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Atlanta BeltLine CEO Paul Morris could be on his way out

BeltLine APS Atlanta

Everyone is all smiles at the announcement that an agreement has been reached between the City of Atlanta and APS over BeltLine payments. Paul Morris, Ceasar Mitchell, Kasim Reed and Courtney English celebrate in front of Park Tavern next to the BeltLine (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

During a talk at the Atlanta Commerce Club, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed implied he might be making a leadership change at Atlanta BeltLine Inc., the city’s arm in charge of development along the 22-mile corridor.

BeltLine smiles Reed, Morris, Ceasar and Courtney

ABI’s Paul Morris, on the left, along with City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and APS board chair Courtney English laugh at one of Mayor Kasim Reed’s jokes when a settlement was reached between the city, the BeltLine and APS in 2016 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

In response to an attendee’s question about affordable housing along the BeltLine, Reed said there was going to be more funds available to improve equity along the corridor.

Then he seemed to take a direct hit at Paul Morris, CEO of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., who was sitting at a table in the back of the room.

“You’ve got to have a leader of the BeltLine that is committed to affordability as a first thought and not an after-thought,” Reed said in response.

Morris was asked in a text message for a response to the Mayor’s statement. But he did not respond, and he was one of the first to leave the room after the lunch.

Last week, after a meeting of Invest Atlanta’s board, Reed sat down with three reporters, who asked him about whether he would be making a change at the Atlanta BeltLine.

Paul Morris

Paul Morris

“No comment,” Reed answered.

When asked whether the no comment meant a lack of confidence in the current leadership, Reed said one could draw their own conclusions.

He basically said the same thing after the Commerce Club talk.

“My comments stand on their own,” Reed said. “I meant what I said, and I said it clearly.”

The Atlanta BeltLine’s track record on affordable housing has been under scrutiny since BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel and equity leader Nathaniel Smith resigned from the private sector board of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership last September.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an indepth Sunday print story that ran earlier this month with the headline: “How the Atlanta BeltLine broke its promise on affordable housing.”

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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