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Coro Makes Bet On Downtown Atlanta Parking

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Coro Realty Advisors
Parking decks in Downtown Atlanta now owned by Coro Realty Advisors

An Atlanta real estate firm has bought two prominent Downtown parking decks in the bet that metro residents won't be giving up their cars anytime soon. 

Coro Realty Advisors purchased the mid-rise parking decks off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive connected to Underground Atlanta and across from the Fulton County courthouse. The decks, built in 1980, contain more than 1,200 spaces between them. Details of the deal were not disclosed as of press time. Coro is planning to spend $1M to upgrade the garages.

Coro has invested in parking garages in Metro Atlanta since 2012 and owns decks in Midtown, BuckheadInman Park, Decatur and the Old Fourth Ward with 4,000 spaces in all, Coro President Robert Fransen said.

“It's been kind of an evolution,” Fransen said. "There was not a grand change in strategy. We are, by nature, an opportunistic company."

Coro amassed its portfolio of garages to this point as parts of larger deals for their attached retail properties, Fransen said. Its purchase of the two Downtown decks is its first done explicitly for the parking component.

But Coro officials see the potential for upside with the decks, especially as developers around them begin to redevelop various projects, including Underground Atlanta and the Gulch, that promise to add not only more retail but also housing, Fransen said.

The two decks are mostly in use between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the week, mainly by people going to the courthouse or to Fulton's or Atlanta's government buildings. Revenue last year for the combined parking decks was $3.7M, Fransen said. Luring overnight parking could easily push those revenues higher.

“At midnight, you can shoot off a cannon and not hit a car,” he said. “We think the upside on this deal is nighttime parking.”

Despite the push for transit ridership, Atlantans are still married to their cars, Fransen said. As the redevelopments nearby come to fruition, they should draw people from across the metro area. And with parking ratios becoming tighter in new developments, those who do move into the city will likely need to find public parking decks to house their vehicles, Fransen said.

“I just don't see people all of the sudden giving up their cars or suddenly all moving intown,” he said. “You're not going to Uber from Sandy Springs to Downtown. Part of the reason we like public parking in a city like Atlanta is ... transportation options are limited.”

Newmark Knight Frank Managing Director Brandon Rogoff and Executive Managing Director Steve Morgan brokered the sale.

“This is a long-term bet on Downtown,” Fransen said. "But it's a long-term bet on Downtown with cash flow. This is not a deal where we need a lot of upside in the next two years to make our pro forma. We're patient. Our downside is relatively stable."