From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on December 16, 2008 - 10:09am - Add new comment

Augusta’s housing market is strong. Say what? Repeat that.
Augusta’s housing market is strong.
Our market is second in the nation in home value appreciation – not the “I like your house” brand of appreciation, but the increase in value version.
In the past year, the value of area homes increased (in total) 5.5 percent.
Those California cities that have been rocked by the housing bubble bursting and now rampant foreclosure are going down: 42.3 percent in Merced, 41.4 percent in Stockton and 36.7 percent in Modesto.

By: Tim Rausch on December 2, 2008 - 1:33pm - Add new comment

Delta Air Lines this morning let the world see a memo that it sent out to 75,000 employees that set the table for some buyouts to reduce its staff.
Next year, the airline is going to reduce its capacity, for Northwest flights too, 6 to 8 percent. Specifically, domestic seats are going to be cut 8 to 10 percent and international capacity is going down 3 to 5 percent in 2009.
The memo, signed by CEO Richard Anderson and President Edward Bastian, said the reduction comes as a result of the global economic recession and a weaker demand for air travel.

By: Tim Rausch on December 1, 2008 - 1:41pm - Add new comment

It has not escaped my attention that some major money is going to be invested in South Carolina.
American Titanium Works is going to build a titanium mini-mill in Laurens County. The Chicago steel company is going to spend $422 million on a plant that will employ 320 people.
As if that wasn’t enough, 40 engineering jobs are going to be created at Clemson. The company is setting up an engineering technical center at the university’s automotive research campus.

By: Tim Rausch on November 24, 2008 - 10:27am - Add new comment

Even the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta has been affected by the credit crunch. This quasi-governmental agency has $184,000 deposited with Bank of America and paid its bills on time, but its credit card was revoked.

The executive director relayed the message that the revocation was a credit decision.

No surprise, the DDA is switching banks for its checking and savings.

U.S. banks charged off more than 5 percent of all credit card loans in the second quarter, representing some $50 billion that they’ll likely never collect, according to the Federal Reserve.

By: Tim Rausch on November 17, 2008 - 8:55am - Add new comment

It is the time of the year where my sister and I start the song and dance about what to get our parents for Christmas. It is a question that usually provides a shrug as an answer, so the common fall-back is a gift card. Hey, it lets them pick what they want.

But there’s a new worry. Is the retailer going to be there right after Christmas? We need to choose a little wiser now in case the store goes bankrupt at the conclusion of the holiday season.

By: Tim Rausch on November 9, 2008 - 9:15pm - Add new comment

The document that will be used to drive discussion on Augusta and North Augusta’s downtown development over the next few decades is being written right now.

By: Tim Rausch on November 2, 2008 - 5:48pm - Add new comment

There are indications that Xethanol might not be leaving town. First of all, the company is no longer known as Xethanol.

The New York-based alternative ethanol company has turned itself into an Atlanta-based alternative energy technology company that now goes by the name of Global Energy Holdings Group.

It already has changed its stock exchange ticker. (For those of you who want to invest, it is GNH.)

By: Tim Rausch on October 30, 2008 - 9:52am - Add new comment

    When the meltdown began, the rules of the commercial development game changed.
    Mike Graybill, a principal with Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial, was talking about the changes in credit rules for commercial development.
    (The company is widely known for its work outside of Georgia. It is known around here for most recently putting together Evans Town Center and Evans Exchange, as well as the land where CarMax is going up along Interstate 20. It does a lot of its work outside of Georgia.)

By: Tim Rausch on October 19, 2008 - 8:30pm - Add new comment

We keep bidding farewell to furniture businesses. Furniture General in downtown Augusta has left us. Ashley Furniture in west Augusta was shut down more promptly by its Alpharetta, Ga., franchise owner.

Add Ivan Allen Workspace to the list, which decided a few weeks ago that it was going to run its Augusta operations out of Atlanta.

It won’t have a sales office or warehouse in Augusta by the end of the month.

By: Tim Rausch on October 17, 2008 - 4:49pm - Add new comment

A hamburger chain that has been eating up awards in the nation’s capital is going to have a home on Washington Road.
Troy Jordan, a vice president with the Augusta-based development firm of Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial, says Five Guys Burgers and Fries is one of the four tenants that will move into to a building under construction in front of the newly opened Kroger store at the corner of Washington Road and Alexander Drive.
Five Guys has 331 locations in 28 states nationwide.


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