Sandy Springs’ Growth: Merry and Bright?
Sandy Springs' Growth Includes City Springs, the New Town Center

Sandy Springs’ Growth: Merry and Bright?

5 days ago 0 0 11

December can be a dark month, but its saving grace is the festive holiday lights. Everything is lit up and alive with energy. And as a long-time resident of Sandy Springs, I can honestly say Sandy Springs is really lighting up as well. I started talking about Sandy Springs’ growth two years ago in my blog “Atlanta’s Edge Cities Develop New City Centers.” Then, City Springs was in development. Now, it’s the city’s civic and cultural heartbeat. Efforts to revitalize retail and affordable housing are occurring in the city’s North End, as companies locate HQ’s to the area. Although Sandy Springs’ growth presents some challenges, it’s happening in a big, bright way. City Springs: A New Town Center It’s important to have a town center, and Sandy Springs has built one. At City Springs, City Hall is the anchor to a walkable, livable downtown with theaters, restaurants, retail, apartments and

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Amazon HQ2 Not Landing in Atlanta—Rejoice!

3 weeks ago 0 0 71

I started talking about Atlanta’s Amazon HQ2 potential a year back in my post “Amazon HQ2 and The Gulch: A Symbiotic Relationship?” and continued the discussion in a follow-up post. Now, Amazon announced its intention to co-locate Amazon HQ2 in New York and the DC metro areas, and I am pleased with the result. Sometimes, you can score just as many runs hitting singles and doubles—so in that regard, Atlanta and Georgia are doing just fine. Thank you very much. Good Things Already Happening Here In my opinion, Atlanta is already winning the corporate relocation game as well as nurturing our own future Amazons through such initiatives as Atlanta Tech Village and the ATDC at Georgia Tech. Need evidence? Think Mercedes-Benz, Norfolk Southern, Apple, State Farm, Athena, and Accenture. All have announced either relocation or workforce expansion in the Atlanta metro area. And these are just a few. Some May

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Atlanta Restaurant Bubble: Yes or No?

Atlanta Restaurant Bubble: Yes or No?

1 month ago 0 0 94

Word on the street suggests an Atlanta restaurant bubble exists even as the metro area experiences solid population growth, people cook less and many spend disposable income to dine out. Within these macro trends is continued retail development anchored by new restaurant concepts which impacts the sales of existing stores even while overall sales grow. Also affecting the industry are delivery services such as UBER Eats, online sales of prepared meals, and growing competition by supermarkets offering prepared meals. What’s the Worry? A recent Bisnow article suggests the Atlanta restaurant bubble is indeed happening. According to a NetFinancial report, “[R]estauranteurs are still seeing sales volume growth overall, with a 4% increase in the first quarter compared to 2017, [but]…more than half of the restaurants surveyed (103 non-franchised restaurants) experienced negative sales in the first quarter.” In a recent BisNow panel, RO Hospitality founder Ryan Pernice said even good restaurants with

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Past the Value-Add Cycle in the Real Estate Cycle

Where is the “Add” in “Value-Add”?

2 months ago 0 0 1319

Late in the Cycle As discussed in previous blogs, I believe we are very late in the real estate cycle, a period which is characterized by fully priced assets and increasing ground-up development. Yet, I keep hearing the term “value-add” tossed around both by brokers trying to sell properties with low current yields and buyers convinced that rents will continue to increase and add value. I am skeptical. In addition, with fewer transactions occurring, lenders are becoming more aggressive by offering longer “interest-only” periods and equity funds are becoming lenders to make up for the lack of good buying opportunities. I find these trends troubling. This is the sort of activity that usually pushes the market over the edge. The Real Deal  In a true value-add market, sellers are usually under pressure, rents are low, and vacancies are high. Buyers in this market are more risk-tolerant and are focused on

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Inevitable RE Downturn

Are You Prepared for the Inevitable Real Estate Downturn?

4 months ago 0 0 209

Heading for a Correction? A BisNow article from earlier this year directly asks the question on everyone’s mind: “When is the correction going to hit?” In “From Bullish To Bearish: Tips To Prepare For The Inevitable Real Estate Downturn,” the author says not to worry so much about when it hits, but more so with how prepared you will be when it does. The article offers these four tips: Negotiate long-term leases Pursue Rehabs and Upgrades Stop Putting Off Maintenance Embrace Technology Stan’s Viewpoint For the most part, I agree with this article. I would add that the strategy for a given property really depends on the property’s current status. That status will dictate whether to sell (if a key lease has just been extended), upgrade (a longer-hold strategy) or refinance. I would caution this: If an owner is looking at new financing, the debt/value ratio and debt service coverage should

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Investment Strategies for Real Estate Cycle Phases

Investment Strategies for Real Estate Cycle Phases

4 months ago 0 1 230

Recently, I’ve taken an in-depth look at the real estate cycle and its phases. The first blog in this series defined the real estate cycle phases. The second blog described the unique aspects of the recent recession and recovery. And the latest blog described crosscurrents impacting the current recovery. In this blog, I offer investment strategies for the different phases of the real estate cycle. While I’ve said this before, it is worth repeating. Before making investment decisions, you must always consider: Your personal situation Your objectives Your risk tolerance Post Market Peak/Recession Strategy Stay out of the market. Fundamentals are declining, and although prices are starting to look cheap, you don’t know how bad it will get. Better to be a little too late than too early. Risk You miss out on some good buying opportunities. Early Recovery Strategy This is the best time to be a value-add buyer.

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Current Real Estate Recovery Has Been Impacted by Shifts in Office

Crosscurrents Impact Real Estate Recovery

5 months ago 0 2 240

My last blog “Not Your Standard Recession and Recovery” discussed how—due to the disruption in the financial markets—the most recent real estate recovery was anything but straightforward. In addition, this real estate recovery has experienced crosscurrents, which have made it even more unpredictable. These include the impact of global markets, technology disruptors, high construction costs and demographic shifts. Global Market + Economy Impact As world economies become more intertwined, foreign markets more broadly impact the U.S. economy. The Chinese economy’s size and its growth impacted demand for U.S.-made products, resulting in drastic increases in some material prices. Weak European economies and actions of European central banks created greater demand for U.S. Treasury notes, which has kept interest rates artificially low. More foreign investors have sought U.S. assets, including real estate, with safety being a greater priority than yield. All of these factors contribute to a spike in U.S. property values.

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Great Recession and Recovery is Unique

Not Your Standard Recession and Recovery

5 months ago 0 0 329

Most recessions and recoveries are straightforward. There’s oversupply, too much money and aggressive lending. The economy goes into recession. Values plummet, lenders foreclose, and occupancies and rents go down. Everything is distressed. Then, distressed assets are sold, the economy improves and rents and occupancies increase. Happy days are here again. But the Great Recession of 2007-09 and subsequent recovery have been anything but straightforward. Due to financial chaos and a slow-to-recover economy, the road from the valley to the mountain top has been long and winding. Financial Chaos In 2007-2008, government policy and deregulation encouraged overaggressive lending and leveraging of lender’s balance sheets, not unlike when the government deregulated the Savings and Loans and changed the tax laws in 1986. Not only did this create a deep recession, but it also caused a near collapse of the U.S. financial system. So, how did this impact real estate? Bank Failures +

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Timing the Real Estate Cycle

6 months ago 0 0 281

Know Your Phases We all know the phases of the moon. You start with the new moon, move toward the glorious full moon and always return to the new moon. Just like the moon, the real estate cycle has phases. There’s no real starting point and no real ending point. It just recycles, repeatedly. Every phase of the real estate cycle presents unique challenges and opportunities; it’s essential to recognize which phase is currently occurring. Failure to do so can mean a huge misstep, resulting in significant monetary loss. I’ll address the real estate cycle in the next three blogs, which will include: Descriptions of each phase Strategies for each phase How the current real estate cycle differs from previous cycles Recession Recession, Depression, Down Market. Call it what you want, but this phase of the real estate cycle is typically characterized with oversupply in at least one property type.

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Atlanta's Edge Cities are creating downtown centers, like Sandy Spring's City Springs, to offer amenities to attract future residents to the area, like the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center

Atlanta’s Edge Cities: Alive and Well

8 months ago 0 0 580

Two years ago, in Atlanta’s Edge Cities Develop New City Centers, I focused on how several of Atlanta’s edge cities, like Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, were attempting to create an “attractive sense of place.” This trend continues today, with Sandy Springs’ continued development, Roswell’s success and Peachtree Corners’ growth. More millennials are in their 30’s, and they’re looking for affordable housing in Atlanta to own, proximity to quality schools and work, convenience and, above all, a sense of place. With the rise of multi-use developments and entertainment centers in Atlanta’s suburbs, these folks are settling more and more in edge cities. Let’s take a closer look at some of these communities: Sandy Springs In my first blog, City Springs, the soon-to-be 14-acre civic and cultural center of Sandy Springs, was still renderings and plans, but earlier this year, it announced its first [retail] tenants, with construction expected to reach completion

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