The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts in category Commercial Real Estate

Learning our clients’ businesses – one meal at a time

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We’ve been eating-and-learning a lot lately. We hosted our client Monetha Cobb, managing director of Franklin Street Real Estate Services, for breakfast. (She is pictured below with Wilbert account executive Savannah Duncan.) Over muffins and coffee, Monetha told us about her career, her industry and what trends she is seeing the marketplace. She specializes in retail tenant services throughout the Southeast, and is a trusted advisor for retailers such as PNC Bank, Dollar Tree Stores and Cabela’s.

 

We also hosted client Ron Pfohl, director of leasing for North American Properties, for lunch. Ron is the director of leasing for North American Properties and he walked us step-by-step through how he leases up a property such as Avalon.

 

Wilbert invests in developing everyone’s subject matter expertise – even interns. A lot of PR firms skimp on that investment. Our subject matter expertise helps us think strategically when we develop PR programs for our clients, and it helps us pitch compelling stories to the media. As a relatively new member of the real estate practice here, I have been thrilled with how well my colleagues know real estate and with the opportunities for me to learn from clients like Monetha and Ron.

 

Thanks Monetha and Ron for your time!

Monetha Cobb of 11Alive & Wilbert's Savannah Duncan

Monetha Cobb, managing director of Franklin Street Real Estate Services & Wilbert’s Savannah Duncan

 

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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  1. Are you in the know about the TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information technology) sector? Brannan Moss, senior managing director, and Juliet Potter, vice president and director of research at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) showed their expertise in this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle. Detailing the growing demand for non-traditional, “creative” office workspaces in the Atlanta area, Moss said, “To be successful, these facilities need to be located in areas with amenities including good transportation infrastructure and vibrant retail opportunities.” Potter went on, “Demand for creative office space is following the fundamental shift in the ways companies desire to acquire and retain the best talent.”

 

Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office

Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office

  1. Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office, recently sat down with Globe St. to discuss the booming commercial real estate industry in Charleston. Ferrer says that the statistics back up his claims, with the office market vacancy falling from 11 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 7.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015. Increasing demand has also pushed up gross asking rents to $19.49 per square foot in the first quarter this year. In tandem, the population of Charleston has seen a recent boom, with a 50 percent increase in the last decade. Clearly Ferrer is being quite modest when he says, “…the market is producing a favorable environment for commercial real estate growth.”

 

  1. Fisher & Phillips’ managing partner Bert Brannen recently had an op-ed published in the Daily Report concerning the this week’s latest “Defaltegate” scandal. The latest development: a judge overturned Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four game suspension by the NFL, and Brannen realized this was a potential lesson for employers in Georgia. In fact, he has four different lessons including ensuring that employees fully understand company rules and that the punishment fits the crime.

 

  1. Globe St. published an article this week investigating just why the Atlanta Beltline is so popular. Tim Schrager, board chairman of the Atlanta Apartment Association, gave his opinion, “People want to be able to travel between hot neighborhoods like Midtown and Inman Park without fighting Atlanta traffic, and the BeltLine makes that possible,” Schrager says. “That’s an attractive benefit to young professionals, families and retirees alike.” The Beltline is among the most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States. It is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other.

 

Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties

Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties

  1. Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties, was recently interviewed by none other than the New York Times. Toro details his company’s culture of “Who will do what by when?” which means that, “If somebody says during a meeting, ‘We’ve got to get this lease signed,’ everybody knows what the follow-up question is going to be.” Toro then went on to give some advice on how to handle the people you work with, “There are only two types of people in the world: people who do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it, and people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it.”

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

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Media relations is often the bread and butter of PR. Everyday, we work with journalists to tell our client news and position them as thought leaders. And once we secure that media hit, we amplify the story across a multitude of digital channels to reach a broader audience.

 

For example, we set up an interview with New York Times Corner Office columnist Adam Bryant and our client Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties. The story ran on page two of The New York Times Sunday Business section last week. To further share this story beyond NYT circulation, we pulled quotes and created images to share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Mark Toro, managing partner at NAP Atlanta

Mark Toro, managing partner at NAP Atlanta

Picture your Twitter feed – text heavy, right? Including an image in a tweet draws the user’s eye when scrolling through the news feed. Pulling out compelling quotes and making them visually appealing is a great way to repackage a traditional media hit on social media channels.

Ultimately, the link was shared 531 times on LinkedIn, 397 times on Twitter and 489 times on Facebook. A single tweet with The New York Times graphic generated 650 impressions alone.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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SkyHouse Buckhead advertises its units for lease to motorists in Buckhead. Average rents are climbing as apartment vacancy remains tight amid a development boom

SkyHouse Buckhead advertises its units for lease to motorists in Buckhead. Average rents are climbing as apartment vacancy remains tight amid a development boom

  1. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the city’s steadily increasing apartment developments will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Ryan Davis of Witten and Associates, speaking at the Atlanta Apartment Association’s bi-annual Market Outlook breakfast, attributed the increase to Milliennials’ inclination towards renting rather than purchasing a home, as well as a steady increase in jobs (77,000 in the past year in metro Atlanta). According to data firm Axiometrics, rents in metro Atlanta grew at an annual rate of 7.3 percent and the average two-bedroom unit rented for $1,020 in June, while occupancy stood at 94.7 percent.

 

  1. Fisher & Phillips, a law firm specializing in labor and employment law, has released a new report on the early impact of the National Labor Relations Board’s so-called “quickie election” rule that went into effect this April. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that little change has occurred in the outcomes of union elections conducted under the shortened timetable, with only a slight increase in elections compared to the same time last year. Bert Brannen, managing partner of the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips, says the data “indicates unions are attempting to take advantage of the new process and creating issues for employers who may oppose the unions’ efforts. [But] the number of elections to go to a vote have decreased. … Some employers may see that as a positive sign.”
The kids clearly enjoyed the festivities!

The kids clearly enjoyed the festivities!

  1. This past weekend, Atlantic Station had a TON going on. Examiner reports that last Saturday, Central Park featured a college game tailgate, plus the King of Pops were set up from noon-7:00 p.m. (we hear the Salted Caramel flavor was unforgettable). The college game day tailgate featured The Big Green Egg, Chevy trucks, Johnsonville brats, and more – families were very welcome! If bone licking BBQ was more of visitors’ speed, they were able to attend the Atlanta BBQ Festival with 50 professional and amateur BBQ teams competing for the title of Best BBQ in Atlanta.
  1. Two-dozen Boys & Girls Clubs of America facilities across the country are about to get a makeover. Atlanta-based Aaron’s Inc. is set to announce a $5 million, three-year national partnership with the organization to help empower at-risk teenagers, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The donation will support the nonprofit’s Keystone Club, its premier national teen leadership and character program. The announcement will take place August 24 at the Warren Boys & Girls Club in Grant Park, where Aaron’s will unveil a $25,000 makeover — including donations of furniture, electronics and appliances as well as paint.
  1. iStar has already surpassed last year’s total sales, selling 10 units for a total of $22 million at The Residences at Mandarin Oriental. The team, led by exclusive listing broker Karen Rodriguez, has completed $38.2 million in sales at the property since taking over the project in January 2014, according to Unique Homes. The next build-out phase is underway for the second full-floor condo, Residence 52, a stunning penthouse-style home priced at $4.2 million that includes four bedrooms, 4 ½ baths, a Carrera marble entry, Waterworks fixtures, and nearly 800 square feet of outdoor terrace space. The first full-floor unit, Residence 51, is under contract for nearly $4 million. For homeowners who desire a fully customizable residence, The Residences are offering two full floors as unfinished homes. Currently, there are four finished units available, with an additional six units under construction.
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental

News You Can Use

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In an inspired PR play this week, our real estate team seized an opportunity to insert one of our clients into an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about Donald Trump’s return to ATL and what could come of his former prime piece of Midtown real estate. It was a move that we PR pros can execute with our eyes closed, but some newbies may need a quick lesson on what newsjacking is and why it’s ever-so-important in today’s media landscape.

 

Donald Trump (left) with daughter Ivanka and partners Gil Dezer (second from right) and Mark Randall stand next to a scale model of the proposed $300 million Trump Towers project in Midtown Atlanta in April 2007.

Donald Trump (left) with daughter Ivanka and partners Gil Dezer (second from right) and Mark Randall stand next to a scale model of the proposed $300 million Trump Towers project in Midtown Atlanta in April 2007.

Newsjacking is essentially piggybacking on a news item and inserting your client’s expert opinion on the subject. It’s about taking advantage of a fleeting opportunity that may not seem glaringly obvious for a client (in this case we had a real estate attorney comment on Trump’s failed tower, so fairly obvious connection), establish a connection and move quickly. If the general story is out (again, in this case, Trump coming to Atlanta is a big news story that all news outlets are covering), reporters will want to get their slant out as fast as possible.

 

Here are a few additional tips:

 

1) A critical element of successful newsjacking is having existing relationships with reporters. Because the pace moves quickly, reporters are more likely to pick up the phone and consider the idea if they already know the person on the other end. Work on creating and maintaining a tight database of reporters, and constantly keep in touch.

2) Move fast. Because this is a real-time process, avoid clients who require a large-scale approval process. When you jump on the opportunity, make sure your clients are comfortable talking about the subject. Journalists nowadays are covering multiple beats and are required to produce a ton of content, so the faster you move, the better resource you are for them.

3) Be precise and add more than what the journalist may be seeking. Capitalize on the news trend but provide extra value to the story.

4) Offer a few different sources and angles. It’s hard to get sources on the phone, and if one doesn’t answer, the reporter may need to quickly move on to the next one. Craft an organized email that outlines each source, his or her title, phone number and email address, and the topics they can address.

The Wilbert Group’s Hadley Creekmuir Named to the Urban Land Institute of Atlanta’s Center for Leadership Class of 2016

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Hadley Creekmuir, Vice President at The Wilbert Group, has been named one of the 35 members of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Center for Leadership class of 2016. Now in its seventh year, the ULI Center for Leadership is a nine-month program for emerging leaders in the real estate and land-use industries. Individuals will leave the program with the understanding that by bringing together smart people with diverse background and expertise, there is no problem the region can’t tackle.

Hadley Creekmuir

Hadley Creekmuir

Hadley joined The Wilbert Group after spending a few years navigating the entrepreneurial waters. As the founder of Creekmuir Communications, Hadley developed, implemented and managed communication campaigns for a variety of Atlanta companies, ranging from a specialty harmonious aquaculture company to The Westminster Schools.

Hadley graduated with a bachelor of arts in English from Sewanee: The University of the South, and earned a master of arts in journalism with a specialty in magazines from the University of Mississippi, where she was a Phi Kappa Phi and a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for journalism students.

An Atlanta native, Hadley is involved with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History as well as Aurora, a non-profit organization focused on propelling women to the next stage of their careers. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and two dachshunds.

Why PR Pros Should Establish Themselves as Resources to Reporters

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PR pros should work to establish themselves as important resources and sources to key media members with whom they have or want a productive relationship. Doing so will benefit the journalist and your PR firm and its clients. More importantly, being helpful means the reporter or editor will be open to future pitches and might even start calling you for story ideas.

Bennet Rudder, Vice President at Ben Carter Enterprises

Bennet Rudder, Vice President at Ben Carter Enterprises

This scenario worked out well this month when Joel Groover, a writer for Shopping Centers Today, said he needed a retail developer to discuss cool and innovative ways to market their shopping and outlets centers. We let Groover know right away that Ben Carter Enterprises, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate firm and client, employed some cool techniques to market space and additional land at an adjacent to Tanger Outlets Savannah, which opened in April along I-95 near Savannah, Georgia. One of the cutting-edge tools Ben Carter and his team are utilizing is a drone that can fly high above the site and capture photos and angles and heights previously unattainable without hiring a helicopter or small plane.

The idea resonated with SCT’s Groover, who requested an interview with Ben Carter. During the interview, our client also discussed a unique way his company is marketing retail space at its Broughton Street Collection, a $75 million endeavor centered on the restoration of more than three dozen historic properties on Savannah’s historic Broughton Street (once the city’s premier retail corridor).

Savannah's Broughton Street and Ben Carter (right)

Savannah’s Broughton Street and Ben Carter (right)

We followed up with the writer to find out if he needed any images, because today no story can run or appear online without art – a photo, locator map, rendering or screen grab to illustrate the story. Groover asked whether we could get a photo of a BCE executive at the Tanger site with a drone. Though his deadline was tight, we jumped on the opportunity, and Ben Carter did, too. Right away, we got a photo of Bennett Rudder, a BCE vice president who leases space at Tanger and Broughton Street, holding the drone on property.

That photo is the lead art in the just-published Shopping Centers Today story, ATTENTION GRABBERS – Landlords Are Using Drones, Flash Mobs and Other Creative Tactics to Get Prospective Tenants’ Attention. Click here and turn to Page 44 to see the score.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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avalon-pic

Avalon by NAP

1. North American Properties has impressed millions with its successful transformation of Atlantic Station. Now, NAP is looking to transform the entire industry with its mixed-use project in Alpharetta called Avalon. Avalon opened Oct. 30, 2015, with 400,000 square feet of retail, 106,00 square feet of Class A office, 101 single-family homes and 250 luxury apartment homes. GlobeSt.com reports that during the grand opening 15 tenants broke company-wide opening day sales records. When building Avalon, NAP focused on creating an “experience” instead of just the buildings giving it more personality than your normal shopping mall.

2. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that job growth, lack of space and stalled new development has caused rents for office space in Atlanta to spike. According to JLL, rent for Class A office space within metro Atlanta has grown at the fastest rate of any major metro in the country. CBRE said that the office vacancy rate in metro Atlanta hit an eight-year low in March. With the job market picking up, the expansion phase of the cycle has begun for more office space.

IMG_8525

LottaFrutta Founder Myrna Perez

3. Avalon is getting a new healthy option with the addition of LottaFrutta. Owner Myrna Perez opened her first shop in the Old Fourth Ward in 2006, and opened her second location at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2013. Now Perez looks to continue her success with LottaFrutta opening in Alpharetta at Avalon on the Fourth of July. Atlanta Magazine said that the shop, that usually only serves breakfast and lunch, will add a dinner option at the new location, as well as catering and delivery.

4. GlobeSt.com interviewed developer Ben Carter on why his company, Ben Carter Enterprises, decided to invest nearly $400 million on two different projects in Savannah — Tanger Outlets Savannah and The Broughton Street Collection. Carter said that Savannah has seen dramatic growth in tourism, with more than 13 million tourists exploring the city in 2013. Phase 1 of Tanger Outlets Savannah opened in April, and the second phase, which will consist two fashion anchor stores totaling 35,000 square feet, as well as additional shops and two new restaurants, is in negotiation.

5. Ben Carter’s Tanger Outlets had a VIP Party and The Wilbert Group was in attendance for the festivities. Founder Tony Wilbert and Liana Moran attended the event. Photo was featured in Savannah Magazine.Liana Moran, Tony Wilbert-X2

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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The Wilbert Group’s clients have been making news, and we’ve been securing them headlines across the Southeast. Take a look:

1. Crescent Communities CEO Todd Mansfield offered his take on the recent uptick in U.S. housing starts to Bloomberg Business. “With the job situation improving slowly, unemployment going down, people seem to have more confidence in the economy,” Mansfield told Bloomberg. “That has gotten some people off the dime who want to upgrade their home or get out of the basement.”

2. The North Atlanta Business Post discusses Avalon’s ongoing popularity and the mixed-use community’s Phase II, which will add a 650-space parking deck, 256 residential units, an office tower, hotel, conference center and another 150,000 square feet of retail space.

Avalon Phase II

Rendering of Avalon’s Phase II

3. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s popular “5 Questions for the Boss” feature recently profiled Aaron’s new CEO John Robinson.

4. Multi Housing Advisors spoke with Bisnow about how investors are still looking to buy multifamily housing despite a sluggish first-quarter economy. MHA’s Jordan McCarley told Bisnow that the high demand is resulting in more creative deal structures.

5. GlobeSt.com covered the industrial panel at the recent RealShare Atlanta conference. Panelist and attorney Summey Orr of Hartman Simons told the audience that the “handful” of developers who stayed in the Atlanta industrial market during the downturn now find themselves with “a lot of opportunities.”

Broughton Street

Savannah’s Historic Broughton Street

6. Developer Ben Carter weighed in on Savannah’s economic recovery in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. Carter is planning a $100 million makeover of Savannah’s historic Broughton Street that will bring new retail, restaurants, apartments and office spaces. Earlier this spring, Carter also opened the first phase of a Tanger outlet mall near the city’s airport.

Palm Trees & Real Estate: We are getting ready for NAREE in Miami!

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Johnn_Isakson_Tony_Wilbert

Tony Wilbert with Senator Johnny Isakson at NAREE 2013

Who says Google is the only brand that can play with its logo successfully?

At The Wilbert Group, we are very involved in the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE), and our graphic designer has changed the logo up to reflect the location of its annual conference.

First, in 2013, when our own Tony Wilbert was co-chair of the conference and it was held in Atlanta, we incorporated a peach.
naree gaNAREE-MIAMI

 

 

 

 

And this year, to honor the host city of Miami, we added a palm tree!

NAREE is hosting its 49th Annual Spring Conference in Miami June 24 to June 27. Tony already has his plane ticket, and several of our clients are presenting. The NAREE conference always offers a great opportunity to spend time with our friends who cover real estate at trade publications like National Real Estate Investor, major metros like The Baltimore Sun and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and national outlets including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. The speakers, leading real estate executives, also offer insight into industry trends.