Milliennials Overcoming MARTA Bias
NCR, WorldPay and athenahealth all left the suburbs for the city. And that's proof that demographics are what's driving corporate location decisions, according to North American Properties' Mark Toro during our Atlanta 2015 Forecast last week.
“Gone are the days where companies locate close to their CEO's country club,” Mark says. “The Millennial generation doesn't look at work as something to be balanced with life. They look at work as life.” And with that, Millennials expect their workplace to be within walking distance to restaurants, bars, shopping and maybe even home (or at the very least, transit).
Integral Group's Egbert Perry says the historical biases against MARTA's expansion “that are all based on race and class” are dying in the face of congestion with almost 6 million people now in the metro area. “We have reached that point where we tried everything else. Now we have to, whether we like it or not, embrace transit,” he says. “Our next generation is not as stuck-up, narrow-minded and short-sighted as we are.”
Some panelists at our event last week at the W Hotel in Midtown expressed concern that the influx of new multifamily units in the city will temper rent growth. “I'm not as bullish on apartment rents,” Jamestown Properties' Matt Bronfman says. And partly rents may slow as the economic appeal of owning a home begins to outshine rental rates. Egbert also says the potential for continued lackluster job growth will affect apartment rents. “Until we really have true economic growth, we are approaching a point on capping out on what our apartment rents should be,” he says. “The truth is that if you look at it long-term, when the barriers move out of the way, we totally expect people will still opt for ownership.” And Bisnow recently reported a trend that shows some Millennials are re-entering the housing market.
We caught up with Caesarstone US CFO Alex Vorissis and Mellissa Munda at our event last week. Caesarstone was a sponsor of Atlanta 2015 Forecast, and Alex tells us the Israel-based quartz surface manufacturer is counting the days before opening its Richmond Hill (just outside Savannah) manufacturing plant. Caesarstone, which partners with such high-end projects in Atlanta as the Porsche HQ and Coca-Cola HQ, was recently awarded Deal of the Year by the Georgia Economic Developers Association for its Byran County plant project.