Contact Information

Andrew Smith
Atlanta Regional Commission
40 Courtland Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

404-463-5581 - Phone

404-463-3254 - Fax


Developments of Excellence

Nominations are no longer being accepted for the 2015 ARC Developments of Excellence Awards.

Through its annual Developments of Excellence (DOE) Awards, ARC honors trend-setting private and public development projects that advance and implement the policies of ARC’s Regional Plan, PLAN 2040.

Past winners of the top DOE Award exemplify exceptional design and sustainability while contributing to regional goals such as urban revitalization, transit accessibility, affordable housing and economic development.

In addition to an overall DOE Award, ARC also honors Great Places. This category highlights places such as neighborhoods, streets, civic spaces or parks that contribute to the Atlanta region’s character and provide choices for where and how people work and live. Great Places are enjoyable, safe and desirable and can serve as regional models for future growth. The possibilities are open. This award category was added to the program in 2011 to reflect the incredible places that comprise our diverse region.

Lastly, through this awards program, ARC presents an LCI Achievement Award, which honors a development or project that significantly advances the implementation of a community's Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) plan. This award can also go more generally to an entire community that has excelled in the implementation of its LCI plan.

2014 Development of Excellence Award Winners

Development of Excellence Award

The Commons at Imperial Hotel
Columbia Residential, National Church Residences

The Imperial Hotel opened in 1911 as luxury lodging for travelers. Since then, this model of Chicago-style architecture has served as speakeasies, nightclubs, low-income housing and a shelter for downtown Atlanta’s homeless.

It has been redeveloped through a public-private partnership that includes Columbia Residential, National Church Residences, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority. And today, the LEED-Gold certified Commons at Imperial Hotel offers 90 living units, along with meeting rooms, computer stations and a fitness room for residents who were formerly homeless or who have special needs.The 9-story, building is irreplaceable as an historic asset and is uniquely suited to provide permanent supportive housing because of its proximity to transit, amenities and jobs. The redevelopment of the building also includes energy-saving features that reduce costs by $257 per unit every year. 

Great Place Award

Oakland Cemetery
Historic Oakland Foundation, City of Atlanta

With its winding paths, ornamental shrubbery and amazing views, Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is a prime example of a late 19th century “garden cemetery.” And with some of the area’s most prominent citizens and leaders buried there, Oakland is also a place with deep historical and emotional ties for the region’s people.

But what makes Oakland Cemetery one of metro Atlanta’s great places is that it is also a public park and gathering place. Events like Sunday in the Park and Tunes from the Tombs make Oakland a place of community, rather than simply a place to visit. In fact, the cemetery’s presence gets credit for redevelopment along Memorial Drive, the King Memorial MARTA station and in Cabbagetown.

The Historic Oakland Foundation, the City of Atlanta and countless volunteers have spent decades preserving an important piece of history and ensuring that it continues to add something unique and positive to the region’s character.

LCI Achievement Award

Douglasville Town Center
City of Douglasville

The City of Douglasville and the Douglasville Downtown Development Authority have stuck another feather in their caps as they continue to redefine their thriving town on the western outskirts of metro Atlanta. This time they have repurposed a vacant, historic car dealership into a co-working space called the Station Loft Works.

Since receiving its first Livable Centers Initiative grant in 2001, Douglasville has a track record of steady LCI implementation. The city has built a conference center, been part of several redevelopment projects and has instigated numerous infrastructure improvements. A key improvement is the current re-routing of state highway 92, making downtown safer for drivers and pedestrians. 

Exceptional Merit for Innovation and Adaptive Reuse

Atlanta Tech Village

Billing itself as a cool place for cool people doing cool things in technology, Atlanta Tech Village is a 103,000 square-foot office building in the heart of Buckhead. Established in 2013, the Village is a community center for primarily technology-related companies of between one and 30 employees.

The Village’s creator, David Cummings, hopes that the collaborative special events, coworking spaces, coffee shop, training labs and shared conference rooms promote serendipitous interactions between individuals and companies. Any company can join the Village and be a part of its innovative vibe. More than just a cool place to get your entrepreneur on, Atlanta Tech Village has a goal of fueling Atlanta’s rise to a top five tech startup center in the US.

Exceptional Merit for Cultural Impact in Development

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The dream of Evelyn Lowery, Juanita Abernathy, John Lewis and Andrew Young, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights builds a bridge between the American Civil Rights Movement centered here in Atlanta and contemporary human rights movements around the world.

The LEED-Gold certified Center boasts more than 90,000 square feet of museum and exhibition space on three floors. It also features a 34-foot tall outdoor water sculpture that includes quotes from Nelson Mandela and Margaret Mead. 

Designed by Phil Freelon and HOK Atlanta, and built by Guide Management Group, Cousins Properties, H.J. Russell, CD Moody and Holder, the Center expects to host more than 400,000 visitors annually. The center has 32 full-time employees, 300 volunteers, an economic impact of $50 million and truly represents the soul of our city. 

Exceptional Merit for Community and Historic Preservation

Collier Heights Community Association, City of Atlanta

Planned and developed specifically as a suburban community for upper and middle class African Americans, Collier Heights includes some 1,700 homes. Built primarily in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the community housed many of the region’s most prominent leaders over the years, from Herman Russell and Donald Lee Hollowell, to Ralph David Abernathy the third and the Reverend Martin Luther King Sr.

Thanks to the efforts of the Collier Heights Community Association and Georgia State University, the community was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 and became the first mid-century neighborhood ever to gain City of Atlanta historic district status. This ensures that new development and renovations to existing properties will be in keeping with the historic residential integrity of the community. 

Exceptional Merit for Partnerships in Community Redevelopment

East Lake
East Lake Foundation

The new Charles Drew Junior and Senior Academy at the Charlie Yates Campus represents another major milestone in the redevelopment of the East Lake public housing complex. Drew Charter School was established in 2000 and now, this new facility, housing both middle and high schools, is a cradle-to-career learning institution. 

But the redevelopment of East Lake is about much more than schools. Tom Cousins and others had the foresight and determination to turn a dangerous neighborhood into one of hope and promise. With mixed-income housing at the Villages at East Lake, the First Tee golf mentoring program and a relentless focus on family and community wellness, East Lake is a national model for urban redevelopment and renewal.

For photos, visit

Additional Resources

View the Developments of Excellence Awards Program Brochure (PDF).

In July of 1998, the Atlanta Regional Commission voted to establish an annual recognition program for “Developments of Excellence.” The award is given to developments in the 10-county metro region that raise the bar for sustainable growth and fostering community.

View the 10-Year DOE Program Overview (PDF).

Also, be sure to view the DOE 10th Anniversary TV Show.

Past Winners

2013 Development of Excellence
Oliver House at Allen Wilson, Presented to the Decatur Housing Authority

2012 Development of Excellence
Historic Fourth Ward Park, Presented to the City of Atlanta Departments of Watershed Management and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership; the Trust for Public Land; and the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy

2011 Development of Excellence
Perkins+Will Atlanta Headquarters, Presented to Perkins+Will 

2010 Development of Excellence Award
White Provision, Presented to White Provision Development Company 

2009 Development of Excellence Award
Suwanee Town Center, Presented to the City of Suwanee, Main Street Corners LLC, Madison Retail, and Bowen Family Homes

2008 Development of Excellence Award
Oakland Park, Presented to Urban Realty Partners

2007 Development of Excellence Award
West Village, Presented to the Pacific Group, Inc., Branch Properties of Atlanta, and the Highlands Companies of Alpharetta

2006 Development of Excellence Award
Woodstock Downtown, Presented to Hedgewood Properties and the City of Woodstock

2005 Development of Excellence Award
Glenwood Park, Presented to Green Street Properties

2004 Development of Excellence Award
Metropolis, Presented to the Novare Group and Wood Partners, Inc.

2003 Development of Excellence Award
Technology Square and Centeregy, Presented to Gateway Development Services, Kim King Associates, Inc., the University Financing Foundation, and the Georgia Institute of Technology

2002 Development of Excellence Award
Milton Park, Presented to Pope & Land Enterprises and AMLI Residential

2001 Development of Excellence Award
Old Suwanee, Presented to Richport Properties and the City of Suwanee

2000 Development of Excellence Award

  • Lindbergh City Center, Presented to Carter & Associates
  • Monarch Village, Presented to Pathway Communities

1999 Development of Excellence Award

  • Post Riverside, Presented to Post Properties, Inc.
  • Ridenour, Presented to Macauley Properties

For additional information on the Developments of Excellence Awards, contact Andrew Smith at

© 2014 Atlanta Regional Commission   |   40 Courtland Street NE - Atlanta, GA 30303   |   404.463.3100   |