The historic Sweet Auburn corridor will get an infusion of energy over the next six months as the Obama presidential reelection campaign sets up its Georgia headquarters at 171 Auburn Avenue. Having such a high-profile tenant in the area will bring much-needed attention to the struggling historic district. This is especially critical this year as work is underway on the new streetcar line that will run along the street, and civic leaders look for ways to revitalize the surrounding area.
The campaign is leasing space in the Renaissance Walk complex at the corner of Auburn and Piedmont Avenues and will be a next door neighbor to another noteworthy political operation: John Lewis for Congress. “With its rich history and bright future, it’s no surprise that the President choose Auburn Avenue as home for his campaign headquarters. We’re thrilled he selected Renaissance Walk,” says Gene Kansas who, along with Michael Dinerman, represented landlord Cohen & Associates in the lease transaction. Cohen, based in LA, acquired Renaissance Walk this January.
You can’t ignore the symbolic weight of the country’s first black president setting up shop at a legendary street address; MLK’s birth home, the SCLC headquarters, and legendary Big Bethel, Wheat Street, and Ebenezer Baptist churches are all on Auburn Avenue. Dubbed “the richest Negro street in the world” by Fortune magazine in the 1950s, Auburn Avenue was the center of African-American business and culture in Atlanta for decades, and remains one of Atlanta’s top tourism draws.