June 25, 2015

Is Atlanta the New York of the South?

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Metro Atlanta can expect to win more big company relocations as the area solidifies itself as “the New York of the South,” declared Marcus & Millichap's Paul Johnson during our Atlanta Office event this week at the St. Regis. 

Paul, one of the city's veteran office investment sales brokers, told our audience of more than 300 that our moderate climate and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are key reasons for HQ relos. And weather elsewhere could be a big incentive for companies to move here. “The winter that they just went through in New England is going to make a lot of people think,” he says.

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Paul was among a host of office market and general commercial real estate luminaries, including Batson-Cook's Curt Ribgy, Daniel Corp's Steve Baile, Pursley Friese Torgrimson's Stephanie Friese, Portman Holdings' Travis Garland, Jackson Corporate Real Estate's Scott Jackson and Hines Interests' John Heagy.

Travis called Jamestown Properties' Ponce City Market a “huge eye opener” for the industry. “It's changed what's going to work in this cycle,” Travis says. And while rents are rising, our panelists say costs compared to other markets are still low.  

The massive exodus of big companies out of Gwinnett County and the I-85N office corridor reared its head as well. And John says the lack of MARTA is partly to blame for why a company like NCR is leaving—headed to Midtown and North Fulton. Scott says there's a lack of an amenity base in Gwinnett that hampers the office market. At least Alpharetta—which doesn't have MARTA access either—has projects like Avalon with a unique amenity base. “That's a big challenge in that corridor,” he says. 

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Three Power Women Now CREW Hall of Famers

Not only are they Power Women to us, they're now CREW Hall of Famers. Avison Young's Char Fortune, SRS Real Estate Partners' Ray Uttenhove and JLL's Kay Younglove (center with The Coca-Cola Co's Lynne O'Brien and Rosemont Realty's Tina Renee McCall) were recently inducted into CREW Atlanta's inaugural Hall of Fame. Kay also earned an impact award from CREW for her work on Hammond Exchange. In case you missed our profiles, which are a part of our national Power Women initiative in which we profiled and celebrate the top women in the commercial real estate industry, here they are again:


Kay's father, John Richard Kelley Jr., owned a real estate business for over 30 years with her uncle; it included a real estate auction company in Waynesboro, TN (2012 population: 2,437). “When I was in high school, my weekend job was helping with the auctions,” she tells us. She kept the accounting straight, writing tickets as people were buying, how much they paid and who they were, all on a numerical stickboard (pre-computer). In a rural setting, you do it all, including buying and selling big tracts of land, Kay tells us. “If an elderly person passes away, you hold an estate auction on the weekend,” she says. “You might also be responsible for selling the bank building on the town square.” Read more here


Char knows how to speak up for herself (years ago, she learned to play golf in “self-defense because… I got tired of being left out”) and teaches others to do the same. In 2000, this power woman (previously a Grubb & Ellis managing director, Trammell Crow Co SVP and Cushman & Wakefield senior managing director) with Eastwood Real Estate Services' Lee Eastwood co-founded Leadership CREW, which develops future leaders. Read more here.


If judged on her youthful goals, Lynne O'Brien would be considered a failure. Instead of leaving Atlanta, she's been here for nearly 30 years. Instead of being a patent lawyer, she's now head of corporate real estate for one of the world's largest beverage giants, The Coca-Cola Co, where she's been for the past 26 years, ushering Coke through some major real estate plays, including the land assemblage at Pemberton Place. Read more here.


Ray doesn't take “no” for an answer. If she did, she'd probably still be a teacher. When she moved to Dallas to teach, she became enthralled by all the development taking place and wanted to join the fray. “I interviewed with all the major firms, and they laughed at the prospect of hiring me as my experience was as a school teacher,” Ray tells us. Read more here

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Don't Miss the BOMA Show Dailies!

For the fourth year, Bisnow has been chosen by BOMA International to produce its award-winning official show dailies at the 2015 BOMA International Conference & Expo, which runs from June 28 to 30 in Los Angeles. Our Property Management and Southern California reporters are there on the ground producing up-to-the-minute coverage (as long as they don't give in to the siren song of celebrity house tours). BOMA is sending out the coverage to its more than 25,000 members and partners; subscribe to Property Management Bisnow to make sure you receive the latest show dailies. At the conference? Email Amanda Marsh and Elliot Golan to say hello or give them tips on the hottest expo swag.

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