Matt kempner's 'unofficial business'


Georgia's fireworks free-for-all: Fools, stay home

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For years, Georgia was a grumpy old man on the idea of buying fireworks.

The state scolded that you couldn’t buy high-flying fireworks cause you’d end up putting your eye out. Or catching the neighbor’s roof on fire. Only in recent years did Georgia allow even the baby fireworks, the kind that are hand-held (sparklers) or sit near the ground (boring).

Now, with a change in state law that takes effect Wednesday, Georgia is about to become that parent who might be just a bit too cool for anyone’s good.

big expectations

Ben Gray

Tech jobs rise, but ‘silicon’ vision a stretch

Silicon Valley South. Silicon Valley East. The Silicon Peach.

Take your pick. Such phrases often come up these days when talk turns to metro Atlanta’s tech industry. A string of jobs announcements and a growing cluster of tech businesses in Midtown have spawned talk that the sector will soon justify such a memorable moniker, if it doesn’t already.


billionaire baller

Brant Sanderlin

New Hawks owner a low-profile high achiever

Antony Ressler is at odds with himself.

The billionaire landed in the public eye after leading a group that bought the Atlanta Hawks last week for $730 million.

But the Californian prefers a low profile, like others in the under-the-radar world of private investment managers, those folks who buy and sell whole companies or bankroll their births and marriages.


housing patterns

AJC file

Millennials want homes, just don’t have money

A shortage of first-time buyers and a booming apartment market suggest that millennials have such a dim view of home ownership that they’d rather rent indefinitely.

The narrative goes that they’d rather stay mobile, unburdened by either a mortgage or the responsibility of owning vs. renting. Such a scenario strikes fear in the hearts of some real estate pros and has major ramifications for development patterns in metro Atlanta.

office space


Atlanta office and warehouse markets heat up

Demand for metro Atlanta offices and warehouses has continued at a ripping pace lately, with the lowest office vacancy rate and the fastest industrial construction pace in more than a decade, according to local real estate data firm.

The tightening market is pushing rents higher as well, the firm said.

Metro Atlanta’s vacancy rate for Class A, or prime, office space dropped to a 14-year low of 15.

golden years?


Georgia gets a ‘C’ in retirement appeal

With Georgia’s expected tidal wave of retiring baby boomers, senior housing communities are springing up around metro Atlanta. But the state is no retirement haven, according to a new ranking that looks beyond tax rates and cost of living.

Georgia’s biggest drawbacks: healthcare and wellness, according to LPL Research.

The firm did what it calls the first holistic look at the attractiveness of states for people near retirement.

corporate ladder



People moving up and around in the metro business community:

The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts have announced new board appointments to the Fulton County Community Improvement District and Central DeKalb Community Improvement District. They are Steve Slifer and John Bell. In addition, William Baker, General Growth Properties, joins the Central DeKalb CID.

AJC exclusive


Atlanta Forward 2015: A special business report

Five years after the recession, metro Atlanta faces big economic challenges. This special AJC examination includes:

> An overview of our region's weaknesses and strengths, and reports on how Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte forged faster recoveries.

> A talk with two CEOs whose companies moved to metro Atlanta , and a project to revive one of Atlanta's oldest neighborhoods.

> A look at "inflection points" that determine if a metro area thrives or struggles, with reports from  Chicago  and St. Louis .

> Why  regionalism is a dirty word in metro Atlanta, while Denver  has embraced it.

Browse the full ATLANTA FORWARD 2015 REPORT, including interactive graphics and videos, here .

cobb co-op saga

Cobb EMC

Audit details alleged misdeeds at Cobb utility

An internal audit for Cobb EMC found that “self-dealing and conflicts of interest abounded” at the Marietta utility during the tenure of indicted ex-CEO Dwight Brown, ultimately costing the member-owned EMC hundreds of millions of dollars.

Brown ran the utility like an “autocrat,” auditors said, intimidating others into doing his bidding while steering tens of millions of dollars and other assets to himself and favored associates.


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AJC launches Breakdown, a new podcast series

AJC launches Breakdown, a new podcast series

Follow the twists and turns of a case that some say landed an innocent man in prison. Subscribers get exclusive access to new episodes each Sunday - plus digital extras including character backgrounds, video interviews, photo galleries, court documents and timelines.

Learn more