David OliverIn today’s Four on Friday, we talk with David Oliver, president of Jaz Development in Atlanta. He discusses his company’s services, how development in Atlanta has changed and his summer plans. Many thanks to David for his time. 

In your own words, what is Jaz Development?

Oliver: I formed Jaz Development in 2008 to pursue real estate investment and development opportunities in retail and office properties. Due to the onset of the recession, we had limited development activity from 2008 to 2012, and shifted our focus to acquiring properties, primarily REO strip centers from local banks. After completing a dozen acquisitions, we have stabilized the properties and are selling a few to redirect funds back to the development arena. We anticipate starting construction on three new development projects in 2015 totaling more than 500,000 square feet. 

Are there any big projects that Jaz has recently accomplished that you're most proud of? 

Oliver: While it is not completed, one of the aforementioned projects is in the final stages of permitting and its certainly one of the biggest we have been involved with. Getting to this point feels like an accomplishment, particularly given that it is located along the coast in a very difficult jurisdiction to receive entitlements. We have overcome numerous obstacles involving environmental remediation, wetland permitting, road improvements and zoning issues to create a developable site.

My partners have done a brilliant job stabilizing the Two Buckhead Plaza mixed-use project we developed in 2006, and it is now positioned to take advantage of all of the great things happening in Buckhead. The 220,000-square-foot office, retail and condominium project, located at Peachtree Street and West Paces Ferry Road has great synergy with One Buckhead Plaza, the St. Regis Hotel and Buckhead Atlanta.

How do you think Atlanta development has changed in the past ten years, and how do you feel it will change in the next ten?

Oliver: Obviously the trend has been to develop mixed-use, transit and urban infill projects. If you look back to 2006, Atlantic Station, Terminus and our Two Buckhead Plaza development were on the forefront of combining commercial and residential space to create dynamic live/work environments. That has been taken to a whole new level with the recent openings of Avalon, Buckhead Atlanta, Ponce City Market and scores of multifamily infill projects that are positioned to play off existing commercial and residential density. 

Going forward there will be more infill, transit and mixed-use projects due to the concerns with traffic, which is our number one impediment. Retail will become more experiential; office will trend towards open plan with tech firms driving demand and resetting the traditional building model; and depending on interest rate movement, multifamily will either slow down organically, convert to condominiums, or have a sharp correction as millennials alone can’t sustain the type of rent growth required to keep supply coming (my 24-year-old can buy more and pay less at current interest rates). 

Are you taking a vacation this summer? 

Oliver: We have a mission trip to Kenya in the works, a couple of college visits planned and will make time for a beach or a golf trip with my boys.