Dentons joins effort to improve Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods

By Maria Saporta

Another major corporate partner has joined the effort to help revitalize Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods.

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm that acquired Atlanta-based McKenna Long Aldridge, has announced that it will provide up to $375,000 in legal and public policy council over the next three years.

The firm will help figure out how to put together a joint initiative between the Westside Future Found and the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

Thurbert Baker

Thurbert Baker appears in a video during his campaign to become governor of Georgia (Source: Baker website)

Thurbert Baker, a partner at Dentons and Georgia’s former Attorney General will serve as the lead partner for the project. Baker will be able to draw upon all the necessary resources of the firm – providing legal and public policy expertise as the area is revitalized.

“We thank Dentons for stepping up with a leadership commitment of significant and focused pro bono services for the Westside revitalization project and for setting an example for our global companies here in Atlanta that deep roots and strong commitments to our local communities are a vital priority as corporate citizens,” said Richard J. Dugas, Jr., CEO of PulteGroup and chairman of the Westside Future Fund.

Dugas went on to say that the Fund is looking “forward to welcoming others to our efforts to contribute our resources to help ensure that the Westside realizes its potential to benefit all who call the Westside home.”

Dentons’ role with this venture will be to provide ongoing legal counsel on matters pertaining to real estate preservation, zoning, land use, economic development, contracts, policy compliance, litigation and other aspects of the project.

Lawyers and public policy professionals across the firm will be engaged to create a multi-faceted team to address the many legal and governmental issues that can arise in a project of this magnitude.

“When we created the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, our vision was to partner with others to make impactful philanthropic investments in the Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other neighborhoods contiguous to Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” said Arthur M. Blank, chairman of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

“We thank Dentons for co-investing with us with an impressive pro bono commitment that will tangibly and directly help us to strengthen the opportunities for our neighbors on the Westside,” Blank continued. “We have long appreciated the partnership of this firm in supporting the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and the foundation in many of our strategic endeavors.”

Jeff Haidet, co-CEO of Dentrons U.S., said the firm’s multi-year pledge to the Westside continues its long-standing commitment to improve the central city.

As Haidet said in a statement: “We desire to maintain our close partnership with our civic and business leaders who believe, as we do, in the importance of working together to make Atlanta stronger.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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