This Week on The Street

by Steven Josovitz

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The Patient is no Longer Critical

(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)

How was the Show? That’s what 30,000 attendees at Recon 2011, the International Council of Shopping Center’s, annual Las Vegas soiree are still asking.  The easy answer- better than it’s been the past few years but not as good as it’s been in the “good ol’ days.”

This year’s show was marked by real activity. Meetings were focused on tangible deals and opportunities, not the “let’s keep in touch” agendas that many people worked through last year and the one previous.  There was a sense that if the retail industry hasn’t turned the corner the corner is in sight.

The analogy I like to use is that two years ago the patient (the retail development industry) was in intensive care and the family was being called to the bedside. Last year we got moved to a regular room and this year we’re actually walking in the hallway with a good chance of getting checked out and getting back to a normal life.

For us, as a company, it was exciting to hear about new developments in Rome, Gainesville, Dalton, Smyrna, Athens and Loganville. These are developments from proven companies who, we think, have the wherewithal to do what they say they will.  The recently re- named Streets of Buckhead (to Buckhead Atlanta) seems viable as does Jacoby Development’s aerotropolis project, now anchored by Porsche North America, adjacent to the Atlanta airport.

Another highlight for us was the activity at the Retail Brokers Network booth.  Now 60 companies strong, RBN has offices in 36 states and covers most of the major metropolitan markets in the country. In addition to our company membership we’re actively involved with the network’s national restaurant council and can work with you throughout the country.

Companies that have been quiet over the past few years, at least in our market, are showing new signs of life. Taco Bell, Del Taco, Bojangle‘s and Huddle House  all have active plans for the Atlanta market and are beginning to show up on more and more site plans.

The contrasts in Las Vegas never cease to amaze me, even after 25 consecutive years of attendance. At one end of the strip fashionably clad 25-35 year olds line up in their club finery to pay $40 admissions to hear the latest hot hip hop artists. Four miles away.  in downtown Las Vegas, free music, t-shirts, lots of visible tattoos and $1.50 shrimp cocktails are the order of the day-truly something for everybody.

Hey, Do You Want a Drink

Esquire Magazine’s annual list of the best bars in America  included four local drinkeries including The Clermont Lounge, One Flew South (concourse E at the Airport), Manuel’s Tavern,  and Holeman & Finch Public House.

Several new eatieries are expected to make their debut in the coming months including 246, from JCT owner Ford Fry, and Harbour Bar, from Napoleon owner Ryan Aiken, both in Decatur; Riccardo Ullio’s El Scorpion in midtown; a new events facility at the former Roy’s in Buckhead from the folks at the Fifth Group; Atlanta’s first Smash Burger, also in Buckhead;   three Merko pasta locations in Woodstock, North Buckhead and East Cobb by year’s end and the One Eared Stag in Inman Park.



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