Category Archives: Development

Atlanta Remains Top City in Nation for Absorption Year to Date

With the first two quarters posting absorption over 12 million square feet, all key indicators continue to confirm that the industrial market in Atlanta remains strong. In fact, the city leads the nation in total net absorption for the year and has already surpassed 75 percent of last year’s net absorption. The south Atlanta submarket made up for more than 60 percent of the year-to-date total.

The continued growth of Atlanta’s infrastructure, logistics and manufacturing industries are driving factors in the market’s success with warehouse and distribution centers representing the majority of the demand. Since the city is a logistic and transportation hub for air, road, water and rail, industrial sector opportunities will continue to increase. These factors and the growth of the e-commerce industry will also highlight the city as an attractive asset for real estate investors.

Georgia’s location, relatively affordable land rates and business-friendly climate often help position the state as a top selection site for big business. McWhirter Realty Partners helps companies find current space, and also identifies, develops and manages new construction opportunities.

If you’re looking for industrial space, visit our listings page or review these featured listings:


Healthcare Real Estate in Demand for 2016

With healthcare costs continuing to rise and the rapidly growing aging population, medical office space will continue to be in high demand through 2016 and beyond. It’s anticipated that investment in this industry will increase and the retail sector will continue to benefit as outpatient facilities look to lease in areas more convenient to their patients.

Low interest rates and stable tenants lend favorably for investors in the healthcare real estate industry. However, these factors combined with the aging demographic and effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have also increased demand and competition for healthcare properties. These same factors also create some financial uncertainty as question still remain regarding exactly how the ACA and insurance will effect hospitals and healthcare systems that are being charged with reducing costs while increasing the quality of care.

Reducing costs is one factor that is also driving healthcare – particularly outpatient services – to retail centers. With the ACA increasing the number of insured and convenience continuing to drive consumer trends, more people are choosing their healthcare providers the same as traditional retail in terms of choice and cost. Medical providers are relocating to shopping centers to capitalize on foot traffic and retail health clinics are on the rise due to their ability to provide longer hours, shorter waits and onsite services such as a pharmacy.

McWhirter Realty Partners continues to follow healthcare trends and understands the context, challenges and opportunities faced by medical practices in this market.  Plus, we have a strong history of working with healthcare systems and knowledge of medical office space availability and requirements throughout the metro Atlanta area.

Current leasing opportunities include six buildings in Decatur, Georgia, adjacent to Dekalb Medical with 14,000 SF currently available for lease. More information on the properties can be found here.

McWhirter Realty Partners understands the intricacies of site selection and entitlements to effectively guide decisions. If you have questions about healthcare real estate in the Atlanta area contact us today.




REO Services Case Study: Industrial and Manufacturing Facility

The Property: 

BB&T foreclosed on a single tenant office warehouse building containing 125,000 square feet. The building was used by the prior owner as a fabric manufacturing facility. Upon foreclosure, the former owner vacated and left its equipment, furniture, trash, cardboard, large industrial spools and other equipment that was used in manufacturing fabric.

What We Did:

McWhirter Realty Partners was engaged by BB&T to secure the building and to start the process of liquidation of the equipment, furniture and materials left by former owner. McWhirter Realty Partners obtained bids to make the immediate building repairs, including repairs necessary to bring the building into compliance. McWhirter Realty Partners then supervised the liquidation of the equipment, furniture and materials. Upon completion of this work, McWhirter Realty Partners began aggressively marketing the building for sale and subsequently sold the building to a user.


Protecting Your Commercial Property in a Flood

The severe flooding throughout the East Coast, especially South Carolina, has business owners reevaluating their flood protection measures both in existing buildings and new construction. Whether a building is located in an identified flood zone or not, there is more than just insurance to truly protect your business and financial investment.

  • Build with Flood Damage Resistant Materials: Building materials that can withstand direct contact with floodwaters for 72 hours are deemed “flood resistant” and should be used for building areas below the base flood elevation area. While these materials won’t prevent all damage, they will reduce the amount of damage and severity of clean-up. A list of these materials is available through FEMA.
  • Install Sewer Backflow Valves: Sewage backup not only causes damage but can also create a health hazard. Installing valves that temporarily block the drain to prevent return flow should be installed by a licensed plumber who can advise on the correct valve for your plumbing system.
  • Anchor Fuel Tanks: Rising flood waters can easily move unanchored fuel tanks located both inside and outside of a building causing property damage and an environmental hazard. Options for appropriately anchoring a fuel tank can be found on the FEMA website at
  • Protect Electrical Systems: Components such as service panels, outlets and switches are easily damaged beyond repair by water and pose a great fire hazard. Make sure you work with a licensed contractor for proper safety measures and check with the local power company on specific regulations. An undamaged electrical system reduces hazards and will help your business return to regular operations more quickly.

Flooding is a serious threat however being thorough and proactive in your preparedness can ensure your business is protected. McWhirter Realty Partners has a skilled property management team with experience preparing and recovering from weather related events. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how we can protect your investments and increase your property’s value through our premier property management services.


Healthcare Real Estate Remains Strong through Third Quarter 2015

A growing population and aging demographic coupled with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are creating opportunities for new development and expansion within the healthcare real estate industry.

With more people having access to healthcare, there is an uptick in hospital expansion in new markets and in the creation of suburban clinics. There is also a growing trend to move diagnostic and treatment services such as oncology, cardiology and orthopedic care away from main campuses into clinics closer to the patient population most in need of these services – the boomers. Construction of new facilities allows for strategic location of services and is also better suited for today’s technology infrastructure that can withstand the fast-paced changes occurring within the industry.

In May, McWhirter Realty Partners and MB Real Estate Healthcare Group broke ground on a 30,000 square foot expansion of medical office space in Conyers, Georgia. The new medical office building in Conyers Medical Park allows Rockdale Medical Center, a subsidiary of LifePoint Health, to expand its urgent care, general surgery, vascular and neurological operations among other specialties.

This is the second of four buildings planned for the Conyers Medical Park and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2015.

McWhirter Realty Partners continues to follow healthcare trends and understands the context, challenges and opportunities faced by medical practices in this market.  Plus, we have a strong history of working with healthcare systems and knowledge of medical office space availability and requirements throughout the metro Atlanta are. If you have questions about healthcare real estate in the Atlanta area contact us today.


Atlanta’s Retail Market Shows Steady Growth

There are a lot of positive elements taking place in the Atlanta retail market – occupancy is at its highest in seven years, new construction is increasing and the average rental rate remains low. What’s more, analysts anticipate the growth to continue with the overall occupancy rate increasing through the end of 2015.

While high occupancy levels and low rental rates seem to be contradictory, no one is complaining about the impact it’s having in the industry. Driving the major growth in the retail market is the increase in new apartment developments in-town and suburban mixed-use developments such as the Avalon in Alpharetta.

However, the average rental rate remains low due to the abundance of outdated properties in outlying areas that are unattractive to retailers and thus difficult to lease. Retailers realize slightly higher than average rental rates in urban markets but not as high as it could be without the vacancy in rural markets.

While this news is positive and developers are hopeful it continues, Atlanta is not unlike other markets where the greatest challenge continues to be from e-commerce retailers. To compete with the convenience of on-line shopping, developers will need to be creative in their approach in creating destinations for the brick and mortar retailers to attract consumers.

McWhirter Realty Partners helps companies find current retail pace but also identifies, develops and manages new construction opportunities. Contact us today or visit our listing page for more information.

Case Study: Turn Key Real Estate Solutions

aerial empty parking

Pinnacle Orthopedics- Marietta, Georgia

In 2003, Pinnacle Orthopedics engaged McWhirter Realty Partners to build its Marietta medical office and cha rged the firm with land acquisition, zoning, development and management. The two-story, 40,000 SF building was completed in 2004 and houses Pinnacle Orthopedics’ clinic, physical therapy practice and MRI unit.

After development was complete, McWhirter Realty Partners was retained as the Asset and Property Management Company. In 2015 Pinnacle decided to sell the building to a Healthcare REIT and McWhirter Realty Partners represented the company in the sale. The new owner continues to rely on McWhirter Realty Partners for Asset and Property Management and has since enlisted them for construction management services as it expands the physical therapy and MRI unit.

front ground


Real Estate Focus: Forsyth County

Forsyth County consistently ranks as one of the fastest growing counties in the US and currently holds the seventh position on the list according to the US Census Bureau’s 2014 Population Estimates. The Metro Atlanta suburb’s community and government is committed to smart growth, high education standards and making a positive economic impact on the state.

Since 2005, there has been marked growth of young, wealthy families moving to the northern suburb to take advantage of the highly ranked public schools and low taxes. Families also enjoy the county’s elaborate park system and growth of retail and dining experiences – all of which continue to drive the housing market.

Business is booming in Forsyth with the county alone attributing to 40 percent of North Georgia’s business growth in 2012 according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This growth is coming equally from expansion of existing businesses and relocation of new businesses. The county has focused initiatives – like the chamber’s Business First – to grow the healthcare, technology and international industries which have consistently been strong in the area.

Forsyth County is poised to continue to attract real estate investors and developers. McWhirter Realty Partners has extensive knowledge of the county and the surrounding area. If you have questions about real estate in Forsyth County or the metro Atlanta area, contact us today.


Atlanta Secures #4 Spot for Green Building 

Atlanta is moving up, and now ranks fourth in the 2015 Green Building Adoption Index, an initiative to quantify and understand green building in the top 30 US markets [1]. The US uses the Energy Star ranking and LEED certification to identify sustainable building in commercial real estate.  Of Atlanta’s office space, 57.9 percent is considered “green” where the national average is only 38.7 percent. 

Both inside and out, green buildings positively impact the environment by using resources such as water and energy more efficiently and thereby reducing waste and pollution. Developers also incorporate sustainable building materials with minimal product emissions, which protect workers’ health and ultimately improves employee productivity. Additionally, landscaping and native plant selection for outdoor spaces help reduce water usage and increase greenspace in urban areas. 

This increase in green building is applauded for its obvious environmental benefits, however its economic impact is also becoming more widely realized.  Initially, green building was assumed to be more costly and time consuming. However, with the right research, evaluation and planning, many green products and materials cost the same or less than conventional ones. Energy efficient design can often result in the use of smaller HVAC equipment which provides additional savings. What’s more, there are federal tax credits for specific energy efficient building and states are establishing tax benefits as well. 

Read our other recent blog posts for more information on environmental initiatives in commercial real estate including brownfield redevelopment and green cleaning



Brownfield Redevelopment Benefits in Georgia

Brownfields are property with a determined contaminate, hazardous material or pollutant which makes it difficult to be redeveloped for public or private use. A brownfield in a successful business or residential community has the obvious attraction of location but liability and cleanup costs most often deter potential developers from pursuing such properties.  

By limiting liability to a new owner, as well as providing tax incentives, Federal and state programs now make the cleanup task more appealing, which produces both environmental and economic benefits. The Georgia Brownfield program removes the future environmental liability from a new owner/developer and provides tax incentives to help recover costs for the investigation and the cleanup by “freezing” the assessed value of the property for up to ten years[1] or until costs have been recovered. So as the property value increases, the owner benefits in tax savings. 

Turning an unused property into a thriving business helps the economic vitality of the community as well. For example, in 2012, McWhirter Realty Partners purchased an abandoned convenient store in Athens, Georgia, that had been vacant for ten years due to a tremendous amount of contamination. The location, within the 5-Points neighborhood of Athens and less than a half-mile from the University of Georgia campus, was redeveloped following a plan successfully approved by Athens-Clarke County and the State’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD). Today, the site is home to Grindhouse Killer Burgers. 

Another example of a successful brownfield project is the former City of Norcross landfill. In the 1970’s the City of Norcross closed its landfill located on Reps Miller Road in the heart of Peachtree Corners. A partnership, led by McWhirter Realty Partners, acquired the 9 acre property for a future industrial development. After holding the land for many years, the company turned its focus to redeveloping the property for residential. With cooperation from the State EDP and geotechnical and environmental consultants, McWhirter Realty Partners removed all of the landfill and successfully rezoned the property for 90 townhome units. Greenwood Townhomes continues to thrive on the property today.  

What’s more, an EPA study found that residential property values increased by up to 12 percent within a one-mile radius of a brownfield assessment or cleanup[2]. And removing abandoned property can also reduce the prevalence of crime, loitering and vandalism. 

For more information on brownfield redevelopment in Georgia visit the EPD of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

[1] Georgia Brownfields Program