By David Pendered

The Atlanta BeltLine has created the position of director of economic development and filled it with a former director of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. Terms were not disclosed.

Jerald Mitchell Credit:
Jerald Mitchell. Credit:

Jerald Mitchell is to devise and implement a strategy for economic development around the BeltLine, according to a statement the BeltLine released Thursday.

Mitchell’s hiring was announced 11 weeks after Mayor Kasim Reed announced he intends to develop the BeltLine as a public private partership. Reed said he is looking for an investor to put in $3 billion to $4 billion, nearly double the 2005 estimate of the BeltLine’s development costs.

In the statement announcing Mitchell’s hiring, BeltLine CEO Paul Morris said:

  • “Jerald is an outstanding addition to our team who brings great knowledge, expertise and relationships that will help the Atlanta BeltLine attract and create more jobs. His knowledge of the state and the region will help us become more proactive in our efforts to stimulate economic activity around the more than 45 neighborhoods of the Atlanta BeltLine.”

The statement did not include a comment from Mitchell.

According to his profile on, Mitchell has worked in Savannah since 1998, the year before he was graduated with a bachelor of economics degree from Armstrong State University. Mitchell earned an executive MBA degree in international business from Georgia Tech in 2011.

In a story that appeared Jan. 13 in, Mitchell, 38, was profiled in the “Generation Next” column and said his top three accomplishments have been:

  • Helping to attract more than 1,000 jobs and nearly $1 billion in investment;
  • Rolling out a digital product for the Savannah market while in the telecom industry;
  • Participating with a task force that created a poverty initiative, and the Greater Savannah International Alliance.

The story was in the format of a question/answer report and this is the first entry:

“Q: As a proven local leader, please share your vision of Savannah’s future. What growth or challenge do you foresee?

“A: A 2014 challenge and opportunity will be continuing to move toward collaboration in all sectors of our economy. We have a robust and thriving established industry component, and we have to continue, as a community, the good work of putting small business, entrepreneurism and the growth of capital on parallel paths.”

Mitchell began his career as a process engineer with Comcast in 1998 and rose to the position of area marketing manager, according to the profile.

Mitchell took a job in 2008 with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He served a year as a regional project manager in charge of development in 18 counties along the coast and in southeast Georgia.

Mitchell moved in 2009 to the Coastal Regional Commission, a counterpart to the Atlanta Regional Commission, which serves 10 counties along the Georgia coast. He served there a year as director of economic development.

In 2010, Mitchell took a job with the Savannah Economic Development Authority. In 2012, Mitchell was named director of innovation, according to the profile.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written...

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  1. Sounds like a well qualified and resourceful professional. Hope Atlanta’s mean spirited attitude toward neighborhood don’t cause problems for him as he attempts to implement his duties.
    Alternatively, I hope he is not in solidarity with the mean spiritedness.

  2. “Reed said he is looking for an investor to put in $3 billion to $4 billion, nearly double the 2005 estimate of the BeltLine’s development costs.”
    In other words, Hizzoner is looking beyond Arthur Blank for the next investor to enrich him and his cronies.

  3. @Guest  You’re spot on. A 22 February AJC article states that the Beltline missed it’s mandated payment to the Atlanta Public Schools for the second year in a row. They did make last year’s payment very late, and did not pay the prescribed interest.
    I also get a sense that the City’s finances are in disarray, and there is a lot of financial sleight of hand going on behind the scenes.

  4. Burroughston Broch It is hilarious that people like you only focus on Atlanta leadership’s attempt to enrich themselves while totally overlooking even more egregious behavior in the suburbs. Take, for instance, Ron Ehrhart’s deal on the Braves stadium, and the bill that is passing through that will shield the developers of that project from sunshine laws. And then there is all the nonsense that Governor Deal is doing now, and how Governor Perdue used the office to enrich himself by millions of dollars while allowing critical needs of the state to wither on the vine.
    So tell me: do you oppose all corruption? Or just certain groups of people having power?

  5. @atlman
    “So tell me: do you oppose all corruption? Or just certain groups of people having power?”
    Yes, I oppose all corruption. No, I don’t oppose just certain groups of people having power.
    This post is focused on the City of Atlanta’s child the Atlanta Beltline, not Cobb County or the State. Let’s stay on focus.

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