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Aerotropolis Clayton County Is Ready To Fly Toward Economic Enhancement


Each city in Clayton County, Georgia, has different needs and objectives for economic development, but several local officials have a shared goal: to build a better county for residents by creating more mixed-use spaces that combine retail, dining and entertainment.

For unincorporated Clayton County and the cities of Jonesboro and Lovejoy, attracting more people to these developments and creating more job opportunities for locals means taking advantage of the county's proximity to the always-bustling Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Momentum has been building on this shared vision with the help of Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, also known as AeroATL, a local public-private partnership dedicated to regionalism.

AeroATL has been championing planning and collaboration for the past eight years with Clayton County leadership in an effort to build “regional economic competitiveness” and pinpoint sites for development close to the airport, President and CEO Shannon James said.

He said that data and research are driving AeroATL's efforts across the region to advance local leaders’ visions.

“Clayton County plays a critical role in the success of our region,” James said. “Momentum is growing, and we want to play a critical role in the success for the good of business and residents. Companies need access to robust talent, and residents deserve access to quality-of-life components that support a healthy ecosystem.”

James said AeroATL created a blueprint identifying sites that would help with fostering more job creation around the airport. One of its three catalytic sites, Mountain View, is in Clayton County.

He said Mountain View, a previously undeveloped 300-acre site, is set to become the largest mixed-use development for Clayton County in decades, as it includes the largest available industrial land inside Interstate 285.

AeroATL worked alongside ATL Airport Community Improvement District Executive Director Gerald McDowell, private property owners and key leaders of the county.

Jeff Turner, chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners and AeroATL Board of Directors, was one of the key leaders representing the county in these meetings to unlock the site.

“Clayton County will benefit as we further develop this area with Class-A business parks, entertainment districts and high-end hotels and restaurants,” Turner said. “It will provide our residents with a place to visit and enjoy the amenities without having to go to outside the county for entertainment.”

A rendering of Victory Landing Logistics Center in Mountain View, Georgia.

OA Development is the commercial real estate and development firm leading the industrial use for this project. Steve Berman, partner at OA Development, said construction began on the roadway leading to the site in 2022. Once the roadway is finished, developers can commence the first phase of the project.

“We’ve always been financially and emotionally invested in the success of this area,” Berman said. “We are also very invested in helping the AeroATL accomplish the work of promoting the area.”

James said another goal for AeroATL is creating a “catalytic corridor” along Tara Boulevard, a thoroughfare that connects to I-75 and runs vertically through the county, from Mountain View down to Lovejoy.

He said AeroATL, unincorporated Clayton County, the city of Jonesboro and the city of Lovejoy applied for grants that would allow them to work together to enhance planning and development in cities along the corridor. In Q2 2022, the group received a $400K grant through the Atlanta Regional Commission Livable Centers Initiative for the Tara Boulevard Gateway Study. The grant was intended to support safety initiatives, provide transportation accessibility and identify nodes for economic development.

“The study is a great example of how we’re working with the county to advance regional impact,” James said. “Working in collaboration continues to yield a greater ROI for our region. A win for one is a win for all, and we’re proud to be a key partner to help enhance this progress.”

Clayton County Director of Community Development Patrick Ejike said the grant will help establish what land can be used and how it will be zoned, and from there, lawmakers can create regulations for developers and construction crews.

“We have done some studies years ago about a transit-oriented development, and having these building blocks, along with the LCI, will allow us to put the development together and get the right type of platform to our economic development practitioners so that we can market the county,” Ejike said.

Lovejoy Councilwoman Marci Fluellyn said that residents' needs have been taken into account during each phase of the project. Among residents’ top priorities were a mixed-use development with retail on the ground floor and apartment units on top, helping to create more affordable housing for seniors, along with having a breadth of no-cost entertainment options.

She said the grant will also help with advancements such as providing updated traffic lights and clearer signage that will direct people to points of interest along Tara Boulevard.

“When we get feedback from our citizens, we keep it in mind when working on new developments in the city of Lovejoy and other cities in Clayton County,” Fluellyn said. “When we think about who we want to work with to help bring services that will improve the quality of life for residents, we think of AeroATL, as they bring community leaders to the table as well as great energy and initiative to this collaboration.”

Jonesboro City Manager Ricky L. Clark Jr. said building a place where residents feel welcome and safe is a top priority for Jonesboro, which is the county seat. The ARC as well as the alliance have been helping to bring that vision to life.

“Our goals have been how to encourage sustainable development and encourage a sense of place as well as retain individuals that are coming to the city every day to work, live and play,” Clark said. “AeroATL has been crucial in building out this growth around the airport. They have been active during planning conversations and can push industry and quality growth to our areas.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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