Fall is here, and with the arrival of cooler temperatures,
we’d like to pause and look back on some of the many great Four on Friday
Q&A’s we conducted over the summer. Below are excerpts from and links to —
you guessed it — four interviews from recent months. They are great examples of
the insight into the commercial real estate markets, and the personalities that
help shape those markets, that we try to provide every Friday. 

1) Ken
Ashley of Cushman & Wakefield

HS: Looking forward, what do you consider the strengths of
Atlanta's economy, and what aspects are cause for concern?

Ashley:
There is light at the end of the tunnel. All the recent announcements of
corporate relocations and upsizings portend good things for our future. We
still have the best airport in the Southeast and one of the better ones in the
U.S. We also have great and reasonably priced talent. Up until very recently,
our real estate has been at a great discount to many other opportunities in the
U.S.

Bottom
line, Atlanta is a great place to live and work, and in the current
environment, many companies can lower operating costs by locating here. Plus,
we have some of the best SEC football anywhere.

I
do worry that we are kicking the can down the road on infrastructure issues.
We’ve heard of our transportation problems so much, most of us just chuckle
with a knowing smile when out-of-towners ask about traffic. But I’ve watched
other cities from Seattle to Denver to even Greenville, S.C., unite behind a
vision that is absolutely transformative for their communities.

I
like the leadership of Kasim Reed and Nathan Deal, but those two men can’t do it
all alone. We have to get active as citizens of this great community and have
the dialogue on infrastructure that will lead to unified political will. Only
then can we change our future. 

To read the full Four
on Friday with Ken Ashley, click here.

2) Larry
Callahan of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate

HS: What is the biggest thing that the Atlanta industrial market
has going for it in the near future, and what is its biggest challenge?

Callahan: In
real estate, location and timing are key. Atlanta sits in the center of the
most rapidly growing region of the country. I would submit that our location is
a long-term strategic advantage enhanced by our investment in things like the
new international terminal at the airport. We still need to invest more in
transportation solutions to improve the flow of people and goods into and
through the city, and we need to continue to focus on the fact that water will
limit our size unless we use periods of high rainfall to save for the
future. 

To read the full Four
on Friday with Larry Callahan, click here.

3) Tim
Perry of North American Properties

HS: Avalon made some big news [recently] when NAP announced that
it had secured $126.5 million in construction financing for Phase I of the
project and that vertical construction had begun one month ahead of schedule.
How hearty are lenders' appetites currently for mixed-use projects such as
Avalon?

Perry:
Capital is certainly back and funding new construction; however, commercial
properties still must meet substantial pre-leasing requirements.

Large,
mixed-use assets pose unique challenges as well, considering there are
typically multiple lenders involved in syndication. From a capital standpoint,
Avalon is the culmination of more than 75 percent pre-leasing to high-quality
tenants, two senior lenders, a mezzanine lender and public-pension equity –
all of which had specific nuances that had to be managed to work in conjunction
with each other while maintaining flexibility for the project to be delivered
in line with scope and dates. 

To read the full Four
on Friday with Tim Perry, click here.

4) Lisa
Streidl of The Zall Co.

HS: Broadly speaking, how strongly do you think the retail real
estate sector has recovered from the Great Recession?

Streidl: I
remain cautiously optimistic. The consumer will to continue to show up as long
as we give them a reason to, assuming employment doesn’t drop and interest
rates remain reasonable. Until the recovery gets stronger and demonstrates more
staying power, we will be on our toes. Shopping centers will need to engage the
customer by keeping a fresh tenant mix that includes compelling, non-retail
draws. Retailers will need to continue to evolve their product offerings while
remaining true to their customers. That’s a sometimes-tricky line to
walk. 

 

To read the full Four
on Friday with Lisa Streidl, click here.

As we said, these are just four of the many compelling Four
on Fridays we produced this summer. For full access to all of our Four on
Fridays, click here.