Blog Post

Atlanta’s Appetite for Retail Development Centers Around Restaurants

The health of Atlanta’s retail market is strong as evidenced not only by retailer expansion activity, but also by a myriad of unique new retail developments recently completed or in progress.

“Atlanta’s retail market is strong right now with multiple developments and re-developments in the works,” said Logan Elder, associate in SRS’ Atlanta office. “A lot of the projects coming on-line are mixed-use developments and a lot of that is happening in the Midtown area.”

One of the trends driving many new developments is Atlanta’s evolution as “a serious food town,” as referenced in this article in the Atlanta Business Journal. “Atlanta is a serious foodie city now, and that is really helping drive the real estate market, especially along the new Beltline,” said Elder.

Some examples of restaurant-centric developments include:

Buckhead Atlanta: A development by Oliver-McMmillan, Buckhead Atlanta boasts more than 300,000 square feet of upscale retail, restaurants and cafes, as well as 100,000 square feet of luxury office and 400,000 square feet of high-rise residential. The project contains more than 10 unique eateries and chef-drivin concepts and Zagat recently named two bars located at Buckhead Atlanta as among the “Ten Hottest New Bars in Atlanta.” 

Ponce City Market:  This development is the restoration of the old Sears, Roebuck & Company building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward Park and is linked directly to the Atlanta Beltline. The project consists of 320,000 square feet of retail  retail shops and restaurants, 550,000 square feet of Class-A office space, residential units, and an area called the Central Food Hall. The Central Food Hall consists of chef-led full-service restaurants as well as “grab-and-go” market stalls.

KrogStreetMarket_Sign Krog Street Market:  Currently being leased by SRS’ Lily Heimburger, Krog Street Market is an award-winning development in the historic Inman Park. The project is a mixed-use renovation of an historic single-story warehouse and features Atlanta’s first food hall featuring multiple James Beard award winners.

Avalon:  Located in Alpharetta, Avalon is a 2.3 million square foot mixed-use development consisting of more than 400,000 square feet of retail space, 106,000 square feet of Class-A office space, 101 single-family homes, and 250 multi-family units. Tenants include approximately 15 restaurants top-notch restaurants. Globest.com recently published this article that ruminates on how Avalon might just transform the future of retail developments.

Inman Quarter: This project was originally envisioned as a unique apartment development and also includes 39,000 square feet of retail space. According to this article in the Atlanta Business Journal, ” ‘The project’ landed the team behind Decatur’s lauded Cakes & Ale restaurants, which started a new restaurant in Inman Quarter called Bread & Butterfly. Inman Quarter also lured the restaurant group behind Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco.”

With so many unique and vibrant retail developments popping up in the market, it’s no wonder new retailers are flocking in, many of them restaurants. According to Elder, the list includes Snap Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, Planet Blue, Grub Burger, Shake Shack, Plan B Burger, Tupelo Honey Cafe, CookOut, Jamba Juice, Sprouts Farmers Market, Earth Fare, Crunch Fitness, GolfTEC, and Goldfish Swim School.

Retailers already in the Atlanta market are taking advantage of retail development as well. These include Whole Foods’ new smaller prototype, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Orange Theory Fitness, BurgerFi, Planet Fitness, and Chicken Salad Chick.

Investor appetite for Atlanta-area retail product has likewise heated up of late, in conjunction with increased retail development and tenant expansion in the area. Though one of the slower major retail markets to bounce back after the downturn, Atlanta has seen an abundance of capital market transactions over the last 12 months. Recent assets to hit the market have included open-air lifestyle development, Ashley Park, and Town Brookhaven – a 460,600 SF mixed-use, development located in Buckhead.

“We have seen Atlanta come back in favor with investors over the last 12 to 18 months as more product has come out in Atlanta and regained the attention of the investment market. As recently as early last year, most of our listings were coming from markets in Tennessee, central Florida and Alabama rather than our own backyard,” said Pierce Mayson, Vice President on the Southeast Investment Sales team. “We just weren’t seeing much product for sale in Atlanta back then, but currently we have a grocery-anchored asset under contract in Atlanta with two others set to hit the market in the next couple of months, as well as two power center opportunities which are coming out shortly. Atlanta is definitely back on the radar for investors.”