Category: Office

Aug9
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

This year’s Deloitte’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook Report focuses on how technology and changing tenant and investor expectations are ramping up competition and creating shifts in how products are sold or leased.

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.

Help is Here – Meet Our Summer Interns!

Jun14
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

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.

Also spending the summer interning for the Brokerage group are Bart Kauffman (an incoming senior at Furman University) and Connor Barry (an incoming sophomore at the University of Southern California).

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!

Apr15
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

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.

Mar15
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

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.

Ackerman & Co. Investor Conference 2019: What Next?

Feb12
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

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

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

But will the good times continue? What next?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Stay on the field.

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

  • Adopt a bias toward selling.

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

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

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

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

Jan31
2019
Posted by
Marketing Staff

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting to Know Amanda Wyatt, Property Manager

Dec27
2018
Posted by
Marketing Staff

The Property Management division is a key part of Ackerman & Co.’s full-service platform. The team’s seasoned professionals manage a portfolio of properties totaling nearly 8 million square feet, providing tenant relations, asset management, accounting and engineering services.

Property Manager Amanda Wyatt is a 15-year veteran in Ackerman’s Property Management division. We recently caught up with Amanda to get a close-in look at her role in the department. In addition to providing perspective on her approach to her work, she discussed what she enjoys doing in her free time – and even her top “bucket list” item!

Q: Can you tell us a little about what you do in the Property Management group?

A: I manage multiple properties in the metro Atlanta area. My team and I support the owners, assist the tenants at each of the properties, provide financial reporting and oversee daily operations.

Q: For people who aren’t familiar with property management, can you provide a rundown of the core services the Ackerman & Co. property management group provides?

Q: What advice do you have for someone trying to break into your field?

A: The advice I would give is to be patient, breathe and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Q: What are some of the most gratifying aspects of your work?

A: The camaraderie of my team! It makes it easy to come to work every day knowing that I have a great team of professionals around me.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: I am seriously funny, always have a smile on my face. I love to laugh and love a good joke. Life is too short, so my outlook is to make the best of it and have a good time.

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?

A: I enjoy shooting at the range and roller derby.

Q: What’s one of the top items on your “bucket list”?

A: Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef with great white sharks.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone famous, past or present, who would it be and why?

A: Amelia Earhart is very inspiring. A favorite quote from her is: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

Or I would also like to have dinner with 50 Cent so we could freestyle with each other.

Q: Who has been the most important person in your life?

A: My mother. She is a source of inspiration, a breast cancer survivor and my best friend.

Gina DeRaffele: Lasting Relationships Produce Continued Success

Aug20
2018
Posted by
Marketing Staff

For nearly a decade, Gina DeRaffele has been one of our top brokers at Ackerman & Co.

Specializing in office properties, she takes pride in developing strong relationships with her clients to gain a clear understanding of their long-term real estate needs. This approach enables Gina to consistently close the most advantageous leases on behalf of her clients at the most competitive rates.

This year is holding true to form for Gina – once again, she has completed several high-profile office leases in the Atlanta market.

Thanks to that success, she was recently named Ackerman’s Broker of the Month.

One of her major transactions this year is a five-year lease extension and expansion on behalf of GoHealth Urgent Care. The 17,621 SF lease extension and 10,194 SF expansion will increase the healthcare provider’s headquarters space at Glenridge Highlands One in Sandy Springs to a total of 27,815 SF.

“It’s really a pleasure to be able to establish lasting relationships like this and help provide a solution that accommodates their ongoing growth,” Gina said. “It’s one of the most gratifying aspects of working in this industry.”

Since 2000, Gina has completed nearly 200 transactions totaling approximately 3.5 million square feet, and she’s consistently been recognized for her transaction volume and client service.

Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018: Annual Investor Conference

Feb12
2018
Posted by
Marketing Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some highlights from this year’s conference:

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

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

Can You Name that Skyscraper?

Oct19
2017
Posted by
Marketing Staff

How Well Do You Know Atlanta's Skyline?

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

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

 

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

 

Let’s begin:

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

 

Click here for the answers