With these shifts, what can CRE Companies do to stay competitive and ensure they capture the rapidly growing demand?
Out-of-the-Box Properties and Business Plans – The report states that this year investors plan to increase their focus on mixed-use properties, nontraditional products and retail developments. Flexible leases and business spaces are also going to be an attractive investment.
Adaptability – Investors will be looking for the companies that can quickly respond to the rapidly changing waters of the CRE business world, whether it be with new business models or by adopting “a variety of technologies to make buildings future-ready.”
Tech-savvy presence – To attract potential investors, companies need to be able to stay shoulder to shoulder with technology and present technological agility in the way they market their properties and in their business plans.
Catering to investor and tenant needs should move CRE companies to have a different perspective on the way they do business. By increasing mixed-use, nontraditional and retail products in their portfolios, becoming more adaptable to the changes in the industry and using technological advancements in their favor, CRE companies can change with the industry and be ready for the future to come.
Two Class A industrial buildings – totaling 135,000 SF and 185,000 SF – are ready for occupancy at Rockdale Technology Center, Ackerman & Co.’s newest state-of-the-art industrial development.
Located east of Atlanta in Conyers, Ga., the state-of-the-art industrial park will ultimately offer 1 million square feet of the highest-quality distribution space available in Atlanta’s I-20 East submarket.
Ackerman is targeting e-commerce operations, technology companies, medical companies and logistic providers, among other users. The multi-phase development will house space users that will bring hundreds of jobs to the city of Conyers, Ga.
Brett Buckner, who is leading leasing efforts at the development, recently met up with Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Chairman Oz Nesbitt to discuss the development that has Rockdale County residents talking.
A video of the interview and a written recap are below:
Oz Nesbitt: I’m here at Rockdale Technology Center, 2430 Dogwood Drive, at the long-anticipated opening of this facility. People all over our county have been asking, “Mr. Chairman, what’s happening with Rockdale Technology Center?”
Brett, tell us about the decision to come to Rockdale County.
Brett Buckner: We bought a property down the road about a year ago. And when we got into the market we figured out there’s a niche here for shallow-bay type properties. So we purchased, about a year ago, 92 acres here to build shallow-bay buildings, meaning buildings that are short in depth. This lets us offer as little as 10,000 square feet and up to 135,000 square feet for this building and up to 185,000 square feet in the other building.
Oz Nesbitt: Tell us about the technology piece and how and why you landed on that particular name.
Brett Buckner: It was really a decision with several different people within the company and we thought the name technology, added with the great county we’re in, Rockdale, would attract not only manufacturers that are already out here but also people in the technology business. But we’re not just focused on those two industries. We also have warehouse properties that can accommodate some logistics and also medical-type companies as well.
Oz Nesbitt: You have a prime location. Tell us about I-20 and accessibility, being right here on a frontage road in Rockdale County on Dogwood Drive.
Brett Buckner: When we purchased the property, one of the things that attracted us to the site was the visibility, right here in front of this building. We hope to attract some tenants that can take advantage of that. We can accommodate somebody that needs the visibility or somebody that needs to have just pure warehouse/distribution as well.
Oz Nesbitt: So, Brett, we focused on the four “E’s” here in Rockdale County – Economic development, efficiency, execution and education. Tell me about the interaction with local county government and how they helped you get from point A to point Z. How was that experience for you and your company?
Brett Buckner: When we first started, we met with Marty Jones (executive director at Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council) and Gina Hartsell (Film Rockdale project manager). They’ve been terrific to work with since the beginning, which was over a year ago. They’ve introduced us to tenants in the area as well as state-run projects. From a development standpoint, they’ve been absolutely terrific. We’re so pleased to be here.
As summer arrives, so does a new group of interns at Ackerman!
We recently sat down with our interns to discuss how they plan on applying their newly gained experience in the future.
“I’m very excited to be here,” said Emma Lonergan, who is working in the Marketing & Communications department. She is an incoming junior at Georgia College and State University. “I’m learning so much I can apply to my college classes and later in my career.”
Projects she’s working on with Fara Wilson and the marketing team include updating the organization of the promotional items inventory, which she will track and monitor throughout the summer. She’s also working on editorial assignments, including blog writing.
Also joining Ackerman’s Marketing team for the summer is Ellis Snell, who will be assisting in the department’s day-to-day activities and select projects. Ellis is headed to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as a freshman this fall.
Harrison Bernhardt, an intern with the Brokerage team, tells us he looks forward to applying everything he learns this summer to his future dream job in commercial real estate. An incoming senior at the University of Georgia, he’s learning a lot from the brokers he’s working with, including how to knock on doors to canvas potential clients.
“I realized that real estate was a better fit for me than finance, my original major in college, because I enjoy working in the field and meeting people face-to-face,” he said.
All three Brokerage interns are gaining valuable experience learning commercial real estate research programs as they help our brokers in their ongoing lease and sales efforts. That includes using CoStar, LandVision and other research tools to summarize market trends, prepare lease comparables and access various details on individual properties and owners.
Bart, Connor and Harrison are also getting a first-hand look at the types of projects Ackerman develops. They recently attended a BBQ event and tour at Rockdale Technology Center, the firm’s newest Class A industrial park. Connor and Harrison were responsible for transporting our brokerage guests across the park, and they assisted the Marketing team in setting up and closing down the event.
Alex Barnes (not pictured), an incoming junior at Georgia College and State University, is one of the interns supporting the HR department this summer.
He recently attended the company’s open enrollment benefits session, where he learned about the different healthcare and benefit options available to employees.
“This was incredibly eye-opening,” Alex said. “I was unaware of all the complexities involved in selecting healthcare coverage and the wide-ranging costs.” He’ll be able to call on this knowledge when he enters the workforce and goes through the process of selecting his own insurance.
It’s great to have these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed interns on board with us this summer. We have every confidence they’ll succeed in their future careers!
Ackerman Retail is leasing exceptional ground-level retail space at 120 Piedmont Avenue, a prominent downtown Atlanta location.
We are offering up to 3,930 SF at the 26-story Georgia State University student housing and retail project dubbed “The Mix,” which is also home to a 4,000 SF RaceTrac. The soon-to-open store will be the first Racetrac of its kind in a mixed-use development when it opens this summer.
Ackerman Executive Vice President Courtney Brumbelow is representing the landlord in leasing the retail spaces. The ground-floor retail units will see plenty of foot traffic from students residing at The Mix (which will house up to 650 students), as well as from the approximately 2,000 students at four other Georgia State apartment buildings located across the street at University Commons.
Located at the corner of Piedmont and John Wesley Dobbs avenues, The Mix will offer students upscale amenities such as a resort-style pool, poolside cabanas, a fitness center, a dog park and yoga room. The RaceTrac will feature the store’s popular offerings such as a frozen yogurt station and coffee bar.
Primo Hoagies, a restaurant set to open in Sandy Springs on Thursday May 16, specializes in a sandwich that originated in South Philadelphia.
Can you guess the name of this famous sandwich?
Of course, it’s the Philly cheesesteak! Primo Hoagies, a New Jersey-based franchise, will offer that popular sandwich along with six varieties of its signature Italian hoagie at its first metro Atlanta location at Perimeter Town Center, a mixed-use center redeveloped and managed by Ackerman & Co.
Courtney Brumbelow, executive vice president for Ackerman Retail, completed a 1,750 SF long-term lease with franchisee Brian Ottaviano at the center earlier this year.
Brian has been busy attending to the many construction details at the space for the past several months. A Philadelphia native, Brian is excited to bring the restaurant’s gourmet hoagies so popular in Philly and South Jersey to the Southeast U.S.
“What differentiates Primo Hoagies is the quality of the ingredients and the master bakers who make our rolls on-site throughout the day,” Brian said. “We’re very proud of our hoagies and how they’re made, and now we get to share these sandwiches with the people of Atlanta.”
Although the cheesesteak sandwich is synonymous with the city that created it, don’t expect the walls of the Sandy Springs establishment to be covered with pictures the Philadelphia skyline or the city’s sports teams.
“I plan to embed myself in the community of Sandy Springs,” said Brian, who moved to Atlanta after attending Georgia Tech. “This is Atlanta’s restaurant.”
Founded in 1992, Primo Hoagies now operates nearly 100 locations across the East Coast, including as far south as South Carolina, Florida – and now Georgia.
If you’re the owner-occupant of commercial real estate, have you considered the potential benefits of a sale-leaseback?
A sale-leaseback is when you sell your real estate asset and then lease it back long-term from the buyer. This can be an effective strategy to unlock the value of your real estate, allowing you to draw on the proceeds of the sale.
Let’s look at some of the key ways you can use a sale-leaseback to your business’s advantage:
Produce cash for your operations
Selling your asset in a sale-leaseback transaction allows you to regain access to capital that was previously tied up in your ownership of the building while still operating uninterrupted in the same location.
Then you can use the cash generated from the sale for a variety of purposes: to grow your business, pursue new opportunities, address operational issues, among others.
Gain access to an alternative financing tool
As an alternative financing option, a sale-leaseback offers a nice perk compared to conventional financing – it provides the seller more cash. In a sale-leaseback, you would typically receive 100% of the property’s value compared to 70 percent to 80 percent in conventional mortgage financing.
Another perk is the ability to avoid the burdensome provisions associated with traditional financing, including balloon payments, call provisions and refinancing.
Improve your balance sheet & boost your borrowing capacity
A sale-leaseback removes the asset from your balance sheet, converting a fixed asset into cash proceeds from the sale. In removing this liability from your balance sheet, your loan-to-value ratio is reduced, improving your credit standing and making it easier to borrow additional funds in the future.
Transfer ownership risks to the buyer
Upon completion of the sale-leaseback, the responsibilities of ownership are transferred to the buyer, including the risks of depreciation and obsolescence. Eliminating these and other real estate ownership obligations allows you to direct your attention and financial resources to what matters most – your business operations.
As an owner-operator, a sale-leaseback is a viable option for increasing your financial flexibility and liquidity. Since sale-leasebacks are complicated transactions, it’s crucial to rely on an experienced commercial real estate professional to guide you through the process.
Interested in learning more about sale-leasebacks? Contact us at 770-913-3900.
In a concerted effort to foster diversity within their organizations, many real estate companies are becoming more proactive in recruiting people of color.
To that end, commercial real estate firms are sourcing talent from a broader group of colleges and universities and providing a variety of career development resources.
While the industry is making strides, diversity levels among senior executives could use some improvement. According to NAIOP, white men comprise 78 percent of senior executives and white women make up the next largest segment (14 percent), while black women and black men each comprise 1 percent of the total.
With more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate, Fara Wilson, vice president of Marketing and Communications at Ackerman & Co., is familiar with both the challenges and rewards of working as a black woman in the industry. She described her experiences in a Bisnow feature, The Black Experience.
“Being black in CRE presents a new opportunity to learn, grow and make money. It also means having access to a client base that typically has not been marketed to by a black broker or not met someone in CRE marketing who looks like him or her,” Fara said.
She added, “On the not-so-positive side, you can run into small-minded people. However, nothing succeeds like success. If you stay focused on the task at hand and do a great job, clients and peers alike will grow to respect you and focus on your ability to deliver.”
In addition to the efforts of individual companies, real estate organizations are working to attract people of color.
The Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors (ACBR), one of the largest realtor associations in America, has a variety of programs aimed at boosting diversity at all levels of commercial real estate.
“Atlanta has been very progressive in civil rights and race relations but our industry has lagged behind,” said Scotland Wright, former Diversity Committee chairman for ACBR, in a promotional video for the association’s diversity programs.
ACBR’s diversity’s initiatives include a mentorship program that helps mentees enhance their skills and expertise; a partnership program that combines the resources of ACBR with organizations such as CoreNet and NAIOP; and an annual event that presents a guest speaker from a diverse background who shares his or her experiences in the industry.
NAIOP, a commercial real estate network with more than 19,000 members, promotes diversity through initiatives such as the Inclusion in CRE Scholarship, which enters up to 10 women and minorities into a curriculum aimed at advancing their commercial real estate careers. The organization also provides examples of best practices companies have adopted to increase diversity.
The banquet honors the best-of-the-best in Atlanta’s commercial real estate community, recognizing realtors who have produced $5 million or more in commercial sales and leasing.
Last year, ACBR’s Million Dollar Club Banquet honored 502 members who produced $25 billion in transactions. The honorees included Ackerman & Co.’s Brett Buckner, senior vice president and leader of the company’s Industrial Services team, who was named Top Industrial Landlord Producer.
The annual event is always a great opportunity to network, discuss the latest commercial real estate trends and have a bit of fun. This year’s theme is “Million Dollar Magic,” with card games and entertainment on Fox Theatre’s rooftop bar.
We look forward to seeing you there! Visit here for more information and to register for the banquet.
Sean Patrick Closes 100% Leased Retail Center in Kenner, La., for $5,650,000
Ackerman Retail has closed its first retail center sale in Louisiana! Ackerman Retail Senior Vice President Sean Patrick and Southeast Commercial’s Monte Luffey represented BGHA Kenner LLC in the sale of the retail center at 2240 Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Kenner, La., 12 miles west of downtown New Orleans, for $5,650,000 ($759 PSF) at a cap rate of 6.5%.
The 7,440-square-foot retail center is located adjacent to New Orleans International Airport at the busy intersection of Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Williams Boulevard in a dense retail corridor that includes The Home Depot, Walmart, Best Buy, Academy Sports and Starbucks.
The retail center – 100% leased to Dunkin’ Donuts, AT&T and Aspen Dental – was purchased by a private investor based in Baton Rouge, La.
For more information on this sale or available listings, contact:
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!
Ackerman & Co. is one of the top commercial real estate companies in the Southeast with more than 35 million square feet of office, medical, retail and mixed-used space developed, nearly 8 million square feet more under management, an investment portfolio valued at more than $1 billion and a widespread presence that leverages the experience of more than 100 real estate professionals.