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Published on July 29th, 2015 |

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RE developer Ackerman, broker Shirley Gary, chef Cohen feted

Charles Ackerman, who started the vertical building boom in Buckhead with the development of Tower Place 100 in the 1970s, was recently made Emeritus Board Member of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, an organization he helped found in 1999.

A constant member of the BCID board of directors since 1999, Ackerman founded the full-service real estate firm Ackerman & Co. in 1967, which has developed over 6 million square feet of

Charles Ackerman during the July 13 meeting of the BCID board.

Charles Ackerman during the July 13 meeting of the BCID board.

office, retail and residential projects in the U.S., many in the metro Atlanta market and Buckhead.

Many of his landmark projects have put Atlanta on the map as a top real estate market and business center. One of those was the 29-story Tower Place 100, a landmark project that he holds in high regard. The 563,000-square-foot building was built on speculation without any preleasing.

Ackerman had the foresight to launch Tower Place 100 when Buckhead was dotted with only mid-rise office buildings. Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell was still the mayor of Atlanta when Buckhead’s first skyscraper broke ground in 1973.

“At the groundbreaking he (Ackerman) asked me, ‘Sam do you think anyone will be able to top this?’ ” Massell said. “Now, when I look out my window there are buildings in every direction.”

But in Buckhead, Ackerman was involved in real estate ventures that far extended from Tower Place 100—along Peachtree and Piedmont roads, along Stratford Road, around Lenox Square mall, to name a few.

In recognizing Ackerman at the July 13 meeting of the BCID board, Chairman David Allman said, “Charlie was the first to have the idea of a park over GA 400,” a concept the CID has been studying for the past few months to add 9 acres of green space to the central business district of Buckhead.

Ackerman responded by saying, “This group (the CID board) is such fun to be with because of the intellectual exchanges.” Part of his legacy has been in developing park areas, in some cases including water features, and adding sculpture works to many of his office developments.

BCID  board vice chair John Lundeen, left, listens as Charles Ackerman thanks the board for his emeritus board position at the July 13 meeting.

BCID board vice chair John Lundeen, left, listens as Charles Ackerman thanks the board for his emeritus board position at the July 13 meeting.

A native of New York, Ackerman arrived in Atlanta in 1957 after being discharged from the U.S. Army. Looking for a job in a down economy, the 20-something Ackerman walked into the office of Alan Grayson Realty, at the time one of the city’s largest commercial real estate brokerage firms.

“He was a young whipper-snapper that walked in off the street,” said Massell, then vice president of the real estate firm. “I was uncertain about his agenda, but I thought it took a great deal of inner strength at his age to get up and leave his hometown and come to a place like Atlanta where he knew no one, didn’t know the businesses, didn’t know the streets, and certainly didn’t know real estate.”

Ackerman began his career leasing office space on a draw of $100 a month, an income that barely covered his gas bill. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming one of the leading office leasing agents in the city. He became one of the top real estate brokers in Atlanta.

After founding Ackerman & Co. in 1967, he was instrumental in creating and starting the tenant representation business. Ackerman built relationships with the biggest names in real estate, including legendary Atlanta developer Tom Cousins, who wanted a brokerage company to help market his properties. Ackerman won the job.

Ackerman brought a new level of competition to the tenant rep business. Before him, brokers didn’t call on another building’s tenants to see if they could be convinced to relocate. And, he also started a home security system company.

Ackerman earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his education included the anthropology graduate program at Georgia State University and Emory University School of Law.

Shirley Gary named to ‘The 1000 Top RE Professionals’
Shirley Gary, broker and license partner of Engel & Volkers Buckhead Atlanta, was named a member of “The Thousand Top Real Estate Professionals” by REAL Trends and The Wall Street Journal, a prestigious national ranking sponsored annually by the two respected publications.

Broker-partner Shirley Gary discusses one of the property displays with Mayor Kasim Reed at the grand opening party for the Engel & Volkers office at Buckhead Atlanta in April.

Broker-partner Shirley Gary discusses one of the property displays with Mayor Kasim Reed at the grand opening party for the Engel & Volkers office at Buckhead Atlanta in April.

Shirley Gary

Shirley Gary

Gary was ranked 107 in the list of the Top 250 Agents by Transaction Volume, and the only Georgia broker/license partner listed, according to the firm.

Gary said, “2014 was an excellent year for us, with a total sales volume of more than $107 Million.” She was one of five Germany-based Engel & Völkers real estate advisors listed in The Thousand. Gary opened her new storefront office in the Buckhead Atlanta mixed-use project in April of this year.

“During the first six months of this year, we have already exceeded $71 Million. We are on track to set a new record for our growing company – especially when you consider the many pre-sales on the books that are set to close later this fall,” Gary added.

‘The Thousand’ is published each year and is based on independently verified data provided by U.S. brokerages and real estate associations throughout the United States. The ranking of “The Thousand” can be found at: www.thethousandrealestateprofessionals.com

The list is comprised of categorized rankings that include the Top 250 Agents by Sales Volume and by Transaction Sides, and the Top 250 Teams by Sales Volume and by
Transactions Sides, as well as two newly added categories based off of average sales price, which include Top 250 Agents by Average Sales Price and Top 250 Teams by
Average Sales Price.

Buckhead chef wins ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ competition
The general manager and head chef at Buckead’s Roasters restaurant in Buckhead appeared July 19 on local television screens as a participant in the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” competition and she was the winner.

Chef Leslie Cohen

Chef Leslie Cohen

Roasters GM Leslie Cohen was one of four contestants on “Cutthroat Kitchen”, hosted by celebrity chef Alton Brown, and turned out to be the winner of the whole shebang, according to Neighbor Newspapers.

The four chefs were pitted against one another for four grueling rounds of cooking shenanigans, such as cooking food on the back of an inflatable horse. At the end of each round, one chef was sent home until there was only one standing.

Apart from the glory inherent in winning such a competition, Cohen took home $20,500 in prize money. She plans to put some of that money back into the restaurant but also wants to go on a trip to the Caribbean, Neighbor Newspapers reported.

“My Kitchen for a Horse” will air again Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. For more information on the show, visit www.foodnetwork.com.

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