Atlanta’s Rapid Growth Includes its Universities, Student Housing

Tim Keane, commissioner of planning and community development for the City of Atlanta, is a big champion of smart development. “It’s important that we not let cities — and Atlanta is a great example of this — be a series of projects.”  Keane says the region’s total population is expected to grow from 6 million to 8.5 million over the next 25 years. That’s a 42 percent increase. Tim Keane, commissioner of planning and community development for the City of Atlanta, is a big champion of smart development. “It’s important that we not let cities — and Atlanta is a great example of this — be a series of projects.” Keane says the region’s total population is expected to grow from 6 million to 8.5 million over the next 25 years. That’s a 42 percent increase.

Atlanta — Cities around the country are seeing an incredible amount of job and population growth, especially in university towns like Austin, America’s fastest-growing city, and Atlanta.

Home to Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta’s population is expanding at a rapid clip.

At the university level, GSU is the state’s largest school in terms of enrollment. The university is home to 51,545 students for both undergrad and graduates in fall 2017, well more than 10,000 above the next closest school, the University of Georgia in Athens. Georgia Tech’s enrollment was the state’s fourth largest at 29,373 students.

GSU’s latest freshman enrollment was up 5 percent compared to fall 2016, so the demand for new student housing is on the rise in downtown Atlanta.

New student housing projects like 200 Edgewood, a 254-bed project by Sanctuary Residential, and The Standard at Atlanta, a 765-bed project between Landmark Properties and Selig Enterprises, are helping to reshape the city’s student living offerings.

The city of Atlanta is growing alongside its top two schools. Tim Keane, commissioner of City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning, says that the Atlanta metro area is on track to add 2.5 million people over the next 25 years, 1.2 million of which are slated to be in Atlanta proper.

“That’s the equivalent of adding Charlotte and its region to Atlanta’s over the next 25 years,” says Keane, who previously worked in the city planning departments in Davidson, North Carolina, and Charleston.

Keane was the keynote speaker at the eighth annual InterFace Multifamily Southeast conference. Hosted by InterFace Conference Group, the event drew around 400 professionals in the multifamily real estate sector. Keane attempted to break the stigma about population growth being a negative during the event.

“Everyone thinks that more people is bad,” says Keane. “We have to break out of that mentality because the change is happening.”

The city of Atlanta grew by 50,000 people between 2010 and 2016, a growth spurt that Keane says hasn’t happened in years. The City of Atlanta has also issued more residential permits than any metro Atlanta county, including fast-growing ones like Cobb, Forsyth or Gwinnett.

“That hasn’t happened in a generation,” says Keane.

Tune into REBusinessOnline.com this week and next for more InterFace Multifamily Southeast coverage.

John Nelson

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