Good riddance. The city and its taxpayers are still on the hook for this economic white elephant. It was basically a c. 1960 stadium with more skyboxes, even as Baltimore, Cleveland and other cities built better designed old/new stadiums that offered something to fans.
Cobb gets an anchor for the Cumberland area that will use up valuable land--eat up tax revenue rather than produce a lot of it and create even more headaches for the area. Not said but obvious is the idea that mostly white fans help an area with increasingly non-white shoppers or draw entertainment venues for white folks. Traditional downtown or neighborhood stadiums like Fenway, Wrigley or newer stadiums like the one in Cleveland draw entertainment venues but outlying ones usually don't. Give the Braves 15 years in this location and everyone will want the stadium back in Atlanta---the merchants will find that game day traffic has chased away customers, office workers will be ick of extra traffic on weekday game nights during rush hour and the economic benefits will not have materialized. By then, Atlanta will have yet another mayor happy to shower money on a team owner and drive people out of a marginal but possibly quite functional neighborhood.
It's funny that there's such a boosterish response to an obviously skeptical article--very Atlanta. Tax breaks tend to attract low end, non-value added businesses in all sectors. The non-transparency from the state should be the first clue that this is not working out as well as anyone would guess. A libertarian economist questioning the whole business should be another. The media business is cyclical and probably provides sustained employment for a relatively small number of people. Georgia is competing with other bottom feeding states, not with Hollywood or New York, and probably not with Toronto or Vancouver which can mimic more kinds of places and have deeper creative sectors. Gay marriage will make it easy for all the bottom feeding states to be boycotted and for Canada (where there are actual medical benefits) to reap the benefits.
Atlanta is an odd place in that it long has had a large number of serious film fans, but has never grown a first rate film festival. The outfit that curates a number of local festivals purposely seeks out future cable and Landmark Cinema fare rather than playing to audience strength. That's not the kind of community that can hold onto creative types. The notion that an opportunistic, quick buck (i.e., stereotypical Atlanta) approach to film making will result in something more than a string of Tyler Perry vehicles is the kind of thinking that makes it easy to shake one's head at the talk from boosters.
Interesting series, but a few things have been missing. No mention of the important role that medical staff played in the rescue--they were key operators and took a lot of flak from the community, and unlike the politicos and business types, they have to work with that community and everyday. Also, the place was hardly Dickensian even at its nadir. i did a site visit for a research project expecting it to be in awful shape and instead, saw a well maintained hardly ancient physical plant. This wasn't Chicago's old Cook County or LA's old USC/County, but a fairly modern facility.
Druid Hills lacks the architectural integrity of its counterparts from the early 20th century in other cities. No one will notice the addition of some tacky, glitzy townhouses. It's bad for Atlanta, but ATL's historic zones generally have suffered butchering already.
When I lived in Atlanta, it reminded me of living in a college town. There was "intown" and everything else. Yeah, you could find academics who lived outside intown (like a guy who was a couple years behind me in high school), but the people associated with the universities, CDC, a lot of the professional positions in the private and govt sector, and a creative types, they were heavily in intown areas. In the last decade or so, Atlanta has lost a lot of its big long-term employers through closings like the auto plants, mergers (like the banks, Turner and the phone co), outsourcing ( a big chunck of the tech sector), base closings (Ft Mac and Gillem) or downturns (Delta and even for awhile Coke). The area economy has changed and while intown may whether the downturn, many other areas aren't doing so well, esp. older suburban areas and some of the newer poptart suburbs. Moreover, the housing bubble had absorbed a lot of people who had been shut out by one thing or another who then turned to real estate, mortgages, flipping houses, or contractor work. There's no replacement for that and the economy has lost a lot of its former stability.
Some ugly condos and Publix don't strike me as "progress" in redeveloping Cheshire Bridge. It's mostly transitional between residential and semi-industrial uses. It's never going to attract fancy development. The property owners are deluding themselves, but Atlanta is all about suckers looking for bigger suckers, so no one should be surprised.
The usual boosterish blather. Other cities have been more able to leverage money from the federal govt (think Salt lake) and build more lasting infrastructure. An un-necessary baseball stadium (outmoded when it was built) and an underutilized downtown park aren't exactly great legacies. the most positive legacy was the revival of interest in intown Atlanta. Sadly, the closing act of the Olympics is probably what people remember most, along with the crucifying of Richard Jewell. Atlanta, sadly, remains a place of hype and stunted institutions and it takes more than a big spectacle to make a lasting dent in that.
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Creative Loafing Atlanta
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