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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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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 3/14/17

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  1. 17021416_1767730463252565_373011565381298796_nSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and Colony Square had reports that a leprechaun known as “Colin” was on the loose! It had been spotted at different areas around the Square leading up to last Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. To learn more, head over to CBS46, which featured an interview with Colony Square’s marketing director Carla Toro about all of Colony Square’s shamrock festivities.
  1. Hip-hop icon Common helped teens and Chicago police build better relationships earlier this month at the Boys & Girls Club of America’s annual Keystone Conference presented by Aaron’s, Inc. This CBS Chicago clip details Common’s speech to about 2,500 teens from all over the world. These teens came together with Common to discuss bridging relationships between teens and police, building trust, and not relying on stereotypes. Also standing on stage was Chicago Police Deputy Chief of Community Policing Eric Washington.
  1. Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.34.26 AMAccording to a recent Eater Atlanta article, Alpharetta’s Avalon development will unveil a slew of new restaurants next month. North American Properties announced that seven new projects will come online April 13 as the development officially unveils its Boulevard East expansion. The openings include Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar, Brine Seafood Shack, MF Bar and much more.
  1. There’s lots of talk about what the United States can expect from President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. But how will this justice, if confirmed, affect employers across the country? Albert Brannen, managing partner of the Atlanta office of Fisher Phillips, penned a recent op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution describing how Gorsuch would treat workplace law cases.
  1. Are you thinking about freshening up your home this Spring? Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or just want an overhaul, a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article has three ways to upgrade your home’s walls, featuring advice from Megan Harris, director of design at Edward Andrews Homes. Harris recommends using wallpaper with bold prints in areas like the foyer, a guest bathroom, a media room, or even as a focal point behind the bed.

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 1/13/17

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1. newsEngin.17001262_121816-Avalon-Biz-01Mark Toro has a hard deadline to meet, and he knows it by heart. “April 13, 10 a.m.,” the managing partner of North American Properties said on a recent tour of construction for the second phase of Avalon, the company’s marquee Alpharetta development. That’s when Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Brooks Brothers and a number of other luxury retailers, restaurants and a new office tower are slated to open. A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution profile on the property more details regarding what’s coming for the development, which J. Scott Trubey says, “has set the bar for walkable urban centers… and for the gospel of ‘experiential retail.’”

2. It has been 13 years since Kurt Warner last played football for the St Louis Rams, but a part of his heart remains in the area. Last month, Kurt, wife Brenda and oldest son Zack presented fully-furnished new homes in north St. Louis County to a pair of single working mothers as part of the “Homes for the Holidays” program, in partnership with Aaron’s, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity. Read more about the companies’ donations in this St. Louis Dispatch article.

3. Temperatures are already warming in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean winter is over quite yet. The seasonal celebration continues at Atlantic Station, which right now is hosting the city’s largest outdoor ice skating rink. In fact, Fox5’s Paul Milliken took to the ice himself this week on the 10,000-square-foot rink, which opened in November and will remain operational through February 19th. General admission to the rink is $13 and $10 for children under the age of 12.

4. Cass Hollis has returned to law, joining Fisher Phillips’ employee benefits practice as of counsel after taking an eight-year hiatus to raise her children. Hollis, 45, had practiced for a decade at Powell Goldstein (now Bryan Cave) before leaving in 2008 to become a full-time mom. She said she started thinking about returning to practice this summer as her three children, now aged 10 to 15, got ready for the new school year. Fisher Phillips’ Atlanta’s managing partner D. Albert Brannen told the Daily Report, “It’s an investment—but we think she’s the right person in the right area.”

5. Americans are likely to mention a good brand experience to an average of nine people. This means setting the experiential stage in a way that is relevant to a retailer’s best shoppers is critical for long-term loyalty. However, experiential marketing is fluid, requiring constant evolution to remain relevant. North American Properties’ Liz Gillespie spoke with Forbes’ Bryan Pearson regarding strategies her company has implemented to connect with consumers, including supporting free community yoga classes with complimentary yoga mats and water bottles.

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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, 1/4/2016

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  1. Aaron's Turkey Donation with Action Ministries

    Aaron’s Turkey Donation with Action Ministries

    During the holidays, most families are concerned about the latest and greatest gadgets on everyone’s wish list. The last thing they worry about is if they’ll be eating a meal on Christmas day. But for hundreds of families in Georgia, not eating on Christmas was a very real possibility. That’s why Wilbert client Aaron’s teamed up with Action Ministries to donate over 200 turkeys to local Atlanta families this holiday season. Fox 5 Atlanta has a gallery of the giveaway, with photos of families, volunteers, and smiling faces. Additionally, Wilbert client Skanska donated hats, scarves and gloves to over 500 students at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School last month.

 

  1. On Dec. 11’s All About Real Estate edition of the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio show, hosts Todd Schnick and Bryan Nonni were joined by CEO and Managing Broker of Wilbert client Terrace 24 Realty, Mike Minihan. In this episode, the trio discussed the concept of Terrace 24, the company process, its value to consumers and industry professionals, trends in real estate and much more. You can listen to the full show here.

 

  1. President of Pinnacle Search Partners, William Creekmuir

    President of Pinnacle Search Partners, William Creekmuir

    Furniture Today profiled Wilbert client William Creekmuir, a former senior executive with Simmons and LADD Furniture, who is now the new owner of executive search firm Pinnacle Search Partners. Creekmuir has served in a leadership role with Pinnacle since January and will serve as its president. He served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of publicly traded LADD, and over a 15-year period worked in the United States and Ireland for the international public accounting firm KPMG, where he was responsible for college recruiting in the Carolinas and was a partner.

 

  1. Although the holidays are over, there’s still plenty of time for ice-skating. The Atlanta Journal Constitution rounded up the top places to go skating in Atlanta, including Atlantic Station, where you can lace up at Skate Atlantic Station, home to a 10,000-square-foot, open-air ice skating rink through Feb. 14. Additionally, through Jan. 24, skaters can enjoy the Rockefeller-inspired rink at Avalon, a mixed-use development in Alpharetta. Special events will be held Jan. 7, Jan. 14, and Jan. 21.

 

  1. Although you (hopefully) already had your holiday office party, this 11 Alive article on employer liability at such events is still a good read. Michelli Rivera, associate at Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips, details what kinds of legal risks employers can face if they provide alcohol at a company holiday party, and beyond. Rivera said, “Liability is a real concern for employers who know that company holiday parties can be the precipice of harassment and discrimination claims.” So whether it’s next year’s holiday party, or a Mardi Gras celebration, be sure to keep your company protected against any potential lawsuits.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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Santa at Avalon

1. 11 Alive recently reported on new technology that makes visits with Santa more personal than ever at Avalon in Alpharetta. Santa’s cottage is equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) that lets parents convey personal information about their children without whispering in Santa’s ear. Parents fill out a questionnaire about their children when they register online or in person at the concierge desk. “Special requests from Santa are also encouraged, such as clean your room, stop fighting with your sister or do your homework,” said Carla Toro, director of marketing at Avalon. Avalon created a video to explain the process for parents. Check it out here.

2. This year, Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, was expected to pull in a record $3 billion in sales, experts said. Traffic was expected to be up about 14 percent Monday over last year. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Leon Stafford interviewed local Atlanta businesses about what successes and shortcomings they saw this year, with Wilbert client Revenue Analytics’ Dax Cross providing insight into the continuing evolution of online shopping. Cross said, “Big box retailers are generally seeing 10-15 percent annual growth in online sales over last year. This growth represents a greater and greater proportion of their total growth… but their growth rates still trail Amazon’s.”

3. Our client Aaron’s remodeled the Boys & Girls Keystone teen center last month in Jacksonville, FL, its ninth Boys & Girls Club remodel this year. The club’s makeover was covered by Florida-Times Union reporter Amanda Williamson, who interviewed Deborah Green-Ward, unit director for the Beaches Clubhouse. Green-Ward said, “Here, [the teens] have a voice. We provide them with a space — and more importantly, a vehicle to express. … We know the teens will use this renovated space to invite other teens in the area to join our club so they can in turn learn and develop their leadership skills.”

4. This week, Howard Mavity, partner at leading labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips, penned an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in response to the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino. Mavity has some advice for employers in Atlanta on the best ways to increase their preparedness for such an unfortunate and increasingly common scenario. His tips include maintaining an Emergency Action Plan as required under OSHA regulations and ensuring all entrances and exits are professionally assessed.

5. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s J. Scott Trubey, “Midtown Atlanta’s Colony Square was decades ahead of its time. Now, the venerable mix of office towers and shopping mall is about to play catch-up with the modern era.” Developer and Wilbert client North American Properties and equity partner Lionstone Investments closed on their purchase of the towers at 14th and Peachtree streets last week. Unlike much of Atlanta’s recent development history, instead of tearing down the towers and starting over, the developers plan to spruce up and reinvent this pioneer of mixed-use urbanism. You can read more about the purchase in Trubey’s article, along with several quotes from Mark Toro.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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Skyline View of Atlantic Station

Skyline View of Atlantic Station

1. As you have probably heard by now, Atlantic Station was sold this month to real estate and investor services firm Hines Interests. Previous owner North American Properties, who bought the property in 2010, sold the retail town center. Atlantic Station is a mix of retail, residential and high-rise office buildings just west of the Downtown Connector. It also has a hotel and an IKEA store and hosts events such as an annual pro tennis tournament and Cirque du Soleil shows. The property sold does not include buildings occupied by Publix, Dillard’s, Target and IKEA, nor the office towers or hotel on site.

 

2. Earlier this month, Aaron’s launched an initiative to hire 700 new associates at its stores through the United States and Canada. Dubbed “National Hiring Day” the company invited people to register for the event and come to learn more about the company and apply for a job. Aaron’s was looking to hire delivery drivers, customer service representatives, manager trainees, information technology specialists and call center representatives.

 

3. WSB Atlanta recently interviewed principal architect of Cooper Carry Bob Neal on recent development at Avalon in Alpharetta. They are building a full convention center and hotel at the luxury community, which will expand upon the already existing walkable community of shopping, dining, living & working. Neal says that sustaining growth in the area requires more hotel space, which is the “only thing that is lacking the area right now.”

 

Revenue Analytics’ Managing Partner and Chief Scientist, Jon Higbie

Revenue Analytics’ Managing Partner and Chief Scientist, Jon Higbie

4. Revenue Analytics’ Managing Partner and Chief Scientist, Jon Higbie, was recently published on HotelExecutive.com with an article about the future of hotel revenue management. The article focused on why hotels need to adapt an analytical mindset to drive transactional profit. Concluding the article, Higbie said, “The hotels that can conquer the next frontier of Revenue Management, and change their business mindset to think like a merchant, can develop both organic revenue growth and a strong, loyal customer base.”

 

5. A recent U.S. News & World Report article titled “How to Sell An Ugly House” details, well… just that. Mike Minihan, managing broker of Terrace 24 Realty in Atlanta, says, “Dumpy houses are usually filled with dumpy furniture and decorations, so it’s best to move everything out. This runs counter to advice an agent would give to most sellers, because a staged house usually shows much better than an empty house.” Minihan says staged homes usually work better because buyers don’t have much imagination, and an empty room forces buyers to work hard to imagine their furniture and belongings in the room.” But with the dumpy house, you are in search of a buyer with imagination, and that couch from 1981 with cigarette burns all over it is probably going impede this visionary buyer’s creative process more than it will help it,” he says.

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

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.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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by Alyssa Wenger

The Wilbert Group’s clients have been making news over the past few weeks, and we’ve been busy getting them headlines across the Southeast. Take a look:

1. Mall developer Ben Carter’s newest project, Tanger Outlets Savannah, opens today and Business in Savannah covered the story.

2. A Boys and Girls Club in Franklin Tennessee received a makeover, thanks to Aaron’s.

SAEN Photo

3. In a great article about Atlanta’s blossoming outdoor fitness trend, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discussed Avalon’s new outdoor wellness classes and Atlantic Station’s outdoor yoga program.

4. Read more about Crescent Communities’ groundbreaking for a new industrial building in North Carolina from the Charlotte Business Journal.

5. Grand Cayman’s Camana Bay was mentioned in a Travel and Leisure article featuring a guide to Caribbean destinations.