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Cortland In Talks To Buy The 3-Building SunTrust Park Apartment Complex

An Atlanta apartment giant is part of a group under contract to buy Pollack Shores' popular apartments at The Battery at SunTrust Park.  

A rendering of the $700M Battery at SunTrust Park Atlanta.

Cortland Partners is spearheading an effort to buy the Home at The Battery Atlanta — a three-property multifamily complex within the Atlanta Braves stadium district — for an undisclosed price, sources tell Bisnow. The three properties, Residences, Parkside and Flat, encompass 536 units, which are more than 90% leased and were developed by Atlanta-based Pollack Shores.

Braves Development Co. CEO Mike Plant and Walker & Dunlop Chief Operating Officer Kris Mikkelsen confirmed to Bisnow that three apartment properties were under contract, but declined to identify the pending buyer. Officials with Cortland Partners did not return calls seeking comment.

"There is strong demand for high-performing, Class-A multifamily assets located near prestigious retail, dining and entertainment options," Pollack Shores Director of Development Brian Oates wrote in an email. "Home at The Battery has generated great interest from the investment community since being listed earlier this year, and we look forward to sharing more news in the near future." 

Pollack Shores previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it expected to achieve a sales price of more than $300K/unit, or upward of $170M for the property.

Cortland Partners CEO Steven DeFrancis

Cortland CEO Steven DeFrancis told an audience at Bisnow's Multifamily Annual Conference Southeast on Sept. 12 that the firm was looking to buy more newly developed, stabilized products, as opposed to value-add projects.

“It's just too many people doing value-add,” DeFrancis said. "In most cases, we don't think you're getting paid for the risk you're taking."

DeFrancis didn't mention at the event that the firm was eyeing Home at The Battery.

Mikkelsen said the average rent at the Homes is just over $2/SF. That means, on a per-square-foot basis, rents at the Home are among the most expensive in all of Metro Atlanta. According to Haddow & Co., the average apartment rent inside the city is $1.88/SF with only one submarket commanding over $2/SF rents: Midtown and Brookwood for $2.07/SF.

Monthly rents at the Battery range from a little more than $1,200/month to a high that exceeds $4K/month, according to the AJC.

Atlanta Braves President of Development Mike Plant

Cortland's acquisition of the apartments comes at a time when the Braves organization has been touting the economic impact of the mixed-use stadium on the larger Cobb County community. According to a study conducted by the Georgia Tech Center for Economic Development Research, SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta contribute nearly $19M per year to the county government and Cobb County Schools combined, and are slated to do so for the next 20 years.

At the same time, the report, co-sponsored by the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and the county's economic development arm, Select Cobb, states that property values in the area around the complex have jumped by $4.5B since 2013, when the project was first announced.

Plant said the report counters critics of the Braves stadium deal, and other major stadiums across the country, who contend that developers and officials tend to overstate economic impacts to justify receiving public incentives.

“The data doesn't lie. The facts are there,” Plant said. "No matter what people want to say and the so-called economists out there who question the numbers, I ask them, do they have the data? No, they don't. We do."

The Battery at SunTrust Park has certainly been an economic development driver for the Cumberland/Galleria submarket. Aside from Comcast locating a major operations center there, Thyssenkrupp Elevators Americas recently announced plans to open its headquarters at the Battery, complete with a 420-foot elevator-testing tower. Plant said that project is expected to break ground by October.

Also part of The Battery's second phase of growth is a future grocery store, a new movie theater operated by the upscale dine-in theater chain Silverspot Cinema and an Aloft by Marriott hotel, all which are expected to deliver by 2020, Plant said.