ATLANTA — Since 2000, more than 1 million people have relocated to Atlanta. Due to the continuous job and population growth in the city, the in-town markets have seen the most expansive growth. Atlanta is handling this by densifying and going vertical.
Atlanta’s West Midtown district is seeing some of its last available large development tracts snatched up to make way for new projects. It is very rare in this market to see a retail-only development, as most new projects have the retail component as a complementary aspect to the multifamily or office section.
In advance of the annual ICSC Southeast Conference & Deal Making show next week in Atlanta, Southeast Real Estate Business caught up with Bryan Belk, senior director of Franklin Street‘s Atlanta office, to discuss Atlanta’s retail market. The following is the edited Q&A:
Southeast Real Estate Business: Is there a project underway in an Atlanta neighborhood south of I-20 that has been traditionally under-served by retailers and restaurants?
Belk: In Stockbridge, RCP Cos. out of Huntsville, Ala., recently announced it will be starting a $300 million project anchored by Cabela’s called Jodeco | Atlanta South. The development will span more than 500,000 square feet and include retail and restaurants, an entertainment hub, outdoor fitness and recreation areas, two upscale hotels and 600 residential units. The project will be a game changer for the Southside market.
SREB: How has the Beltline changed Atlanta’s retail market? What does the future hold for Beltline-centric retail and restaurants?
Belk: The Beltline has helped spur development areas that have been neglected in many cases for 50 years. Restaurants and retail shops have popped up along the corridor, which makes the city much more walkable.
Pellerin Real Estate has a new project along the Beltline called The Beacon Atlanta, a $20 million revitalization of six industrial warehouses into a unique retail development. As more segments of the Beltline are completed, developers will propose projects like Beacon.
SREB: How have the tenant mixes for retail developments in Atlanta evolved in the past five years? Have you observed any significant changes?
Belk: Developers are paying attention to their tenant mix more than ever with the threat of e-commerce competition. Developers have focused on attracting more restaurants to new developments. In many cases, owners are [seeking] more than 40 percent of the tenant mix to be food-centric because of the old adage “everyone has to eat.” That puts a parking strain on many of the in-town developments though, which is why developers are also paying more attention to the walkability of their developments.