Business

Business
10:09 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Georgia Power Shutters Power Units To Meet State Regulations

Georgia Power is shuttering coal and oil powered units throughout the state.
Credit Gene Blythe, File / Associated Press

Georgia Power is shuttering coal and oil powered units throughout the state as part of a plan that was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Georgia Power spokesman Brian Green says Plant Branch in middle Georgia was shut down Wednesday. Green says five units at Plant Yates in Newnan, Georgia, are also being closed and two will be converted to natural gas. Green says two units at Plant McManus in Brunswick, Georgia, will also be shut down.

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Business
6:00 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Bitcoin Advocates Attempt To Make Currency Popular In Atlanta

Dustin Farist gets a shave from Feim Krasniqi at Gino’s Classic Barber Shop in Atlanta. Farist paid for his haircut in Bitcoin.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

This weekend, Atlanta will host its first-ever Bitcoin Consumer Fair.

Currently, there are only about two dozen shops in metro-Atlanta that accept Bitcoins. Organizers want to make Bitcoins more popular here by teaching people how to use the digital currency. 

Andrew Hayes is getting a haircut at Gino’s Classic Barber Shoppe in Dunwoody. 

“I’m getting a crew cut with a taper, short on the sides, and trying to keep as much as I can on the top,” Hayes says.  

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Kaiser to bring 900 new jobs
3:25 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Atlanta Woos Kaiser Permanente Without Huge Incentives

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed stands with city economic development officials Thursday to announce Kaiser Permanente will bring 900 tech jobs to Atlanta.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente announced Thursday it will bring a health information technology hub to Midtown Atlanta.

Most of the 900 new jobs are tech-related, company officials say. And those jobs pay well – an average of $107,000 a year.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the city’s reputation as a health IT center meant officials didn’t have to sweeten the pot very much to attract Kaiser.

“We provided about $300,000 in incentives today for 900 net new jobs," Reed says. "I think that most folks at home will think that’s a good investment."

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Airlines & Aviation
3:16 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Delta Sees Record Profit, Slower International Traffic

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines again posted record earnings, despite facing a stiff headwind on international routes.
Credit Don Ryan / Associated Press

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines posted on Wednesday a record profit for the first three months of the year. Net income climbed to $746 million. After special items, Delta posted a profit of 45 cents per share, beating analysts' expectations. 

“The business on the whole is performing quite well," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson on an investor conference call. 

Part of the increase comes from a strengthening U.S. economy and strong domestic demand. Fees for baggage and premium seats also helped, the airline said. 

But there were a few rough spots.

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Business
6:15 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Georgia Shares In $36 Million Housing Counseling Grants

The recently announced HUD grants will go to housing counseling nonprofits. Officials say the money will help prevent foreclosures.
Credit David Zalubowski, File / Associated Press

A little financial education can go a long way in helping people find a home or stay in the one they’ve got. 

That’s the idea behind $36 million in federal grants announced Tuesday. The money is earmarked for housing agencies across the nation, including Georgia.

Ten state agencies – mostly in Atlanta – will share in $1.8 million.

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Business
7:58 am
Tue April 14, 2015

AT&T Planning Faster Internet Service In Atlanta

AT&T's GigaPower network provides access to the company's fastest Internet with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. AT&T is considering bringing the service to metro Atlanta.
Credit Eric Gay, File / Associated Press

AT&T plans to bring faster Internet service to Atlanta.

That's according to a Monday announcement from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed says the GigaPower network provides access to the company's fastest Internet with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

AT&T first gave customers in Austin, Texas, access to the GigaPower network and began an expansion in 2014. The company is considering expansion to up to 100 cities and municipalities in 25 areas.

Officials say AT&T customers also will get faster Wi-Fi speeds on the network.

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Real Estate
6:00 am
Tue April 14, 2015

New Mercedes-Benz Headquarters: Not Your Average Office Park

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters within a 76-acre mixed-use development in Sandy Springs.
Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen / flickr.com/peterras

A local developer hired an architecture firm ─ based out of Miami ─ to build out its property with a live-work-play theme.

The Sandy Springs development will include more than 1,000 housing units, 30 acres of greenspace and across the future headquarters for Mercedes-Benz.

But this isn’t your average suburban office park.

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Business
10:50 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Sandy Springs Housing Too Expensive For Mercedes-Benz Workers

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to Sandy Springs, Georgia, but employees are looking outside Sandy Springs for affordable housing. In this photo, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, left, holds a model Mercedes-Benz presented to him by Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

    

The mayor of Sandy Springs, Georgia, says his city needs more affordable housing.

The impending arrival of Mercedes-Benz employees in July has put the spotlight back on the affluent suburb.   

In his state of the city address, Mayor Rusty Paul ended on this note: “A lot of the Mercedes people are coming to Sandy Springs, but they’re looking in other places. Why? Because they can’t afford to live in Sandy Springs.” 

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Business
6:00 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Apartment Demand Remains Strong In Atlanta

Most of Atlanta's new apartment demand comes from millennials.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Planning on getting a new apartment in 2015? You're definitely not alone.

Norcross-based RentPath operates websites Rent.com and ApartmentGuide.com. The company says it saw a record 3.1 million leads for apartments in March.  

Much of that traffic comes from millennials, RentPath CEO Charles Stubbs says.   

"A number of them are less interested in home ownership and want the flexibility and amenities of an apartment community," Stubbs says.

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Business
8:21 am
Thu April 9, 2015

MARTA Hosting Job Fair For New Bus Operators Saturday

MARTA officials say the job fair is scheduled for Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the MARTA headquarters atrium on Piedmont Road.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta's public transit agency is hosting a job fair to hire full-time bus operators.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority officials say the job fair is scheduled for Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the MARTA headquarters atrium on Piedmont Road.

Officials say candidates must be at least 21 years old, pass background checks, have a valid Georgia license, a high school diploma and more. MARTA officials say participants should bring resumes and dress professionally.

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A Closer Look
4:16 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

US Export-Import Bank Chair Makes Case For Saving His Agency

A Delta Airlines Boeing 757 takes off from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Delta Airlines is lobbying against reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Credit Daniel Betts / flickr.com/redlegsfan21

Buying a U.S.-made jet engine in a European country isn’t easy.

That’s one reason the little-known U.S. Export-Import Bank exists. The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency that helps American businesses sell their products abroad by providing loans to foreign businesses. If a foreign airline wants to buy expensive jet engines from a U.S. company, for example, the Export-Import Bank helps it out by providing it with the capital it needs, and even insurance on the shipment, in case something goes wrong.  

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A Closer Look
4:08 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

GM’s Old Doraville Assembly Plant Ready For Retooling

The General Motor's Assembly Plant in Doraville, Georgia before it closed down in 2008. The plant fell victim to GM's restructuring plans.
Credit Gene Blythe / AP Photo; File

The sleek new Oldsmobile, with its shiny black body, glinting chrome bumpers and fixtures, and stark whitewall tires rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Doraville, Georgia.

The year was 1947 and the Oldsmobile was the first automobile built at the plant.

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Business
8:35 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Georgia Company Buys Louisiana Hot Sauce Brand

The Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce has been sold to a Georgia company.
Credit Alpha / Flickr.com/avlxyz

The Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce has been sold to a Georgia company.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Rome, Georgia-based Southeastern Mills Inc. said Monday that it has acquired The Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce and all related assets from New Iberia, Louisiana-based Bruce Foods Corp.

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A Closer Look
7:40 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Amazon Launches One-Hour Delivery Service In Atlanta

Lauren Waits ordered dog food and a pair of socks on the first day of Amazon Prime Now's launch in Atlanta. It was delivered within 30 minutes of a two-hour delivery window to her home.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

Amazon launched its one-hour delivery service in Atlanta on Thursday.

Atlanta is only the fifth city in the country to get Amazon Prime Now – joining New York City, Baltimore, Dallas and Miami. But is it worth using?

“A Closer Look” producer Lauren Waits needed some dog food.

So she installed the Amazon Prime Now app to test it out.

“It goes, 'Hello M, What do you need today?' Searching for Dog Food," Waits said. "It says: 71 results.”

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Low Wages Workers
5:43 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Fast Food Workers Not Happy With McDonald's Wage Increase

Protesters said McDonald's raise announcement doesn't go far enough.
Credit Lisa Hagen / WABE

Yesterday McDonald's announced a wage increase for some of its workers. Starting in July, the company will pay $1 an hour more than a state’s minimum wage.

Fast food workers in Atlanta say they’re not impressed. 

If you work at a McDonald's in Georgia, you could start making $8.25 an hour, but the raise only applies to workers at company-owned restaurants. Ninety percent of the McDonald's in the country are franchises.

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Airlines & Aviation
5:27 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Delta Pursues $1.5B Partnership With AeroMexico

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is asking for anti-trust immunity to pursue $1.5 billion partnership with AeroMexico.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

Delta Air Lines is asking the U.S. government for antitrust immunity so it can pursue a partnership with AeroMexico.

The Atlanta-based carrier says Mexico is its most popular international destination, which is one reason the airline cites for pursuing a new $1.5 billion joint venture with the Mexican carrier.

Delta says the partnership will give U.S. travelers more access to key Mexican cities, while AeroMexico customers will see new flights to Delta’s hub cities, including Atlanta.

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Business
6:33 am
Mon March 30, 2015

More Video Gamers Are Calling Metro-Atlanta Home

A screenshot from the video game SMITE. This year, the developer, Hi-Rez Studios in Alpharetta, is pushing the game on a new platform, XBOX One, and in a new market, China.
Credit Courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

Hi-Rez Studios, an online game developer in Alpharetta, announced it’s expanding its headquarters again and adding another 50 jobs.

They're one of a growing list of companies who call metro-Atlanta home.

Asante Bradford promotes video game development for Georgia. Eight years ago, he says, there were only about six gaming companies in all of metro-Atlanta. Now, there are more than 70.

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In Conversation With Valerie Jackson
9:00 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

BrightHouse’s Joey Reiman Discusses Corporate Culture Changes

Joey Reiman, CEO and founder of Brighthouse, a global ideation consultancy, discusses purpose-driven goals in corporate world.
Credit Monika Nikore

In this installment of "Valerie Jackson In Conversation," we speak to former advertising and marketing guru of the Joey Reiman Agency, Joey Reiman.

Reiman is the current CEO and founder of BrightHouse, a global ideation consultancy that teaches companies how to use purpose to achieve success. Reiman is also the author of "The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy." He was named by Fast Company magazine as one of 100 people who will change the way the world thinks.

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Business
6:04 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Vacation Home Rental Service Flatbook Launches In Atlanta

Flatbook purchased new sheets and towels for this condo in West End. Flatbook is paying the owner $1,650 a month.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

If you’re planning to be away this summer and need to lease out your place, a Canada-based start-up may be the easiest option.

Flatbook, which has just launched in Atlanta, takes over the entire subletting process.

Ricardo Theiner is Flatbook’s regional manager. He moved here from Vienna, Austria, recently and is eager to show off a condo in the West End that got a makeover. 

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A Closer Look
5:00 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Obamacare Subsidy May Impact Tax Returns

This is the first year that tax filers will submit Affordable Care Act paperwork to the IRS along with their 1040’s.
Credit John Morgan / flickr.com/aidanmorgan

This is the first year that tax filers will submit Affordable Care Act paperwork to the IRS along with their 1040s. Georgians who purchased health coverage through the federal exchange had to estimate their 2014 income in order to receive a subsidy to help pay for their insurance. 

That subsidy was paid as a tax credit, and the healthcare marketplace recently provided enrollees with the new form 1095-A.  It confirms the amount of credit received. 

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Airlines & Aviation
6:22 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Airports And Airlines Locked In Fight Over Fee Increase

A new runway is one example of how airports like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International spend Passenger Facility Charges.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Every time you take off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International – or any domestic commercial airport – you and everyone else on the flight fork over $4.50 to pay the  Passenger Facility Charge, or PFC.

The money goes to fund airport infrastructure. PFCs paid for half of Atlanta's airport new $1.4 billion international terminal. They also funded a wildlife hazard study at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany.

Airports want the fee increased to $8, they say to keep up with their more than $14 billion in annual infrastructure costs. 

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Business
6:15 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Spalding County Approves First Home-Based Shooting Range

A shooting range was approved for a business license in Spalding County. The owner says he hopes to have more than 600 paying students come through his shooting range this year.
Credit Courtesy of Michael Ranew / Full Blown Firearms

After weeks of debate, Spalding County commissioners approved a business license for its first backyard shooting range. 

Brad Ward has had a shooting range in his backyard for more than 14 years in Williamson, just south of Atlanta.

“Most everybody that has property out here has some type of a makeshift shooting range," Ward says. "Gunfire out in the country is not a bad thing, it is consistent.” 

But his is not your average shooting range.

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Airlines & Aviation
6:29 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Will More Seats Plus More Travelers Equal Lower Airfares?

Times are better, and airlines are adding back in some lost seats.
Credit Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

When the bottom dropped out of the economy, airlines parked planes and pulled seat capacity.

Times are better, airlines are seeing more passengers, and they’re adding back in some of those lost seats. That's creating "capacity pressure" in a number of markets, including Atlanta.

"There are a number of skirmishes breaking out, and ultimately the marketplace and consumers will determine what happens with fares," said John Heimleich, cheif economist for the industry trade group Airlines For America.

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Airlines and Aviation
5:58 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Group Petitions Hartsfield-Jackson Airport For Indian Or Middle Eastern Carrier

In this May 8, 2014, file photo, Emirates passenger planes are parked at their gates of Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates.
Credit Kamran Jebreili, File / Associated Press

Atlanta maintains its long-standing bragging rights as home to the “World’s Busiest Airport,” at least in terms of passenger volume.

But from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, there’s just one flight to the Middle East.

And if you want to fly directly from Atlanta to India, you’re completely out of luck.

In fact, Atlanta trails a host of other U.S. cities in terms of International access, including: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New York. Each of those cities offers non-stop service from Dubai-based Emirates.

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Airlines & Aviation
12:54 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Southwest Airlines Offers Atlanta Unprecedented Perk

Since finishing its integration of AirTran Airways, Southwest has aggressively focused on courting Atlanta travelers.
Credit Mark Stevens / flickr.com/14723335@N05

Southwest Airlines, the No. 2 carrier by passenger volume at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is offering the Atlanta market a perk normally reserved for the most elite travelers – a companion pass. 

The company called the promotion "historic." 

According to a Southwest press release, metro Atlanta residents "who fly three qualifying round trips on Southwest Airlines from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between today and May 17, 2015, will earn a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Companion Pass valid through the end of 2015."

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A Closer Look
7:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Bill To End Delta's Tax Break On Fuel

Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

One of the leading Republicans in the Georgia House, Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, has filed a bill to do away with the exemption Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has received on state fuel taxes since 2006.  

At the time lawmakers passed the exemption for Delta, the carrier was trying to emerge from bankruptcy and facing rising fuel costs.

But Ehrhart argues the exemption was not initially intended to be permanent, and Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.

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Business
5:20 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Vendors Can Finally Return To Turner Field

City Hall official Billy Warren, left, comes out to speak with street vendors as they prepare to enter the Council Chambers to protest the city's policy on selling items on public property on July 1, 2013, in Atlanta. In March, Atlanta police told vendors they were violating an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of city sidewalks through the sale or display of goods.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta City Council members voted to pass an ordinance to allow vendors to return to Turner Field

Up to 15 vendors will be allowed to sell their goods again outside the stadium, but only for the next two years.

City councilwoman Mary Norwood says for the last few months, vendors have been showing up at her Public Safety Committee meetings.  

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Business
4:09 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Mercedes-Benz To Relocate Headquarters To Sandy Springs

Mercedes-Benz's corporate headquarters will be located in the city of Sandy Springs.
Credit Axion23 / flickr.com/gfreeman23

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon says the company's corporate headquarters will be located in the metro Atlanta city of Sandy Springs.

Cannon joined Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials at a ceremony Tuesday at the state Capitol. Mercedes-Benz officials announced in January that the car manufacturer would relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Georgia. But a specific location wasn't clear.

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A Closer Look
2:11 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

How FEMA Uses Waffle House To Measure Disasters

If a Waffle House is closed after a storm, then things are really bad.
Credit Bob B. Brown / flickr.com/beleaveme

When a big storm or tornado devastates a community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually steps in to help state and local officials. But in recent years, FEMA has been getting some help of its own from an unexpected source – one you see on almost every highway throughout the Southeast: Waffle House.

During a busy lunch hour at a Waffle House in Norcross, Ga., manager William Palmer grills up a Texas Lover’s BLT for one of his customers on the high counter.

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Airlines and Aviation
7:32 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Southwest Unveils 'Heartlanta' Campaign, Fare Sale

Southwest Airlines entered the Atlanta market in February 2012 through its merger with AirTran Airways. Southwest finished integrating AirTran in December and is now focused on gaining domestic market share at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Three years to the month after Southwest Airlines began service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Dallas-based carrier kicked off a campaign Monday aimed directly at luring local travelers.

Southwest calls it “Heartlanta.”

The kitschy advertisements feature smiling faces, dancing Atlanta-based employees and Southwest planes crossing the screen in dramatic slow motion.

“Hey Atlanta,” a female voice says at the start of the 15-second commercial. “You know how we know this is a real relationship? We’re picking you up at the airport.”

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