Category: Commercial Development

Ackerman & Co. Investor Conference 2019: What Next?

Feb12
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

The combination of job growth and the surge in GDP during the long-running economic recovery has been a boon to the commercial real estate sector.

In Atlanta and across the country, there has been continued strong demand and absorption for virtually all product types, and capital has been readily available for investment.

But will the good times continue? What next?

That was the focus of Ackerman & Co.’s recently held 12th Annual Investor Conference, attended by some 150 guests, including owners, operators, investors and brokers.

Host Kris Miller and keynote speaker David Haddow weighed in with their perspective on current economic trends and their outlook for the commercial real estate sector. Joining them with in-depth discussions of investment opportunities for specific product types were F. Keene Miller (Brokerage), Leo Wiener (Retail), Brett Buckner (Industrial) and Evan Ziegler (Investments).

“After the last two years of success, growth and prosperity, the numbers would suggest that the future of commercial real estate has never been brighter. Yet each of us feels less certain than we did two years ago. Why? Is that how we should feel?” asked Kris Miller.

There are causes for concern, said David Haddow. Current economic soft spots, he said, include the rising national debt (now at $21.6 trillion, an increase of $10 trillion since 2008), government gridlock, fast-rising home prices and diminishing consumer confidence. Combined with those issues, the length of the current cycle (nearly 10 years) makes an economic correction more likely in the next 24 months, Kris added.

How should investors respond? Here are the three biggest takeaways provided by Kris and his Ackerman & Co. colleagues:

  • Stay on the field.

  • Focus on the specific strengths and weaknesses of each deal – rather than macro conditions across property types or markets.

  • Adopt a bias toward selling.

The annual conference also provided guests an opportunity to learn about Ackerman & Co.’s 2018 business highlights as well as its goals for the coming year.

Last year’s highlights included Ackerman’s $70-million sale of Braselton Logistics Center to Uline Inc.; the $9.75-million acquisition of the four-building Warren Drive industrial portfolio in Atlanta; the completion of the 181-key Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Augusta; and the $15-million disposition of seven industrial buildings at Stone Mountain Industrial Park, to name a few.

Kris and the team thank everyone for attending despite the rare winter-weather advisory in Atlanta!

Mercedes-Benz Stadium: A Major Impact on Atlanta Beyond Super Bowl LIII

Jan31
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

 

This weekend, Atlanta’s $1.6-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host its biggest event to date – Super Bowl LIII.

The game will be viewed by 150-million-plus people worldwide and the full slate of events held across the city of Atlanta during Super Bowl week will pour an estimated $185 million into local hotels, restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

But the impact of this stadium – praised as “one of the most beautifully designed stadiums on the planet” by Architectural Digest – will extend far beyond the Super Bowl and other games, concerts and events held there.

Arthur Blank, owner the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, has stated: “the city is on fire” economically, and his goal is for the stadium to help Westside communities around the stadium share in that success.

 

Here’s a rundown of some of the key developments and initiatives taking shape near the stadium:

John F. Kennedy Park just west of the stadium is undergoing a $2-million renovation as part of the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee’s Legacy 53 initiative to create a lasting impact beyond the game itself. The improvements will include an artificial turf playing field, a community walking path, new playground equipment and a basketball court.

The Home Depot Backyard, 11-acres of multi-use greenspace created on the site of the former Georgia Dome, serves as a large tailgating space on game days and a community park the rest of the year. The “backyard” offers a destination playground, a 3-tier pavilion, and a large central lawn for soccer games, movie nights, farmers markets and more.

A 1,000-room Signia Hilton, a new upscale hotel brand from Hilton Worldwide, will serve the adjacent Georgia World Congress Center and a growing entertainment district in the area that includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Rodney Cook Sr. Park, a new $45-million, 16-acre park under development in the Vine City neighborhood, will feature a great lawn, public performance space and 18 monuments to civil rights and community leaders.

Westside Works is a long-term initiative focused on creating employment opportunities for residents of Westside communities and provides access to skills training, job readiness programs and more.

Reverb by Hard Rock, an 11-floor boutique a few blocks south of the stadium, will feature 200 rooms and a rooftop bar. Expected to open in 2020, the hotel is a new spinoff of the Hard Rock Hotel brand.

The 104-key Clarion Inn & Suites, completed in spring 2018 and situated in walking distance to the stadium, marked the first hotel opening in years on Atlanta’s Westside.

Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018: Annual Investor Conference

Feb12
2018
Posted by
Marketing Staff

“Supply and demand has never been in better balance,” Kris Miller told the more than 100 guests at Ackerman & Co. 11th Investor Conference, recently held in Atlanta.

He added that the ongoing strong demand for product – and lack of overbuilding in sectors such as office during this cycle – puts Atlanta in position to be a leading market for investors in 2018 and beyond.

The company’s annual Investor Conference is an opportunity for Ackerman & Co. to provide perspective on trends in commercial real estate and for guests to network with leading owners, operators, investors and capital sources.

Conference themes are sometimes broad in scope but this year the focus was squarely on the Atlanta market as Kris Miller addressed the question:  Atlanta – the Next Gateway Market?

Atlanta lacks the land constraints, barriers to entry or “24/7” attributes of established gateway cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Yet, Miller added, Atlanta’s diversified economy, success at attracting corporate relocations and growth as an entertainment hub are bringing it closer to the status of a gateway market.

Together with his partner F. Keene Miller (President, Brokerage) and Leo Wiener (President, Retail), Brett Buckner (SVP, Industrial), John Willig (Principal) and Evan Ziegler (SVP, Investment), the speakers offered insights into the investment climate in the office, industrial, retail and medical office sectors.

Some highlights from this year’s conference:

  • Economic drivers including the 2017 tax plan and the easing of numerous regulations are likely to free up money for capital investment and boost demand for CRE space.
  • The continued strong performance of the Atlanta industrial sector – which posted 19.9 million square feet of absorption in 2017 and is experiencing historically low vacancy levels – puts Atlanta’s growth potential ahead of the top 4 industrial markets (New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas).
  • Fundamentals weakened slightly in the office sector in 2017, but there are still excellent investment opportunities for the right property in the right location across Atlanta’s office submarkets.
  • Although the retail sector is out of favor amid store closings, “brick and mortar is not dead” and good retail product is available but at high cap rates.
  • Strong demographics continue to fuel investment in medical office space, as does the heightened demand for “convenience” medical space located near retail.

Kris and the team enjoyed hosting the conference and look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Can You Name that Skyscraper?

Oct19
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

How Well Do You Know Atlanta's Skyline?

When you drive through the city along Interstate 75/85, Atlanta’s signature skyscrapers are prominently in view. Our skyline has grown over the years along with the city’s prominence as a business center.

Atlanta ranks #9 in the U.S. in the number of skyscrapers 150 meters or higher in height and there are 16 towers above 150 meters tall in the city. A new skyscraper will join that club if the Opus Place condominium tower is developed as planned in Midtown Atlanta.

 

So, how well do you know Atlanta’s skyscrapers? Here’s a fun test – see if you can “name that skyscraper” based on the clues provided below.

 

Let’s begin:

  • The city’s first revolving lounge occupies the spaceship-shaped top of this tower.
  • This tower houses the U.S. headquarters of a firm named after Atlanta’s most renowned architect.
  • Featuring an obelisk-shaped spire, this skyscraper was the 9th-tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1992.
  • The exterior of this tower looks like a staircase.
  • This building has a pair of identical rooftop crowns that total 7 stories in height.
  • This cylindrical glass skyscraper was the tallest hotel in the world when it was completed in 1976.
  • Also known as Symphony Tower, this was the first office building in Atlanta to achieve LEED Gold status.
  • The green color of this tower’s distinctive crown is a result of copper oxidation.
  • This tower’s wide lower portion is due to the spectacular atrium within the building’s walls.

 

Click here for the answers

 

 

Atlanta Real Estate Icon Charlie Ackerman

Sep29
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Remembering Charles S. Ackerman

Charles S. Ackerman, our founder and friend, passed away on Friday, September 22, at the age of 84. Charlie – as he was called by so many of his friends and colleagues – was a visionary who changed the skyline of Buckhead Atlanta and established the commercial real estate company that bears his name as one of the largest in the Southeast.

Beyond his business accomplishments, he was a philanthropist, and a friend and mentor to many.

On his passing, we share the thoughts of just a few of Charlie’s friends and colleagues.

“Charlie was a real estate legend. He was a great mentor, my partner, and my friend. He crammed 20 times more ‘life’ into his life than most of us will.” Kris Miller, President, Ackerman & Co.

“Charlie was a bold and future-focused real estate innovator. He was a wise and courageous entrepreneur, broker, investor and owner. His vision and leadership guided Ackerman & Co. to its highly respected position over many years.” Bob Mathews, President and CEO, Colliers International Atlanta

“A wonderful friend and inspirational mentor. I feel truly blessed to have worked with Charlie for the last 21 years.” Vivian Barnes, CFO and EVP, Ackerman & Co.

“Charlie was a broker’s broker: aggressive, creative and very smart,” Andy Ghertner, Co-Founder of Cushman & Wakefield Atlanta.

“Charlie was a truly inspiring leader. He not only grew Ackerman & Co. into a highly successful commercial real estate firm but later went on to found Ackerman Security Systems, which set the standard in home security. What an extraordinary life he led, and what a great experience it was to be his friend and learn from him over the years.” Keene Miller, President, Ackerman & Co. Brokerage Division

“He was the most competitive person I ever encountered. Whatever it took, he had to be No. 1. He had to win. He had to be out front. And he achieved it in every category.” Sam Massell, Buckhead Coalition President and former Atlanta Mayor

“While I recognized Charlie Ackerman was a fiercely competitive individual, I also thought of him as a gentle, passionate person – exuding a passion for the cultures and arts and history of mankind in all corners of the world. Charlie Ackerman was demanding, competitive, a perfectionist. But he also always was a true gentleman.” John Schaffner, founder of Buckhead View

Ackerman & Co.’s Broker of the Month: Ben Campbell

Sep21
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

2969 East Ponce De Leon_Ackerman

As the old saying goes, “location, location, location” is all-important in commercial real estate.

Ben Campbell, who has been named Ackerman & Co.’s Broker of the Month for August (based on total transaction value), focuses on land sales in sought-after intown Atlanta districts such as Decatur, Avondale Estate and Old Fourth Ward.

One of the properties he was selected to market back in 2015 definitely had a strong location going for it. The property – containing a 37,750 square foot warehouse building and an additional 3.1 acres of land for sale – was located at 2969 East Ponce de Leon Avenue directly across from the busy DeKalb Farmers Market. That section of road had a high traffic count of 26,000 vehicles per day, a number that was likely to increase significantly with the planned expansion of the market that would triple its size.

Clearly, this was a prime opportunity for re-development.

The property became more challenging to market, however, with proposed modifications to the lane configuration on Ponce that would benefit DeKalb Farmers Market while eliminating direct access to the 2969 Ponce de Leon property.

However, Ben displayed useful traits of successful brokers – tenacity and determination – and closed the sale of the property for $2.2 million two-and-a-half years after he was selected by owner Custom Slip Cover & Upholstery. During that time, he came very close to reaching deals with two buyers who ultimately backed out due to concerns over the property’s access.

In August, his persistence paid off when he closed the property’s sale with a buyer (Oakhurst Realty Partners) who saw the potential of the strategic location inside the I-285 perimeter and plans to revitalize the property for future lease or sale.

The sale of 2969 Ponce de Leon earned Ben the Broker of the Month recognition. Ben said it was a great experience getting to know the two owners of the business and partnering with them to provide a solution that will contribute to their long-term success.

“It was a pleasure to work with the owners of that property, Chean Chea and Miguel Moreno. They’re dedicated to their field of work and the community, and this transaction will enable them to relocate to new space that’s ideal for their business,” Ben said.

In addition to the Ponce de Leon sale, Ben closed another large transaction earlier this year: the sale of a 3.2-acre parcel in the city of Avondale Estates to South City Partners that will be the site of a major mixed-use project.

Ben is currently working on numerous land listings in his core intown markets and others in metro Atlanta. Contact him at 770-913-3931 if you’re interested in any of these opportunities or would like him to market one of your properties for sale.

Gwinnett: Atlanta’s Rising Economic Star

Sep8
2017
Posted by
Marketing Department

Gwinnett is on Fire - Ackerman & Co.

Did you know that 51% of all restaurants in metro Atlanta’s Gwinnett County are international? The county is a culinary hotspot for foodies seeking everything from Korean barbeque to Indian street food.

The qualities that have produced this vibrant food scene – ethnic diversity, strong population growth, a pro-business climate – also have contributed to Gwinnett County’s emergence as one of metro Atlanta’s most important business hubs.

As the chair of the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID) board of directors, Ackerman & Co.’s Leo Wiener has first-hand experience working on a variety of initiatives aimed at boosting Gwinnett’s ability to attract business. He’s been pleased to witness Gwinnett’s ongoing economic growth – in particular, the county’s success recruiting company headquarters.

Leo, who is President of Ackerman Retail, is featured in a GeorgiaTrend magazine article focused on this very subject. The steady flow of HQ relocations to Gwinnett County in recent years has certainly been impressive and the article notes that this trend shows no sign of abating.

One of the biggest HQ announcements in the past year was Boehringer Ingelheim’s decision to move its North American animal health pharmaceutical headquarters from St. Joseph, Mo., to Duluth.

“Having a multi-billion dollar international company such as Boehringer Ingelheim locate their U.S. headquarters in Gwinnett, and specifically within the Gwinnett Place CID, demonstrates that the area’s strategic location, its strong infrastructure and talent assets are clear benefits to business enterprises as they consider site selection,” Leo told the magazine.

AmerisourceBergen, Level 3 Communications, Crawford & Company, M&I Materials, Trenton Systems and Shuma Sports also have picked Gwinnett for HQ locations.

With major infrastructure improvements planned to accommodate additional economic development and mixed-use projects under way (including a redevelopment of Infinite Energy Center) that will enhance the county’s urban amenities, Gwinnett is clearly primed for more population growth and economic prosperity. As the GeorgiaTrend article summed up, these sorts of projects are “just the thing to attract employees needed to keep the jobs engine humming across this bigger-is-better county.”

1 MSF Braselton Logistics Center Reaches Construction Milestone

Sep1
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Braselton Logistics Center Contractor Lunch

Braselton Logistics Center, one of the largest distribution centers currently under construction in metro Atlanta, is getting closer to completion.

As we mentioned on Twitter and Facebook earlier this week, the Ackerman & Co. project has achieved a new milestone, with construction now nearly complete on the 980,000 SF warehouse portion of the building. Ackerman arranged a special lunch to mark the construction milestone and thank crews for their hard work.

Jim Eyre, the project manager overseeing the huge development for Ackerman, said construction workers enjoyed the Mexican lunch buffet that was set up for them in the Braselton warehouse space.

“Good food goes a long way to show appreciation,” Jim said. “It’s not often that they get a chance to sit down for a few minutes like that during the day.”

The Conlan Company is the GC for the project. Other contractors whose workers attended the lunch included Rogers Mechanical Contractors, Plateau Excavation and Crown Electric.

Construction has moved smoothly on the state-of-the-art facility, with only a few hiccups due to an unusually rainy stretch in the early summer.

“Fortunately, weather hasn’t been a big factor,” Jim said.

The majority of the construction work going forward will involve the customized build-out of tenant Uline’s two-story office space, which will be completed in time for the company’s scheduled 1Q 2018 move-in.

The 1,000,812 SF facility, featuring 40-foot clear heights, will serve as Uline’s Southeast U.S. logistics hub. The distributor of shipping, packaging and industrial supplies will consolidate two area distribution operations in Duluth and Buford into the facility, which also provides additional space for future growth.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium a Win for Atlanta Economy

Aug24
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

New Atlanta Stadium

Atlanta attracted an impressive 52 million visitors in 2016. Many of them headed downtown to one or more of the city’s elite attractions – the Georgia Aquarium, Center for Civil and Human Rights, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the World of Coca-Cola, the CNN Center.

Now comes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of both the Atlanta Falcons NFL squad and the city’s new MLS team, the Atlanta United FC. The $1.5-billion multi-use facility will host its first game this Saturday when the Falcons play the Arizona Cardinals.

The stadium is already receiving accolades for its innovative design and amenities. While Mercedes-Benz Stadium will no doubt wow sports fans with one-of-a-kind features such as the world’s largest 360-degree halo video screen, even more important for Atlanta is the impact this huge project will have on the local economy.

The stadium has already been booked for some of the sporting world’s biggest events, including this season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, the 2019 Super Bowl and the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Visitors from all parts of the U.S., as well as international travelers, will converge on Atlanta to attend these events.

“The opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a very exciting moment for the city of Atlanta. It will raise Atlanta’s image by bringing more high-profile events to the city, and these events will be great for the city’s economy, generating income for area hotels, restaurants and shops,” said Kris Miller, President of Ackerman & Co. “The new stadium also complements the other major venues near the stadium, like the Georgia World Congress Center, which hosts one million-plus visitors each year.”

In addition to these economic benefits, major commercial real estate projects are in the works near the stadium: GWCC has proposed building an 800-room hotel on the former site of the Georgia Dome (which will be demolished this fall) and a 220-room Hard Rock Hotel is expected to open before Atlanta hosts the 2019 Super Bowl.

So, to be sure – Atlanta has plenty to be excited about as it gears up for the upcoming games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

 

Georgia’s Busy Port Boosts Atlanta Industrial Market

Aug16
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Savannah Port - ATL Industrial Market

The Port of Savannah is constantly breaking its own records. Just this past month, the port surpassed its July record for cargo handled, moving 336,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) – a nearly 7 percent increase over the previous July.

With this ongoing surge of cargo volumes, the Port of Savannah has grown into the fourth-busiest port in the U.S. for containerized materials, trailing only the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, and Port of New York & New Jersey.

This is not only good news for Savannah’s economy – it also benefits Atlanta’s industrial market. That’s because many of the goods imported into Savannah are later trucked to Atlanta, one of the nation’s key distribution hubs.

 

As one of the top-10 consumer markets In the U.S. and a strategically located distribution hub, Atlanta is a logical market for retailers seeking to establish regional distribution centers that pack and ship products to stores, businesses and other end-users. Many of those items arrive in the U.S. via the Port of Savannah.

The roster of companies that have set up bulk distribution centers in Atlanta is proof of the city’s logistical benefits. In addition to the large existing centers in metro Atlanta for Google, PetSmart and others, online retailing giant Amazon.com recently announced plans for a more than 850,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Jackson County northeast of Atlanta that will create 1,000 jobs.

BLC - ATL Industrial Market

Those projects are indicative of the growing demand for industrial space in Atlanta, which is also spurring construction activity. Gross absorption in the Atlanta industrial market totaled 13.9 million square feet in the second quarter, up from 10.6 million in gross absorption during the same quarter a year ago. The construction pipeline remains active, with 13.2 million square feet under construction as of the second quarter.

Major projects under way in the metro area include Lambert Farms Logistics Park (1.5 million square feet) and Dollar General Distribution Center (1.2 million square feet).