Q2 2012 Atlanta, Georgia Retail Submarket Trends

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Q2 2012 Atlanta, Georgia Retail Submarket Trends

Central Area: CBD/Midtown/Buckhead

  • Reis covers Buckhead, Midtown and the Atlanta Central Business District in a single submarket—CBD/Midtown/Buckhead. Because of their unique profiles, however, the two most significant areas—Buckhead and Midtown—are treated separately here.
  • For the CBD/Midtown/Buckhead community-neighborhood shopping center submarket all told, second quarter anchor and non-anchor vacancies were 9.3% and 11.7%, down and up from 13.5% and 10.0% the previous quarter.
  • Respective average asking lease rates for the quarter were $17.24 psf for anchor space and $26.21 psf for non-anchor, up from $17.10 psf and $26.12 psf.
  • Much of the development in these areas is found in the form of large mixed-use redevelopment projects.

Central Area: Buckhead

  • “There’s been a real trend toward urbanization along the Peachtree spine between downtown and Buckhead and it’s being fueled by Gen Y,” according to an Urban Land Institute executive as cited by Atlanta Business Chronicle in July. “That would continue an important change in development patterns for Atlanta.”
  • More. “It means Buckhead, the city’s most upscale shopping district, is likely to become even more urban over the next decade, and vacant Midtown and downtown sites are even more prime for redevelopment.”
  • Two high-profile large-format projects with a combined total of over 1 million square feet of retail space have dominated recent development in Buckhead.
  • The largest of the pair, The Sembler Company’s $400 million, 54-acre TOWN/Brookhaven project on Peachtree Road between two MARTA light rail stations on Buckhead’s north side, delivered 550,000 square feet of retail space in February 2012. Construction began in 2007.
  • More. All of TOWN/Brookhaven’s five anchor stores had opened as of last November. Retail occupancy in the project was near 100.0% in March, the Chronicle reported at the time.
  • A new start is indicated for the stalled $1 billion Buckhead Atlanta mixed-use project (formerly Streets of Buckhead), Buckhead’s second major current retail development with 500,000 square feet planned. The project was acquired recently by OliverMcMillan from Ben Carter Properties.
  • Behind the scenes. Described by the Chronicle in July as “the ritziest” of the metro area’s major developments, the project stalled as a result of the downturn. Still, notes this source, Buckhead Atlanta is “making progress behind the scenes.”
  • Walmart, expanding nationwide, has selected Buckhead’s Lindbergh area as the locale for its third intown Atlanta store, the Chronicle reported in July. The 150,000-square-foot Supercenter will be part of a $90 million, 21-acre mixed-use development planned by newly formed Fuqua Development LLC.
  • More. Earlier, as reported previously, city planners rejected the The Sembler Company’s proposal for a 10-acre, grocery-anchored retail center adjacent to its Lindbergh Plaza center (near the Lindbergh MARTA station).
  • A renovation of Lenox Square by owner Simon Property Group Inc. “could be the first step toward eventually developing the outparcels close to Peachtree, giving retailers the opportunity for street-level space at Lenox Square,” the Chronicle reported in July.

Central Area: Midtown

  • Midtown has played host to significant retail activity, led by the massive Atlantic Station and 12th & Midtown mixed-use redevelopments. More is on the way.
  • Atlantic Station. The project has gained 15 new tenants in the past 18 months, the Chronicle reported in July.
  • 12th & Midtown. The multi-block development that includes the new 1075 Peachtree office tower (with 60,000 square feet of retail) and a Loews Atlanta Hotel, hosts one remaining undeveloped site—a vacant parking lot that would support a mixed-use building at 600,000-to-700,000 square feet (30-to-35 stories), this source reports. Selig Enterprises and Daniel Corporation are the developers.
  • More. In addition to major office, hotel and residential components, 12th and
  • Midtown, the “foundation” of Atlanta’s 14-block Midtown Mile, will include “up to” 300,000 square feet of retail, the Chronicle reported recently.
  • Larger ambitions. Dewberry Capital has received “several offers” to develop its 4-acre Midtown Square site at 10th and Peachtree “but has turned them down in favor of even larger ambitions,” according to the Chronicle. Reis reports 200,000 square feet of retail space currently planned for the project.
  • More. According to a recent report in The Midtown Archive, plans for Midtown Square include up to 2 million square feet of office, residential, retail and hotel space on the Peachtree block between 10th and 11th streets. Another source has cited a 3-million-square-foot total.
  • Uptown Atlanta? A total of 45,000 square feet of retail have been reported planned for an unnamed mixed-use project at 1400 Peachtree (at 17th Street). An affiliate of Dewberry Capital Corporation, looking to rebrand the area as “Uptown” Atlanta, bought the “prime property” in June 2011, according to reports.

Central Area: Downtown

  • “Perhaps the most complex site” on the list of planned developments “and perhaps the biggest game-changer” is The Gulch, a near-120-acre blighted site on the western downtown periphery near Georgia Dome, the Chronicle reported in July.
  • More. The redevelopment project planned at nearly 6 million square feet of office, retail and residential space has the potential to impact Atlanta the way Hartsfield-
  • Jackson Atlanta International Airport did, developer Forest City Enterprises’ project leader informed the source.
  • Update: setback. The July defeat of the TSPLOST sales tax referendum “likely will slow the momentum of downtown Atlanta’s revitalization,” the Chronicle reported in August. “Now, the district will have to look to other sources for hundreds of millions in funding.”

To the east: Northeast Atlanta/East Atlanta

  • Two major projects have been announced for this submarket, located adjacent to and east of Midtown.
  • Ponce City Market. Green Street Properties, a subsidiary of Jamestown, filed plans in November for the mixed-use redevelopment of the 2.1-million-square-foot former Sears Roebuck & Company building at 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue. Plans include 245,494 square feet of retail, 20,645 square feet of restaurants, a large residential element and office and hotel components.
  • More. Defeat of the sales tax for transportation referendum, described above, comes as a disappointment to this project, which had “a big stake” in the July vote, according to local news reporting. Reporting in July, the Chronicle described Ponce City Market as “Atlanta’s biggest re-urbanization project.”
  • More. “Light rail lies at the heart of the $180 million transformation of the old Sears, Roebuck and Company that most recently housed City Hall East. Ponce City Market is scheduled to open in 2014. A train hasn’t run by the property since the 1960’s.”
  • Reis reports the May completion of 50,000 square feet of retail at the Glenwood
  • Park mixed-use project at I-20 and Glenwood Avenue, Atlanta. The development has been described as an example of “new urbanism.”
  • Walmart. Selig Enterprises is running into community opposition to the Walmart Supercenter planned for Decatur on Atlanta’s east side. On the basis of the recent
  • Walmart scandal, a citizens group has “sent letters… requesting that DeKalb County commissioners make public any contributions from Walmart and Selig Enterprises,” the Chronicle reported in May. “The group also sent similar requests to Selig and Walmart.”
  • A total of 82,000 square feet of retail are under construction in the $100 million first phase of the $250 million Emory Point mixed-use project on Clifton Road. Cousins Properties and Gables Residential are co-developers. Reis expects the retail to complete this October. Construction began in April 2011.
  • More. “The development will be the first new retail project built in the trade area in 20 years; the largest private development start inside the Perimeter in more than three years,” according to PRWeb. Two additional phases are planned, according to industry sources. The second phase, the Chronicle has reported, will host 40,000 square feet of retail.
  • Second quarter anchor and non-anchor vacancies for 7.3 million square feet of community-neighborhood shopping center space are reported by Reis at 20.2% and 12.3%, unchanged and up 10 basis points from the quarter before.
  • Respective average asking lease rates for the quarter were $14.00 psf for anchor and $18.96 psf for non-anchor space, up from $13.97 psf and $18.88 psf.

North Suburban: Sandy Springs/North Fulton

  • The Sandy Springs/North Fulton submarket encompasses the Highway 400 corridor, the Roswell-Alpharetta area of northern Fulton County, and, closer in, the Central Perimeter area along I-285 (the Perimeter Highway) north of Atlanta. Before the recession and as recently as 2009, this submarket was among the region’s most active for retail development.
  • Avalon—update. Avalon, the $600 million mixed-use development at Georgia 400 and Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta planned by North American Properties that will replace Thomas Enterprises’ once-planned 106-acre Prospect Park development, received approvals from the city in April 2012.
  • Background. Prospect Park was run aground by the recession. North American paid $22.8 million for the site in 2011.
  • More. Plans include approximately 560,000 square feet of retail space in a variety of formats. Reis, placing the project in the community center category, cites plans for a major building with 406,700 square feet. Committed anchors include Whole Foods Market and Regal Cinemas.
  • Dunwoody. “Retail in the Dunwoody area is heating up again as both high-end retailers and discounters make their way into the market,” the Chronicle reported in late July.
  • Case in point: Later this year, department store chain Von Maur will open a 200,000-square-foot store, its second in Atlanta, at Perimeter Mall in a space formerly occupied by Bloomingdale’s. Von Maur opened a location at North Point Mall in 2011.
  • Metro Atlanta’s third Nordstrom Rack opened in April in the former Linens ‘n Things space at North Point Market Center, the Chronicle reported at the time.
  • The redevelopment of the Green Corners Shopping Center at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Rockbridge Road near Norcross “has started with the demolition of the aging plaza,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in June. Plans include a 157,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter scheduled to open in summer 2013.
  • “A $100 million mixed-use project proposed for Sandy Springs could raze two aging apartment complexes along Roswell Road, a sign of redevelopment along the city’s major corridor,” the Chronicle reported in late June. JLB Partners would redevelop the 10-acre site.
  • More. “Although plans have yet to be filed for the multi-phase project, JLB is hoping to build apartments. Another company, in a joint venture, would develop the retail component.”
  • The 366,000-square-foot East Village power center at Highway 400 and Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell remains on the “under construction” list. Much of the project’s space, however, has been built. Anchor tenants include SuperTarget, which opened in 2008, and Marshall’s.
  • For its Sandy Springs/North Fulton submarket, Reis put second quarter mean asking rents for neighborhood and community center space at $12.31 psf for anchor space and $19.17 psf for non-anchor, up from $12.26 psf and $19.09 psf a quarter earlier.
  • Respective vacancies were 10.5% and 18.8%, down and up from 11.0% and 18.6%.


  • Southern Fulton County and neighboring south suburban Henry and Clayton counties have been very active with development in recent years.
  • In its South Atlanta/Airport submarket, Reis reports the delivery of only one project in 2011. A 99,000-square-foot neighborhood center, the first phase of the Old National Marketplace on Old National Highway in College Park, completed in November. A 161,000-square-foot second phase is planned. The Inland Atlantic Development Corporation is the developer.
  • No projects meeting Reis’ criteria were under construction in this submarket per the date of this report.
  • “Plans and projects in the southern portion of the core Atlanta region stand to enhance the area’s role in Atlanta’s regional economy,” the Chronicle reported in late March. Cited are the May opening of the 1.2-million-square-foot international terminal at Hartsfield and plans to redevelop the 488-acre Fort McPherson closed last September.
  • For its South Atlanta/Airport submarket, Reis put respective second quarter mean asking lease rates for anchor and non-anchor community-neighborhood center space at $7.77 psf and $11.47 psf, up from the previous quarter’s $7.75 psf and $11.32 psf.
  • Respective quarter-end vacancies were 10.5% and 10.3%, down from 10.6% and 11.1%.
  • No projects were under construction per early August in the Forest Park/Clayton County submarket. Planning is minimal.
  • Average second quarter asking rents were $8.43 psf and $12.30 psf for anchor and non-anchor space, down from $8.46 psf and $12.34 psf the quarter prior.
  • Respective vacancies were 19.5% and 19.9%, down and up from 20.0% and 18.6%.

Far North (beyond submarket boundaries)

  • In the Canton area and along the I-575 corridor, the construction of major retail centers of regional impact exploded in recent years. Cherokee, Barrow and Forsyth counties benefitted from the northward expansion. Recessionary factors, including slumping residential development, brought development in this region to an effective halt.
  • A new project. Ground was broken in early May for the 370,600-square-foot Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta outlet center in Woodstock in the far northwest, according to the Chronicle. An August 2013 opening is expected.
  • More. The project is the first “big bet” made by major mall developer CBL & Associates in the Atlanta area since the late 1990s. In a joint venture with Horizon Group Properties, CBL has a 75.0% stake in the project.
  • More. Cityfeet.com reports the center 70.0% preleased. Tenants include Saks Off Fifth, Nike, Brooks Brothers “and many others.”