Gauravkumar “G” Patel, founder and president of restaurant management company Eschelon Experiences, has filed for bankruptcy protection. His company operates several Raleigh restaurants and bars including Mura in North Hills and Cameron Bar and Grill, Edwards Mill Bar and Grill and The Haymaker bar. He also co-owns Social Beverage Company and owns a small percentage of Raleigh Raw. Filings indicate Patel has assets totaling $1.1 million, but he owes $2.57 million.
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Telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. has named Albert “Trey” Rabon as North Carolina president. He succeeds Venessa Harrison, who now serves as president of AT&T Georgia. Rabon has worked at AT&T since 1999. The Dallas-based Fortune 10 company has had 34 consecutive years of quarterly dividend growth and had revenue of $45.7 billion in the third quarter of 2018.
UNC Chapel Hill trustees met behind closed doors on Tuesday, but did not take any new steps toward hiring a new chancellor. Chancellor Carol Folt leaves Jan. 31. She planned to resign at the end of the term, but the trustees are making her leave early.
An unnamed New Jersey manufacturer is eyeing Navassa’s old U.S. Marine building in a project that may add nearly 240 jobs. The company is seeking a $700,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Development Building Reuse Grant to retrofit the building, which requires Brunswick County to provide a 5% local match, according to the Wilmington Star News. The project has been dubbed “Project Pavement.”
Charleston, S.C.-based CresCom Bank is expanding into the Charlotte market, naming Robin Lyle as Charlotte market leader and senior vice president. Lyle previously was president of the North Carolina market for South State Bank. CresCom Bank, which is the operating unit of publicly traded Carolina Financial Corp., has $3.7 billion in total assets. Plans call for initial offices in Charlotte.
Charlotte event production company Live Events Media Group acquired Sterling Audio Visual, a division of Winston-Salem’s Sterling Media Group. The audio visual division retained two employees and will have about four or five staff members by the end of the year.
Shareholders of Coconut Grove, Fla.-based Biscayne Bancshares Inc. approved the bank’s acquisition by Raleigh’s First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. The deal was announced on Nov. 16 and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019. First Citizens has more than 500 locations across the country including 28 branches in Florida.
Morrisville-based pharmaceutical firm Novan Inc. may have its stock delisted by Nasdaq because its market value has declined below the minimum $50 million requirement for 30 consecutive business days. Novan has until July 15 to regain compliance — its stock must have a market value of at least $50 million for 10 consecutive days.
Charlotte’s Comedy Zone Worldwide has merged with EastCoast Entertainment, a Charlotte-based booking agency, to form ECE Comedy. Comedy Zone’s Brain Heffron will become the managing partner of ECE. Comedy Zone has 60 club locations and will continue to operate under its same brand. EastCoast has 16 offices from Florida to New York.
Wicked Weed, owned by beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev since 2017, is adding a new restaurant at its Asheville brewery space, Funkatorium. The Cultura restaurant, slated to open in the spring, is being developed and managed by James Beard-nominated chef Jacob Sessoms. Wicked Weed is also adding a coffee bar, a new event space and rehabbing the entire building.
The city of Kinston has demolished about 15 condemned homes in the last year as part of an effort to reduce blight. Another 35 or so homes are on a list for demolition, prompting protests from some property owners. City officials say they are being patient.
PNC Arena in Raleigh, which opened in October 1999, has had a $4 billion economic impact on Wake County over two decades, the Centennial Authority says in a new report. The authority, an appointed body, is the arena’s landlord. It wants to make improvements that could cost as much as $300 million. The venue hosts the Carolina Hurricanes and N.C. State University basketball.
VF Corp., a Greensboro-based apparel company, saw its shares jump more than 12% after reporting an 11% increase in overall revenue for the third-quarter, totaling $3.91 billion. The results beat analysts’ predictions. VF’s brand The North Face saw a 19% increase in wholesale revenue. VF Corp.’s jeanswear spinoff Kontoor Brands Inc. will split from VF in the first half of this year, while VF plans to move its headquarters to Colorado.
Federal employees who have been working without pay during the government shutdown are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits from the state, according to The News & Observer. The U.S. Department of Labor has stated furloughed federal employees are not eligible for state unemployment insurance because they would eventually be paid for the time they worked. Parts of the federal government have been shut down for 31 days, the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
Charlotte-based environmental and emergency response services provider HEPACO acquired PetroChem Recovery Services Inc. from Succession Capital Partners. Financial details were not disclosed. PetroChem, based in Norfolk, Va., is an environmental services provider for transportation, industrial and government clients.
The North Carolina December unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, unchanged from the November rate. The national unemployment rate increased 0.2% to 3.9%. The industries with the largest month-over-month increases in employment include manufacturing, leisure and hospitality services, and education and health services.
Catawba County property values have increased nearly 9% overall since the county’s last revaluation in 2015, according to a report from Hickory Record. Valuations in the county had declined nearly 6% during the 2007-09 recession.
Cary-based video game company Epic Games banked an estimated $2.4 billion from its popular battle royale shooter game Fortnite in 2018, making it the highest grossing digital game, according to a report from Nielson’s SuperData Research division. Fortnite has more than 200 million players. Epic Games, headed by founder Tim Sweeney, is valued at $15 billion.
Competition from three UNC System schools that are offering $500-per-semester tuition is affecting East Carolina University, where enrollment declined by 413 students last fall, university officials told ECU trustees. Declining population in parts of eastern North Carolina and greater competition for rural students also are factors, Chancellor Cecil Staton and other campus leaders said.
Morrisville-based pharmaceutical-technology company TrialCard Inc. has acquired RxSolutions, a private Raleigh medical tech firm that provides pharmaceutical copay programs. TrialCard, founded in 2000, has nearly 1,500 employees, including more than 840 hired in 2018.
Housing-products company NCI Building Systems Inc., which merged with Cary-based Ply Gem last year, is acquiring Environmental StoneWorks, a Charlotte masonry contractor, for $186 million. Environmental StoneWorks CEO Chuck Stein will serve as president of the combined stone businesses. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. NCI has more than 20,000 employees at 80 locations in North America.
The Charlotte-based utility has submitted a proposal to buy Santee Cooper, a South Carolina-owned utility with about 180,700 direct customers. Several other companies have submitted bids to buy Santee Cooper, which also sells wholesale power to electric coops and says it provides power to about 2 million customers in 46 counties.
New York-based real-estate startup Knock raised $400 million in a financing round led by Foundry Group. Knock entered the Triangle and Charlotte markets in 2018 and has 15 full-time employees in North Carolina. Knock offers a home trade-in program where it buys a homeowner’s house and moves them into a new house before putting the old house on the market.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport plans to replace one of its main runways, and officials expected the federal government to cover half or more of the project’s estimated $350 million cost. However, FAA officials said at a meeting last fall that RDU could only receive about 10% of the project cost. RDU officials say the airport and its customers would have to make up the difference. The new runway would be 1,500 feet longer than the existing one, which could help RDU’s efforts to gain nonstop service to China.
Business leaders are asking state officials to increase pre-kindergarten enrollment by more than 15,000 children. SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and other N.C. business leaders say there are an additional 32,728 children who meet the state’s requirements NC Pre-K, a program for at-risk 4-year-olds, but aren’t being served. Goodnight is calling on lawmakers to increase funding for NC Pre-K and study recommendations from the National Institute for Early Education Research.
Boone-based insurance agency Jackson Sumner & Associates has named Danielle Wade president and CEO. Wade, who has worked at the company since 2006, previously served as chief operating officer. She succeeds company founder Wayne Sumner, who will serve as chairman of the board of directors.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved plans for two new mental-health crisis centers to be built in partnership with Cone Health and the Sandhills Center mental-health group. Cone Health’s $20 million Greensboro center is anticipated to open in 2021. Sandhills is building an $8 million facility on Third Street.
Durham-based medical software company DILIsym Services Inc. has been awarded a $1.5 million as part of phase II of the Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. DILIsym Services is creating a software to help pharmaceutical firms develop safer drug therapies.
Red Hat investors approved the Raleigh-based software company’s $34 billion sale to tech giant IBM, which said it would buy the company for $190 per share in October. Red Hat has 12,600 employees worldwide, including 2,000 in Raleigh.
A.M. Pappas Life Science Ventures has raised $85.7 million from 29 investors. The Durham firm, founded in 1994 by Arthur Pappas, is one of the Southeast’s largest investors in life-sciences companies.
Pfeiffer University is breaking ground today on its new Center for Health Sciences. The $16 million center will house the physician assistant and occupational therapy programs. The university is also planning a doctoral-level occupational therapy program.
Charlotte-based Bank of America’s shares soared 7% after reporting a $28.1 billion profit in 2018, trouncing its previous record of $21.1 billion in 2006. Earnings increased more than 50%, including benefits from the federal tax cut. Efficiency efforts are also boosting gains, says the bank which employs 15,000 in Charlotte and about 204,489 globally.
Knoxville, Tenn.-based SmartFinancial Inc. is buying Franklin’s Entegra Financial Corp. in a stock transaction valued at more than $150 million. SmartFinancial has about $2.3 billion in assets, while Entegra has $1.7 billion. The merged company will have 47 branches in the Southeast. Headquarters will be in Knoxville. Entegra CEO Roger Plemens is expected to lead the company’s Carolinas operations. The transaction is expected to close mid-year.
Raleigh-based BMC Stock Holdings Inc. has acquired construction material wholesaler Barefoot & Co. Financial details were not disclosed. Barefoot, based in Indian Trail in Union County, generated $52 million in net sales for 2018. BMC, which provides residential construction products, had $3.4 billion in net sales in 2017.
IntraPac International LLC, a Mooresville-based packaging designer and manufacturer, is merging with plastics manufacturer Technical Precision Plastics Inc. Technical Precisions Plastics has manufacturing locations in Mebane and Haina, Dominican Republic. IntraPac, which has more than 800 employees, has 12 manufacturing plants in Canada, the U.S., Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
Guilford Technical Community College President Randy Parker will retire July 31. Parker has served as president since 2011. He previously worked as president of Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson from 2004-11 and, prior to that, spent more than 25 years working at Lenoir Community College in Kinston.
The UNC Board of Governors voted to accept UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt’s resignation — but with a slight catch. They decided to remove her at the end of the month, not the end of the semester as stated in her resignation announcement. Folt resigned amid infighting and discourse about UNC’s Silent Sam Confederate monument that once stood on campus. The base of the statue was removed earlier this week by Folt’s orders.
Cary-based wireless-infrastructure company TowerCo raised $300 million in new capital as part of a newly formed partnership with private-equity firm Peppertree Capital. Ohio-based Peppertree invests in communications-infrastructure companies and has more than $1 billion under management. TowerCo named Todd Boyer CEO. Boyer has worked at TowerCo since it was started 14 years ago.
Charlotte-based asset-management firm Capitala Group is investing $33 million in Connecticut’s Chicken Soup for the Soul LLC. Chicken Soup has sold more than 100 million inspirational books in the U.S. and Canada. Capitala manages $2.7 billion in assets and has invested in more than 150 companies since it was started in 1998.
Spirit Airlines will begin service from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in May. The Florida-based airline will offer flights to Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit will be the 11th airline provider at RDU.
Ally Financial, Bank of America and Barings, three financial-services companies with a large presence in Charlotte, announced a combined investment of $70.75 million for affordable housing in the area. The investment marks the largest private-public initiative of its kind in the Queen City. More than 40% of renter households in Mecklenburg County spent more than 30% of their gross income on housing in 2016.
Durham-based Vast Therapeutics, formerly called Novoclem Therapeutics, has raised more than $15 million from Japanese firm Shionogi & Co. The pharmaceutical company plans to use the money for clinical trials of its treatment for lung infections later this year. Vast is led by CEO Neal Hunter, co-founder of Cree Inc. and managing director of KNOW Bio, Vast’s parent company.
Burlington-based life-sciences firm LabCorp has entered into an agreement with Texas Association of Community Health Centers Inc. to conduct lab testing for the company. The Austin, Texas-based nonprofit has 75 health centers with more than 500 locations across Texas. LabCorp with serve more than 1 million TACHC patients in the partnership.
Wilmington-based concussion management startup SportGait Inc. has raised nearly $1.5 million from 20 investors. The company previously raised more than $1 million in July and more than $200,000 in 2017. SportGait provides technology that helps identify, track and monitor concussion symptoms.
UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt will resign after graduation in the spring. The announcement was a surprise; UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith said the group was unaware of Folt’s decision before it was made public, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Folt, who has led the campus since July 2013, also ordered the removal of the Silent Sam confederate statue’s pedestal from the campus.
Charlotte-based AmWINS Group Inc. has acquired Gainesville, Fla.-based The Flood Insurance Agency. Financial details were not disclosed. AmWINS acts as a middleman between local property-casualty agents and insurance companies. Founded in 1998, the company has 4,200 employees in 30 states and 12 countries.
Charlotte’s Queens University has named Daniel G. Lugo as president. Lugo currently serves as vice president of advancement at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He will take the reins at Queens starting July 1. Lugo succeeds Pamela Davies, who will serve as a professor at the McColl School of Business. Queens enrolls about 2,500, including graduate students.
Sean O’Leary was named CEO of food traceability software company FoodLogiQ. O’Leary is the former CEO of Raleigh-based Knowledge Tree, which was bought by a Chicago-based software firm in 2017. He also led StrikeIron, a Cary-based software company that was acquired for $55 million in 2014. FoodLogiQ raised $20 million last year from investors including Tyson Foods.
Raleigh-based cancer treatment company Flag Therapeutics Inc. raised $1.3 million from 14 investors, according to a regulatory filing. The firm previously raised $500,000 in 2016 and earned a $1.5 million grant to study mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs related to asbestos exposure.
Charlotte’s NarmourWright Architecture and Pawleys Island, S.C.-based SGA Architecture are merging. The new company will be called SGA | NarmourWright Design and will have four offices in Charlotte; Greenville, S.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Pawleys Island, S.C., with nearly 50 employees.