Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell during his “State of Buckhead” speech ticked off a list of reasons residents of Atlanta’s wealthiest community should be excited.
He gave the speech on Feb. 21 the Buckhead Business Association’s weekly meeting.
Massell, who serves as president of the Buckhead Coalition, recalled that he said at his prior speech that Buckhead would be the last hit by the recession and the first to recover.
He pointed to the recent joint venture between J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Cousins Properties for the Terminus 100 and 200 office towers and the $8.2 billion purchase of NYSE Euronext by Buckhead resident Jeffrey C. Sprecher’s company IntercontinentalExchange.
“When you go to Little Rock, Arkansas, they don’t tell you to ‘Tell me about Midtown,’ they say, ‘Tell me about Buckhead,’” Massell said, adding later. “If from time to time it looks like I’m competing with downtown and Midtown, I am.”
Massell said while Buckhead has 20 percent of the city’s population, its residents provide 45 percent of the tax revenue.
“We are, you might say, the tail that’s wagging that dog,” Massell said.
He predicted the next boom in Buckhead will be construction of apartments, another sign of growth for the community, with one caveat. He said 3,549 rental apartments are under development in Buckhead.
“Now, they won’t all be built, and I’m the first to answer the question that some of you will ask, are we over building? Indeed some of them will be, sorry to say, struggling with rents when it’s all done and said, but it pays off for the community in that we have the supply for the demand,” Massell said.
He took audience questions, including one from the Buckhead Reporter about what the Coalition is doing to promote Atlanta’s Public Schools. Massell said the Coalition partners with North Atlanta High School to provide two applied economics teachers and pays for driver education courses. He said the Coalition spends about $10,000 a year at North Atlanta High.
“I’ll admit that we are not as close (with APS) as we are with the mayor and council but there’s not as many involvements where they relate to the community in a civic way,” Massell said. “They’re sort of a closed shop and work separately from the council and from the civic community.”