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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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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

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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.”

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.

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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