Longtime Pattillo Chief Larry Callahan Announces Retirement
The shift to a younger generation of commercial real estate leaders continues to churn. This time in a prominent industrial development firm.
Pattillo Industrial Real Estate CEO Larry Callahan is retiring in April after more than 30 years in the industry — most of that time leading the Pattillo brand in Atlanta. In his stead, Pattillo President Joshua Harrison, 47, is rising in the ranks to lead the company.
“It has been an honor and privilege to devote my career to industrial development,” Callahan wrote in an email to Bisnow. "We made wise investments in willing communities and our buildings attracted companies that created thousands of jobs."
Pattillo is controlled by the Pattillo family but has been largely led by Callahan for two decades. In 2015, Pattillo split its construction division from its development and commercial real estate division, with Callahan leading the latter. During his career with the firm, Callahan was responsible for upward of 16M SF of warehouse and industrial property development and investment.
After the separation from the construction company, Callahan pushed to modernize the image of Pattillo. The firm sold its longtime ownership stake at the 4.1M SF Stone Mountain Industrial Park in 2015 for $135M to Ackerman & Co. It also moved its headquarters from there to Chamblee, anchoring part of Parkside Partners' Trackside development, the transit-oriented, mixed-use project at the Chamblee MARTA station.
Callahan is just the latest example of Atlanta's commercial real estate old guard stepping aside from significant leadership roles to make way for younger generations. Earlier this year, Don Miller retired from Piedmont Office Realty Trust, ceding control to 43-year-old Brent Smith. Colin Connolly, 42, took over as CEO of Cousins Properties from Larry Gellerstedt. And Newmark Knight Frank Executive Vice President Sean Moynihan, 48, took the reins of the Atlanta office from industry veteran Brett Hunsaker.
Hunsaker previously told Bisnow the shift in leadership in commercial real estate is only reflective of what is occurring in C-suites across the country.
“The clients, who you are trying to sell to, are millennials. You need someone who talks their talk and walks their walk,” Hunsaker said. “The companies that are leading-edge have leadership transition plans in place which are evolving, and that is bringing in the next wave. And you mimic your clients.”
Under his leadership, Harrison said Pattillo will continue to follow the path set by Callahan in recent years, which he described as “grow younger and taller.”
Currently, Pattillo operates in six markets, including Jacksonville, Charleston and Nashville. But Harrison — who joined the company in 2001 — said he expects to expand into upward of 10 markets over the next decade under his leadership.
"This is the best moment in time that I have ever seen to be in industrial development," Callahan said. "Our company and our leadership team are ready, and I fully expect them to continue to grow and contribute to the outstanding communities and companies that we serve."