Tag Archives: Atlanta

Real Estate Focus: Dekalb County

Dekalb County is consistently ranked as one of the top ten counties to live in Georgia[1] based on factors such as cost of living, public schools, amenities and job opportunities. What’s more, since 2014, the county has made a significant effort to make it an even better place to do business with the creation of the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

The Plan recommended creating an incentive policy to help entice and expand business in six target industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Construction and Support Trades, Life Sciences, Logistics, Professional and Business Services and Tourism. In March of this year, an Economic Development Incentives Policy was approved.

Objectives of the Incentives Policy include: expanding economic development activity, enhancing the tax base, job creation and retention and encouraging private sector reinvestment in vital areas. For businesses within the target industries this means the potential for reduced fees for development permits and business licenses, matching funds for water and sewer infrastructure improvements and possible acceleration of the development review process.

Dekalb County’s positive accolades and business incentives will continue to attract real estate investors and developers. McWhirter Realty Partners has extensive knowledge of the county and the surrounding area with current opportunities including:

  • 5830 E. Ponce De Leon: 26,572 SF flex, office/warehouse building and a 6,650 SF service building, and is located within Stone Mountain Industrial Park.
  • 6121 Memorial Drive: 40,000 SF former automobile dealership on 6.2 acres

If you have questions about real estate in Dekalb County or the metro Atlanta area, contact us today.

 

 

 

[1] local.niche.com/rankings/counties/best-counties/s/georgia/

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.

 

Preparing Your Commercial Property for Winter Weather

It’s the time of year when temperatures can fluctuate drastically and being caught unprepared in an unexpected hard freeze can lead to significant property damage. Now is the time for business owners to think ahead to ensure their property is protected and action plans are in place when the cold weather hits.

  • Inspect mechanical systems and change filters
  • Test gas lines that have been dormant during the warmer months
  • Ensure pipes are properly insulated to avoid breaks
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detection systems
  • Make sure exterior access points have proper weather stripping
  • Replenish emergency supplies including flashlights, batteries, rock salt, sand and snow/ice removal equipment
  • Test the freeze sensor on the irrigation system

Review your winterization plan with your maintenance team. Ensure proper steps are taken now in the case of an unexpected freeze and also prepare a timeline for actions to be taken as the weather continues to cool. Make sure all employees know what to do in the case of severe weather and how they can help prepare to be safe.

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 our services or need a property management partner.

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.

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.

 

Preventative Maintenance of Commercial Property Saves Time and Money for Owners

Regular maintenance of building systems and property components can sometimes be pushed to the side when there isn’t a pressing problem. However, waiting until there is a problem can be more costly and time consuming – for the owner and tenant – than making routine maintenance a priority.

Property managers, whether in house or outsourced, need to have a thorough preventative maintenance plan in place with regular inspections scheduled in advance so they aren’t overlooked or delayed. A successful preventative maintenance plan includes the following:

  • Major building systems: HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems can often be the most costly to repair, and inspections should be scheduled according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Special care should be considered during seasonal changes to prevent issues like frozen pipes or clogged air filters that can occur during periods of extreme weather or idle use. 
  • Building and grounds: Roofing, gutters, parking garages and pavement surfaces need to be inspected and cleaned regularly. Repairs to fix loose tiles, fill cracks or remove excess debris not only maintains the health of the building but also prevent accidents and injuries which could incur additional expense and liability to the property owner.   
  • Fire and safety systems: A licensed professional should check fire and safety systems to ensure they are in working order and proper reporting and certifications are maintained. A dedicated employee needs to know where the appropriate documentation is kept for easy access. Additionally, inspection certificates and licenses need to be displayed according to state jurisdiction to prevent further penalty.

Thorough preventative maintenance programs have significant economic benefits by reducing the risk of costly emergency repairs and extending the life of critical systems. If you are considering hiring a property management company, McWhirter Realty Partners has 30 years of experience and manages commercial properties throughout the metro Atlanta area.

 

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

[2] www.epa.gov/brownfields

Atlanta Industrial Market Continues to Grow

Touted as one of the top five industrial markets in the nation, all key indicators continue to confirm that the industrial market in Atlanta will remain strong. Vacancy rates are less than 9 percent and rental rates are climbing.

What’s driving Atlanta to be the largest market for industrial buildings in the southeast?

  • E-commerce: The growing number of retail sales attributed to online purchases is driving the demand for distribution space. Atlanta’s proximity to inland and coastal port markets make it a prime location.
  • Logistics companies: Georgia is home to 90 percent of the top 25 global third-party logistics providers[1]. Its location and infrastructure attracts companies transporting goods nationally and globally. Whether via air, rail, road or sea, its accessibility helps save company’s time and money.
  • Warehouses: National retailers growing their distribution channels and the use of third-party logistics firms drives the need for warehouse space in excess of 100,000 SF.
  • Service companies for residential developments:  The growth of granite, marble, HVAC, supply houses, etc. leasing space in the metro Atlanta area is contributing to a tighter industrial market.

 

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. Contact us today or visit our listing page for more information.

[1]http://www.georgia.org/industries/logistics-services/

 

Atlanta’s Office Market Remains Strong

The office market rebound and stabilizing economy in 2014 had everyone breathing a little easier but still crossing their fingers it would continue. Fortunately, Atlanta’s office market remains strong with vacancy rates below 20 percent[1] and rents climbing.

“Governor Deal is doing a great job promoting economic development within the state and it’s carried directly over to the office market,” said Barry McWhirter, president and CEO of McWhirter Realty Partners.

Corporate growth is a key driver for the low availability. Companies are gaining confidence in the economy and many are not only lifting the hiring freeze but recruiting for growth. And with that growth, businesses are actively seeking space. 

The construction and new development industry is rebounding but hasn’t caught up to the demand for space. So as new space comes available users are moving quickly to secure it. Tenants need to not only move fast but be flexible in the options available in today’s market. 

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

 

[1] According to CBRE Atlanta Office MarketView Q1 2015