People on the Move: Jordan Wean

Jordan Wean was hired as director of commercial investment sales at Franklin Street, a full-service commercial real estate firm in Orlando.


Franklin Street Arranges $5.65 Million Apartment Sale in Atlanta’s Famous Sweet Auburn District

Franklin Street has arranged the $5.65 million sale of The Avery, a boutique multifamily property located at 419 Chamberlain Street in the Sweet Auburn district of the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta, Georgia. The sale represents the largest per unit apartment price for a 1960s-era multifamily property in Atlanta. Ricky Jones and Jake Reid of Franklin Street’s Atlanta office represented the seller, a local private investor, in the marketing of the newly-renovated, 30-unit property. The buyer is also a local private investor who plans to continue operating the asset and anticipates future growth through the continued improvement of the Sweet Auburn district.

The Avery, the first apartment building in Atlanta to feature full smart home integration, sold for over $188,000 per unit and $200 per square foot. While the price sets a new benchmark compared to similar properties, the existing rental rates averaging over $1,500 support a strong yield given the low interest rates.

“This property is now one of the trophy assets in the Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta and a great success story of revitalizing a previously troubled asset,” said Reid, Senior Director for Franklin Street’s investment sales team. “The owner went above simply renovating the asset by including modern day amenities including a dog park, outdoor areas and a fire pit along with interior Wi-Fi enabled HVAC and lighting.”

“This sale shows that although rates are increasing a bit, investors are still very interested in purchasing well-located assets that have some versatility,” said Jones, a Director at Franklin Street. “The new owners will be able to experience consistent income and continued growth as the immediate area improves, while having the opportunity to explore future re-development opportunities.”

The Avery is ideally ideal located a block from Edgewood Avenue in proximity to the Beltline, Sweet Auburn Curb Market, Krog Street Market, and MARTA.

About Franklin Street: Celebrating more than 10 years in the business, Franklin Street is a family of full-service commercial real estate companies focused on delivering value-add solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients. Through a collaborative philosophy of leveraging the resources, expertise and experience of each of its divisions – Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Management and Valuation – Franklin Street offers unmatched value and optimal solutions for clients nationwide. Learn more about Franklin Street at


Flipped Sweet Auburn apartment complex fetches record price: $5.6M

This time last year, a once-tired 1960s apartment complex emerged in Sweet Auburn with a new name (The Avery) and look, touting skyline views, Beltline and MARTA walkability, and one-block proximity to Edgewood Avenue attractions.

The formula apparently worked, as the revived property just fetched a record per-unit price for 1960s-era multifamily communities in Atlanta, according to officials with Franklin Street, the commercial real estate company that orchestrated the sale.

The 30-unit complex — once described as “troubled,” and now called “boutique” — sold for $5.65 million. That breaks down to more than $188,000 per unit, and $200 per square foot.

Average rents at The Avery are $1,500 monthly, officials said.

In a press release today, the unnamed buyer is described only as “a local private investor” who is planning to “continue operating the asset and anticipates future growth through the continued improvement of the Sweet Auburn district.”

Amenities now include a dog park, outdoor fire pit area, and Wi-Fi-enabled lighting and HVAC systems.

“This property is now one of the trophy assets in the Sweet Auburn district … and a great success story of revitalizing a previously troubled asset,” Jake Reid, Senior Director for Franklin Street’s investment sales team, said in the release.

According to, the building dates to 1969 and sold for $3 million in 2015.

See full story at


Another Banner Year for Retail

Without a doubt, the outlook for the retail real estate market for 2017 is one of optimism based on market fundamentals and a stable economy in most major cities throughout the U.S. A lack of available space on the market is driving vacancy down and rental rates up, and delivery of new developments is anticipated throughout the country. 

Generally speaking, rents in the most sought-after real estate submarkets are expected to continue to grow since retailers are competing for the best properties in class-A locations. Nationally, average quoted asking rental rates ended the third quarter at $15.66 per sq. ft., compared with $15.24 per sq. ft. at the end of 2015. 

We are experiencing a shift in the market as retailers continue to seek out mixed-use developments, urban high-street retail and lifestyle centers as the preferred property type for new locations. In fact, I believe mixed-use prop­erties in urban core markets will eventually take the place of current big-box stores in most major metros across the country. 

With retailers like grocers and quick-serve restaurants targeting 2017 as a potentially huge year for growth, vacancy in these markets may trend downward below 5.0 percent, and national vacancy is expected to continue to decrease as well. The national vacancy rate last year began at 5.4 percent in the first quarter before dropping to 5.0 percent by the end of the third quarter. However, we believe department store closings and downsizings will continue. 

As a result of the lack of available space, new development that’s either entirely retail or has a large retail component has picked up in major markets like Dallas, Houston, Northern New Jersey, Atlanta, Long Island, Philadelphia, Miami-Dade, Denver and New York City, all of which are expected to have several new deliveries in 2017. 

Although we have recently seen Treasuries spike and the cost of capital increase post-election, we expect to see a continued focus on new urban core developments announced, with deliveries well into 2017. A total of 1,146 retail buildings were delivered in the third quarter of 2016, with more than 79 million sq. ft. still under- construction at the end of the quarter. 

Another sign of the market’s success is cap rates, which averaged 7.08 percent compared to the same period of 2015, when they averaged 7.19 percent. In large markets like Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas and Miami-Dade, cap rates will continue to remain compressed next year for urban core, mixed-use assets with credit quality tenants, even with a continued increase in the cost of capital. For example, the largest sale last year was the 1.9 million-sq.-ft. Fashion Show in Las Vegas, which sold for $1.25 billion and fetched a 3.9 percent cap rate. 

On a whole, all signs point to a very positive year for the retail market, and we are excited to see what 2017 brings.

Robert Granda is a director for Franklin Street. focusing on the acquisition and disposition of both multi-tenant and single-tenant retail properties and provides advisory services to both private and institutional clients through­out South Florida.


Consider expert advice when opening business in College Park

A prime, 3,000-square-foot commercial real estate location is available for lease on Edgewater Drive. It could house a new restaurant concept. Perhaps an independent bookstore. Or even be converted into a shared office space. The problem is, business owners face the incredibly expensive and sometimes frustrating process of navigating lease language, understanding city codes and calculating costly impact fees.

The available space is the former Juliana’s restaurant located at 2306 Edgewater Drive.

Currently, Jim and Sylvia Lakey, owners of Gallery of the Edge and Shoppes of College Park, have the sublease rights to the space. They were interested in opening either a Cuban-themed restaurant or a win lounge that served tapas. But when they dove a little deeper from interest into planning, the impact fees became prohibitive – not to mention the city’s requirement that the establishment serve 51 percent food due to the location’s proximity to a church.

Now the Lakeys are looking to partner with an investor who has an idea for the space. “What does College Park want?” asked Jim Lakey. “We could have a Sprint or Mattress Barn in here tomorrow. But we want to keep it mom-and-pop,” he said.

Silvia Lakey added that they want something that fits the neighborhood and other businesses. They cited Mr. Man taking over the Roland’s barbershop space as an example of their commitment to lease mom-and-pop businesses.

Just what makes opening a business on Edgewater Drive so expensive? Beyond the capital one must invest into the business itself, the city assesses both transportation and sewer impact fees. 

The city of Orlando website offers the following examples for calculating impact fees: A 2,500-square-foot restaurant would be charged a $42,347 transportation fee and a $243 per seat sewer fee for indoor seating. (The rate is $182 per seat for outdoor covered seating and $91 for outdoor uncovered seating.)

Orlando’s Business Development Division Manager Lillian Scott-Payne said that impact fees are one-time taxes that are paid once for the lifetime of the property. She said the fees cover “the cost of impact on a new business.”

More specifically, the transportation fee and the sewer fee are designed to upgrade the city’s road and sewer infrastructure. The sewer fee, however, will increase if there is a change of use on the property, such as a former retail business space becoming a restaurant.

Scott-Payne pointed out that many existing commercial buildings, such as the ones along Edgewater Drive, almost always have a tax credit.

Of course, leasing business space without professional guidance would be akin to doing your taxes alone after winning the lottery. You may check all the boxes, but you will probably leave money on the table.

Terrence Hart, a local commercial real estate broker with Franklin Street, said one of the first things he does when representing a tenant is call the landlord and ask whether there are any impact fee credits.

His next call is to the city to get an estimation of the impact fees. One of Hart’s biggest selling points as a broker is having contacts at the city. “I can call someone and get an answer in five minutes”

Working with a broker could have saved some local businesses a lot of time and money. Certain businesses have face delayed openings due to ignorance of impact fees and/or the existence of back taxes owed. Hart said these owners should have known what they were getting into before signing a lease.

Typically, the landlord pays the broker a fee, which Hart said amounts to $1,500 to $2,000 on an Edgewater Drive-sized business.

The city of Orlando wants potential owners to know it is there to help small businesses. Scott-Payne said that through the city’s business development office, small businesses can apply for a grant that discounts impact fees – up to 50 percent off with a maximum of $20,000. She said there is a separate change of use waiver, if a business qualifies, for up to $20,000 off the transportation impact fee.

The city understands these are large amounts of money. It offers a payment plan wherein business owners can pay one-third or one-half when issued a permit and pay the balance upon receiving the certificate of occupancy.

Back to the space on Edgewater Drive.

If the Lakeys had deep pockets, they would love to build out a restaurant and jazz club with a rooftop terrace. Jim even sees planters on the edge of the roof growing herbs to sell to local restaurants. The Lakeys have a 99-year lease and an awesome landlord. They are searching for a partner.

Do you have an idea for the space? The Lakeys are all ears.


Franklin Street plans to double size of office in 2017

Franklin Street opened its Jacksonville office in late 2009. During the first year the office was open, the business did just $600,000 in transaction volume. Last year, the Jacksonville office alone had about $47.9 million.

The office has grown from two people to more than 10. Much of the office’s growth can be attributed to Carrie Smith, who has been the managing partner of the Jacksonville office over the past seven years.

Smith was recently promoted to a managing director role so she can continue to build the company’s business and veteran real estate broker Yvonne Baker will manage both the Orlando and Jacksonville Offices.

As a mid-size commercial real estate company, Franklin Street emphasized the role of mentors who also produce in the field as a way to train and motivate associate and junior real estate brokers. However, with the office now having more than 10 employees, Smith’s split role was no longer working.

“We have certainly grown the office significantly,” said Smith. “We have gotten to a point in Jacksonville where the player/coach model doesn’t work.”

Baker, who has worked in commercial real estate for about two decades, said the time that Smith will save from managing the Jacksonville office can be put to use growing the company’s client base.

“There’s a higher use for her time and her talents,” Baker said.

Baker sees Franklin Street growing in Jacksonville. The firm hired David P. McCagg in September as a office broker. Ultimately, Franklin Street would want expand the number of people it has in every sector of commercial real estate, allowing the company to have a strong team in each office.

“We want to make sure that we have every business line represented in our offices,” Baker said.

Already, Franklin Street is seeing success. Smith referred a shopping center REIT that she does business with to a broker in Franklin Street’s Orlando office.

In Jacksonville, that could mean that Franklin Street hires an additional eight brokers as it expands its services in the industrial, office and insurance sectors of commercial real estate.

“We conceivably could be eight more in this office,” Baker said. “The dream would be to double the office this year. Reality is more likely to be five people or six people.”


Managing Millennials

Here’s how some employers in Florida see their Millennial employees:

Yvonne Baker
Regional Managing Partner 
Franklin Street, Orlando

“They are all very smart and want to succeed. They just need more effort on the front end.”

Every single minute of their lives has been planned for them. They had lacrosse practice, piano, dance lessons and other activities. They were raised with helicopter parents, and we’ve noticed that their entire family is following their kids around. Their whole life, they have been given instructions.

They are very motivated. They were raised with good manners, good work ethic and are very trainable. We have to teach them and prepare a training program for them. 

Another thing to consider is that technology is part of them. They don’t even think about it. It’s just who they are. They were raised with it. We must learn to adapt to the way that they work or we will be left behind. I enjoy working with them. They are hardworking, dedicated individuals, and they are the future.


Next store up: Retail landlords fill voids when brands disappear

Sports Authority, Circuit City and Linens N Things are long gone. Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears are shrinking.

And, counter-intuitively, it’s a profitable time to be a retail landlord in Palm Beach County.

Despite a drumbeat of dreary headlines from the retail sector, the vacancy rate for Palm Beach County shopping space fell to 4.4 percent at the end of 2016, according to commercial real estate brokerage Colliers International. That’s the lowest level since 2007, when the county’s economy was at the height of a housing-fueled frenzy.

New leases outpaced move-outs by more than 1 million square feet in 2016, the best pace of absorption since 2006. And rental rates are rising.

“It’s not as much doom and gloom as people think,” said Katy Welsh, senior vice president at Colliers International’s Boca Raton office.

Sports Authority’s demise last year threatened to blow a hole in the local retail market. After all, the merchant leased a total off 250,000 square feet in Palm Beach County.

Instead, Sports Authority’s failure gave the county’s retail sector a chance to flex its muscles. A 43,000-square-foot store at 3350 Northlake Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens already has been filled by Rooms to Go Outlet.

And Sports Authority’s 43,000-square-foot location at 20851 South State Road 7 west of Boca Raton has been taken by Burlington Coat Factory.

“A store closing is a leasing opportunity for me,” Welsh said.

And possibly a profitable opportunity. With rental rates rising, landlords can replace old tenants paying low rates with new merchants willing to pay more rent.

For instance, Sports Authority was paying $15.87 a square foot for its Palm Beach Gardens store, according to a bankruptcy filing. The average rent in that market now is $21.33, according to Colliers International.

And the failed retailer paid $20.21 a square foot for its space in west Boca, where the average rent now is $28.63.

“A lot of those leases originated 10 or 20 years ago,” said Gary Broidis, a broker at Atlantic Commercial Group in Delray Beach. “It’s been a big windfall for a lot of owners of these boxes.”

Amid all the headlines about Amazon killing brick-and-mortar merchants, it’s difficult to find an empty box in a desirable location.

The surprising resilience of the retail sector is good news for Palm Beach County’s property market, where the combined value of shopping centers climbs well into the billions of dollars, and the property tax bill reaches into the hundreds of millions.

Four of the six priciest real estate deals in county history are for retail space, led by the $341 million sale of the Mall at Wellington Green in 2014. The Town Center Mall in Boca Raton is worth $460 million, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, and paid $8.6 million in property taxes last year.

Not that every center in the county is booming.

The former Loehmann’s Plaza at Interstate 95 and PGA Boulevard has struggled to find tenants. The property has been the subject of a legal battle that began in January 2013 after Palm Beach Gardens rejected a BJ’s Wholesale Club.

And in Lantana, landlord Equity One sold the Kmart-anchored Lantana Village center in January for a rock-bottom price. The 166,771-square-foot property fetched $10.2 million, or just $61 a square foot.

Equity One said the average rent at the property was just $7.84 a square foot, second-lowest among the 52 shopping centers the landlord owns in Florida.

Meanwhile, the rise of Amazon and other online shopping sites has wounded such traditional merchants as Macy’s and Office Depot.

“We’re going through a transition in the real estate market,” said Robert Granda, a broker at commercial real estate firm Franklin Street. “E-commerce is changing the way consumers shop.”

Even so, this shift is a change, not a funeral dirge.

Take the former Loehmann’s store at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens. Soon after that space went dark, The Container Store snapped up the 25,000-square-foot box. Kmart closed its Lake Park location, but Rooms to Go moved into the 94,000-square-foot box.

Dollar stores and auto parts stores have been expanding into smaller spaces. And grocers still see a booming market, as evidenced by the expansion of Publix, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

Reflecting the tight vacancy rates, developers are beginning to break ground on new projects. Water Tower Commons in Lantana, for instance, will add more than 300,000 square feet of space on the site of a former state hospital on Lantana Road.


How is Texas Roadhouse outperforming Outback Steakhouse and others?

It’s been a tough couple of years for chain restaurants, including the ones that peddle T-bones and filet mignon.

Logan’s Roadhouse filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Lone Star Steakhouse is shuttering restaurants across the country. Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse, and its parent company, Bloomin’ Brands, have been struggling to break the cycle of quarter after quarter of flat sales.

Related coverage: A recession could be a bloodbath for the emerging restaurant scene in Tampa Bay

So how is it that a restaurant chain known for its cheap steaks and encouraging its patrons to throw peanut shells on the floor is outperforming so many others in the casual dining category? Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse is expanding aggressively. In the past three years, Texas Roadhouse has doubled the amount of restaurants it operates in Florida. Two more are set to open this year, and dozens more could be coming soon as the company continues to scout for real estate in the area.

Texas Roadhouse was named one of the stocks to watch in 2017 by the Nation’s Restaurant News after its stock prices jumped more than 35 percent last year. Texas Roadhouse has logged 26 quarters in a row of positive sales growth.

There’s no secret ingredient to Texas Roadhouse’s success, whose strategy has remained much the same for decades, says Brian Connors, a consultant with Fort Lauderdale-based Connors Davis Hospitality.

“There’s nothing special about them, it’s just a good, honest, American steakhouse,” Connors said. “They aim and shoot right down Middle America. It’s about meat and potatoes and ice cold beer. Now will they attract the health-conscious, city-living millennials? Probably not, but the 30-somethings with a mini van and two kids? Absolutely.”

Steakhouses tend to outperform others in the casual dining category because restaurants can range from high-end concepts, like the Capital Grille or Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, to more affordable options, like a Longhorn Steakhouse. But even within the steakhouse category there are some chains, like Outback Steakhouse, that are still struggling, said Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, a Chicago-based food research firm.

“Texas Roadhouse is more on par with middle America and younger consumers than some of its competitors,” Tristano said. “If you were going to compare Outback to Texas Roadhouse, the first big difference is the price. Customers can expect to spend $9.99 on a early dining special or $14 to $15 on an entree. At Outback, customers will likely pay $20 or more.”

Tristano added that “Outback tends to attract an older customer whereas the Texas Roadhouse atmosphere is more energetic.”

The chain is also known for its speedy and attentive service and a menu which, despite a number of fried and breaded foods, is all made from scratch. Texas Roadhouse also isn’t open for lunch.

“They try to turn tables fast, so they tend to focus on a smaller ratio of servers to tables,” Tristano said.

Texas Steakhouse opened its first restaurant in the college town of Clarksville, Ind., in 1993. Its second restaurant opened in Gainesville the same year. The chain opened two more restaurants in Sarasota and Clearwater in the late ‘90s, but both failed, said company spokesman, Travis Doster.

“After that, we didn’t come back to Florida for many years,” Doster said. But Florida has grown to be the chain’s third largest domestic market, following Texas and Ohio. “Florida’s become an important part of our growth strategy.”

With only 500 restaurants in the U.S., the chain is about half the size of Outback Steakhouse. But Texas Roadhouse is valued at more than $3 billion, whereas Bloomin’ Brands and its entire portfolio of restaurants — Outback, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Bonefish Grill — is valued at well under $2 billion. “If you look at a long history of restaurants, sometimes they grow a little faster than they should,” Doster said. “We’re not looking to open in larger cities. We prefer smaller bedroom communities. We’ve stuck to our formula and it worked.”

Texas Roadhouse has restaurants in Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg, Lakeland and Bradenton, but there’s plenty of room for more in the area, said Brian Bern, senior director of real estate services with Franklin Street in Tampa.

“Restaurants continue to lead the charge on expansion since we’ve been out of the recession,” Bern said. “Tampa Bay is a good, middle of the road market. Our demographics and general income coupled with Florida’s tourism and the popularity of people moving here for retirement makes Tampa Bay look like a great growth market.”

Still, casual dining at chain restaurants is suffering overall. More consumers are opting to spend at independent eateries in their communities, a shift spurred by millennials that has exploded in recent years. The casual dining segment fared the worst out of any restaurant category with the poorest results in 2016, according to national data compiled by the Dallas-based firm, TDn2K. Sales overall at chain restaurants dropped 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, the worst quarterly performance recorded in five years, according to TDn2K. Boosting both sales and the number of chain restaurants depend on a restaurant’s ability to evolve to meet the needs of the changing customer base, both analysts agreed.

“A lot of restaurant chains, especially publicly traded companies, have to continue to show growth to their investors, so they may cut corners in certain aspects,” Bern said. “A lot of these chains, you grew up eating at them but they just don’t seem to have the same quality anymore. Maybe our palates are more sophisticated? Or we just don’t get the same enjoyment out of those same experiences like we used to.”

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Texas Roadhouse

Based: Louisville, Ky.

Number of restaurants: 510 in the U.S. and five other countries; 27 in Florida with two under construction; five in Tampa Bay

Revenue: $1.8 billion annual revenue in 2015 fiscal year

Third quarter results: 11 percent increase in total revenue from year to date. Net income increased by 28 percent over third quarter last year.

2017 projections: 30 new restaurant openings

History: Founded by W. Kent Taylor, the current CEO and chairman of the board, in 1993. The company went public in 2004. In 2011, the company began opened its first international location in Dubai.


Tiffany building on Worth Avenue on track to fetch top dollar

When the Tiffany building at 259 Worth Ave. went on the market late last year, dozens of investors showed interest, said Robert Granda, the Franklin Street broker marketing the property.

The seller is weighing 10 offers for the property, and Granda said the final price is likely to be $40 million, or more than $2,300 a square foot.

“It is a pure, prime, Class A, trophy asset,” Granda said. “When you Google Worth Avenue, this is the building that comes up.”

Tiffany plans to stay in the building after the sale, he said.