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


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.




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.


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.


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

  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.


Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines, 1/4/2016

  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

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 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


1. It’s a pretty swell feeling when you get a client in a major newspaper. Triple that feeling when you land three clients in one story! A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution story on GE’s potential move to Atlanta featured quotes from Hartman Simons’ partner Bob Simons and Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) vice president Gregg Metcalf. The article also mentioned the potential for GE to come to Atlantic Station. Metcalf says Atlanta is under consideration because of its appeal to millennials, saying, “…[GE is] not going to go to a super-duper tax environment if it’s not a place millennials want to live,” Simons sees potential barriers as Atlanta’s real estate market has filled up quickly in recent years, saying that in Class A neighborhoods such as Buckhead, “It’s getting harder and harder to find big blocks of vacancies.”

Matthew Simpson, Fisher & Phillips Partner

Matthew Simpson, Fisher & Phillips Partner

2. Matthew Simpson, partner at the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips, recently landed an op-ed in The Augusta Chronicle. Simpson wrote about the recent U.S. Department of Labor proposal to raise the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees. Simpson warned that small businesses in Georgia could be hurt by the new rules, saying, “…any proposal to increase minimum wage or salary requirements must take into account what businesses throughout the country can afford to pay, not just what certain companies in major metropolitan areas should pay.”


3. Charlotte, N.C.-based Crescent Communities was featured in the Wall Street Journal in an article about the apartment market. The article details the continued growth of this market throughout the country, despite some saying that it is overbuilt. The article says a contributing factor is “The percentage of people 18 to 34 years of age who are doubled up, meaning they are living with an adult other than a spouse, increased to 48 percent this year from 44 percent in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center. That suggests many are living with parents, other relatives or roommates and might soon opt for their own rental.” Crescent Communities has built 5,000 apartment units in the past two years, with another 5,000 in the works for the next two years.


Avalon in Alpharetta

Avalon in Alpharetta

4. The Urban Land Institute held its 2015 Awards Dinner at the Fox Theatre this past week and awarded its highest honor, Project of the Year, to Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia. The Atlanta Business Chronicle details the acceptance by Mark Toro, partner of North American Properties. As the award was handed off, ULI’s Executive Director Sarah Kirsch called the project “catalytic.” Toro called the project a labor of love and said he’s been having more fun than he’s ever had. Then he shared his assessment of the project, calling Avalon Atlanta’s first “urban burb.”


5. The 2016 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) is an annual conference bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners from different segments of the global alternatives industry to explore the challenges and opportunities their industry faces and design responses that will take it to its next level of success. eVestment, an analytics and logistics company serving institutional investing community, recently wrote about CAIS, detailing the conferences location (Cayman Islands! Ritz Carlton!) and dates (Feb, 4-5, 2016). We’ll see you there!

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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


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. 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.


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. 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


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.