Let’s put our hands together for this week’s Four on Friday guest, Ralph Conti. With over 30 years of experience, Ralph has worked for some of the biggest names in the commercial real estate industry including Kimco Realty Corporation, North American Properties and Developers Diversified Realty Corp. In 2009, he founded the boutique real estate advisory firm, Ra Co Real Estate Investors. Ralph has been very involved in the leasing and development for the much talked about South Point Regional Retail Development in McDonough, Ga. This project, part of a 125-acre master-planned development, was hit hard by the recession. However, it sounds like things are back on track. (Ralph pictured center with friends at ICSC dinner last December)

Ralph Conti at ICSC DinnerHS: Give us an update on what is happening at South Point?

RC: We just opened the first Academy Sports + Outdoors in metro Atlanta on April 1. We are about to go under construction on a 58,000-square-foot Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us store.  Shortly thereafter we will begin construction on a 26,000-square-foot T.J. Maxx.  We are also in negotiations with several other major national tenants.

HS: What do you think has contributed most to the newfound interest in the development?

RC: Retailers have been hiding under the covers for the past few years. However, new tenants are seeing the development’s existing tenants including Kohl’s, JCPenney and Hobby Lobby have strong sale trends.  

HS: How was your recent trip to ICSC?

RC: Extremely busy. People were doing real business this year. This is a big change from 2009 when attending the conference felt like you were on the set of an old western movie with tumbleweeds rolling by you.

HS: Who is the best golfer at Hartman Simons?

RC: Peter Hartman. However, on a good day, I can challenge him. The key is to distract him and keep him laughing.