Integral's Loss, Braves' Gain
The land that's in play for the new Braves stadium had some earlier interest. In fact, it was under contract with the Integral Group just before the Braves swooped in to claim it. (There hasn't been this good of a land swap since the Louisiana Purchase.)
We spoke with Integral's Egbert Perry yesterday about his decision to not buy the BF Saul property that traded to the Braves organization in a shocking announcement yesterday. "We were going to master plan it and figure out what it could and should be," Egbert says. "And we let it go." Egbert did not specify why he let the contract for the parcel contiguous to the Circle 75 office park in Cumberland/Galleria lapse (he says it fell out of contract "months ago"). But Egbert says he was as surprised as anyone about the Braves announcement. "We had no knowledge or conversation with the Braves about it," he says. "I didn't know it was even remotely considered a stadium site until I heard it yesterday." (Anything is possible when Evan Gattis is involved.)
Which doesn't help solve the mystery as to who could be partnering with the Atlanta Braves organization for the private development portion of the new stadium, as officials described yesterday during a press conference. Some commercial real estate experts contend the organization will likely release an RFP for development partners. As for Egbert, he says he never even had conversations with the Braves over the Doraville GM site (which he has an option to buy).
What's without argument is, if this deal for a new stadium comes to fruition, the Cumberland/Galleria market—long the most struggling of Atlanta's submarkets—will be transformed. (Braves nation will descend upon Cumberland like hippies into Woodstock.) Childress Klein's Connie Engel says it's definitely a good day to be a Galleria-area landlord. "What they want to do to that area is turn it into a pedestrian city." Connie says the impact of the stadium will give momentum to everything from the area's office and retail to hotels and even housing.
In many ways, Hugh Scott, Jr. (center, with SK Commercial Realty's Tom Parker and Hugh Scott, III) just won the lottery. If you recall, this past month we reported that Scott & Associates purchased the 710k SF Circle 75 Office Park for $45M, or some $63/SF. A good deal in any time (even with Cumberland/Galleria's past struggling office fundamentals) suddenly appears to be a home run. And Hugh says he had no idea what was coming. "I wish we'd known about it," he says, adding he knew Integral had the land under contract and let it lapse. "And when that deal fell through all we knew is another party had picked it up." Hugh says he actually has some concerns about the stadium's impact on his property, especially with traffic and construction. "Our main concern is just making sure that everything works to the benefit of our tenants."
Hartman Simons' Summey Orr certainly thinks the Braves Stadium will have an impact on Circle 75. The view out the window changes from a sleepy little 10-story office park, to watching the Braves play, he says. "That's just a lightning bolt right through the whole middle of that area. It's hard to conceive just how dramatically it will impact the Cumberland area." Still, Summey says he wonders if this isn't just a negotiation tactic against the City of Atlanta. "If this is a posturing position, then they've gone to a lot of trouble to put out a coordinated story," he says. Still, it's not over until the fat lady pours the concrete.