South Fulton Living
Affordable Housing, Bustling Business and High Quality of Life
By Muriel Vega
The area collectively known as South Fulton is found in thebottommost part of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia and the primary county of the metro Atlanta area. This 125,000-acre stretch, separated from the northern part of the county by the city of Atlanta, enjoys its own specific identity. And these days, South Fulton—which includes southwest Atlanta and the cities of Chattahoochee Hills, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Palmetto and Union City, as well as the unincorporated parts of this half of the county—is experiencing a resurgence.
Home to several renowned businesses and the world’s busiest airport, the region is also a beneficiary of Georgia’s aggressive push to lure the entertainment industry to the state. Tech development is steadily increasing. And its alluring neighborhoods, appealing education options and convenient access to Atlanta are making the area a natural fit for businesses and residents. All these factors make South Fulton poised for long-term growth.
South Fulton’s more than 587,500 inhabitants, who enjoy an average household income of $69,765, according to the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, enjoy affordable housing options that are convenient to both schools and downtown Atlanta.
“Housing in the area is very attractive,” says chamber president Dyan Matthews. “You still get a lot for your money.” New homes at Ravenwood in Union City range from the mid to upper $100,000s. Two and three-story homes at Southwind: The Estates in Fairburn start in the high $200,000s.
Throughout South Fulton, areas like College Park, Fairburn and Hapeville sport a peaceful, small-town feel with walkable neighborhoods and a live-work-play environment. Colorful neighborhoods like Historic College Park, filled with tree-lined streets and historic homes, and Cascade, an affluent community in southwest Atlanta, add to the area’s appeal.
Serenbe, a 1,000-acre sustainable-living community in Chattahoochee Hills, features quaint townhouses and cottage-style homes, shops and businesses. And Walton Lakes, a gated apartment community near Camp Creek Parkway, offers its own intimate environment with a cozy “Main Street” feel.
Those homes and neighborhoods are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quality of life, says Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards. “There’s no traffic congestion, an exorbitant amount of green space, a lower crime rate compared to other metro cities and counties, and [low] home costs.”
Education and Business
All public schools in South Fulton are operated by the Fulton County School System, one of the oldest school districts in Georgia. The county also hosts a variety of independent and charter schools. Woodward Academy, in College Park, is the largest independent school in the continental U.S.
Business is growing in South Fulton, thanks in no small part to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, consistently recognized as the world’s busiest since 1998. The airport, which straddles Fulton and Clayton counties, is a principal part of the area’s economy.
“The trend is to build more activity and density around airports,” says Barbra Coffee, economic development director for College Park. “No longer will you see airports sitting out there all by themselves, where you have to drive 45 minutes to get to it. The activity is coming in and around them.” Hartsfield-Jackson is connected to the Georgia International Convention Center, the state’s second-largest convention facility, and the Gateway Center office and hotel development.
The area is also a major shipping and transit hub, with easy access to Interstates 20, 75, 85 and 285 and a CSX Intermodal Terminal in Fairburn. South Fulton enjoys service from MARTA, Atlanta’s speed rail train, throughout much of the area.
“The exciting thing about South Fulton is that we have total access to Interstate highways, the airport and rail,” says Edwards. “That’s attractive to people coming into the area, especially businesses, because those are three things that they use to move their goods and products.”
In fact, many prominent businesses call the area home. Hapeville is home to the corporate headquarters of Delta Air Lines and a Wells Fargo processing center. Porsche Cars North America has its headquarters in the city, as part of a $100 million development that features a 1.6-mile test track for drivers to test their dream machines. It’s also the planned site of Aerotropolis, a proposed 130-acre mixed-use development with office and retail space, restaurants and a hotel. The city maintains its own wireless network for use by residents, visitors and businesses to promote economic development.
In East Point, plans are underway to transform Fort McPherson, a former U.S. Army base, into a development that would include the Georgia Science and Technology Park, a research center similar to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Union City is home to a manufacturing facility for the biotechnology company Dendreon, while Palmetto hosts the Community Medical Center and a Lowe’s distribution center. The historic Palmetto Train Depot offers a banquet room and meeting space as well as a local history museum.
Retail shoppers can visit Camp Creek Marketplace, with more than 100 shops and restaurants, and Greenbriar Mall, which features more than 80 stores and vendors. Last but not least, South Fulton is home to a EUE/Screen Gems Studios facility and Tyler Perry Studios, and numerous film and television productions have filmed in the area.
Arts and Entertainment
South Fulton hosts many things to see and do year-round. The Taste of East Point festival serves up food and art on the first Saturday in May, while the Georgia Renaissance Festival brings thousands of visitors to Fairburn each year for jousting, live music and other medieval fare.
The area is home to two outdoor music venues, Wolf Creek Amphitheater and Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood. The Southwest Arts Center in Cascade features classrooms, exhibits and a performance theater.
Downtown Hapeville boasts a unique public art program, consisting of giant butterflies painted by local students and artists. The Hapeville Arts Alliance encourages a vibrant arts community in the city. The Hapeville Depot Museum features exhibits, railroad and aircraft artifacts and archives from the 1800’s.
In East Point, Georgia Soccer Park provides playing fields for youth and adult recreation leagues, while the Dick Lane Velodrome is one of the premier bicycle racing facilities in the nation. The Cochran Mill Nature Center in Palmetto features wildlife exhibits and hiking on 50 wooded acres.
Whether you’re a young professional or moving with your family, South Fulton has something to offer everyone, with great education, affordable housing, a fast-growing economy, a relaxing community atmosphere and easy access to Atlanta.