A.J. Robinson is President of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID). CAP, a private business association started in 1941, remains one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the city. CAP has created and spun off a number of organizations such as Trees Atlanta, Research Atlanta, COPA, Inc. and the Midtown Alliance. In 1995, CAP created the ADID and the Ambassador Force of downtown to address public safety and cleaning concerns.
In his role, he manages the overall strategic functions of the organizations which are designed to make the Downtown Atlanta community more livable, vital and diverse. Key initiatives focus on economic development, planning, public safety, sidewalk environment, transportation, events and overall marketing of Downtown Atlanta. CAP is funded through membership dues and grants from many of Atlanta’s major corporations, as well as organizations and foundations committed to the development of downtown.
This year, Robinson has guided the organizations in accomplishments that include the passage of public space vending legislation, the creation of a City wide anti-panhandling program, the continuing revitalization of Woodruff Park, and securing of more than $80 million in New Market Tax Credits for Downtown projects in partnership with the Atlanta Development Authority. In addition, he has directed the private side of a public/private partnership to advance the building of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, commissioned the development of the “Green Line” (an ambitious strategic plan for the future growth of the real estate corridor between the State Capitol and the Georgia World Congress Center), the creation of the recent tribute to former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, and currently heads a Statewide campaign seeking passage of a Constitutional amendment allowing local school boards to participate in economic development efforts.
The former President of Portman Holdings, he was responsible for all activities of this multi-dimensional real estate company with offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Shanghai and Warsaw. During his 22-year career with Portman, he managed all aspects of real estate development process, including identification of new opportunities, securing financing, design, construction, marketing, acquisition, property management, and asset management. Various projects included property and asset management of SunTrust Plaza, a $400 million multi-use urban development in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Other assets included the AmericasMart, Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, Westin Charlotte, Westin Warsaw and Shanghai Centre.
He had primary responsibility for development of Shanghai Centre, a US $200 million multi-use facility in downtown Shanghai, when completed in 1990 was one of the largest foreign investment projects in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In his over 20-year career with Portman, he worked on projects in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Israel, Austria, Brazil, India, Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa, the United Kingdom and most major US cities.
From June 1980 to January 1981, he participated in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s historic creation of China’s first business school under the protocol signed by President Jimmy Carter and the Chinese Department of Education. During that time, he researched, wrote and taught case studies in Dalian, China, and traveled extensively throughout the Chinese cities.
A 1980 graduate of Harvard School of Business, he received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. With high distinction, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in June 1977 from Emory University.
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, he is married to Dr. Nicole Ellerine, a pediatrician, and they reside in Atlanta with their twelve-year old daughter, Micaela, ten-year old son, Ethan and eight-year old son, Nathaniel.
He has traveled extensively in the U.S. and internationally. His special interests include American history, politics and sports. He was chosen as one of ten Outstanding Young Atlantans in 1986, was a member of the 1991-92 Leadership Atlanta Class, and has published articles in The Wall Street Journal, Asian Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta Business Chronicle and National Real Estate Investor. His other recognition includes being chosen as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; one of Atlanta’s Top 40 Power Players by Atlanta Magazine and one of the Most Influential Atlantans by the Atlanta Business Chronicle five years in a row since 2004.
His business and civic interest include the following positions: Board of Directors, America’s Mart, Inc, American Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. Southeast Region, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Greenfield Hebrew Academy, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Regional Business Coalition, The Breman Heritage Museum; Trustee, Marcus Jewish Community Center; Advisory Board, Novare Group Member.