Opinion: Atlanta’s poised for continued success

Excerpts from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's Feb. 4 State of the City speech: "I find myself asking, "What kind of city will we leave behind? How can we ensure that the Atlanta of the future fulfills the promise that lies in the Atlanta of the present?"

What we’ve seen happening over the past year gives me great hope for our future. It’s made me optimistic about what kind of place we’re building for my daughter, for your children, and for the next generation.

Amid the most difficult financial crisis in over 80 years we’ve seen a convergence of business relocation, business creation, and new development that shows our city is getting stronger and stronger every single day.

After 15 years, the Port of Savannah will be deepened in order to accommodate larger, Panamax ships. This will strengthen our state’s economy and our region’s economy, not least of all because it will support more than 100,000

This project also shows what great things happen when people from different levels of government, from different political parties, and from different sectors work in a cooperative fashion.

Then there’s the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which has an enormous impact on the Southeast region and the Atlanta area, supporting more than 400,000 jobs, attracting new businesses to the region, and supporting commerce by positioning Atlanta within two hours of 80 percent of GDP in the United States of America. It continues to be the number one passenger airport in the world for the 17th year in a row.

And then there are the more than 50 universities in our metropolitan region, which provide us with the fundamental advantage of talent, merit, and ability.

There’s the fact that we’ve maintained the third highest concentration of Fortune 500 businesses in the United States of America.

There’s the fact that instead of retiring from New York to Florida, talented baby boomers are deciding to shorten their retirement trips and head to Atlanta, where they bring their talent, intellect, and drive, and continue to have a positive impact.

There’s the fact that Atlanta is attracting millennials at a rate that’s competitive with anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard.

And finally there’s the fact that businesses are noticing all of this and moving into Atlanta at unprecedented levels.

From Buckhead to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, business creation and business relocation are expanding rapidly by any way you want to measure it.