Kirk Rich Throws Hat In Ring For City Council Seat
For Kirk Rich, his life has been filled with titles. Founder of a well-known boutique Atlanta brokerage firm. President of the Georgia Chapter of the Certified Commercial Investment Member organization. A board member with Invest Atlanta and a member of Georgia State University's real estate honorary board.
Now Rich is striving for a new title: Atlanta City Councilman.
Rich told Bisnow this week that he has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 6th District seat with the Atlanta Council currently held by Alex Wan, who is ceding the post in his own bid to become president of the Atlanta City Council.
Rich, a veteran real estate broker who formed Rich Real Estate Services in 2001, said he has been mulling the idea of running for office for more than a year, but started to quietly solicit support last fall by meeting with various community leaders in his area.
"I've had pretty amazing responses from everybody," Rich said. "As you can imagine, it's going to be a major change for me."
The 6th District covers a prominent area of Atlanta, especially one that's seen some dramatic shifts in demographics in recent years, including the neighborhoods of Morningside-Lenox Park, Ansley Park, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland, Piedmont Heights, portions of Midtown and segments of Cheshire Bridge Road, Monroe Drive and Piedmont Avenue.
Average housing values and income in this district generally outstrip those of the city as a whole. According to the most recent demographic data from City-Data.com, Morningside-Lenox Park's median household income is nearly $500k (versus $358,400 in the city as a whole) with average incomes of $87,400 versus $46,500 for the average city resident. Ansley Park has average home values of $1.3M and average incomes of nearly $80k.
For Rich, an Atlanta native, the pursuit of a role in city government is, in his words, about cementing his legacy, even beyond his involvement with Invest Atlanta, the city's major economic development arm. And coming from the real estate world, Rich said he's not a no-growth proponent, but rather one who wants to add more scrutiny to developments and their impact on the city's infrastructure.
"I think what the city right now ... needs [is] more creative design, especially for more high-density residential," he said.
"Traffic is out of control. And there's a huge dilemma to the City of Atlanta because there's only so much you can do with the roads. The city has got to start thinking more outside the box.”
So far, Rich is the only one who has officially announced an intention to run for Wan's seat in the Nov. 17 election. Wan himself is running for the city council presidency's post being vacated by Ceasar Mitchell, who is expected to run for mayor of Atlanta.
"Kirk and I have been friends for many years," Wan wrote in an email. "I think he would make an excellent council member."
When asked if he was actively planning to support Rich for the position, Wan replied, "I'm curious to see who else will seek the District 6 seat. Way too early to make any calls. When I first ran in 2009 when it was an open seat, there were six contenders. I can't imagine there won't be others to join the race this time."