Around Town: Krystal Connection — First land buy a splashy one for younger Goldstein
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney, Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
August 24, 2012 11:59 PM | 4472 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE NOW-CLOSED KRYSTAL restaurant at the busy corner of Whitlock Avenue and the Loop has a new owner: Joseph Goldstein, 18, the son of Marietta Councilman and downtown land czar Philip Goldstein.

The younger Goldstein is a Marietta High grad and is now a sophomore at the University of Georgia. The property — his first — was acquired through JRG 30 Whitlock Ave LLC, which was set up recently by the new owner. Financing for the $800,000 purchase was provided by the owner and BB&T, according to the new owner’s father. Closing on the property was Aug. 16.

The site is now available for lease, the councilman told Around Town.

The Krystal in question opened in the early 1970s and was closed abruptly in April after the chain chose not to sign a new 20-year-lease with then-owner F.C. Brooks Sr. for the .54-acre property. The Marietta Krystal was owned by Krystal, not by a franchisee.

The purchase by the younger Goldstein makes him the fourth generation of his family to do business in downtown Marietta. His great-grandfather Philip Goldstein (namesake of the councilman) opened a retail store at 119 Church St. just off the Square in 1912. His son Herbert (Councilman Philip’s father, now age 88) made his first purchase at age 22 just after returning in 1946 after serving as a Navy Seabee during World War II when he bought 15 East Park Square, part of the block on which the State Court Building now stands.

Various family members continued buying downtown properties as they became available, with Councilman Goldstein making his first purchase (89 Cherokee St., present site of the House of Lu) at age 18 in 1977.

All told, the Goldsteins are now the largest private property owners in downtown Marietta. Other recent acquisitions include the former Coca-Cola Bottling Plant at 358 Roswell St. across from the National Cemetery, which Goldstein purchased early this year for $2.12 million. The family’s holdings also include The Strand Theatre and the Theatre in the Square building.

“MONEY IS THE MOTHER’S MILK OF POLITICS,” goes the old saying. Maybe so. But money will only get you so far.

Just ask Untie Atlanta and the other groups that raised and spent $6.5 million this summer to promote the TSPLOST referendum, only to see it deep-sixed by voters in the July 31 referendum.

Just ask former Gov. Roy Barnes, who raised and spent $16 million en route to what was supposed to be an easy re-election campaign in 2002, only to be upended by little-known and little-financed Sonny Perdue.

And just ask Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee. Even with a roughly 6-to-1 advantage in fundraising (or around $440,000 to $75,000), Lee was barely able to scratch out a victory over former Chairman Bill Byrne in Tuesday’s Republican Primary runoff.

Lee’s huge fundraising advantage enabled him to plaster county roadsides with whopper-sized campaign signs and fund multiple mailers to likely voters, all of which helped raise his name recognition and boost his turnout. And he needed every one of those votes on Tuesday. He netted 14,309 votes (52 percent) to Byrne’s 13,014 (48 percent), with Byrne actually leading in the vote-count for part of the evening.

Had Lee not been the beneficiary of such lavish funding, Bill Byrne might be the chairman-elect today.

Lee may have to fight a continued perception in some quarters that he is a weak incumbent, based on the hair’s-breadth victory this week. But he can counter that he survived a TSPLOST debacle that would have sunk many incumbents and that he withstood a furious challenge from Byrne, one of the hardest campaigners and most dependable vote-getters in Cobb commission history.

The narrowness of the outcome is a reminder that your vote does count.

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS courthouse-watchers were left pondering late this week was whether Lee planned to interpret his win as a mandate.

The closeness of the outcome would seem to argue against such a course, but one never knows. Lee told Around Town late last week that the county’s FY13 budget will be unchanged from the $322 million general-fund budge that commissioners approved a year ago for FY12.

“At best, we’ll reduce the budget if possible,” Lee said. “After all, the digest is down.”

Cobb’s current tax digest is down slightly from 2011 to $29 billion.

Lee also promised there would be no staff cuts, and “absolutely” no furlough days of county employees. He hedged on whether any county staff will get raises, after several years of going without.

“We’ve talked about it, but I don’t know if we can do it,” Lee said.

None of the service cuts made in early 2011 — such as reductions of library hours and bus routes — will be reinstated if he has his way, he said.

BEST QUOTE OF THE CAMPAIGN — Bill Byrne at the July 26 GOP chairman debate: “If you think you’re going to get a new warm and fuzzy Bill Byrne, you are sadly mistaken. If I hurt somebody’s feelings, I really just don’t care.”

RUNNER-UP FOR BEST QUOTE — from unsuccessful Clerk of Superior Court candidate John Skelton, referring to winner Rebecca Keaton’s tactics, which included “hijacking” his website and funding a flyer that absurdly accused the longtime Cobb lawyer of not having any courtroom experience: “Politics is for adults, and we’re all adults here. I’m disappointed the discourse sank to such a depth. I just wasn’t willing to put on my scuba gear and go that low.”

A BLUEGRASS BARBECUE is slated from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in Marietta. The event will take place at 305 Oakhurst Lane just off Whitlock Avenue in west Marietta. Hosts will be U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sam Olens, Ben Mathis, Otis Brumby III and Heath Garrett. For more, contact Haley McConghy Woods at hwoods@comm-360 or (770) 635-7922.

COBB “CHAIRMAN” EARL SMITH and wife, Rachel, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their business, Earl Smith Heating & Air, at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre in October.

Smith served from 1984-88 as chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners. He also chairs the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, chaired the successful fund drive for the renovation of the Strand and is the former president of the Marietta Country Club.

Smith, 80, launched his company in 1962 at a location on Church Street Extension in north Marietta. It now has grown to 60 employees and is managed by Debbie and Barry Abernathy, his daughter and son-in-law.

PRIME TIME: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens of east Cobb was an early backer of Mitt Romney and has helped put the state in the front ranks of the fight against Obamacare and illegal immigration. Add all that up and it helps explain how he landed a premier speaking slot at the GOP Convention in Tampa on Wednesday evening. National TV coverage of the conclave starts at 7:30 p.m. that evening and Olens is slated to take the podium at 8:30. ... And Around Town checked in Friday afternoon with Sue Everhart of east Cobb, chair of the Georgia Republican Party, who was in the middle of settling in at the convention in Tampa as Tropical Storm Isaac neared.

“The governor of Florida came in a few minutes ago and said it appears that we’ll get about 30 mile-an-hour winds around Tampa, and a lot of rain on Monday and Tuesday, but other than that we should move forward, so we went to a place and bought 500 ponchos for the Georgians because you can’t take in umbrellas,” she said.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 31, 2012
At least Jimmy Stewart woke up after his nightmarish experience witnessing Pottersville...

Welcome to Pottersville
August 27, 2012
I was on the square for dinner on Friday, Aug 17th We couldn't find a parking spot so I suggested we go to the Krysral lot since it was closed It was roped off. I told my husband Pillip must have bought it.
August 25, 2012
Lee doesn't care whether he has a mandate or not.

He is going to do whatever his handlers at the Cobb Chamber and CID's want him to do. No questions asked.

That's the way it has been since he took office two years ago and that's the way it will be for the next four years.

I guess you have to give him gredit for being consistently spineless and obedient.
August 25, 2012
With the purchase of the Krystal property by the Gen 4 Goldstein, we will probably see another property in downtown Marietta sit in disrepair for some time, given the economic times...Like father and grandfather.
big money
August 25, 2012
got Lee his re-election and his MDJ endorsement.
Old Man
August 25, 2012
Byrne's attitude and the memories of long-time Cobb residents got him defeated.
August 25, 2012
It is interesting that newly elected Judge Marsha Lake completely annihilated her opponents in the recent election, winning 61% of the votes. Marsha Lake came in a distant third place two years ago and wisely chose to ditch her last high priced consultant, Mark Roundtree from two years ago. In her winning effort, Lake turned to a a common sense strategist who clearly understands how to target voters and was able to highlight a winning message. A difficult task at best, when running a judicial race. Good luck Judge Lake
Re:the Krystal
August 25, 2012
And the beat goes on.
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