Midtown Atlanta

Midtown Atlanta
Midtown at night, viewed from Piedmont Park
Midtown during the day, viewed from Piedmont Park.
Bungalows in the Midtown Historic District
The Midtown skyline as viewed from I-75 South.

Midtown is the second largest financial district in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, situated between the commercial and financial districts of Downtown and SoNo to the south and the affluent residential and commercial district of Buckhead to the north. Midtown contains about one-third of the city's high-rises and some of Atlanta's most iconic buildings, such as the Bank of America Plaza, (situated between Midtown and Downtown), AT&T Midtown Center, Atlantic Center, 1180 Peachtree, and Promenade II. The district is the center of the city's music and arts scene that includes the Fox Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Design Atlanta, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and the 14th Street Playhouse. Midtown Atlanta is also home to three well known institutions of higher education: Georgia Institute of Technology, John Marshall Law School, and the Atlanta division of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

The Midtown district has been a primary area of growth in the city in the first decade of the 2000s, with new condominium units being built, new stores opening, and businesses and people moving into the area. Midtown has a resident population of 30,000,[1] a workplace population of 68,000, a student population of 20,000, and about 6 million visitors annually.



The definition and meaning of "Midtown" has varied over time, expanding from an original concept of a small neighborhood "mid-way" between Downtown and Buckhead. Boundary definitions vary by the source. Midtown in many cases is a quasi-legal entity for zoning, law enforcement, and taxi purposes. It is defined by the City of Atlanta's NPU[2] to include:

  • Midtown's Peachtree Corridor - the business district dotted with skyscapers, roughly bounded by the Downtown Connector on the west, I-85 on the north, Piedmont Ave. on the east, and North Ave. on the south[3]
  • The "Midtown Neighborhood", the area east of Piedmont Avenue and south of Piedmont Park – a residential area of single-family houses and small apartment buildings. It borders the BeltLine and the Poncey-Highland neighborhood on the east and Ponce de Leon Avenue and the Old Fourth Ward on the south[3] – roughly contiguous with the National Register-listed Midtown Historic District[4]

The Midtown Alliance defines Midtown as a larger area or "District" of approximately four square miles that, in addition to the previously mentioned area, includes:

  • two of the most affluent historic residential neighborhoods in Atlanta, Ansley Park and Sherwood Forest
  • the prominent mixed-use development of Atlantic Station
  • the relatively low-profile residential neighborhoods of Home Park and Loring Heights. Note also the "Marietta Street corridor" is included (sometimes called "Georgia Tech") in both the NPU and Midtown taxi zone maps.


19th century

Map of part of Midtown Atlanta, 1895

The southern half of midtown between 8th Street and North Ave was originally purchased by Richard Peters in 1848 to use the pine forest there for fuel for his downtown flour mill. Over the next 40 years Peters slowly subdivided sections of these land lots off for a gridded residential area and built his own home there on Peachtree at 4th Street. His son, Edward, built his home on the block bounded by North Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, Ponce de Leon Avenue and Myrtle Street. The home, now called Ivy Hall, was restored by the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2008 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5] After the Civil War, Peachtree between what is now 8th and 12th streets was still about a mile beyond the city limits at Pine Street.[6] A lawless shantytown arose known as "Tight Squeeze", supposedly because it was "a mighty tight squeeze getting through there with your life".[7]

Urbanization and heyday, 1880-1960

Cross streets were built and residential development began around 1880. Piedmont Park was established with the Piedmont Exposition of 1887, followed by the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895, lending the area new prominence. Electric streetcar lines started or were extended in:[7]

  • 1890, along Peachtree Street to Fourteenth Street
  • 1895 along Piedmont Avenue with loops to Peachtree at Tenth and Fourteenth Streets
  • 1900 beyond Fourteenth Street to Brookwood

In 1904 development on Ansley Park began, one of Atlanta's most prestigious neighborhoods both then and now.[7] By the 1920s Tenth and Peachtree had become the nexus of a significant shopping district for several blocks around.[8]

Decline, 1960-1980

Midtown continued as an area of residential neighborhoods. The Downtown Connector freeway opened in the 1950s, and the blocks between Williams Street and Techwood Drive were demolished to make way for it.

In 1964, Ansley Mall opened north of Midtown and the Tenth Street shopping district went into decline. Peachtree Street between Eighth and Fourteenth became a center of hippie culture known as The Strip.[7] Colony Square, the first mixed-use development in the Southeast, was built between 1969 and 1973.

MARTA rail line opened in 1981-2. In the 1980s many older properties were torn down to make way for parking lots. Many demolished blocks remained empty for decades. However, the Midtown Historic District, the area to the east of Piedmont and south of Piedmont Park, remained residential throughout the period and to this day.

Revitalization, 1980-present

Gradually, larger-scale commercial and residential development took root in the north-south corridor along Peachtree and West Peachtree. The BellSouth Center (1982), now the AT&T Midtown Center was long the landmark skyscraper in the area. Development really took off after 1987, when One Atlantic Center was completed. The 2004 opening of the Seventeenth Street Bridge over the Downtown Connector has reconnected Midtown with the west side of the city and to the Atlantic Station mixed-use development, built on the former site of the Atlantic Steel company.

The first decade of the 2000s saw numerous high-rise condo buildings go into Midtown such as the Spire, Viewpoint and 1010 Midtown.

In 2006, Mayor Shirley Franklin set in motion a plan to make the 14-block stretch of Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta (nicknamed "Midtown Mile") a street-level shopping destination envisioned to rival Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive.[9][10] Plans are now less ambitious, but still retail has taken hold on Peachtree again, notably upscale home furnishing stores such as Kartell and CB2. Midtown is also a hotspot for restaurants and nightlife in Atlanta.

New hotels in Midtown include the Four Seasons, the W, Hotel Palomar, now Renaissance, and the Loews.

In 2011 Creative Loafing wrote about Midtown:[11]

No part of the city has evolved more dramatically over the past two decades...Impersonal office buildings, imposing parking decks and cold asphalt arteries have given way to high-rise living and an explosion of street life...Where once there was a wasteland, now there are great restaurants, groceries, specialty shops, townhouses, lofts and ... people.

Community organizations

Midtown Alliance

Formed in 1978, the Midtown Alliance is a group of volunteers, employees, and business and community members, that work towards improving the overall quality of life in Midtown, transforming it into an ideal place for people to actively live, work, and play. Activities of the Alliance include improving the neighborhood safety, developing area arts and education programs, and building community leaders. The master plan from the Alliance, called Blueprint Midtown, is credited with fueling the economic resurgence that has helped the once downtrodden Midtown area transform over the past number of years into a popular neighborhood.[12]


Bridge over Lake Clara Meer in Midtown's Piedmont Park

Midtown's focal point is the expansive greenspace of Piedmont Park, which underwent a major expansion in 2011, with further expansion planned. The park is surrounded by the Midtown business district to its west, Ansley Park to its northwest, the BeltLine, Morningside, and Virginia Highland to its east, and the Midtown Historic District to its south. The Atlanta Botanical Garden adjoins the Park.

The BeltLine is a 22-mile (35 km) long trail circling the older neighborhoods of central Atlanta which will be developed in stages. Although it is still an unimproved dirt trail as of 2011, construction of the Eastside Trail has received funding, and will connect Piedmont Park (at the intersection of 10th and Monroe) to the Inman Park MARTA station at DeKalb Avenue.[13] The "Art on the BeltLine" project has resulted in the installation dozens of contemporary art pieces on the trail.

Architecture and historic districts

1010 Midtown along with the Loews Atlanta Hotel.
The fabulous Fox Theatre, a cultural icon of Atlanta

In the early 1980s, Midtown Atlanta was a blighted area mainly consisting of parking lots. By 1987, One Atlantic Center was built on the corner of West Peachtree Street and 14th Street, which kick-started the redevelopment of the area. Some contemporary buildings of note are:


Historic buildings

In the streets along the Peachtree Corridor, very little is left over of the area's original architecture including single-family homes and mansions. Some buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places include:

Fox Theatre Historic District

The Fox Theatre Historic District is located in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and consists of the following buildings:

  • the Fox Theatre (Oliver Vinour et al., 1929)
  • William Lee Stoddart's Georgian Terrace Hotel (1911)
  • Stoddart's Italianate (or Beaux-Arts/Renaissance-revival) Ponce de Leon Apartments (1913)
  • the Cox-Carlton Hotel (1925), originally built as a bachelor hotel but now a Hotel Indigo.

Midtown Historic District

The Midtown Historic District consists of most of Midtown east of Piedmont Avenue (between 10th Street and Ponce, and east to the BeltLine). It is noted for its bungalows and Queen Anne style houses.


Midtown Atlanta is a commercial district in its own right, containing 22,000,000 square feet (2,000,000 m2) of office space,[1] with 8,200,000 square feet (760,000 m2) of office space added to the area since 1997, with up to 3,800,000 square feet (350,000 m2) more planned.[16] Furthermore, Midtown is the home to the corporate headquarters such as Equifax,[17] EarthLink,[18] Invesco,[19] and The Coca-Cola Company,[20] as well as other corporations with a sizeable presence such as Norfolk Southern, Wachovia, PriceWaterhouseCoopers,[21] and AT&T, as a result of its purchase of BellSouth.[22] Google's Atlanta area office is in Midtown.[23]

Major law firms such as King & Spalding[24] and Kilpatrick & Stockton[25] are also located in this district. Arcapita's Atlanta offices are in the district.[26] Jason's Deli's eastern regional office is in Midtown.[27]

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, once located at 104 Marietta Street NW prior to 2001, is located at 1000 Peachtree Street NE.[28]

When MindSpring was an independent company, its headquarters were in Midtown.[29][30]

Diplomatic missions

The Consulate-General of Canada is located in the 100 Colony Square Building,[31] as is the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.[32] The Consulate-General of Israel to the Southeast is located in Uptown.[33] The Consulate-General of Switzerland in Atlanta is located in the Two Midtown Plaza building.[34] The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, representing the Republic of China, is located in the Atlantic Center Plaza.[35]


The interior of the High

[File:Museum oF Design Atlanta.jpg|thumb|right|MODA (Museum of Design Atlanta) is located on Peachtree Street]]

Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park
People dancing at a Paul van Dyk rave in one of Midtown's clubs


Midtown is known by many residents as Atlanta's "Heart of the Arts." It is the home of the Fox Theatre, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Richard Meier- and Renzo Piano-designed High Museum of Art, as well as the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Center for Puppetry Arts, and other arts and entertainment venues. Recently, the Woodruff Arts Center and its campus were expanded. Future additions will include a new Atlanta Symphony Center. The High has collobarted with major art museums to house temporary collections of masterpieces, most notably the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Across the street from the High is Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design. Midtown is also the home of the Atlanta campus of Savannah College of Art and Design, which is located in historic buildings throughout the district.

Festivals & events

Midtown Atlanta is home to a vibrant cultural community, bringing together people from every walk of life. Midtown's Piedmont Park is a popular venue for cultural festivals in Atlanta. Every spring, when the native dogwoods are in bloom in Piedmont Park, is the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, an arts and crafts fair. Piedmont Park is also the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race, held annually on Independence Day. As ground-zero for Atlanta arts community, Midtown is home of the annual Atlanta Arts Festival, which brings artists from across the country to Piedmont Park. Piedmont Park is also the home of the Southeast's largest multicultural festival, Festival Peachtree Latino, which celebrates Hispanic-American culture with arts and crafts, family activities, sporting events, a parade, dance demonstrations, ethnic foods, and a live music stage featuring international performers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. Midtown is also the home of Atlanta's major music festival, Music Midtown, which was revived in 2011 after a five-year hiatus. At the corner of 8th Street and Spring Street, near the Midtown MARTA station, Midtown also hosts the Peachtree Music Festival, a one-day, two-stage music festival blending indie rock bands with electronic DJs. In the fall, the Atlanta Pride festival attracts the LGBT local and regional community while the week-long Out on Film gay film festival highlights films by, for and about the LGBT community.[36]


Midtown is known throughout Atlanta as an extremely popular, cosmopolitan, and vibrant area for nightlife. Many of the city's trendy restaurants and bars are located in Midtown. An estimated 52% of all of the city's nightclubs are located in Midtown[citation needed]. Some of the prominent bars and clubs include CosmoLava (Cosmopolitan Lounge and Lava), Opera, Primal, Leopard Lounge, Velvet Room, Door 44, Verve Lounge, Twisted Taco, Halo, Fox and Hound, Highland & Co. and many others. Midtown is also home to a large amount of the city's gay bars. Popular gay bars and clubs include Felix's, Blake's, Amsterdam, Swinging Richards, Heretic, Bulldog Bar, Jungle, New Order, Woofs, BJ Rooster's, Friends on Ponce and Burkhart's. Many celebrities have been spotted making an appearance at nightclubs in Midtown. These include Pamela Anderson, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, Lauren Conrad, Mario Lopez, Audrina Partridge, Ludacris, T.I., Mindy Hall, Ciara, Pussycat Dolls, and Tiesto.[37][38]


Residents are zoned to schools in the Atlanta Public Schools.

In addition, the main campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology is located in the southwest corner of the district.


Midtown Atlanta is served by Atlanta's rail rapid transit system, MARTA, at the Civic Center, North Avenue, Midtown, and Arts Center MARTA Stations. MARTA operates significant bus service in the district, as well.[39] There is also a free shuttle between the Arts Center MARTA Station and Atlantic Station, as well as a free-to-the-public daytime shuttle between the Midtown MARTA station and Georgia Tech called the "Tech Trolley."[40]

See also


  1. ^ a b Midtown Alliance, Midtown Market Report, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  2. ^ City of Atlanta: NPU maps
  3. ^ a b Midtown Alliance: Neighborhoods
  4. ^ Midtown Local Historic District
  5. ^ "National Park Service: Edward C. Peters House". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/nr//travel/atlanta/pet.htm. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  6. ^ Atlanta ward system
  7. ^ a b c d Tommy H. Jones, "Margaret Mitchell House: Historical Context"
  8. ^ Tommy Jones, "Midtown History", Midtown Local Historic District site
  9. ^ "Expert: Peachtree Poised to Be Next Great Shopping Street". Midtown Alliance. http://www.midtownalliance.org/RET_Vision.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  10. ^ "Mayor to Retailers: Peachtree Is Open for Business". Midtown Alliance. http://www.midtownalliance.org/RET_ICSC.html. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  11. ^ Midtown, "Ultimate Neighborhood Guide", Creative Loafing, retrieved November 7, 2011
  12. ^ "Business Coalition wants new master plan for Ga. 400". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 2007-12-12. http://www.ajc.com/cobb/content/metro/northfulton/stories/2007/12/12/blueprints_1213_web.html. Retrieved 2007-12-12. [dead link]
  13. ^ Thomas Wheatley, "Beltline gets $5 million for Piedmont Park-DeKalb Ave. bike trail", Creative Loafing, 2010-06-19
  14. ^ AIA Guide to the Architecture of Atlanta: University of Georgia Press, 1993
  15. ^ Atlanta Preservation Center’s SoNo/Midtown Commercial District Tour Guide: APC
  16. ^ MIDTOWN ATLANTA: Business. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  17. ^ Equifax Company Profile. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  18. ^ EarthLink Contact Us. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  19. ^ Invesco, Corporate Headquarters. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  20. ^ Coca-Cola United States. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  21. ^ Locations. Retrieved July 13, 2009.[dead link]
  22. ^ AT&T, BellSouth Deal to Affect Atlanta Office Market. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  23. ^ "Google Offices." Google. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
  24. ^ King & Spalding - Offices: Overview. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  25. ^ Kilpatrick Stockton LLP: Atlanta. Retrieved July 13, 2009.[dead link]
  26. ^ "Contact Us." Arcapita. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  27. ^ "Corporate Office Contact Information." Jason's Deli. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  28. ^ Atlanta Visitors Center and Monetary Museum. Retrieved July 13, 2009.[dead link]
  29. ^ Home. MindSpring. November 28, 1999. Retrieved on September 7, 2010. "© 1999 MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. 1430 West Peachtree St. NW, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30309"
  30. ^ "MindSpring makes deal for high-speed access." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May 6, 1999. F1. Retrieved on September 7, 2010. "Midtown Atlanta-based MindSpring is one of the largest Internet service providers in the country with 1.2 million subscribers."
  31. ^ "Contact Us." Consulate-General of Canada in AtlantaRetrieved on July 28, 2009.
  32. ^ "Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency website Retrieved on August 24, 2009."
  33. ^ "Welcome to the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast." Israel Diplomatic Network. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  34. ^ "Consulate General Atlanta." Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  35. ^ "How to contact TECO in Atlanta." Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Atlanta. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  36. ^ http://www.gbmnews.com/articles/4462/1/OUT-on-Film-Wraps-up-Its-Annual-Celebration-in-Atlantas-Midtown-District/Page1.html
  37. ^ [1]
  38. ^ [2]
  39. ^ "Official MARTA website". http://www.itsmarta.com. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  40. ^ "Tech Trolley". GT Parking & Transportation. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20070717031220/http://www.parking.gatech.edu/info/1_maps__schedules/6_tech_trolley_route.php. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 

External links

Midtown Skyline viewed from Atlantic Station.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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