Community Engagement: Ackerman & Co. Includes Properties in West End CID to Benefit Community Initiatives

Aug5
2022
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners are making exciting progress transforming the former “Warehouse Row” buildings in Atlanta’s historic West End community into a go-to mixed-use destination.

But the investment partners are involved in more than real estate development in the West End. In addition to forging ahead with the adaptive reuse development – which includes the addition of a food hall and Class A offices at the popular entertainment destination – Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners are committed to supporting efforts to improve the community.

An example of this is the decision to include two projects in the West End Community Improvement District: the 442,562-square-foot Lee + White project at the corner of Lee and White streets that Ackerman & Co. co-owns with MDH Partners and the Ackerman-owned 1200 White Street, a 212,500-square-foot facility now included within the CID.

Formed in 2017, the CID funds a variety of infrastructure, public safety and other initiatives. Ackerman & Co. will contribute extra property tax revenues from its properties located within the CID to help fund the CID’s programs.

West End Improvements
“We’re very happy to support the wide variety of initiatives underway in the West End CID that will benefit West End residents and those visiting the community,” said Leo Wiener, President of Ackerman Retail, the division of Ackerman & Co. spearheading retail and restaurant leasing at Lee + White.

Added Evan Ziegler, Senior Vice President of Investments for Ackerman: “As the owner of the recently acquired 1200 White Street Building, in addition to Lee + White, we see great value in becoming a member of the West End CID. It’s exciting to see the expansion of the CID along White Street.”

The West End CID’s initiatives include community programs such as the weekly Fresh MARTA Market and the Soccer in the Streets program at the soccer field next to the West End MARTA station.

The I-20 cleanup and landscaping project at the Lee Street and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard interchanges and a storefront redesign program and pedestrian improvements along the Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard corridor are among the current West End CID priorities.

The CID also has received a dedicated patrol car that will be used for safety patrols in the community.

“Ackerman bringing their properties into the West End CID is a huge win for us,” said Chris Pierre, Project Manager for the West End CID. “The fact that Ackerman sees the benefits of the CID speaks positively to other property owners who might be interested in including their projects in the CID.”

More about Ackerman & Co.’s West End Projects
A reinvention of mid-20th century warehouse buildings in Atlanta’s historic West End, the trendsetting Lee + White mixed-use development is a melting pot of homegrown entrepreneurs and innovative businesses. Craft breweries, distilleries and food manufacturers are among the pioneers that joined Lee + White in the first phase of the redevelopment. The next phase of the transformation is adding creative loft offices, a 19-vendor food hall, unique retail concepts and a Central Lawn gathering place.

Located just down the road from Lee + White, 1200 White Street is a 212,500-square-foot facility providing convenient access to two nearby MARTA rail stations and MARTA bus service.

May27
2022
Posted by
Marketing Staff

The economic news has been a bit gloomy in recent months.

Inflation has reached a 40-year high. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates twice in a two-month span to fight inflation. Consumer confidence is shaky.

At this time of economic uncertainty, it was a perfect opportunity for the NAIOP Georgia May Breakfast panel topic focusing on trends in commercial real estate investment.

Moderator Lance Patterson of Patterson Real Estate Advisory Group, started off the panel by quoting some famous opening lines from literature: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Those lines from A Tale of Two Cities, he said, are a reminder that our current circumstances aren’t uniquely challenging. “We always think these times are hard, and no doubt they are, but we also think there are some good opportunities. So we’re going to try to be positive as well as realistic about what’s going on,” Patterson said.

He was joined in a wide-ranging and lively discussion on the current state of CRE investment by Kris Miller, President of Ackerman & Co., Tuba Malinowski, COO of Stockbridge, and Travis Johnson, Investment Director of Principal.

The panelists agreed that it’s important not to get carried away by the doom and gloom of today’s headlines.

“Ultimately, nothing’s as good as we think it is and nothing’s as bad as we think it is,” said Tuba Malinowski.

Kris Miller emphasized that, as a real estate investor, you shouldn’t become too distracted by economic and capital market considerations.

“Run the real estate as real estate. Make real estate decisions and the capital market issues will sort themselves out. Overall, you will be much more profitable in the long run doing what’s right for the real estate and you’ll also have way less angst,” he said.

Office investment opportunities
Buoyed in part by the boom of e-commerce, demand for industrial space has reached historic highs and made the sector a favorite among investors. While the office sector faces significant challenges, including an abundance of sublease availabilities, there is good reason for investors to keep office investment on their radar.

“The positive thing to me about the office market is that many of us decided we like going to work. We like consuming the product of office space and we don’t like working in our basement. We don’t like not seeing other people,” Miller said.

Opinions from some experts that the work-from-home model would become commonplace in a post-COVID world were likely overstated. Strong leasing volumes nationwide over the past three quarters demonstrate that companies are definitely returning to the office.

“They [office users] are looking for office space that is memorable,” Miller said. “You have to offer something that’s better than other office product, and that can be a lot of different things.”

Malinowski said Stockbridge continues to pursue office investment, but added her firm tends to be more selective in its office acquisitions than its industrial investments.

“It’s a matter of looking on an asset-by-asset basis, looking at the historical vacancy, and is it an asset that people want to come to, whether because of the people who are there or the amenities around it or the general surrounding area. I think all of our decisions about office properties are really on an asset-by-asset basis, whereas for industrial we can make more of a broad market decision,” she said.

Travis Johnson of Principal noted his firm is taking precautions by factoring in economic conditions when evaluating assets.

“We do a simulation of a moderate recession where we take each asset and plug it in… and see how that property performs under that type of stress,” he said.

While Kris Miller said his firm is keeping an eye on economic and capital market conditions, he added: “Our view is that inflation and interest rates are going to bump up, but it shouldn’t really change which properties you like and which you don’t.”

In other words, keep your focus on the fundamentals of real estate in the best of times and worst of times.

Industrial Developers Are Picking up the Pace of Projects to Meet Growing Demand

May18
2022
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Demand for industrial space has reached record levels, and developers are moving fast to keep up with demand.

In a recent report, “The Race for Industrial Space,” JLL notes that “given the heightened demand experienced in 2020 and 2021 and the velocity at which it is going forward, we are starting to see the first wave of a supply crunch.”

Ackerman & Co. is one of those developers jumping in to meet the need for Class A industrial space, and the firm is making sure to offer design features that are highly sought after by today’s modern distribution operations.

“Companies in industries such as e-commerce, 3PL and logistics and distribution companies are leading the way with… utilization of modern facilities to attract labor as well as move goods in and out,” the JLL report states. Particular features today’s distributors are seeking include high ceiling heights, plenty of auto and truck parking, and convenient access to major interstate corridors.

Providing the most efficient space
New projects Ackerman & Co. is currently developing new projects from Georgia to Texas that offer the key advantages today’s distributors seek.

In metro Atlanta in the I-85 North corridor, Ackerman & Co. is developing Braselton Crossroads, a Class A master-planned park that will feature three distribution buildings totaling 470,000 square feet – two 160,000-square-foot buildings and a 150,00-square-foot building. Now under construction, the facilities will feature 30 to 32 feet clear heights and rear-road configurations. A crucial benefit is the direct access to Interstate 85 less one-half mile from the project, and the buildings will offer abundant parking.

Also in the Atlanta market in the I-20 East distribution corridor, Ackerman & Co. is developing facilities of 168,480-square feet and 50,000 square feet. The site, part of the Ackerman-developed Rockdale Technology Center development in Conyers, GA, offers high visibility along the Interstate and convenient access to the nearby full-diamond interchange, only one mile away. It also will feature the crucial high ceilings (30 feet).

The features that Ackerman & Co. is incorporating at its projects are important for e-commerce, logistics and other industrial space users looking for space with the most efficient designs and strategic locations to reach customers quicker than ever before.

As Ackerman continues to heighten its presence in strategic logistics markets, it is expanding in Texas. The firm has begun construction on Doerr Lane Logistics Center, a 307,000-square-foot, Class A distribution center positioned between San Antonio and Austin in an area known as the Texas Triangle, the fastest-growing region in Texas.

The state-of-the-art facility will feature 32-foot clear heights, extensive auto and trailer parking and quick access to I-35, Loop 1604 and I-10.

In another Texas project in the same submarket, Ackerman is planning more than 500,000-square-feet of distribution space with 32-foot clear heights at a site providing great access to the I-35 access road, only ½ mile away.

“We’re seeing strong interest for our available space from users ranging from retailers, food distributors and medical supply companies to e-commerce operations and manufacturers,” said Brett Buckner, Senior Vice President of Ackerman & Co.’s Industrial Services Group, who is leading the leasing efforts at Ackerman’s Georgia industrial properties along with Vice President Chris Miller.

Industrial market outlook remains strong
As Ackerman & Co. moves forward with these projects – with more planned developments coming up in Texas, Alabama and its core market of metro Atlanta – developers nationwide are also ramping up their development pipelines.

There is certainly good reason to pursue development given the ongoing robust demand. Atlanta set a record for annual absorption in 2021, registering more than 39 million square feet of positive net absorption for the year, according to CoStar. Nationwide, vacancy rates have hit a record low of 4.0 percent.

Although there is a significant uptick in the construction pipeline – to a record of 816 million square feet nationwide – the additional inventory is not expected to tilt the market unfavorably, CoStar states. However, the rise in inflation has the potential to “erode consumers’ purchasing power and dent the current boom in consumer goods spending and industrial leasing.”

Still, the outlook for industrial demand remains positive for developers.

“National rents are poised to continue growing well ahead of inflation over the next several months given the current near-record low level of vacancy,” CoStar reports.

Atlanta’s Surge in Adaptive Reuse Development Continues from Intown Neighborhoods to the Suburbs

Mar3
2022
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Developers say they are committed to incorporating affordable options and community-focused services to offset potential gentrification.

Adaptive reuse projects are booming across metro Atlanta.

The projects range from repurposing old warehouse properties into mixed-use developments to converting factory buildings into loft-office space and restoring small retail spaces housed in historic buildings, among other examples.

Although adaptive reuse development was largely concentrated in intown Atlanta when the trend took off in the 1990s – with King Plow Arts Center in West Midtown one of the prominent examples – it is now increasingly common in the suburbs as well.

In a recent Bisnow adaptive reuse event, representatives of several Atlanta commercial real estate companies discussed notable adaptive reuse projects – both completed and under development – and the challenges of bringing these projects to fruition.

Developers are increasingly being called upon to address gentrification. Projects can face opposition over concerns that they will price out residents and businesses who were part of neighborhoods before developers arrived on the scene.

No stranger to those concerns are developers such as Jamestown, credited with energizing the adaptive reuse movement in Atlanta with its hugely successful Ponce City Market redevelopment and Newport RE, whose Hotel Row project is part of its larger vision of revitalizing the once-bustling commercial districts on Mitchell and Broad Streets in South Downtown.

“About 20 percent of the square footage we purchased was occupied, probably half of those to tenants that no one in the neighborhood wanted,” said April Stammel, Senior Vice President at Newport. “I think it’s about telling the right story and letting people know what the real impact is.”

The story Newport is emphasizing to the community is how their development will revitalize a historic but long-neglected part of the city’s urban core.

“This story is about the opportunity. We’re turning the lights back on. We’re bringing life back to these buildings,” she said.

Creating Affordability
Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, said his company is committed to integrating community-focused features into its projects such as workforce housing and more affordable business rates.

“You can’t whitewash the fact that we’re changing the demographics of neighborhoods,” Phillips said. “We all have to be committed to creating opportunities and economic benefits for everyone. We’re just starting… but we all have to find our ways to do it.”

Tapping into local, state and federal incentives can provide funding that developers can use to pass along savings to prospective residents and businesses. Newport received $8 million in Tax Allocation District (TAD) funding for their South Downtown project.

“What that’s going to give us the ability to do is offer affordability in both the residential and commercial components,” said April Stammel. “When you think about what that means in the diversity of tenancy, not only diversity of residents, it’s incredible. We can now offer certain spaces for tenants like arts groups who can’t pay market rent or new restauranteurs who can’t afford market rent.”

Arun Nijhawan, Managing Principal of Lucror Resources – which renovated and repositioned Downtown Atlanta’s famous Flatiron Building – said there are also plenty of examples of projects receiving community support. Such was the case with the company’s $80-million Waldo’s Old Fourth Ward, a mixed-use development featuring a hotel, office space, retail and townhomes.

“To the surprise of our team, we got zero resistance. The question was, ‘when are you going to start?’” he said, noting that the project’s location several blocks away from the BeltLine in an area where “you had a certain amount of urban blight” contributed to the support from the community.

From the West End to Northlake
Ackerman & Co. is also active in adaptive reuse development. With partner MDH Partners, Ackerman is investing $85 million in its Lee + White project, an adaptive reuse redevelopment of the former “Warehouse Row” buildings in the historic West End neighborhood of Atlanta. Already home to popular breweries, a whiskey tasting room, a rock climbing gym, among other retailers and businesses, the partners are in the process of adding loft office space, a food hall, unique retail and a Great Lawn fronting the BeltLine.

“Our goal in continuing the redevelopment of Lee + White is to diversify this project beyond its popularity as an entertainment destination to serve the practical and daily needs of the community, as well as offer affordable business opportunities. New businesses and services coming to Lee + White include a family dental practice and Beya Salon Studios, which will open its newest flagship location at Lee + White, giving stylists and other salon professionals the opportunity to grow their businesses,” said Evan Ziegler, Senior Vice President of Investments for Ackerman.

“Lee + White’s container pop-up village will also open this year, providing small businesses high-visibility locations to sell their products at shorter-term lease commitments than traditional retail,” he added.

In addition, the project’s Great Lawn will be a gathering spot for the community, hosting a variety of events throughout the year.

Another adaptive reuse project Ackerman & Co. is involved in is Northlake, the transformation of the former mall northeast of Downtown Atlanta into a mixed-use project featuring offices, retail and restaurants. Ackerman Retail’s Kelly Wilson and Suzanne Shank are currently leading leasing efforts for the project’s restaurants and food stall spaces.

“With its 300,000 square feet of new medical office and office space, this redevelopment has attracted new offices for Emory Healthcare and CDC Credit Union that will bring 1,800-plus employees to the property,” said Suzanne. “For the restaurant spaces, we envision a mix of fast-casual restaurants, full-service eateries, chef-driven concepts, coffee shops and brewpubs. In revitalizing this property, this redevelopment is bringing new businesses and new retail and restaurant offerings that will benefit the surrounding community.”

 

Wide Array of Lease Signings at Crabapple Market Pave the Way for Big Year of Restaurant and Retail Openings

Feb16
2022
Posted by
Marketing Staff

New additions at the Milton, Ga. mixed-use destination will range from barbecue and sushi restaurants to a gourmet market and brewery. 

This is shaping up to be a milestone year for Crabapple Market, the live-work-play destination in Milton Ga., in North Metro Atlanta.

Since its opening, the mixed-use development has been consistently growing its roster of office, retail and restaurant tenants. With construction now complete on a major expansion, Crabapple Market is getting ready for its busiest year of restaurant and retail openings.

More than a typical shopping destination, Crabapple Market is creating a new downtown “Main Street” environment, with a pedestrian-friendly streetscape lined with buildings featuring brick façade detailing and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. There is also The Green – a park-like gathering space for the community – as well as a stage for concerts, movies and theatrical performances.

As construction was buzzing throughout the past year, project leasing representatives Courtney Brumbelow and Haley Hartman of Ackerman Retail were busy completing numerous restaurant and retail leases that filled up all but one of the restaurant spaces in the expanded project.

So, what’s coming in 2022?

The restaurant openings will include:

DUA Vietnamese – An authentic Vietnamese restaurant specializing in Pho and noodle soups, as well as rice and egg-noodle dishes. Crabapple Market will be its fifth metro Atlanta location.

Roll On In Sushi Burritos & Bowls – Opening its second metro Atlanta location at Crabapple, the restaurant serves sushi burritos, tacos, bowls and donuts.

Spiced Right Ribhouse – An “old-school and authentic” Georgia barbecue restaurant offering ribs, pulled pork, chicken, brisket and smoked turkey BBQ meals, as well as BBQ tacos, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant also operates a Roswell location.

Six Bridges Brewing – A second location of the family-owned brewery, with a taproom, games and sports on multiple TVs.

Nest Café
– Marking the second location of the eatery, Nest Café offers breakfast, brunch and lunch in a laidback coffeehouse setting.

Buzzed Bull Creamery – Handcrafted ice creams and milkshakes, including alcohol-infused options. Buzzed Bull Creamery is also planning to open several other metro Atlanta locations.

Alumni Cookie Dough – Serving cookie dough by the scoop, with special items including cookie dough sundaes, milkshakes, pretzel bites and snickerdoodle bites. There is also a Marietta location.

“With the new restaurants, along with the growing retail lineup and the community-focused amenities, Crabapple Market is a place where visitors can enjoy everything from breakfast at a café in the morning, to a great lunch or dinner with family or friends, craft beers after work and community events at The Green,” said Courtney.

New additions to the retail lineup include:

Savi Provisions – A market specializing in gourmet and organic foods, wines and spirits.

Evimero Marketplace – Featuring artisan-made gifts and home goods.

Kitchens By Design Firm – Offering a range of kitchen and other installations, including cabinets, bathroom vanities, bookcases, entertainment centers and more.

Loveday Place – Curated by artist Donna Loveday, the artisan market concept features locally crafted artwork.

Dinna Eckstein Designs – The Store (Now Open) – Provides innovative home furnishings and accessories.

Prescott Design – A full-service interior design studio offering services for home remodeling and ground-up construction.

The expansion of Crabapple Market added 11 new buildings ranging from one to three stories. In addition to the diverse mix of restaurants and retailers, Crabapple Market also features Class A offices and luxury residences.

Oct12
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff
After Initial Pandemic-Induced Challenges, Outlook Is Healthy for Medical Office Sector

During the initial months of the pandemic, the medical sector faced its fair share of challenges.

Job losses were on the rise, as some medical practices were forced to shut down temporarily. In all, there were 1.4 million healthcare services industry jobs cut in the first two months of the pandemic.

Vacancies also rose, peaking at nearly 9% nationwide.

But the sector recovered quickly – and at a much faster rate than traditional office – and long-term trends are on a healthy trajectory.

According to CoStar, nationwide vacancy rates in the medical sector are near decade-long lows, while the construction pipeline is extremely limited (less than 1% of total inventory). Healthcare trends are also favorable. Demand for services is picking up as patients schedule elective office visits and procedures that were postponed during the height of the pandemic. In the long-term, the aging of the U.S. population will drive demand for services that will, in turn, boost the need for medical space.

Kevin Ehringer, Vice President for Ackerman Medical in charge of leasing Ackerman & Co.’s portfolio of medical office properties in metro Atlanta, said he has been seeing robust demand for space, particularly in recent months.

“At the outset, healthcare practices were dealing with various issues caused by the pandemic or had to shut down temporarily – dermatology, ophthalmology, dentistry to name a few,” Kevin said. “Things are pretty much back to normal now. Primary care and specialty practices are going gangbusters.”

The heightened demand for space is reflected in recent statistics. According to CoStar, medical office space leased monthly has surpassed the five-year average for the past six months.

Ackerman is seeing solid demand for its medical office availabilities. The company, which has developed and acquired more 3.5 million square feet of medical office space since its inception, has been consistently completing leases with physicians and healthcare practices.

Recent leases Kevin has completed for Ackerman Medical include a 7,669-square-foot lease with Schilling Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetics at 1050 Eagles Landing Parkway, a 3,320-square-foot lease with Avail Dermatology/Epiphany Dermatology at Prestige Park and 1,452-square-foot lease with Regenerative Spine & Pain Specialists at Prestige Park. Some of his major lease renewals include a 9,057-square-foot deal with Georgia Urology at Marietta Medical Center.

Although demand is strong, Kevin pointed out that snowball effects brought about by the lingering pandemic have led to one increasingly common criteria among tenants seeking space.

“Medical practices want built-out, turn-key space, rather than shell space that needs to be planned, engineered and constructed,” he said.

The increasing costs of construction materials, access to those materials and labor shortages, along with  delays in permitting, inspections and other municipal approvals are some of the issues tenants can avoid by moving into turn-key space.

The type of build-out space tenants are seeking are currently available at several Ackerman & Co. medical office properties, including the 58,317-square-foot 1050 Eagles Landing, 41,450-square-foot Prestige Park, 98,534-square foot Marietta Medical Center and at Perimeter Town Center, an Ackerman redevelopment.

While the ongoing pandemic and current economic uncertainty are creating challenges for all commercial real estate sectors, the medical sector is proving to be resilient and is expected to benefit from healthy long-term growth prospects.

Aug30
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Braselton Crossroads industrial park provides direct access to I-85, a corridor connecting Atlanta submarkets & Southeast economic hubs.

Some of the highest performing industrial submarkets in metro Atlanta straddle Interstate 85, one of the busiest transportation corridors in the U.S. The ability to conveniently access fast-growing consumer markets in Atlanta and beyond has made the I-85 corridor an increasingly important location for distribution and logistics.

Ackerman & Co. has long recognized the strategic advantages of this corridor and has extensive experience developing and acquiring distribution centers along I-85 in Northeast Atlanta. The company constructed a 1 MSF speculative distribution center leased to and later purchased by Uline Inc., one of the country’s top business supply companies. Located in Braselton, Ga., the facility has become the consolidated hub for the company’s Southeast distribution operations and benefits from convenient access to two nearby I-85 interchanges.

As Ackerman & Co. strives to meet the growing demand for industrial space along the corridor, the company continues to pursue development of new Class A facilities.

Ackerman & Co.’s latest project in this area is Braselton Crossroads, positioned on a 65-acre site providing direct access to I-85. Ackerman plans to begin construction later this year on three facilities totaling nearly 500,000 SF: 161,000-SF Building 200, 150,000 SF Building 300 and 150,000-SF Building 400.

The Class A facilities will feature clear heights up to 32 feet, six-inch ProSlab concrete floors, white TPO roofing, abundant auto parking and truck loading bays.

“The I-85 corridor is a much sought-after location for retailers, distributors and manufacturers thanks to its strong population and economic growth,” said Brett Buckner, Senior Vice President in Ackerman & Co.’s Industrial Services Group. He’s teaming with VP Chris Miller to lease the space. “Braselton Crossroads provides a strategic location and will offer the most modern design features for today’s high-efficiency distribution operations.”

The neighboring Duluth/Suwanee/Buford industrial submarket has a lengthy stretch of I-85 access. Ackerman’s new project is located in the far northwest corner of the South Bartow submarket in the only section offering direct I-85 access, making it a highly desirable distribution location.

Demand for industrial space along I-85 in metro Atlanta is only expected to rise in the future. In fact, the portion of the I-85 corridor stretching from Atlanta to the North Carolina-Virginia border is increasingly recognized as an economic powerhouse.

“With strong demographic growth, locational and infrastructure advantages and pro-growth government entities, the corridor is primed to emerge as a ‘megaregion’ over the next several years,” according to a recent CoStar analysis. This stretch of I-85 already has a nickname – “Charlanta” for its two biggest cities, Atlanta and Charlotte. I-95.

Economic activity in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina is largely concentrated along I-85, with the 33 counties in this corridor accounting for $543.5 billion in gross regional product (GRP), or 43% of the GRP in the three states, according to CoStar.

Along I-85 and across metro Atlanta, demand is booming for well-located distribution, e-commerce and manufacturing space. The 29.1 million square feet of space absorbed in the past year in Atlanta is second- highest in the nation, behind only Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Class A facilities at Braselton Crossroads are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. In addition to leasing space at Braselton Crossroads, Brett Buckner and Chris Miller are also leading leasing efforts at two sites Ackerman & Co. has retained at the Class A Rockdale Technology Center in the I-20 East industrial submarket. Build-to-suit and pre-lease opportunities are now available.

Seeking industrial space? Contact Brett at bbuckner@ackermanco.net or Chris at cmiller@ackermanco.net

CRE Experts Agree Enhanced Amenities Will Be Crucial for Attracting Office Tenants In Post-Covid Landscape

Jul2
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff

 

Atlanta’s appeal as a destination for corporate relocations is helping to boost its economy and fill office space in locations ranging from Midtown Atlanta to the suburbs. Despite these large corporate move-ins, the office market in metro Atlanta has been showing signs of demand softening – with vacancies up by 2.7% over the past 12 months – as the market continues to grapple with the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What will it take to keep and attract new tenants in today’s evolving office market?

This challenge was a big topic of discussion at Atlanta Bisnow’s “What’s Driving Atlanta CRE?” event held at the new 712 West Peachtree tower in Midtown Atlanta. Representatives from four Atlanta commercial real estate firms offered their perspectives on the latest CRE trends, with an in-depth discussion on the office sector.

Taylor Smith, Southeast Regional Director for Rubenstein Partners, said COVID-19 impacts have accentuated trends that were already taking shape.

“You can look at COVID as an accelerant,” he said. At a time when more space users are experimenting with hybrid in-office and remote working options for their employees, his team has arrived at a clear conclusion.

“I think the one thing that will stick is a concentration on amenities,” he said.

Cousins Properties EVP Kennedy Hicks agreed. “I’m not convinced that the new normal looks much different than where we were heading pre-Covid. This has given everybody time to reflect on the office space needs for their company.”

She added: “You’ve got to make the environment something where people want to come to work. Companies will continue to focus on using their office space to provide the amenities, the lifestyle and the conveniences employees want.”

These conveniences and amenities can increasingly be found at mixed-use developments offering a variety of both indoor and outdoor amenities.

Ackerman & Co. SVP Steve Langford told the audience about two Atlanta projects that are representative of this trend.

Lee + White, a 433,000-square-foot adaptive re-use development in the West End of Atlanta co-owned by Ackerman and MDH Partners, is home to popular breweries, distilleries, food manufacturers and retailers. In the next phase of the redevelopment now underway, the investment partners are adding 150,000 square feet of creative loft office space that has already attracted a new HQ location for an innovative nanotechnology company.

A major draw for office tenants is the project’s diverse mix amenities, including ½ mile of direct Atlanta BeltLine access and an abundance of outdoor patio and green spaces. The current phase of the development will add more amenities, including a food hall and a great lawn for events and community gatherings.

There is also Six West, a planned $1-billion mixed-use project in the shadow of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Steve Langford is the exclusive land broker for the project, designed to be a 24/7 work-live-play destination incorporating Class A office, stores and boutiques, hotels, restaurants, and single-family and multifamily residential.

Langford said the project’s location at the doorstep of the world’s busiest airport combined with the varied amenities – which also include the nearby College Park MARTA rail station and a recreational trail circling the project – should help Six West stand out in its efforts to attract national and international HQ operations.

Taylor Smith pointed to Alpharetta’s Sanctuary Park office complex as another development that has added an array of amenities. A multimillion-dollar capital improvement initiative went into opening the Clubhouse, which offers tenants a food hall, athletic club and training facility. A newly added perk is a micro-mobility program offering tenants e-scooters, e-bikes and traditional bikes to navigate throughout the campus. The property also offers two miles of walking and jogging trails.

‘Firing On All Cylinders’
Since the ‘What’s Driving CRE?” event was held in Midtown in the fast-growing Tech Square corridor, it was only natural that the panelists discussed the emergence of Midtown Atlanta as an increasingly important tech hub benefitting from the resources and talent of Georgia Tech.

High-profile space commitments in Midtown include Google leasing 500,000 square feet at 1105 West Peachtree Street and Microsoft occupying 523,000 square feet at Atlantic Yards, with future plans also calling for the software and technology giant to establish an East Coast headquarters campus at Quarry Yards on the West Side.

While these and other relocations to Midtown including MailChimp’s 300,000 square foot expanded headquarters in the nearby Old Fourth Ward neighborhood are impressive, the Atlanta metro area as a whole is benefitting from high-profile corporate relocations.

“Atlanta is firing on all cylinders,” said Kennedy Hicks. “It’s not just Midtown. Companies will gravitate toward amenities and mixed-use development, and you can find those in Alpharetta at Avalon, in Buckhead [among other submarkets].”

Steve Langford said the influx of corporate relocations is influenced in part by the COVID-19 crisis, which spurred organizations to investigate lower-cost locations for their business operations. “When Covid hit, a number of businesses, particularly in the Northeast, started looking at the Sunbelt markets, especially Atlanta,” Langford said.

He added: “Atlanta really stood out. We’re fortunate that Atlanta has an increasingly diversified economy. This will really bode well for Atlanta going forward.”

While Atlanta’s CRE sector faces similar challenges to other markets across the country, the panel agreed that the metro area’s advantages, including its lower business costs compared to gateway markets, place it in a healthy position to continue thriving.

Ackerman Retail’s Dynamic Investment Sales Duo

May25
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Investment Sales Experts Sean Patrick and KB Yabuku Produce Impressive Results for Clients  

As high-producing brokers for Ackerman Retail who team up to develop prospects and complete investment sales transactions, Sean Patrick and KB Yabuku share quite a bit in common.

They both have extensive commercial real estate expertise ranging from net-lease sales, project development and asset management to site selection and property leasing.

Traveling is a hobby both enjoy – recent visits for Sean include Athens and Santorini in Greece, while one of KB’s favorite trips was to Barcelona and Ibiza, Spain.

They also both have similar approaches to their work. When KB lists some of the traits that he considers crucial for success as broker – “tenacious, analytical, sociable, driven” – Sean agrees with him.

Oh, and then there’s the way they describe themselves.

“Two of the best bald brokers in the business,” says KB.

“Two of the best AND good-looking bald brokers, I might add,” says Sean, laughing.

So, with these similarities, it’s not surprising that they make an effective Investment Sales team for Ackerman Retail. Sean and KB advise investors on dispositions and acquisitions, with both single-tenant and multi-tenant retail properties and portfolios representing key areas of focus.

Roots in ATL
KB and Sean share another thing in common – Atlanta roots. Sean is an Atlanta native born at Piedmont Hospital, and KB grew up in College Park after his family moved to metro Atlanta when he was three years old.

When he was an undergraduate student at Georgia State University, KB said professor David Haddow was a big reason he became interested in real estate.

“I took David’s Real Estate Market Analysis course as an elective and I was hooked. That semester, I switched my major from marketing to real estate, picked up an internship with Cushman and Wakefield and never looked back,” says KB. He credits Haddow and Ron Whitley (former Chief Diversity Officer at Cushman & Wakefield) for setting him on the path of a successful career in commercial real estate.

Sean, who received a Civil Engineering degree from Auburn University, started his real estate career working in the development side of the business, first at the civil engineering firm Post Buckley Schuh & Jernigan in Florida and then as a project manager focusing on power center civil engineering design at Wolverton & Associates. Next, at Bullock Mannelly Partners, he established himself in development and brokerage, focusing on sales of residential, retail and multifamily land. He did so after meeting two successful brokers who would eventually move over to Ackerman & Co. with him – John Speros and Larry Wood.

“They were closing big deals and I thought, ‘I want to do what they do,’” Sean said. Around the Great Recession of 2008, Sean completed his CCIM certification and now focuses on private client retail investment sales with KB.

KB brings an equally wide range of experience. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Real Estate from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and an MBA in Finance from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

KB gained experience in office leasing as a tenant rep at the Staubach Company and Jones Lang LaSalle. He then became a commercial real estate underwriter at BB&T and later focused on investment sales with a specialty in net-lease retail and industrial properties at the Stan Johnson Company. He also spent two years in commercial real estate development, managing retail and industrial build-to-suit and redevelopment projects at Hart Lyman Companies.

“KB and I are able to combine our strategies and experience to gain new clients. Our experiences and backgrounds complement each other’s,” said Sean.

Between the two of them, Sean and KB have over 42 years of experience.

Thinking Outside The Box

Sean and KB are committed to providing solutions that help buyers and sellers maximize the value of their investments. While they’re proud of their deal-making track records, they view themselves as much more than transaction brokers. With their wide-ranging commercial real estate expertise, they’re able to provide additional services to help clients achieve their long-term business goals.

“We’re not just like every other broker. Our approach is all about thinking outside the box and adding real value for our clients,” said KB.

Added Sean, “Our approach to serving our clients is tied to the Ackerman approach to commercial real estate. A lot of us are investors and own real estate, so we understand what it’s like to be in the client’s shoes and how to bring extra expertise and services to the table to meet their needs.”

Customizing services to match the objectives of their clients is a big part of what they do.

“We try to serve as the back office for our clients. For instance, if our clients need help raising capital or with site selection or other assistance, we can do that ourselves or utilize Ackerman’s full-services platform and the expertise of our Ackerman Retail colleagues,” said KB.

One of their recent deals is representative of the value they bring to their clients.

In marketing and selling the Childtime Learning Center of Kennesaw on behalf of the owner, they attracted six offers and succeeded in selling the property at 100 percent of the listing price at a cap rate of 8.75 percent. This was definitely a great result for a value-add property with a short-term lease.

Sean and KB are also currently in the process of creating strategic business plans for several clients interested in selling portfolio assets across the Southeast.

“We’ve been successful completing deals despite the challenging environment during the pandemic and we expect transactions to pick up steam now that the retail sector is slowly improving,” Sean said. “The Southeast has diversified its economy. This is a great place to do what we do and add value.”

Are you a buyer or seller seeking expertise to maximize your investments? Contact Sean at spatrick@ackermanco.net or KB at kyabuku@ackermanco.net

Six West Developers Gear Up for Summer 2021 Construction Start

Mar12
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff

The project’s development team gives Atlanta’s CRE community an update on the exciting mixed-use project.

For many of the Atlanta commercial real estate professionals who attended the sold out Construction Coffee Club breakfast at the Buckhead Club on Thursday, it was their first large in-person event since virtual Zoom meetings became the norm during the pandemic.

The event provided an opportunity for the Six West development team to update the CRE community on the $1.5-billion mixed-use development in College Park, which will offer a dynamic mix of offices, restaurants, shopping, entertainment venues, hotels and single-family and multifamily residential.

On a beautiful spring-like day coinciding with a sense of optimism that the country just might be turning the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fitting that the mood was upbeat about the project.

“Things are moving fast. There are a lot of development sites that are already closed, so we need to get going,” said Jesse Frasier, Partner at BDR Partners, serving as project manager for Six West. “We’re starting construction in 2021.”

College Park held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 320-acre project last October. Like many other real estate developments, Six West has experienced some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the economy.

“The good news is that during this time we still had activity and we still had interest from developers,” said Ackerman & Co. Senior Vice President Steve Langford, the exclusive broker for the project.

Langford noted that construction will begin as early as this summer on several components of the multiphase project, including residential, office and hotel developments. He said he expects there to be announcements soon on development commitments for specific parcels.

About 87 acres has been spoken for, roughly 27% of the 320-acre site.

“Let me put that into perspective for you. The first phase of Avalon encompassed 80 acres. So right now with what we have under contract and are currently in discussions with, we’re pretty much at the size of phase 1 of the Avalon development,” said Langford, referring to the hugely successful mixed-use development in Alpharetta.

The Six West Difference

Six West is designed to be a 24/7 work-live-play destination. The development team discussed key features that will set Six West apart from existing and planned mixed-use projects in metro Atlanta.

“The Six West development has a lot of really nice infrastructure all around it,” said Artie Jones, Director of Economic Development for College Park.

Of course, its strategic location next to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a huge benefit. In addition to creating a built-in customer base for the project’s many attractions, developers also hope the airport will be a draw for national and international HQ operations.

Six West is also walkable from the College Park MARTA rail station and conveniently accessible via I-75, I-85 and I-285.

“The most important things about Six West are affordability, connectivity and accessibility,” said Steve Langford.

The construction of a pedestrian bridge connecting the Georgia International Convention Center and the Gateway Center Arena to Six West will boost accessibility. The pedestrian experience within the development will be enhanced by the walkable streetscape extending from downtown College Park’s street grid, and a pedestrian trail will circle the development.

Investors will be able to purchase and develop sites at a lower cost than in Midtown, Buckhead and many other prominent Atlanta districts.

“Relative to other major projects around the city, this project is hands down more affordable for a business to relocate to,” Langford said.

The project’s Incremental District near the entrance will feature smaller-scale developments designed to attract local businesses.

“This [College Park] is a big area where people were moved out of,” said Bill de St. Aubin, CEO of the Sizemore Group, referring to the residential properties vacated as part of the FAA’s noise abatement program beginning in the 1980s. The Incremental District provides an opportunity for local residents to participate in the project.

The Incremental District is designed to bring the ambiance of downtown College Park into Six West. The district’s walkable streets and alleys will be lined with restaurants, shops and offices. Strategies will be implemented to support local business owners and help them purchase parcels and implement their visions.

“How can local residents benefit? One of the ways they can benefit is by becoming small developers, by owning a piece of it,” said de St. Aubin, whose company created the Six West masterplan with community input. “This district is for small, local owners.”

About the Construction Coffee Club
The Construction Coffee Club, created by Chris Maier of Cooper & Company General Contractors, schedules breakfast meetings and other events for Atlanta’s construction and real estate community.