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Another Big Developer Eyeing Midtown Apts. But Is There Enough Room?

The apartment arm of one of the nation's biggest homebuilders is taking a crack at the hot Midtown multifamily market.

Another Big Developer Eyeing Midtown Apts. But Is There Enough Room?

Lennar Multifamily is aiming to develop 195 Thirteenth St, a 27-story, 307-unit apartment project across from the Mayfair Renaissance and a block away from the Park Vue Condominiums. According to the application submitted to the Midtown Development Review Committee, Lennar's project would include a seven-story parking deck.

Another Big Developer Eyeing Midtown Apts. But Is There Enough Room?

Lennar—which owns only one other Atlanta project, City Walk in Roswell (here)—is in the preliminary stages of its proposed development. But it's coming at a time that many consider the later stages of a multifamily boom that has literally transformed the skyline in the city. We recently reported how multifamily listing website Adobo is seeing asking rents begin to decline in Atlanta. And a number of finance execs told our audience during a recent capital markets event that lending for new multifamily projects is getting tighter as concerns grow about the number of units still to come to the market—and the depth of the demand for them.

Haddow & Co's Ladson Haddow
Haddow & Co. Vice President Ladson Haddow

While data by Haddow & Co shows a still-healthy market (at year's end, the 30,400 units of apartments within the Perimeter showed a nearly 96% occupancy rate for stabilized units and rents at $1.74/SF, the highest average rent ever), Ladson Haddow says performance may be peaking with a flurry of units in lease-up or underway. “We don't believe that there's a lot of growth left at the high end of the market,” Ladson says. He notes that while asking rents are at all-time highs, concessions have begun to creep back into the market.

Another Big Developer Eyeing Midtown Apts. But Is There Enough Room?

In a recent survey of apartment developers, Haddow & Co found that Buckhead may be in trouble, with 62% of the 71 respondents believing the Buckhead/Brookhaven submarket is at the greatest risk of overbuilding. In that same survey, 80% feel that debt financing is pulling back. But despite that, nearly two-thirds are still pursuing new apartment sites.

“It just makes for a very competitive environment,” Ladson says. He notes that 11 apartment towers in Midtown delivering in the next 18 months will likely need to achieve $2.50/SF rents to justify development costs. “The reality is nobody knows how the market's going to react to that much luxury supply. I think we'll all find out how deep the demand is for luxury product in Midtown soon enough.”