Mile. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually and it doesn’t mean everyone here is now trash. I live in Midtown – look at all the people walking around outside today. They sure don’t look like section 8 and rednecks to me.

  16. verizon please

    Keep dreaming Looney Tunes. People like you who fail to realize that Atlanta is a pitiful city and just make excuse after excuse after excuse as to why it’s “not there yet” or that “it will happen eventually” are just as much part of the problem as the section 8 and the bible thumpers.

  17. Looney Tunes

    I don’t think Atlanta is perfect but it is far from “pitiful”. It must suck to be such an irrational and miserable person. I feel sorry for you.

  18. Mother May I

    Well, for one, I’m not looking for sympathy, so please don’t feel sorry for me. If anything feel lucky. I get to leave Atlanta! Sounds like I’m not the only one making plans. Johnny, Jonathan, Bri, Urbanist, Rerun, Verizon? Who’s with me?

  19. Jonathan

    Yeah, I’d be in San Fran in a second if I could sell my home here in ATL. That is a truly cosmopolitan city.

  20. Urbanist

    Well, I’m obviously one to agree that Atlanta is nowhere close to being as progressive and urbane as it should be, given that there are 5.5mm+ people living here. Then I remember, there aren’t 5.5mm people living in Atlanta; there are about 550k people living in “Atlanta” (which makes Tulsa a bigger “city”), and there are 5mm people living in the suburbs. So, Atlanta’s problem is clearly one of sprawl – which has likely been propagated by many years of bad policy and anti-urban attitude. However, it’s also a “southern psychology” problem. That means that you’re never going to see real progress at the hands of the southern religious. I know a lot of people here who, on a personal level, I think are great people. However, on an intellectual/cultural level, they’re still battling it out with dogs for first place. Too many people in this city are guided by bullshit ideology, which they substitute for thought. I know too many people who vote the way their parents/significant other vote, not because they’ve thought it out themselves, but because they just simply follow the stronger personality. These are the same people who think fine dining means white tablecloths, exotic travel means Mexico, success is a nice car and a big home, and that Atlanta is a great city. They exist well in their little bubble, but have no interest whatsoever in exploring outside of it.

    There is a sliver of a population who make places like Ecco and Top Flr thrive as businesses, but the population of people who don’t think having a DJ play in a restaurant is “weird” are few and far between. New and innovative concepts aren’t necessarily rare in Atlanta, but they’re stopped short by the masses who would rather deep fried chicken and beer than expiramental cuisine and cocktails. Maybe when you can’t pronounce many foods, it scares you away from eating them, I don’t know.

    Point being that this city is going to pass a tipping point where it will lose all capability to be a city, unless something is done to stop the sprawl, and encourage inner-city development. It’s not there yet, but it’s gettig closer every day.

  21. Brian

    Huh, well, it appears blog trolls certainly are in “the grass is greener” category, else this site only attracts serially unhappy and ultra critical people. “Good riddance” is all this short sighted, stupid, backwards, uncultured person has to say. Atlanta isn’t perfect, but it sure beats most places in this county (and world for that matter, I spent 5 years abroad). Have fun getting a decent job, paying your huge bills/rent/mortgage, paying your astronomical taxes, getting around easily, enjoying a great climate, and generally living a decent standard of living in you guys’ Utopian cities of your dreams. The bonus is we will be rid of your negativity.

  22. Urbanist

    Why is it that critical people are never welcome? Don’t you realize that without critical vision there would never be improvement? There’s actually a great & humorous Hyundai ad that illustrates that – it’s the one that shows 30 seconds of what life would be like if we just accepted the first thing that came along – people talking on huge cell phones, still using typewriters, going to silent movies, etc.

    Of course criticism is inherently negative, but stagnation in the face of an ever-changing world is a lot worse. Yes, Atlanta is better than Springfield, Missouri, or Amarillo, TX, but neither of those places have the resources (geographical, human, intellectual, etc.) that Atlanta has. I know my problem with Atlanta, is that it squanders so much of it’s talent and resource at the hands of the backwards (and highly hypocritical) bible thumping class ideology, the lack of control of suburban sprawl, and the interests of the most NIMBYistic people in this city.

    It’s the type of people who shout “good riddance” at those who want/ask/beg for change and progress, that are the most keen on turning Atlanta into a second rate city. Do you think it’s a coincidence that (i) NY’ers are considered to be the most critical people on the planet, and (ii) NYC is considered one of, if not the, greatest, most productive, most innovative, and most progressive cities in the world? If all the critics were to leave, you might be left with a less critical population base, but you’d also be left with a shell of a city that would act as a back office to the world.

  23. JT

    Atlanta is OUR big city, OUR New York…us being SOUTHERNERS. Do you think me, my accent, and my SEC football would be welcome in Manhattan…probably not. It’s a different culture and Atlanta is the mecca of OUR culture. If you don’t like it leave, plenty of other people prefer it, hence the explosion of the sun belt. I’ll take a beautiful skyline, sunny day, khaki shorts, a polo, flip flops and a beer and oysters on the roof of Six Feet Under over the trendiest, snootiest little dinner club in Manhattan any day. If you don’t like our culture thats fine, I don’t like yours either, but saying it’s not a culture is as ignorant and insular as you claim we are.

  24. Urbanist

    Let me preface this by saying that I don’t expect Atlanta to act like NYC. That’s precisely what I don’t want. But to answer your question…Actually, yes, your accent, and your SEC football would be welcome in NYC anytime. As an SEC grad and a former NYC resident of several years, I was able to watch SEC football every weekend. I also have a strong southern drawl that was widely accepted, even in the most uppity of circles (not my cup of tea, but part of the professional caste I am in). I was also able to get some of the best bar-b-que, hang out in flip flops and a polo, stare at an incredible skyline, enjoy sunny days, and get some of the best oysters and beer that you’ve ever had in your life. Guess what else I was able to do – go horseback riding, mountain climbing, fly fishing, and snow skiing all within a couple hours or less. Oh, wait, there’s more…I could go to hundreds of galleries, dozens of museums, see dozens of live performences, and dozens of concerts nightly. Oh, wait, I also got to experience cutting edge cuisine from world reknown chefs, and I got to sit at the precipice of a cocktail scene that is redefining the way this country imbibes. But, more importantly, I was part of a cohesive network of people – NY’ers – who didn’t flee the minor inconveniences of urban life for some vacuous mundane home 30 miles away. I got to interact with bright, creative, interesting people who enjoy the experience of something new and stimulative on a daily basis (Fox News isn’s new or stimulative for that matter). I lived in Vancouver, and had the same experience. I’ve lived here for 18 months, and I can’t remember the last time I felt inspired by the city I live in.

    What Atlantans don’t seem to get is that there isn’t frustration that Atlanta doesn’t have an “uppity” culture – on the contrary some of the wealthy in this city are the most stuck up, “snootiest” people I’ve ever met in my life. The frustration about Atlanta is that it doesn’t embrace progressive anything. Chain restaurants, check. Cheap Beer, and dive bars, check. Abundance of arts & museums? Nope. Innovative cuisine and nightlife scene…maybe 3 or 4 spots. An integrated community? Not even close.

    Nobody is saying they want Atlanta to be some sterile, boring, uppity city. I think more than anything, people want a city that is vibrant and inhabited by a big, diverse, dense crowd of people. For me, I don’t want to live in specific zip codes that are 70% any specific race – which many Atlanta zip codes are. I don’t want every new restuarant to have 6,327 plasma tv’s and food that tastes like it was previously frozen (food doesn’t have to be expensive, or restaurants uppity to get this – lunacy black market being a perfect example). I don’t want my nightlife to be confined to drunk idiots and stupid chicks in Buckhead or clubs that look like they fell out of the New Jersey sky.

    I know it’s hard to conceptualize what it takes to make a great city if you’ve never lived in one. Atlanta is a great MSA, and there’s a big difference…

  25. Looney Tunes

    I used to live in NYC for a little while myself, and although I still miss some things about it, there are certainly negatives to it as well. It’s not perfect either, but you can’t tell that to irrational people. They will just have to find out for themselves.

    And Urbanist, there is a difference between positive criticism and sounding like a whiny annoying miserable insecure loser who gets on a blog saying “Atlanta is a pitiful place – I’m moving to NYC or San Francisco… Look at me, I’m so cool and cosmopolitan now!” blah blah blah. Nobody cares.

    Atlanta IS the most cosmopolitan city in the SOUTHEAST. Atlanta is not on the same level as NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles. It’s more like Dallas, Houston, DC, and Miami. The real true URBAN area of Atlanta is more like 3 million people (the 5.5 million includes a lot of the outlying areas) which means it is smaller than many of the larger dense cities/metros everyone keeps comparing Atlanta to.

    Now I don’t want to come off as “Atlanta is perfect – just move if you don’t like it!”. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s getting better. And I’m not making excuses – these things take time. Cities aren’t built overnight and Atlanta is still a young city! The only reason I say “Good riddance” is because these annoying loser people get on a blog to tell everyone how much better they are because they are leaving Atlanta and it’s such a horrible place. What kind of crappy criticism is that?

  26. JT

    A few things
    1.) name me chain restaurants in Midtown and Buckhead, not many. I do seem to recall an Olive Garden, Applebees, Chilis and Chevy’s in Times Square, among many others. Perhaps they are here for the same people they are there for…tourists. I wonder if the people who complain about ATL even live ITP sometimes.
    2.) NYC, Chicago, SF all have about 100 years of growth on Atlanta. Atlanta isn’t a product of it’s mindset but a product of the time period in which it grew. When the trend circled back to urbanism so did Atlanta, that’s only been about 10 years now which has, for the record,included 2 recessions. Atlanta is very progressive it was a city of barely 2.5 mil at the time who dared to suggest they could host the world in 1996. We’ve hit a bump since then but remember we are young, it’s natural in the growth of a city…NYC from 1968-1995 anyone? We’ll get through it.
    3.) Comparing the commuting habits on NY and ATL isn’t even possible. Metro Atlanta has 6 million people Metro NY has 19 Million. I guarantee a similar PERCENTAGE of NYer’s are suburbanites, think Westchester, Long Island, CT, NJ, hell, even parts of Queens.

  27. Urbanist

    @ LT – I never said NYC is perfect. There are plenty of imperfections, and plenty of things to get pissed off about – that’s true for every city. However, I don’t focus strictly on the good or the bad, but the net. I also don’t claim to be cosmopolitan just because I’ve lived, or am planning to live elsewhere. I also didn’t say “I’m better than anyone”. I stated some pretty simple and apparent facts about the general attitudes of most of the people that live here, and I think most people would agree with them. I also think I’ve been pretty clear in multiple places on this blog that I would love to see Atlanta really thrive as a city. I’ve also said that I think Atlanta has a tremendous amount of resources at its disposal, but it doesn’t utilize them. I’ve made a lot of points about how Atlanta could utilize some of it’s resources (human & monetary) to become a better city…and most of the responses from people who disagree are nothing more substantial than “good riddance”, “you’re so negative”.

    Out of the cities you listed, it is somewhat like Dallas – except Dallas has a lot more in-town growth. It’s nothing like DC – in DC public transportation is used extensively, the “commuters” live 5-6 miles away, not 20-30, and most all embrace a sense of “city-life” in one way or another. It’s certainly nothing like Miami either, for obvious reasons – I mean, really? Have you ever been to Miami? How could you liken it to Atlanta at all? it is, however, a lot like Houston – which, if you ask me, is the most grotesque display of urban planning in the history of mankind.

    @ JT – (i) Taco Mac, F2O, Marlowe’s Tavern, Piola, Ra, Ri Ra, Fado’s, Season’s 52, Bricktops, Copeland’s, Houston’s…should I go on? These are all chains/franchises, and they all occupy some pretty prime real estate that – if Atlanta had an appetite for it – could be occupied by unique and distinct restaurants/lounges/etc. Time Square is one small spot overrun by chains, but well offset by the amazing restaurants in the rest of the city. Atlanta is not the same – it’s overrun with generic and repetitive concepts, that are only occasionally broken up by the unique and great restaurant…which all too often struggles to make it, while the chains thrive. (ii) Those cities have a lot more than 100 years of growth on Atlanta. And further, urbanism in those cities isn’t a “trend”…it’s a way of life. The biggest difference between those cities and Atlanta is Geographical – in that, prior to the advent of the car inspired dense, vertical development, which paved the way for future dense, vertical development, and Political – Atlanta’s governmental policies have done nothing to stop the sprawl, and the brain drain that comes along with that. (iii) Queens, and parts of Long Island are considered part of NYC. The last time I checked, the NYC boroughs had about 8.5mm people, the MSA, I don’t know – If it’s 19mm, that means half the MSA is “non-urban”…pretty big difference between Atlanta’s 90%…

  28. Simon Harcourt

    Well I thought I’d chime in, as I live in DC now, although I spent the last 6 years in Atlanta. I hear both sides of the argument, how people seem to be coming down hard on Atlanta. I hate to say it though. Once you move away from Atlanta you do realize all that we don’t have. Looney Tunes made a comment above about comparing Atlanta to DC. It’s not a great comparison. DC’s cosmopolitan energy and vitality especially in the neighborhoods due north and east of downtown is astounding. The amount of new development is 10 times that of Atlanta, and it’s all done within a dense, walkable city grid. The diversity of people in DC is more like that of San Francisco, with all the embassies and the hi-tech companies. Being just a few hours away from New York, Boston or Philly by car or train and less than 45 minutes from Baltimore means you have this dynamic interaction between all these major cities and their unique cultures. You just can’t say this for Atlanta. You go a few hours from Atlanta and it’s just Chattanooga, Birmingham and Columbia. I recognize there are people who are defensive, but it doesn’t help when you stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to listen to what anyone else points out. As Urbanist mentioned above. If you’re not critical, then you’re complacent. Atlanta is just too complacent of a city due to its culture, layout and demographics.

  29. Looney Tunes

    Urbanist, I wasn’t really speaking about you in regards to the annoying people. Did you not read any of their comments or are you oblivious to them? Again, I wasn’t referring to you and your comments!!!

    What I meant by those cities is they are all in the same tier, not that they are literally similar to each other, although they do share some similarities.

    For example, Atlanta and DC are both very sprawled out, have similar city populations (Atlanta around 550K and DC around 550K but both with a metro area of over 5 million), a heavily congested beltway, and multiple edge cities. Where DC differs is in rail transit (obviously the DC metro is much more robust than MARTA) and DC proper is much more dense. The suburbs of both cities are far reaching and sprawling – you cannot deny it and it is a lie to say people do not commute 20-30 miles outside of DC.

    And yes, I have been to Miami several times. Like DC, Miami is also denser than Atlanta, however like Atlanta, its city population (around 440K) is much smaller compared to the metro area (over 5 million). Although it has an urban growth boundary, it still sprawls northward for over 70 miles.

    Dallas and Houston are both car-centric, sprawling sun-belt cities/metros no matter how you look at it.

  30. Simon Harcourt

    DC’s population is over 600,000 and Atlanta’s is around 500,000, so you have a 100,000 person difference right there. The District of Columbia is also much smaller in area than the city of Atlanta, so again, add 100,000 people to that and it’s much denser. It’s also an older Northern city with an infrastructure like Boston’s so everything is built for walking. Lastly, although some people commute from 30 miles out, you also have to remember that once you go 30 miles you’re in Baltimore! Together the Census Bureau combines DC and Baltimore into a metro of some 9 million people. The natural boundaries of the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore Harbor and the Potomac River add waterway components that Atlanta does not have. Lastly, the liberal governments and people in the DC/Baltimore area are very supportive of higher taxes for infrastructure, education spending and smart growth to control sprawl.

  31. Looney Tunes

    All I was saying is that the population of DC proper is much smaller than its metro area, similar to Atlanta, which despite high densities in DC and the immediate surrounding area still sprawls a lot as well. Are you really going to argue that? Baltimore is not part of DC’s MSA, but its CSA and they are usually considered separate cities/metro areas. And by the way, I’ve been to Baltimore as I used to have a friend that lived there – they moved back to NYC because they didn’t like it. All I used to hear is how ghetto it is – it’s an okay city, nothing great. The latest estimates for Atlanta put it at 550K, so if that is true, then it’s really a 50K difference as DC is now barely over 600K. DC is also known its large number of successful/middle class African Americans (I believe a lot of them live in Prince George’s County now) or was considered a majority black city at one point and also has the fastest growing white population, similar to Atlanta. I will agree the type of people are different because DC isn’t really considered “southern” so you don’t have to deal with the southern mindset that Atlanta has to work around. Along with being the nations capital, that is also where it differs.

    You said it right there – DC is built like a northern city with infrastructure for walking. Atlanta is not – it is a sun belt city and is no different from any of the other ones (*this is my biggest point* I actually think Atlanta is more walkable and vibrant than Dallas and Houston). Due to the type of growth in the sun belt (people attracted to suburban living) the city is playing catch up in terms of density and walkability. Atlanta is slowly getting there, but it is going to take time some of you might not have the patience for.

    And again Urbanist, it is not that I and others don’t welcome criticism. There’s a difference between positive criticism and just talking trash, which is what some people (not you) on here have resorted to because it makes them feel better about themselves.

  32. Keith

    I am someone who spent 18 years living in New York and now the last 18+ years living in Atlanta.

    1. Any comparison of any US city (or many int’l cities, for that matter) to New York is almost ridiculous and even unfair. New York has more restaurants, museums, theatre, shopping, etc… than just about anyplace on Earth. There truly is no place like New York. That being said…

    2. Atlanta is a young city having only been founded in the mid-1800s. Unlike New York, Chicago, DC or San Francisco which all “came of age” as their respective regions’ centers of business or government long before the automobile, Atlanta has only bloomed in the last 30 years or so – long after patterns of suburbia driven by the automobile were established following WWII. Cities like NY, Chicago, DC, etc… are dense because they had the bulk of their build-out before the car – everything had to be close. It was only 50 years ago that Atlanta was practically the same size as Birmingham.

    3. Atlanta has come a LONG way in 20 years. I imagine there are many posters here that have only lived here a few years and have absolutely no idea how things have changed…generally for the better from a urbanism standpoint. The area where the store referenced in this article is located used to be nothing but drug dealers, prostitutes and empty lots. When I was a student at Georgia Tech, you had to go to Buckhead just to go grocery shopping. You pretty much needed a car to survive. Now, you can walk to a Publix, there are numerous restaurants, etc… Where the GT Hotel is now located was formerly a crack-house.

    4. Anyone doubting the population figures that Atlanta has gained 100,000+ people in the past decade is in denial. Atlanta had 420,000 people in 2000; it now has about 550,000. That is a NET increase of 130,000. Yes, some people moved out for those that moved in, but the increase is still a NET figure.

    5. I have no doubt that Atlanta’s urban districts will continue to grow once the economy improves. The last couple of years have put the brakes on everything…which hurts especially for a city in love with real estate. Because Atlanta developed as a car-centric metro area, there is a lot of work to be done to start to undo this.

    6. We do have a different culture in this city as does the entire South. We have a history rooted in slavery and civil rights, that although is not always proud, is a part of who we are. We also have strong roots as far as music, food, college football and more. Maybe we don’t go to as many symphonies or museums as people in other parts of the country, but to say that we are uncultured is to not understand the traditions we hold in this region. A fair criticism of Atlanta, specifically, is that it does not have an identity like that of, say, Charleston or Savannah – probably the two most iconic cities in the region.

    7. All of those who go to other cities and see that everything is so great, realize that these cities, too, have their warts.

    All in all, Atlanta, sometimes in spite of itself, has become a much better city in the last decade, but of course, still has a long way to go. While criticism is sometimes warranted and indeed necessary, those on here that just bash with comments like “pitiful” provide no intelligent discourse.

    People that move here from other parts of the country without understanding a lot of what makes this city and region the way it is probably should have done some better research.

    Sorry for the rant.

  33. Urbanist

    @LT – Ok, thanks for the clarification. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

    It sounds to me, like there is plenty of momentum from the “in-town” community of Atlanta to push for a change (primarily in development policy). Atlanta’s infrstructure, from downtown up to Midtown, is actually pretty decent for a “walking city”. The streets intersect each other at short intervals, you have a good grid system (and thank to a lot of undeveloped space, the ability to further enhance that grid system), short blocks, etc. This even expands eastward in some areas (like along Ponce for a few blocks). I’ve said it before, but I think the key to Atlanta’s growth is bringing people into that area of the city. In order to do that, you need rental housing and good transportation linkages. Buying a $300k condo isn’t really an attractive investment to anyone – especially given the alternatives in Atlanta. What is attractive, particularly to the younger and more vibrant population (and more likely to part with their money at local bars/restaurants/retailers), is living in an apartment in the middle of a city with a lot going on. That means mid-rise (at the smallest) residential buildings with ground floor retail (similar to 905 Juniper, but rentals, and a little less luxurious perhaps). Another key component to this is forbidding developers from developing above ground parking lots (or at least above ground lots that you can see from the street). From a transportation perspective, I think a streetcar from Peachtree to Moreland, along Ponce, serves a much greater purpose than one running along Auburn Ave. MARTA runs along Peachtree from 15th straight downtown, and is a pretty effective way of getting around. The city would likely have to incentivize some of this initial development through subsidies, but I can think of a lot of ways to recoup some, if not all, of that cost.

  34. Mother May I

    Looney Tunes I think you’re taking this all too personally. You seem to be on a one-man mission to defend Atlanta. Relax. It’s not like your stuck here forever. Many of us have moved on, and eventually you will too.

    Like you mentioned above, the sooner you accept that Atlanta is a sunbelt city in the South, the better for you. It will never densify like Northern cities. It simply does not want to nor does it have the tax revenue to build the infrastructure necessary to densify.

    It is known as the cheap alternative for lower middle class families who can’t afford other parts of the country. It will not be known for vibrant neighborhoods or culture or cuisine or fashion because its residents just don’t care about those things. Just accept it and move on. Don’t try to fight it. You can’t change all by yourself the nature of a city or how it’s perceived by the rest of the world.

  35. Keith

    Wow, Mother May I. What a condescending response. Your first two paragraphs were fine. But then, to say we are “lower middle class” and “residents just don’t care about those things [culture or cuisine or fashion].” Wow!

    The sooner you march back up north or out west, the better we will all be here.

  36. JT

    Ever notice the anti-civic theme in Atlanta came AFTER the transplants? Pre-1996 this city was actually proud of itself and that was when it was even less dense and car centric just due to the era it was. Maybe some of you need to go home. Like I’ve said there is a whole generation of us born in the 1980s-1990s from across the southeast, many of us children of snowbirds and transplants ourselves who call this region home now and love Atlanta as the center of it. There is a vibrant community of 20-early 30 somethings in Midtown, VaHI, Inman Park, EAV, etc. Who love this city and never plan to leave for the suburbs. It’s rewarding to us to build something. Look at what our presence has accomplished so far in the need for a comprehensive transportation plan and dense vertical development before the recssion. If you are too lazy to want to be invested in building your community and instead want to pillage what other generations fought to build that’s fine, please go, i for one take ownership of my city and can see the great things that are coming. It’s no different than the people who stayed and fought for places like the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village through the 1970s and 80s so that you could safely walk the streets today whilst you rant about how pathetic the rest of the world is.

    And for the record about half the restaurants mentioned as “chains” in Atlanta started here, they expanded because of popularity, but here they are not chains, research it.

  37. Urbanist

    @JT – I think everyone can appreciate the enthusiasm from Atlanta residents to want to build something and make something of the city. In the same regard, those long-time residents should appreciate the thoughtful criticism of those who want to do the same thing in a more effective way. You’re right about the vibrant communities in each of those neighborhoods, but each of those neighborhoods are completely isolated from one another (save for VaHi & Inman park), the same way all of those are disconnected from other vibrant areas like Buckhead & Midtown West. When I talk about the human capital that Atlanta has, I’m referring specifically to the younger populations that live in each of these neighborhoods. When I talk about the poor policies of Atlanta, I refer to the ones that haven’t been thoughtful about transportation and have caused the isolation of each of these neighborhoods; and that’s the same policy that wants to invest millions into a streetcar system that is going to go back and forth on Auburn Ave, rather than run one between in much more fruitful places, like down Ponce, or use the resources to expand Marta to Midtown West, etc. I also refer to the poor policy that never attempted to stop the sprawl, and still doesn’t, which has encouraged a large swath of potential in-town residents to head to the burbs, forever isolating them from the city. Nobody wants to see Atlanta fail, but rather people want to see Atlanta stop making the same damn mistakes it has been for the past 20-30 years (if not longer…but that’s before my time).

    And those “chains” that started in Atlanta…yeah, they’re still chains. They’re sterile, boring eateries, with the same menus at every location. Just because they started here doesn’t change that. Do you think that McDonald’s is not a chain in San Bernardino?

    @Mike – Nice plan…it’s about what I would expect from politicians looking to grandstand about all the good they’re going to do for the city, while ignoring fundamentals of urban development – the first being that you can’t build your way to prosperity. Besides, who do they thing they are going to get to fill this office space, and lease the retail, when 20%+ of the city’s existing space sits vacant and retailers are leaving their current spots left and right. If they can’t fill existing retail & office space, how are they going to fill new retail and office space?

  38. Mike

    Urbanist, this is what I don’t understand about you… You complain how Atlanta is not progressive and nothing is getting done, then when there are clearly progressive plans out there that are being pursued, you say “Well it looks great but how are they going to build all of that and fill it”? I mean really dude, you are impossible to please.

    And I’d imagine the first step would be building the multi-modal station, renovating/modernizing Five Points station and Underground, building the park space, and *maybe* one spec office tower (like the one on top of the new multi-modal station). The rest will follow as the market dictates, but by building a new transit hub, renovating Five Points and Underground, and building the park space should be a pretty big incentive to attract companies, residents, and retail. We have to invest/renovate to get people more interested in Downtown.

  39. Urbanist

    @Mike – Then you’re missing my point. Building something new does not equal “progressive”. Frankly, at first glance, this just looks like another Atlantic Station. It seems to ignore the fact that significantly smaller amounts of new development, strategically located in certain areas of Downtown/Midtown, would have a substantially more positive effect on the city than undertaking a gigantic “master planned” development in one area. That’s precisely what they did in Atlantic Station, and it was a disaster. This also appears to be primarily office/retail development…and that’s the last type of development Atlanta needs (we have plenty of vacant space). You have it backwards – we don’t need to build a ton of commercial space to bring in people, We need PEOPLE in the city that will fuel the commercial interests.

    I think the two best spaces in the city right now are the Dewberry block, and the block on the south side of Peachtree Place and W. Peachtree. There’s also some great available space down by Peachtree & Ponce. Cat scratch idea, if I had my choice, I would (i) turn the dewberry block into 2-3 separate apartment developments with an 80/20 (or similar) structure, underground parking, and ground floor retail. I’d also carve out a small area of that block for a small green space/basketball court/other recreational facility, (ii) offer incentives to businesses to get into the space at the Lowe’s office tower, and to fill the space at the PWC/Google tower & Campagnile building (iii) move the streetcar project from Auburn Ave to Ponce , (iv) Have plans ready to develop the lot on Ptree Place & W. Peachtree as well as lots in between Peachtree & Myrtle, along Ponce. These plans would be mixed use – primarily apartments/retail, and would build any office so long as it could be pre-leased to breakeven, or build to suit, and lastly (v) I would increase the toll on Highway 400 to at least $1 to help fund some of this.

  40. JT

    I totally agree about the small scale development and rental housing. I see rental housing planned for Buckhead and cringe, why? That market is pretty well served, I can’t name a quality rental development in the midtown core except the two Post properties. 10th and peachtree is prime for a 10-15 story rental building as is the lot across from the High and the lot across from the Plaza Midtown Publix. These lots aren’t even surface parking lots they are generating ZERO income, that’s why they are the best to develop in a down market. Say what you want about developers I get not taking a risk on a site that is making you money, letting lots sit vacant however astonishes me. I’m pretty sure you can’t use tolls to fund this 1.) do you REALLY want state funded housing on Peachtree, I certainly don’t. 2.) I’m not even sure those tolls are in the city limits. 3.) People out in the ‘burbs shouldnt have their money spent to fulfill our urban dreams. They live out their that’s their choice I for one don’t need their money and would prefer to not have it.

  41. 396

    Fine. If no one else is going to object to what happened in East Point in August being characterized as a “riot,” I will. From the AJC story: “At the Tri-Cities Plaza Shopping Center, emergency vehicles passed each other, transporting 20 people to hospitals. Medical and police command posts were set up on scene. East Point police wore riot gear. Officers from four other agencies supported them. Yet no arrests were made.”

    When was the last time you saw a “riot” that resulted in not a single arrest? Riots involve people burning and breaking things and having confrontations with the police. This was a poorly-organized, overcrowded event at which people got sick from standing around in the August heat, got knocked down, or got mad at each other and did some swearing and shoving – things people sometimes do when they stand in long, long lines for a long, long time. Not an impeccable display of manners by any means, but hardly a riot.

  42. Urbanist

    I don’t know if it’s feasible to have 400 tolled, and then have that money appropriated to the city for development incentives. However, I am such a big proponent of it, as the toll ensures that all those people that live in the suburbs and commute into the city endure a cost for their use of the city. I don’t see a toll as asking the people in the burbs to “fulfill our urban dreams”. I see it as imposing a social fee for those who choose to live outside the city, but still use the city and all it’s services/amenities. The mass of people that commute into the city from outside of the city every day use city roads and they expect support from city services, but they don’t do anything to support those services, or that infrastructure. On top of that, they pollute the hell out of the air, driving to and from their city jobs every day.

    It’s nice in ideology to say “I don’t want their money”, but would you want anyone who wanted to, to come and use your pool, or park in your garage, without paying for the privilidge? The fact is that it costs money, and a lot of it, to support the massive population that commutes into Atlanta daily. Unfortunately, it’s been embedded into the Atlanta commuter’s mindset that they should get that privilidge for free, which is entirely wrong. Living in the suburbs shouldn’t be a free-for-all option for those who want to rely on Atlanta for everything, and pay nothing for it.

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