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Posts tagged atlanta journal-constitution

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


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.


Media Moves: What’s The Scoop?


by Savannah Duncan

As former journalists, we still love to get —and share— the latest newsroom scoop. In Media Moves, we highlight the latest happenings in journalism and media.

Jennifer Rigby. Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jennifer Rigby. Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

#1 Political Prowess. The Washington Post included four reporters from Georgia in its 2015 list of the best political reporters. This year’s designees include Greg Bluestein, Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Lori Geary of WSB. View the full list here.

#2 Staying Alive. 11 Alive announced yesterday that the station is adding a 5 p.m. newscast and is dropping noon and 7 p.m. news programs. Brenda Wood and DeMarco Morgan will co-anchor the new show time. This is no doubt the brainchild of news veteran Jennifer Rigby, who was named 11 Alive news director in November.

#3 Meet the Press. The Associated Press has hired Georgia journalist Bill Hendrick for a 15-week assignment to cover the 2015 legislative session. Hendrick reports for duty on Feb. 2.

Two Icons Leave An Indelible Mark on Atlanta


by Tony Wilbert and Mark Braykovich

Carl Sanders being sworn in as governor. Photo: AP.

The passing of two Atlanta icons – former Governor Carl Sanders and real estate magnate Herman Russell – rekindles several fond memories for Tony Wilbert, who wrote about Russell during the 1990s and 2000s, and Mark Braykovich, who worked for Gov. Sanders at the law firm Troutman Sanders until 2013.

Most people remember Sanders as the progressive Democrat who pushed to desegregate schools and the state capitol, but Mark also recalls him as the brilliant legal strategist who served as counsel to many of the deans of Atlanta business, such as Tom Cousins.

At Troutman Sanders, legions of much-younger lawyers regularly marched up to his 52nd floor office – where Sanders held court from his old governor’s chair – to solicit his advice or approval. Several of them would proudly tell you “I’m a Sanders guy,” meaning they had been handpicked by him to work at the firm he founded after losing his second gubernatorial bid to Jimmy Carter in the early 1970s.

Sanders always took time to chat. Just wander into his office and he would regale you with stories about politics past and present, his meeting with JFK, and his wife Betty’s artwork that hung in his office.

Even in his later years, Sanders’ mind remained sharp and he would rifle out tough questions. He also was smart enough to know when he needed to pass the reins at Troutman Sanders, choosing a young partner, Bob Webb, to succeed him. The move paid huge dividends as Webb orchestrated mergers, geographic expansion and unprecedented growth for Troutman Sanders.

Russell was similarly brilliant and successful, says Tony. The construction firm he founded, H.J. Russell & Co., played a role in building numerous Atlanta landmarks. Look out across the Atlanta skyline, notes Tony, and you’ll see them: Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Dome, the Atlanta Federal Center, Georgia-Pacific Plaza, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Herman Russell in front of one of his many Atlanta projects. Photo: Lanna Swindler.

He was a trailblazer known for knocking down racial barriers and making unconventional business decisions. The one Tony remembers most was Russell’s 1996 decision to name NOT one of his children to succeed him at H.J. Russell, but an outsider, R.K. Sehgal.

Later, however, he returned leadership of the company to his family, selecting son Michael to be the CEO and his other son, Jerome, to be the company’s president.

During his unparalleled career, Russell won every major civic and commercial real estate award and recognition in Atlanta. In 2004, ULI Atlanta bestowed upon Russell its prestigious Frank Carter Community Achievement Award named for the founder of Carter.

Tony also recalls Russell’s amazing work ethic. He was known for working an average of 14 hours a day for 40 years. In fact, when he stepped aside as CEO in 1996, he told (then reporter) Tony that he looked forward to working “part time.”

“Eight hours [a day] is part time for me,” Russell said.

NAREE Recap: Day Two


by Stephen Ursery 

The National Association of Real Estate Editors’ (NAREE) 47th Annual Conference continued last night and today in downtown Atlanta, with attendees getting a chance to hear about the history of the Atlanta skyline, tour Atlantic Station and attend educational sessions on topics ranging from real estate radio shows to luxury housing.

Here are five quick blurbs about some of the sights and sounds of the past 24 hours:

#1 Up from the Ashes. On Wednesday night, NAREE revelers enjoyed drinks, appetizers and a view of thunderstorms over the city in a model condo on the 26th floor of the W Hotel & Residences in downtown Atlanta. Scott Trubey, commercial real estate reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, graciously provided the group the backstory on the building, which was foreclosed on in 2010. The problems were related to a complicated ownership dispute and the failure of Silverton Bank. Trubey told the crowd that the property is doing well today. “Atlanta’s symbol is the phoenix, as in rising from the ashes,” he said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Scott Trubey speaks during the W Hotel & Residences Tour.

#2 This Party Isn’t Over. The recovering single-family housing market doesn’t “mean the fun is over for the multifamily industry,” said Mark Obrinksy of the National Multi Housing Council during Thursday morning’s “Multifamily Midyear Forecast” session.

The number of young adults still living with their parents is still quite high, Orbinsky added, and as the labor market improves and they leave home, apartment demand will increase.

Greg Willett of MPF Research pinpointed Washington D.C. as one market that is the subject of strong overbuilding concerns within the industry, but he said most of the product coming online appears to be well-placed.

On the subject of micro apartments in Texas, Willett said a developer proposing a building with those units “would just be laughed at.” Everything is indeed bigger in Texas.

#3 Big Year for Hotels. 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best years for the hotel industry in a while, according to Mark Woodworth of PKF Hospitality Research. Woodworth made his remarks during Thursday’s “Mid-Year Hotel Outlook” session.

The top U.S. markets for hotel revenue growth are Houston; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; and Oahu, Hawaii. Memphis is experiencing the lowest revenue growth of major U.S. cities, according to Woodworth.

Wherever he is these days, Elvis is surely weeping.

#4 Radio Talkers Talk. “Make a bold statement and then support that.” That’s Michael Bull’s advice for the guests on his weekly “Commercial Real Estate Show” radio program – and that’s how he urged attendees of Wednesday’s “Behind the Mic” lunchtime session to handle any radio or television appearances they might make.

Bull, the president of Bull Realty, and Ilyce Glink, host of the residential real estate-focused “Ilyce Glink Show,” discussed their broadcasting careers at the session.

Bull said he seeks a diversity of commercial real estate perspectives on his show, from analysts to in-the-trenches brokers.

Glink noted that industry figures can create their own podcasts fairly easily by using online services such as Blog Talk Radio or by purchasing their own hardware for a fairly cheap price. “A good digital recorder costs $100,” she said.

#5 High-Class Living. “The Boom in Luxe Housing” panel drew a lively crowd on Thursday morning. Kofi Natei Nartey of The Agency of Beverly Hills said that pocket listings for luxury homes are on the rise. “Creating mystique is a sales strategy,” he said.

Accountants of high-net-worth entertainers also are urging their clients to invest in luxury real estate, Nartey said.


Highlights From “Covering Atlanta” Panel With Top Journalists


by Savannah Duncan

With the proposed Falcons stadium dominating The Atlanta Journal-Constitution front page today, we were not surprised when it became a hot topic at our “Covering Atlanta” panel discussion this morning. The panel, featuring six top journalists, also weighed in on economic development stories, TSPLOST, how social media is changing journalism and much more.

More than 75 of our clients, partners and friends enjoyed the discussion, as well as breakfast, at Another Broken Egg. The reason for the event? We wanted a special way to mark our official name change from Wilbert News Strategies to the The Wilbert Group.

We’d like to thank our panelists for indeed making the morning special. The panelists were Cam McWhirter, reporter at The Wall Street Journal; Henry Unger, Sunday business editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; John Bachman, anchor and reporter at WSB-TV; Steve Fennessy, editor at Atlanta magazine; Jay Scott, senior regional editor for the Southeast at; and Steve Matthews, economy reporter for Bloomberg.

Covering Atlanta PanelBelow are five highlights from the discussion:

#1 Local Stories The Wall Street Journal’s Cam McWhirter said he is looking for local stories with national significance. The paper covered TSPLOST because it was a unique way of trying to solve a problem. Our own Tony Wilbert moderated and asked Cam if the proposed Falcons stadium will rise to that same level of relevance. “The short answer is no,” he said. At this point, Cam said, it is just a similar story to those that have played out in other cities. If something unique happens, such as with financing, he would reconsider. “We are watching it,” he said.

#2 The New Atlanta Stadium Speaking of the stadium, other journalists weighed in with how their organizations will cover the story. Both John Bachman from WSB-TV and Henry Unger from the AJC said they will cover it from every angle, including watching it closely in the Georgia Legislature this session. Steve Fennessy from Atlanta magazine admitted the breaking stadium story poses “a problem” because he has to assign stories now that won’t be published for some time. He said the magazine will find its own take.

#3 Making Local Stories National Tony also asked Steve Matthews whether the stadium story is relevant for the Bloomberg audience — and Steve’s answer got one of the biggest laughs of the morning. While he acknowledged that Bloomberg did indeed write a news story Monday on the stadium, he also referenced Bloomberg’s rep as being New York-centric. He joked his editors may have liked the story better if the headline had read, “Giants’ next opponent wants a new stadium.”

#4 Social Media Social media is both a “blessing and a curse” for the media, said John Bachman. It encourages interaction by readers and viewers but the trick is to drive people to the actual broadcast news shows, which is where his company makes money.

#5 Hyper Local As for Patch, the network of hyper-local sites owned by AOL and affiliated with Huffington Post, Jay Scott said a full redesign is on the way. The goal is to bring the voices in the community together and be more user-driven.

If you were there, we’d love to hear what else you found interesting!