Archive for May, 2011

Father-son entrepreneur team selling a cowboy lifestyle

Father-son entrepreneurial team of Mark E. Hawn (left) and Mark C. Hawn

Father-son entrepreneurial team of Mark E. Hawn (left) and Mark C. Hawn

Can a local father-and-son team sell a piece of “God’s country” in the middle of a real-estate meltdown?

I’d say no, except for two things. The father, Mark E. Hawn, has made millions from previous entrepreneurial ventures. And the son, Mark C. Hawn, spent part of his senior year at Florida State interviewing millionaires about how they succeeded.

The Hawns are subdividing ranch land in Montana, trying to show those with some money — but not as much as Ted Turner — that they too can enjoy the cowboy lifestyle.

They’ve embraced a relatively new concept out West that steals a page from more traditional developments — using a club or association to share amenities and spread the costs, which are considerable on a ranch.

Want to ride horses? All-terrain vehicles? Snowmobiles? But don’t want the ownership or maintenance hassles?

Want to fly fish or shoot sporting clays? But don’t have boots, waders, rods, …

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Power Breakfast: New game plan for Streets of Buckhead, Thrashers, Delta, Porsche, Ford

Here’s an update on that vacant hole in the middle of Buckhead by AJC reporter Arielle Kass:

The long-stalled Streets of Buckhead project, originally envisioned as the “Rodeo Drive of the South,” may keep some of its luxury components.

But the project’s new owners on Monday laid out plans for a somewhat humbler development, with scaled-down buildings, less retail space and a new name: Buckhead Atlanta.

Work will resume around the end of the year, with a goal of opening in 2013, said California-based developer OliverMcMillan, which this month took over the troubled project from Atlanta developer Ben Carter.

“We really see this as more of an urban village,” said Jeremy Meredith, development director for OliverMcMillan. “We’re trying to make it look like it isn’t just a project.”

When first announced in 2007, the project included condos, four hotels and 500,000 square feet of retail. While Carter’s vision changed as the economy declined, the latest version of the …

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Majority of parents are helping their adult kids financially

A majority of parents — 59 percent — provide financial support to their adult children who are no longer in school, according to a new survey reported by Forbes.

Among those parents, Forbes writes, 43 percent said they are “legitimately concerned” for their kids’ financial well-being. Thirty-seven percent said they have struggled and don’t want their children to struggle too.

Two-thirds of the young adults surveyed said the financial pressures faced by their generation are tougher than those faced by previous generations, Forbes reports. One in three parents agree.

The online poll by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education of 1,074 U.S. adults — non-students aged 18 to 39 and their parents—was conducted by Harris Interactive in May.

Forbes writes that parents are providing financial assistance in record numbers and on a scale that ranges from occasional cash to complete dependence.

Parental help comes in the following ways:

– Housing – 50 …

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Power Breakfast: College debt rising, sales tax vote, bank failures, Gwinnett land deal, oil prices

Many students are graduating from college with a pile of debt that will take decades to repay, AJC staffer Katie Leslie reports.

In fact, student debt is one of the few categories of borrowing that is still on the rise, Leslie writes.

The amount borrowed per full-time student grew by 5 percent a year, adjusted for inflation, from 2000 to 2010, according to the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

This graduation season, the average student will leave school with $20,000 or more in loans, according to various expert estimates, Leslie reports.

Amazingly, as many as one-third of bachelor’s degree recipients can expect to still be paying back their student loans when their own children head off to college, said Mark Kantrowitz, the founder of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com.

Students’ debt loads would be less problematic if they could be confident of finding work in their field of study, but since the Great Recession, many have struggled to do so, Leslie reports.

Also in …

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Are high gas prices changing your spending or travel plans?

With gasoline prices hovering at $4 a gallon nationally, many Americans are making tough choices: scaling back summer vacations, driving less or ditching the car altogether, Associated Press reports.

An Associated Press-GfK poll shows the share of Americans who say increases in the price of gasoline will cause serious financial hardship in the next six months now tops 4 in 10.

Overall in the poll, 71 percent said rising prices will cause some hardship for them and their family, AP reports.

Some seniors are choosing a tank of gas over their prescriptions, AP writes.

Have high gas prices caused you to change your spending?

Have they made a joke of your New Year’s resolution to save more?

Are you cutting back plans for Memorial Day weekend or the summer?

How are you affected?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Power Breakfast: Delta getting smaller, book bid, Cobb schools, Atlanta arts, Southwest, IMF, LinkedIn

Delta is getting smaller, AJC writer Kelly Yamanouchi reports.

The Atlanta-based airline is cutting its trans-Atlantic flight capacity by 10 percent to 12 percent after Labor Day, saying it needs to adjust to higher fuel costs and declines in demand, Yamanouchi writes.

The reduction is part of a collection of moves Delta is taking to cut back, Yamanouchi reports. Delta previously announced that it will reduce flight capacity across its worldwide system by 4 percent after Labor Day compared with the same period of last year, and had acknowledged that one of the weakest areas is trans-Atlantic flights.

Delta also earlier this month announced it will offer buyouts and early retirements to cut its workforce, though it gave no target figure, Yamanouchi writes.

“We will be a smaller company,” Delta president Ed Bastian said Thursday during a presentation at a Merrill Lynch conference in Boston, Yamanouchi reports. He said Delta will be 5 percent smaller than previously …

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U.S. consumers still in financial distress but improving; Georgia lags behind

The financial picture for households in Georgia and across the country improved in 2011’s first quarter, as employment levels rose and consumers managed their budgets better, according to a study released Thursday by an Atlanta-based credit counseling agency.

Still, Georgia posted the second worst score on the Consumer Distress Index compiled by CredAbility, a nonprofit that helps consumers nationally with their debt problems.

And families across the U.S. remain in financial distress, according to the index.

The index is a quarterly measure that tracks the financial condition of the average U.S. household. It measures five categories — employment, housing, credit, how families manage household budgets and net worth.

A score below 70 indicates a state of financial distress on the index’s 100-point scale.

Among individual states, Nevada had the lowest score at 60.78 — up from 59.47 in the fourth quarter and 58.27 a year ago, according to the index.

Georgia consumers posted the …

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Power Breakfast: Mortgage delinquencies decline, Ga. jobless rate falls, hotel taxes, second airport, IMF, Enron

At least mortgage delinquencies are going in the right direction.

Residential delinquencies in metro Atlanta declined in the first quarter of 2011 — the fifth consecutive three-month period in which they have fallen, AJC reporter David Markiewicz writes.

Still, metro delinquencies — at least 60 days past due — were higher than the national average, which also decreased for the fifth straight quarter, Markiewicz reports.

The data was reported by TransUnion, a credit reporting agency.

“It’s a mixed message,” said Tim Martin, group vice president of the U.S. housing market for TransUnion. While Atlanta continues to improve, he said, “it’s a long way to getting back to something like normal.”

In the first quarter of 2007, the delinquency rate in metro Atlanta was 3.2 percent, which Martin said was closer to normal, Markiewicz reports.

For the first quarter of this year, 8 percent of Atlanta’s mortgages were 60 or more days overdue. Nationwide, the average was 6.2 percent, …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Mortgage delinquencies decline, Ga. jobless rate falls, hotel taxes, second airport, IMF, Enron »

Georgia’s jobless rate drops to 9.9 percent in April

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent in April from 10 percent in March — the first time in nearly two years that it was back in single digits, the state labor department said Thursday.

April was the third consecutive month for job growth.

“This developing trend shows increasing confidence in the economy,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.

The last time the state’s rate was below 10 percent was in June 2009. A year ago, the rate was 10.1 percent.

There were job increases over both the month and year, the labor department said. There were 3,834,100 payroll jobs in April — up eight-tenths of a percentage point from March. Also, there was an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point from April 2010.

Most of the new jobs were added in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, educational and health services, and construction.

The number of long-term unemployed workers — a persistent problem in the state — fell 2.6 …

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CFOs more bullish on economy

Hopefully, the world’s CFOs know what they’re talking about.

Three-quarters of the senior finance executives surveyed around the globe expect economic expansion over the next 12 months, according to a new American Express survey.

It was the highest percentage from the 665 execs polled since Spring 2008, said a news release detailing results of the American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor. One-third of those surveyed were from the U.S.

With many companies sitting on large cash surpluses, deal-making tops the list when it comes to their plans for deploying capital, the survey found. Sixty-nine percent are focused on aggressive M&A activity over the next year, the news release said.

Other key findings include:

– Over half (54 percent) see economic growth accelerating in the second or third quarter of 2011. Seventy-one percent predict growth by year-end.

– Around the world, execs who say their companies plan to “spend more” on labor/head count in the next …

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