Mayor Reed announces plans for high profile developments in 2015

State of the cityAtlanta’s enviable position as one of America’s elite destinations as well as being a world-class city is now indisputable and incontrovertible. As Mayor Kasim Reed pointed out in his annual “State of the City” breakfast address at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, the Capital of the New South already boasts the third largest collection of Fortune 500 companies in the country and has experienced a meteoric rise to become the third-largest motion picture and television industry in the United States.
But things are about to get even better for Atlanta during the last years of Reed’s tenure as the city’s CEO. Actually, things have already improved as his administration has worked with local, regional and national business and civic leaders to propel Atlanta to even greater heights.
For example, major multi-national corporations are relocating to Atlanta. Others that are already in the metro area have announced multi-million and multi-billion expansions and/or upgrades that will produce tens of thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.
It wasn’t that long ago that the city and the state were reeling and leaning against the ropes from the Great Recession. But instead of crashing to the ground, the local economy used the bottom as a springboard to take Atlanta to even greater heights in prestige in both national and world importance, Reed said.
“Amid the most difficult financial crisis in over 80 years, we rolled up our sleeves, turned into the fire, and worked through the hardships to set Atlanta on a path to new levels of prosperity,” Reed said.  “We’ve seen a convergence of business relocation, business creation and new development that shows our city is getting stronger and stronger every single day.”
The evidence is manifesting almost on a weekly basis:
Among the many items on the mayor’s list of blockbuster wins within the last year or so includes: Coca Cola announcing the expansion of its IT department in the heart of Atlanta and creating 2,000 jobs; landing the North American headquarters of elite automakers Porsche and Mercedes-Benz; the relocation of 1,200 jobs by WorldPay to Atlantic Station; the steady influx of businesses into Ponce City Market, and the relocation of NCR Corporation from suburban Duluth, Ga., to Midtown Atlanta. With NCR estimating the creation of 3,600 jobs with its move to the inner city, it will represent the largest influx of jobs into Atlanta in more than 40 years.
“There’s a reason why I am focused on these jobs. It’s not just an indicator. It’s not just that we are recovering from the worst economic recession in 80 years. This means full refrigerators and paid mortgages and a child who can dream of college and achieve that dream of college. Thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in world headquarters all over the city of Atlanta. And it’s all because of you.”
Reed also listed the cultural landmarks that opened within the past year, or are set to expand in 2015, that will also contribute to increasing tourism and local resident traffic into the heart of the city, such as: the opening of National Center for Civil and Human Rights; the College Football Hall of Fame; the $20 million expansion of Zoo Atlanta — that will include a dining area overlooking the areas housing the exotic animals,  and the $1.4 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium set to open in 2017 that will hosts the NCAA football playoffs and the Super Bowl.
“It’s a significant achievement when people from across Atlanta, from across the region pull together to get things done,” Reed said, also mentioning that he has great plans for the Atlanta Civic Center and Turner Field once the Braves baseball team moves to suburban Cobb County. “We want to make sure that families of all income levels will have somewhere to go and something to do in the city of Atlanta.”
Not to leave the south side out, Reed also received one of the most rousing responses to the State of the City address from the several hundred south side residents in attendance at the breakfast when he announced that Tyler Perry will build his new studio at Fort McPherson. “[The new studio] will bring new vitality and hundreds of high-quality jobs to South Atlanta. I’m excited about it. We’re gonna get it done. Just watch,” he said. “Tyler Perry, Will Packer and so many others have contributed to a new business that is being supported by the governor of the state of Georgia.”
“The governor just announced the establishment of an academy to help the trade grow in the motion picture and television industry right here in the city of Atlanta. There are 23,000 jobs being supported by the movie and television industry,” Reed continued. “It has the economic impact of $5.1 billion for our region and our state. Who would have imagined, seven or eight years ago, that we would be the No. 3 site for the motion picture and television industry and the No. 5 site in the world?” Reed said to thunderous applause.
Among the mayor’s many challenges ahead though are:  the city’s nearly one billion dollar backlog in fixing roads, bridges, sidewalks and building,s and the $252 million referendum will go toward reducing that number. Public hearings on the referendum are reportedly continuing this month.
Mayor Reed also highlighted other major accomplishments of his first five years in office:

  • Five years of balanced budgets, all without raising property tax increases.
  • Raising the city’s cash reserves from $7.4 million in 2010 to more than $138 million dollars today;
  • Consistent upgrades to the city’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s;
  • Continued development and expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine on the city’s west side and his plans to connect it with the newly unveiled streetcar;
  • The expansion of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport with a new international terminal and plans to retain the title as the world’s busiest airport is essential to the mayor’s plan to increase Atlanta’s standing globally.  “With 12 international gates and a new baggage recheck process that makes it so our international travelers only have to check their bag one time, this terminal solidifies our global standing … And it moves us even closer to my vision as Atlanta as the logistics hub of the Western Hemisphere.

Mayor Reed also discussed plans to pass legislation to ensure that all female city workers receive equal pay for the same jobs as their male counterparts, along with the launching of a business incubator to increase women entrepreneurs in the city of Atlanta which will be located atop the historic Flatiron building.
Also on the exuberant mayor’s dream list — installation of a Google Fiber network throughout Atlanta to provide access to ultra-high-speed internet.
“A successful Atlanta is one where everyone shares in Atlanta’s success,” Reed said. “I believe that Atlanta will not simply lead Georgia or the Southeast, but that Atlanta will lead the United States and then the world.”


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