The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts in category Commercial Real Estate

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


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.

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 3.00.52 PM


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


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.”


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



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. 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.


To Get the Most Out of ICSC, You’ll Need PR


Are you attending ICSC RECon this year? If you go without a PR strategy, you’re wasting an opportunity to make a name for yourself in retail real estate. The evidence?

  • ICSC social pages have a BIG audience. Are you a part of that conversation?
  • Media will be there, including National Real Estate Investor, Bisnow, Commercial Observer, Chain Sore Age and more. Do you have a plan to organize interviews and get news out to the right people?
  • And what about your local media? Chances are, they’ll be looking for experts to discuss the conference when you’re back home.

You can make your mark in an impactful way. Check out our SlideShare below to learn how The Wilbert Group can help.


Caroline Wilbert


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Atlanta – A city on the upswing of innovative architectural design


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.

How Mark Bisnow Did the Impossible: Built a Profitable Business News Outlet in Today’s Market



When Bisnow first came to Atlanta in 2009, Mark Bisnow hired me to write for the commercial real estate e-newsletter. I had left the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was freelancing for a variety of companies, including Coca-Cola. It was a fun few months putting my reporter cap back on, and I was intrigued by the model. Mark wanted breaking news, lots of photos of people (not traditional head shots!) and witty, not-too-serious writing. He understood commercial real estate is a people business and he played to that.

Quickly, I was too focused on my own entrepreneurial dreams (i.e. The Wilbert Group) to freelance, and Mark needed a full-time person anyway. He hired Jarred Schenke who has done an incredible job and made Bisnow an important player in the Atlanta CRE news game. Bisnow nationally has done very well also and has developed a lucrative events business to complement its e-newsletter model.

Yesterday, Fortune broke the story that a private equity firm paid $50 million for Bisnow. As so many media companies struggle to stay relevant and turn a profit, entrepreneur Mark Bisnow started a media outlet, grew it and sold it for a pretty penny.

Here are four reasons I think he was successful:

  • He understood he needed to go niche (and not try to be all things to all businesspeople)
  • He played to people’s shrinking attention spans and desire for visual content
  • He got that email is still a very important channel (Snapchat is cool, sure, but the power of email is way under-rated)
  • He hired good journalists and gave them clear direction
  • He married lucrative events with business journalism

The good news for all of us who love CRE news is that Bisnow and Jarred will continue to operate as usual.

Congrats to Mark Bisnow and team on their success!

The Wilbert Group’s Trip to Gaza


Today, our office visited Gaza.

We traveled via Google Cardboard, a virtual reality viewer The New York Times sent its subscribers in the mail.


The New York Times has invested significantly in Virtual Reality experiences.

It was extraordinary.

We downloaded the Vrse virtual reality app and watched “My Mother’s Wing” – a short virtual reality film that gives a first-person view of a Palestinian family who lost two sons to Israeli bombing.

Virtual reality production company in conjunction with the United Nations produced My Mother’s Wing, a short eight-minute documentary about a Palestinian family who lost two sons to Israeli bombing.

Virtual reality production company Vrse works in conjunction with the United Nations produced My Mother’s Wing, a short eight-minute documentary.

We didn’t just see inside the family’s home, we were standing inside their kitchen. We turned to see trash overflowing in the corner, dishes stacked on shelves and the mother preparing tea near the sink. It was a powerful and moving experience as we were transported to the frontlines of this family’s tragedy.

When we removed the headset, we were brought back to the bright lights of our office. We looked at the cardboard box with wonder. Where would it take us next?


Learning how to use our own Google Cardboard at The Wilbert Group.

Google Cardboard brings the storytelling experience to a new level. It immerses viewers inside a new reality, and the possibilities are endless.

At The Wilbert Group, we represent many firms in the commercial real estate space and we are always looking for new ways to tell their stories and drive their business goals.

And, looking at this novel technology through a commercial real estate lens, we started to think about how this changes the game.

Google Cardboard would allow:

  • Prospective tenants to “walk” around inside the future space, enhancing the ability to pre-lease.
  • Developers to win public support by walking people through virtual reality renderings, giving them a real feel for the new development.
  • Better collaboration between architects, developers and contractors as they design and build projects together.

At Wilbert, we look forward to exploring new opportunities with Google Cardboard. We encourage you to try it yourself and order one here.

If you’re a company looking to explore the world of Virtual Reality, expect a big price tag to match the big idea (approximately $20-$50k per video). However, as video and app developers become more acquainted with Google Cardboard technology, we expect production costs to drop. Click here for more information about virtual experience developers.

Some companies such as Chaos Group are ready to offer clients Virtual Reality-Ready renderings and visualizations.  Click the picture for more info.

Some companies such as Chaos Group are ready to offer clients Virtual Reality-Ready renderings and visualizations. Click the picture for more info.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 2/16/16

  1. We hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day, just hopefully not too lovely in the workplace! Michelli Rivera, an attorney at Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips penned an op-ed for the Augusta Chronicle on the dangers of professing love in the workplace. Rivera wrote that there are numerous examples in case law of “situations in which cards and gifts from supervisors to subordinates such as flowers, cookies, and chocolates or sexually-explicit comments are used as evidence of unwanted sexual advances.”


  1. At a recent forecasting breakfast in Buckhead hosted by real estate services firm and Wilbert client JLL, the theme was the longevity of walkable urban suburban environments. Ben Breslau, managing director for research with JLL, spoke at the event and explained how converting car-centric suburbs and cities to more walkable and dense communities rank among the greatest challenges and opportunities in real estate. Breslau also cited Midtown with its MARTA access and street grid as one of the best submarkets for corporate interest and growing rents. Downtown, a historically under-performing submarket, he said, is one of the neighborhoods with the greatest upside potential. You can read more about the event in this Atlanta Journal Constitution article.


  1. An article in this month’s Shopping Center Business magazine described the changing face of outlet centers. CEO of Wilbert client Ben Carter Enterprises, Quito Anderson, described the shift by saying, “most of the outlets used to be in rural areas where you would have to go on a journey to get your discounts.” Anderson says, now, “those days are gone.” Additionally, Anderson cites expanded food offerings as a vital piece of expansion at the Tanger Outlets Savannah in Pooler, Georgia. He said, “outlets have really taken on an image of lifestyle centers – they’re becoming a place where people come to do things other than shopping.”


  1. This month Wilbert client Aaron’s, Inc. renovated it’s ninth Boys & Girls Club teen center, the Independence Unit just outside of Kansas City. Local paper the Kansas City Star featured a video of local Aaron’s volunteers painting and remodeling the facility. With input from the teen members, Aaron’s associates and club officials painted, decorated and furnished the club. Later, local Aaron’s associates and club officials unveiled the new center to the teen members, which is now equipped with new technology, furniture and fresh coats of paint.


  1. Leading the latest effort in bringing Atlanta into the future, Mark Toro and Advance Atlanta have been organizing a movement to expand MARTA and bring some much needed relief to this congested city. Toro, CEO of Wilbert client North American Properties, spoke at a news conference this month regarding the benefits of their plan. You can see an excerpt of the Atlanta Journal Constitution article here.

Exciting news for client, North American Properties



It’s been an exciting week for our client North American Properties, which purchased Colony Square in a deal that closed Monday. The Wilbert team, led by account executive Liana Moran, secured coverage in outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Creative Loafing to WSB-Channel 2 to GlobeSt to Bisnow.

NAP also launched a social campaign, encouraging people to share their ideas for Colony Square with the hashtag #ReimagineCS. Our digital strategist Rebecca Hartman is using Zoomph to track the number of times #ReimagineCS is used. After only three days there have been 140 posts with #ReimagineCS and 266,228 social impressions.

140 posts – that’s a lot of social chatter! But what’s our favorite Tweet?

This one, of course…

Always good when a client is happy!

Wilbert Heads to CRE/Tech Intersect


Tomorrow, The Wilbert Group is headed to New York City for CRE / Tech Intersect, the largest gathering of the CRE/tech industry. The bi-annual, bi-coastal symposium brings industry leaders together to discuss and learn about innovative technologies. The Wilbert Group, a public relations firm known for its real estate expertise, and Trevelino/Keller, a public relations and branding firm known for its tech expertise, recently created a partnership, TechRise, to capitalize on the continued growth of the CRE/tech industry.



TechRise recently released a new SlideShare about how to use social media to build relationships with CRE decision makers. LinkedIn is the most relevant social media platform for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, with an estimated 90 percent of professionals on the platform. Twitter is the No. 2 platform for reaching CRE decision-makers. Check out the SlideShare below: