This Week on The Street

by Harold Shumacher

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 This Week on The Street    January 3, 2012

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

First things first.  We wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2012 and appreciate your continuing interest in The Shumacher Group. Look for even more information in the coming year including our annual trends and predictions newsletter by the end of January.

It seems appropriate that the stock market ended the year almost exactly where it began a long year ago.  That’s pretty much the story of the past year.  A lot of up and down activity essentially getting us back to where we started.

There’s no doubt, at least in our minds, that things are “better” than they were.  But it would be hard not to see improvement after two of the worst real estate years in the past two decades.

Cautious optimism seems to be the mantra for the coming year.  There are new developments underway with others in the planning.  Restaurants and retailers are finally beginning to expand,  though gingerly compared to the break-neck pace of a few years back.  By the middle of 2012 we would not be surprised to see 3-4 new developments beginning to come into clear focus and growth chains (such as Starbuck’s, Darden, Dunkin Donuts, Wing Stop and  many of the sandwich players)  back up to something resembling full speed.

The big local story is the recent announcement of the “winners” in the Atlanta airport concession contract bowl.  Some of Atlanta’s, and the nation’s best known dining destinations will soon be available At Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Among the local winners: Varasano’s Pizzeria, Chick  Fil A, Little Azio, The Varsity, Longhorn, The Real Chow Baby, Rolling Bones BBQ, Popeye’s, Goldberg’s Bagel Company, Michon’s Smokehouse, Jekyll Island Seafood Grill and Shane’s Rib Shack.  Look for changes starting with the opening of the new international tournament later this year.

The announcement comes on the heels of Atlanta’s airport being named one of the least healthy in the country by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. (The poll was done prior to the announcement of the new eateries.)

According to the poll of 15 major airports at least 83 percent of airport restaurants now offer at least one low-fat, high fiber, cholesterol-free or vegetarian entrée. Atlanta was last in the poll with only 71% offering the “healthier fare.” The surprising winner, at least to this former Midwesterner, the Detroit Airport.

Are meatballs the new cupcake?  It seems there’s been an abundance of single item concepts popping up recently including yogurt shops, burgers and hot dogs,  pie and cake emporiums and half baked casserole haunts. Now comes indications that meatballs may be next.  There are a dozen plus restaurants in New York now serving everything from lamb and duck meatball sliders, to varieties featuring Indian, Scandanavian, Spanish and Asian flavorings.  We’re not aware of anyone opening a similar spot in Metro Atlanta –yet-but don’t be surprised if we see a few by year’s end.

Speaking of openings it’s been a quite month. Alma Cocina, from the Fifth Group, is off to a strong start in downtown Atlanta. Other newcomers to keep an eye on include Cardamom Hill, Northside Drive;  Ford Fry’s The Optimist, West Midtown; F&B Atlanta, Buckhead;  two Lime Fresh locations-Midtown and Buckhead- a fourth Olde Towne Tavern &  Grille, Buckhead  and Meahan’s Atlantic Station.

Closings of note include MF Sushi, Midtown.

Recent transactions from The Shumacher Group Inc. include:

Pending Lease of 360 Pharr Road-Olde Towne Tavern & Grille

 Sale of Philly Connection Whitlock Street, Marietta.


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