Loudermilk sells stock to pay real estate debt

Charlie Loudermilk, founder and chairman of Buckhead-based Aaron’s Inc., recently sold off nearly 1 million common shares of Aaron’s stock for about $28.5 million to pay off debt on local real estate ventures, including the historic Roxy Theater and adjacent parking lot property on Roswell Road in the heart of Buckhead.

The sale reduced Loudermilk’s ownership of Aaron’s Class A voting stock by 6 percent, but he still controls 57 percent of that stock with 4.7 million shares. He also owns 249,000 shares of nonvoting common stock.

The cash is being used exclusively to repay two-thirds of the outstanding loans on apartment complexes, parking lots and other real estate ventures he owns throughout Atlanta.

Those ventures include the Roxy, which he and son Robin Loudermilk, Aaron’s CEO, reacquired from Novare Group Holdings in March 2008 for $8 million. Loudermilk will use $3 million to complete the renovation of the theater and $8 million to $9 million to repay the debt for that site and the adjacent parking lot.

Initially, Loudermilk planned to build a 15-to-18-story, 270-room hotel on the parking lot. But he dropped those plans as the economy soured and work on nearby developments slowed.

Restaurant to open at Lenox

After months of the prime restaurant spot at the entrance to Lenox Square being dark, Simon Property Group has announced that Lenox Square Grill will open this fall in the spot formerly occupied by The Clubhouse.

Lenox Square Grill, a new concept from CentraArchy, the Atlanta company that owns Tavern at Phipps, New York Prime, Joey D’s and California Dreaming, will open as a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

The menu will offer traditional comfort foods in a decor that will feature dark wood accents and floors.

The restaurant’s atmosphere will suit families while appealing to business diners.

Lenox Square Grill will accommodate more than 300 guests and include outdoor seating and several private dining rooms.

Doosan signs on at Terraces

Doosan Intracore America, an affiliate of South Korean conglomerate Doosan Group, recently signed a lease for 25,472 square feet of office space at the Central Perimeter area’s The Terraces.

Doosan Intracore will consolidate employees from its Charlotte, N.C., offices and its North American headquarters in Suwanee in the new space. The company is moving about 100 employees onto the seventh floor of the North Terraces, an 11-story, 530,000-square-foot building.

The lease brings North Terraces to about 70 percent occupancy.

Doosan Intracore is Korea’s largest manufacturer of construction machinery. It was established in 1937, and its specialties include industrial vehicles, defense product manufacturing, and diesel and natural gas systems. The company has plants around the world and employs 5,000.

Cousins chairman retiring

Tom Bell, the chairman and CEO of Cousins Properties, will retire July 1 and will be replaced as CEO by the president and chief operating officer, Larry L. Gellerstedt III.

Gellerstedt will remain president of the real estate investment trust.

Bell, who turns 60 this year, became Cousins CEO in January 2002 and chairman in December 2006. Under his watch, the company sold nearly $3 billion in assets at the market’s peak for special dividends totaling $12.62 a share.

Bell remains deeply involved in Atlanta’s civic life. With former Georgia Pacific CEO A.D. “Pete” Correll, he has been instrumental in the effort to save Grady Memorial Hospital.

Gellerstedt, 53, came to Cousins when it bought his 2-year-old firm, The Gellerstedt Group, in June 2005. He also served as chairman and chief executive officer of Beers Construction, chairman and CEO of American Business Products, and president and chief operating officer of The Integral Group, an urban mixed-use development company.

Lenbrook names new CEO

Becky Webster, former chief operating officer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has been appointed the new chief executive officer of Lenbrook, a nationally accredited continuing-care retirement community in Buckhead just west of the DeKalb County line.

Webster, who retired from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 2003, came out of retirement to take the position at Lenbrook.

Webster replaces Debbie Taylor, who announced her desire to retire late last year. Taylor had worked at Lenbrook for 21 years, serving as CEO and president since 2002, and will continue to work with both Webster and Lenbrook as a consultant.

A member of the Lenbrook board since 2003, Webster chaired the board’s governance committee and held the position of vice chair-elect until her appointment as CEO. She is now in charge of the community’s $22 million annual budget and 200 employees.

Lenbrook has nearly doubled in size recently with a $100 million expansion, which includes a 25-story resident tower with three health care floors, three restaurants, a wellness center, an indoor pool, an expanded library and multipurpose rooms, as well as an outdoor terrace with a nine-hole putting green.

New stores keep opening at The Prado

After the early new openings of Target, Staples, Publix and Larry’s Giant Subs in the first three months of this year, The Prado, located in Sandy Springs on Roswell Road just south of I-285, has celebrated several openings since the end of February.

RBC Bank opened Feb. 23 but only recently held its official grand opening. Great Clips hair salon opened March 1.

But the big day was June 5, with the openings of the FuegoMundo South American wood-fire grill; EVOS restaurant, featuring fast food for health-conscious patrons; and Yoreka Frozen Yogurt, which claims to be a healthy, creative substitute for ice cream shops. Also opening this month will be Nail Talk and Tan.

Taco Mac is scheduled to open in mid-September in the space that was occupied by Frankie’s Sports Bar for many years.

The Prado was redeveloped by the Sembler Co.