This is the fourth article in a series about Alpharetta’s ten year plan survey.
I moved to Atlanta when I was 25 years old, very much a young professional. I had a nice cubicle job in the Peachtree Corners area, a decent income, a girlfriend but certainly no family. Where did I choose to live? Vinings. It was a terrific spot, close enough to 285 for my east/west commute yet right on I-75. I could be in Buckhead in just a few minutes. And oh did we go to Buckhead (it was a different place back then). All in all, this young professional was living it up in Vinings.
It’s clear that the authors of Alpharetta’s ten year plan survey have young professionals on their minds. I counted six questions on this topic. Here are a few…
Is Alpharetta an attractive and desirable place to live for young professionals? Would you recommend Alpharetta to single young professionals looking for a place to live in Metro Atlanta?
The answer to both questions is a resounding no! Don’t get me wrong, I like Alpharetta and I encourage people to move here. But let’s not kid ourselves, there is little to nothing to excite young professionals in the burbs. It is the reason I didn’t live in Gwinnett County when I moved to Atlanta. There are no hot clubs, no concert venues (save Encore Park), few trendy eateries, etc. And as much as I like my minivan today (indeed I do), our modes of transportation are ridiculed and scorned by Gen-Y types.
Young professionals desire urban environments. Were Alpharetta to want to attract this demographic, we would need to make dramatic transformations. We would need more mixed-use developments, more high-rise condos, more late night bars, etc. They’re not exactly politically popular things for city councilmen to consider. On top of that, the northern burbs don’t have a great track record when it comes to stuff like this. And even were we to be successful in creating a desirable environment for young professionals, what’s to say they will take the bait and move here? We’re competing against trendy Atlanta neighborhoods.
Young professionals will move here, eventually. They’ll move here once they get a bit older and grow tired of the commute up GA-400. They’ll move here once they have kids and realize that the Atlanta schools suck. Alpharetta has no problem whatsoever in attracting 30-something families. So who cares that we can’t attract young professionals?
The survey touches on another similar issue with this question:
Do you feel there will be job opportunities available to your children locally upon graduation?
Of course. Alpharetta’s largest employers will continue to seek skilled employees, many directly from college recruiting drives. Is it important to me that my children return to Alpharetta after they finish school? Again, let’s be realistic. Our kids aren’t gonna live here and that’s fine. This town was build on corporate relos. I don’t know if being a relo is hereditary, but I’ll bet that our kids will move around just as much as we do.
So let’s review… If you’re a young professional, Alpharetta is a total snoozer. This is not a problem. The city shouldn’t waste energy or money trying to change this. 20-somethings will move here once their tricycle motors get older and start school. Relos beget relos.