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Atlanta Developer Buys Prominent Buckhead Retail Corner

The rubber of a tire store in a prime Buckhead spot is meeting the road to make way for a new retail development.

Firestone Bridgestone Blanchard Real Estate
The Firestone store off Lenox Road in Buckhead, which was recently acquired by Blanchard Real Estate to become a high-end retail building

Atlanta-based Blanchard Real Estate has purchased the Firestone at 3369 Lenox Road with plans to transform the squat building — surrounded by gleaming office towers and across from one of the most successful malls in the Southeast — into a high-end retail building.

Blanchard purchased the half-acre property from Bridgestone Corp. for some $5M. JLL Managing Director David Tennery and Director Noel Steinfeld brokered the sale.

“It will likely be pure retail,” Blanchard Real Estate President Parker Blanchard said. “We have not secured our redevelopment plans just yet. But we're speaking to a handful of users at this time.”

While the property is zoned to accommodate both office and industrial uses, its proximity to Lenox Square could make it an attractive retail play. Owned by Simon Property Group, the more-than-1M SF Lenox Square mall has had some of the most robust sales numbers in the metro area, generating more than $1K/SF, Bloomberg reported in 2015.

Lenox Road is one of Buckhead's more popular corridors with commuters outside of Peachtree Road. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, average daily vehicle counts for Lenox Road near the Interstate 85 interchange are 43,500 per day.

While it is Atlanta's urban shopping mecca, Buckhead also is booming with new apartments. With them come new residents who will need to shop, spurring new retail development in metro Atlanta overall, Marcus & Millichap officials said in a recent report.

“To keep pace with rising demand for stores and restaurants, retail construction will heighten this year. Grocery-anchored centers will account for a portion of the larger-scale completions as Kroger, Sprouts, Publix and Whole Foods all expand their footprints. Dollar General is also in expansion mode, opening six stores,” Marcus & Millichap officials said. “Stout investor demand for retail properties in Atlanta placed upward pressure on prices during the previous 12 months. Metrowide, the average price climbed 8.3% to $315/SF.”

Coro Realty Advisors' John Lundeen
Coro Realty Advisors President John Lundeen

Coro Realty Advisors President John Lundeen said the size of the parcel limits it to pure retail. Coro also explored the possibility of buying the Firestone site, Lundeen said.

“It's not big enough to do much more with,” he said.

But even limited to retail use, the site was appealing to Coro because there is a dearth of developable retail sites left in Buckhead, particularly for free-standing retail buildings.

“The whole Buckhead community is a more urban environment than what it was,” Lundeen said.

Blanchard has been a fairly prolific retail developer and investor in the Southeast, having developed or invested in a number of Walmart centers in Valdosta and Perry, Georgia; South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Indiana. Blanchard said Firestone will represent its third urban retail development, which also includes projects along Howell Mill Road in Buckhead and a potential retail project off North Oxford Road in Emory Village near Emory University.