Author Archives: David Pendered

About David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with nearly 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

Fulton County tax case moves to Cobb County, along with potential statewide impact on local taxation

A Cobb County senior judge is slated to make at least the initial ruling in two lawsuits regarding the authority of Fulton County’s Board of Commissioners to set the tax rate higher than set by a state law enacted in 2013.

In an order signed Wednesday, Cobb County Senior Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley was assigned to hear the two related cases. The issues at stake speak to the authority of the state to set a cap on the tax rate that Fulton commissioners can set to fund county services.

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves describes the case as precedent setting. He says the taxing authority of all of Georgia’s 159 counties, and more than 500 municipalities, could eventually be subjected to the final outcome of the Fulton County cases.
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Midtown DRC approves two projects along West Peachtree Street

Two mixed-use residential developments in Midtown are moving forward following their approval Tuesday by the Midtown Development Review Committee.

Both projects are on West Peachtree Street and within a few blocks of each other. Both continue an uptick in construction this year that Midtown Alliance has highlighted.

Urban Realty Partners won approval from the DRC to convert the old John Hancock Life Insurance office building at 1330 West Peachtree, which the Arthritis Foundation bought and renovated, into homes, shops and restaurants. The Hanover Co. also won approval for a six-story mixed-use project at 1010 West Peachtree.
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Tyler Perry dubbed “Coltrane” in sensitive talks that highlight discrepancies in Fort McPherson deal

Tyler Perry’s proposal to buy most of Fort McPherson went by the code name “Coltrane” for at least a month before a tentative deal was announced last week.

“Coltrane” has clear expectations for the former base – including that “the wall” not be torn down, despite persistent requests from residents that the security wall be removed, according to minutes of meetings with the fort’s concerned neighbors.

There’s a discrepancy over the amount of land to be included in the deal. Either 449 acres is involved in the tentative deal, or 474 acres are involved. Both amounts have been cited in public.
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Ft. McPherson authority hires veteran dealmaker for Tyler Perry project

The plan to sell most of Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry has a long way to go, much of it behind closed doors, before the deal can close.

“We have a lot of details to get this to home base,” said Felker Ward, who chairs the state authority handling the deal.

The state authority has voted against a motion to update its plans for the fort’s civilian use and to keep the public involved in the process. Ward said these matters already are the authority’s job and the plan updates will be handled by Rick Padgett, who is a seasoned development consultant the authority hired Aug. 7 to help close the deal with the Army by Oct. 15.
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Tucker-Northlake business leaders to add walk, bike paths as part of planned renewal of an early suburb

Business leaders near Tucker and Northlake Mall in north DeKalb County have expanded their effort to strengthen their historic commercial center and make it more friendly for walking and bicycling.

As of last week, more than 67 commercial properties in the Northlake business district formally joined the existing Tucker Community Improvement District. The goal is to uplift the region in ways that are beyond the scope of local government.

“All you have to do is look at Perimeter and Cumberland to see the success of CIDs,” said Ann Rosenthal, president of the newly minted Tucker-Northlake CID.
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Tyler Perry to buy 330 acres of Fort McPherson, Atlanta retains 144 acres

Filmmaker Tyler Perry will purchase 330 acres for a planned studio and Atlanta will retain 144 acres, some of which will be developed and some of which will be converted to greenspace.

Terms were not disclosed as the deal was announced Friday at the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority. The deal is expected to close Oct. 15, said Chairman Felker Ward.

“I am pleased that we reached an agreement that will help create long-term job creation, business expansion and community investment in Fort McPherson and its surrounding communities,” Mayor Kasim Reed said.

“I want to say [thank you] to everybody for even the opportunity to have this under consideration,” Perry said.
Check back for updates.
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State senator seeks Army secretary’s help to keep a studio out of Fort McPherson, as Tyler Perry proposes

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) has asked the secretary of the Army to block the conversion of Fort McPherson into a movie studio, as proposed by filmmaker Tyler Perry.

Fort quickly pivoted to the political side of the debate over the fort’s reuse, after beginning his letter to the secretary with a recount of the public process that ended with the approval of a plan to build a mixed-use community on the grounds of the old fort.

To consider a studio now, without any public review, is, “the old ‘bait and switch’ that has been used for centuries to exclude people of color and the powerless from important economic decisions,” Fort wrote in his letter to Army Secretary John McHugh.
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Fate of Tyler Perry’s plans for Fort McPherson could be decided Friday

A notice posted today indicates the proposal by filmmaker Tyler Perry to buy most of Fort McPherson could be decided as early as Friday.

The board that oversees the fort’s conversion to civilian use today called a special meeting Friday at 11 a.m. for the purpose of: “Consideration of resolution concerning purchase and sale of real estate.”

The community is not going along quietly. Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) has called a press conference Thursday at 10 a.m. and residents have called a rally for Friday. Meantime, Perry’s lawyers responded July 28 to a lawsuit challenging his purchase of the property.
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Cousins sells $224 million in stock to buy towers in Sandy Springs, Charlotte as expansion continues

Cousins Properties, Inc. is selling $224 million in common stock to raise cash mainly to close a $215 million deal on the 30-story Fifth Third Center in Charlotte’s central business district.

Also Tuesday, Cousins announced it has placed Northpark Town Center under contract for $348 million. The development, in the Sandy Springs portion of the Perimeter area, offers a total of 1.5 million square feet in three buildings.

These acquisitions represent a shift in Cousins’ investment strategy. In recent years, Cousins has favored Texas as its growth market and, locally, sold its signature Wildwood development in Cobb County in advance of its move into Buckhead and downtown Atlanta.
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Bounced from bid for $22 million airport contract, Atlanta City Hall insider threatens to file lawsuit

A 40-year insider of Atlanta City Hall has threatened to sue the city if his bid is not reinstated for an airport contract that could be worth $22 million.

Aaron Turpeau is protesting a decision by Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration to dismiss Turpeau’s bid as unresponsive. Turpeau wants to continue his involvement in managing the airport’s consolidated rental car facility.

Turpeau last made local headlines during the 2009 mayoral campaign, when he was associated with a memo that suggested black voters should unite behind Lisa Borders in order to ensure the election of a black mayor. The memo characterized Reed as, “effectively out of the race” for mayor.
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