Articles by Maria Saporta

Purpose Built adds Atlanta’s Grove Park to its national network

Atlanta-based Purpose Built Communities will partner with a new Grove Park neighborhood organization to revive a community in the same way the founders of the nonprofit have revitalized East Lake and areas around the country.

The Grove Park Foundation, a newly-formed nonprofit that grew out of the Emerald Corridor Foundation, joins the East Lake Foundation as the second Atlanta-based member of the Purpose Built Communities Network.

CEO Keith Parker leaving MARTA

MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith Parker is stepping down from a post he has held for nearly five years to take over management of Goodwill of North Georgia.

“We are deeply grateful for his stewardship and proud of the many strides we made as an agency during his tenure,” MARTA board Chairman Robbie Ashe said. “He leaves MARTA stronger and healthier than ever before.”

Southern Co. decides to move forward on Plant Vogtle project

Atlanta-based Southern Co. has decided to push forward with completion of an over-budget, behind-schedule nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle rather than give up on what has ballooned into a $25.2 billion project.

Southern affiliate Georgia Power Co. filed a recommendation Thursday with the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction at the nuclear plant south of Augusta, Ga. The project’s co-owners, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities all supported the recommendation, Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power told Atlanta Business Chronicle in an exclusive interview minutes after the announcement.

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Column: ‘Something transformational’ happening at Atlanta Ballet

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 25, 2017

As the Atlanta Ballet experiences an artistic transformation, it is launching the public phase of its “The Time is Now” campaign. The $23.5 million campaign is focused on the company’s artistic programming as well as building its endowment. So far, $15.1 million has been raised towards the campaign.

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Column: Unprecedented effort underway to fight low literacy

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 18, 2017

Low literacy — whether it’s among youth or adults — hurts the state’s economic potential and is a leading cause of poverty.

Now an unprecedented collaboration is underway in Georgia to address low literacy with a multi-generational approach.

The Georgia Literacy Commission, which held its third public meeting in Tifton on Aug. 14, reflects that collaboration. Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal is one of the commission’s co-chairs along with Wendell Dallas of Atlanta Gas Light; Phil Jacobs, a retired AT&T Georgia president; and Teya Ryan of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

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Column: How Junior Achievement is changing education in Atlanta

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 4,, 2017

Don’t tell anybody, but Junior Achievement of Georgia is changing high school education in metro Atlanta.

It’s called the JA Academy, and as of the beginning of this school year, there are three up-and-running in three different school districts – each with hundreds of students being immersed in a new curriculum designed by JA of Georgia.

Brian McGowan: BeltLine a catalyst to making Atlanta more equitable

Three hours after being named as the next president and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine Inc. Wednesday morning, Brian McGowan was having lunch at Ponce City Market with Ryan Gravel, the visionary who first proposed the BeltLine concept in his Georgia Tech Master’s thesis.

“I’m optimistic he will be able to take the BeltLine in a direction it needs to go,” Gravel said of his Wednesday meeting with McGowan. “I’m always excited about the opportunity to shift the leadership so the project can reach the potential we have been talking about all these years.”

Paul Morris out, Brian McGowan in at Atlanta Beltline

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI) is replacing President and CEO Paul Morriswith a former top executive with Invest Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Following an executive session Wednesday morning, the Beltline’s Board of Directors voted to elect Brian McGowan as the agency’s new president and CEO. Morris is stepping down from the position effective Sept. 11.

Paul Morris exiting as CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, following board meeting Wednesday morning

Paul Morris, president and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., is on his way out.

The board of Atlanta BeltLine Inc. met in executive session Wednesday morning for less than an hour, when it decided that there would be a change in leadership.

Morris has been under fire for the past month, largely because the BeltLine has not fulfilled its goals for affordable housing along the 22-mile corridor.

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New Auburn Avenue co-working space aims to foster big ideas

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 4, 2017

An Atlanta developer is planning an innovative co-working space along one of Atlanta’s most historic streets — a project that’s already lured high-profile investors including top Home Depot executives.

Gene Kansas Commercial Real Estate plans to open Constellations, a $2 million project that will offer “culturally-inspired” workspace with the hope of bringing together great minds who care about making a difference in the city.

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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.