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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 6/28/27

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Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 2.13.42 PM1. Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy high-end grocer Whole Foods Market sent shockwaves through the retail universe. Given Amazon’s history of disruption, experts say, the blockbuster transaction over time could influence the way consumers in Atlanta and elsewhere buy meats, veggies and dry goods, whether they shop at a Whole Foods or not. A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article features insight on what this deal means for local grocery stores from The Wilbert Group clients Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel, North American Properties’ Mark Toro and Cooper Carry’s David Kitchens.

2. The penthouse of Wilbert client Emerson Buckhead tower is under contract for more than $6 million, making it one of the most expensive sales of an unfinished high-rise condo in the city’s history. This Atlanta Business Chronicle article details the 6,200-square-foot space, which will feature two stories, 24-foot ceilings, and a rooftop terrace with views of the Midtown and downtown skyline to the south, Buckhead’s and Cumberland’s office towers to the north, and the tree-canopied Atlanta neighborhoods of Peachtree Hills and Peachtree Battle.

594949327eb36_7000_Central_Park_Full_Building_Photo3. More than a year after purchasing Wilbert client 7000 Central Park, CBRE Global Investors is endeavoring to transform the 18-story tower into a talent magnet. According to a Bisnow article, the firm is expected to add amenities, to the office building, a 424,000-square-foot tower in Central Perimeter. CBRE Global Investors is injecting $2.8M in a renovation campaign that will include a full-service fitness center, co-working and conference center space, an expanded café and an “outdoor living room” for tenants to gather.

4. The Coca-Cola Company recently sold an 88,000-square-foot data center in a joint venture with a client advised by Bailard, a California based investment advisory firm, who purchased the property. Wilbert client Lincoln Property Company Southeast, in conjunction with its data center division Lincoln Rackhouse, brokered the sale. You can read more about the deal in this Globe St article.

5. Business is booming at one of Atlanta’s tallest residential buildings. This Atlanta Business Chronicle article details recent success at Wilbert client The Atlantic, a 46-story tower overlooking Midtown from 17th Street and the Downtown Connector, which has recorded 20 closings this year, with another 18 units are under contract. Most Atlantic units are ranging from $300,000 to about $800,000 and the roughly 190 available units are on pace to sell out by the first quarter 2019, according to Christa Huffstickler, president and CEO of Engel & Volkers Atlanta.

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 6/15/17

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Unknown1. The Wilbert Group is proud to have helped shine a light on a compassionate and important organization, Destroy Pancreatic Cancer. Spokesperson Mark Gelinas and board member Mike Broxterman were recently featured on HLN’s MichaeLA to discuss the foundation’s mission and founder John Couvillon’s legacy. You can watch the full segment here.

2. Amazon has a plan for a new distribution hub in Atlanta that will ultimately employ about 1,000 full-time workers. The new “fulfillment center” in Jefferson will be Amazon’s second in Jackson County, and the announcement comes amid the Fortune 500 company’s push to provide rapid delivery — including same-day — to more customers. Jared Wiesel, partner at Revenue Analytics, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Scott Trubey that Amazon’s push to open more fulfillment centers is part of its goal to enable delivery within hours, saying “Two of Amazon’s greatest competitive strengths are around convenience and price.”

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 2.39.52 PM3. Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. (PAC) recently purchased Rockbridge Village, a roughly 102,432-square-foot retail center in Stone Mountain that is anchored by a 68,632-square-foot Kroger grocery store. Commercial Property Executive profiled PAC’s new asset, which it acquired through its wholly owned subsidiary New Market Properties LLC. The company financed the purchase through a non-recourse first mortgage loan originated by The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

4. General contracting firm New South Construction Company has completed construction of two Georgia senior living communities. The Glen at Lake Oconee in Greensboro and Thrive at Frederica in St. Simons are the latest to join New South Construction’s portfolio of senior living communities across the Southeast United States. New South president Huntly Gordon spoke with Multi Housing News about the projects, saying, “We’re proud to deliver modern luxury accommodations for future residents.”

5. In the past few years, there’s been a flood of intown Atlanta chefs and restaurateurs expanding OTP. While that hooped highway known as the perimeter can often feel like a solid wall when it comes to cultural differences, the fact is that literally millions of people live in the suburbs outside 285, all of whom eat and many of whom have the disposable income to eat quite well. A recent Creative Loafing article on the phenomenon profiled several OTP high-end food locations, including Avalon in Alpharetta, home to Ford Fry restaurant El Felix, a sister concept to intown Superica.

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 5/23/17

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photos.medleyphoto.14115631  1. During the height of rush hour on March 30, thick black smoke swelled above Atlanta. First responders sprung to action to tame the massive fire roaring beneath I-85 in Atlanta. According to North American Properties’ Mark Toro, “This breathtaking moment was a shock to our system – a shock our city sorely needed.” In this Atlanta Journal Constitution op-ed, Toro challenges all Atlantans to use the I-85 collapse as a lesson for why we need to commit to expand MARTA and make it a part of our daily commute.

2. Change is afoot in the commercial insurance industry. The forward-looking technology landscape and the growing regulatory environment are reshaping the vital ways in which the industry engages with customers, especially in the U.S. Laura Calugar recently interviewed Franklin Street’s Ted Holler in Commercial Property Executive to discuss how his company had adapted to recent changes.

3. For investors in Amazon, the most important number to remember is 20. When online MW-FM357_amazon_20170511175400_MGsales hit 20 percent of all purchases in a given retail category, a surge in Amazon growth is sure to follow. But not all retailers are falling prey to Amazon’s business model. In this MarketWatch article, Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel said, “Most pockets of retail success today have some sort of protective moat around their business that helps them fend off Amazon.”

4. Recent headlines about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly have undoubtedly increased awareness regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. With the heightened interest amongst employees regarding workplace rights, Fisher Phillips’ Michelli Rivera says, “Metro Atlanta employers should brace themselves for more sexual harassment-related inquiries.” In this op-ed for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rivera offers proactive steps that can better protect Atlanta businesses – and hopefully keep them out of the headlines.

5. On the heels of back-to-back grand openings of two major mixed-use developments, the Bayer Properties team arrived at ICSC’s RECon conference in Las Vegas with a fresh viewpoint on how retail is changing and what today’s consumers are seeking. In this Shopping Centers Today article, CEO and president Jeffrey Bayer said, “We are excited to be here this year surrounded by retail experts to learn from each other and discuss the future of the ever-evolving industry.”

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 4/25/17

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mia-nickgarzia1. Are indoor shopping malls becoming extinct? Or is a resurgence upon us? That depends on whom you ask. Many retail industry watchers are down on malls—and with good reason. Big bankruptcies are driving big vacancies. The flip side is, these big vacancies are driving strategic redevelopment opportunities that could revitalize models with an experiential retail twist. GlobeSt.com recently caught up with Nick Garzia, director of leasing for Atlantic Station to get his take. “I don’t think malls are becoming extinct, but I do think they are changing. A stratification of product type has been taking place over the past several years.”

2. If you’re headed to downtown Atlanta this spring, you’ll want to read this Atlanta Journal Constitution article detailing the top restaurants within walking distance of the city’s major sites. Our favorite is Peachtree Center’s retail center, whose culinary options include Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Panbury’s Hand Pies, Tin Lizzy’s Mexican, Aviva by Kameel Mediterranean and several other spots.

3. Teen members of the U.S. Bank Boys and Girls Club in Cincinnati now have a space all for themselves. Aaron’s, Inc. partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of America in 2015 to renovate clubs across the country and their latest renovation occurred last week in The Queen City. The teenagers helped design the space and associates from Aaron’s took over from there. See this local CBS article and video for more information about the Teen Center, which is now equipped with new technology, sectional sofas, tables and chairs and a new sound system.

4. Another quarterly earnings season is in the books, and while there were a few star performers, it was another dismal one for retailers. It seems almost a daily occurrence — headlines littered with the next retailer that struggled under the weight of aggressive competition and changing consumer preferences. To help make sense of what retailers can expect from the coming price war, and how they can win each battle, check out Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel’s article in Total Retail.

5. On the latest episode of NPR WUKY’s Business Side, Brennan Fielder talked with Lindsay Bayer-Shipp, creative director and brand strategist at Bayer Properties, the Alabama-based developer set to debut the Summit at Fritz Farm, a sprawling new retail and dining complex on Nicholasville Road at Man O War Boulevard in the shadow of Fayette Mall. The grand opening event is this Thursday, April 27th.

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The Wilbert Group Hosts First Social Media Breakfast

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0N5A5301 copyThe Wilbert Group Hosts First Social Media Breakfast

The Wilbert Group this week hosted our clients and friends at our office for breakfast and a discussion about the benefits of paid social programs. The wide-ranging discussion was led by our firm’s president Caroline Wilbert and our digital strategist Sabrina Harvey. Below is a glance at some of the highlights from our discussion including why organic is no longer enough, what platforms make sense for which brands, examples of successful campaigns Wilbert has executed for clients, and best practices for creating compelling content.

So, why is organic no longer enough?

Organic reach on social platforms has continually decreased over the past several years. For example, Facebook organic posts only reach two to six percent of the audience that already likes your page. Companies need to leverage paid social options to heighten engagement with compelling content, which consumers still find valuable, and eventually “convert” by clicking links.

For a more detailed explanation, see the video below:

Which platform is right for my company?

This all depends on your audience. Consumer-facing brands should be focused on developing strong Facebook, Twitter, and potentially Instagram (for brands with strong visuals) audiences to engage with people who could potentially interact with your brand and purchase what you’re selling. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the obvious platform to focus on. Users there are expecting to see business content, so they’re much more prone to be interested in news and data concerning your industry and company.

The good news here is that these platforms allow for highly targeted demographics and psychographics within advertisements, including differentiation within income, location, age, interest, behaviors and more. Facebook allows you to upload excel spreadsheets with “warm” contacts so advertisements will be sure to reach them.

BN7A3467 copyWhat kind of content will perform best?

The big picture here is your paid campaigns should revolve around your strategic business goals. Are you trying to get people to show up for an event? Or are you building your social audience and establishing your brand? This will also vary depending on industry and whether your business is B2B or B2C.

But in general, you want to find the value propositions that bring your audience something that makes them consider you. Instead of posting a 100-page white paper, it’s probably better to pull a graphic with some statistics for your audience to quickly digest and pique their interest. Visuals are also very important for social media; video drives 24 times more engagement than other content.

Ok, so where’s the proof this is worth it?

Wilbert ran a highly successful campaign to reach prospects of a high-end luxury residential brand in Buckhead. The team leveraged the company’s robust email database to reach over 330,000 qualified luxury buyers and encouraged them to contact the sales team. This resulted in about 13,000 conversions, all in eight weeks’ time with a small budget.

This goes to show that with a high level of detail and focused strategy, companies can reach a large number of people that have similar interests to your company with a relatively small amount of money. 

Any last thoughts? 

  • All boosted/paid content should be proprietary content
  • Range of social advertising spend from Wilbert clients is $500-$2,500 per month
  • Social media is a balance of art and science. In order to be successful, companies need to trust their social media team to run test ads and use the data to make informed decisions on what ads will be best to reach the right people in the right place at the right time.

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Atlanta – A city on the upswing of innovative architectural design

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Over the next 10 years, the population of Atlanta is projected to grow by 2.5 million. The influx of people and companies relocating to the city continues to bring more opportunity for commercial real estate development. And with the rise in commercial development follows the rise in storytelling from The Wilbert Group.

Many of the clients we work with are in the commercial real estate industry and part of the development boom that we are currently experiencing in the Atlanta market. From multifamily housing  to mixed-use destinations to stadiums, developers are becoming more innovative with every lift of the crane. Surely people across the country are puzzled by the same question: what makes Atlanta so attractive?

To start, our job market is extremely diverse. Let’s look at the film industry. Atlanta has become a highly sought-after location for shooting motion pictures and television shows which boosted its ranking to third in the nation at the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

Our city is also home to four prominent medical institutions, Atlanta Medical Center, Piedmont Healthcare, Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory Healthcare, just inside of the perimeter with several more expanding across metro Atlanta. We also boast two of the best global educational institutions – Georgia Tech and Emory University. According to a recent ranking by Times Higher Education, Atlanta is tied globally for fourth place on the list of best university cities where the top 100 colleges are located around the world.

Back to the developments. Intown Atlanta has seen drastic changes over the past few years thanks to the rise of the urban lifestyle. At the end of 2016, Midtown earned the title of “development capital of Atlanta” with a total of 22 cranes spotted in the small one-mile radius. Make no mistake though; Buckhead is in hot pursuit to take that title with a total of 33 projects currently underway or recently proposed, one of those being Wilbert client Emerson Buckhead.

Inspired by our clients, we have been experiencing a season of growth ourselves with the hiring of five new employees since the beginning of the year. This growth has allowed us to extend our reach and continue sharing the passion behind each of our client’s projects.

Last week, Wilbert client Randolph Williamson sat down with Craig Lucie of WSB-TV to discuss the shortage in the workforce as a direct result of the major development rise. Another Wilbert client, Cooper Carry, was also recently recognized in the Atlanta Business Chronicle for the design of one the many company relocations that incorporates a connection to MARTA.

Colony Square in Midtown is planning to celebrate its groundbreaking redevelopment project later this year and The Wilbert Group has been helping to reimagine the property. Keeping on the topic of innovation, Wilbert client Pollack Shores is developing three luxury apartment communities adjacent to the new Braves stadium and recently discussed the strong leasing momentum for Home at The Battery Atlanta with 11Alive.

One last Wilbert client shoutout goes to Franklin Street who not only revitalized a previously troubled asset, but also sold it for $5.65 million, setting the new record for highest sale price of a 1960s multifamily complex.

We could brag about our clients all day – but we won’t. Instead, continue watching them make history.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 7/7/16

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  1. Wilbertblogphoto(1)How did you celebrate Independence Day? In Atlanta, CRE pros displayed their patriotism by participating in the city’s many events, as reported in this Bisnow article by Jarred Schenke. Wilbert client North American Properties’ Liz Gillespie donned red, white and blue during the firm’s first annual 4th on the Square event at Colony Square in Midtown. The event took place Monday with music, food and a place for spectators to watch the Peachtree Road Race participants.
  1. In the June issue of Real Estate Forum, the magazine profiled “CRE’s Best Bosses.” Coming in at number one is Andrew Wright, Franklin Street CEO and Wilbert client. Wright won based on a poll by Real Estate Forum’s readers, totaling nearly 4,000 votes. The young CEO was 26 when he established the company in 2006. Since then, he has grown the full-service CRE firm from four people to 200 staffers in six offices in major markets throughout the Southeast, all focused on delivering value-added solutions to CRE owners and occupiers nationwide.
  1. WIlbertblogphoto(2)Mickey Mouse toothbrushes. Minnie Mouse watches. Toys, t-shirts and trinkets. Is there a brand or product that simply shouldn’t be Disneyfied? Incredibly, the answer might be no. Disney recently joined with clothing and accessories brand Coach on a collection that includes a $250 wristlet with oversize Mickey Mouse ears, a $1,995 leather motorcycle jacket with a studded Mickey Mouse silhouette on the back, and $245 Mickey Mouse sneakers. Wilbert client Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel detailed his opinion of the matter in this MarketWatch article, saying, “If executed correctly, this unique offering should be relatively insulated from direct competitive threats and create a reason for new and existing customers to engage with the Coach brand.”
  1. Last month, Breakthrough Atlanta, in partnership with the Atlanta chapter of the National Basketball Retired Players Association and Wilbert client Aaron’s, hosted its second Celebrity Basketball Game at The Lovett School’s Wallace Gymnasium. The game featured a friendly competition between Team Dale Ellis and Team Dikembe Mutombo, along with several of their fellow NBA legends. Breakthrough Atlanta’s programs help middle and high school students develop the academic skills and study habits to enroll and succeed in college – and, ultimately, in life.
  1. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s J. Scott Trubey Wilbert clients Colony Square and Peachtree Center were “mixed-use before mixed-use was cool.” Now these Atlanta landmarks are gearing up for major overhauls that their owners say will open the developments to their surroundings. In December, North American Properties and equity partner Lionstone Investments acquired the two office towers and mall and announced plans to turn Colony Square into Midtown’s “living room.” For Peachtree Center, the basic design won’t change, but there are plans to add restaurants and shops in the outdoor plaza to make the complex more inviting.

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 6/3/16

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  1. 031416_weekend_roundup_jp01Have you gone down Peachtree in Midtown recently? We’re guessing yes, and we’re guessing you’ve noticed the giant MIDTOWN letters sitting at the corner of 15th Street and Peachtree, standing eight feet tall and spanning a total of forty feet. While these may seem like a tourist trap, Jill Vejnoska at the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote that a funny thing happened outside of Wilbert client Colony Square: “People started liking them. A lot.” Jill wrote a great feature in the AJC, saying, “Almost as soon as the letters appeared, people began taking selfies with them, sometimes posting them on social media with the hashtag #IAmMidtown. In just two months, they’ve become a staging spot for all sorts of public events, from jazz concerts and a “Bike to Work Day” promotion to an Earth Day celebration.” Welcome to the new hottest spot in Midtown!
  1. The laws of supply and demand have become more complicated at Orlando’s big theme parks as they make shifts in pricing strategies. Recently, Disney has aggressively raised prices. In October, the company revamped its annual-pass system to make it much more expensive for people to visit during Christmas and spring break. Then in February, it announced tiered one-day ticket prices. The Magic Kingdom costs up to $124 on the busiest days. According to Matt Busch at Wilbert client Revenue Analytics, “The right pricing strategy can benefit both the company and the customer — that idea of…. managing demand so you don’t have these crazy crowds that can’t be served well.”
  1. UnknownLooking for an estate near Athens? Wilbert client Beaver Dam Farms, the 973-acre estate formerly owned by country singer Kenny Rogers, is heading to auction on July 9. The estate is centered around a 12,000-square-foot mansion and includes three private spring-fed lakes, five guest houses and a clubhouse and a lake clubhouse. Also on the property is an equestrian arena that includes 44 stalls and two swimming pools, as well as two clay tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. The owners said they will sell the property to the highest bidder “at or above $3.5 million fully furnished.” You can get more details from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and, a Wilbert first, TMZ!
  1. Jeffrey Bayer, president and CEO of Birmingham-based Wilbert client Bayer Properties, has been named to the board of trustees for International Council of Shopping Centers. Bayer is a part of the select group of international leaders in the retail industry that serve on the board. “It is a privilege to join the international leadership of ICSC,” Bayer said in a statement. “ICSC is the most influential organization in our industry and represents thought leadership and innovation. I am truly honored to sit on its Board of Trustees.”
  2. Atlanta-based national labor and employment firm and Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips has ditched the ampersand and rebranded as Fisher Phillips. The firm unveiled a new logo, tagline and website to go with the streamlined name as part of the campaign to update its brand. “Fisher Phillips is a strong, modern firm that can take on the toughest cases for the most discerning clients. Our brand will now reflect that,” said its chairman, Roger Quillen, in an announcement from the 350-lawyer firm.

 

Wilbert Goes to Vegas for ICSC RECon 2016

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RECon, hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), is the top global convention for the shopping center industry and provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world. An estimated 36,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors attend the conference each year.

With eight of Wilbert’s clients in attendance this year, Wilbert HQ sent Liana Moran to Las Vegas to show support and represent The Wilbert Group. Here are some of the stats from the last few days:

RECon by the numbers

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 5/12/16

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  1. MW-EM519_macys__20160511141748_ZHMacy’s is in real trouble. The retailer, whose shares were down some 14 percent at one point Wednesday, is facing headwinds from a “second consecutive year of double-digit spending reductions by international visitors in major tourist markets where Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are key destinations,” said Chief Executive Terry Lundgren in a statement. However, Jared Wiesel, partner at Wilbert client Revenue Analytics, told MarketWatch that, “there’s no doubt the softer global economy and the strength of the dollar is having an impact, but to say that sales dropped seven percent and say that that’s the major driver, I’m a little skeptical.” Wiesel advises the retailer to invest in better analytics and promotions practices.

 

  1. It’s not all bad news for retailers. Leon Stafford at the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently wrote about phase II of Wilbert client Avalon, which has landed some shopping heavy hitters, including Brooks Brothers, Levi’s and Urban Outfitters. The 86-acre mixed-use project, set to open next spring, also has leased space to Lucky Brand, The Boardroom Salon for Men, Hop City, Rumi’s Kitchen and Brine Fish House. Phase I of the project — which includes a Whole Foods store, movie theater and high-end apartments — opened in September 2014.

 

  1. Dave Williams at the Atlanta Business Chronicle recently reported on the latest National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) “quickie” elections figures, supplied by Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips. It turns out, the quicker the “quickie” union election is held, the more likely is a union victory. The firm looked at union certification elections across the country since last April, when the NLRB adopted rules allowing unions seeking to organize workers to hold elections within 11 days of filing a petition. While Fisher & Phillips found the victory rate for unions since the rules took effect has remained unchanged at 66 percent, union wins jumped to 85 percent in elections held within two weeks of a petition filing.

 

  1. web-toddler-Atantic-Station-600-x-400Need to know what to do with your toddler this summer? Look no further: Wilbert client Atlantic Station’s Central Park becomes a playground on Tuesdays, with games, storytelling, toys, music and special guests appearances. It’s available for toddlers younger than age five through September, and the best part: it’s free! You can check out other toddler activities in and around Atlanta here, which also includes Avalon’s Plaza, with face painters, storytellers, magicians, zoo animals and more.

 

  1. The Atlanta Jazz Festival lights up Piedmont Park at the end of the month, but metro music lovers don’t have to wait until then to get their groove on. The “31 Days of Jazz” is in full swing, with tunes on tap throughout the city. Workers taking a lunch break at Wilbert client Midtown’s Colony Square can hear music on the outdoor plaza on Thursdays from noon until 1 p.m., while those in (another Wilbert client) Peachtree Center will be entertained in the food court on Fridays.

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