Sometimes money does grow on trees

Washington Post - January 6, 2011
...Today we must act again to transform our cities. The commercial real estate binge of the past decade and the growth of online shopping as an alternative to brick-and-mortar stores have left more than 200,000 acres of vacant retail, office and industrial space... Beginning with Atlanta, Georgia Tech is researching what is needed to accomplish this in 12 major cities. The project is known as Red Fields to Green Fields. Under this plan, some of the abandoned or underutilized property would be acquired by a parks agency or by public-private partnerships, which would then begin demolition, park design and construction, putting people to work immediately. More jobs would come as the improved areas attracted development... Georgia Tech's analysis has also shown that the money needed for a nationwide program would be a tiny fraction of current real estate support programs, such as the Fed's "quantitative easing" or its recent purchase of $1.5 trillion in mortgages.The documentary "The Olmsted Legacy," which will air on WHUT-Channel 32 Saturday at 10 p.m., and are funding the Red Fields to Green Fields research at Georgia Tech.


News_Putting the green back into Atlanta’s parks and green space

Putting the green back into Atlanta’s parks and green space

Tom Salyers, executive director of Park Pride, discusses Atlanta's vital need for more greenspace. While noting recent successes, such as Centennial Olympic Park and the planned Beltline, he emphasizes that this is just the beginning. Much more needs to be done to revitalize the city of Atlanta and its citizens.


News_Atlanta Journal Constitution Interview with Mike Messner

Journal Constitution Interview with Mike Messner

Michael Messner, a 1976 Georgia Tech Civil Engineering graduate, grew up in Atlanta and remembers the city before it morphed into a metropolis. Since 1995, Messner has been a partner in the hedge fund Seminole Capital, managing more than $1 billion in assets.

Now Messner is trying to reclaim land spoiled, in a way, by the financial industry – commercial property that is overbuilt and vacant, worth less than its loans.

He and his wife Jenny are funding “Redfields to Greenfields,” Georgia Tech led research to study converting these properties “in the red” into green space plus raw land to hold for development after the economy rebounds.


$5 billion proposal aims to save ATL banks, build parks

Just in time for the nation’s next likely financial crisis -- an implosion of the commercial real estate market -- comes an audacious plan to rid local metro Atlanta banks of problem loans and, in the process, add thousands of acres of parkland.

Distressed communities would be revitalized. Tight-fisted banks, eased of troubled assets, would start loaning money to jump-start the economy. And, best of all, the Obama administration would pick up the tab.

The newly formed Red Fields to Green Fields Atlanta Inc., the nation’s first not-for-profit organization aiming for stimulus money to clean up banks and blighted neighborhoods, is seeking $5 billion for the metro area...


News_Stimulus Money Could Create Parks from ‘Redfields’

Stimulus Money Could Create Parks from ‘Redfields’

The AJC’s touting a drive among metro Atlanta community improvement districts to raise enough local money to qualify for stimulus money that would help create more parks in Atlanta.

CIDs are districts in which (usually commercial) property owners agree to tax themselves to pay for infrastructure improvements within the districts.

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