I think about Mark Toro on almost a daily basis. No - I have not gone to work for North American Properties and Mark Toro is not coming to me for gardening advice or any advice at all. I've never spoken to him in person and I'm not even sure I've seen him, except the back of his head as he spoke to City Council. Nevertheless, every single day as I take a left into Piedmont Park to get to my job at the ABG, I see Ansley Park to the right and I think about Mark Toro.
I think about him because he lives where I work - the Ansley Park area in midtown. It seemed important to Mark Toro to let us know he lives in midtown. And why did Mr. Toro share this personal information? I think it had something to do with trying to convey to us that he's very much in the thick of things, that he enjoys the city with its art, gardens, restaurants; that he's young - well, young thinking anyway - because he lives in town near a lot of 30-something year old's. All these things conveyed to us that he knows and understands desirable locations and therefore understands how to make Avalon an awesome place and Alpharetta a desirable location with young people, art, culture, and restaurants.
That's awesome. If only he could do it. Ansley Park is well over 100 years old. The Woodruff Arts Center and the High Museum and Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden and all the great restaurants - they didn't just spring up overnight. Took awhile. A long while. And the young people, yea, they're in town. I work with them and eat lunch every day with them. I'll bet I hang with them more than Mark Toro does. A different generation from me and Mark Toro, that's for sure. Will they come to my town though? Hmmm.
I wish Mark Toro every success. This blog is not a complaint against Avalon. May it be all North American Properties has implied it will be.
Avalon will not make Alpharetta culturally relevant. Only Alpharetta can make Alpharetta culturally relevant. And young people will not make Alpharetta "cool". Cool people will make Alpharetta cool. And as far as desirability....Alpharetta already is desirable. The quest is to keep it desirable. These things are categorically different from the success of development projects.
The success of future developments like Avalon and the downtown City Center in Alpharetta is first of all dependent upon a good economy where people are spending discretionary income due to having jobs. It is second of all dependent upon a certain je ne sais quoi, a magic sort of thing you can't pin down that just has to do with being in the right place at the right time and having had a sense, both aesthetic and businesslike, that was in a word - right.