This Week on The Street – Atlanta Restaurant Real Estate

by Harold Shumacher

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This Week on The Street

(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations )

November 5, 2013 by Harold V. Shumacher

“The sprouts are turning green.” “We’ve passed the worst of it.” “There’s sunshine at the end of the road,” Pick a cliché and it’s more than likely you heard it uttered at the recent International Council of Shopping Centers Southeast Ideas Exchange (or, as it’s known in shorthand, the Atlanta ICSC.) After four years of sporadic activity it does feel like things are on the uptick. Or, at least that was the consensus of the 2,400 folks in attendance (an approximate 10% increase from the previous year, and almost 20% from two years back.) The usual cast of characters were there, many a bit grayer, more haggard and looking like they were working extra hard at gearing up. There were also newcomers, not as many as in year’s past, but the industry does seem to be replenishing itself. Several major developments, including North American’s Avalon project, in Alpharetta, Ponce Market and Buckhead Atlanta were the stars but there are numerous in-fill developments and grocery anchored deals also in the works. For us, the show was a busy one especially with new clients Ashley Sleep and Your Pie both gearing up for expansion.

Talking to and meeting with our Retail Broker Network (RBN) colleagues convinced us that what’s happening in Atlanta is a trend throughout the Southeast region. Without exception every major market is experiencing new development, tenants on the move and more projects being discussed. These observations mirror Net Financial’s third quarter restaurant report which came out at the first of the month. A compilation of data from 87 independent Atlanta-based restaurants, the quarterly survey indicated a five percent increase in sales from the previous years.

At this point sales are up over 11% for the year with the always busy fourth quarter yet to report . Not surprisingly the majority of the activity is in the “intown markets” roughly those areas inside I-285 with pockets in Roswell, East Cobb, Norcross and Duluth also reporting similar success. On a gut level we’ve noted the return to the city center and the increasing density of key neighborhoods for a number of years. Now it’s becoming a fact as Chris Leinberger, a real estate developer and professor at the George Washington Schoool of Business, in Washington D.C. recently noted. A few years back Leinberger labeled Atlanta the poster child for suburban sprawl. Now, he reports, there are 46 Walk UPs in the metro area (Walkable Urban Places) of which 27 are already firmly established. These areas account for sixty percent of current real estate development, up from 26 % less than a decade ago and only 13%in the late 1990’s, and is one of the rapidest returns to urbanization in the country.

Projects like the Atlanta beltline and Atlanta street car should help further this trend as once isolated neighborhoods begin to connect with each other creating a true city center. Some new spots to keep an eye on include Dennis Lange’s Southbound, Chamblee; Jason Hill’s Folk Art, Inman Park, Zeal, East Cobb and proposed locations from Ford Fry, Eli Kirshtein’s The Luminary, Spotted Trotter, Grand Champion BBQ and Gu’s Bistro all headed for the Krog Street Market in early 2014.

We heard a great term a few months back we meant to share but overlooked. Frugality fatigue-the sense of being tired of scrimping and wanting to indulge oneself, even for something as simple as a dessert, an extra drink or maybe two appetizers for the table instead of one.

Recent Transactions for The Shumacher Group, Inc. include: 3rd Location of Egg Harbor, The Brookwood South Buckhead 2nd Location of Sweet Hut, Metropolis Midtown Lease of Mrs. Winner’s Decatur to Title Max Auto Equity Loan. Sales of the following businesses: Central City Tavern, West Midtown Johnny Rocket’s, Arbor Place Mall, Douglasville Discount Nutrition, Ansley Mall Sonics, with real estate, Woodstock and Roswell Trapeeze and East West Bistro , Athens She Bistro, Peachtree City Monkey Joe’s Town Center area Café de Paris, East Cobb

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