In the spirit of March Madness, Urbanize’s first-annual Best OTP Downtown tournament is kicking off with 16 contenders vying for the prestige of being called the metro’s greatest. (Note: Seeding from 1 to 16 was determined by reader nominations this month, so no pitchforks, please.)
For each Round 1 contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one OTP city center rises above the rest in very public fashion. The eliminations begin now!
Estimated city population: 66,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 25 miles
Secret sauce: In the opposite direction of Avalon, 120-acre Wills Park is the crème de la crème of city greenspaces, with a large dog park, public pool, 18-hole disc golf course, and an equestrian center considered among the Southeast’s best
How fitting the No. 1 seed in this quest for OTP Downtown greatness (as determined by reader nominations) is not only one of the largest cities but also has “Alpha” in its name. (Kismet?) Ask locals, and they’ll say downtown Alpharetta was sleepy—if not outright boring—not too long ago. That all changed in 2019, when the final components of Alpharetta City Center were opened on former parking lots and strip centers, lending the North Fulton city an open-container central green, dozens of new shops and restaurants, upscale apartments—and a new identity. Outward growth has only continued, with the city’s first boutique hotel, new mixed-use ventures, and now wildly expensive condos popping up on the Alpha Loop trail en route to nearby Avalon.
Estimated city population: 1,000 (with a goal of 5,000 one day)
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 26 miles
Secret sauce: Nearby downtown Fayetteville, located just to the southeast, is small but charming in a more traditional sense. Just ask Zac Brown
It’s hard to believe that, as recently as 2017, the Town at Trilith was little more than rolling wheat fields—with a massive, growing filmmaking complex across the street. What’s sprouted from that fertile Fayetteville soil since then is a master-planned, 235-acre small town that’s leveraged Georgia’s booming TV and film industry (and tax credits) like no other, creating streets that brim with engaging residential architecture that stresses connections to greenspace and neighbors. Today, Trilith’s Town Centre counts a variety of businesses, including Amici Italian Café, Barleygarden Kitchen and Craft Bar, Hop City, Piedmont Wellness Center, and Nourish + Bloom, the South’s first autonomous grocery store. Trilith's first multifamily community, Premiere Lofts, opened in 2021. And another crucial component—the long-promised Trilith boutique hotel—broke ground last summer.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to Alpharetta, which advances to the 2023 Elite Eight round.)