Midtown (30309, 30308) is a large area of Atlanta stretching from Downtown to Buckhead. It is the second largest business district of Atlanta but it also has a large permanent residential population, estimated at 42,000 and growing. Early in Atlanta’s history, the area was just outside the northern city limits, which were near North Avenue. The southern half of today’s Midtown was originally purchased by Atlanta pioneer, Richard Peters, in 1848 for wood to fuel his flour mill. He gradually sold off sections of the land and created a grid street system. After the Civil War, mansions were constructed along Peachtree Street going north. Large scale residential development with cross streets began around 1880. The Cotton States and International Exposition, a World’s Fair, occupied what is now Piedmont Park in 1885. This boosted development, as did the opening of Georgia Tech in 1888. Eventually the area came into the city of Atlanta. By the 1920s Tenth and Peachtree had become a significant shopping district. This retail area continued until 1964, when it went into decline. By the late 1960s the area between Eighth Street and Fourteenth became a center for hippie culture, and large parts of Midtown deteriorated into cheap rental houses.
Renewal began in 1973 with the opening of Colony Square at 14th and Peachtree. This was the first mixed use development in the Southeast. Residential gentrification began in the late 1970s when single gay men bought cheap houses and restored them. Three MARTA subway stations opened in 1981. Now the area includes some of the tallest skyscrapers in Atlanta and many high rise condos. Midtown offers the most truly urban living experience in Atlanta. The Fox Theater and Woodruff Arts Center are within walking distance. Georgia Tech offers a full menu of college sports events and is a magnet for high tech companies moving here and new ones being founded. Midtown also includes a corridor of thriving churches and the Jewish Temple. Residential development is burgeoning with 20-30 new mid rise or high rise buildings under construction. The range of fine restaurants in Midtown suits every taste. If you want luxury, high energy and an urban living atmosphere, Midtown is it.
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