Category: Travel Plans

Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods: Thanksgiving 2018 GA Grocery Hours

Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods: Thanksgiving 2018 GA Grocery Hours

Putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table typically requires more than one shopping trip. Whether it’s brown sugar for the sweet potatoes, whipped cream for the pies, or rolls to sop up turkey gravy, something always gets overlooked on the first pass through the grocery store. Or, if you have guests who show up but didn’t RSVP, a quick dash to the store for more goodies might be needed at the last minute. Continue reading “Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods: Thanksgiving 2018 GA Grocery Hours”

Underground Atlanta developer brings Jones Lang LaSalle on board – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Underground Atlanta developer brings Jones Lang LaSalle on board – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Underground Atlanta developer WRS Inc. has hired commercial real estate services giant Jones Lang LaSalle to market opportunities for new development at the project.

WRS is working with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) on Block One, a 1.9-acre site within the overall project. It stands along Peachtree Street at the northwest corner of Pryor and Upper Alabama next to MARTA’s Five Points Station.

WRS sees Block One is an integral part of the redevelopment.

Underground Atlanta involves a four-block transformation of the long-strugging project into a mix of housing, office, retail and a hotel.

Block One is an anchor of the project.

JLL’s Scott Cullen and Mark Lindenbaum, who lead the firms’ land and development services platform, will oversee the marketing and selection of a developer for Block One. That includes air rights for the property.

The site’s proximity to Five Points Station makes it one of the most compelling transit oriented development projects in the city, said Lindenbaum.

JLL expects to see global interest in the development opportunity.

WRS bought Underground Atlanta in 2017. It has since shifted some of its original plans and has continued to meet with community leaders about how the project should be developed.

Its timing seems good. Few neighborhoods anywhere in the country are poised for a greater metamorphosis than Atlanta’s historic South Downtown, with roots dating back to the commercial beginnings of the city. It has more than $1.5 billion worth of new projects in the works, including Underground Atlanta and the proposed $400 million development of “The Gulch,” a collection of railroad lines and vacant parking lots that once formed an important railway hub for the Southeast.

Newport U.S. RE also has sweeping plans for several dozen buildings and parking lots along Peachtree, Mitchell and Broad streets. It recently bought 222 Mitchell Street, a collection of tank-like buildings that sat vacant for years. The property could be remade into housing, retail space and office space, and a hotel.

Midtown makeover

A $6 million makeover of Midtown’s 730 Peachtree is about to get underway.

Owner Crestlight Capital unveiled the redesign of the 11-story building to tenants Thursday. It bought the property, which is just a block from Technology Square, last year.

The architect is Gensler, which is known for its work on similar projects. For example, it led the conversion of a five-story 1980’s-era building into Atlanta Tech Village.

The last major renovation for 730 Peachtree, formerly the Veterans Administration building, came almost 20 years ago.

The work gets underway in June and should finish by December.

Lincoln Property Co. is overseeing leasing and management of the building. The makeover should put Crestlight in position to land more technology companies and startups that want to be close to Georgia Tech and Tech Square.

Big apartment sale

A joint venture purchased a 431-unit midrise Buckhead apartment complex on Lenox Road for $72.5 million.

It plans to complete a renovation begun in 2015.

Wilkinson Corp. of Yakima, Wash., and New York City-based Torchlight Investors acquired 32Hundred Lenox. The seller was Elite Street Capital.

Cushman & Wakefield brokered the transaction.

MARTA effect

A profound shift in Atlanta development patterns continues to gain speed, suggesting decades of suburban sprawl may remain stuck in neutral.

Consider that roughly 61 percent of all new construction of trophy office buildings falls within within walking distance, or a half mile, of MARTA rail stations, according to a recently released report from Cushman & Wakefield.

The study looked at construction and rent performance at both office and residential properties within a half-mile of the stations.

Among the findings:

Office buildings within walking distance of MARTA stations achieved rents that were up 5 percent year-over-year at the end of the first quarter.Those buildings also saw less vacancy and a 25 percent higher rental rate than the overall Atlanta market.Rent for trophy office properties near Midtown’s MARTA stations averaged $35.21 per square foot, the highest of any neighborhood with access to rail.Since 2008, there have been three times as many residential units developed within a half-mile of MARTA stations. Rents for those units were almost 50 percent higher than apartments outside that half-mile radius.Projects under construction, such as the 350-unit Hanover West Peachtree, are quoting $2.70 per square foot in asking rents. Lilli Midtown, at 693 Peachtree Street, is getting almost $2.50.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Chad Koenig was lead author of the report, which painted a picture of have-and-have-nots — a growing disparity between the performance of properties near transit and those that aren’t.

“This is not to say that projects located outside the MARTA market can’t be successful, but a critical mass and momentum have been reached when it comes to how Atlantans live and work,” the report said. “The city is shifting from ‘all cars all the time’ to a much more urban approach to transportation found in Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York.

One closely watched trend is companies putting more employees into tighter office spaces, as a way to reduce real estate costs. For example, some ratios are down to one employeee per 175 or even 150 square feet of office space. On the surface, that creates greater density and the need for more parking.

However, attitudes toward Atlanta’s autocentric development patterns are changing. In fact, intown neighborhoods such as Buckhead, Midtown and downtown have continued to shrink parking maximums. Midtown’s office and residential parking caps are now the tightest in the city.

At the same time, new projects continue to eat up what parking lots remain.

“Surface lots are disappearing as new construction continues and the cost of deck parking is on the rise,” the report concludes. “This provides businesses with more incentive to locate within walking distance of MARTA rail stations.”

MARTA continues to expand its transit oriented development program, which features partnerships with developers that build new residential and office projects around the stations. MARTA launched its program at three of its stations. It then put four more TOD projects into its pipeline.

Recently, new plans emerged for a long-sought project at MARTA’s King Memorial station.

More than a year ago, MARTA announced a joint venture with Place Properties and H. J. Russell & Co. for a $51 million transit-oriented project on a 4.4-acre surface parking lot on the southside of the King Memorial station.

For MARTA, there is a link between more development near the stations and increased ridership. For suburban counties such as Gwinnett, which is not served by rail, the report underscores how investment and economic development are increasingly associated with MARTA.

Cousins Properties have said more companies won’t consider occupying a building unless it’s a short walk from a transit station.

“Clearly Atlanta thinks about MARTA differently than it once did,” said Amanda Rhein, senior director of tansit oriented development and real estate. “We are becoming the antidote to authocentric development.”

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Metro Atlanta LINK trip lands in San Diego

Metro Atlanta LINK trip lands in San Diego

The Atlanta delegation arrived in San Diego Wednesday morning – West Coast time – spending its first stop at Liberty Station, a redeveloped Naval training center that has been turned a complex of art galleries, shops, offices and restaurants.

Randy Hayes, president of Hayes Development Corp. of Fayette County, stands with Felicia Moore, president of the Atlanta City Council. Hayes has been on every LINK trip since 1997. This is the first LINK trip for Moore, who serves on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., told the Atlanta delegation that Liberty Station is one of the most successful redevelopments of a former military complex in the United States.

Several members on the LINK trip mentioned that Atlanta could have redeveloped Fort McPherson in such an inclusive way, but instead most of the property – through the encouragement of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed – was sold to filmmaker Tyler Perry for a bargain basement price. Now that property has been sealed off from the public.

The LINK trips have been in place since 1997, and this is the second time LINK has come to San Diego to see how it is addressing various issues, such as housing affordability, transportation planning, homelessness and economic innovation.

The last time LINK, a delegation of more than 100 leaders from the Atlanta region, came to San Diego was in 2001, when the southern California city was just beginning to explore the development of bus rapid transit (BRT). During the trip to San Diego, the LINK delegation will see at least one of the BRT lines that has been developed.

The region also has invested in commuter rail, trolleys and light rail.

The LINK delegation will study issues in San Diego over three days with most of the leaders returning to Atlanta on Saturday.

Jack Hardin, founding partner of the Rogers & Hardin law firm and a key advocate for the homeless, stands with John Berry, CEO of the St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Betty Willis, senior associate vice president of Emory University, visits with Kerry Armstrong, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Wayne Hill, the former chairman of Gwinnett County and former chairman of the ARC (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Claudia Bilotta, vice president and Atlanta Area Manager of WSP USA stands with Nadia Theodore, consul general of the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta. They are both on their first LINK trip (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul visits with his neighbor to the south – Thomas Reed, the Mayor of the City of Chattahoochee Hills (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, sits with Sonji Jacobs, assistant vice president of corporate communications and public relations for Cox Enterprises, and the former chief spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed during his first term in office (Photo by Maria Saporta)
On the right is Nick Juliano, public affairs manager – Southeast for Uber Technologies, with his associate, Evangeline George, public affairs manager of Uber (Photo by Maria Saporta)
State Sen. Brandon Beach, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, with Robert Brown, an architect from DeKalb County who serves on the board of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Brown also has been on every LINK trip – dating back to 1997 (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Stephen Causby, an Atlanta Regional Commission manager who coordinates the LINK trips, with his boss, Doug Hooker, ARC’s executive director, with Ann Cramer, a citizen activist who is a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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EDITORIAL: Williams’ foresight shaped metro Atlanta

EDITORIAL: Williams’ foresight shaped metro Atlanta

Every once in a while, someone comes along who challenges himself and those around him — and by doing so, transforms a community. Atlanta native John Williams, a mega developer and philanthropist extraordinaire, was such a man.

Williams, who died Monday at 75, founded Post Properties in 1970, took the apartment giant public in 1993 and used his company as a platform for sweeping community service projects that changed the face of metro Atlanta.

“His primary focus for all those years was Post Properties, but he had an overwhelming belief in giving back to the community, not only because it was the right thing to do, but because of what goes around comes around,” said Tad Leithead, interim executive director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District. For example, during the 1980s, when Marietta Square’s Glover Park had grown long in the tooth, Williams led the effort to revitalize it, personally donating a small fortune to the landscaping effort and sending his Post Properties crew to maintain it.

The apartment king is also considered the father of the Georgia’s community improvement districts. CIDs are an economic development strategy where commercial property owners agree to tax themselves and leverage that revenue to obtain state and federal funds for infrastructure projects that improve the area. Leithead said his friend and mentor learned about CIDs on a trip to Dallas in the 1980s. Williams pitched the concept to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who was in the Georgia House at the time, and former Gov. Roy Barnes, then in the Georgia Senate. Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing for CIDs in 1984. There are now three CIDs in Cobb and more than 25 in Georgia. Cumberland was the first, launching in 1988 with Williams as chairman.

Now home to the Atlanta Braves, the CID’s 6.5 square miles represents 5.4 percent of Georgia’s economy and 36 percent of Cobb County’s economy.

“None of that would have been possible without John and his vision, and Roy and Johnny,” said Lynn Rainey, an attorney for 20 CIDs.

Rainey described how CIDs are infused with Williams’ personality. A creative thinker, Williams was also a practical businessman who knew how to get things done. CID boards, likewise, dream up projects and build them. One of the signature characteristics that distinguished Post Properties from other apartment buildings at the time was their attractive, inviting landscaping. Isakson said 30 years ago, nobody planted a flower in front of apartment complexes. But Williams did things differently, becoming the largest importer of Holland bulbs in the U.S. so that tulips blossomed at Post Properties in springtime. Similarly, when drivers cross into a CID, landscaping is noticeably improved.

The real estate magnate resigned as chairman of Post Properties in 2003 after losing a proxy battle, but would strike gold a second time by launching Preferred Apartment Communities, taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange. Atlanta business writer Maria Saporta writes how Williams once told her how he could be dropped in Times Square with only $10 to his name, and be a millionaire within a year. Such claims aren’t boastful if true.

Over the course of his career, he directed and coordinated the development, construction and management of more than $15 billion in real estate development. Credited with coining such phrases as “Smart Growth” and “Live, Work, Play,” his awards and recognitions would fill a book. The National Real Estate Investor’s list included him among the “The 20th Century’s Most Influential Developers.”

Before the Cobb Galleria Centre opened in 1994, there was simply a boutique specialty mall owned by Trammell Crow. It was failing because it wasn’t a destination site, said Leithead, then a leasing agent with the company. Leithead said he came across the idea of building a convention center around the shops to create a destination site, and he pitched the idea to Williams, knowing it would take someone of his stature to accomplish such a project. Williams embraced the idea, deciding the dormant Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority was the vehicle to use to build it. He became chairman of the Exhibit Hall Authority and was the driving force behind building the convention center, which now includes the “John A. Williams Ballroom,” one of the largest such rooms in the South. Later to follow was the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which Williams helped put together the financing for, and whose 2,800-seat theater is named after him.

Under Williams’ leadership as chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, that chamber launched the Metropolitan Atlanta Transportation Initiative, which recommended the creation of an agency that would give broad powers to implement transportation and transit in the region. Shortly after Barnes was elected governor, he formed the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which was a follow-through on the MATI recommendation.

Williams’ fingerprints are everywhere.

In a tribute to Williams on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, Isakson said every politician in America should be lucky enough to have a Williams, who didn’t just tell him what he wanted to hear, but what he didn’t.

“I am sad today, and all of Georgia is sad today, and they will be even sadder on Monday when we say goodbye to John Williams,” Isakson said. “But all of us should hope and all of us should pray that all of us have the time in our lives to know somebody as good, as decent, as honorable and as compassionate for their community and as a lover of their country as John A. Williams of Atlanta, Georgia, my good friend.”

John Williams

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South Atlanta is on the rise

South Atlanta is on the rise

Is South Atlanta the next development hot-spot? And if so, what’s the cost?

According to demographer William Frey, in 2011, America’s biggest cities boasted higher population growth than their combined suburbs for the first time in a century. But there’s a cost for urban cool. All too often, “revitalization” is code for “gentrification,” which prices out working people and people of color, destroying the diversity that makes cities interesting.

What’s happening in South Atlanta?

That focus now falls on South Atlanta. The area has been described by Curbed Atlanta as “tired,” “long-languishing” and “half-abandoned.”

Outsiders eventually noticed. In 2017, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the firm Newport had bought over 24 downtown buildings, with plans to purchase a dozen more. Total investment cost: $200 million. Proposed breadth of revision: from the Underground to the Gulch. Type of renovation: retail and mixed use; apparently, no hi-rises. Jake Nawrocki, president of Newport US RE, said their South Atlanta project wouldn’t be a buy and flip: “This is not a luxury area we are building here, this is a neighborhood.”

Contrast that with the opaque sale of Underground to WRS Real Estate Investments. Or, to quote from a ThreadATL story: “Now, can someone please remind us how a suburban Walmart shopping center developer like WRS, who does want to add parking next to South Downtown’s Five Points MARTA Station, got a hold of Underground Atlanta …”

And there’s more than private interest at work. The Trust for Public Land, in collaboration with the city, is developing Rodney Cook Sr. Park: 16 acres of greenspace in historic Vine City. The $45-million-dollar project breaks ground on May 19, after five years of prep.

Long-term, what does this mean for the city as a whole?

By the numbers

Discussion of Atlanta development is contentious, and for good reason. Atlanta has a reputation for gentrification. Between 2014–2016, Metro Atlanta ranked fourth (behind Houston, Dallas and Phoenix) in net migration. Estimates place Atlanta in third for new residents (behind Miami and Dallas) for 2019. But home affordability drags. The rate of house-building is stuck below early-2000 levels and most of the units are luxury-tier.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, under HOPE VI, the city demolished a great amount of public housing — almost a tenth of all housing in the city.

Other urban areas have experimented with incentives. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pennsylvania city structured its tax abatement program to generate more affordable housing: “With the new programs will come a ‘social equity’ component — incentives for developers to invest in affordable housing, jobs, sustainability, or in underserved neighborhoods.”

Local voices have their say

Georgia Voice reached out to LGBTQ residents who’d relocated to South Atlanta in the last year. Oliver Clark moved to Atlanta with his partner in 2013. East Point beckoned. “While driving around, we loved the diversity of the people here,” Clark said, “and felt completely at home … kind of a Mayberry type feel, while being only 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta.” In the two years since, he’s noticed “a lot of change.”

“My concern,” he said, “is will this gentrification upset the diversity and community we’ve grown to love? Will housing start to rise so much that the residents who originally came to East Point and other Tri-Cities locations for the cost be priced out of where they live?”

Scott Eaves also lives in East Point. He loves his neighborhood and is “very excited” about the growth of the BeltLine. “I think the core city of Atlanta has become very unaffordable, which is pushing more people to the Southside.” Eaves wrote that he “didn’t think much can be done about [the] affordability issue within the city.”
Jessy Briton Hamilton lives in Midtown, but had thoughts on the issue. “It’s a Catch-22. … We have to engineer solutions that take that reality into account and requires that new developments include affordable housing options.”

Parks and conservation advocate George Dusenbury IV is Georgia State Director for the Trust, and has played a crucial role in the genesis of Cook Park. He noted, “More people moving to the Westside and South Downtown is not the problem. There used to be 50,000 people living on the Westside. There now are 15,000. Similar numbers apply to downtown.”

“What we must guard against,” he said, “is displacement of the existing residents. Using a combination of tax abatement, investment in affordable housing and other support services is vital to doing this.” He noted that successful revitalization “depends on a lot of factors.” Dusenbury said that “Public land is the town hall for a community. Whenever we undertake urban redevelopment, we should start with identifying the public spaces and design around them.”

Whatever the fate of South Atlanta, respondents felt the gay community had a crucial role to play. Clark said that his “thought/hope is that the LGBT community spearheads the change for the better.”

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Chef Kevin Gillespie Bringing ‘Cold Beer’ To Atlanta Beltline

ATLANTA, GA — Cold Beer, a cocktail lounge and beer garden from celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie, is set to open next year along the Atlanta Beltline in the Old Fourth Ward.

Gillespie, who first made a name for himself on "Top Chef" and has since delighted local diners with spots like Gunshow in Atlanta and Revival in Decatur, said on Facebook that Cold Beer should be open by early next year.

It will feature cocktails from Mercedes O’Brien, currently the cocktail conductor at Gunshow, and have two large patios and a rooftop deck, Gillespie said.

"Should be one hell of a good time!!" wrote Gillespie. "I will update on our progress and how close I am to losing my sanity as we go along. As always, thank you all for your support and words of encouragement. They mean a lot!!!"

Eater Atlanta reports that Cold Beer will be joined by burger chain Shake Shack and a wine and coffee bar called Hazel Jane’s in a 28,000-square-foot retail development between Edgewood and DeKalb avenues. The complex, called Edge, also will include 350 apartments and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2019, the site reports.

Photo courtesy Chef Kevin Gillespie

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Mercedes-Benz USA announces Atlanta innovation hub launch at headquarters grand opening

MBUSA new U.S. headquarters in Sandy Springs, Ga. Photo courtesy of automaker.


At the official grand opening of its new 200,000 square foot headquarters in Sandy Springs, Ga., Mercedes-Benz USA announced plans to launch a new global innovation hub called Lab1886 in Atlanta this summer.

Along with MBUSA president and chief executive officer Dietmar Exler, the ceremony included Governor of Georgia Nathan Deal; Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms; and Axel Harries, Daimler vice president sales Mercedes-Benz Cars and product management Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars.

The new headquarters is made entirely of glass that is supported by a steel structure. An estimated 1.6 acres of glass make up the facility, the company said.

“All the stars are aligned. Our new Atlanta headquarters marks a highpoint for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. market,” said Exler said in a news release. “Not just in terms of being the leading luxury brand in the U.S. for the past two years, but also in terms of this building which is designed from the inside out to enable a creative, innovative and empowered workforce more representative of a start-up than a conventional corporation.”

Harries shared Daimler’s plans to establish a global innovation hub called Lab1886 in Atlanta to open in the summer to help drive innovation.

The company said the Atlanta entity will combine the expertise of big corporation with the spirit of a startup.

“In the last few years, we have watched Atlanta carefully: Excellent colleges and universities are offering highly skilled and motivated graduates, and more and more innovative technology and digital companies make their home here. Atlanta is a true city of the future – a perfect match for Mercedes-Benz,” Harries explained. “We will build the fourth Lab1886 opening here in Atlanta this summer.”

Lab1886 joins three existing locations in Beijing, Berlin and Stuttgart.

In addition to a nature trail that encircles the building and more than 780 trees, the new headquarters 12-acre campus includes a conference center, a coffee bar, a 5,000 square foot fitness center and an on-site child care facility.

The facility is located near Georgia 400, at the intersection of Mercedes-Benz Drive.

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The Latest: Water pressure begins to return in metro Atlanta

DORAVILLE, Ga. — The Latest on a major water break in metro Atlanta (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Authorities say water pressure is beginning to return to parts of a Georgia county after a major water main break shut down schools and businesses in a large part of metro Atlanta.

DeKalb County authorities said Wednesday afternoon that crews had isolated the break just northeast of Atlanta, and that water pressure was slowly being restored throughout the county.

The massive water main break sent water gushing across a major highway, and led to low water pressure for miles (kilometers) around. Low water supplies led to several businesses closing and prompted more than 100 schools to send more than 100,000 students home Wednesday.

Authorities say the break occurred in a transmission main in the Doraville area, but its effects were felt throughout the county’s water system.


11:45 a.m.

The top official in one of Georgia’s largest counties says crews are working to fix a major water main break that’s shut down schools and businesses in metro Atlanta “as soon as humanly possible.”

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said at a late-morning news briefing Wednesday that the hope is to resolve the situation within 24 hours.

The massive water main break sent water gushing across a major highway, and led to low water pressure for miles around. Low water supplies led to several businesses closing and prompted more than 100 schools to send more than 100,000 students home Wednesday morning.

One of metro Atlanta’s largest shopping centers, Perimeter Mall, announced it would be closed due to the low water pressure. And DeKalb Medical canceled elective surgeries scheduled for later Wednesday.


9 a.m.

A massive water main break has sent water gushing into neighborhoods near Atlanta, flooding a major highway, closing businesses miles away and prompting more than 100 schools to close in one of Georgia’s largest counties.

DeKalb County said in a Wednesday morning statement that the break occurred in a 48-inch transmission main in the Doraville area, just northeast of Atlanta.

Officials say the county’s water plant is experiencing low pressure and they’re asking residents to conserve water.

WSB-TV reports water has been flowing into Buford Highway — a major artery through metro Atlanta — since before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Pictures published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed cars and buildings surrounded by water.

DeKalb County schools, Georgia’s third-largest school system, said all of its schools — more than 100 — were sending children home Wednesday.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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