Articles by Maria Saporta


The Loudermilks bring their business back to their former home in Buckhead

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 27, 2017

Charlie and Robin Loudermilk have come home.

The father and son have moved their business offices back into the building where they worked for decades.

Built in 1963, the office tower at 309 East Paces Ferry Road was the first high-rise in Buckhead. Charlie Loudermilk bought it in 1970 and for more than 40 years it served as the headquarters for Aaron’s Inc., the furniture and electronics rental company he had founded in 1955. Aaron’s used it as its home base until a couple of years ago, when the company moved to a new headquarters at 400 Galleria Parkway.

An archeological site, a boat and a water tower make Georgia Trust’s 2018 list of Places in Peril

A boat and a water tower are among the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 list of the 10 “Places in Peril” across the state.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a boat,” said Mark McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust, which has been publishing the Places in Peril list for the past 13 years. “But it’s a Georgia boat with a Georgia pedigree.”

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Civic Atlanta column: Operation Hope, SunTrust CEOs talk credit scores

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, sees the world through credit scores.

The average credit score for people living in the city of Atlanta is 670. An unnamed county south of the city has an average credit score of 602 while a county to the north of the city has an average score of 720. Credit scores are an indicator of the wealth in an area, and Bryant believes they are key in lessening the income divide.

SART holds Atlanta mayoral run-off forum with Bottoms and Norwood

The Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable on Friday morning set the stage for the Atlanta mayoral run-off campaigns for City Councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood.

Both candidates described their platforms for making Atlanta a more sustainable city, and both seemed to be keenly aware that the environmentally-focused voters would be critical to winning the Dec. 5 runoff to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed.


The Masquerade commits to Underground

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

Underground Atlanta’s first permanent tenant will be long-time Atlanta music venue The Masquerade.

The concert venue known for its three stages – Heaven, Hell and Purgatory – has signed a lease to stay at least 10 years at the downtown project.

The Masquerade had first moved to Underground last November. At the time, it was pegged as a temporary location after the venue had to leave its long-time home on North Avenue when that property was bought for redevelopment.


Underground Atlanta project progressing well, developer WRS says

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

Since buying Underground Atlanta last April, WRS Inc. has been moving forward with development plans for the property.

WRS is partnering with Peak Campus, a student housing developer, to build a 700-bed building across from Georgia State University. The building also will have about 25,000 square feet of retail at street level. The student housing development should be open by the fall of 2020 for that school year.

Seeds planted at the Kendeda Fund’s Living Building launch at Georgia Tech

n lieu of a traditional ground-breaking ceremony, Georgia Tech and the Kendeda Fund planted seeds Thursday to begin construction on what will be the most environmentally sustainable building in the Southeast.

The goal is for the Living Building at Georgia Tech will follow construction guidelines so it will do little to no harm to the environment by using the greenest building materials and by being  a net zero building in terms of energy and water use.


Column: Atlanta Committee for Progress develops blueprint for next mayor

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 13, 2017

The high-powered Atlanta Committee for Progress has developed a blueprint for the city as a way to help provide a smooth transition for the next mayor.

ACP, which was created in 2003 by then-Mayor Shirley Franklin, includes many of the top business and civic leaders in the Atlanta region. It has helped launch a host of initiatives, including the Atlanta Beltline, acquisition of the Martin Luther King Jr. papers, pension reform and the Westside Future Fund.


GRA Study: State needs to increase research funding 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 13, 2017

When Atlanta CEO Larry Gellerstedt recently met with 60 of Cousins Properties Inc.’s investors, he heard one message loud and clear.

“Don’t tell us about your airport,” they told him. “All we want to hear about is your university infrastructure.”

Gellerstedt recalled that exchange at the Oct. 5 quarterly meeting of the Georgia Research Alliance, a public-private partnership of top business leaders, presidents of the state’s research universities and key officials in state government. Gellerstedt also happens to be the current chairman of GRA.


Column: MailChimp makes deep journey into community knowledge, philanthropy

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 6, 2017

When MailChimp first approached the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to set up a “Community College” for its employees, the nonprofit kept sending the technology company to other possible partners.

“We kept pushing back,” said Alicia Philipp, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We don’t usually work with companies. We work with high net worth individuals and the community. This was not in our wheelhouse.”

But Lain Shakespeare, MailChimp’s director of corporate citizenship, would not take no as an answer. “My mission is to grow corporate citizens,” Shakespeare said. “The Community Foundation was the only choice for us.”