With its award-winning Whistlestop Shops, which connect to the city’s downtown amenities, the City of Auburn is the ideal destination for businesses as well as families. The City of Auburn is proactively seizing on growth opportunities and is bustling with new activity as it is embarks on a revitalized downtown.

The mayor, city council and stakeholders are closer to the realization of a sustainable, mixed-use, multi-generational environment. Housing affordability is being addressed through thoughtful design and current trends. Programs through DCA for the Georgia Dream Home will be offered to teachers, first responders and city employees to ensure the best quality of life and home ownership possible.

All activities under the current administration’s leadership have been focused on meeting the community’s needs. Auburn seeks to offer employment opportunities and housing for all its citizens in a green, walkable environment, allowing residents better social interaction with their neighbors.

Building on the development of the city’s Whistlestop Shops, which met the pent-up demand of small retailers looking to move their businesses outside their home, Auburn is quickly realizing its new downtown. Through a recent market study and redevelopment charrette, the city is taking major steps forward to a new, walkable downtown.

While the groundwork was laid well before the city’s recent downtown studies and presentations, Auburn became one step closer to making its new downtown a reality after a market study was revealed at a joint meeting in 2018 between the city council and Downtown Development Authority. During the meeting, leaders heard details about local marketplace options for economic development. The Downtown Auburn Real Estate Market Overview & Analysis shared local and regional data related to population, housing, employment and other market trends.

Following along the timeline, the next major step to realizing a new downtown was a three-day charrette held in August of 2018. During the charrette, Auburn’s vision for its downtown district began to take shape. Gathering at TSW headquarters in Atlanta, a room filled with engineers, architects, city officials, partners and citizens talked through options. Sketches were then created to help illustrate the plan.

At the big reveal public meeting in Auburn on day three, Mayor Linda Blechinger reminded the crowd that this presentation didn’t come to fruition just in the last two days. “This is something we’ve been talking about and planning for. We’ve had time to choose how our city will grow and how it will look.”

City Administrator Alex Mitchem added, “This is us, taking control of our destiny. We could let development happen, unabated, and likely not be happy with the results. Now, thanks to the leadership of visionaries in our city, past and present, who have guided us to this point, we’ve spent the time to plan. We’ve worked with [professionals], who have brought the expertise we need to work through this.”

The discussions that followed were about connecting the existing downtown area on the north side of the railroad tracks with property on the south side that is earmarked for a new City Hall complex and potential residences. Details regarding topography, parking, green spaces, traffic flow, housing types and streetscapes were vetted. Road connections were proposed in several areas to allow for more access and reduced traffic as the area develops.

Next steps include detailed discussion of the draft plan by the mayor and city council, and working through the logistics of City Hall Complex design and construction.