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Augusta firm buys mall in Rome, Ga.

An Augusta-based commercial real estate firm has acquired the Mount Berry Square Mall in Rome, Ga., the company announced Monday.

The acquisition is the fourth mall that Hull Storey Gibson Cos. LLC, has purchased this year, expanding its total retail gross leasable space to more than 13 million square feet, according to a news release.

Mount Berry Square Mall has 476,778 square feet of retail space and is anchored by Belk, J.C. Penney and Sears department stores, the company said.

Earlier this year, the company bought malls in Auburn, Ala., and in Danville and Martinsville, Va. Its retail portfolio includes 21 enclosed malls, 25 shopping centers and numerous other properties in Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Augustans listed
in ‘40 Under 40’

Two recipients of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s top young professionals award have also been honored as tops in the state.

Summer Finley Bell, a senior accountant for Serotta, Maddocks, Evans & Co. CPAs, and JaMia Jennings, architect and project manager for the Army, have been chosen as two of Georgia Trend magazine’s “40 Under 40.”

All those named by the Augusta chamber as being among the Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch – developed in 2009 by the chamber in partnership with Augusta Magazine and the city of Augusta to highlight 10 professionals ages 25-35 in the Augusta region – were nominated for the Georgia Trend honor.

Building numbers showing rebound

WASHINGTON — U.S. builders spent more to construct homes in August, further evidence of a housing rebound. But it couldn’t offset cuts in public projects and commercial real estate.

Overall construction spending dipped 0.7 percent in August from July, the Commerce Department reported Monday. It was the second straight monthly decline.

That lowered construction spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $834.4 billion – nearly 12 percent above the 12-year low of February 2011 and about half of what’s considered healthy.

American Express pays refunds, fines

WASHINGTON — American Express Co. is paying $112.5 million in refunds and fines to settle regulators’ accusations that it charged unlawful late fees and deceived customers to pressure them to pay off old debts or buy extra credit card services.

The company agreed to the settlements announced Monday by four federal agencies.

American Express is refunding $85 million to about 250,000 customers and is paying $27.5 million in civil fines.

The agencies said American Express violated federal laws prohibiting deceptive practices by using false statements to get customers to settle old debts. Regulators say that included falsely telling customers that if they agreed to settlements to partially pay off their debts, the remaining balance would be forgiven.

In other news

THE OUTLOOK FOR the airline industry is improving, with profits expected to reach $4.1 billion this year and $7.5 billion in 2013, the International Air Transport Association said Monday. The industry group raised its forecast from $3 billion.

– From staff and wire reports


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