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Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. This (and A2's intellectual honesty) is a great discussion, and reminds me of the exciting (for sure) 2007-2009 time period. I also stayed away from UP for years, and for some reason, the irrational exuberance (and the development that ensues) lures me back, as usual, just in time for a reset. As a not-yet-but-approaching-40 year old, the Great Recession happened at a critical (early) juncture in my career. It was life-changing, It affects every economic decision I make. But the dichotomy for me, personally, is going to make this one even more impactful. On the one hand, I'm in the asset management business. We're liquid and hungry for any reset in asset valuations and investment terms. It's been silly for over half a decade. Financing is "secured" (to paraphrase Elon Musk) and locked in for the long haul. It couldn't come fast enough. On the other hand, I've been divorced TWICE since the Great Recession. I'm silly broke. All assets and over half of my income is gone. I'm personally levered beyond reason, and need a miracle to dig out. I'm dreading the impact. Should be exciting.
  2. Completely agree. My favorite one - between 6th and 7th, on the south side of 58th street, has a lot of Charlotte customers. The family is incredibly knowledgeable, generous with tastings, knows everything about the supply chain and remembers everything. I picked up a bottle of Codigo Rosa (can't get it in NC anymore...) this weekend.
  3. The ABC regime is atrocious. I understand the supply issue with certain (delicious) products like Blanton's, but there's no rational public policy reason why the State should operate a cartel for a consumer product. Get out of the way, NC!
  4. Steve Cummings (US CEO for MUFG) still has his home (and roots) in Charlotte. MUFG's corporate bank is in NYC and retail in LA. He wants to go from a large (West Coast) regional bank to a national top-10 deposit share bank. I don't know what M&A deal makes sense for them, but it wouldn't surprise me to see a deal and then more investment here. The Charlotte mafia used to be a thing, and it has its vestiges, and he's no doubt the best bet for its renaissance. We had lunch with him in UBS's dining room a few years ago and he was still a Charlotte guy, through and through, 40 floors above Park Ave in a Swiss Bank.
  5. I love the Grill. The staff is great. Selfishly, it's right across the street from my office. But I would love a Halls. I hope you're prescient.
  6. Southpark Grill Update: The rumors of the grill's demise (or Hall's arrival) are premature. They full revamped their dinner menu, and are serving very good steaks and typical accoutrement. Give them a try.
  7. This is a real disappointment. If you think about the end of the 20th century and the first few years of the 21st century, that's when this city's leadership approached opportunities like this with a refusal to lose, and fought with an underdog mentality, taking absolutely nothing for granted. That leadership (business, civic and social) took nothing for granted and absolutely would have connected something like this to Charlotte's future economic growth. Barings fell in our lap. This was a must-have, if you understand that the high paying jobs that used to exist at true banks have left the banking system (for a decade now) and are moving into alternative asset management. Trillions of dollars over the course of this generation's watch are moving into the hands of professional asset management firms like AB. Charlotte happens to have a unique, opportunistic ecosystem to nurture this industry. We already punch way above our weight in this growing, extraordinarily visible (to the rest of the world) and lucrative industry. The end of this decade should {have been}{be} a "big bang" of sorts - much like the mid-1990s was. Charlotte will grow and will be successful, and 80% of the city will never have a clue what AB is or does, but you could say the same thing about broker dealer activities or interstate banking in 1989. I'm quite disappointed in the individuals who pursued this opportunity for not bringing to bear every resource and angle that was in play. I am absolutely sure that they did not. The prior leaders wouldn't have let this slip past.
  8. I haven't read it, but in an "institutional" deal as I would imagine this partnership agreement to represent, there is a slate of standard market "minority protections" including but not limited to tag along rights (i.e., you own 10% but the plurality owner is selling, and you want to sell down pro rata with the majority/plurality), drag along rights (i.e., a group of 50% plus of the aggregate ownership wants to sell; the 10% owner can't hold the 50% plus hostage, who want to sell, so the minority gets "dragged" along) and others that don't really apply here ... well, maybe the ROFO and ROFR, i.e., if a member wants to sell, then other members get the right to buy at the price the seller received in his or her offer from the third party (if Jerry gets an offer for $10 for 48%, Hugh has the right to buy the 48% for $10). While nobody does know (and unless someone steps in it and violates a core confidentiality provision of the partnership agreement, we won't know), these are the presumptions that people can/should make, if they're just speculating (as we are).
  9. Artificial turf has gotten to be much higher quality and less costly (to produce and install) over the last decade. It's come a long way from the horrid green sandpaper of the Astrodome. I would argue that it is quite environmentally friendly in certain applications. It lasts 10-15 years with even heavy traffic, it is not susceptible to infestations and it doesn't need to be watered. I would expect to see it gaining acceptance in Charlotte over time, as it becomes more residentially viable and also the next time water scarcity is a concern.
  10. Same here - is the lounge (fireplace, small menu, couches and tables, bar service) that is currently in place, right outside of the BLT entrance, not what they're talking about?
  11. That's a shame. I agree with ATL and you in that Restaurant Week is sometimes a bad time to form a first impression. BLT is above my paygrade for everyday dining as well, but when you feel like you can swing it, it's well worth it. I also like Del Frisco's and Ruth's Chris a lot, but don't care to go during Restaurant Week. As an alternative to Restaurant Week, I like to hit different places that have cocktail menus. McCormick and Schmick sort of pioneered this I guess. But Aria has a great $5 menu at the bar. BLT also happens to have one. I think they might work some kinks out, but I generally spend a lot less and have more fun with bar menus.
  12. Isn't there an empty building at Gateway?
  13. Get out of here. NM Charlotte carries Thomas Pink? I've only walked through the men's section once and didn't notice. @ StevenRocks - They now have a significant GOB markdown. 75%, I believe. It pains me to write this, because I won't be able to go until next week. Don't say I never gave you anything...
  14. Thought I, too, would drop in to pay my respects to Billy Reid (the store - not the designer). They filled a great niche in Charlotte. I always had great help from sales associates. I hate to see the store leave, but I would love to hear more about NM carrying his products. The candies were great (psssst... you can get them at Candy Candy in Founders Hall), but I agree that the bourbon was a hit - especially when you're trying to carry your lunchtime buzz forward.
  15. Oh man. At the risk of being called out for my lack of urbanity, I'd love a Houston's in Charlotte. Perfect location, too.
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