Articles by Maria Saporta

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Column: TOUR Championship aims to become premier Atlanta sporting event

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 21, 2017

A concerted effort is underway to elevate the annual TOUR Championship as one of Atlanta’s premier sporting events.

As evidence, the TOUR Championship has hired Bob Williams, former president of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, as its executive chairman who will work on building stronger relationships between the TOUR and Atlanta’s business and hospitality community.

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Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration issues response to latest Maria’s Metro column

Note to readers: Here is a press release issued Wednesday by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration in response to a Maria’s Metro column that appeared this week. At SaportaReport, we strongly believe in being as fair as we can be, and we are publishing Reed’s response in its entirety. Naturally, there is tension between public officials and journalists. Obviously, my relationship with Mayor Reed is no exception. Despite what the mayor says, I do my best to provide accurate information in my stories and columns. When I do offer a point of view, it is based on facts, journalistic standards and my love for Atlanta. Also, please know that as a reporter, I have never endorsed any particular candidate. It was true in 2009, and it is true today. I will continue to call things as I see them. I’ve  been a reporter for 37 years, and I’ve developed a tough skin and will not be bullied or intimidated. Thanks for reading SaportaReport. Maria

Westside’s At-Promise Youth Center seeks to be a game-changer

The tagline says it all: “Our Youth are At-Promise, Not At-Risk.”

The At-Promise Youth Center in English Avenue officially opened after a warm ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 1 – the culmination of dozens of partners in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The $2 million-plus facility will be a place to divert young people from having a possible experience in the criminal justice system. Instead, it will be a place that will seek to get to the root causes of juvenile-behavior issues and be a place to their lives around.

Atlanta BeltLine CEO Paul Morris could be on his way out

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.

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.

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Column: Mercedes-Benz USA going strong as it marks two years in Atlanta

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 14, 2017

Mercedes-Benz USA moved its headquarters to metro Atlanta exactly two years ago (in July, 2015), and the luxury car company has been going non-stop ever since.

“It feels like we’ve been here forever,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA and the regional head of North America, which includes Canada and Mexico.

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South Downtown project moves forward

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 14, 2017

German real estate company Newport US RE is moving forward with ambitions to redevelop portions of eight blocks and up to 750,000 square feet of South Downtown’s historic buildings.

Newport has filed plans with the Eastside Tax Allocation District, where it will seek up to $12 million in public funding for the project — one of the largest ever proposed for downtown.

RH Atlanta Showroom property in Buckhead changes hands

A prime Buckhead site has changed ownership.

The property that houses the flagship Atlanta showroom of Restoration Hardware at 3030 Peachtree Road has been sold to 3030 Grey Partners LLC.

The former owners were real estate investor Peter Blum and the late Atlanta business icon J. Mack Robinson, who had jointly owned the property since 1995.

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Column: Citizens Trust evolving with the banking industry

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

Citizens Trust Bank closed two of its branches on June 30 including the one at its historic Piedmont Avenue building and its branch in Lithonia.

But Cynthia Day, Citizens Trust’s CEO, said the moves represent a transition in the banking industry rather than any financial issues with the bank — which is the largest African-American owned bank in the Southeast as well as the fifth largest in the country.

MARTA, City of Atlanta and Relay Bikes seek to close ‘last mile’ gap

MARTA and the City of Atlanta are teaming up to provide the elusive “last mile” for people seeking alternative ways to get around.

MARTA and the city’s Relay bike sharing program launched their partnership on July 14 with an actual bike relay from the Colony Square bike station to MARTA’s Arts Center Station. MARTA and city employees “competed” in an effort to “win” the relay.

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Delta savors success at its annual meeting

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

When Delta Air Lines held its annual meeting in New York City at 7:30 a.m. on June 29, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was not there.

Franklin had just spent the better part of two days attending events and meetings for Delta directors including a dinner June 27 to bid her farewell from the board. She, along with fellow director Kenneth Woodrow, had reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

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Column: Through wave of change, Coke says it’s still committed to Atlanta

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on June 30, 2017

As The Coca-Cola Co. undergoes a transformation of its business and scales down by 1,200 positions — mainly at its corporate headquarters, there has been concern about the company’s commitment to Atlanta.

Never fear.

That’s according to the key individuals who head the company’s civic efforts: Bea Perez, chief public affairs, communications and sustainability officer who also chairs the Coca-Cola Foundation; and Helen Smith Price, vice president of global community affairs and president of the Coca-Cola Foundation.

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New Atlanta Fed president brings fresh background, perspective

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on June 30, 2017

The new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta — Raphael Bostic — could title his new post after Monty Python’s 1971 comedy film — And Now for Something Completely Different.

Bostic is the first African-American to ever be named as president of one of the 12 regional Fed banks. In addition to that, he also is an openly gay man who is well aware of the symbolism and reality of both positions.

City of Atlanta selects Biohabitats to develop its ‘Urban Ecology Framework’

By Maria Saporta The City of Atlanta has selected Charleston, S.C.-based Biohabitats to develop the Urban Ecology Framework for the city. Through the city’s framework, Biohabitats will determine what aspects of nature in Atlanta should be preserved, restored and accentuated by the public realm. Biohabitats’ founder and president, Keith Bowers, will be leading the work […]

Mayor Reed’s administration responds to Maria Saporta’s column to dream big on parks

Note to readers: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his administration Friday morning released a response to Maria Saporta’s Metro column that posted earlier this week. We at SaportaReport welcome the conversation about parks and green space, and the column was intended as a challenge for the next mayor to dream big. It was not intended to be a critique of the Reed administration and what has been the significant  progress that has occurred in the past seven years – as the Mayor’s administration  outlines in its release below.