Latest Reports

Mayor Kasim Reed presents Council a new ‘connected’ option for MLK Dr.

By Maria Saporta

In an unusual turn of events, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his staff Friday presented a possible compromise on the proposed alignment of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive around the new Falcons stadium in an effort to satisfy concerns expressed by members of the Atlanta City Council and members of the community.

Councilmember Andre Dickens, had led a unanimous Council effort seeking to preserve the “connectivity” of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on both sides of Northside Drive. He asked the mayor and his administration to present alternatives that would maintain that connectivity rather than have MLK be turned into the much narrower Mitchell Street west of Northside Drive.
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Mary Matalin and James Carville impressed with Berry College

By Maria Saporta

ROME – While odd couple Mary Matalin and James Carville rarely agree on anything, they agreed Thursday that Berry College is a special place.

The married political contrarians — she a conservative Republican and he a liberal Southern Democrat — were invited guests to the 2014 Gloria Shatto Lecture series. The series was named after Shatto, who made history on Jan. 1, 1980, when she became the first woman to become president of a university or college in Georgia. She retired in 1998 and then passed away a year later.

“What an amazing place,” Matalin said, adding that she and her husband visit many college campuses. “I don’t think we have visited one as unique.”
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Central Atlanta Progress moving to Fairlie-Poplar’s 84 Walton building

By Maria Saporta

Central Atlanta Progress, the influential downtown business organization, is moving from the Hurt building to a lesser known historic building in the Fairlie-Poplar district.

CAP, which has been a visible tenant on the street level of the Hurt building along Edgewood since 1988, is moving to the top floor of 84 Walton St., a building that dates back to 1907 when it was built as the headquarters for the Atlanta Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad.

CAP President A.J. Robinson made the announcement about the move at the organization’s annual meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center on Wednesday morning.
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Invest Atlanta CEO Brian McGowan to join Metro Atlanta Chamber as COO

By Maria Saporta

The Metro Atlanta Chamber announced today that Brian McGowan is being named executive vice president and chief operating officer — a new position for the business organization.

McGowan has been serving as president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the economic development arm for the City of Atlanta, since 2011. He was lured to the city by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Since coming to Atlanta, he has been leading the city’s economic development and job growth initiatives.

His start date with the Metro Atlanta Chamber will be April 28.
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Council committee puts Atlanta-BeltLine streetcar plans on hold

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta’s future streetcar lines may need further review.

The Atlanta City Council’s Community Development Committee on Tuesday decided to table a proposal presented by the Atlanta BeltLine Inc. that would have outlined the next four phases of the development of streetcars in Atlanta.

The goal had been to get the committee to recommend the Atlanta BeltLine/Atlanta Streetcar System Plan as a supplement to the city’s Connect Atlanta plan. Then that recommendation could have been voted on by the full City Council at next Monday’s meeting.

Instead, the plan has now been placed on an indefinite hold.
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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed still hopeful federal funds are coming for deepening of Savannah port

By Maria Saporta

Don’t panic. That was the basic message that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed shared about the lack of funding for the deepening of the Savannah port in the President Barack Obama’s budget that was released last week.

Reed spoke to local business and civic leaders Tuesday during a luncheon speech at the Commerce Club — where he said the news of President’s budget failure to include the federal share of had been misrepresented.

By tapping his Democratic connections within the Obama administration in Washington, D.C., Reed has been one of Georgia’s leading advocates for the deepening of the Savannah port. He has been working closely with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on those efforts — highlighting their cooperative bi-partisan relationship.
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Business leader John Wilson, who helped make Atlanta more international, has passed away

By Maria Saporta

A behind-the-scenes Atlanta business leader who led key organizations at a sensitive time in the city’s history — John C. Wilson — passed away on Saturday night at Piedmont Hospital.

Wilson, a fifth generation Atlantan, served as the president (a position now called chairman) of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 1970 — helping foster the idea of Atlanta as the next great international city. He was chairman of the International Air Routes Task Force in 1971 — which helped open Atlanta’s airport to inaugural international service a couple of years later.

Wilson also served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as well as several other corporate and civic boards.
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Morris Brown moves closer to getting Bankruptcy Court’s okay to sell land

By Maria Saporta

Morris Brown College, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, 2012, is shifting gears to try to keep operating.

It no longer is trying to package a development deal for the property it either owns or controls after at least two deals fell apart in the last year at the 11th hour.

On Thursday, lawyers for Morris Brown asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro for permission to hire the real estate firm of Jones Lang LaSalle to help it sell either some or all of the 36-acre property along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive just west of where the new Atlanta Falcons stadium is being built.
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Arthur Blank and MLS commissioner welcome Atlanta’s appetite for soccer

By Maria Saporta

As 68,000 soccer fans filled the Georgia Dome with enthusiastic cheers Wednesday night, Arthur Blank was entertaining Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer in his suite during most of the scoreless match between Mexico and Nigeria.

It was not a casual sporting event for either of them. Blank, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons; and Garber are closing in on a deal for Blank to become a new franchise owner for a MLS team that would play in the new Falcons stadium that is supposed to open before the 2017 football season.

The sold-out Mexico-Nigeria match — a prelude the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — was yet another indicator of how Atlanta would welcome professional soccer.
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Midtown Atlanta gets insider’s ideas on how to make the city lovable

By Maria Saporta

Cities can be fanciful and fun.

In fact, if we want our cities to be loved, they must spark our imagination, bring smiles to our faces, give us special memories we can keep forever.

That was the message that Peter Kagayama shared with members of the of the Midtown Alliance at its annual meeting on the morning of Feb. 26 at the Fox Theatre.

Kagayama, who is based in Tampa, is co-founder and producer of the Creative Cities Summit. He has written a book: “For the Love of Cities,” a guidepost for how cities can become more lovable.
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