Let's Take Time to Rediscover Downtown
Take a moment and venture back to Atlanta into the early 1900’s. Begin your stroll down Peachtree Street and witness the hustle and bustle of business professionals and the first group of Georgia State students walking to class. As you continue to wander the streets of Downtown Atlanta, you witness the grand opening of the 6th District Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta (at the Hurt Building), the infrastructure of the Viaducts (i.e., what we now know as Underground Atlanta), and the first signs of the Atlanta Street Car.
As exciting as it was to imagine the past, it’s now time to return to the present. What do all of these historic events and venues in Atlanta have in common? These projects are, in some way or fashion, being brought back to life. Downtown Atlanta is witnessing growth, prosperity and a future that it has not seen for over 50 years. This Atlanta submarket has been a leader in positive absorption for the 16th time in the past eight quarters, continues to witness a decrease in vacancy since 2015, and is pushing average asking rental rates to $25.00 per rentable square feet (for Class A buildings).
These statistics are a new phenomenon for the Downtown submarket, and they are beginning to turn the heads of Fortune 500 companies, building investors / developers and sporting events. At a recent Bisnow event, one of the presenters said, “Downtown Atlanta is not entering a renaissance or revitalization, but a rediscovery of community.” This is what we will witness with Underground Atlanta and the Newport Project, a rediscovery of historic elements morphing with modern charm.
Take Ponce City Market for example. Ten years ago, if you said you were going to Ponce City Market, people would ask, “Will you be safe?” and follow that with, “Don’t go after dark.” Fast forward to the present and these same people will respond with, “How cool. What restaurant are you going to?” We can all attest to the life and economic drive that brought Ponce City Market back to the map. Now it is time to rediscover projects, such as Underground Atlanta, which was a destination point for travelers in the 1960s and 1970s. Also, Newport’s rediscovery of the South Downtown market will bring life into old abandoned buildings and create a household name for the ever-changing Downtown Market.
While it will take time for these significant economic events to take place, it is exciting to say that our generation of real estate professionals will drive the rediscovery of Downtown Atlanta.
Claire Ross is a Leasing Associate with JLL in the Agency Leasing Group in Atlanta. Ms. Ross’ current responsibilities include all phases of landlord representation, from creation and implementation of detailed marketing plans to lease analysis, negotiation, documentation, cold calling, and cultivating relationships with brokers throughout Atlanta. Since joining JLL in June 2016, Ms. Ross has successfully acquired four leasing assignments in Atlanta.