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In his 20+ years in Atlanta commercial real estate — and inspired by a colorful, deep-fried, parade-filled, culturally rich upbringing in New Orleans, LA — Gene Kansas has garnered a reputation as a champion of historic preservation, adaptive reuse, community building, and storytelling through the built environment.
Each Gene Kansas project aims to blend an appreciation of culture and history with creative, responsible, and vital refashioning that brings new relevance to space and how it is used by clients, neighborhoods, and the city.
The founder and CEO of Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate, Gene leads with passion and purpose, with the ability of looking forward and a mindset of giving back. Company accomplishments include: the historic preservation of the Atlanta Daily World Building in Sweet Auburn, named the #2 Preservation Win by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2014; the catalytic marketing and design contest that helped save the Clermont Hotel; and his creative repositioning, value creation, and leasing for Amsterdam Walk, Historic Commercial Row, and Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Gene is also the creator and founder of Constellations, “where stars come together to shine,” a civic, social, and culturally-based workspace in the re-imagined Southern Schoolbook Building on Auburn Avenue. Through that, Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate is the only firm in the city of Atlanta to serve as owner, operator, broker and developer of a shared workspace. Constellations won the ARC Award of Excellence in 2018, an Atlanta Urban Design Commission Award of Excellence in 2019, and was a finalist for ULI’s Award of Excellence in 2019. Constellations also gives Gene the opportunity to serve people two of his favorite things: free coffee, and free fresh-baked cookies.
Among many accolades, Gene received an Atlanta Magazine Groundbreakers Award in 2017, as well as the 2016 Ivan Allen, Jr. Legacy Award from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also named an Atlanta Business Chronicle “40 Under 40.” As the creator and host of the award-winning radio program Sidewalk Radio, Gene spent five seasons exploring life in the modern city through the lens of history and the context of community interviewing 270 leaders in Atlanta and beyond. Gene holds a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Arizona, and a Masters of Science in Digital Media from Georgia Tech.
Gene is married to DeAnna Kansas, and the couple have a son, Levi, who adores among other things: baseball, baking, art, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where Gene serves on the Board of Directors.
Connect with Gene on LinkedIn
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- What a cultural developer is
- Constellations and the historic preservation of Atlanta
- Constellations is in the birthplace of the civil rights movement. What does that mean in terms of “caring for others”?
- Transitions amidst Coronavirus and future plans for GKD
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