In today’s Four on Friday, we chat with John Bemis of JLL’s Atlanta office about the retail sector in the Atlanta and the Southeast, the potential of a redeveloped Underground Atlanta and his idea of the perfect day (spoiler alert: it takes place in the mountains of Utah). Many thanks to John for his insight and time.
Give us an overview of your role and responsibilities at JLL.
Bemis: I am an Executive Vice President and the Retail Market Lead for the Southeast. I am responsible for the oversight of all operational functions, and I collaborate with clients and client-service teams to develop and implement strategies that maximize asset value.
Additional responsibilities include serving as the Brokerage Lead, a role in which I’m responsible for the administration and management of retail brokers, and providing strategic planning and evaluation for the remerchandising and redevelopment of properties.
Finally, I play a large role in business development and relationship management for investor and occupier clients seeking retail services in the Southeast.
What’s your assessment of the overall health of the retail real estate market in Atlanta and the Southeast – how far has it come since the Great Recession, and how far does it have to go?
Bemis: Different sectors of the metro Atlanta area have recovered at varying rates. Buckhead, Central Perimeter and the 400 corridor are fully recovered and growing. Decatur, Midtown and the western suburbs have recovered and are continuing to build.
The Southeast in general is in very good shape. Nashville is one of the hottest markets in the South, as is Charlotte. Both are on the upswing and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
You were quoted in the Atlanta Business Chronicle recently about the possibility that a grocery store could be lured to the Underground Atlanta site. What's your assessment of the impact that a redeveloped Underground Atlanta could have on Downtown?
Bemis: If the developer can attract a viable grocery store to the site, it has the potential for very positive change in the area. The expansion of Georgia State University has already started the area on a comeback, and a grocer would further encourage people to relocate into Downtown on a permanent basis.
What's your idea of the perfect day?
Bemis: I’m in Park City, and the day starts with an early-morning phone call informing me that a game-changing deal has closed. Then it’s off to the slopes with my family, hike to the peak of Jupiter Peak and jump off into 24 inches of powder. Close out the day with a quiet dinner downtown with great wine, family and friends.