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Biz bits: Davis Bozeman Johnson Law names new partner, Berkadia announces equity partner

Business Clarkston Decatur Metro ATL

Biz bits: Davis Bozeman Johnson Law names new partner, Berkadia announces equity partner

Roodgine Bray (front) is the newest partner at Davis Bozeman Johnson Law. Photo courtesy of Davis Bozeman Johnson Law.
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Atlanta, GA — Here’s a look at business news in our community.

— Roodgine Bray was named as the newest partner at Davis Bozeman Johnson Law on Dec. 4, 2021. Bray was welcomed into the partnership by Attorneys Robert Bozeman, Mawuli Davis, Harold Spence, and Francys Johnson.

Here’s the full press release:

Atlanta, Georgia  – On December 4, 2021, Attorney Roodgine Bray, 34, was named as the newest Partner at Davis Bozeman Johnson Law.  Attorney Bray was welcomed into the partnership by Attorneys Robert Bozeman, Mawuli Davis, Harold Spence, and Francys Johnson at a celebration held at the Commerce Club. “Attorney Bray’s rise is not just important for our firm, but also for Black women in the legal profession,” said Mawuli Mel Davis, Founding Partner.

Former State Bar President Patrice Perkins Hooker gave remarks encouraging Attorney Bray. “Take your rightful place as a Partner without equivocation because you earned it,” said Perkins-Hooker, the first Black and only the third woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia in its 50-year history when she was sworn into that office in June 2014. According to the American Bar Association’s Profile of the Profession, the percentage of Black attorneys actually decreased slightly from 4.8% in 2011 to 4.7% this year—far lower than the more than 13% of Americans who are Black. Law firm leadership is overwhelmingly white and male. The percentage of Black women in partners in law firms is just 3%.

The evening affair felt more like a family reunion than a law firm function. “After almost two years of a global pandemic and historic racial upheaval, the African American legal community needed a night like this to say ‘thank you to those who paved the way for a group of young, gifted, and Black lawyers to imagine building a community-centered and liberation-minded law firm with statewide reach. Attorney Bray represents the best of us, said Francys Johnson, a Statesboro-based partner.

Attendees included a who’s who of the African American legal community including Justice Leah Ward Sears, a preeminent appellate lawyer who retired as the first Black woman to serve as chief justice of any state supreme court when she was elected by her peers as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2005. Northern District Court of Georgia Judge Eleanor Ross, also the first Black woman appointed to the federal bench in this state, reflected during her toast on Attorney Bray’s path of progress that included receiving professional development and serving in leadership positions with the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).

“I remain amazed by the number of hats Roodgine Bray wears on any given day – stellar working professional, wife, mother, caring member of a large and close-knit extended family, community volunteer, active church volunteer – and how effortlessly and effectively she seems to wear them all.  Our firm and our clients are fortunate to have her wearing yet another hat – law partner.  Congratulations,” said Harold W. Spence, a partner whose legal career spans more than 40 years of practice in Atlanta.

Other professional groups toasting Attorney Bray’s success included the Gate City Bar Association,  Haitian American Lawyers Association of Georgia, New Rock Legal Society, and the DeKalb Lawyers Association.

Others noted the role the firm has played fighting for racial justice since its inception in 2007, including State Representative William Boddie (D-62). “Thank you for being a community-centered and liberation-focused Firm that intentionally takes on the tough cases that matter to our community,” said Boddie.  The sentiment that Davis Bozeman Johnson Law, as a statewide Black firm, is breaking new ground was echoed by the newest member of Georgia’s highest court. “I wish a Davis Bozeman Johnson Law existed when I began to practice law,” said Justice Verda M. Colvin, the first Black woman appointed by a Republican governor to the state’s high court.

Attendees shared good drinks and war stories about their own paths.  Robert Bozeman, the firm’s managing partner welcomed LaVonda N. Reed, as the newly minted and first African American Dean of Georgia State University College of Law.  “This is a night of celebration, for Black professional women who against all odds continue to make a way out of no way,” said Bozeman who brought his Mother, Dr. Sylvia T. Bozeman, as his special guest. In 1980, Dr. Bozeman was one of the first cohorts of Black women to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Emory University before a distinguished academic career at Spelman College. Dean Reed, for her part, seemed excited to be back in Atlanta, the city where she began her career. “It’s a huge honor to be the first and come full circle,” Reed said.  The spirit was high even at the Afterparty at midtown speakeasy known as the Red Phone Booth as a host of friends and family members including Earl Bray, husband of the honoree, along with Bray’s two daughters and mother celebrated this milestone.

Berkadia recently announced it has secured an equity partner for the 242-unit Wildcreek apartments in Clarkston. Photo courtesy of Berkadia.

— Berkadia announced it secured a JV equity partner for the off-market acquistion of Wildcreek Apartments, a 242-unit class B apartment community in Clarkston. 

Wildcreek Apartments is located at 100 Wild Circle and offers one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 850 to 1,100 square feet, along with a resort-style pool, fitness center, playground, tennis court, walking/biking trails and approximately 300 parking spaces.

Chinmay Bhatt, Noam Franklin and Cody Kirkpatrick of Berkadia JV Equity & Structured Capital lined up the equity partner, MLG Capital, on behalf of Miami-based One Real Estate Investment (OREI). MLG contributed $17.5 million in equity toward the $34 million acquisition as the property was purchased with a loan assumption, according to a press release.

“Our team prides itself on introducing like-minded sponsors and capital partners when arranging programmatic relationships. In today’s acquisition market, sponsors need to move quickly, and having a reliable capital partner is paramount. Wildcreek is the fourth acquisition for the partnership between OREI and MLG, and they plan to be active together in 2022 and beyond,” Kirkpatrick said.

Wildcreek is 97% occupied. OREI plans to implement an interior and exterior value-add program, including adding stainless-steel appliances, updated light fixtures, resurfaced countertops, backsplashes, new cabinet fronts and vinyl flooring. Exterior upgrades will include roof repair and replacement, renovating the fitness center, adding Amazon lockers, exterior lighting and new signage and rebranding.

“OREI remains bullish on the Atlanta MSA with Wildcreek Apartments serving as our team’s third acquisition in the metro in 2021,” said Jeronimo Hirschfeld, CEO of OREI. “The Southeast Dekalb submarket’s demonstrated rent growth and a lack of upcoming new supply prompted OREI’s interest in Wildcreek and align closely with our team’s value-add investment strategy for the asset.”

Kaplan Residential and the Frankforter Group recently sold the Generation Atlanta 336-unit apartment building for $127 million, making it the largest multifamily sale in Atlanta’s history. Photo courtesy of Kaplan Residential.

— Kaplan Residential and Frankforter Group announced in December that they closed on Generation Atlanta, a 336-unit, 17-story luxury high-rise apartment complex located in downtown Atlanta, for about $127 million. 

The deal marks the largest multifamily sale in downtown Atlanta’s history, according to a press release. The project, located at 369 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, was the first development in the Southeast to feature the Prescient light-gauge steel structural system. The use of the Prescient system enabled the development to partner with the City of Atlanta’s initiative to expand housing options, ultimately driving revitalization, economic growth, and investment.

“With the same enthusiasm and pioneering approach my father had 40 years ago working closely with Mayor Andrew Young, we designed Generation Atlanta to further propel the city’s rapid population growth and residential expansion with the help of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms,” said Nathan Kaplan, Partner of Kaplan Residential. “Generation Atlanta and its sale serve as a catalyst for more businesses, developers, and forward-thinkers to invest in Downtown Atlanta with confidence in the value proposition.”

Generation Atlanta offers studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, spanning from 459 to 1,512 square feet. Residences feature quartz countertops, custom cabinetry, elegant kitchen islands, stainless steel appliances, spa-inspired bathrooms, full-size washers and dryers, private balconies, smart keyless entry and more. Property amenities include an outdoor theater, resort-style rooftop pool and sundeck, bowling alley, EV charging stations, coffee bar, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga studio and SkyBar Lounge with Atlanta Skyline views.

“This project tightens the presence of our Group in the Atlanta area. We are very proud of acquiring such an irreplaceable asset that is poised to be a milestone in the multifamily residential landscape of Downtown Atlanta,” said Stephane Benalal, Director of Acquisition of the Frankforter Group. “Furthermore, this property represents the type of assets we are actively pursuing in the major Metro areas across the Sunbelt states, fueled by a $2 billion acquisition appetite.”

Peggy Courtright will be installed as the second superior of the Society of Saint Anna the Prophet in February. Photo courtesy of SSAP.

— Peggy Courtright will be installed as second superior of the Society of Saint Anna the Prophet in February. 

Here is the full press release:

Peggy Courtright, a retired partner of the Decatur law firm McCurdy and Candler, LLC, will be installed as second Superior of the Society of Saint Anna the Prophet on Saturday, Feb. 5, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta at 11 a.m. The SSAP is a vowed, dispersed community of Episcopal women over the age of 50, many who live in Decatur and DeKalb county.

“The mission of SSAP is Godly aging, and ministry with the young and old, particularly with those not able to participate in a parish church,” the Rev. Nancy Baxter, the SSAP founding Superior, said.

The society was started in Atlanta in 2005 by the Rev. Baxter, who was Chaplain at Emory starting in 1982. Since 2005, the now-retired Rev. Baxter and members of the society have provided weekly services to six area eldercare facilities. In 2020, the SSAP selected Decatur’s Global Village Project as its main recipient of children’s ministry funding for five years.

Ms. Courtright is a life-vowed member of SSAP, most recently serving as bursar for the last six years. She joined the SSAP in 2008 as a provisional/beginning member and has participated in weekly community ministry teams at A.G. Rhodes and Budd Terrace eldercare facilities for 12 years before the pandemic. She practiced law in Decatur for 24 years.

The Annas also have provided weekly services to Arbor Terrace and Regency House residents in Decatur, as well as to those at Wesley Woods Towers, A.G. Rhodes, Budd Terrace and Dunwoody Place since 2005, before the pandemic. Since March of 2020, they have been sending cards and letters to their friends at the eldercare facilities.

As the second Superior for the SSAP, AnnaPeggy said, “I am honored to have been elected by my sisters. I hope to build on the rich legacy created by our founding Superior the Rev. AnnaNan Baxter. During my term for the next five years, I hope to listen to the Holy Spirit and the voices of my sisters, as we continue our ministries to elders, living more intentionally into our own Godly aging, and support and expand this rich spiritual community.”

For more information or to contact the SSAP, visit the website at www.annasisters.org or write to P.O. Box 15118, Atlanta, GA 30333.

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church is located at 1790 Lavista Road, Atlanta, GA, 30329.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society of Saint Anna the Prophet held weekly services at Arbor Terrace. Photo submitted by SSAP.

— Decatur women are leading the Society of Saint Anna the Prophet to provide hope and service to the elderly, those who are ill and refugee girls in the area. 

In 2020, the Annas selected Decatur’s Global Village Project to be the main recipient of their children’s ministry funding. In February, Peggy Courtright, a retired attorney from a Decatur law firm, will become the second superior to lead the SSAP for the next five years, according to a press release.

“The mission of SSAP is Godly aging, and ministry with the young and old, particularly with those not able to participate in a parish church,” Courtright said.

The SSAP was started in Atlanta in 2005 by the founding Superior, the Rev. Nancy Baxter. As Chaplain at Emory beginning in 1982, the Rev. Baxter, would hold weekly services in area eldercare facilities with seminarians, students and deacons. When SSAP was founded, the bishop transferred the services to then-retired Rev. Baxter and the society’s members. The SSAP is recognized as a Christian Community under the canons of The Episcopal Church.

“Before the pandemic, the Annas held weekly services for 15 years to residents at six area eldercare facilities, including Arbor Terrace, Regency House, Wesley Woods Towers, A.G. Rhodes, Budd Terrace and Dunwoody Place. The Eucharist (communion), music and pastoral care support were provided,” Rev. Baxter said. “Since the pandemic, we’ve been sending letters and cards to those residents who have attended our services. We look forward to the time when it is safe to provide services again.”

Baxter founded SSAP as an expression of the “new monasticism” to offer older women living in their homes or in senior residences the opportunity to be active in Christian ministry, be supported in their aging and be witnesses to the gifts of old age.

The SSAP is made up of 33 lay and ordained women who are still employed or retired.

“We live in our own homes, in care centers and at a distance,” Courtright said. “We are dedicated to diversity in our membership. And our vows to simplicity, creativity and balance are life changing,”

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