Category Archives: Business

The Revitalization of Atlantic Station

By Wes Vaughan

(Reblogged from Cresa Atlanta)

Atlantic Station has been a Midtown Atlanta destination for office and retail tenants, homeowners and visitors since 2005. While the Atlantic Station development has certainly had success, it has also had its fair share of negativity in the eyes of many Atlantans since its creation. Ownership has been striving these past two years to refresh the development’s image and continue to seek improvements in all aspects…and the results of such focus and determination are beginning to pay off in a big way.

Read the rest of the blog here…


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Filed under Atlanta, Business, Commercial Real Estate, Family, Lease, office space, Technology

Ponce City Market: Live, Work and Play

By Wes Vaughan

(Reblogged from Cresa Atlanta)

The Ponce City Market project in Atlanta is going to be big…REALLY BIG. Jamestown is the force behind the largest adaptive reuse project in Atlanta’s history, restoring an area of 1.1 million square feet. Jamestown is also responsible for the creation of White Provision in Atlanta’s West Midtown and New York City’s Chelsea Market, both of which have proven to be wildly successful. With that kind of track record, expectations are high for the Ponce project. Many believe that if any company can pull off such a massive success story, Jamestown would be the best bet.

Read more of this post here…

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Atlanta Tech Village: A Bright Idea for Startups

Posted on Cresa Atlanta Blog’s website:

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W.I.N. in 2013

By Wes Vaughan

A colleague, mentor and friend of mine at Cresa recently told me a story about the legendary coach, Lou Holtz. He heard Holtz speak once and one of the nuggets he took away from Coach’s many wisdoms was W.I.N.

What’s Important Now?

lou holtz

As we all know, January brings about an inner desire for us to improve something about our lives in the New Year: lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking/drinking, get out of debt, be a better husband/father/friend/son/brother/person…and the resolutions go on and on. It’s right about now, mid to late January, when the stronghold resolutions made on January 1st start petering out (already). Life gets back to its frenetic pace and old ways rear their ugly head, slowly devouring our plans to change our lives for the better. After 34 years of living, if I’ve learned anything about setting new goals for myself, I’ve learned that I have to set tangible outcomes with some sort of deadline or appointment that will hold me accountable. Yes, I’m aware that many wiser folks figured this out way before age 34…but I’ve always been a patient learner.

I’ll give you an example. Many of my friends and acquaintances have run 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, 100-milers (insanity) and they always talk about their experience with such commitment, passion and pride. Last January, if you had told me that I would run a half marathon in 2012, I would have told you that you ate some funky brownies. Lo and behold, last November I ran the Thanksgiving Day half marathon in Atlanta…and I finished (barely). How? Thanks to an itch I felt the need to scratch and some motivation and support from friends, acquaintances and strangers, I spontaneously Googled “half marathons in Atlanta” and up popped the one on Thanksgiving Day. I immediately signed up for it, payed my registration fee, printed out a daily training program and I spent the next four months running around the city of Atlanta, building up my mileage week by week. Disclaimer: I had never run more than 3 miles at one time in my life…and last time I did that was in high school. The thought of running 13.1 miles was almost paralyzing to me. But I did it and I plan to do it again in 2013. I committed to it and I knew what I had to do to achieve that goal.

So how do I want to W.I.N. in 2013? Well, What’s Important Now to me? My top two priorities in life are: My Faith and My Family. If those two realms in my life are happy and healthy, then I feel like the rest of my life will fall appropriately into place and perspective. I am also aware that I spend most of my waking hours at work, specifically in the commercial real estate industry. I am not paid a salary nor do I receive a benefits package. I am strictly commission only. Eat what I kill. If deals don’t close, I don’t get paid. Not a complaint, just a reality. And a harsh one that consumes most of my daily thoughts. But I chose this life and I want to make the most of it. By default, My Business is my #3 priority…and I want to do it better, mainly by helping others and working with people that I enJOY helping, thus making it more enJOYable.

So over the next few weeks, I plan to re-ignite this blog (another 2013 resolution) and discuss my three goals to W.I.N. in 2013…for those that care to listen. Hope it helps some of you…


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Introducing: Sweetwater Design District

By Wes Vaughan

Cool, loft-style office space in Atlanta is in high demand these days, particularly for the “creative-type” firms like technology companies. As the demand has risen over the past five years, this type of space has become hard to find for some tenants.

The West Midtown area of Atlanta has flourished in this niche market for a number of years now, with properties such as White Provisions, King Plow Arts Center, Brickworks and Lumberyards attracting many a hip tenant. The West Midtown vacancies are few and far between these days and tenants have been forced to look elsewhere in Atlanta, particularly on the East side of the city – Southern Dairies, Float Away, Stove Works, Studioplex, none of which are particularly hurting for occupancy either. Jamestown has been so successful with their White Provisions development that they bought the old City Hall East property, all 2 million square feet of it, which they are currently renovating and plan to deliver as Ponce City Market in early 2014.

Parkside Partners, a local Atlanta commercial real estate development firm led by Kyle Jenks and Gary Matthews, has focused on creating this type of environment in their properties around the city as well – Inman Alley (home of Rathbun Steak…yum), 5256 Peachtree in Chamblee, Glassworks, to name a few. Parkside’s latest venture is 225 Ottley Drive, about a nine iron from the newly renovated Sweetwater Brewery in what used to be known as the Armour Industrial area. On a side note, if you have never been to a happy hour or tour of Sweetwater, you need to check it off the bucket list; it’s quite the scenic experience…sometimes just to get in the door. Back to business, Parkside just purchased a 53K square foot warehouse facility, which they plan to redevelop into 42K square feet of loft office. They also have an adjacent pad site that can accommodate a 16K SF user right next to it. Parkside is banking on this area, newly dubbed the Sweetwater Design District, to be a success and why shouldn’t they? The property is right on the Beltline Overlay District, neighboring businesses include Mason Murer Fine Art, Pineapple House, Planters, Bottega Stone and, of course, the makers of those delicious craft beers at Sweetwater. When 500 thirsty people line up on Ottley Drive every Wednesday through Friday for tours and happy hour, you know something sweet is in the air…pardon the pun.

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Atlanta Capital Markets – A New Season

By Wes Vaughan

In 2006, NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, then with the San Diego Chargers, was undoubtedly the best player in the game. LT had an unbelievable MVP season in 2006, rushing for 1,818 yards, scoring 31 touchdowns and setting numerous other records along the way, while helping his team to a franchise-best 14-2 record. It was the peak of Tomlinson’s career. Similarly, the Capital Markets sector of the Atlanta commercial real estate world had an MVP-like season in 2006 as well, with equally unheard-of numbers.  Deals were being made left and right and the deals were doozies. The starry skies of 2006 are a distant sweet memory for the Atlanta Capital Markets sector (for Tomlinson as well), and although we may not see the likes of that activity level for quite some time, if ever again, the next two years should prove to produce the most activity Atlanta has seen since those glory days.

In the Spring of 2011, Atlanta finally started to see some capital market transactions again, and if you’ve been reading the papers recently, many of the office buildings in the core submarkets of Atlanta are trading hands again (Promenade II in Midtown, 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, Ten Peachtree Place just this week) and many more have a For Sale sign on them today (in Buckhead alone: Tower Place 200, Prominence and Two Alliance Center). Granted this activity is not necessarily an entirely positive change for our industry, as many of these trades are due to poor investments, loan maturities, or the seller’s desperate need for liquidity, which shows in the drastically reduced sales price. And there is concern over more distressed assets coming back on the market at distressed prices, which will reset the bar even lower (see Resurgens Plaza foreclosure in Buckhead at the end of 2011). However, the increase in activity is generally a good thing and we should see plenty more of it for a couple years, including some positive momentum. For example, the 96% leased Prominence is reportedly close to selling to Crocker Partners out of Florida, which is expected to give onlooking investors a new market standard on the high end. The market during the next few years holds many loan maturities due to the huge amount of sales activity in 2006-2007, combined with the multiple loan restructures in 2009-2010 and the fact that roughly 70% of the CMBS market will expire in 2015-2017 from deals done in the heyday of 2006-2007. Again, Atlanta will have various deals to be done.

Atlanta is not a “Gateway Market” (see Tier 1 cities like NYC, LA, Bay Area), nor will it ever be. However, the fundamentals of the Atlanta market are improving, and there is no new construction on the horizon…yet. There is a lot of foreign capital looking at Atlanta, particularly Isreali companies, and there are capital sources from the Northeast U.S. that are getting priced out of the Gateway cities so they continue to take a good, long look at Atlanta opportunities as well. There are value-plays in our city and hopefully the gradual recovery of the global economy and the creation of new jobs will continue to push the Capital Markets sector of Atlanta back up the hill along with it.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

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Where Did All the Subleases Go?

By Wes Vaughan

(posted on Cresa Atlanta’s Blog 5/16/12:

It seems that not too long ago, sublease space was everywhere in Atlanta, in various shapes, sizes and locations. Sublease space was (and still is) a worthy option for tenants on the hunt for office space, especially newer businesses, smaller businesses and companies looking for flexible options and reduced rental rates. During the worst times of the economic downturn in 2008-2009, tenants could find a wide number of viable sublease candidates in many of the Class A buildings of Atlanta. Today? Not so much.

By the numbers* (subleases in Class “A” buildings only):

  • – In 2008, Buckhead had over 468,000 square feet (SF) of sublease space on the market; by the end of 2011, there was only 180,000 SF
  • – Midtown had almost 600,000 SF of sublease space in mid-2009; today – around 316,000 SF
  • – Central Perimeter had a whopping 982,000 SF in mid-2008; down to only 376,000 SF in 2012
  • – Cumberland-Galleria: 917,000 SF at start of 2009; now almost 30 percent decline at only 310,000 SF in 2012
  • – North Fulton: 936,000 SF in mid-2010;  but less than 387,000 SF at the end of 2011

*source: CoStar

Keep in mind that the numbers above have some extra padding because they also include “sublease space” being marketed by executive suite companies such as Regus. Let’s pretend that you are a company looking for sublease space between 1,000 to 5,000 SF with more than one year of term left. As of today, you would only find one space in Buckhead, two spaces in Midtown and two spaces in Central Perimeter. If you were to stretch your square footage to the range of 5,000 SF to 10,000 SF, you wouldn’t fare much better in Buckhead or Midtown; only eight spaces are currently available. The available subleases for larger tenants are a bit more plentiful, up to 46 between the five submarkets mentioned above.

So why is this? Did the sublease supply dry up due to the heavy demand … or is this yet another sign our market is improving? Perhaps both. As we have seen in Atlanta the past few years, many tenants in less desirable buildings or suburban markets were lured away by the “unbelievable” deals being offered from the in-town Class “A” properties. Subleases offer much of the same “flight to quality” appeal for many tenants. Tenants who were lucky enough to time the market correctly quickly pounced on this space and found themselves in some fancy offices in some of the nicest digs in Atlanta…at a heavily discounted rate from what the landlord was offering.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Many businesses needed to dump their excess office space in order to cut costs, and there were other companies that were happy to take it off their hands. Of course, some of the sublease glut we saw three to four years ago was taken off the market for various reasons; some because they simply could not sublease the space (yes, there are some doggish subleases not worth considering) but others because their business started improving over time and they needed to reoccupy the space, which at the end of the day is good for everyone!

Tenants are finally starting to grow again (hallelujah!) and the market is pulling towards a recovery. Tenants looking for deals, subleases included, need to get active now before landlords take back the reins.

As an expert in commercial real estate, Cresa Atlanta specializes in representing the tenant’s best interests and reducing overall occupancy costs. Our professional “menu” includes:

  • – Marketing your excess space for sublease (as noted, there is a supply shortage)
  • – Renewing and/or restructuring your lease early (one or more years prior to renewal)
  • – Finding the right space for your company – directly with a landlord or through an economical sublease (if there are any left!)

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