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

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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.

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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 3/15/16

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  1. Using predictive analytics, businesses are able to approach opportunities, risks, business partners, and customers differently because they have foresight they lacked previously. However, there are still challenges. While companies want to increase revenue, customers are constantly demanding more value for their money. Jon Higbie, chief science officer at pricing and revenue management firm and Wilbert client Revenue Analytics says, “Customer response to price, merchandising, and promotions are levers you have to pull to make the right recommendation. You have a forecast, you apply a market response model to it, and you have a holistic price-sensitive demand forecast that includes competition.” Using predictive analytics, Revenue Analytics was able to help a global hospitality group increase top-line revenue by 2.7% over a 13-week period throughout the Americas. You can read the full article on Information Week.

 

  1. Got plans for St. Patrick’s Day this year? If not, come join us at Wilbert client Avalon’s second annual Luck of Avalon event happening this Thursday (March 17). Get in the spirit with Irish music, dancing and all things green, including beer and candy. Read all about the family friendly event in this Neighborhood Newspaper article, which will feature music from live bagpipers with North Atlanta Pipes & Drums, face painting for children, a photo booth and more. Festivities will take place at 2200 Avalon Blvd. in Alpharetta from 4 to 10 p.m. “It’s just a fun celebration for everyone to wear their green, bring their families and friends out and have a good time in the plaza,” said Carla Toro, director of marketing for developer North American Properties.

 

  1. Before you start or join an NCAA tournament bracket at work, you should consider the risks. Employers have to be careful, too, according to Atlanta attorney Corey Goerdt, an associate with Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm. “Many employers either allow or encourage some type of office pools around big sporting events and have little or no trouble,” Goerdt told 11Alive’s Jennifer Leslie. “However, employers should be aware of the risks, even if they are not particularly likely to impact most workplaces. Gambling is illegal, and many employers have explicit policies banning gambling. However, Goerdt said there can be a big upside to office pools. “Pools can promote teamwork and interaction among employees who otherwise might not have that opportunity,” he said.

 

  1. The American food hall boom is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Well-established in trend-setting cities like New York and LA, these multifaceted culinary marketplaces are spreading like wildfire to major metropolitan areas across the country. Wilbert client Bayer Properties plans on opening the Pizitz Food Hall this fall and was featured in Eater’s nine new food halls to get excited about in 2016. Plans are for two full-service restaurants, an outdoor seating and entertainment area, and an interior bar, along with several food stalls. Confirmed tenants so far include local roaster Domestique Coffee; paleta and ice cream vendor Lichita’s; an Asian dumpling concept; an independent cheese shop that will also serve sandwiches; a Korean restaurant specializing in bibimbap; and a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with communal dining. Yum!

 

  1. Curious about those giant, colorful “MIDTOWN” letters in the heart of, well, Midtown? Here’s your answer. According to the re-imaginers/developers of Colony Square, Wilbert Client North American Properties, the 8-foot-tall, 40-foot-wide word on the corner of Peachtree and 15th streets “anchors” the mixed-use development and alerts visitors to exactly where they are. “The vibrant, interactive MIDTOWN installment creates an iconic anchor for our city within a city for the local community and visitors to enjoy,” North American Properties Vice President of Marketing Liz Gillespie said in a release. “These letters establish a sense of place and further enhance the Midtown brand as the cultural, connected, innovative core of Atlanta.” North American Properties – the developer behind Atlantic Station’s turnaround and Alpharetta’s Avalon – announced plans last year to revolutionize Midtown’s iconic but tired Colony Square, the first large-scale mixed-use development in the Southeast. Most notably, plans call for taking the roof off the retail core of Colony Square to better connect it with the street and lend the sense of a walkable, open-air urban experience.

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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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.

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.

Award Winning Clients

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by Adina Kalish

Clients at The Wilbert Group don’t just get treated to a white-glove public relations experience that gets them featured in the press, they win awards! Our team of professionals is highly skilled at researching the right industry awards that highlight the extraordinary work being done in all areas of our clients’ businesses. Whether it’s securing a spot on a featured panel, crafting an engaging story of a new opening, details of a successful business transaction, or operations behind a special event, The Wilbert Group finds the perfect award to fit the project.

For the past several years, The Wilbert Group has worked on submissions for our client, North American Properties (NAP) on the prestigious MAXI Awards, presented each year at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) meeting. And we’re pleased to say that in 2014 NAP was the recipient of four MAXIs.

How? By being strategic. Want to do the same? Follow our top five tips for writing award entries that win!

1. Start with the story. Every award entry must captivate a reader from the first sentence. Set the scene. Create the visuals. Grab the reader and assume he/she knows nothing!

2. Set up the situation. Be clear with why you’re submitting an entry for this category by succinctly stating the scenario, the challenge or the goal of the intended award.

3. Be specific. When getting to the meat of your submission, make sure you detail exactly how you achieved your results step by step and which key players were involved.

4. Get accurate figures to support your results. Back up your entry with precise figures. Whether it’s numbers of people at an event, dollar amounts spent on a campaign, or statistics that support your story, numbers are impressive.

5. Celebrate the PR hits. Did the word get out to the right influencers? Print? TV? Bloggers? Make sure you keep track of all the fantastic press you got for your client so you can highlight this in the entry.