Cousins Properties Inc. may already be looking to buy more Midtown development sites.
Atlanta’s largest office landlord, which just revealed plans for a 500-foot Midtown tower, remains bullish on future development opportunities in the neighborhood, which is known for The Woodruff Arts Center, Fox Theatre and many of the city’s recent high-profile corporate expansions.
A few notable sites remaining in Midtown include about 4 acres at West Peachtree, Spring Street, Ponce de Leon Avenue and 3rd Street.
It’s owned by a group that includes the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Areas generally south of 675 West Peachtree Street, a landmark property once known as the Southern Bell Tower, could allow for up to 10 million square feet of new development
“We have significant capacity to pursue strategic office sites,” Cousins Chairman and CEO Larry Gellerstedt said in an April 26 conference call with analysts.
Currently, land represents less than one-half of 1 percent of Cousins’ enterprise value. Its goal is to increase those prime land holdings for office development to somewhere between 2 percent and 3 percent, Gellerstedt said.
Last week, Cousins unveiled the first look at its planned 450,000-to-500,000-square foot Midtown tower, which is being designed by Pickard Chilton and HKS Inc.
It will rise on slightly less than an acre between 7th and 8th streets, a two-minute walk from the Midtown MARTA station and block east of Tech Square and the new NCR Corp. headquarters.
Gellerstedt said the site’s advantages include proximity to Georgia Tech and MARTA. Cousins wants to buy the site this summer. The property would join an existing $23 million portfolio of land for future development.
For decades, the box-making giant Rock-Tenn Co. maintained a nearly 11-acre Norcross campus on the edge of the city’s downtown.
Now, most of the brick buildings that make up the former headquarters could be redeveloped with new housing units, shops, restaurants and a public park.
Former Rock Tenn Campus Redevelopment
This project is being proposed by Alliance Realty
VIEW SLIDESHOW 4 photos
Alliance Realty Partners has submitted plans to rezone the property, which is about a half-mile walk to the historic downtown.
Alliance is proposing a mixed-use residential project, with 292 multifamily units, 65 townhomes, shared office and workspace, shops, restaurants and a public park.
Rock-Tenn and Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco Corp. merged to form WestRock Co., which last year announced it was going to relocate its Norcross executive offices, commercial teams and other staff to an office tower on the Atlanta Perimeter. The former Rock-Tenn campus had roots in Norcross that dated back to the 1950s.
Four of the six former Rock-Tenn buildings will be demolished as part of the redevelopment, which could turn the old campus into a new, mixed-use residential and commercial node within the city’s employment center. Other suburban Atlanta cities including Lawrenceville are working on new projects that add hundreds of downtown residential units.
New project for Old Milton
Kairos Development Corp. purchased an old funeral home near Alpharetta’s downtown city center that it plans to redevelop into a live-work office building.
One Alpharetta city
The $15 million project will be called One Alpharetta City. It will total 36,000 square feet with 12 residential units, 7,000 square feet of retail and a parking deck.
VIEW SLIDESHOW 12 photos
The $15 million project will be called ONE Alpharetta City. It will total 36,000 square feet with 7,000 square feet of retail, 12 residential units and a parking deck.
“ONE Alpharetta City reflects what today’s office tenants desire, which is walkable amenities in live-work environment,” said Kairos Operations Director Art Rountree.
Kairos bought the funeral home, at 2260 Old Milton Parkway, for about $1.7 million. On May 1, Rountree submitted rezoning plans to the City of Alpharetta for the project.
“Our family believes in this area, and we’ve decided to invest in the community,” said Rountree.
The building will be within walking distance to mixed-used town center Avalon and the planned Alpha Loop, Alpharetta’s version of the Atlanta Beltline.
Work on the new development will kick off in fall 2018.
Hundreds of jobs to West Atlanta
Atlanta-based Empire Distributors Inc. is moving its headquarters to Austell, where it will occupy a more than 600,000-square-foot building and eventually place hundreds of its employees.
Real estate company Core5 Industrial Partners landed the wholesale beverage distributor at the build-to-suit project, which will rise at 685 Hartman Road in southwest Cobb County. The more than $52 million building will feature 601,350 square feet, including an 80,000-square-foot, two-story corporate office.
The headquarters is expected to be fully operational by the fourth quarter. The project marks an expansion for Empire Distributors, which is moving from Atlanta Industrial Park in Fulton County to the new build-to-suit location. It will initially employ 440 but anticipates growing to at least 510.
Empire Distributors liked the site because of its proximity to Atlanta’s growing population and good access on Thornton Road, Riverside Parkway and Fulton Industrial Boulevard, said Lisa Ward, Core5 senior vice president and managing director. It also wanted a custom-designed building.
Core5, a barely three-year-old company backed by Kajima Corp., continues expanding its portfolio of large industrial real estate developments. It recently inked retail giant Lowe’s to a 1.2 million-square-foot lease at its Southwest 85 Logistics Center, according to people familiar with the project. Core5 has developed 10 million square feet since 2015. The new building for Empire Distributors was its first build-to-suit project.
JLL hired for LakePoint
LakePoint Sporting Community, the planned 1,300-acre Bartow County development known for elite amateur sports tournaments, has brought in Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. as a real estate adviser.
The move comes as the California hedge fund manager Rimrock Capital Management assumes a more visible ownership role in the project, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta on Interstate 75. Several hundred acres of LakePoint, first reported on in 2010, have yet to be developed.
Rimrock has replaced former LakePoint development principals and is working with financial advisory firm GlassRatner on a new master plan.
Jones Lang LaSalle is now part of that process.
Real estate veteran Bo Jackson joins Greenstone Properties
Longtime Atlanta commercial real estate veteran Bo Jackson is joining Greenstone Properties as the developer looks to bolster its acquisitions business.
Before his stint with Transwestern, Jackson oversaw a $3 billion portfolio for Colonial Properties Trust.
Jackson is leaving real estate services company Transwestern after five years, where he was a senior managing director.
“For me, this was a question of vision,” Jackson said. “I wanted to go somewhere that I could expand my interest in acquisitions and development.”
He’ll have that opportunity with Greenstone, which has a development portfolio that includes the new $100 million Cumberland headquarters for HD Supply, a proposed 10-story building in MIdtown at 14th and Spring, and another project in Alpharetta at Georgia 400 and Old Milton Parkway.
“We have done a good job with development,” said partner De Little. “We can do more with acquisitions.”
Before his stint with Transwestern, Jackson oversaw a $3 billion portfolio for Colonial Properties Trust. He also held executive positions with Beacon Properties and global real estate company Hines. Those roles gave allowed him to build connections with multiple capital sources.
Greenstone will target mostly office property acquisitions ranging from $25 million to $200 million, primarily in Atlanta, but also in markets including Dallas, Charlotte and Nashville, among others. It will look for both suburban value-add opportunities and properties in dense mixed use environments. In recent months, it was a finalist for big acquisitions, but fell just short.
“We felt that if we had Bo we would have been first a lot more often,” said Greenstone partner Chris Schoen.
Greenstone’s plan to boost acquisitions appears to have good timing. Much of Atlanta’s office market shows strong fundamentals, but especially properties that are in walking or biking distance of amenities such as housing, restaurants and nightlife, transit or public spaces such as the Atlanta Beltline.
For example, in Midtown, which has access to many of those amenities in a dense urban environment, rates for premier office space jumped 12.5 percent year-over-year, according to data from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
In a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts, Cousins CEO Larry Gellerstedt said of markets such as Atlanta: “Business and consumer confidence remain positive. Office users are growing their footprints, more companies are migrating to the Sun Belt, and new supply remains in check.”
Jackson said, “Foreign and domestic capital are looking for office properties, and Atlanta is high on the radar.”