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Monday, August 17, 2009

AJC moving to Metro Atlanta's real downtown

Obviously, by leaving its Marietta Street headquarters and heading north, the AJC is leaving the City of Atlanta's Downtown business district.

But before one declares the AJC is abandoning the city, ask yourself a question: what city?

Perimeter Mall area is actually more of a city center to more metro Atlantans than the area we actually call Downtown.

Take a look at Colliers Spectrum Cauble's most recent report on Atlanta's office market and you'll see there are as many offices above the top-end of I-285 than below. The office submarket the AJC is moving to, Central Perimeter, has more office space than Downtown, Midtown or Buckhead. It's been that way for a long time.

Commerce isn't the only thing that defines a downtown, but it's arguably the single largest factor. Like every other society in the developed world, the geography of our lives is determined by the geography of our livelihoods. People generally want to live close to where they work. People shop, go to school and recreate close to where they live. Remember, 90 percent of the people who call themselves Atlantans live in the suburbs.

The AJC's new Perimeter office will closer to where more Atlantans sleep, work, eat and poop than Marietta Street. Like it or not, Perimeter is the real center of town.

I'm not saying I approve of the AJC's move. I'm suggesting we acknowledge a reality about our city: Downtown isn't downtown.

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