Atlanta’s suburbs have long been the object of desire for homeowners. With the geography of the city spread out, there are many areas outside of the city that are home to vibrant cultures still within twenty minutes of the city. Take a look at the top 7 suburbs based on projected growth from our friends at Atlanta Business Journal.
1. Buckhead – Say yes to the address. Points are given for having the first speculative office project come out of the ground in six years, in Atlanta. It’s a multi-family bonanza that has shifted the demographics of the city of Atlanta, with potential long-term political effects. A mere new hamburger joint has a chronic one hour waits to get in. But wait a minute: Are we ready for $40 per square foot rental rates for office space? DoesIsaac Newton’s theory of gravity apply to office rental?
2. Midtown – Say yes to impress. Two large high-techs wins, that pull from other Atlanta markets (NCR; Worldpay), because of what midtown is and has to offer; a high-tech, savvy, talented work force (it’s great when message and results come together); every cool, new restaurant seems to show up here; It has the highest net absorption of any submarket for 2014; if millennials are important, this is their hotspot; no market gets more love from the press. But wait a minute: Some vital corners in Midtown continue to grow and prosper, while some continue to founder and spiral in a downward direction; negative rental rate growth in 2014 feels odd – is it a low sample size, or something more?
3. Downtown – Say yes to the (full-court) press. Now it is a mecca for tourism, and it all works; the Civil Rights museum; the Aquarium; the College Football Hall of Fame; the World of Coca-Cola. Being rated the 11th best destination city in the USA is pretty darn good for a city without the ocean, large lakes or a line-up of government funded museums. The market had its best net absorption of office space in 2014 that it has had in a long, long time. If you want transit oriented development here it is. But wait a minute: It has some odd and challenging venue vacancies or under-utilization (Turner Field; Philips Arena).
4. Central Perimeter – Say yes to the stress. Hello, Mercedes, the biggest office, out-of-market relocation win for the metropolitan area since UPS. It has basically the biggest net absorption number for any submarket for 2014. An investor that wants to buy big in the metropolitan Atlanta area, buys here. But wait a minute: At some point, I-285 is going to choke on itself. Some plan is needed, (and maybe the new transportation funding plans helps). If passed, this submarket benefits greatly).
5. Northwest Atlanta: Say yes to digress. Here come the Braves (or what is left of them), and all of the good commercial activity and luster that will come with them. Note: This past week, the Atlanta Braves announced they had struck a deal with Comcast Corp. to anchor a new nine-story office tower in the team’s SunTrust Park mixed-use development. But wait a minute: The Braves aren’t here until 2017 (and you wouldn’t want them until then, anyway), so there is going to be a couple of years of reshuffling and dislocation. There is potential for an explosive run in this submarket, but that is what it is right now, potential. It has by far the lowest net absorption of any sub-market for 2014.
6. North Fulton: Say yes to the mess: Avalon battles Buckhead-Atlanta as retail rookie of the year. It is where families can live, work and play. But wait a minute: What if tech companies continue to follow what has left North Fulton for points south: do three data points equal a trend? Large campus environments may not be Atlanta’s attraction, so they may have to sort out what kind of office market they really are.
7. Northeast Atlanta: Say yes to assess. It is a solid performer, and, like economic recoveries, the slower that growth goes, the longer it lasts. Someday Athens to Atlanta will be one long corridor of business. But wait a minute: It had the highest total vacancy percentage and the lowest asking rents of any submarket. It, like the north Fulton market, has to figure out what kind of office market it is and will be.
Rankings courtesy of Mark Elliot at the Atlanta Business Journal