Articles by Maria Saporta

Metro Atlanta Chamber is shifting its future chairs because AT&T’s Glenn Lurie is moving to Dallas

Upon hearing that AT&T is moving some of its executives out of Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber has had to shuffle its plans for future leadership.

Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations, was in line to become chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber in 2018. But the chair-elect informed the chamber that he is moving to AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas as part of a decision to move about 300 key AT&T leadership personnel out of Atlanta.

Grant Park Gateway Project – a $48 million garage under a park – creates unity in area

The City of Atlanta Tuesday unveiled the plans for the Grant Park Gateway Project – a new parking garage that will be located on the footprint of the existing eight acre parking lot next to Zoo Atlanta along Boulevard Avenue.

The $48 million facility is a 1,000-space parking garage that will look more than a park than a structure for cars. It will address parking demands while reducing traffic congestion and improving overall safety in the area, according to the city’s Media Advisory.

Junior League of Atlanta celebrates its 100-year anniversary by giving away $1 million

The Junior League of Atlanta celebrated its Centennial Monday by giving away three grants worth a total of $1 million to local nonprofits in Atlanta.

“Today’s event was 100 years in the making and 10 years in planning,” said Deanna Anderson, this year’s JLA president, at the luncheon Monday held at the Piedmont Driving Club. “The million dollars represents 10 years of fundraising. We have finally arrived.”

State officials knew in February of possible Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening delays

The state agency overseeing the construction of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium knew in February there were possible issues that could delay its opening.

That was when the Atlanta Falcons approached members of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), the state agency that will own the project, to inform them of potential construction delays. The possible complications stemmed in part from the one-of-a-kind retractable roof, GWCCA executive director Frank Poe said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening delayed until Aug. 26 for Falcons preseason game

The opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been delayed again.

The new stadium is now scheduled to open with two Atlanta Falcons preseason games – one against Arizona on Saturday, Aug. 26, and the other versus Jacksonville on Thursday, Aug. 31.

The revised schedule will have the greatest impact on previously-scheduled matches in August of the Atlanta United soccer team. It is not known when or where those two games will be played.


Southern Co. facing ‘pivotal decision’ on Plant Vogtle

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 7, 2017

When Southern Co. turned 100 years old in 2011, the Atlanta-based energy giant commissioned a company history entitled “Big Bets: Decisions and Leaders that Shaped Southern Co.”

The printed synopsis on the book jacket puts it this way: “Big bets are pivotal decisions leaders make when the stakes are high — decisions that forge a successful path or retrieve a lost cause at a critical crossroads. Big bets can determine a company’s destiny or reshape its future.”


Fernbank Museum’s Susan Neugent retiring after 20 years as CEO

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 31, 2017

After 20 years as president and CEO of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Susan Neugent will be retiring at the end of May.

Neugent, the longest-serving CEO among Atlanta’s major arts and cultural attractions, will be passing the baton to Jennifer Grant Warner, who has been with Fernbank for 18 years – currently serving as its executive vice president and chief programming officer.


Work to begin in May on $45 million Rodney Cook Sr. Park on Atlanta’s Westside

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 31, 2017

Work will soon begin on a grand new $45 million park on Atlanta’s Westside.

A final design for the 16-acre Rodney Cook Sr. Park in the historic Vine City community shows a park that will have something for everyone.

It will have a large pond that will be hold storm water in the event of a major flood. It will have a splash-pad, a playground, a great lawn with a natural amphitheater, a performance plaza, a picnic pavilion, courts for multi-use sports, a fitness area, a boardwalk, an overlook and terraced pools.

Atlanta Press Club’s Loudermilk-Young debate series breaks new ground with 6th district race

From the outset, I must disclose that I co-chair the Atlanta Press Club Debate Committee, a role I’ve held for the past two decades.

On Wednesday night, we had a couple of firsts when we put on a debate with the candidates running for the 6th Congressional District seat most recently held by Tom Price, who was named by President Donald Trump to become the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Morehouse College: Trustees and alumni speak out on power struggle

The back-and-forth leadership struggle continues at Morehouse College, one of the best known historically black colleges in the United States.

The rift bubbled to the surface when the Morehouse Board of Trustees decided in January to not renew the contract of President John S. Wilson, who has been in office for the past four years.

After the faculty passed a vote of no-confidence in the College’s Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Davidson last month, the board issued a statement in response earlier this week.

The Local Take: Westside development with Maria Saporta of SaportaReport

This interview originally aired on The Local Take on April 1, 2017.

This week on The Local Take I speak with Maria Saporta founder of Saporta Report, an in depth journalistic news service with a focus on metro-Atlanta. I speak with Maria about several recent reports on the Westside including her conversations with Authur Blank (Owner Atlanta Falcons) and Dan Cathy (Owner Chick-Fil-A). She shares with our listeners her reporting on the Westside redevelopment master plan that was led by Dhiru Thadani and a project involving the Atlanta University Center and the Federal Government to address flooding on the Westside.

As a native of Atlanta, Maria also shares her desires for the Westside including the former Paschal’s Hotel and the Herndon Home. She explains that change is coming and that residents should harness the change to benefit the community as well as the city. 

Listen to the full interview here:

For our listeners who are interested in learning more click here to subscribe to the Saporta Report.



Column: David Martin retiring from Georgia Council on Economic Education

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 24, 2017

David Martin, executive director of the Georgia Council on Economic Education since 1982, will be retire on June 30.

Mike Raymer, the associate director and chief program officer, has been tapped to succeed Martin starting July 1 – running the organization that has helped train tens of thousands of Georgia teachers by strengthening their ability to teach students economics since its founding in 1972.

The Georgia Council helps teachers at both public and independent schools across the state, and Martinhas been coordinating the efforts of 12 college and university-based Centers of Economic Education.