Cobb Chatter - The word on the street on Cobb’s busy business front
November 04, 2013 12:00 AM | 1042 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If authority is a barometer ... then happy days are here again

If recent moves at the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority are any indicator, then the economic rebound is in full swing.

The authority was created by the General Assembly and its board governs the Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops. Operations are funded mostly through space rental, catering and concession sales, building services charges, ticket sales and sponsorships. Debts are paid for by a portion of the hotel-motel tax, which is collected by Cobb and its cities. As you might have read in this issue, all employees got a three percent raise this year. 

More impressive is the salary for Michele Swann, the authority's CEO. 

She currently reels in a base salary of $175,675 and benefits including 25 paid vacation days, up to 120 hours of sick-pay accrual and 10 paid holidays annually. Can it get any better? Yes, Swann's contract also allows for a bonus of up to 25 percent of her base salary, which would be $43,918. 

The raises this year were supported by longtime arts advocate and respected businessman Earl Smith, also a board member.

Not that we aren't happy with the tourism in the area. We're thrilled to see the area reel in top talent not only in business, but also the outstanding cultural and entertainment events at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The events themselves coupled with the trickle-down economics is great for the region.

Marietta makes the big screen, again

Georgia’s recent success in attracting movie and TV business because of outstanding tax incentives only continues to grow, and work in Cobb is no exception. 

Last month, the Marietta Square stood in for El Paso, Texas as actors Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels took to the Square on Monday to film scenes for “Dumb and Dumber To” involving a Zamboni that closed the intersection of West Park Square and South Park Square. For the rest of the day, crew and actors filmed in Glover Park.

“Dumb and Dumber To” is the sequel to the 1994 “Dumb and Dumber” film.

City officials don’t yet have an estimate on how much Marietta will make off the filming, said Lindsey Thompson, spokeswoman for Marietta.

The production company will pay the city about $1,500 a day for use of the Square. That doesn’t include the cost it will be charged for using police officers who closed the park and surrounding roads and other city services.

That amount will be tallied after filming. It’s not the first time the business has been a stand-in for one in another city. When “The Watch,” a science fiction comedy, filmed scenes on the Square for the movie released in 2012, the store became part of the fictitious Glenview, Ohio.

First steps in Six Flags area redevelopment?

We’ve been reporting on the work to give the dilapidated area around Six Flags renovated and rebooted all year. The area is a prime location in the metro area. There has been talk from several officials about it, including members of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority. 

Well, it appears that some movement is taking place. Recently, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a major firm, closed on the acquisition of three multi-family communities in the area by paying almost $20 million. What does that mean? It means the three properties comprising a total of nearly 500 units have been bought and transformations might soon be on the way. And by transformation, we mean everything from live-work-play communities to business parks to upgrades in residential housing. 

Stay tuned to Chatter for updates on this moving forward. 

Speaking of ...

Is Georgia’s rising film industry part of the impetus behind the recent upgrade and expansion of Paulding’s airport?

As reported by various media outlets, the Paulding airport recently made a major move in upgrading its image and profit margin. The Airport Authority authorized a deal with New York-based Propeller Investments to let them lease the property to bring in more planes and profits. 

The main market will be smaller 150-seat commuter, otherwise they would have to widen their runway. 

Propeller Investments is the same group that did not get the go-ahead in Gwinnett County last year. In Gwinnett, the company would have gotten control over the whole airport. 

The lease situation appears to be a pretty good deal for both parties. Propeller is paying $250,000 a year, plus the authority gets 2.5 percent of the company’s overall revenue. It is a 20-year lease. 

Propeller is the largest aerospace and aviation investment firm in the U.S. The authority did not need approval by the county commission. Some commissioners were surprised this took place. It makes one wonder what could be on the line for McCollum in the future.

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