Category: Commercial Real Estate

Ackerman & Co. Celebrates 2020 Accomplishments & Brokers of the Year

Jan14
2021
Posted by
Marketing Staff

 

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis created unexpected challenges for the commercial real estate industry in 2020.

Despite the uncertain environment, there were many bright spots at Ackerman & Co. throughout the year, thanks to the hard work of our experienced and diverse team of brokers and professional advisors.

From industrial and office leases to building and land sales to deals for restaurant and retail space, our brokers completed a steady flow of transactions.

Some of our major transactions during the year included a 710,962-square-foot lease of an e-commerce distribution facility in Florida; a 325,000-square-foot build-to-suit project at Ackerman’s Rockdale Technology Center for a regional distribution center; and a 75,205-square-foot lease with Goodwill of North Georgia for their new distribution and donation center.

Our Ackerman Retail brokers had a successful year completing a number of high-profile restaurant and retail leases. These included lease signings that will bring gourmet food market Savi Provisions and workout studio Twisted Cycle to Crabapple Market in Milton, Ga., this spring; a 17,850-square-foot lease for a new Shoe Gallery store in Cumming, Ga.; lease signings that added Henri’s Bakery & Café, Siete Tacos + Tequila, and The Original Hot Dog Factory to Marietta Square Market; and a lease for a new location of the upscale brunch spot Gocha’s Breakfast Bar in Fayetteville, Ga.

Also, our Investment Sales team was busy in 2020, with transactions that included a 30,000 square foot medical office building in Newnan, Ga., where Ackerman Medical also completed lease extensions to maintain 100 percent occupancy.

These represent just a sampling of our transactions.

And Ackerman & Co. and its partner MDH Partners are moving forward with the $85-million redevelopment and expansion of the Lee + White mixed-use project in Atlanta’s West End. The next phase of development at the popular entertainment destination will include loft offices, a food hall, public spaces, additional retail options and multifamily units.

Congratulations to our brokers of the year
Continuing an annual tradition, Ackerman & Co. also recognized the achievements of our brokers with our Broker of the Year and Young Broker of the Year awards.

The leader of our Land Group John Speros enjoyed another banner year, earning him the Broker of the Year honor – for the second year in a row. The dollar value of his deals exceeded $100 million. John works closely with his colleagues Kyle Gable and JT Speros in the Land Group.

“John really didn’t skip a beat this past year in his deal-making, which is a testament to his experience and the proven process he and his team have developed to complete land sales on behalf of their clients,” said Kris Miller.

In 2020, John’s biggest deal was the sale of 14.8 acres at Sandy Plains Marketplace for $42 million. Another major deal, completed with David Branch of SSG Realty partners, was the sale of a 4.6-acre parcel for $15.8 million that will become Porter on Peachtree, a mixed-use project featuring 291 multifamily units and 17,600 square feet of ground-level retail.

Other significant transactions for John included the sale of 67.9 acres for $5.8 million for a Meritage Homes development of 152 single-family homes and 20.37 acres for $5.6 million for the next phase of the Exchange at Gwinnett mixed-use project.

In addition to recognizing the top producer, Ackerman is also excited to announce that our Young Broker of the Year for 2020 is Will Goff.

Will’s main focus is brokering raw land and redevelopment sites, along with providing site selection services. Since joining Ackerman in 2017, Will has been involved in brokering land transactions for a wide range of uses, including residential, retail, mixed-use and industrial projects. His transactions during that time total nearly $40 million.

“Will is one of our hardest-working brokers. He can often be seen in his office at 7:30 in the morning to get started on his work, and he always has a positive attitude,” said F. Keene Miller. “In addition to his commitment to helping his clients achieve their business goals, Will is always trying to expand his knowledge. These qualities will serve him well as he grows his career in commercial real estate.”

A large portion of Will’s business is currently focused on representing developers to identify sites for multifamily and industrial projects. Will has carved out a niche in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and outside storage space, with current projects spanning across the Sunbelt from Atlanta to Houston and Charlotte to Tampa.

Will is pursuing a Master of Real Estate Development at Georgia Tech and is a CCIM candidate, having completed all course work and portfolio requirements for the designation. He plans to take the final qualifying exam at the next availability.

Read more about our brokerage group here: https://www.ackermanco.com/real-estate-services/overview/

Ackerman Retail Helps Expand Dynamic Tenant Mix at Crabapple Market

Dec23
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

Crabapple Market is a mixed-use development that connects seamlessly with the residential streets of downtown Milton, Ga. Bringing together a variety of restaurants, retailers, businesses and professional services firms, Crabapple Market is building a tenant lineup that increasingly makes it a bustling gathering place for Milton residents and other visitors from morning through night.

Located about 27 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Milton recently received recognition from 24/7 Wall Street Media Network as Georgia’s No. 1 city to live in.

Ackerman Retail’s Courtney Brumbelow and Haley Hartman recently completed leases that will bring gourmet market Savi Provisions and fitness studio Twisted Cycle to the development. The two new tenants expect to open their new locations in spring 2021.

The food market and a gym are important additions that fit in with the overall goal of creating a destination with diverse and well-rounded offerings.

“The walkable layout, strong tenant mix and the connectivity to the surrounding community make this a great location for Savi Provisions,” said Paul Nair, owner of Savi Provisions.

Added Courtney Brumbelow, “This project has broad appeal to retailers that want to be in a mixed-use development offering a dynamic tenant mix and a family-friendly environment. We expect to have new lease signings soon.”

Phase one of the 200,000-square-foot development is complete. The next phase – scheduled to be finished next year – will add retail and restaurant spaces as well as more public spaces for visitors, including a stage for concerts and movies, a recreational path and rooftop patios overlooking downtown.

Savi Provisions will bring additional foot traffic to the development beginning in the morning hours. In addition to gourmet grocery items and made-to-order meals, Savi’s Crabapple location will house a walk-up coffee bar and specialty juice bar. There will also be a revolving schedule of food and wine tastings. Twisted Cycle – an indoor cycling and HIIT workout studio – will provide a state-of-the-art exercise destination for the health-conscious Milton community.

Although a new development, Crabapple’s architectural design – created by Pieper O’Brien Herr – draws on historic Italian design elements, with striking brick detailing and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. The building placement creates plazas for outdoor retail and restaurant dining.

Keep up with new additions to the tenant lineup at Crabapple Market by following Ackerman Retail on Twitter and Instagram!

College Park’s Transformative Six West Project Attracting Major Interest from Developers

Nov9
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

As photographers captured the moment, City of College Park officials recently turned shovels in dirt that will become part of Six West, a $1.5-billion mixed-use project next to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

It was the official groundbreaking for a project that will bring one of metro Atlanta’s most ambitious and transformative commercial developments to south Atlanta. This is a part of metro Atlanta that has traditionally been underserved when it comes to high-quality retail, office and entertainment offerings.

A key project representative who has been hard at work behind the scenes helping to make this huge project a reality is Steve Langford, one of Ackerman & Co.’s most experienced and accomplished brokers. As the exclusive broker representing College Park, Steve is in the process of meeting with a number of high-profile developers interested in securing land for their projects.

“The commercial real estate community is enthusiastic about the prospects of this project as we continue to field ongoing offers related to available opportunities within the development,” Steve said.

He added that several developers are pursuing parcels for retail, office and hotel development. Announcements are expected soon on purchase commitments.

A new business and entertainment hub
The multi-phase development, which will comprise more than 300 acres, will create a vibrant extension of the historic College Park community. The City foresees the office component of the project – which could ultimately total 2.3 million square feet – attracting corporate HQs seeking to capitalize on the site’s proximity to the world’s busiest airport. Plans also call for an exciting mix of restaurants, shopping, entertainment venues, hotels and single- and multi-family residential developments.

Six West is in walking distance to the College Park MARTA rail station and easily accessible to Atlanta’s extensive Interstate system, key attributes that will help it attract visitors and businesses alike.

Prioritizing interconnectivity and walkability, Six West’s masterplan also includes the construction of a pedestrian bridge connecting Georgia International Convention Center and Gateway Center at College Park to the project’s planned multipurpose park and its streetscape, which will be surrounded by a 5K walking trail.

City officials are excited that the project will revitalize a large swath of land – largely residential properties – vacated as part of the FAA’s noise abatement program starting in the 1980s. The City of College Park paid more than $40 million to buy back the land to make the ambitious project possible.

“This land paves the way for imagining a new chapter for College Park,” said College Park Director of Economic Development Artie Jones, at the recent groundbreaking celebration.

Added Mayor Bianca Motley Broom, “This is yet another step toward building the community we deserve. We’ve come a long way by continuing to work together. We eagerly await the future.”

The master-planned development is part of Aerotropolis Atlanta, a blueprint for spurring development aimed at transforming the Airport vicinity into a dynamic destination with multi-modal transportation options.

A recent example of a project that serves as a model for economic development in College Park is the recently completed Gateway Center, a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue. The $45-million facility is home to the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and the Atlanta Hawks’ G-League team, the College Park Skyhawks, and also hosts concerts and conventions.

Six West will be the biggest addition yet to the growing slate of attractions near the Airport, which also include the Porsche Driving Experience and the Delta Flight Museum and Chick-fil-A headquarters tours.

Sep14
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

With a history of more than 50 years as one of Atlanta’s leading commercial real estate firms, Ackerman & Co. has built its success on the strength of its full-services platform.

Expanding its staff with experienced brokers who have deep and specialized commercial real estate expertise has been crucial to the firm’s growth over the years. Ackerman & Co. continues to make strategic additions to its staff even during the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm has bolstered its Investment Sales services with the recent addition of three experienced brokers – KB Yabuku, Daniel Yi and Jude Sullivan (left to right below). They’ll help strengthen the firm’s services to buyers and sellers of commercial real estate properties, particularly investors in retail and office assets.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to strengthen our Brokerage group,” said F. Keene Miller, President of Brokerage for Ackerman & Co. “Today’s economic environment presents unique challenges and opportunities. These new additions to our Brokerage group will expand our relationships in the investment community. They’ll also provide crucial market and transaction expertise to help our clients make the best investments to achieve their long-term business goals.”

KB Yabuku is a proven high-producing Investment Sales broker who has experience working with programmatic developers, institutional owners and high-net-worth investors. He comes to Ackerman from Hart Lyman Companies, where he was Southeast managing Director with a focus on retail development and site selection for Fortune 500 companies nationwide.

Daniel Yi provides more than 12 years of commercial real estate expertise and deep relationships with a wide range of investors, including international clients. Most recently, Daniel was a Director at Newmark Knight Frank.

“The combination of skills and experience that KB and Daniel provide will be a great asset to our Investment Sales services and the entire Ackerman Retail platform,” said Leo Wiener, President of Ackerman Retail.

Jude Sullivan brings specialized expertise in the office sector and has represented a wide range of investors in the sale and purchase of single and multi-tenant properties. During his time at Bull Realty, Jude was recognized as a Top 10 Broker for annual production.

“Jude brings us outstanding market knowledge and a dedication to helping buyers and sellers implement strategic investments,” said F. Keene Miller. “We’re excited to strengthen our Investment Sales services with these key additions to our Brokerage group.”

 

Strategic Location Helping Rockdale/Newton County Submarket Draw Big-Box Tenants

Jul22
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

 

Facebook, Lidl and other leading companies commit to opening large distribution hubs in the submarket

When Ackerman & Co. moved forward with plans for Rockdale Technology Center, a 1-million-square-foot master-planned industrial park in Conyers, Ga., the site’s strategic location in the Rockdale/Newton County submarket of Atlanta was a big selling point.

Most importantly, the property offers convenient access to I-20, a major east-west highway that connects to Atlanta’s dense population centers to the west and to the ports of Savannah and Charleston to the east.

To date, Ackerman & Co. has developed two Class A distribution facilities on the 92-acre site of 135,000 square feet and 185,000 square feet. Later this quarter, Ackerman will begin development on its largest project so far on the site – a 325,000-square-foot facility that will serve a prominent manufacturing company.

“As land availability becomes more limited in industrial submarkets close-in to Atlanta, Rockdale County will continue attracting the interest of companies seeking modern, efficient distribution space,” said Brett Buckner, Senior Vice President of Ackerman & Co.’s Industrial Services group. “At Rockdale Technology Center, the ability for distributors to gain quick access to I-20 as well as connect to a CSX rail line are strategic advantages.”

Some big-name consumer companies are choosing to locate major distribution operations in the submarket for the same reasons.

Construction is expected to be completed this summer in Social Circle on a 970,000-square-foot flex data center for social media giant Facebook that will create an estimated 100 jobs, and Germany-based grocer Lidl recently announced plans for a 925,000-square-foot distribution center in Covington that will create 270 jobs and serve as its regional headquarters.

These major projects indicate that Rockdale/Newton County is becoming an increasingly prominent distribution hub for metro Atlanta. There is currently 1.7 million square feet under construction in the submarket, significantly higher than typical construction levels in a submarket that boasts one of the lowest vacancy rates in metro Atlanta at 3.7 percent. That compares to a market-wide vacancy rate of 7.2 percent as of 2Q 2020.

The Rockdale/Newton County submarket is part of Atlanta’s Snapfinger/I-20 East market, which totals 49,637,758-square-feet of industrial space. As of 2Q 2020, the market had the lowest vacancy rate in metro Atlanta at 3.2% and total year-to-date absorption of 473,594 square feet– one of the highest absorption rates in the market.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic initially resulted in a slowdown in leasing activity in the Atlanta industrial market at the start of the second quarter, leasing volumes have surged in recent weeks, and CoStar predicts vacancies are likely to remain below Atlanta’s historic average.

 

With Parcel Sale Complete, Leasing Efforts for Porter on Peachtree Pick Up Steam

Jun16
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

When Ackerman & Co.’s John Speros brokered the third-party sale of a prime 4.6-acre parcel on Peachtree Road in the city of Brookhaven, it didn’t mark the end of Ackerman’s involvement in the property.

Ackerman Retail Senior Vice President Kelly Wilson has been selected to lease up the retail portion of the mixed-use Porter on Peachtree project now taking shape on the site. Located at 920 Peachtree Road just north of Buckhead, the city of Atlanta’s premier shopping district, the project will feature approximately 291 apartments and approximately 17,600 square feet of ground-level retail.

Kelly is leasing the space on behalf of the parcel’s former owner, SDS Real Property Holdings. As part of the original sale, SDS will buy the retail portion of the project from new owner Wood Partners upon completion of construction.

Kelly said there is a great deal of interest among a variety of retailers for the space.

What makes Porter on Peachtree such a desirable retail location?

“This area has great demographics, is a highly sought-after retail node and has very little vacancy,” said Kelly. “It’s very difficult to find retail space with frontage along Peachtree anywhere from North Buckhead, through Brookhaven and heading into Chamblee.”

The tenant lineup at Porter on Peachtree will include up to two restaurants, with a retail mix likely to feature service-oriented retailers, boutiques and possibly a coffee shop, Kelly said.

Porter on Peachtree is in the Buckhead/Lenox submarket of Atlanta, which commands the highest rental rates in the metro area. The submarket has a total inventory of 12.5 million square feet and boasts Atlanta’s most prestigious shopping destinations, including Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and the The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.

The impressive demographics of the project’s Brookhaven address include an average household income of more than $130,000 and a population within three miles of more than 133,000. The Capital City Country Club is located behind the property, and the Brookhaven MARTA station is only 1,000 feet away.

John Speros along with David Branch of SSG Realty Partners brokered the sale of the parcel for $15.8 million. “Because the seller is purchasing the retail portion of the development at completion, this was a very complex transaction that was years in the making,” John noted at the time of the sale.

Construction is under way and completion is targeted for late 2021.

New Renderings Showcase the Next Phase of Development at Lee + White

May22
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

The transformation of Lee + White is entering an exciting new phase.

Renderings have just been unveiled showing what’s next for the adaptive reuse development just southwest of downtown Atlanta in the West End neighborhood. The next phase of development will add striking design features to existing buildings and produce a new two-story glace-façade building that will become a new centerpiece for the West End.

The renderings are a vivid representation of the diversification of the project Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners envisioned when purchasing the popular entertainment and food & beverage destination last fall. The upcoming redevelopment will add creative loft offices, a food hall, public spaces, additional retail options and multifamily units, all featuring direct and enhanced Atlanta BeltLine access.

“This new phase of development will add a dynamic mix of uses that will heighten much needed daytime activity and strengthen the already popular night and weekend visits, while greatly improving the walkability and overall visitor experience through the 23-acre site,” said Leo Wiener, President of Ackerman Retail.

Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, businesses at Lee + White are re-opening with the health and safety of their customers and community in mind.

“We are in the unique position of being able to adapt the design of Lee + White’s further redevelopment to newly evolving social distancing and operational guidelines. We plan to take advantage of the existing warehouse volumes, high ceilings and wide-open floor spaces along with direct connectivity to many outdoor spaces, including patios, greenspaces and the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Jeff Small, CEO of MDH Partners.

Atlanta-based Smith Dalia Architects is the creator of the new master plans. Further capitalizing on the project’s half mile of frontage along the Westside BeltLine, the master plans propose new and enhanced access to the BeltLine, a variety of public spaces overlooking the trail and a path connecting the project’s numerous outdoor spaces.

Here’s what’s on tap for the next phase of development:

  • The new centerpiece of the development – Building 1015, a two-story glass-façade structure opening directly to the Atlanta BeltLine with terraces overlooking the busy pedestrian trail. The building will house a 17,000-square-foot food and retail collective on the first floor and 18,000 square feet of loft offices on the second floor. The second-story loft offices will be notable for the distinctive entry, marquis signage, 12-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall.
  • Building 1050, an adaptive re-development of industrial warehouse space into 42,121 square feet of creative loft offices with 18-foot ceilings, abundant natural light and a large terrace overlooking the BeltLine.
  • Building 929, an adaptive re-development of industrial warehouse space into 85,000 square feet of creative loft offices offering frontage on Lee Street, dramatic entry features and common areas, and views overlooking the BeltLine along with new access to the trail. Unique design elements will include exposed-beam roofing, floor-to-ceiling windows and skylight-lit double-height interiors.
  • Approximately 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail space distributed throughout the property.
  • Up to 250 multifamily units with walk-out access to Lawton Street and the BeltLine.
  • A terraced outdoor multi-use area – similar to a mini-amphitheater – stepping down directly to the BeltLine.
  • A vertical Lee + White sign at the property’s front corner providing distinctive branding that honors the property’s history.

Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2020, with delivery of the first phase of office space in mid-2021. The opening of the new ground-up food and retail collective building is targeted for late 2021.

Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners acquired the 11-building, 433,204-square-foot Lee + White property in September 2019 from Stream Realty Partners. The initial phase of the redevelopment of the mid-20th century industrial buildings included the addition of tenants such as Monday Night Brewing, Wild Heaven Beer, Best End Brewing, ASW Distillery and Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, each of which has developed a unique following and enjoyed tremendous success.

Apr28
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

During Atlanta’s post-recession economic boom, its industrial market posted some of the strongest numbers in the nation, registering positive absorption for nearly nine years in a row.

Along with a thriving economy, Atlanta’s low business costs, extensive transportation infrastructure, and one-day access to the fast-growing Southeast ports seemed to have the industrial sector positioned to continue the positive momentum.

Of course, the ongoing coronavirus emergency has changed the landscape for the industrial sector, along with every other property type. But there are signs that the impact on the industrial real estate may be less severe.

A strong foundation
As one of the nation’s most important distribution hubs, Atlanta has continued to attract major e-commerce operations along with a full range of consumer goods companies and logistics providers.

The Atlanta market’s major lease deals in the past six months include Amazon’s 2.8 million-square-foot distribution center in Stone Mountain and its 1 million-square-foot lease in Newnan, Ga.

Other big deals and projects include Goodyear Tires’ 1.5-million-square-foot build-to-suit project in Newnan, Ga. Online personal styling service Stitch Fix leased 925,800 square feet in the I-20 West/Douglasville submarket, while XPO Logistics leased 673,818 square feet in the Airport/South Atlanta submarket and SBS Transportation leased 517,500 square feet in Palmetto, Ga.

The surging demand for industrial space in Atlanta led investors to ramp up new construction, which currently totals approximately 19 million square feet, according to CoStar. Vacancy levels as of mid-April remained low at 6.4% and the overall rental rate was $6.16, a 6.4% increase from the previous year.

What’s next?
Those numbers don’t yet reflect the changes taking place throughout the economy. The big question now is: How much will industrial demand be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis?

“You’ve got your recession-proof types of businesses – companies needing refrigeration for food products and manufacturers of essential goods. And, of course, there continues to be strong demand from e-commerce companies like Amazon,” said Chris Miller, Senior Vice President in Ackerman & Co.’s Industrial Services group.

In addition to Amazon, other e-commerce retailers are experiencing skyrocketing sales due to the millions of Americans who have turned to online shopping to purchase everything from health products and clothing to toilet paper and canned foods. There could also be a long-range movement toward the on-shoring of manufacturing due to disruptions in the supply chain for products such as pharmaceuticals.

However, there are definitely issues of concern. Cargo volumes at the Port of Savannah, now the nation’s third-busiest container port, declined by nearly 20 percent in March following a lengthy period of record increases. In addition, the retail shutdown that has spurred widespread layoffs will also impact demand levels, although the extent is not yet known.

Even so, CoStar expects fundamentals to stay afloat. Based on Oxford Economics forecasts, CoStar currently anticipates that – even in a severe downside scenario – Atlanta industrial vacancies will likely remain below the market’s long-term historical average.

“Deal volume through the first quarter was roughly equal to the metro’s quarterly average. We expect deal volume to slow, but CoStar clients remain active in sourcing and performing due diligence on deals during the crisis,” said David Kahn, Managing Analyst at CoStar, in a recent video report. “If the situation improves in the coming months, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an uptick in transaction activity in the second half of 2020.”

Chris Miller echoed that cautiously optimistic outlook.

“The industrial sector is historically the last to see a downturn and the first to recover,” he said. “When we get the all-clear, there will be a lot of activity because people are buckled in and ready to see this situation improve so they can get deals done. I think there is optimism that we’ll come out of this strong.”

Mar20
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

As Ackerman & Co. steadily strengthens its services platform and adds talent to its brokerage group, the firm continues to solidify its position as a leading commercial real estate firm in the Southeast.

One way to measure a firm’s success is by the number of its brokers who are named to the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors (ACBR) Million Dollar Club. A total of 11 Ackerman brokers were named to the Million Dollar Club at the recent 2020 ACBR awards.

“This is the most brokers we’ve ever had named to the Million Dollar Club,” said Kris Miller. “Our brokerage team is producing great results for our clients and we’ll continue building our team and the quality of our services to keep those results coming.”

The Ackerman brokers added to the 2020 Million Dollar Club include Courtney Brumbelow, Brett Buckner, Bryan Davis, Brian Lefkoff, Chris Miller, Kris Redding, Sean Patrick, John Speros, Jimmy Stevens, Kelly Wilson and Larry Wood.

Three of Ackerman’s 2020 Million Dollar Club members took home Top 10 Broker honors – Brian Lefkoff (the No. 5 Retail Broker), Courtney Brumbelow (the No. 8 Retail Broker) and John Speros (the No. 5 Land Broker).

As leader of Ackerman Retail’s Tenant Representation Group, Brian’s major deals included a 30,000-square-foot lease on behalf of Painted Tree Marketplace in Buford, Ga., which marked the retailer’s first store in Georgia, while Courtney completed nearly 100 real estate transactions as the head of the Landlord Representation Group.

A long-time high producer for Ackerman as Senior Vice President of the Land Group, John’s biggest transaction was the $18 million, 65-acre land sale for the Exchange at Gwinnett mixed-use project, which he brokered with Senior Vice President Larry Wood. The project, also named one of the three finalists for ACBR’s 2020 Alvin B. Cates Award, will feature Top Golf, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, Rooms To Go and more.

The Million Dollar Club recognizes brokers with production of $5 million or more in annual commercial transactions.

Feb28
2020
Posted by
Marketing Staff

2020 South Metro Development Outlook: South Atlanta Is Ready for Its Closeup

Don’t sleep on South Metro Atlanta.

That was the message from speakers at the 2020 South Metro Development Outlook conference recently held at the Georgia International Convention Center. The conference, now in its 18th year, gathers commercial real estate professionals, business leaders and elected officials to discuss the latest economic development trends in the region.

South Metro communities have tended to lag behind Atlanta’s bustling submarkets to the north like Midtown, Buckhead, Central Perimeter, Alpharetta and Cumberland-Galleria, which have become some of the most prominent business hubs in the Southeast. But the South Metro – a six-county area south of I-20 – is increasingly attracting the interest of investors, including regional, national and international players.

Ackerman & Co. is one of those investors bullish on South Metro. The company, with partner MDH Partners, purchased the 423,000-square-foot Lee + White project in the West End area just south of I-20 and is currently diversifying the popular entertainment and food & beverage destination to include loft offices, retail and a food hall.

Ackerman & Co. Reports on 2020 South Atlanta Development Outlook conference

In addition to Lee + White, Ackerman is involved in the $1-billion Airport City project in College Park as the exclusive land broker marketing the 320-acre property adjacent to the airport for a mix of office, hotel, retail, entertainment, residential and other uses.

“The time is right for this type of mixed-use development in South Atlanta. This area has traditionally been underserved by retail in particular, but the opportunity to serve the local community as well as the millions of Hartsfield-Jackson passengers who visit annually makes it ideal for the local, national and international end users we’re seeking to attract,” said Steve Langford, Ackerman & Co. Senior Vice President and land broker for Airport City.

Investing in Future Growth
The South Metro region is home to the biggest economic driver in the state – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which serves 100 million passengers a year, employs 63,000 on-site workers and generates a $34.8-billion annual economic impact.

Ackerman & Co. Reports on 2020 South Atlanta Development Outlook conference

Speakers pointed to a number of trends and developments that position the region to attract economic development while leveraging its strategic location at the gateway to the world’s busiest airport.

South Atlanta is the largest industrial submarket in metro Atlanta, with a total of 196 million square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space. It is also home to global headquarters such as Delta International and Chick-fil-A. More recently, South Metro attracted the relocation of Porsche Cars North America headquarters from Sandy Springs, a $100-million project that includes the Experience Center race track.

The region is preparing for much more success. Aerotropolis Atlanta, a public-private partnership representing 13 South Atlanta communities, aims to create the region’s next premier business district. Aerotropolis is working with other agencies on a variety of infrastructure improvements, including a $13-million diverging diamond interchange at Camp Creek Parkway and I-285 designed to improve traffic flows around the Airport.

“We don’t want to duplicate the traffic congestion of other parts of the metro,” said Gerald McDowell, executive director of the Aerotropolis Atlanta CID.

Another project being proposed is a “pod car” network that would provide speedy connections to Airport terminals and nearby destinations such as the Porsche and Delta headquarters via dedicated cars holding up to eight passengers. This project would cost roughly $15 million per mile, McDowell said, which is far less than other public transportation initiatives.

“We have been denied transportation solutions because we’ve been told it’s not affordable,” he said. “This is affordable, and we believe this is a solution that could provide an example of how to expand throughout the region.”

Adding Amenities to Attract Talent & Businesses
The film industry has a growing presence in the South Metro region, and it’s generating some exciting spin-off development. Pinewood Forest, a 235-acre mega project near Pinewood Atlanta Studios, will ultimately feature 700 homes, 600 apartments, 300 hotel rooms, and 270,000 square feet of commercial space with restaurants, retail and a 9-screen theater featuring a rooftop cinema.

“This type of development is setting the stage for attracting talent, and the companies that employ them will follow,” said Joan Young, president of the Fayette County Development Authority.

Christopher Pike, economic development director for the City of South Fulton, discussed two major projects planned in the newly formed city, including a town center mixed-use development and a 200-acre riverfront district.

“These are quality of life projects that will bring a different flavor to South Fulton,” Pike said.

In addition to new amenities that will help the South Metro better compete with northern communities, the region has another major selling point – its lower development costs.

Shannon James, president and CEO of the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, said the relatively low cost of land – which includes 50,000 acres of undeveloped land around Hartsfield-Jackson – impressed his colleagues from Beijing, China’s, Aerotropolis.

“They salivated over the opportunities here compared to the cost in their neck of the woods,” he said