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Posted by on July 16, 2012.

New business group to focus on Perimeter-area interests

Dale Hughes

Dale Hughes

Perimeter business leaders are starting a new organization – the Perimeter Business Alliance – they say will address problems that cross city and county lines in the area. The formation of the new group was announced June 29.

The PBA is intended to be a partner of the Perimeter Center Improvement Districts, the organization of Perimeter property owners that tackles transportation problems. The new group will include businesses and institutions that now cannot join the PCIDs, officials said.

Dale Hughes, senior vice president for legal affairs and strategic investments for Cox Enterprises, is co-chairman of the new organization. The Reporter recently asked him some questions about the PBA. Here are his emailed responses.

Q. What will be the Perimeter Business Alliance’s main focus? Can you cite examples of problems or opportunities you hope to address through the group?

A. To work cross-jurisdictionally with the cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, and DeKalb and Fulton counties to enhance and continually improve the competitive position of the Central Perimeter Market, focusing within the PCIDs’ boundaries.

Examples: The PBA will work with elected officials and staff to develop a seamless overlay district in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and DeKalb that meets community, economic development and sustainability goals.

The PBA will work with local governments on the impact of fees, business and occupational taxes and other costs that impact the bottom line of businesses and support a competitive cross-jurisdictional business climate that is the most conducive to continuing economic and business development in Perimeter.

To attract and retain quality businesses in Perimeter by improving the quality of life in the area.

Examples: The PBA will identify and maximize resources to make the Perimeter business district more sustainable. That could include assisting the development and support of local public policy on sustainability, promoting alternative fuel stations, creating a master plan for green space and trails to complement the plans of local government, and promoting LEED-certified buildings.

To brand and market Perimeter.

Example: The PBA will pull together a collaborative within the four jurisdictions in the central Perimeter market and identify ways to combine sponsorships and marketing messages that promote the amenities and advantages of locating, retaining and expanding businesses in Perimeter. The PBA, together with its business partners, has the opportunity to create panels that specialize in different areas of interest. One of our primary goals will be to create forums that recognize cross-jurisdictional interests. The PBA, in concert with its business partners, wants to highlight those contributions and create discussion forums around those business issues.

Q. Why create a separate group, rather than work through the PCID?

A. The PCIDs’ property owners self-tax themselves primarily to pay for transportation infrastructure, mobility choices, connectivity and access. Board membership of the PCIDs is limited to commercial property owners. The PBA can have a broader mission and leadership base which can include tenants as well as commercial property owners. In other words, the PBA broadens the involvement of the business community as well as the areas of concentration, which will ultimately complement the work of the PCIDs. The PCIDs are a critical partner for PBA.

Q. The initial press release says the organization will “steer the future direction of the central Perimeter market to ensure it maintains its position as the largest office market in metro Atlanta and the Southeast region.” How will the new organization do that?

A. The PBA will strengthen the market by focusing on initiatives that are not necessarily related to transportation infrastructure or included in the PCIDs’ mission, but which have a lot to do with the competitiveness of the market such as the cost of doing business in Perimeter, broad based sustainability, energy conservation, green initiatives, marketing on a broader scale and community outreach.

Q. Who will be members and how many members do you expect to join?

A. There will be many opportunities for Perimeter businesses to participate in the PBA. The PBA Board of Trustees will include 15 representatives from some of the largest property owners and tenants in the Perimeter market. We will also have a Business Advisory Leadership Team and Business Advisory Groups. This broad-based coalition will focus around the many areas of interest to business and the community.

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