Column: New Livable Communities group to shape metro development
By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on January 24, 2014
Under the leadership of developer Mark Toro, the Livable Communities Council has selected an all-star group of 50 real estate professionals as members.
The Council, formerly the Livable Communities Coalition, became part of the Urban Land Institute’s Atlanta district last May — and Toro said the group now is solidly in place to begin to influence the future of development in metro Atlanta.
About 100 people applied for membership to the Council, and Toro said they were strategic in who was included as part of the first group of 50 members.
“This council is dominated by developers, and that’s by design,” said Toro, who is managing partner of North American Properties — an owner of Atlantic Station as well as other regional developments. “We thought it was important to have individuals on the team who were attuned to getting things done. These are developers who advance the principles of walkability and transit-oriented development.”
The members of the council include Steve Nygren, managing partner of Serenbe; Pam Sessions, president of Hedgewood Homes; Bob Voyles, CEO of Seven Oaks Co.; Noel Khalil, CEO of Columbia Residential; and Mark Riley, managing partner of Urban Realty Partners as well as David Allman, chairman of Regent Partners LLC.
Allman, who is chairman of ULI Atlanta, helped orchestrate the merger of ULI and the Coalition last year.
Allman said the Council will continue the tradition set by the Coalition.
“One of the things the Coalition did well, and is manifested by the group that is convening here, is that we have the ability to convene the best practitioners in the industry,” Allman said. “When you look at the talent and expertise in the room, you will be able to take on any issue related to the built environment and to work on visionary solutions.”
Both Allman and Toro said the Council, which will hold its first meeting of the 50 members on March 25, will be tackling specific initiatives in the region.
“We will look around the region for either projects or policy initiatives and see how we as a group can contribute,” Toro said. “These are real-world practitioners who have little patience for theory.”
The 22nd annual Trumpet Awards will be held Jan. 25 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with the red carpet beginning at 2 p.m. — recognizing some of the nation’s most celebrated personalities — especially African-Americans.
The weekend of festivities will include the induction of 10 new footprints to be placed into the “International Civil Rights Walk of Fame” on Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
Among the new footprints to be placed in stone include former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes; Georgia Rep. Calvin Smyre; Bishop John Hurst Adams of Atlanta; Perry Gladstone Christie, prime minister of the Bahamas; and Thomas Todd of Chicago.
And a partial list of those receiving Trumpet Awards Jan. 25 includes DeVon Franklin, senior vice president of Columbia Tristar Pictures; Kamala Harris, attorney general of California; Deryl and Cheryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack; Steve Pemberton, vice president and chief diversity officer of Walgreens; actress Alfre Woodard; the Bronner brothers of Bronner Brothers Hair Products; and Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, award-winning producers and songwriters.
“We have come so far since we started this project in 1993,” said Xernona Clayton, founder and CEO of the Trumpet Awards. “I am extremely obliged to those individuals who saw the vision and who have worked with us for nearly 20 years. We have now joined the global community and are most jubilant to bring this event to the world and to celebrate the achievements of those who had an impact on our society.”
85 Broads launching in Atlanta
An international professional women’s organization — 85 Broads — will be launching an Atlanta chapter at an invitation-only event on Jan. 30 when Sallie Krawcheck, the organization’s owner, will address the group.
In May of 2013, Krawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney, purchased 85 Broads from its founder, Janet Hansen. The organization drew its name from the original address of Goldman Sachs at 85 Broad St., and the group was composed of women who had previously worked at the investment bank.
Today the organization has 32,000 members worldwide and 40 chapters — half in the United States and half internationally, according to Nandy Hurst, a Merrill Lynch executive who is co-president of the Atlanta chapter along with Susan Watson, who attended the University of North Carolina with Krawcheck.
“What I like about 85 Broads is that it’s about women investing in each other,” Hurst said. “It’s a member-driven organization that asks members: ‘What do you need, and how do we get it to you?’ It’s providing the space for proactive women to get together.”
Crohn’s and Colitis Torch Gala
The event is the largest single fundraiser for the organization, and over the past 20 years it has raised more than $5.8 million.
This year’s Torch Gala will recognize Phyllis and Sidney Rodbell, pillars in the Atlanta community for 45 years. It also will honor Michael Fegley as the volunteer of the year; and Dr. Subra Kugathasan with the premier physician award.
“The commitment of our honorees to the community and CCFA makes it our privilege to recognize these individuals for their extraordinary efforts,” said Steve Goodman, past president of the Georgia chapter who serves on CCFA’s National Board of Trustees.