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Real Estate Notebook: Greenstone plans Midtown spec office; LeaseQuery expanding – Atlanta Business Chronicle

A developer says it’s “going spec” on a $100 million office building along the Downtown Connector.

The 10-story building, part of a larger mixed-use project called 14th & Spring, could break ground this October, according to Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties.

The mixed-use development would include the 250,000-square-foot office building, 330 apartments and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail at 1150 Spring St. in Midtown.

The development team this week submitted a special administrative permit (SAP) in Atlanta for the project. Greenstone does not have construction financing lined up yet, said partner Chris Scott.

The architect is HKS Inc., which has an Atlanta office.

There hasn’t been a traditional spec office building built in Midtown this development cycle, although Atlanta developer Jamestown started construction on office space at Old Fourth Ward’s Ponce City Market without first having tenants signed to leases.

Next to Ponce City Market, New City LLC and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management obtained construction financing from Bank of the Ozarks for its office project 725 Ponce to proceed without tenants.

Spec construction has remained limited across Atlanta this cycle.

“It is rare,” Scott said. “We like the size of our building. We feel like it’s more bite-size with institutional investors.”

Crescent Resources is developing the 12-story residential tower. The apartments and office building, both in walking distance of the Arts Center MARTA station, will share a parking deck.

The 14th & Spring project would sit next to a 70,000-square-foot flagship Whole Foods Market that’s now under construction. A selling point to office tenants: the tower would have high visibility from the Downtown Connector.

Arby’s to add more than 200 jobs

Arby’s Restaurant Group is expanding in Atlanta’s central Perimeter, eventually adding more than 200 jobs. Arby’s is relocating its headquarters to the Three Glenlake building, where it will occupy about seven floors.

It follows a Feb. 5 announcement that Arby’s completed the $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings, a deal backed by Roark Capital Group. It will bring more than 200 new jobs to the Arby’s Sandy Springs headquarters and played a role in the company needing more space.

Arby’s signed a 161,000-square-foot lease, a roughly 40,000-square-foot expansion.

It is the second big transaction in the central Perimeter, Atlanta’s single-largest office market, announced this month.

Northside Hospital recently announced it completed a 180,000-square-foot lease with Seven Oaks Co., developer of the 21-story 1001 Summit.

Arby’s will be on the move. It’s relocating from 1155 Perimeter Center West. It would occupy the new space at Three Glenlake in 2019.

For years, Three Glenlake, owned by Columbia Property Trust Inc., has been the headquarters of Newell Rubbermaid. It remains 100 percent leased by Newell Brands, but the company is moving its global headquarters to Hoboken, N.J.

It has agreed to give back approximately 45 percent of the building to accommodate Arby’s relocation.

Arby’s signed a 12-year lease.

A Jones Lang LaSalle team of David Demarest, Brannan Moss and Josh Hirsh represented Arby’s in lease negotiations. JLL’s Kevin Lott, Liz Koteles, Jeff Bellamy and David Tennery represented landlord Columbia.

LeaseQuery expanding again

Few phrases fill American corporations with as much angst as “increased regulation.”

But new accounting standards are playing a role in one Atlanta firm’s expansion.

LeaseQuery, which develops software for companies trying to navigate updated rules, is moving to the top floor of the Terraces, twin 11-story office buildings in Dunwoody.

The accounting firm has grown from just six employees barely more than a year ago to 36 today.

LeaseQuery is on pace to reach 80 employees by the end of this year, said Chris Ramsey, a senior vice president with the firm.

It will lease 12,395 square feet on the 11th floor of South Terraces, which is next to Perimeter Mall and its surrounding retail centers. Those amenities factored in when LeaseQuery decided it would relocate from 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway.

Terraces is also a more central location for the firm.

What’s driving LeaseQuery’s growth are new rules from the Financial Accounting Standards Board that will regulate corporate leases. The rules continue to fix accounting loopholes such as those in the early 2000s that led to the Enron Corp. scandal.

“We’ll see $2 trillion to $3 trillion going on the balance sheet,” Ramsey said. “And it’s not just office space. We’re talking about furniture, equipment — anything that a company leases for 12 months or longer.”

Few companies are prepared to deal with that level of accounting, Ramsey said.

In March, LeaseQuery will move into the new space, where its headcount may approach 100 in the next few years. The firm has an option that will allow it to expand to 20,000 square feet.

Scotland Wright Associates’ Michael Tucker, Scotland Wright and Allie Johnson, along with Mike Davis, are representing LeaseQuery.

Michael Lipton and Emily Richardson with Colliers International-Atlanta are representing Morneau Shepell, which is reducing its space in Terraces.

Downtown draws tech company

A U.S. division of RIB Software SE is moving to downtown’s Fairlie-Poplar District.

The company, whose software is used by the construction industry, is relocating to 83 Walton St., one of the district’s 100-year-old loft office buildings.

RIB is leaving Northpark Town Center in Sandy Springs to be part of downtown’s continued revitalization, which is being led by companies such as Newport US RE, said Philip Covin, with Pollock Commercial Inc. Newport, a German real estate company, plans to invest $500 million in a sweeping redevelopment of south downtown that one day will total 1.8 million square feet in the city’s historic commercial heart. Zeller Realty Group is another important player in downtown Atlanta’s renaissance, especially in the Fairlie-Poplar District, where MARTA, Georgia State University and a re-energized Woodruff Park are catalysts for new investment.

“[RIB] thought this was a good time to move downtown, considering all the activity,” Covin said.

The five-story 83 Walton St. will house about 50 employees of RIB. An affiliate of the company bought the building for $3.2 million. Covin represented the seller, Phase 3 Marketing.

Baker Donelson stays at Monarch

Top 20 Atlanta law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C. has leased the top two floors of Buckhead’s Monarch Plaza.

The 50,000-square-foot lease was an early restructuring of an existing leasing agreement between the law firm and landlord Highwoods Properties.

The new deal will keep Baker Donelson in the tower long term.

The firm will reduce the amount of square footage it occupies by almost a half floor, as part of its new lease.

That has become typical in the digital age, and especially noticeable in the legal industry, now that law firms no longer require large support staffs and expansive law libraries.

Baker Donelson was represented in lease negotiations by Savills Studley Vice Chairman Andy Lechter.

The law firm, founded in Atlanta almost 20 years ago, is a long-standing tenant in Monarch Plaza. It considered other buildings as part of its search. But, it chose to get a new deal done now at Monarch Plaza and update its space, which should help it stay competitive as it battles to recruit top talent.

Baker Donelson has almost 70 attorneys in Atlanta and 120 total staff, making it one of the city’s 20 largest firms.

The restructuring is one of the most notable leases so far this quarter in Buckhead, where a few longstanding office tenants in the wealthy Atlanta neighborhood, such as Morgan Stanley, have also recently completed new deals.


An Atlanta real estate broker known for representing landlords is joining one of the city’s growing, boutique tenant-rep firms. Scott O’Halloran has moved to Scotland Wright Associates, a more than 15-year-old Atlanta brokerage. The firm has been involved in notable leasing deals of late, such as The Weather Co.’s relocation to 1001 Perimeter Summit and Reliance Worldwide Corp.’s new 250-employee headquarters in the city’s Upper Westside, the largest lease of a single-story Atlanta loft office building. O’Halloran was previously a principal within Colliers International-Atlanta’s landlord advisory group, where he’d been since 2008. For Scotland Wright Associates, landing O’Halloran allows it to continue bolstering its tenant rep services by bringing over an experienced broker with years of perspective — and relationships — from working with landlords. The firm was launched in 2002 by president Scotland Wright and includes managing partner Michael Tucker. O’Halloran joins as partner. The moves could help the firm reach a goal of doubling revenue over the next five years as it goes head-to-head for big assignments with some of the city’s giant commercial real estate brokerages.CBRE Inc.’s Atlanta office has made a move among its top leadership. Audrey Frey was appointed managing director and occupier services leader. Frey takes the position following two years with CBRE as senior sales director, primarily supporting occupier brokerage. John Ferguson, CBRE Southeast division president, said Frey’s knowledge of the business and unmatched leadership skills led to the move. Frey is a member of the 2018 Leadership CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) class and the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors.The first renderings have been released of Trammell Crow Residential’s planned new 290-unit apartment project in Avondale Estates. As Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported Jan. 28, the developer is proposing the project on a 4.2-acre site at 2740 E. College Ave. The community would be called “Alexan Gateway” and include 4,900 square feet of retail, according to plans filed with the city. It’s being designed by Dwell Design Studio LLC of Alpharetta. Other team members include Summit Engineering Consultants, Phillips Gradick Engineering, Ellinwood+Machado and B+C Studio. Trammell Crow will join a spate of new residential projects from developers such as South City Partners and a partnership led by Columbia Ventures. The residential units and retail are in walking and biking distance of MARTA.

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