Architects Roundtable: Sweet Auburn’s Commercial & Cultural Legacy
With LeJuano Varnell, Sweet Auburn Works, Inc.
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
This February, Sweet Auburn Works (SAW) Executive Director LeJuano Varnell unveils the story of how the Main Street program protects and promotes the commercial and cultural legacy of the Sweet Auburn Historic District.
Indulge in a tasty breakfast while gaining insights into the unique real estate challenges and innovative solutions that define this landmark neighborhood situated between downtown Atlanta and the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.
Discover the impactful role SAW plays in championing historic preservation, creating accessible green spaces, and fostering equity. Join us in learning about the quest to make Sweet Auburn the crown jewel of Atlanta’s neighborhoods.
- Understand the economic development tools available to a community and how architects can interact and benefit from various programs.
- Examine the role of historic preservation as a tool for both economic development and community placemaking – and the central role that architects play in this key in a community’s organizers.
- Learn how Sweet Auburn Works uses thoughtful financing, leveraging community resources, and the civil rights history of this unique neighborhood to result in equitable residential and commercial spaces – hopefully by avoiding the gentrification trends observed in nearby communities.
- Understand the role of community/business improvement districts in leveraging thoughtful development of a commercial area through partnership with funding from federal, state, and local government economic development agencies – and why architecture firms should invest in these relationships.
Image: Sweet Auburn Works
Meet the Speaker
LeJuano Varnell is the Executive Director of Sweet Auburn Works, Inc., the preservation-based economic development organization created to protect and enhance the commercial and cultural legacy of the Sweet Auburn Historic District. Varnell brings more than 18 years of private sector operating and finance experience in Africa, Asia, and the U.S. to this role and has employed those skills to create a career of using private capital to solve difficult market problems. Varnell received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Morehouse College and a Master of Science in Finance from the Carroll School of Management, Boston College. He is an avid outdoorsman and, when not hiking or biking, enjoys cooking with his friends and family.