Blown Down Movie Screen Led To CBL Success

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A blown down movie screen led to the phenomenal success of CBL and Associates, Michael Lebovitz told the Chattanooga Rotary Club on Thursday.

Mr. Lebovitz told of his grandfather, Mose Lebovitz, being in the movie business with his cousin, Jay Solomon.

He said when a storm knocked over the screen for their Skyway Drive In on Brainerd Road, they decided to put in a shopping center at the site.

He said Mose Lebovitz sent a postcard to his son, Charles Lebovitz, telling him to bone up on the shopping center business.

The family opened Eastgate Mall on Sept. 20, 1962.

Mr. Lebovitz said the family operation merged with the Arlen firm in 1971, then became CBL and Associates in 1978. Two of the original five associates, John Foy and Ben Landress, were at the Rotary luncheon as was Charles Lebovitz.

He said the firm at that time owned no shopping centers, but he said they followed the advice of Mose Lebovitz, who said, "Think big and stay small."

They began developing shopping centers in the South, Southwest and West.

CBL began working on the Hamilton Place Mall project in 1982 and it opened in 1987. Mr. Lebovitz said its success "shows what a regional mall can contribute to the economy of a community."

He told of CBL going public and of becoming the sixth largest owner of shopping centers in the country.

He said dividends have grown from $1.50 to $2.90 this year.

Mr. Lebovitz said CBL is opening 10 new shopping centers this year. Next year it will open its first shopping center in California.

He said mall developers "panicked" when companies began selling on the Internet, but he said that has had an effect but has not been nearly as damaging as was feared.

He said security is a much greater concern at malls after the 9-1-1 attack.

Mr. Lebovitz said CBL is also involved in renovating and expanding a number of existing malls, saying it is important to "keep them clean and fresh."


Athens Utility Board Wins 2nd Consecutive Taud Regional Best Tasting Water Contest

Athens Utility Board was recently announced as the winner of the Region 10 Best Tasting Water Contest conducted by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts.  The contest, held at Eastside Utility District on Wednesday, Feb. 25, marked the second year in a row that Athens Utility Board was named best in the region. Drinking water samples are judged on their clarity, bouquet ... (click for more)

Northwest Georgia Career Expo To Provide Recruitment Opportunities For Employers; Chances For Employment For Jobseekers

The Georgia Department of Labor and the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners will co-sponsor the Northwest Georgia Regional Career Expo on  April 2  in Ringgold. The expo will provide employers in the 15-county area with opportunities to recruit qualified and skilled employees. The expo will give jobseekers chances to meet reputable employers and expand their career ... (click for more)

County Commission Votes 5-4 In Favor of Middle Valley Neighborhood Walmart

The County Commission on Wednesday voted 5-4 to allow a Walmart Neighborhood Center at Middle Valley Road and Thrasher Pike. Voting in favor were Jim Fields, Chester Bankston, Greg Beck, Warren Mackey and Joe Graham. Opposed were Marty Haynes, Sabrena Smedley, Tim Boyd and Randy Fairbanks. Commissioner Haynes, the District 3 representative where the project is located, ... (click for more)

1 Killed, 1 Seriously Injured In Hixson Pike Crash

One driver was killed and another seriously injured in a Hixson Pike crash on Wednesday morning. At approximately  6:23  a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 6600 Hixson Pike for a traffic crash.  Officers discovered that two vehicles collided head on.   One driver was pronounced deceased on scene.  The other driver was transported ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Happy Birthday, Mr. Berg

This past Monday we should have closed the Post Office, let kids out of school, and lowered our flags to half-mast. March 2 is the anniversary of Moe Berg’s birthday and the legendary Casey Stengel once said Moe was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Moe played major league baseball for 16 years, finishing with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and a lifetime batting average of ... (click for more)