Putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table typically requires more than one shopping trip. Whether it’s brown sugar for the sweet potatoes, whipped cream for the pies, or rolls to sop up turkey gravy, something always gets overlooked on the first pass through the grocery store. Or, if you have guests who show up but didn’t RSVP, a quick dash to the store for more goodies might be needed at the last minute. Continue reading “Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods: Thanksgiving 2018 GA Grocery Hours”
Emma Capital Investments Inc. has acquired Avenues 85 Apartments in Atlanta, Ga., for $35.7 million. The acquisition marks the 32nd U.S. purchase for Toronto-based Emma Capital, bringing its total acquisitions to approximately 8,500 apartment units. Continue reading “Emma Capital Buys Atlanta Property for $36M”
How do you find the best apartments near Camp Creek GA? There are plenty to choose from so you’re going to want to research your options. That way, you come out of this with an apartment that you love living in.
A good apartment is one that is in nice shape. Before you rent one, you’re going to need to go check it out in person to see what it looks like. Make sure you look through every room and that you pay attention to things like the flooring. You don’t want to end up renting a place that has bad floors, holes in walls, or other damages that need to be taken care of before you move in. Ask the owner if there are problems about whether they will fix them for you or not before you move in. Continue reading “Where Are The Best Apartments Near Camp Creek GA?”
Home > History > Parks Redwine, owner of NorthWest Wine Summit competition, dies in Atlanta
H. Parks Redwine II, right, chats with California wine writer Mike Dunne during an early Platinum Judging in Kennewick, Wash. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)
Hill Parks Redwine II, a longtime ambassador for the Pacific Northwest wine industry as owner of the NorthWest Wine Summit Wine Competition, died of cancer Sunday, June 3, in Atlanta, Ga., at the age of 70.
Redwine, who routinely carried a copy of his birth certificate in his wallet to prove the origin of his name, founded the NorthWest Wine Summit in 1996, an event he staged for most of its history at Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s Mount Hood.
“My worst fears have come to be,” Chuck Reininger, co-owner/winemaker of Reininger Winery in Walla Walla, said when told of the news Monday. “Oh, man, Parks is one of the most genuine, sweetest men I know. He really believed in the Northwest wine industry and did so much to promote it. He loved the people and the traveling to meet them. The Northwest has a lot to be thankful to him for in terms of the exposure and the attention that he’s brought to our industry.”
One of Redwine’s longtime friends in Atlanta, retired Navy pilot Tom Reagan, told Great Northwest Wine, “He loved that region y’all live in. He absolutely loved it and was very dedicated to it.”
Redwine died on the same day his late wife’s birthday. Funeral home services are being provided by H.M. Patterson & Son-Spring Hill Chapel of Atlanta. Earlier this year, his wife of 45 years, Emily died at the age of 69 after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. They are survived by two sons.
He began struggling with his health this spring, hospitalized in British Columbia and then Oregon while staging those two legs of the NorthWest Wine Summit.
“I asked him how he was doing when we last talked, and Parks told me, ‘I’m not going to lie to you, I’m doing awful. I’m so heartbroken by the loss of Emily,’ ” Reininger said. “He mentioned that he wasn’t feeling all that well. He had a wonderful Southern gentry about him and was such a pleasure to be around.”
Redwine pursues wine rather than banking
H. Parks Redwine II evaluates a flight of red wines during an early Platinum Judging, conducted by Wine Press Northwest magazine. (Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)
Redwine grew up in the family that founded Farmers and Merchants Bank of Fayetteville, Ga. Its assets reportedly were valued at $100 million when it was sold in 1989 to Barnett Banks.
“He was a very modest person about it,” Reagan said. “I never saw an example of him trying to show off.”
Rather than pursue a career in the banking industry, Redwine’s knowledge of wine and literary ability led him to writing a wine column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1976 to 1981. During that time, he began to judge wine competitions throughout the world, a list that included the Los Angeles County Fair, the International Wine Challenge in Bordeaux, the Orange Wine Fair in the Rhône Valley and the Oregon State Fair.
Wine journalist Dan Berger, who is based in the Sonoma County city of Santa Rosa, Calif., often judged with Redwine at Wine Press Northwest magazine’s year-end Platinum Judging in the Columbia Valley city of Kennewick, Wash. Berger recalled their first meeting came at historic Simi Winery in Healdsburg during the mid-1980s.
“I saw his name on his name plate and said, ‘You just made that up, right?’ ” Berger recalled with a chuckle.
Redwine often would jokingly — so it would seem — in his Southern drawl refer to the Civil War as “The War of Yankee Aggression,” but his first-hand knowledge of the world of wine largely was unchallenged.
“He was an interesting character,” Berger said. “You could call him a walking encyclopedia of post-Prohibition California winemaking. He was fascinated by the esoterica, of the ins and outs of California winemaking from about 1940 through the ’70s, and then he was still current in that knowledge because of his competition connections.”
The topic of the obscure red grape Cabernet Pfeffer captured Redwine’s attention enough to prompt him to own tiny Pfenix Winery in California. A NorthWest Wine Summit dinner ritual was an eloquent and detailed 10- to 20-minute speech by Redwine about the grape variety, its vineyard sourcing and his pet project that spanned just a few vintages. Production was minuscule, yet he offered generous pours to anyone interested in experiencing his wine.
“Cabernet Pfeffer was a classic example,” Berger said. “And he could tell you how many people in California were making Lagrein. That’s the sort of stuff he was interested in. He had an expertise that generally you would think about only being available to Californians. His knowledge was always surprising to me because he lived on the East Coast.”
Atlanta importer launches NW competition in 1996
The NorthWest Wine Summit was staged at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood for most of its history. (Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)
Since 1990, Redwine served as President of the Atlanta Improvement Co., a cleverly named company founded in 1978 licensed to import wine, beer and spirits, and his global connections helped him with his wine competitions.
During its 22-year history, Redwine grew the NorthWest Wine Summit to include wine, cider, sake and spirits produced Alberta, Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Saskatchewan, Washington and Wyoming.
Walter Gehringer, winemaker for Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in Oliver, BC, said Redwine’s death marked “an end of an era.”
“It’s sad to hear this,” Gehringer said. “He had an appreciation for the full range of wine and a fondness for everything. He had a wealth of experience when it came to tasting, and he experienced a lot.”
Gehringer, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most decorated winemakers, noted that Redwine could be relentless when it came to recruiting winemakers to help judge his competitions.
“He was actually in our wine shop this winter looking after this year’s competition,” Gehringer said. “He’s been hounding me to be a judge forever. One time, he asked if we could have dinner, but I already had plans that night. So he asked about the next night, and I told him that I was on my way over to the coast. He was so insistent that he said, ‘I could have dinner with you over there.’ He was very persistent and sincere in his efforts.”
The lengths that Redwine went to support the Northwest wine industry were remarkable, Gehringer said.
“What really surprised me about him is that he would hop in his car and drive all the way out here,” Gehringer said. “The guy was really unbelievable in that way. He split up his competition, judging wines up here in B.C. and down in Oregon as he tried to accommodate everybody’s challenges.”
Redwine recruited Northwest winemakers to judge
Chuck Reininger, owner and winemaker for Reininger Winery in Walla Walla, Wash., opened his winery in 2000 and regularly entered the NorthWest Wine Summit. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)
Reininger, a former climbing guide at Mount Rainier, was among the many winemakers Redwine cajoled into judging the NorthWest Wine Summit at storied Timberline Lodge.
“I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to judge for him,” Reininger said. “It was great experience, and it was fun. He was not solely a Northwest wine advocate. He could talk about wine from anywhere in the world. He loved wine, and he always had a little story about any type of wine, its history or the people who made it. He really was a walking encyclopedia, a very kind and generous man and he really reached out to include people.”
There also was Redwine’s unique practice of purchasing expensive wines from famous Northwest wineries and slotting them in front of the NorthWest Wine Summit panels. After the competition, if one of those wines received a gold medal from the panel, Redwine would contact the winery. If they were willing to pay the entry fee, then he would publish the results of that gold medal.
“He was just trying to make it an all-encompassing judging of wineries from the Northwest,” Reininger said. “And the wineries that did enter received as fair as an opportunity as possible. He was so unassuming and very quiet, never looking to be a grandstander.”
The judging panels often included wine professionals from beyond the Northwest. They were responsible for their own expenses, but once they arrived at the competition venue, their other expenses were covered.
“He didn’t want only people fixed with a Northwest palate to be judging Northwest wines,” Reininger said. “And a testament to his competition is that one year an apple dessert wine from BC won best of show. I think that’s pretty darn cool. He made a sincere effort to make his competition as clean and fair as possible.”
It often would take months for Redwine to make public the final results of the Northwest Wine Summit, and Reininger playfully pointed out that his friend also had a propensity for losing track of time while traveling.
“One time, when he was spending the weekend at our house, he called from somewhere in Montana,” Reininger said. “ ‘Chuck, I’m running a little bit late. I know was supposed to be there around 4 or 5 o’clock, but don’t expect me for dinner. I’ll be there in two or three hours.’
“He was over in the Bitterroot Valley and I just started laughing,” Reininger said. “I said, ‘Parks, you are in the West. You are least six hours away, and if you take the back roads that you like to do, that’s more like eight hours.’ He showed up about 12:30 at night, but that’s how he loved to travel. Taking the back roads, seeing the scenery and learning the history.”
An uncertain future for Northwest Wine Summit
Parks Redwine and the late Bob Woehler, the dean of Washington wine writers when he died in 2011, chat at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. (Photo by Nancy Sauer/Special to Great Northwest Wine)
Andy Perdue, wine columnist for The Seattle Times, was an editor and wine writer at the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald when he got an invitation to learn more about the NorthWest Wine Summit.
“I met H. Parks around 1999, after we had launched Wine Press Northwest magazine,” Perdue said. “He took me to dinner in Kennewick, opening several top-tier Burgundies. As editor of the magazine, he wanted me involved in the Northwest Wine Summit.
“The first year, I helped write up notes on each wine tasted. In subsequent years, I was involved in tracking results, helping pre-evaluate wines, or organizing the backroom, judging and recruiting judges,” Perdue continued. “He was a true character, and we enjoyed a nice friendship in subsequent years. I always appreciated how this Southern gent had a passion for Northwest wines. That is how I hope he’ll be remembered.”
Gregg McConnell, editor of Wine Press Northwest, said, “Parks was a mentor and a friend. He was the ultimate Southern gentleman, modest in his brilliance, gracious in his encounters with others and admirably devoted to his late wife, Emily. I will miss him, but the knowledge he is again holding Emily’s hand warms my heart.”
Stephen Reustle of Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards in Roseburg, Ore., served as a silent judge at Wine Press Northwest’s Platinum Judging and enjoyed witnessing the back-and-forth between Berger and Redwine.
“I did not know him well but had a great respect for his intellectual curiosity,” Reustle said. “We had a deep debate and discussion one evening at the Platinum Judging a few years back about faith and religion. He had a quick mind and love for debate, as well as a strong opinion about most everything. I sent him a biblical commentary by John MacArthur on the book of John. I pray it had an impact.”
Reagan developed a business relationship and then a friendship with Redwine through the Atlanta Improvement Co., and they collaborated on a number of international wine competitions. Redwine was unable to orchestrate this year’s final leg of the NorthWest Wine Summit after he was hospitalized in Hood River just as the judging was about to begin. One of the judges, Seattle-area wine auctioneer Tom DiNardo, jumped in to organize the competition on behalf of Redwine.
“He had kidney cancer and in his bladder, and it had spread to his back and his lungs,” Reagan said.
Friends noted that Redwine began to complain about pain around one of his kidneys in January 2017 and underwent biopsies several months apart. Each time, they came up benign. This spring, a third biopsy revealed cancer, and it had begun to spread. Reagan said a close friend in Atlanta arranged to have Redwine flown home about a month ago from Hood River. He immediately was hospitalized.
Soon after returning to Atlanta, Redwine handed the reigns of his import business to Michelle Schreck, vice president of sales for the Atlanta Improvement Co. Reagan predicted she will move forward with the NorthWest Wine Summit.
“I would bet that she’s going to take it to the next level, even though he’s gone,” Reagan said.
Reininger said, “Parks would call me whenever he was coming through Walla Walla. Normally we’d get together. I’m just brokenhearted that we couldn’t get together this time.”
Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region’s longest-running golf publication.
ATLANTA, May 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — MaxSold is pleased to announce its fifth-year anniversary from launching our service into Atlanta Georgia.
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Underground Atlanta developer WRS Inc. has hired commercial real estate services giant Jones Lang LaSalle to market opportunities for new development at the project.
WRS is working with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) on Block One, a 1.9-acre site within the overall project. It stands along Peachtree Street at the northwest corner of Pryor and Upper Alabama next to MARTA’s Five Points Station.
WRS sees Block One is an integral part of the redevelopment.
Underground Atlanta involves a four-block transformation of the long-strugging project into a mix of housing, office, retail and a hotel.
Block One is an anchor of the project.
JLL’s Scott Cullen and Mark Lindenbaum, who lead the firms’ land and development services platform, will oversee the marketing and selection of a developer for Block One. That includes air rights for the property.
The site’s proximity to Five Points Station makes it one of the most compelling transit oriented development projects in the city, said Lindenbaum.
JLL expects to see global interest in the development opportunity.
WRS bought Underground Atlanta in 2017. It has since shifted some of its original plans and has continued to meet with community leaders about how the project should be developed.
Its timing seems good. Few neighborhoods anywhere in the country are poised for a greater metamorphosis than Atlanta’s historic South Downtown, with roots dating back to the commercial beginnings of the city. It has more than $1.5 billion worth of new projects in the works, including Underground Atlanta and the proposed $400 million development of “The Gulch,” a collection of railroad lines and vacant parking lots that once formed an important railway hub for the Southeast.
Newport U.S. RE also has sweeping plans for several dozen buildings and parking lots along Peachtree, Mitchell and Broad streets. It recently bought 222 Mitchell Street, a collection of tank-like buildings that sat vacant for years. The property could be remade into housing, retail space and office space, and a hotel.
A $6 million makeover of Midtown’s 730 Peachtree is about to get underway.
Owner Crestlight Capital unveiled the redesign of the 11-story building to tenants Thursday. It bought the property, which is just a block from Technology Square, last year.
The architect is Gensler, which is known for its work on similar projects. For example, it led the conversion of a five-story 1980’s-era building into Atlanta Tech Village.
The last major renovation for 730 Peachtree, formerly the Veterans Administration building, came almost 20 years ago.
The work gets underway in June and should finish by December.
Lincoln Property Co. is overseeing leasing and management of the building. The makeover should put Crestlight in position to land more technology companies and startups that want to be close to Georgia Tech and Tech Square.
Big apartment sale
A joint venture purchased a 431-unit midrise Buckhead apartment complex on Lenox Road for $72.5 million.
It plans to complete a renovation begun in 2015.
Wilkinson Corp. of Yakima, Wash., and New York City-based Torchlight Investors acquired 32Hundred Lenox. The seller was Elite Street Capital.
Cushman & Wakefield brokered the transaction.
A profound shift in Atlanta development patterns continues to gain speed, suggesting decades of suburban sprawl may remain stuck in neutral.
Consider that roughly 61 percent of all new construction of trophy office buildings falls within within walking distance, or a half mile, of MARTA rail stations, according to a recently released report from Cushman & Wakefield.
The study looked at construction and rent performance at both office and residential properties within a half-mile of the stations.
Among the findings:
Office buildings within walking distance of MARTA stations achieved rents that were up 5 percent year-over-year at the end of the first quarter.Those buildings also saw less vacancy and a 25 percent higher rental rate than the overall Atlanta market.Rent for trophy office properties near Midtown’s MARTA stations averaged $35.21 per square foot, the highest of any neighborhood with access to rail.Since 2008, there have been three times as many residential units developed within a half-mile of MARTA stations. Rents for those units were almost 50 percent higher than apartments outside that half-mile radius.Projects under construction, such as the 350-unit Hanover West Peachtree, are quoting $2.70 per square foot in asking rents. Lilli Midtown, at 693 Peachtree Street, is getting almost $2.50.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Chad Koenig was lead author of the report, which painted a picture of have-and-have-nots — a growing disparity between the performance of properties near transit and those that aren’t.
“This is not to say that projects located outside the MARTA market can’t be successful, but a critical mass and momentum have been reached when it comes to how Atlantans live and work,” the report said. “The city is shifting from ‘all cars all the time’ to a much more urban approach to transportation found in Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York.
One closely watched trend is companies putting more employees into tighter office spaces, as a way to reduce real estate costs. For example, some ratios are down to one employeee per 175 or even 150 square feet of office space. On the surface, that creates greater density and the need for more parking.
However, attitudes toward Atlanta’s autocentric development patterns are changing. In fact, intown neighborhoods such as Buckhead, Midtown and downtown have continued to shrink parking maximums. Midtown’s office and residential parking caps are now the tightest in the city.
At the same time, new projects continue to eat up what parking lots remain.
“Surface lots are disappearing as new construction continues and the cost of deck parking is on the rise,” the report concludes. “This provides businesses with more incentive to locate within walking distance of MARTA rail stations.”
MARTA continues to expand its transit oriented development program, which features partnerships with developers that build new residential and office projects around the stations. MARTA launched its program at three of its stations. It then put four more TOD projects into its pipeline.
Recently, new plans emerged for a long-sought project at MARTA’s King Memorial station.
More than a year ago, MARTA announced a joint venture with Place Properties and H. J. Russell & Co. for a $51 million transit-oriented project on a 4.4-acre surface parking lot on the southside of the King Memorial station.
For MARTA, there is a link between more development near the stations and increased ridership. For suburban counties such as Gwinnett, which is not served by rail, the report underscores how investment and economic development are increasingly associated with MARTA.
Cousins Properties have said more companies won’t consider occupying a building unless it’s a short walk from a transit station.
“Clearly Atlanta thinks about MARTA differently than it once did,” said Amanda Rhein, senior director of tansit oriented development and real estate. “We are becoming the antidote to authocentric development.”
The Atlanta delegation arrived in San Diego Wednesday morning – West Coast time – spending its first stop at Liberty Station, a redeveloped Naval training center that has been turned a complex of art galleries, shops, offices and restaurants.
Randy Hayes, president of Hayes Development Corp. of Fayette County, stands with Felicia Moore, president of the Atlanta City Council. Hayes has been on every LINK trip since 1997. This is the first LINK trip for Moore, who serves on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., told the Atlanta delegation that Liberty Station is one of the most successful redevelopments of a former military complex in the United States.
Several members on the LINK trip mentioned that Atlanta could have redeveloped Fort McPherson in such an inclusive way, but instead most of the property – through the encouragement of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed – was sold to filmmaker Tyler Perry for a bargain basement price. Now that property has been sealed off from the public.
The LINK trips have been in place since 1997, and this is the second time LINK has come to San Diego to see how it is addressing various issues, such as housing affordability, transportation planning, homelessness and economic innovation.
The last time LINK, a delegation of more than 100 leaders from the Atlanta region, came to San Diego was in 2001, when the southern California city was just beginning to explore the development of bus rapid transit (BRT). During the trip to San Diego, the LINK delegation will see at least one of the BRT lines that has been developed.
The region also has invested in commuter rail, trolleys and light rail.
The LINK delegation will study issues in San Diego over three days with most of the leaders returning to Atlanta on Saturday.
Jack Hardin, founding partner of the Rogers & Hardin law firm and a key advocate for the homeless, stands with John Berry, CEO of the St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Betty Willis, senior associate vice president of Emory University, visits with Kerry Armstrong, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Wayne Hill, the former chairman of Gwinnett County and former chairman of the ARC (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Claudia Bilotta, vice president and Atlanta Area Manager of WSP USA stands with Nadia Theodore, consul general of the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta. They are both on their first LINK trip (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul visits with his neighbor to the south – Thomas Reed, the Mayor of the City of Chattahoochee Hills (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, sits with Sonji Jacobs, assistant vice president of corporate communications and public relations for Cox Enterprises, and the former chief spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed during his first term in office (Photo by Maria Saporta)
On the right is Nick Juliano, public affairs manager – Southeast for Uber Technologies, with his associate, Evangeline George, public affairs manager of Uber (Photo by Maria Saporta)
State Sen. Brandon Beach, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, with Robert Brown, an architect from DeKalb County who serves on the board of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Brown also has been on every LINK trip – dating back to 1997 (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Stephen Causby, an Atlanta Regional Commission manager who coordinates the LINK trips, with his boss, Doug Hooker, ARC’s executive director, with Ann Cramer, a citizen activist who is a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates (Photo by Maria Saporta)
ATLANTA, GA — There’s your typical "WOW!" House and, then, there’s this week’s entry for Atlanta. Checking in at a sprawling 36,000 square feet, this home (no address provided) is truly built for someone looking to establish their own, real-world compound.
Built in 2010, it’s got a whopping eight bedrooms and nine full and six half-baths. Its sellers bill it as an "extraordinary presidential compound — one of the world’s safest homes" and a global security expert helped plan it.
It has its own self-sustaining water and power supply, a gun range, a command center and its own geothermal heating and cooling systems. But it’s not all business. Not by a long shot.
This mansion has a vault that can hold 30 cars, an art gallery, three kitchens, an infinity pool, a bowling alley, a game room and two commercial-grade elevators. Throw in the solarium, spa, theater and wine cellar and to call this home one-of-a-kind is an understatement.
It is for sale, with personalization options still available, for a princely $14.7 million.
Price: $14,700,000 Square Feet: 36000 Bedrooms: 8 Bathrooms: 9 Full and 6 Half Baths Built: 2010 Features: Extraordinary Presidential Compound-One of the World’s Safest Homes for Life & Personal Property. Modern Fortress w/ Commanding Views Designed & Fortified to "Live to Die Another Day" standards by Global Security Expert Al Corbi. Self-Sustaining Water&Power Supply, 30 Capacity Car Vault, Art Museum, 3 Kitchens incl. Catering&Summer. Infinity Pool, Bowling Alley, Gun Range, Game Room, Solarium, Spa, Theater, Wine Cellar & Room, Vault, Command Center, 2 Commercial Elevators, Geothermal Systems- Some photos representative-Property purposefully awaits final personalization.
This listing originally appeared on realtor.com. For more information and photos, click here.
Every once in a while, someone comes along who challenges himself and those around him — and by doing so, transforms a community. Atlanta native John Williams, a mega developer and philanthropist extraordinaire, was such a man.
Williams, who died Monday at 75, founded Post Properties in 1970, took the apartment giant public in 1993 and used his company as a platform for sweeping community service projects that changed the face of metro Atlanta.
“His primary focus for all those years was Post Properties, but he had an overwhelming belief in giving back to the community, not only because it was the right thing to do, but because of what goes around comes around,” said Tad Leithead, interim executive director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District. For example, during the 1980s, when Marietta Square’s Glover Park had grown long in the tooth, Williams led the effort to revitalize it, personally donating a small fortune to the landscaping effort and sending his Post Properties crew to maintain it.
The apartment king is also considered the father of the Georgia’s community improvement districts. CIDs are an economic development strategy where commercial property owners agree to tax themselves and leverage that revenue to obtain state and federal funds for infrastructure projects that improve the area. Leithead said his friend and mentor learned about CIDs on a trip to Dallas in the 1980s. Williams pitched the concept to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who was in the Georgia House at the time, and former Gov. Roy Barnes, then in the Georgia Senate. Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing for CIDs in 1984. There are now three CIDs in Cobb and more than 25 in Georgia. Cumberland was the first, launching in 1988 with Williams as chairman.
Now home to the Atlanta Braves, the CID’s 6.5 square miles represents 5.4 percent of Georgia’s economy and 36 percent of Cobb County’s economy.
“None of that would have been possible without John and his vision, and Roy and Johnny,” said Lynn Rainey, an attorney for 20 CIDs.
Rainey described how CIDs are infused with Williams’ personality. A creative thinker, Williams was also a practical businessman who knew how to get things done. CID boards, likewise, dream up projects and build them. One of the signature characteristics that distinguished Post Properties from other apartment buildings at the time was their attractive, inviting landscaping. Isakson said 30 years ago, nobody planted a flower in front of apartment complexes. But Williams did things differently, becoming the largest importer of Holland bulbs in the U.S. so that tulips blossomed at Post Properties in springtime. Similarly, when drivers cross into a CID, landscaping is noticeably improved.
The real estate magnate resigned as chairman of Post Properties in 2003 after losing a proxy battle, but would strike gold a second time by launching Preferred Apartment Communities, taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange. Atlanta business writer Maria Saporta writes how Williams once told her how he could be dropped in Times Square with only $10 to his name, and be a millionaire within a year. Such claims aren’t boastful if true.
Over the course of his career, he directed and coordinated the development, construction and management of more than $15 billion in real estate development. Credited with coining such phrases as “Smart Growth” and “Live, Work, Play,” his awards and recognitions would fill a book. The National Real Estate Investor’s list included him among the “The 20th Century’s Most Influential Developers.”
Before the Cobb Galleria Centre opened in 1994, there was simply a boutique specialty mall owned by Trammell Crow. It was failing because it wasn’t a destination site, said Leithead, then a leasing agent with the company. Leithead said he came across the idea of building a convention center around the shops to create a destination site, and he pitched the idea to Williams, knowing it would take someone of his stature to accomplish such a project. Williams embraced the idea, deciding the dormant Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority was the vehicle to use to build it. He became chairman of the Exhibit Hall Authority and was the driving force behind building the convention center, which now includes the “John A. Williams Ballroom,” one of the largest such rooms in the South. Later to follow was the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which Williams helped put together the financing for, and whose 2,800-seat theater is named after him.
Under Williams’ leadership as chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, that chamber launched the Metropolitan Atlanta Transportation Initiative, which recommended the creation of an agency that would give broad powers to implement transportation and transit in the region. Shortly after Barnes was elected governor, he formed the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which was a follow-through on the MATI recommendation.
Williams’ fingerprints are everywhere.
In a tribute to Williams on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, Isakson said every politician in America should be lucky enough to have a Williams, who didn’t just tell him what he wanted to hear, but what he didn’t.
“I am sad today, and all of Georgia is sad today, and they will be even sadder on Monday when we say goodbye to John Williams,” Isakson said. “But all of us should hope and all of us should pray that all of us have the time in our lives to know somebody as good, as decent, as honorable and as compassionate for their community and as a lover of their country as John A. Williams of Atlanta, Georgia, my good friend.”
Is South Atlanta the next development hot-spot? And if so, what’s the cost?
According to demographer William Frey, in 2011, America’s biggest cities boasted higher population growth than their combined suburbs for the first time in a century. But there’s a cost for urban cool. All too often, “revitalization” is code for “gentrification,” which prices out working people and people of color, destroying the diversity that makes cities interesting.
What’s happening in South Atlanta?
That focus now falls on South Atlanta. The area has been described by Curbed Atlanta as “tired,” “long-languishing” and “half-abandoned.”
Outsiders eventually noticed. In 2017, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the firm Newport had bought over 24 downtown buildings, with plans to purchase a dozen more. Total investment cost: $200 million. Proposed breadth of revision: from the Underground to the Gulch. Type of renovation: retail and mixed use; apparently, no hi-rises. Jake Nawrocki, president of Newport US RE, said their South Atlanta project wouldn’t be a buy and flip: “This is not a luxury area we are building here, this is a neighborhood.”
Contrast that with the opaque sale of Underground to WRS Real Estate Investments. Or, to quote from a ThreadATL story: “Now, can someone please remind us how a suburban Walmart shopping center developer like WRS, who does want to add parking next to South Downtown’s Five Points MARTA Station, got a hold of Underground Atlanta …”
And there’s more than private interest at work. The Trust for Public Land, in collaboration with the city, is developing Rodney Cook Sr. Park: 16 acres of greenspace in historic Vine City. The $45-million-dollar project breaks ground on May 19, after five years of prep.
Long-term, what does this mean for the city as a whole?
By the numbers
Discussion of Atlanta development is contentious, and for good reason. Atlanta has a reputation for gentrification. Between 2014–2016, Metro Atlanta ranked fourth (behind Houston, Dallas and Phoenix) in net migration. Estimates place Atlanta in third for new residents (behind Miami and Dallas) for 2019. But home affordability drags. The rate of house-building is stuck below early-2000 levels and most of the units are luxury-tier.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, under HOPE VI, the city demolished a great amount of public housing — almost a tenth of all housing in the city.
Other urban areas have experimented with incentives. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pennsylvania city structured its tax abatement program to generate more affordable housing: “With the new programs will come a ‘social equity’ component — incentives for developers to invest in affordable housing, jobs, sustainability, or in underserved neighborhoods.”
Local voices have their say
Georgia Voice reached out to LGBTQ residents who’d relocated to South Atlanta in the last year. Oliver Clark moved to Atlanta with his partner in 2013. East Point beckoned. “While driving around, we loved the diversity of the people here,” Clark said, “and felt completely at home … kind of a Mayberry type feel, while being only 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta.” In the two years since, he’s noticed “a lot of change.”
“My concern,” he said, “is will this gentrification upset the diversity and community we’ve grown to love? Will housing start to rise so much that the residents who originally came to East Point and other Tri-Cities locations for the cost be priced out of where they live?”
Scott Eaves also lives in East Point. He loves his neighborhood and is “very excited” about the growth of the BeltLine. “I think the core city of Atlanta has become very unaffordable, which is pushing more people to the Southside.” Eaves wrote that he “didn’t think much can be done about [the] affordability issue within the city.”
Jessy Briton Hamilton lives in Midtown, but had thoughts on the issue. “It’s a Catch-22. … We have to engineer solutions that take that reality into account and requires that new developments include affordable housing options.”
Parks and conservation advocate George Dusenbury IV is Georgia State Director for the Trust, and has played a crucial role in the genesis of Cook Park. He noted, “More people moving to the Westside and South Downtown is not the problem. There used to be 50,000 people living on the Westside. There now are 15,000. Similar numbers apply to downtown.”
“What we must guard against,” he said, “is displacement of the existing residents. Using a combination of tax abatement, investment in affordable housing and other support services is vital to doing this.” He noted that successful revitalization “depends on a lot of factors.” Dusenbury said that “Public land is the town hall for a community. Whenever we undertake urban redevelopment, we should start with identifying the public spaces and design around them.”
Whatever the fate of South Atlanta, respondents felt the gay community had a crucial role to play. Clark said that his “thought/hope is that the LGBT community spearheads the change for the better.”