From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Damon Cline on May 20, 2007 - 4:36pm - Add new comment

Last week I, got a voice mail from a reader who was curious about why the “vitamin plant” in Augusta has never opened.

What the caller was referring to is the 400,000-square-foot production facility that New York vitamin company NBTY Inc. said it would open near Augusta Regional Airport.

Two years after the announcement, the building off Tobacco Road that the company paid nearly $11 million for still sits unused.

Local economic development officials in contact with the company said late last year that the facility could be open by this spring.

By: Damon Cline on May 13, 2007 - 6:20pm - Add new comment

Our love affair with Savannah River Site is on the rocks.

Area officials and business leaders have long grumbled to the Department of Energy about the lack of future economic development opportunities at the installation, as they did about two weeks ago with Energy Department officials in Washington, D.C.

Sources say there also was grousing over recently announced DOE plans to outsource many SRS jobs to Chickasaw Nation Industries, a company owned by the Chickasaw Indians, without a competitive bidding process.

By: Damon Cline on May 8, 2007 - 9:05am - Add new comment

The local banking market seems to get more interesting every day, what with all the start up activity and the holding companies deciding to venture outside their established markets into new territory.

By: Damon Cline on April 21, 2007 - 11:21am - Add new comment

They said there would be a construction delay, and they weren’t kidding.

he MGHerring Group, of Dallas, the developers of the massive Villages at Riverwatch shopping center project at the southeast corner of River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, said last month that they would delay the project six to nine months to study ways to “enhance” the 800,000-square-foot shopping center to a mixed-use ( less retail) concept.

True to their word, the gates to the 170-acre site have been closed for weeks.

By: Damon Cline on April 12, 2007 - 10:44pm - Add new comment

I know residents (including me) are ready to put this year’s Masters Tournament behind them, but I have to get this off my chest: The Red Carpet Tour and the Augusta Showcase just gets better every year.

I can cite many reasons why this is the case, but really, the best indicator is the quality of the coffee.

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 9:35pm - Add new comment

Remember the big national security brouhaha that happened last year when a United Arab Emerates-owned company wanted to buy several U.S. ports operations? Well, the Middle East-meets-West scenario is unfolding again, only this time the proposed acquisition target is a little closer to home.

The state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is negotiating with the Carlyle Group to buy Landmark Aviation, the company that operates the 200-employee jet repair facility at Augusta Regional Airport.

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 9:29pm - Add new comment

Chickasaw Nation Industries Inc., the government contracting arm of the Chickasaw Nation, is in negotiations to run information technology operations at Savannah River Site.

You heard me correctly, the Department of Energy is planning to outsource its 200-employee IT department at SRS to the Chickasaw Indians. I say hats off to 'em for moving beyond tobacco outlets and casinos.

Top brass at Washington Savanah River Co., SRS's main contractor, notified employees last week that the Energy Department that talks are in progress.

By: Damon Cline on March 30, 2007 - 9:27pm - Add new comment

Interested in chartering a scenic flight over the Augusta National Golf Club during this week's Masters Tournament? Good luck. Charter flight services throughout the city are telling people they simply are not flying this week. At all. No exceptions. Period.

This may sound crazy, but it's almost as if someone is paying these flight companies to keep their planes on the ground during the week. I mean, who could do that? Who would want to? Yeah, I know, sounds crazy.

By: Damon Cline on March 28, 2007 - 7:51pm - Add new comment

Nobody makes a fuss when their plane is on time, their flight attendant is polite and -- most importantly -- they avoid getting the dreaded BCS (body cavity search) at the security gate.

But maybe we should make a fuss...especially in Augusta, where air travel has a certain reputation (certain meaning bad) among even those who never or rarely use the city's airport.

I tend to think the preponderance of negative comments about service at Augusta Regional Airport makes people more likely to avoid the airport, which, in turn, lowers passenger counts and makes airlines want to provide less s

By: Damon Cline on March 25, 2007 - 5:34pm - Add new comment

I've had a few people ask me about the palatial "home" under construction on Magnolia Drive.

These people, not being idiots, already realize that this monster house -- like the other palatial houses that have been built near Augusta National Golf Club in recent years -- is really a corporate hospitality venue designed (on the outside, anyway) to look like a home.

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