Here’s What You Missed

at the NAIOP Georgia January Breakfast


NAIOP GA President, Mike Wells, Highwoods Properties, kicked off the meeting by firing up the crowd. After showing the now-famous, Samuel L. Jackson Falcons RISE UP video, Mike bounded on stage in his Falcons jersey. Mike was at the conference championship and said of his experience, “It was the loudest I have ever heard the dome…John Grimsley even said it was louder than the Taylor Swift concert!”  Mike went on to say:
  • One thing that struck me as I enjoyed the crowd both inside and outside the dome – Just how Diverse the crowd was and what great representation of our city it was – All cheering for a common goal!
  • As we close this chapter on a challenging election season, I hope we can rise up and embrace the unity as we move forward together. And, as we move forward together, we are going to embrace what we do…
  • Educate – We want to reinforce why Atlanta is one of the best business destinations in the world and how technology is going to continue to improve us.
  • Support Government Affairs – on both the local & national level – look to solutions to challenges that impact and challenge our industry.
  • Continue our Philanthropic Endeavors – directly impacting lives in our community.
  • Diversity – Recognize the continued need for increased diversity in our CRE community and continue to strive for solutions.

Mike spoke to the success of the NAIOP Xtreme Room Makeover Challenge in December. He thanked everyone for their participation (over 60 NAIOP members directly participated) in this life changing endeavor. He went on to specifically thank Brian Kennedy and Occupied Renovations, Brad Kinzey and Kinzey Construction, Shaw Carpets, Rupert Landscaping and Travis Vickers and BoggsVickers Architects for their amazing contribution.

Mike then brought up NAIOP Future Leaders director, Stephen Clifton, PMRG, who introduced the 2017 group: Rupam Banerjee, Ryan; Gregory Boler, Ridge Development Company; Laura Friddell, Patterson Real Estate Advisory Group; Maximillian Gutierrez, Urbana Realty Advisors; Reeves Henritze, Colliers International; Tyler Jones, Rockefeller Group; Andrew Myers, Brasfield & Gorrie; Kaity Noone, The Brookdale Group; Keenan O’Brien, Eastdil Secured; Joshua Stephens, Georgia Dept. of Econ. Dev.; Heidi Swygert, KDC Real Estate Development & Investments; Will Weston, CBRE; Ryan Woods, Beck Group.

Next, NAIOP VP Governmental Affairs, Charlie Fiveash, Lavista Associates, introduced our keynote speaker Thomas J. Cunningham, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Metro Atlanta Chamber.  Some key points that Tom made were:

  • The 29 county Atlanta MSA is similar to Ireland in terms of economic size.
  • Low interest rates have helped improve “Debt to Income” ratios, so Atlanta is in a better economic position today than the pre-recession era.
  • 70% of US GDP is tied to personal consumption/consumer spending.
  • Georgia’s GDP is 2% of the US GDP and Atlanta’s job creation is on track to create the same number of jobs in 2017 as last year.
  • Infrastructure improvements, a bi-partisan effort in Washington, will help improve the US economy in 2018 – with less impact in 2017.

Here’s What You Missed

at the June Breakfast Meeting:

Denise Sterling, Livable Buckhead

  • Updates on the important items that Liveable Buckhead is working on:
  • The number of single family homes has remained stable, but multifamily has changed significantly (100 percent increase) in the last 15 years
    • Multifamily is 60 percent apartments and 40 percent ownership
  • Buckhead is getting younger and older at the same time – lots of families are moving in
  • Jobs-to-housing imbalance: daytime population doubles residential base, 94 percent are coming in from somewhere else
  • Rezoned for the village and commercial core
  • Greenspace plan: added 40 acres of greenspace in the last four years, goal is 106
  • Office recycling program: 100 tons of recyclables are diverted from landfills each month
  • 41 major buildings are participating in the Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy consumption
  • Alternative transportation: bike share by October
  • Path 400
    • 5.2 mile multi-use trail
    • Connects to the BeltLine near Lindbergh and goes up to old toll-plaza
    • 38 percent complete/under construction by September
    • Part of 285/400 Interchange project
    • Takes the BeltLine outside the Perimeter
    • Extensions will include one up to Sandy Springs and another to the Lenox MARTA Station
    • First ½ mile is being used by a very diverse group of people
  • Master Plan
    • Transportation, development, population, etc. will be looked at for how to prepare for the future
    • First master plan in 15 years

Michael Pelt, MDH Partners – Moderator
Kerry Armstrong, Pope and Land Enterprises
Tim Keane, City of Atlanta
Amanda Rhein, MARTA

  • Atlanta will absolutely grow: Atlanta Region’s Plan
    • Next 25 years:
      • We’ll grow in the 10 county region by 2.5 million
      • Population will diverse (Hispanic population will double)
      • Population will age
      • Changing the permitting process in Atlanta
  • How do you design an Atlanta for the level of development we need for the projected growth?
  • MARTA is partnering with developers to change underused parking lots in great locations into Transit Oriented Developments
    • 6 projects underway right now
  • Is Atlanta still the poster child for sprawl?
    • Indications of change
      • 2010-2014: population increased by 9 percent
      • 2015-2016: City of Atlanta has issued 25 percent of all permits within the region
      • Demand for walkable places
  • We want to make a great city, we have to work together and guide it to make it a better place to live
  • How important is education with millennials eventually having kids?
    • APS is part of the Atlanta Region’s Plan
  • Positive changes
    • ITP will be so different that there won’t be a mass-exodus of millennials to the suburbs once they start having families
  • Is MARTA where it needs to be for TODs to be successful?
    • Goals:
      • Increase ridership
      • Generate new sources of revenue (sale and lease of MARTA land to third party developers)
      • Support local community development and regional economic development
    • Keith Parker has vastly improved MARTA
    • MARTA referendum (expansion/tax vote in November) is important to expand MARTA (tax is expected to generate $2.5 billion)
  • Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance
    • Airport importance is astronomical – economic engine
  • Atlanta has a lot to do
    • Lots happening privately, but the city needs to be better
      • They regulate a lot of things, but want to align those regulations with what it takes to make a better city
      • More collaboration between private and city
    • City Studio – urban design studio at Ponce City Market to work on design of the city
    • We don’t want to import ideas from other places
    • Realign to concentrate on the architecture of the city
  • Midtown traffic solutions
    • Midtown Alliance is working hard on solving this
    • Well positioned to become a great urban place, but it has to be oriented toward pedestrians/bicyclists/transit
    • Don’t try to make cars go faster like we’ve done in the past – we need to slow them down (for pedestrians)
    • It’s all about safe access and mobility for people and goods
    • Better to have a traffic problem than no traffic at all

Here’s What You Missed

at the May Breakfast Meeting.

IMG_9344 preNAIOP GA President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities; John Rooker, Rooker; Jim Irwin, New City; Mark Toro, North American Properties; NAIOP GA VP Programs, Caroline Nolen, Cushman & Wakefield; Kris Miller, Ackerman & Co.

“Leveraging Location and Creativity for Successful Development”

Kris Miller, Ackerman & Co., moderated and started the conversation talking about innovation. Most in our industry don’t have the luxury of being creative and innovative, but when we can – the payoff is huge. Here’s what our panelists had to say:

Mark Toro, North American Properties:

  • Even more important than the “hardware” in his developments is the “software”.
  • At Atlantic Station, he spent time reprogramming and working on the software aspect to bring in energy and activity to the development.
  • Avalon was his ground-up development opportunity, and he again focused on social media, programs and ultimately being an energy mecca.
  • Colony Square: He now wants to make it Midtown’s living room, by making it a public space. If the backyard is Piedmont Park, Colony Square can be the living room. With so much energy in Midtown, he needed to pull it into the development.

Jim Irwin, New City:

  • Jim brought up that the city is experiencing “self-selected densification” – as is the case with Avalon, Colony Square and his development.
  • Working on Ponce City Market, he became very familiar with all aspects of Old Fourth Ward.
  • Kroger noticed all of the activity happening around it, but it was being left behind.
  • Jim agreed that it wasn’t just about the physical structure, it’s about experience.
  • He thinks people want to see an alignment between where they live, work, shop, play, etc.
  • He mentioned 725 Ponce saw the Atlanta BeltLine as its front door, which was interesting; considering Toro called Piedmont Park Colony Square’s backyard.
  • They’re right below $400/sf development.
  • Of course, they all agreed the BeltLine was transforming the city.
  • Even though experience is king, the metrics of the developments still matter a great deal.

John Rooker, Rooker:

  • Regional Malls were just no longer a destination.
  • Shannon Mall had been shut down for about 3 years already, though declining for longer, when Rooker came on board.
  • He thought it was a perfect location for industrial.
  • The mall was previously an economic driver for Union City, so he wanted to uphold that moving forward.
  • A few film industry guys took him to lunch one day, which launched three buildings being developed specifically for the film industry; one being the largest purpose-built sound stage in North America.
  • Understanding the film business was most time consuming during the project, but he had to in order to create this experience.
  • He essentially created a new community in an existing community, and he’s now seeing restaurants and other industries coming back to life in the area.
  • He had to be ultimately flexible as far as creating these buildings for the film industry, and he tried to always answer yes.

While you must have your metrics and building “bones” together, focusing on the software, programming and experience factor of your development will allow you to creatively create a destination and better “place,” to which tenants and visitors will flock.

Here’s What You Missed

at the School Challenge:

This year’s School Challenge was certainly memorable, as we had three schools competing for the coveted shovel: Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.
The case statement for this year’s Challenge focused on Building an Industrial Property Portfolio. What are prevailing market conditions in Atlanta’s industrial sector? What are the most important market drivers? What is the optimal investment strategy to deploy $50 million in industrial properties in metro Atlanta?. Our teams had to identify opportunities and formulate a detailed development plan via a written report and verbal presentation.
Our judges – Steve Martin, Managing Principal, SDM Partners; Kent Mason, VP-Market Officer, Prologis; Chris Riley, Vice Chairman, CBRE and John Rooker, CEO, Rooker – had their work cut out for them.
In the end, it was the University of Georgia who took home the top prize with their amazing written report and presentation.
Congratulations to all the contestants and door prize winners, and a big thank you to NAIOP VP of Education, Annie Baxter, Duke Energy, her School Challenge committee and the judges.

Here’s What You Missed

On March 15th, NAIOP Georgia held our 23rd Annual Million Dollar Club Awards Luncheon.  Attendees were treated to an inspiring talk by keynote speaker, David Cummings, CEO, Atlanta Ventures.

And, awards were given for:

Award for Excellence
NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities, along with NAIOP Georgia Advisory Council Member, Brian Hogg, Intercoast Group, present the Award for Excellence, to Steve Martin, SDM Partners.

Branding Specialist | Social Content | Image Creation
Pictured left to right: NAIOP Georgia Advisory Council Member, Brian Hogg, Intercoast Group; NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities; 2016 Award for Excellence winner, Steve Martin, SDM Partners; NAIOP Corporate Senior Director of State and Local Affairs, Toby Burke; NAIOP Georgia VP Special Events, Bo Jackson, Transwestern.

Workhorse Award
Branding Specialist | Social Content | Image Creation
NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities and NAIOP Georgia VP Special Events, Bo Jackson, Transwestern present the Workhorse Award to Tanner Hicklin, Prologis.

Branding Specialist | Social Content | Image Creation
NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities and NAIOP Georgia VP Special Events, Bo Jackson, Transwestern present the Top Producer-Industrial to Brian Cardoza, Rooker.

Top Industrial Producers (pictured from left to right):
NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities
#3 Doug Smith, Seefried Industrial Properties, Inc.
#4 Walker Wellford, Taylor & Mathis
#2 Tanner Hicklin, Prologis
#5 Ryan Hoyt, Prologis

Branding Specialist | Social Content | Image Creation

Top Office Producers (pictured from left to right):
#3 John Grimsley, Highwoods Properties
#2 Michael Wells, Highwoods Properties
#1 Chris Port, CBRE, Inc. (tied w/Jeff Keppen)
#1 Jeff Keppen, CBRE, Inc. (tied w/Chris Port)
#4 Mason Zimmerman, Pope & Land Enterprises, Inc.
NAIOP Georgia President, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities

Thank you to our event sponsors!
Branding Specialist | Social Content | Image Creation


NAIOP Night was a huge success

NAIOP Night was held on February 18th at The St. Regis Atlanta.  Over 600 were in attendance making it THE commercial real estate networking event of the year.  NAIOP Georgia donated $50,000 to each of our designated charities, YES!Atlanta and the Ron Clark Academy.  Check back soon for more event photos.

Check Presentation

Pictured from left to right are:

  • NAIOP Georgia President/Event Co-Chair, Dwight Bell, Cannon Equities
  • NAIOP Advisory Council Chair/Event Co-Chair, Robert Turner, The Brookdale Group
  • NAIOP Georgia Executive Director, Debbie Koenig
  • YES!Atlanta Chairman, Carmen Davis
  • The Ron Clark Academy Founder, Kim Bearden
  • The Ron Clark Academy Founder, Ron Clark
  • NAIOP Corporate President and CEO, Tom Bisacquino

Here’s What You Missed

may panel 4
at the May Breakfast Meeting:

C-Suite View: A discussion with national decision makers

President-Elect, Dwight Bell (President/CEO, Cannon Equities) began the meeting by introducing NAIOP GA Advisory Council member and Ron Clark Academy board member, Jeff Mixson, and NAIOP GA Executive Director, Debbie Koenig, for a special presentation about NAIOP’s work with the Ron Clark Academy. Attendees were treated to a moving speech by former RCA student, Jalil Allah, who was accompanied by his mother, Nadege Allah-Delva. Jalil was the recipient of NAIOP’s first-ever Xtreme Dream Room Makeover, and he excelled at the Ron Clark Academy after that amazing transformation. Jalil then went on to succeed and graduate from high school with ROTC honors.

Chris Riley (Vice Chairman, CBRE) moderated as the panelists commented on a wide array of topics from talent to challenges, how information has changed our industry and the opportunities for firms, big and small. Here are some highlights:
Donald Miller, CEO & president of Piedmont Office Realty Trust, said that it’s hard not to be bullish in the Atlanta office market. Don commented that our market was late to the game, so we’re still catching up – but in order to stay competitive, we need to improve our regional planning standpoint. He also mentioned three major changes in what his firm is doing, including path of travel, increased parking and re-positioning their portfolio to be closer to 24-7 live, work, play environments.

Gene Reilly, CEO, The Americas, Prologis, commented on how much talent has changed. Gene said that you no longer just need to be a ‘real estate person,’ but you need to understand culture and human resources to be successful. Gene noted that the leasing market was white hot, and there’s an opportunity for rent growth. He’s bullish about Atlanta and thinks it still has excess capacity for development talent.

Michael Dardick, president and CEO of Granite Properties said some of the qualities for achieving success in our industry include believing in people and wanting to grow others in the industry, along with humility, curiosity and keeping a learning orientation your whole life. Looking through history, each cycle comes every 7 years, so if history repeats itself, we should have another 2 years left in this cycle. While office still has massive supply in several markets, Michael is also bullish about Atlanta.

Jay Cornforth, global head of industrial at Brookfield Property Group and CEO of IDI Gazeley Brookfield Logistics Properties said he believes we’re in the 2nd period of a 3-period hockey game; he said that while we’re still catching up to 2007, we’ve destroyed a lot of value on the way. We’re seeing ramp up in supply, but we still have a couple years of rent growth. Jay advised the crowd to be prepared for the next downturn – be well capitalized and be on the offense. Because of all the land in Atlanta – in all directions – and because Atlanta lagged in its recovery, there is still demand for industrial.

Click here to view Part 1 of the program.
Click here to view Part 2 of the program.