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Groundbreakers Finalist

The Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Founded in 2007 as the only all-girls unit of Atlanta Public Schools, the academy stresses science, technology, engineering and math courses. The first seniors graduated from the school this spring, and every single one was accepted to college.

Ponce City Market

On August 2, 1926, Sears threw a party and 30,000 Atlantans showed up, frantic to peek inside the new 750,000-square-foot retail center on Ponce de Leon Avenue, where all of the 35,000 items in the iconic Sears Roebuck catalog were on display. “If ever there was a doubt in the minds of Atlantans that the company actually kept in stock the thousands upon thousands of articles . . . that doubt was erased after a tour through the building,” enthused an Atlanta Constitution reporter. It was built in a record six months by more than 2,000 workers, and Sears pumped $2 million into the construction job market. That’d be $26 million today; no wonder Mayor Walter Sims was on hand to hoist a flag atop the 232-foot tower.
Lew Oliver

Lew Oliver

From Vickery Village in Cumming to pastoral Serenbe, Lew Oliver has been metro Atlanta’s New Urbanist trailblazer for more than a quarter century. But the versatile housing designer—who now master-plans full communities—calls a massive undertaking in Fayetteville, Pinewood Forrest, his most inspiring project yet.
The Imperial Hotel

The Imperial Hotel

On a Monday in June, 25 years ago, activists broke into the vacant Imperial Hotel, made their way to the highest floor, and lowered a massive sign emblazoned with the directive: “House the Homeless Here.” Soon the encampment inside the historic hotel numbered 100 protesters.

Fugees Academy

Fugees Academy grew out of the acclaimed soccer program for refugee children. Today, the school enrolls 100 students from more than twenty countries, helping them thrive as they make the transition to a new home. Thanks to donations and sponsors, tuition is free.

The Proctor Creek Project

The movement to rejuvenate Proctor Creek and the neighborhoods through which it snakes involves a coalition of federal, state and local agencies—along with nonprofits, city planners, and private investors.

K. Rashid Nuri

Nuri's urban farms bring fresh food to areas of Atlanta where rubble, history, and poverty are cross-pollinated.
Gene Kansas

Gene Kansas

Gene Kansas has an affinity for adaptive-reuse projects, especially those on imperiled Auburn Avenue, the heart of a district famously dubbed Sweet Auburn when it was thriving during the first half of the 20th century. Kansas knows how fragile community and history can be, having seen his hometown literally underwater.
Gamble + Gamble Architects

Gamble + Gamble Architects

Husband-and-wife-led architecture firm Gamble + Gamble has built a reputation for designing progressive single-family homes, modern-style townhomes, and striking hospitality design. But the restoration of the historic (and crumbling) Clermont Hotel presented challenges on a new scale.
Clark Howard and Habitat for Humanity

Clark Howard and Atlanta Habitat for Humanity

Howard’s initial involvement in Habitat in 1996 was born out of remembrance for his father, who grew up during the Great Depression and whose parents were evicted twice. And the famous penny-pincher’s mission intersects nicely with that of the organization.

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