Amazon HQ2 and The Gulch: A Symbiotic Relationship?

3 years ago 2 1 167431

Atlanta was originally called Terminus because the rail lines converged here. Eventually, the interaction of trains and cars became problematic, and streets were built over the railroad tracks. Existing shops were abandoned, and new shops were built on the new streets. Then, the Omni, Phillips Arena and the Georgia Dome were built, creating a big, empty space that you can look into. That area is The Gulch, a 120-acre site, currently made up of parking lots and rail lines. The Gulch: Past and Future Visions  For years, the vision was to turn The Gulch into a multi-modal station and then build mixed-use around the station, but that plan has never come to fruition, mostly because of the number of entities that would have to be involved—county, city, state and federal agencies; MARTA; and Norfolk Southern to name a few. However, according to a recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article, “The Gulch…is

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Intentional Development Around Stadiums: Can It Work?

3 years ago 0 0 1378

In my last blog “The Not-So-Obvious Connection Between Stadiums and Community”, I admitted my skepticism related to the community-building aspect of erecting new stadiums while acknowledging my hope for the success of such projects, like the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But there’s an exception. And that’s the new Georgia State Football Stadium. Once Turner Field. Once the Olympic Stadium. (In fact, did you know this is one of the longest sustainable stadiums in the history of the Olympics?) What’s Different? Why do I think this example is different? It’s all in the approach. And I see private co-developers Georgia State University (GSU) and Atlanta-based Carter & Associates creating Summerhill, a development around the stadium, in an intentional and realistic way. In other words, this is not a “build it and they will come” project. GSU and Carter appear to be assessing what the community needs and then building it. To me, this

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Using Historic Tax Credits to Increase Profit

4 years ago 0 0 1328

In every community across the country, enterprising developers are scooping up historic structures as investment properties. These old mills, factories and turn-of-the-century buildings exude character – and have a lot of potential for modern day uses. Whether it’s a new retail center, residential property, office space, hospitality property or government complex, existing, historic structures are popular options for development projects. Historic restoration projects repurpose aging and unusable buildings and structures for today’s uses, often creating new urban centers out of dilapidated and unsafe eyesores. They capitalize on a community’s nostalgia for the original structure, which typically boasts inimitable personality features and context within the neighborhood. These intangible assets increase community buy-in for a historic renovation project, which promises to preserve the integrity of a structure while making it usably modern or functional for the current population. An excellent example of this is Ponce City Market (PCM). Originally the Sears Building

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Old Malls, New Opportunities?

4 years ago 0 0 1697

Lately, it seems that one retailer after another is announcing massive store closings or potential bankruptcy. It’s no secret that Macy’s is closing stores, Sears is contemplating bankruptcy and JCPenney’s is struggling. But what happens when a mall anchor closes or the mall itself dies? It affects everyone. Dying malls, especially in small towns where they are the central economic hub, impact the community that live and shop at the mall; the employees that work at the mall; the small tenants that rely on the larger anchors’ foot traffic; the properties surrounding the mall; the investors and developers that own the mall; and the lenders that hold loans on the mall. A dying mall can absolutely create an economic hole in the center of a small town or suburb that once relied on its vibrancy for tax income and as a social gathering place. Last year, in my blog “How

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The Different Faces of New Urbanism

4 years ago 0 0 1723

The Different Faces of New Urbanism If you read the newspaper or business journals, you would assume everyone wants to live in the heart of a big city, in a small apartment in a mixed-use development, located near a transit station and high-rise office building—you get the picture. While the desire for interaction and less car time are the driving forces behind this trend, it fails to address the desire of many for space, affordability and convenience to good dining, entertainment and employment—all attributes of the suburbs. Can these seemingly contradictory trends be satisfied? As discussed in my post “Atlanta’s Edge Cities Develop City Centers,” the answer is yes. Let’s explore some more. City = Cluster of Small Cities? When referring to a city like Atlanta, we can no longer look at it as one homogeneous political entity. Instead, Atlanta is a cluster of smaller cities and unincorporated neighborhoods with distinct

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How Investors + Developers Pivot to Accommodate Shifting Retail Trends

5 years ago 0 0 2383

It’s a simple truth: The retail market and business changes more than any other property type. In “How Retail is Shifting: A Focus on Malls,” I delved into the changes happening to retail malls. Continuing that idea, let’s take a look at other trends impacting retail real estate and consider how developers and investors are pivoting to take advantage of these trends. Current Trends Impacting Retail Real Estate Bank + Drug Store consolidation and shift to online services High-Density Residential Development in urban + close-in suburban areas Cultural demand for broader Entertainment Experience + Personal Service Continued popularity of Dining Out + Prepared Foods Growth of unregulated services, such as Uber Growth of Amazon, including its new private-label brand initiative With these trends in mind, the retail industry’s developers, property owners and retailers must adjust their thinking. Here’s a few ways that’s happening: Ways Retail Industry Leaders Pivot Addition of

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The PUBLIC-Private Relationship in Real Estate Development

5 years ago 0 0 2601

Zoning and Permitting. Eminent Domain. In the past, that was about the extent of local jurisdictions’ involvement in private development. But my how times have changed. THE WHY There are three main reasons the public involvement in public-private relationship is growing: (1) the emergence of high density-mixed use product; (2) project size; and (3) the need for public financing. Zoning Changes Traditionally, developers would buy the land or property and do whatever they wanted. Government or public involvement in the process was limited to zoning and variance permitting, and, in some cases, exercising its right of eminent domain and contribution to infrastructure. Historically, zoning districts were restricted to one type of use (i.e. office or industrial).There was very little mixed use product. With rare exception, zoning did not take into account putting all uses up in the same place and at the same time. If changes were required, public hearings

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