August 20, 2014

Bisnow Panels Say Atlanta’s Industrial Sector Is on the Mend


(Above, from left: Summey Orr, Greg Bradley, Mark Dishaw, Tom Cobb and Paul Little)

Yesterday morning, Hartman Simons partner Summey Orr moderated one of two panel discussions at Bisnow’s 5thAnnual Atlanta Industrial Real Estate Summit, which provided a comprehensive and engaging look at the metro area’s improving industrial market.

Orr’s panel included Greg Bradley of Prologis, Tom Cobb of Oakmont Industrial Group, Mark Dishaw of Trammell Crow Co. and Paul Little of Alston Construction.

The other panel, moderated by Chuck Warbington of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, featured Larry Callahan of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate, Alan Pontius of Marcus & Millichap, Jeff Small of MDH Partners and Lisa Ward of DCT Industrial.

Below are some of the highlights of the points made during yesterday’s event:

Rising Costs. Panelists repeatedly remarked on the Atlanta industrial sector’s growing strength and healthy supply-demand balance. One note of caution: rising supply costs and a shortage of skilled labor could dampen future development, both Cobb and Little noted.

The labor shortage is forcing some construction firms to overpay for project managers and superintendents, Little said.

New Stadiums Rising. On a related note, panelists also noted that construction of the new Falcons and Braves stadiums could further dwindle the labor pool available for new industrial projects. However, “I hope that [the two stadiums] become a positive by drawing more people into the labor market,” Bradley said.

A Strong Recovery. Despite the cautionary observations about material and labor costs, the panelists overall were bullish on the metro area’s industrial sector.

“This is a very deep and broad industrial market,” Pontius said. “There is significant demand across the board. It’s deeper than just the big-box space.”

“Everybody’s focused on e-commerce, but it isn’t the only driver,” Callahan, who at one point noted Atlanta is in the “early innings” of its industrial recovery, added. “There’s food, shelter, appliances and medicine.”

A Healthy Mix. The recovering industrial market has been fueled by a combination of home-grown tenants and relocations, Ward noted. “We’ve seen a lot of organic growth [from Atlanta companies], and we’ve seen companies coming in from out of town,” she said. “

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