COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Business, Man

  • In the Loop: The Georgia Square Mall Macy's Is Closing

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    The Georgia Square Mall Macy’s is one of 68 that will close this year as the company—like most brick-and-mortar department stores—continues to face declining revenue.

    The Athens location, one of 880 nationwide, will close Mar. 1, potentially putting 69 employees out of work. Overall, the department-store chain is shedding more than 6,000 jobs.

    According to a press release:

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  • Homedrone: Eureka California, Mothers, Dave Marr Top Wuxtry's List of 2016 Best-Sellers

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    Photo Credit: Wuxtry Records/Facebook

    Today, Wuxtry Records—which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016—posted a list of its 20 best-selling albums of the year to the store's Facebook page.

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  • In the Loop: Planners Recommend Approving Oconee Solar Farm

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    The location of the proposed solar farm and planned subdivisions around it.

    The Oconee County planning staff, after reviewing the revised plans for the solar farm on Dials Mill Road at McNutt Creek Road, has reaffirmed its recommendation that the Board of Commissioners approve the project.

    In a report dated Dec. 27, 2016, the staff advocated that the commission grant Mr. Chick Farms Limited Partnership a special use when the commission meets at 7 p.m. today at the courthouse in Watkinsville.

    The Staff Report addresses concerns raised by citizens in public hearings on Nov. 14 and Dec. 6, calling them “understandable” but dismissing them in the end as unfounded or inconsequential.

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  • In the Loop: New Downtown Athens Hotel 'Tops Out'

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Hyatt Place general manager Angela Smith gives a tour of the still-under-construction Hyatt Place.

    Don't book your room just yet, but the new hotel next door to the Classic Center reached a milestone today, as local tourism officials and event organizers from across the Southeast gathered to celebrate the Hyatt Place's "topping out."

    The nine-story, 200-room hotel's structural elements are now in place, although it won't officially open until late May or June.

    Hyatt Place guests will spend $13.5 million per year, creating a $20 million economic impact, according to Mayor Nancy Denson. Seven hundred people are employed in its constrution, and the hotel will employ 75 people permanently, Denson said.

    Along with other downtown hotel projects—a SpringHill Suites next door to the Holiday Inn and a Homewood Suites at The Mark, a student-housing development under construction on Oconee Street—the Hyatt Place will bring the number of hotel rooms downtown to 1,360, with another 385 rooms under construction in other parts of the city, according to Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Chuck Jones.

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  • In the Loop: Sunday Booze Is Now Legal in Oconee County

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    ^Everyone in Oconee County this morning.

    Restaurants, groceries and convenience stores in Oconee County currently selling beer, wine and alcoholic drinks are free to do so on Sunday.

    The Oconee County Board of Commissioners changed the county’s alcoholic beverage ordinance on Tuesday night by adding hours for sales on Sundays, but did not require license holders to get new licenses.

    So all the existing license holders needed to do on Sunday was ring up the sales when customers brought the beer and wine to the cash registers or fill the drink orders when customers made them.

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  • In the Loop: Moody's Downgrades Piedmont's Credit After ARMC Merger

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    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Athens Regional Medical Center, before it was renamed Piedmont Athens Regional earlier this month.

    The investment rating firm Moody's isn't optimistic about Piedmont Healthcare's future after it acquired the hospital formerly known as Athens Regional Medical Center.

    Moody's gave three upcoming bond issues totaling $406 million an Aa3 rating (i.e. really safe) but downgraded Piedmont's credit outlook to "negative" in part because of the debt the company is taking on to acquire ARMC and its subsidiaries, according to Saporta Report, a news site run by longtime Atlanta journalist Maria Saporta.

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  • In the Loop: Mayor Denson Will Allow a Vote on the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance After All

    Mayor Nancy Denson will put a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance back on the agenda next month, she announced at the Athens-Clarke County Commission meeting Tuesday night, shortly after hundreds of protestors marched on City Hall to demand a vote on the ordinance.

     

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    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

    About 200 protesters marched from the Arch and gathered outside City Hall, then entered the building singing and chanting as the meeting was getting underway. Several dozen of them stood in the back of the commission chamber continuing to sing as new Public Utilities Director Frank Stevens attempted to introduce himself to the commission.

    Denson told the protesters that she would have police escort them out if they didn’t quiet down. “I think it’s not loud enough, if you ask me,” one woman replied. But the crowd did grow quieter when Denson said she would put the ordinance up for a vote Nov. 1 after blocking a vote for the past two months.

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  • In the Loop: Clearing Begins for Epps Bridge Centre Expansion

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    Chris Greer, an instructor of professional technology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, shot this image of a new road off the Oconee Connector using a drone.

    Simpson Trucking and Grading of Gaineville already has completed some of the clearing and grubbing work for Parkway Boulevard Extension, which will serve as a major entranceway for an expanded Epps Bridge Centre.

    The company also is putting in temporary erosion control measures, according to Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara, and plans to begin moving direct in the next couple of weeks.

    The construction work is largely out of the view of the public because of topography and because access is cut off to the beginning of the roadway extension just northwest of Kohl’s department store off Epps Bridge Parkway.

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  • In the Loop: Commercial Growth Doesn't Pay Off for Oconee

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Epps Bridge Centre, the new shopping center in Oconee County.

    Oconee County has experienced only modest growth in the revenue it receives from sales tax in the last decade and a half, even with significant expansion of its commercial inventory, changes in the county’s alcohol laws and the opening of new restaurants.

    The growth in sales tax revenue in Oconee County, in fact, is not so different from the growth experienced by Athens-Clarke County, which has lost some retail outlets to Oconee County and lost its exclusivity in selling alcohol in restaurants.

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  • Culture Briefs: Avid Is Opening a Second Bookshop in Five Points

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file

    Avid Bookshop owner Janet Geddis

    Independent bookstore Avid Bookshop—which celebrates its fifth anniversary next month—is opening a second location in Five Points, in addition to its Prince Avenue store.

    The new store, at 1662 S. Lumpkin St., will open this fall. Owner Janet Geddis reports:

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