Has Downtown Atlanta’s Day Finally Arrived?
On a sunny, warm Easter afternoon downtown Atlanta is crowded with a variety of local residents entertaining friends and family, volleyball players participating in a national tournament and a wide variety of other folks, many in their holiday finery. Even the much maligned Atlanta trolley line had passengers riding from stop to stop.
It’s as if the Atlanta Convention & Visitor’s Bureau had staged the whole thing for a photo shoot extolling downtown’s attributes.
I’ve lived in Atlanta almost 50 years and been in the real estate business for 30 plus of those. During that time, if I heard it once I ‘ve heard dozens of times that downtown Atlanta’s time has finally arrived.
For the first time, in recent history, that statement may actually be true with the timely convergence of events including Georgia State University and Carter & Associate’s re-development of the former Atlanta Braves Stadium area (now called The Summerhill,) WRS and the Newport Companies’ acquisitions of significant chunks of real estate in the southern downtown area, the pending development of the Gulch, tied into the refurbishing of Phillips Arena and planned expansions of the Georgia World Congress Center and a new 1000 room hotel on the site of the former Georgia Dome.
On top of all that, is the long-shot possibility of Amazon locating it’s much talked about HQ 2 project to Atlanta. The central city has not had this much buzz about it for a very long time, if ever.
Currently, there are over 40 projects in the construction, announced or about to kick off stage ranging from refurbished loft offices to recycled residential and hotel conversions. With the continuing growth of Georgia State University, now the largest college in the state, the evolution of downtown into a true 18-24 hour city should continue.
For what it’s worth, in our opinion, Amazon’s decision whether to come to Atlanta won’t change the dynamics all that much. Keep in mind that Atlanta has added somewhere between 50-75,000 new jobs a year since the end of the recession some 7 years ago. Amazon’s contribution would be roughly that one year number but spread out over a five to ten year period.
Downtown Atlanta is not the only urban core undergoing rapid change. Both Woodstock and Duluth can claim exciting new residential and retail projects with places like Alpharetta and Norcross not far behind. It’s as if suburban residents finally realized that the names in their postal address actually related to a real place and not just an address to receive mail.
How the New Tax Laws Impact Real Estate
The dust is slowly settling from the recently passed tax law revisions and there seem to be several winners, beginning with the average taxpayers who have seen a small increase in their take-home wages. The results have yet to be measured but it’s our anticipation that retail and restaurant sales will show a nice bump for the first two quarters as consumers feel a bit more confident with more cash in their pockets. How long that effect will last is hard to say as the individual tax law cuts are not permanent as are those for business.
All in all the real estate industry benefitted from the recent changes. Exchanges of like kind property (known as 1031’s) has remained intact but only for sale of real property not the acquisition of furniture, fixtures, equipment, goodwill or trademarks-which could have an impact on the sales of existing businesses. Accelerated depreciation may lead to a spate of renovations and improvements to properties. Finally, new laws reducing the tax implications on passive/investment income may spur more owners to purchase their real estate instead of lease.
Restaurant sales remain stalled in neutral. Nationally, February saw a decline in sales, compared to a year past, whereas in Atlanta, according to quarterly data compiled by local accounting firm Wagner & Associates and representing over 100 locally owned independent operators there was a slight gain. Predictions for the remainder of the year more or less the same.
Newcomers to keep an eye on include the recently opened Mission & Market (Buckhead) and soon to open Aix in West Midtown. Both tenants were represented by the Shumacher Group, Inc.
Other recent transactions include:
Acquisition of Watershed (South Buckhead) by chef Matt Marcus
Lease of former Simon’s (College Park) to J. R. Cricket
Sales of the following businesses:
Amer, Inman Park
Grecian Gyro, John’s Creek
Jamba Juice, Sandy Springs
GNC-The Collection Cumming
Our thanks to all of you.