Archive for October 2009

Report: Despite tight market, companies are hiring

October 19, 2009

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Though slow, the recovery is prompting employers add new jobs as they see light at the end of the tunnel, according to a report released Monday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The outplacement consultancy reported that, through September, employers have announced plans to hire 169,385 workers this year. That’s up 88 percent from the 89,924 planned hires announced in the first three quarters of last year.

And while consumer spending has been lackluster, most of the hiring plans announced this year are in retail.

Retailers announced plans to hire 33,640 workers, up from less than 4,000 in all of 2008, according to the report.

However, there is this caveat: The retail sector also has been among the top job-cutters of the year, announcing more than 95,000 job cuts through September.

Just behind retail is the government and nonprofit sector, which plans to add 28,469 workers. Those are followed by the entertainment and leisure industry, which is adding 22,370 new workers.

The report, however, noted that the figures represent just a small fraction of hiring and jobs available.

“Within the hidden job market are companies that plan to fill positions through employee referrals, those that use recruiters to find the right candidates, as well as those that have no plans to hire, but will do so if the right person comes along,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Companies need to replace retirees and others who leave voluntarily. Everyday people are fired for cause and need to be replaced. Employers are continually reevaluating their workforce needs, so it is critical to persevere,” Challenger said.

10 percent Unemployment Rate in Georgia last month

October 19, 2009

By Kristi E. Swartz

 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s unemployment rate for September was 10.1 percent, the same as the month before, the state’s Department of Labor said early Thursday. It’s the 23rd consecutive month that Georgia’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national rate of 9.8 percent, the labor department said. Jobs continue to go away, State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said.

The number of payroll jobs in September dropped 237,100 or 5.8 percent from the previous September, figures show. “Georgia’s September unemployment rate is unchanged from the previous month, however underlying trends confirm continuing job market deterioration,” Thurmond said. The rate is seasonally adjusted. The DOL first reported a 10.2 percent unemployment rate for August but has since revised that figure slightly. The number of people in the state’s work force dropped to 4.73 million in September, a 2.4 percent decrease from 4.85 million in September a year ago, the DOL said.

The number of jobless workers receiving state unemployment benefits jumped 58.8 percent to 139,000 in September 2009, from 88,121 in September 2008, the agency said. Another 150,000 received extended unemployment benefits from the federal goverment, the labor department said. Dalton suffered the highest percentage of job losses for September: 8.4 percent.

That was followed by Rome, at 6.2 percent and metro Atlanta where the percentage of jobs dropped 5.9 percent, according to the DOL. The majority of the jobs lost were in manufacturing, trade, construction and administrative-support areas, including temporary employment.

ProLogis Signs Two Large Industrial Leases

October 19, 2009

 By Carl Cronan

ATLANTA-ProLogis has leased a total of 222,000 square feet to tenants at two of its local industrial buildings. The Denver-based REIT signed Innotrac Corp. to 115,000 square feet at Progress Distribution Center Building One in suburban Lawrenceville, and Auto Metal Direct to 107,000 square feet at Buford Distribution Center Building One, off Interstate 985.

Innotrac provides fulfillment and order processing for direct-to-consumer marketers. Its distribution space at Progress allows quick access to Interstate 85 and was previously leased to ProLogis customers such as Toys R Us and Anderson Merchandisers.

Auto Metal Direct, a provider of automotive sheet metal, is also a continuing customer of ProLogis. Its new distribution space is located off Interstate 985 in Buford, 37 miles northeast of Atlanta. “While economic conditions are still challenging, signing two new leases for more than 100,000 square feet each is indicative of ProLogis’ leading market position and ability to provide well-located, high-quality facilities in the Atlanta area,” says Rodney Davidson, first vice president and market officer.

ProLogis is the largest industrial landlord in the Atlanta market with a portfolio of 19 million square feet. Terms of both leases were not disclosed. Direct asking rents within Atlanta’s industrial market have stabilized over the past year at approximately $4 per square foot, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The market reported 1.1 million square feet of negative absorption through the first nine months of this year, the first time for minus numbers in the sector since 2002, says Chris Shaner, senior research associate with Cushman & Wakefield in Atlanta. Roughly 7.9 million square feet were leased through the third quarter, mostly by way of consolidations and renewals as companies fine tune their supply chains, he says. Overall industrial vacancy throughout Atlanta increased by a percentage point since the start of the year to 10.2%, yet is still well below the local market peak of 14.6% in 2004, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Investment sales activity fell by half over the same nine-month period last year, to 3.6 million square feet.

DeKalb to partner with developer on GM site

October 19, 2009

Tuesday October 13, 2009 08:00 PM

A Florida developer says DeKalb County will help his company convert the old General Motors property in Doraville into a “true urban center” with homes, restaurants, businesses and offices.

Read More >>>

Mableton residents plead for park land

October 19, 2009

By Mary Lou Pickel

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Neighbors in Mableton made another plea Monday for Cobb County to buy land near their homes for a park, despite signs that it’s an uphill battle.

Area residents envision a 20-acre green space with a playground, a dog park and level walking trails at the intersection of Floyd Road and Hicks Road in south Cobb County.

Residents Jolynn Sockwell and Dave McDaniel asked the county’s Parks Bond Citizen Advisory Committee to reconsider the 20-acre parcel.

The committee has not visited the land, a county spokesman said last month, an indication that the parcel did not make the current list of sites still under consideration for purchase as part of Cobb County’s $40 million parks bond initiative.

“We feel like they have literally been brushing us aside,” said Sockwell.

A few years ago a developer leveled houses on the land and more recently a company bought the parcel in foreclosure, Sockwell said. It is zoned for townhomes and single-family homes.

A property manager placed signs on the land in the summer, asking residents whether they wanted a park on the site. That is how most neighbors learned that the land was available. The county did not make public the list of 277 parcels nominated for park purchase.

Support soon grew for the Floyd Road site and county commissioners received a flood of emails. About 1,850 county residents have signed an online petition in favor of the land. About 80 residents showed up at a previous park committee meeting to speak for it. Residents realize they lobbied for the land late in the process, but they did not know it was for sale until recently, Sockwell said.

About 40 to 50 properties are still under consideration from the original list.

The citizens committee is expected to reveal the final list of sites recommended for purchase at its Oct. 26 meeting.

General Growth managing ATL kiosk program

October 19, 2009

Atlanta Business Chronicle

General Growth Properties Inc., which Atlanta hired in September, is now managing the city’s on-street vending program.

The first kiosks installed under the new program are now open in Woodruff Park along Peachtree Street. Vendors included in this initial group are selling everything from handbags and sunglasses, to newspapers and Atlanta souvenirs, in brand new steel-framed kiosk units with brass accents and domed canopies.

City officials are looking to the company to bring a uniform look to what is now a hodgepodge of vending stands, and to impose quality standards on the merchandise vendors sell. In an Atlanta Business Chronicle editorial in August, several major Atlanta hospitality officials voiced their support for the city’s vending program.

When the first phase of installation is complete, there will be 20 kiosk units in the downtown area, including locations near the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke. The units are designed and installed by Stak Design, a Texas-based firm specializing in custom design and fabrication of retail merchandising units, specifically for the shopping center and trade show industries.

All of the kiosk units will include three advertising panels. The kiosk advertising will be managed by Cemusa, a global leader in the management of street furniture advertising in more than 160 cities around the world.

Columbia Properties buys East Cobb’s Merhcants Exchange

October 19, 2009

Columbia Properties, Inc. announces its $17 million purchase of Merchants Exchange, a 130,013 square foot shopping center in east Cobb county, Ga. Merchants Exchange is a 98 percent leased neighborhood-oriented shopping center, anchored by LA Fitness® and Picture Show movie theater.

“Through our long-standing relationship with BB&T, we were able to secure a below-market loan providing our investors with a well-located, stabilized asset generating a high return,” says Andy Campbell, partner, Columbia Properties.

Columbia Properties has plans to acquire additional retail assets in the metropolitan Atlanta area over the next 12 to 18 months. “Great investment opportunities in retail real estate are beginning to present themselves and we feel we’re well positioned to take advantage of those opportunities,” continues Campbell.

Merchants Exchange is located at the intersection of Upper Roswell Road and East Cobb Drive in Marietta, Ga. East Cobb county is one of the most established and affluent submarkets in the Atlanta metro area, and Merchants Exchange benefits from a strong demographic of residents with high household incomes.