Mark Toro, managing partner at North American Properties, didn’t want to stop with just Four on Friday. (If you are just now tuning in to our new Hartman Simons blog, we typically ask our Friday interviewees four questions.) He insisted on giving readers more bang for their browse by answering five questions. See below for an update on what keeps Mark Toro busy. Hint: It’s more than just Atlantic Station.
HS: Can you give us a progress report in terms of the changes underway at Atlantic Station?
MT: Yes. We've closed the nightclubs, doubled the Atlanta Police Department presence, launched our industry-leading social media platform, completed parking deck lighting and way finding design, recruited a number of new local retailers and restaurants (shhhh…no announcements just yet), introduced The Atlantic Station Alliance for Street Performers, launched two hybrid shuttle buses wrapped with our new branding….not to mention the fact that we've been successful in recruiting the best and brightest in the industry to be a part of the excitement….all in four months.
HS: What store/restaurant do you most frequent at Atlantic Station?
MT: Rosa Mexicano…I'm hooked on the guac (extra spicy).
HS: On Twitter you call yourself a " Johnny-come-lately reurbanization zealot." What do you mean by that?
MT: After raising my daughters in the East Cobb Bubble, we moved into Midtown full-time just two years ago, after weekending in our condo for almost five years. I've quickly become that guy who you hate to listen to at cocktails party, spewing on about how he never gets in his car, walks to work and scoffs at those who live beyond walking distance to Piedmont Park.
HS: Speaking of Twitter, you are frequent poster. What is the business case for tweeting?
MT: It is a platform to promote my agenda (to whoever is interested): Atlanta is going to become a real city, someday. And when it becomes a real city, it will become a real city right here in @MidtownATL. Why, you ask? Because @MidtownATL is the only community in #Atlanta that provides what 77 million echo boomers are looking for, an authentic, walkable urban environment. What is that, you ask? Transit. Street grid. High-density residential. Restaurants/bars/cafes. Streetscapes. Parks. Cultural venues. People. ENERGY.
HS: What do you think Midtown will look like in five years? Ten years?
MT: In five years, we will look much the same to the outsider, but the growth rate of "street energy" is palpable. With new residents occupying the recently delivered residential (31,000 units) every day, we already enjoy the most vibrant streetscape in the Southeast…and it's building. In ten years Midtown will be a shining example of how life can be truly LIVED in Atlanta, Ga…a real city.