Each year, I start the new year with an economic conference hosted by Georgia State University’s Department of Real Estate, and it rarely disappoints. This year was no different.
Views From the Top 2017: “Connectivity & Atlanta’s Urban Transformation” delivered insightful viewpoints on a variety of economic topics.
First up was Sun Trust Economist KC Conway. Here were his top comments:
- Real estate sector predictions:
- Housing and Industrial are real estate’s strongest sectors, with commercial storage and manufactured housing yielding the best returns.
- Retail is regressing, and Hotel is overbuilt with declining values.
- Cost for new or renovated Office space is extremely high.
- Atlanta + Southeast predictions:
- The Southeast region, including Atlanta, will outperform the nation in 2017.
- Atlanta will continue to be plagued by traffic This is a “Must Solve” problem. Millennials will move elsewhere if not resolved, resulting in stymied growth.
- General insights:
- Capital for commercial real estate is highly regulated. Scaling back regulations will stimulate investment and development.
- Consumer spending on durable goods is keeping the economy afloat while non-durable good spending and business investment have been weak.
Another interesting talk came from a panel on Atlanta’s Urban Growth. The panel consisted of Atlanta Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay; Director of Corporate Real Estate at The Coca-Cola Company Lynn O’Brien; President & CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich; and The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Commercial Real Estate Editor Douglas Sams.
Here’s what I found insightful:
- Atlanta’s urban core is thriving, driven by Georgia State University, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Technology Square development at Georgia Tech.
- The owners of large projects, like Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Turner Field Redevelopment, are more sensitive to community needs and are using these projects to rejuvenate the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Funding is secure for the entire Atlanta Beltline Completion of the Westside Trail is scheduled for summer 2017.
- Connectivity, in the form of bike paths, streetcars, sidewalks and parks, is key. Downtown Atlanta boasts high walkability to jobs, entertainment and dining.
- Residential developments are outpacing new commercial projects as more people seek the excitement of urban living and close proximity to work.
Another topic of interest was a look at the entertainment industry in Georgia. John Brooks Klingenbeck, Managing Partner of Artist Entertainment Management at Red Hill Entertainment of Beverly Hills, California, offered his industry insight.
- Georgia is second in film production, only to California, resulting in $2.2 billion in direct spending in Georgia.
- Entertainment is a big growth industry in Georgia, with 25,000 people employed in production and 30,000 people employed in support businesses.
- Much of this growth is attributed to Georgia’s highly successful Income Tax Credits program available to entertainment producers.
- Georgia provides greater opportunities for actors because Hollywood is overcrowded.
- Georgia’s biggest assets are its hard-working people and its reasonable wages; that is the perfect combination for production.
- Georgia should attract jobs which provide film content as well as post-production work to improve its offerings, considering a Tech Village Meets Hollywood model.
Do you attend this GSU Conference? What did you learn? What other Atlanta conferences do you find beneficial?