The landscape of Atlanta is changing. With new residential development, a surging focus on Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), and a collaborative effort to help local businesses thrive, Atlanta is a city you must experience while you are in town for the OFN Conference, October 24-27.
One of the best ways to take in the changes is through the lens of impact. Specifically, see how CDFIs in Atlanta are creating partnerships and leveraging capital to lift neighborhood values and enrich life in the Empire City of the South.
On Monday, October 24, before the Conference officially kicks off, spend the day on a tour of Atlanta Housing. Co-host ANDP Loan Fund will be on hand to guide participants through a number of neighborhoods that are still struggling with the impact of the foreclosure crisis. In some cases, more than 30 percent of homeowners are underwater. In addition to a tour of multifamily developments, the day will consist of an opportunity to experience a new TOD project.
On Wednesday, October 26, you can see impact in action through the Atlanta Small Business and Community Facilities Tour, or the Creative Placemaking in TOD tour.
During the small business tour, see first-hand how a small business CDFI and a non-affiliated CDE are collaborating to help local businesses and facilities. Co-host Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), and Atlanta Emerging Markets Inc. lead this tour, where you will get an inside peek at a medical center that has been a staple for more than 40 years in Atlanta, providing care for uninsured and underinsured residents. Hear first-hand how transformative capital has helped expand services in a much needed area. Also see how Atlanta has taken historic buildings and transformed them into community resources and elegant events venues, from a tour of the historic Macy’s building, to the Flatiron Building which has been converted into a "Next Gen" business space for growing businesses.
The last stop of the day is the Ponce City Market, where ACE will introduce you to some of the local businesses that help make this thriving market place a valuable new asset in a community that saw an abandoned block (the former Sears and Roebucks Building) completely reimagined as a vibrant community hub. End the tour with drinks at The Mercury, a restaurant that has worked closely with ACE in previous ventures, and has expanded to a third location in the Ponce, “The Ponce brings vitality to the local community, and when you get to meet the founders of the Mercury and Honeysuckle, you get the inside story of what they went through, from A to Z, to build their businesses,” said Sandy Headley, Chief Lending Officer of ACE.
If creative place making is more your speed, take a trip to experience how a TOD project has evolved to a program supporting community engagement and civic participation through the lens of mural making. WonderRoot—an arts organization that works to improve the cultural and social landscape of Atlanta through creative initiatives and community partnerships—partnered with public and private community investors, including co-host Enterprise Community Loan Fund, to finance En Route and create an impact through positive community change. Experience the first murals of the project that pay respect to the history of the neighborhoods surrounding the station.