by Mason Zimmerman, Senior Development Partner – Pope and Land Real Estate
For most of the past 50 years, Atlanta grew from the inside out then commuted from the outside in. “In” became known as inside the perimeter (ITP) and “Out” as OTP. Over the past 10 years or so, the predominant trend has been the move back “in.” Whether to avoid long commutes, pursue a better job or seek a more walkable, unique or diverse quality of life, the pull ITP has been remarkable. And what about OTP? Well, to be successful today, suburban communities have had to learn how to adapt, attract and connect to stay competitive and avoid decline.
This “OTP urbanization” is evident from Lawrenceville to Marietta and Alpharetta to Sandy Springs. However, few areas have evolved and adapted better than the Cumberland region.
I have seen many changes in Cobb’s I-75 suburban corridor during my nearly 15 years as a CCID board member and as a founder and former chairman of the neighboring Town Center CID. Both CIDs used to focus mostly on infrastructure improvements but now their initiatives include beautification, sidewalks, transportation, trails and more. The Cumberland area used to be a prime example of a commuter community — mostly office and retail where people drove in to work or shop then drove back to their homes in the suburbs. Those days are gone for good. Cumberland is now a thriving, young and diverse community anchored by an accessible National Park, a variety of housing options, a vibrant office community and a new epicenter, The Battery and SunTrust Park.
The Battery gave Cumberland what it was missing. Now our submarket is synonymous with the vibrancy, boldness and quality of The Battery. The Braves’ branding has given the district a tremendous boost which will allow us to continue to attract, connect and stay competitive.
Currently, our district is very accessible by car and bus. And, the truth is that it’s likely to stay that way for a long time. While rubber tire vehicle accessibility is our strength, we will continue to work to make it even better while we pursue alternatives. The new I-75 Managed Express Lanes and Akers Mill Ramp project are perfect examples of making a good thing even better. Driving on the express lanes is like riding a magic carpet. It has taken 30,000 cars per day off of I-75 and cut commute times by 33 percent. The Akers Mill Ramp will greatly improve the traffic flow in and out of the core of the Cumberland area. Once parked, the commuter has access to restaurants, entertainment, nature and virtually everything else in the district through an ever-expanding network of sidewalks, trails and bike-sharing.
The Bob Callan Trail, Akers Mill Trail and Stillhouse Trails have been a point of pride for CCID. The Silver Comet Trail already runs through the CID and when these trails eventually connect to it and the Atlanta BeltLine trail, access to and from the district will be even more extraordinary.
The CCID will continue to do what it does best, identify current problems and work hard to solve them while anticipating future needs and collaborating with others to find solutions. We love Cumberland’s position at the intersection of ITP and OTP and we are inspired to do all we can to continue to make it even better.