Bryant's Recession Reflection
We spent some coffee time with Lee & Associates' Scott Crooks and Dick Bryant. Dick is one of the icons of Atlanta's CRE scene—a vet who started in the biz during the 1970's recession. But by far, he says the worst was this last one. When it hit, Lee & Associates' Atlanta office went from generating $350M in 2009 to $180M at the bottom. Have things turned a corner? Last year, the firm's local office produced $324M in revenues, and “we anticipate breaking $400M with the new people this year,” he says. (Some things from five years ago, like ABC's Pushing Daisies, will probably never return.)
One of the biggest deals the past year for Lee & Associates was the Kubota Tractor expansion at Commerce 85 Distribution Center (above). But Dick notes there's still a hesitancy in corporate America, especially when it comes to cap ex spending (which often has a direct impact on CRE use): “The sun's out there trying to shine but the shade's down and we can't seem to get it up... There's an attitude like Elvis and Suspicious Minds. [Business leaders] are still suspicious.” Issues that are clouding outlooks include taxes and political issues.