Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis delivers his 2014 “State of the City” speech on March 6 at the Crowne Ravania hotel.

The mayor of Dunwoody says the next step for the city may be to develop homes for empty nesters.

“We as a city have to understand where we are going,” Mayor Mike Davis told more than 200 people attending his State of the City speech on March 6. Houses now under construction by John Wieland Homes as part of the Project Renaissance redevelopment should offer the kind of housing that will appeal to older residents after their children have grown and moved away, he said.

Davis said Dunwoody is the kind of “live-work-play” community that attracts the young workers in their 20s and 30s known as “millennials.”

He pointed to the recent announcement of a 2.2 million-square-foot development across from the Dunwoody MARTA station to house a State Farm corporate campus as evidence of the city’s attraction for young workers.

“State Farm is the poster child for looking at who you’re hiring and who’s running the company,” he said. “It’s two different generations.”

Davis said young workers now are attracted to different kinds of communities than their parents were. “The millennial generation is different from my generation, the baby boomers,” Davis said. “This generation is looking for something different.”

Younger workers have watched their parents move around the country to pursue careers, he said. “This new generation is not willing to commit to a company after seeing what’s happened to their parents,” he said. “This new generation wants something different and expects something different from their employers. … They want to see sidewalks and they want to see places they can live for a long time….

“We have the nice jobs. We have the nice apartments for these kids coming out of college. When they have kids, they can buy the nice house on the cul-de-sac.”

Dunwoody, he said, now “needs to provide [housing for] that next step before we all go to the nursing home.” Davis counted himself and his wife among those residents, saying they were “rattling around” in the large home where they raised a family. Families like his, he said, should be able to sell their homes to the next generation of families and move into smaller Dunwoody residences, “a place we can lock up and leave for a month.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.