Sometimes a road trip is a convenience, the fastest way to get from point A to B. Other times, it’s a journey an opportunity to learn and observe. A recent trip to the Carolina Ideas Exchange (an ICSC show) proved the latter
The three and a half hour journey up I-85 takes you through the sprawling suburban hinterlands of Metro Atlanta, the tail end of the Appalachian foothills and the booming auto mecca in central South Carolina before arriving at Charlotte’s southern border, which essentially starts in the Palmetto state.
Some takeaways. We expect ICSC (international council of shopping centers) show attendance to continue to grow. This year’s Charlotte show had a ten percent increase, topping the 1,700 mark for the first time in several years. In all likelihood RECON, the association’s annual bash in Las Vegas in late May should top the 30,000 mark.
There’s optimism as new development continue to become reality. Publix’s growth in the Carolina’s is driving a lot of development as are the sporting goods stores, Wal Mart and, of course, restaurants.
Charlotte has a lot going for it. A thriving, walkable downtown, a reviving economy but there remains an element of jealousy towards Atlanta that we fail to understand. For the second time in three years the event’s keynote speaker couldn’t extol his state’s virtues without taking digs at Atlanta. Sure your airport has 130 flights a day and the population is approaching 2 million. Atlanta has four times the number of flights and three times the number of people.
That said, urban sprawl problems remain challenges for both states as rural oriented legislatures seem to forget what are the economic engines that drive their state’s successes.
One interesting take away was that the largest economic developer for Charlotte is South Carolina’s current governor. That state’s aggressive economic development incentives has led to numerous business openings just across the North Carolina border, able to take advantage of the nearby Charlotte airport while collecting tax advantages elsewhere.
Some other observations. If you’re in the QSR (formerly known as the fast food business) you should be concerned about Quik Trip and Racetrac nibbling at your business. Numerous QuikTrips now offer freshly prepared food to order (okay, granted it’s pre-made, but it’s finished for you on site and has the appearance of being made to order.) The convenience of touch pad ordering allows for customization and fewer workers.
Scott Smith, President/CEO of WRS, Inc. is either one of the smartest guys in the real estate industry or will be remembered as making a huge bet on his company’s success with their planned purchase of Under Ground Atlanta. We’d opt for the former, the purchase includes the revenue for the parking decks which are among the busiest in downtown Atlanta, existing infrastructure that allows vertical development and an intact entertainment district (that needs a bevy of new attractions) next to a growing university that has more and more students living downtown.
If the plans for a grocery store come to fruition at Underground, the proposed Walgreen’s in the Olympia building (right at Five Points) takes place and the revitalization of the Flat Iron building stays on track the boundaries of downtown now shift several blocks to the south and the loft style buildings, south of the MARTA station, become a lot more desirable.
Recent Transactions for The Shumacher Group, Inc. include:
- Sale of Midtown Tavern Gastro Pub & Grill, Atlanta
- Sale of The Painted Pig Tavern, Historic Downtown Canton
- Lease of the former Taverna Florentina in Vinings to Crispina Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
- Lease to Teriyaki 101 at the Athens Place Retail Development Epps Bridge Rd Athens
- Lease to Reclaimed by Demant , Abrams Building on Northside Drive, Atlanta
- Relocation of the Roswell Farmers Market to The Crossing at Roswell Shopping Center
- Sale of Mama 5 Sons Italian Grill, Jefferson
- Lease of Hooters Canton to Friends American Grill
- Lease space at Camp Creek Marketplace to TPK Wireless
- Lease of adjacent space for Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub Brookhaven
Recent Openings Include
Hooter’s Douglasville, Ga.
Verizon Gainesville, Ga.