The downtown area is the hub of Atlanta’s economic activity. Downtown is a popular destination for the city’s working class because of its abundance of hotels and office buildings. It has also been popular in recent years among people who yearn for the urban lifestyle, flocking there for the restaurants, cafes, lofts, and condominiums. Downtown has developed into a viable commercial and recreational hub since the 1996 Olympics boosted its profile.
Nearby attractions include the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the Georgia Aquarium, Underground Atlanta, GA, the College Football Hall of Fame, the State Capitol, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. You may find a wide variety of affordable, no-frills meals near Georgia State University. When you factor in the proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, State Farm Arena, and a plethora of hotels, you have a highly sought after area for both locals and tourists.
Downtown Atlanta is the heart of the Georgian and American metropolis of Atlanta. It is the largest of Atlanta’s three business districts and is home to Georgia State University, numerous professional and collegiate sports arenas, and the majority of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It has a population of about 26,900 people and an area of about four square miles as of 2017. New condos and lofts have been built, ancient buildings have been restored, and new people and businesses have moved in, much like in other U.S. central business areas.
In 1979, when Underground Atlanta was shut down because of rising crime rates, Downtown Atlanta’s population steadily declined. Downtown as a whole was largely a “archepelagic assemblage of fortified enclaves inhabited during the day by government office workers, conventioneers, and college students, and at night by a substantial population of homeless persons” by 1990, with Five Points being a “vacant shell of its former self.”
The 1996 Olympic Games and the evolution of Georgia State University from a commuter school to a conventional college sparked a revitalization of Downtown that is still going strong. Located west of Five Points in an old industrial region, Centennial Olympic Park was constructed as a physical legacy to the games. An entire tourism sector, including the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the CNN Center, and the College Football Hall of Fame, sprung up in Downtown Atlanta in the decade after Centennial Olympic Park was built.
After the 1996 Olympic Games, Georgia State University president and urban planner Carl Patton led an effort to reshape Downtown in an effort to make Georgia State University “a part of the city, not aside from the city.” Patton’s concept, known as the Main Street Master Plan, has been realized via billions of dollars’ worth of urban construction, increasing the business and population of Downtown.
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