The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts tagged bisnow

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines


The Wilbert Group’s clients have been making news, and we’ve been securing them headlines across the Southeast. Take a look:

1. Crescent Communities CEO Todd Mansfield offered his take on the recent uptick in U.S. housing starts to Bloomberg Business. “With the job situation improving slowly, unemployment going down, people seem to have more confidence in the economy,” Mansfield told Bloomberg. “That has gotten some people off the dime who want to upgrade their home or get out of the basement.”

2. The North Atlanta Business Post discusses Avalon’s ongoing popularity and the mixed-use community’s Phase II, which will add a 650-space parking deck, 256 residential units, an office tower, hotel, conference center and another 150,000 square feet of retail space.

Avalon Phase II

Rendering of Avalon’s Phase II

3. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s popular “5 Questions for the Boss” feature recently profiled Aaron’s new CEO John Robinson.

4. Multi Housing Advisors spoke with Bisnow about how investors are still looking to buy multifamily housing despite a sluggish first-quarter economy. MHA’s Jordan McCarley told Bisnow that the high demand is resulting in more creative deal structures.

5. covered the industrial panel at the recent RealShare Atlanta conference. Panelist and attorney Summey Orr of Hartman Simons told the audience that the “handful” of developers who stayed in the Atlanta industrial market during the downturn now find themselves with “a lot of opportunities.”

Broughton Street

Savannah’s Historic Broughton Street

6. Developer Ben Carter weighed in on Savannah’s economic recovery in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. Carter is planning a $100 million makeover of Savannah’s historic Broughton Street that will bring new retail, restaurants, apartments and office spaces. Earlier this spring, Carter also opened the first phase of a Tanger outlet mall near the city’s airport.

Media Moves: What’s The Scoop?


by Savannah Duncan

Charles Gay. Via

As former journalists, we still love to get —and share— the latest newsroom scoop. In Media Moves, we highlight the latest happenings in journalism and media.

#1 Meet the Press. Charles Gay recently shared his first The Biz Beat blog as the new senior editor for the paper’s business section. He’s been an editor at the paper for 16 years, covering a slew of topics including community news, state politics, business, sports and all manners of local news.

#2 Rest in Peace. Ben Bradlee, executive editor of The Washington Post for 26 years, passed away on Oct. 21. He was 93 years old. President Obama said, “A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told — stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better.”

#3 Bisnow Business. National Bisnow editor Amanda Marsh recently announced that she is leaving Bisnow on Oct. 31 to pursue a freelance writing career. She has been with Bisnow for six years.

Five Multifamily Trends from Bisnow


by Savannah Duncan 

Amid one of the worst recessions in history, multifamily properties continued to see rent growth, interested investors and even financing for new construction. This week two panels of experts at Bisnow Atlanta shared insight into the multifamily market. Here are five of the top trends they shared. 

#1 Seniors housing continues to heat up. “Developers can’t build seniors housing fast enough,” said Doug Linneman, vice president of Franklin Street Real Estate Services.

#2 Apartments are shrinking. Studio units in urban locations are as small as 350 to 400 square feet, said Dave Stockert, president and CEO of Post Properties. People are willing to live in a smaller apartment if it’s in a great location and the rent is the right price, he added.

#3 Animals are more important to renters than ever. “Pets are the new children,” said Sue Ansel, CEO of Gables Residential. Dog walking services, pet spas and dog parks are a few ways animals are living the good life.

#4 Texas is high on everyone’s list of places to develop. “Texas was a great multifamily market until Gables found it,” joked Gregory Mutz, CEO of Gables Residential. In Austin, downtown development has been hot, and Houston and Dallas retain their reputations as strong multifamily cities.

#5 Fannie and Freddie aren’t going anywhere any time soon. “Shutting down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be as difficult as shutting down Guantanamo Bay, and they’ve been trying to do that for five years,” said Frank Baldasare, senior vice president of Walker & Dunlop.

Top Five Takeaways From Bisnow’s State of the Market


Yesterday morning, the commercial real estate community gathered at Bisnow to hear top professionals share their thoughts on the state of the Atlanta market. The keynote speaker was Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick. Wes Hudson, managing partner of CohnReznick, moderated the first panel, which included Larry Gellerstedt, president and CEO of Cousins Properties; Mark Toro, partner of North American Properties; Scott Taylor, president of Carter; and John Beam, managing director of Centerline Capital Group. Thomas Hruby, Jr. director of Beck, moderated the second panel, which included Jim Bacchetta, vice president of Highwoods Properties; John Robbins, managing director of Granite Properties; Rob Metcalf, senior managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle; and Casey Keitchen, vice president of Bull Realty.

The panel at Bisnow’s State of the Market in Atlanta on April 24, 2013.

The general tone of the event was positive, with several speakers commenting that they have seen an uptick in commercial real estate. With a slowly improving job market, O’Keefe said that later this year, growth will accelerate at an even more rapid pace. Below are five of the big takeaway points from Bisnow’s State of the Market:

#1 Atlanta has several strengths that are hard to replicate that will help the commercial real estate market continue to improve. Gellerstedt pointed directly to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as well as the great presence of colleges and universities in Atlanta. In fact, Atlanta is the city with the fourth highest number of undergrads in the country.

#2 The multifamily market continues to boom — and shows no signs of stopping. Beam stated that 4,400 units are currently under construction in the Buckhead and Midtown submarkets. Rents have increased to approximately $2 per foot in Midtown and approximately $1.50 per foot in Buckhead. Additionally, last year 15 Class A properties sold with an average price of $160,000 per unit.

#3 Walkability is key to future development, said Toro. Projects that offer access to entertainment, retail and office space within a walkable distance are the first sign that Atlanta is becoming a real city. Developments such as Emory Point will continue to become more and more common as cities are built out.

#4 The office market has changed forever in how occupiers use space. Taylor stated that companies will use approximately 30 percent less space going forward. The next generation of office development will include more mixed-use smaller buildings with more light and less space.

#5 The flight-to-quality trend continues in the office arena on both the leasing and sales side. Keitchen added that the office market in Atlanta experienced positive net absorption of 200,000 square feet in the first quarter. Robbins anticipated overall absorption for 2013 to come in around 2 million, provided job growth continues to occur.

Bisnow Atlanta’s Real Estate and Economic Forecast


by Stephen Ursery 

Much of the Atlanta commercial real estate community gathered at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead on Tuesday morning for coffee, networking and a look ahead to next year. The occasion was Bisnow’s “2013 Atlanta Real Estate and Economic Forecast,” and The Wilbert Group team was there to see what two renowned economists and a five-member panel discussion had to say about the state of the economy and the commercial real estate industry.


Panelists at the “2013 Atlanta Real Estate and Economic Forecast.” From left to right: Mark Toro, partner at North American Properties; John Heagy, senior managing director at Hines; Jatin Desai, chief investment officer at Peachtree Hotel Group; Gordon Buchmiller, managing partner of Childress Klein Properties’ Atlanta office; and moderator Wes Hudson, commercial real estate leader of CohnReznick’s South Central Region.

In the spirit of the High Five blog, below are five notable points made during Tuesday’s event:

#1 Don’t Get Too Excited about the Economy Just Yet. Rajeev Dhawan, the director of Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center and one of two keynote speakers on Tuesday, predicted that the U.S. economy wouldn’t take a dramatic leap forward in 2013, in part because many international markets will continue to struggle, which will in turn limit U.S. exports.

However, “2014 will be glorious,” he predicted. “If somehow we could get rid of 2013, I would and go straight to 2014.”

Dhawan did predict that ongoing fiscal-cliff negotiations would eventually produce “a credible down payment on [the federal] deficit.”

Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities and the day’s second keynote speaker, largely echoed Dhawan’s sentiments. 2013 “will be challenging at the start of the year” as consumers and businesses adjust to higher taxes and federal spending cuts, but the economy should pick up steam in the latter half of the year, Vitner said.

“When you look at the economy, there’s not a lot of strength,” Vitner added. “Things aren’t great but they are better than they were a year ago in more areas of the economy. The strengths seem to be broadening.”

#2 Atlanta Must Expand Mass Transit. Several participants of Tuesday’s panel discussion made a point of repeatedly emphasizing the need for metro Atlanta to more heartily embrace mass transit and mitigate its traffic woes.

Referring to this summer’s defeat of the TSPLOST measure, which would have funded more mass transit and other traffic improvements, John Heagy, a senior managing director at Hines, said, “Secondary and tertiary markets [across the nation] that we compete with [for businesses] are using [the defeat] against us in a very big way … We’ve got to get to the Plan B  that [TSPLOST] proponents said didn’t exist.”

#3 A New Day Has Dawned. The heyday of walk-up, garden-style apartment complexes and of ground-up retail centers in the suburbs has passed, said Mark Toro, a partner with North American Properties. The rise of Millennials, who prefer living and working in walkable, urban centers, means that future apartment and retail development will be concentrated in such areas, he noted.

The commercial real estate business “as we’ve known it is over for our careers,” Toro said, adding that one of the first things his firm does when considering a property for development is to enter the address at to get the property’s walkability rating.

#4 The Office Market Remains Quiet. Furthermore, it could be awhile before it takes off, according to Gordon Buchmiller, a managing partner in Childress Klein Properties’ Atlanta office. “We don’t really see any office markets in the Southeast that we think are healthy,” he said, later adding, “We’re so far from rents that we would need to justify new construction.”

#5 Distressed Hotel Sales Seem to Be Declining. Jatin Desai, chief investment officer for Peachtree Hotel Group, said his firm’s purchases of troubled hotels are slowing. “2012 was probably a little lighter than 2011,” he said.

“We saw banks give borrowers a little more time,” Desai added. “Banks are becoming healthier … [they] can hold [a troubled hotel] on their books a little longer.”