FILING FOR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION IN 2023

Homeowners may need to provide their Warranty Deed book and page, proof of residence, social security numbers, driver’s license and car tag info. In most counties, to be eligible for the current year, you must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st . If the property is located within city limits, the homeowner may be required to file with the city as well.

Bartow County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-387-5111 | Bartow County – Click Here

Cherokee County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 678-493-6120 | Cherokee County – Click Here

Cobb County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-528-8600 | Cobb County – Click Here

DeKalb County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 404-298-4000 | DeKalb County – Click Here

Douglas County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-920-7272 | Douglas County – Click Here

Fayette County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-461-3652 | Fayette County – Click Here

Forsyth County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-781-2106 | Forsyth County – Click Here

Fulton County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 404-612-6440 | Fulton County – Click Here

Gwinnett County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-822-8800 | Gwinnett County – Click Here

Henry County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-288-8180 | Henry County – Click Here

Paulding County
Deadline: April 1, 2023 | 770-443-7581 | Paulding County – Click Here

 

This information was provided by one of our preferred closing attorneys Neel, Robinson, & Stafford, LLC. All rights reserved. NRS has multiple offices to choose from including Glenridge, Buckhead, West Cobb, Inman Park, Alpharetta, and Acworth.

For Additional Blog Content, Click Here! 


Here Are the U.S. Cities Where Home Prices Rose—and Fell—the Most in 2022

By any definition, 2022 was one wild, white-knuckle roller coaster of a year for real estate. Demand and home prices hit new highs, before abruptly turning in the opposite direction in response to higher mortgage interest rates.

With so much churn and fluctuation in markets across the U.S., it’s been a challenge all year to keep track of which places were up and which were down—the cities where prices remained near their peak and where they dipped the most. That’s why Realtor.com® crunched the numbers to come up with the definitive home pricing scorecard for 2022.

And there’s plenty at stake. For those who purchased a home earlier this year, the dip in prices in some areas could mean their home is worth less now than what they paid. For those who were priced out of homeownership, the same price declines could mean a renewed chance to finally snag a place.

And where prices remain high, those who have owned for more than a couple of years can revel in the mighty home equity they’ve gained. Those still looking for a home in the same areas will feel the pressure of high home costs.

What the numbers reveal is not a huge surprise, especially in the list of the metro areas that have fallen in price the most.

“It’s a who’s who of cities that became popular during the [COVID-19] pandemic,” says George Ratiu, Realtor.com® senior economist and manager of economic research. “These are destinations for people who were fleeing high-cost urban cities.”

Now, those areas are seeing prices that had risen the most coming back down to Earth.

“It’s the natural reaction to the sharp run-up in prices over the past couple of years now meeting the new, higher mortgage rates this year,” Ratiu says.

As for the markets that have held on to their price increases, Ratiu says they all have something in common: They’re all historically affordable locations, mostly in the middle of the country.

“They offer home buyers a lot of value,” says Ratiu.

They likely also benefited from another dynamic at play during the pandemic era: a spillover effect from markets that were hottest during the same period, but which now see prices plateauing or falling.

To determine our rankings, we looked at the year-over-year change in the median price per square foot for the 100 largest metro areas in the country on Realtor.com, from mid-December 2021 to mid-December 2022. Then we pulled out the five markets with the biggest year-over-year increase and the five markets with the biggest decrease. We limited our rankings to only the single largest increase and decrease per state, in order to ensure geographic diversity. (Metros include the main city and surrounding suburbs, towns, and smaller urban areas.)

Biggest price increases of 2022

1. Omaha, NE

Omaha, NE (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +21.6%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $181
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $342,500

Omaha has the biggest year-over-year price gains of any place on the list, rising from the median of $149 per square foot to $181. However, even with the 20%-plus increase in prices in just one year, it’s still relatively affordable compared with the rest of the country. Prices are about 15% below the national average of $212 a square foot.

Nebraska’s largest city by far is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Warren Buffett’s international holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. The area is also known for its low cost of living, vibrant music scene, and world-class zoo and aquarium.

Omaha is also halfway between Denver and Chicago and, Ratiu says, is a prime example of how midsized cities in the Midwest benefited from their proximity to larger places, especially those that had become frenzied markets during the pandemic.

“The markets where the most people were looking at home

Sold
Commercial7350000

Cobb Parkway North

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Commercial5975000

5241 & 5249 Glade Road

5241 & 5249 Glade Rd
Acworth, Georgia 30102

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial4300000

2 Kelli Clark Court

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Active
Commercial3000000

5535 ELLIOTT Road

5535 ELLIOTT Road
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Commercial3000000

2651 Dallas Highway

2651 Dallas Highway
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 10Square Feet
Active
Business Opportunity$2,394,000

326 RIVER CLUB Drive

326 RIVER CLUB Drive
Lagrange, Georgia 30240

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Luxury2200000

683 Tarpley Road NW

683 Tarpley Road NW
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

  • 6Beds
  • 7Baths
  • 11207Square Feet
Sold
Commercial2166666

1111 Chastain Road

1111 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 6000Square Feet
Expired
2100000

340 Eugenia Street SW

340 Eugenia St
Atlanta, Georgia 30312

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$1,800,000

5062 Old Cherokee St

5062 Old Cherokee St
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 27,150Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1750000

760 Londonberry Road NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 7Beds
  • 7Baths
  • 7295Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1600000

4295 Whitewater Creek Road NW

4295 Whitewater Creek Road NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30327

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 3012Square Feet
Expired
1600000

10.8 +/- Acres on Powder Springs Road

0 Powder Springs Rd 10.8 +/- Acres
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Withdrawn
Commercial$1,567,000

5042 Cherry St

5042 Cherry St
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Commercial1500000

11560 Alpharetta Highway

11560 Alpharetta Highway
Roswell, Georgia 30075

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 4085Square Feet
Expired
1500000

1090 Industrial Park Drive

1090 Industrial Park Dr
Marietta, Georgia 30062

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1475000

3295 Stillhouse Road SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
New
1375000

4295 Whitewater Creek Road Northwest

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 6195Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1338400

788 West Midtown, Unit 1809

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1250000

3625 Rivers Call Boulevard

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Luxury1250000

3401 Stillhouse Road SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$950,000

1500 Meredith Park Dr

1500 Meredith Park Dr
McDonough, Georgia 30253

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Lots945000

3340 Stillhouse Road SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Land Lot900000

3764 Kings Hwy

3764 Kings Hwy
Douglasville, Georgia 30135

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Land852925

3244A Stillhouse Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Luxury850000

3530 Westbury Park Circle

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential850000

615 Red Maple Lane

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 6000Square Feet
Sold
Luxury800000

4047 Chapel Grove Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 6Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial Sale800000

Sanctuary at Lake Russell

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Withdrawn
Residential Detached795000

943 Kennesaw Due West Road NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Lots$750,000

395 Hickory Nut Drive

395 Hickory Nut Drive
Canton, Georgia 30114

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Residential740000

4106 Oberon Drive SE

4106 Oberon Drive SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 3Square Feet
Sold
Land720500

3244 Stillhouse Road SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$700,000

2821 Mount Zion Road

2821 Mt Zion Rd
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$675,000

3606 Atlanta Highway

3606 Atlanta Hwy
Hiram, Georgia 30141

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 10,256Square Feet
Sold
Industrial665000

3580 Cantrell Industrial Ct NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Luxury$659,000

3524 Preserve Drive SE

3524 Preserve Drive SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

  • 4Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 3,269Square Feet
Sold
Luxury657500

4106 Oberon Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential600000

4705 Macland Road

4705 MACLAND Road
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Sold
Luxury575000

3286 Northside Parkway NW Unit#804

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2223Square Feet
Sold
Luxury565000

450 Cooper Woods Court SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$560,000

2395 Highway 92 Highway

2395 Highway 92
Acworth, Georgia 30102

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 7,264Square Feet
Sold
Land550000

1420 & 1430 Roswell Street SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Detached535000

1303 Cobblemill Way NW

1303 Cobblemill Way NW
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

  • 4Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 5Square Feet
Sold
Residential485000

8033 Windmark Place

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential480000

153 Maxwell Avenue SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Industrial468000

1131 Industrial Boulevard N

1131 Industrial Boulevard N
Dallas, Georgia 30132

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 10Square Feet
Leased
Business Opportunity460232

120 Interstate North Parkway, Suites 105 & 130

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential450000

4468 Dallas Street

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 7Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 3Square Feet
Sold
Residential$445,000

4026 BENT WILLOW Lane

4026 BENT WILLOW Lane
Woodstock, Georgia 30189

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2,136Square Feet
Sold
Residential435000

2651 Bartleson Drive NW

2651 Bartleson Drive NW
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 3Square Feet
Sold
Single Family Attached425000

5058 Foxfield Lane

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$425,000

312 WI Parkway

312 Wi Pkwy
Dallas, Georgia 30132

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Residential$415,000

621 SUMMERTREE Court SE

621 SUMMERTREE Court SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30126

  • 3Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 1,976Square Feet
Sold
Residential407135

2024 Ector Court NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential390000

2610 Beckwith Trail SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Pending
Residential$390,000

4 VALLEY BROOK Circle E

4 VALLEY BROOK Circle E
Dawsonville, Georgia 30534

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2,283Square Feet
Sold
Residential385000

833 Morningcreek Drive NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Attached$385,000

2015 Barrett Lakes Boulevard NW 104

2015 Barrett Lakes Blvd 104
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

  • 2Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Business Opportunity$385,000

2015 Barrett Lakes Boulevard NW 104

2015 Barrett Lakes Blvd 104
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Commercial$385,000

912 Holcomb Bridge Road 101

912 Holcomb Bridge Road 101
Roswell, Georgia 30076

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 1,685Square Feet
Sold
Residential364900

3334 Peachtree Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential355000

1760 Elmwood Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Sold345000

4902 Zachary Court

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 3539Square Feet
Sold
Residential340000

125 Pyron Point

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Investment337600

3280 Stillhouse Lane SE Unit 411

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential330000

5131 NW Waldenbrooke Court NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential320000

4026 Bent Willow Lane

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2136Square Feet
Sold
Commercial315000

2839 Mount Zion Road

2839 Mt Zion Rd
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential$315,000

115 Nightwind Trace

115 Nightwind Trace
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2,631Square Feet
Sold
Residential310000

1083 Frog Leap Trail

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Attached305370

352 Cherryhill Lane

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Pending
Residential Detached$300,000

3617 Carson Lane SE

3617 Carson Lane SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1,420Square Feet
Pending
Residential Detached$300,000

3617 Carson Lane SE

3617 Carson Lane SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1,420Square Feet
Sold
Investment300000

3280 Stillhouse Lane SE Unit 412

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Pending
Residential Detached$300,000

3617 Carson Lane SE

3617 Carson Lane SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1,420Square Feet
Sold
Investment300000

3617 Carson Lane SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1420Square Feet
Withdrawn
299000

548 Ontario Avenue SW

548 Ontario Avenue SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30310

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1Square Feet
Sold
Residential$295,000

548 Ontario Avenue SW

548 Ontario Avenue SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30310

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1,350Square Feet
Sold
Residential292603

128 Meadow Branch Ln

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential290000

4205 Mistymorn Point

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Sold290000

2140 Landsmere Drive, Unit#14

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2524Square Feet
Sold
Sold280000

2637 Twin Oaks Drive SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2406Square Feet
Sold
Business Opportunity280000

3314 CREATWOOD TRAIL SE

3314 CREATWOOD Trail SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1Square Feet
Sold
Investment275000

3280 Stillhouse Lane Unit 304

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential267500

106 Oak Hill Place SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 3Square Feet
Sold
Residential265000

5812 Samoa Court SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential260000

1271 Wynford Colony SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1866Square Feet
Sold
Business Opportunity255000

1675 Lower Roswell Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential255000

5807 Vinings Retreat Court

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential$254,900

310 Wellsley Lane

310 Wellsley Lane
Dallas, Georgia 30132

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 3,811Square Feet
Sold
Residential252000

950 Hunters Green Drive NE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1996Square Feet
Sold
Commercial250000

3531 N Cooper Lake Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 6Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Active
Commercial250000

7220 & 7240 Factory Shoals Rd

7220 & 7240 Factory Shoals Rd
Austell, Georgia 30168

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Investment250000

3280 Stillhouse Lane SE Unit 410

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Investment249000

1420 Roswell Street

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential246000

2505 Zachary Woods Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential$245,000

3245 Bakewell Street

3245 Bakewell Street
Douglasville, Georgia 30135

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 1,765Square Feet
Sold
Residential Detached243580

107 Barnsley Village Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential243000

5354 Vinings Lake View SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential240000

102 Highlands Ridge Place SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential239500

767 Creek Glen Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Closed
Residential239500

1 Biscayne Drive NW, Unit#702

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Detached225000

1651 KENNESAW DUE WEST Road NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 1800Square Feet
Sold
Residential221000

3800 Harris Boulevard NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential211500

167 Oakmont Pass

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential210000

72 Adelaide Crossing

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 5Beds
  • 4Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential209000

1585 Silver Ridge Drive

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1824Square Feet
Sold
Residential205000

717 Chanson Drive SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Commercial Sale200000

4901 Ben Hill Road

4901 Ben Hill Road
Douglasville, Georgia 30134

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 1Square Feet
Sold
Residential200000

3909 N Cyrus Crest Circle NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1721Square Feet
Pending
Investment$199,000

372 Roselane Street NW

372 Roselane Street NW
Marietta, Georgia 30060

  • 2Beds
  • 1Baths
  • 756Square Feet
Pending
Residential$195,000

249 MIDWAY Road

249 MIDWAY Road
Barnesville, Georgia 30204

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2,356Square Feet
Sold
Residential190000

10 Forest Place

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1712Square Feet
Sold
Commercial179000

2655 Dallas Highway SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential175000

1111 Parkland Run

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
175000

3474 Hiram Acworth

3474 Hiram Acworth
Dallas, Georgia 30157

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial171500

2293 Paces Ferry Road SE

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 1Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential169900

3812 Seattle Place

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Investment165000

372 Roselane Street NW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Business Opportunity165000

0 Texas Valley Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Attached163199

6235 Story Circle

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential$160,000

223 Windcroft Circle NW

223 Windcroft Circle NW
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 982Square Feet
Sold
Commercial155000

18 Booth Road SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential$155,000

253 Arrowhead Drive

253 Arrowhead Drive
Dallas, Georgia 30132

  • 3Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 1,640Square Feet
Sold
Land$149,900

617 Hickory Leaf Drive

617 Hickory Leaf Drive
Hiram, Georgia 30141

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Sold
Investment140000

385 Hickory Nut Drive

385 Hickory Nut Drive
Canton, Georgia 30114

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1Square Feet
Sold
Commercial140000

7929 Jonesboro Road

7929 Jonesboro Road
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Sold
Residential138000

1872 Wycliff Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Industrial130435

875 Gettysburg Trail

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential124156

114 Darbys Crossing Court

Address Unavailable
Hiram, GA

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Business Opportunity112783

2105 Barrett Parkway, Suite 108

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential95000

1680 Sterling Trail SW

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial95000

00 Cherokee Street

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential83500

1823 Cumberland Valley Place

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Investment54000

1319 Womack Avenue

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 2Beds
  • 1Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Farm Land49250

0 Macland Road

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Land35000

1303 Cobblemill Way NW

1303 Cobblemill Way NW
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial27760

3662 Cedarcrest Rd

3662 Cedarcrest Rd
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial17600

3660 Cedarcrest Rd

3660 Cedarcrest Rd
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Office16776

2651 Dallas Hwy

2651 Dallas Hwy
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Business Opportunity16125

1301 Shiloh Road, Unit 610

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial14000

3020 Satellite Boulevard

3020 Satellite Boulevard
Duluth, Georgia 30096

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 3Square Feet
Expired
11500

1090 Industrial Park Drive

1090 Industrial Park Dr
Marietta, Georgia 30062

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Active
Residential Lease10000

1220 VILLA RICA Road SW

1220 VILLA RICA Road SW
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • 4Beds
  • 6Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Farm Land8000

129 Lois Lane

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial6066

1270 Concord Rd

1270 Concord Rd 9/10
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Office4250

3660 Cedarcrest Rd

3660 Cedarcrest Rd Suite 220
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial$4,000

3354 E Veterans Memorial Highway

3354 E Veterans Memorial Hwy
Lithia Springs, Georgia 30122

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Leased
Rental Residential$4,000

2796 Morris Circle SE

2796 Morris Cir
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 6Beds
  • 5Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commercial3750

38 Southern Court

38 Southern Ct
Hiram, Georgia 30141

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Commerical Lease$2,665

3450 Acworth Due West Rd NW 600

3450 Acworth Due West Rd 600
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Leased
Commercial$2,041

3960 Mary Eliza Trace Suite 900

3960 Mary Eliza Trce Suite 900
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Leased
Leased$1,600

1340 Bells Ferry Rd

1340 Bells Ferry Rd
Marietta, Georgia 30066

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Leased
Business Opportunity900

3950 Cobb Pkwy 302

3950 Cobb Pkwy 302
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Leased
Leased$900

3950 Cobb Pkwy 302

3950 Cobb Pkwy 302
Acworth, Georgia 30101

  • Beds
  • 0Baths
  • Square Feet
Expired
Residential Detached0

166 Red Oak Lane

166 Red Oak Lane
Clarkesville, Georgia 30523

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Commercial0

11380 Southbridge Pkwy

11380 Southbridge Pkwy
Alpharetta, Georgia 30022

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Residential Detached0

164 Red Oak Lane

164 Red Oak Lane
Clarkesville, Georgia 30523

  • 4Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Expired
0

4290 Willow Ridge Road

4290 Willow Ridge Road
Douglasville, Georgia 30135

  • 3Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Expired
Land Lot0

2567 Dug Gap Rd

2567 Dug Gap Rd
Dalton, Georgia 30720

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
0

Henry County Residential Development Opportunity

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Land Lot0

8365 Le Jardin Blvd

8365 Le Jardin Blvd
Fairburn, Georgia 30213

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
International0

The Los Sueños Resort

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 5000Square Feet
Withdrawn
0

30 Iron Brigade Drive SW

30 Iron Brigade Drive SW
Marietta, Georgia 30064

  • 4Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Expired
Commercial0

2021 Watkins Road SE

2021 Watkins Road SE
Mableton, Georgia 30126

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Commercial0

1711 Mary Ada Dr

1711 Mary Ada Dr
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
0

1651 Rosedale Drive

1651 Rosedale Dr
Hiram, Georgia 30141

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Luxury0

3286 Northside Parkway NW 804

3286 Northside Parkway NW 804
Atlanta, Georgia 30327

  • 2Beds
  • 3Baths
  • 2Square Feet
Withdrawn
Commercial0

1651 Kennesaw Due West Road NW

1651 Kennesaw Due West Road NW
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 1Square Feet
Expired
0

300 WI Parkway

300 WI Pkwy
Dallas, Georgia 30132

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 13Square Feet
Expired
Commercial0

509 Tower Road NE

509 Tower Road NE
Marietta, Georgia 30060

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Rental Commercial0

4665 Macland Rd

4665 Macland Rd
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Land Lot0

1420 SE Roswell St

1420 SE Roswell St
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
Residential Lease0

4561 Olde Perimeter Way, #1803 Atlanta, GA 30346

Address Unavailable
Atlanta, GA 30346

  • 2Beds
  • 2Baths
  • 1172Square Feet
Expired
Commercial0

2235 County Services Parkway SW 1

2235 County Services Parkway SW 1
Marietta, Georgia 30008

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
multifamily0

1543 Hardin Avenue

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
multifamily0

3586 Jackson St

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Sold
multifamily0

3494 Madison St

Address Unavailable
Cityname, ST

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
0

5535 Elliott Rd

5535 Elliott Rd
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
Expired
Commercial0

4665 Macland Rd

4665 Macland Rd
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 228Square Feet
Expired
0

4390 W Atlanta Road SE

4390 W Atlanta Road SE
Smyrna, Georgia 30080

  • 0Beds
  • 0Baths
  • 0Square Feet
in Omaha were Chicago, Washington, DC, and Denver,” Ratiu says.

2. Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +21.6%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $144
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $316,000

Jackson led the Deep South in year-over-year appreciation, rising more than 20%—but it’s still more than 30% below the national average.

Prices rose in the capital of Mississippi throughout the year, with a small dip in the middle of the year. It ultimately ended the year almost tied with Omaha for the biggest year-over-year increase in price per square foot.

This iconic Southern city has several fundamental strengths that add to its draw. In addition to being the capital of Mississippi and the seat of state government, it’s also home to Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as well as a strong manufacturing industry. It’s also a hub of Southern culture, and the area is filled with antebellum mansions and historical sites.

For $320,000, home hunters can get a midcentury four-bedroom home in the Belhaven neighborhood, north of downtown Jackson, or a sprawling, ranch-style home farther in the Jackson suburbs.

3. Wichita, KS

Wichita, KS (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +21.5%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $135
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $289,900

Wichita, known as “The Air Capital of the World,” is the least expensive location on the list—a boon for buyers on a budget. The median listing price per square foot was more than 35% below the national average. And that’s after median listing prices rose by $60,000 over the past year.

Wichita is known for its aviation industry, with aerospace companies Learjet, Cessna, and Airbus located there.

The city offers a mix of the walkable urban center, with the Old Town entertainment district at the center, and lots of outdoor lifestyle activities, like hiking and biking, or getting out on the Arkansas River.

Buyers can find updated, three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses on almost a half-acre for just under $230,000. Or they can pick up a smaller, two-bedroom, one-bathroom house for about $135,o00.

4. Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee, WI (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +20.9%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $204
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $374,900

An anchor of the Midwest, Milwaukee, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, has the highest median listing price per square foot of any city on the biggest-increases half of the list. But it’s still about 4% lower than the national figure. And with a median listing price of $374,900, Milwaukee is still cheaper than what buyers will find in much of the rest of the country.

The city is known for its breweries and as the birthplace of the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Motorcycle enthusiasts can visit the Harley-Davidson Museum and check out Elvis Presley’s own rides.

For right around Milwaukee’s median home price, shoppers can get a Victorian four-bedroom home in the Bay View neighborhood, walking distance from the Lake Michigan shore.

5. Little Rock, AR

Little Rock, AR (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +20.1%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $142
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $299,900

Arkansas’ capital, Little Rock, rounds out the biggest-increases list, still with more than 20% listing price per square foot gains over the past year.

Little Rock is home to the Clinton Presidential Center, the Arkansas Arts Center, and the Old State House Museum, the oldest state capitol building west of the Mississippi River. It’s also an educational hub of the South, with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Philander Smith College.

There was some homebuying spillover from nearby markets that became overheated during the pandemic, says Melanie Jackson, the broker and owner of Unlimited Properties Realty in Little Rock.

“People who would not normally have considered buying in or investing in Little Rock were gobbling things up. They were buying everything they could,” she says. “It was nice, as a listing agent, but hectic—and it was tough on the buyers.”

While the sustained higher prices mean equity gains for owners, Jackson says it’s been tough to watch as locals have been priced out, or priced out of what they wanted.

Biggest price decreases of 2022

1. Boise City, ID

Boise, ID (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: -5.8%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $263
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $509,900

Boise was one of the hottest markets during the pandemic as an influx of former Californians moved in and builders rushed to put up more homes. List prices rose more than 70% between the beginning of 2020 and the middle of 2022.

The skyrocketing prices in Boise reflected the surge in demand for places that offered affordability, relative to big coastal metropolitan areas that many buyers were moving from.

Realtor.com economist Ratiu says it’s no surprise to see Boise leading the country in price declines since hiked interest rates put the brakes on the market.

“The run-up in prices in a place like Boise, where there was such an inflow of new buyers, was tremendous, [especially] when you look at the size of the market or the local incomes,” Ratiu says. “The prices were out of alignment.”

Many sellers have been forced to reduce their asking prices to attract buyers—a big departure from a year ago. The percentage of homes in the metro with price cuts were up 100.9%. The sellers of this updated, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house cut the price $56,000 to $449,000 since it went on the market in late November.

2. Denver, CO

Denver, CO (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: -5.7%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $280
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $599,990

The Mile High City’s mile-high prices have come down some, as this pandemic destination’s red-hot market cools off.

Like Boise, Denver attracted a lot of newcomers who were fleeing urban areas that made Denver’s already above-average home prices look affordable. A perk for buyers were that the city and state are known for some of the lowest property taxes in the nation. That helped to keep monthly mortgage payments more manageable.

Home prices in Denver surged about 35% between the beginning of the pandemic and early in 2022. But like in other cities, home prices began to fall, and now are almost 6% below last year.

For around $600,000, home shoppers can find a two-bedroom bungalow built in 1905 in Denver’s coveted Highlands neighborhood.

3. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: -3.1%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $328
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $591,500

California’s capital of Sacramento is the most expensive metro on the list, with homes around 50% above the national average.

However, it’s long been known for a relatively low cost of living and more relaxed lifestyle, compared with San Francisco, about an hour and a half southwest, where the median home list price in the metro was over $1 million in November.

Those lower prices in Sacramento helped the city to attract Californians fleeing higher prices in the Bay Area who could suddenly work remotely. That helped to give prices a hefty boost.

Prices rose more than 35% between the beginning of 2020 and mid-2022. But the real estate market has since cooled as higher mortgage rates have changed the affordability equation.

For just under $600,000, home shoppers can find a small, two-bedroom home in Sacramento’s Marshall School neighborhood, east of the Capitol Mall city center.

4. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: -2.7%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $179
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $325,000

The Crescent City is the only Southern metro on the list of price declines, with prices down around 3% year over year.

That’s after prices in New Orleans went up around 30%. Home insurance costs in and around the storm-prone Big Easy are expected to rise in 2023, and the pandemic real estate frenzy has died down, helping to bring down prices.

Median listing prices in New Orleans are still about 15% below the national average. And for about the metro’s median price of $325,000, shoppers can find a three-bedroom home in the Central City neighborhood, southwest of the city’s famous Canal Street.

5. Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL (Getty Images)

Year-over-year change in price per square foot: -1.6%
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price per square foot: $188
Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $320,000

Chicago is the most populous metro on the list, and the one with the decline closest to flat for the year. That more modest home pricing decrease is a function of the Second City’s size and diversity, according to Nancy Nugent, the global real estate adviser and senior vice president at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Chicago fares better because we have so many industries and multiple economies,” Nugent says.

Despite the modest declines, Nugent says she is still seeing plenty of activity in Chicago’s real estate market. It’s still relatively affordable compared with many other large cities.

“We’re climbing out of the COVID era, and people are coming back to the city,” she says. “There’s a real resurgence right now.”

Chicago home shoppers can get a two-bedroom condominium for around $320,000 in the city’s famous Lincoln Park.

Thank you to Realtor.com for this article. To read more, click here! 

For Additional Blog Content, Click Here! 


New Standards Aim to Make Building Construction Less Wasteful

Much of the talk about green buildings centers on operational energy consumption and, increasingly, carbon emissions. But there are many aspects of sustainable commercial buildings, and one that’s garnering more attention lately is the massive amount of waste generated during construction and demolition. The statistics are eye-popping when you take a closer look. Construction and demolition in buildings, roads, bridges, and other sectors generate more than 600 million tons of waste annually in the U.S., according to the EPA. That’s twice as much waste as what municipalities collect from homes and businesses in cities.

About 100 billion tons of raw material is extracted from the earth every year, equivalent to destroying two-thirds of Mount Everest’s mass annually. Approximately half of that raw material goes into building construction. It’s estimated that construction creates a third of the world’s overall waste; unfortunately, much of this waste ends up in landfills. More building owners are tackling the construction waste problem as it becomes incorporated into increasingly stringent green building standards.

One example of a building using new techniques to cut down on construction waste is the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at the Georgia Institute for Technology in Atlanta. The building earned the Living Building Challenge (LBS) certification in 2021 which is known by many as the most rigorous and ambitious green building standard in the world. The Kendeda Building is just one of 28 buildings globally that have achieved it and the first in the Southeastern region of the U.S. One of the ways the building garnered the certification was by eliminating more than 99 percent of its construction waste and incorporating reclaimed materials into the project.

Skanska, the world’s 5th largest construction company, served as the project manager for the Kendeda Building’s construction, and they had their work cut out for them in reducing waste according to the Living Building Challenge requirements. Under LBC, building projects must incorporate one salvaged material per 500 square meters of gross building area. That meant 10 salvaged materials for the Kendeda Building, many of which had to be locally sourced. Nearly all waste from the development had to be diverted from landfills, including 99 percent of metal, 99 percent of paper and cardboard, and 100 percent of soil and biomass.

Before construction began, Skanska’s team compiled a list of expected waste streams from each trade. All the salvageable material was either incorporated into the development or donated to the Lifecycle Building Center in Atlanta, which captures building materials from the waste stream and directs them back to the local community for reuse. About 443 tons of asphalt were recycled from the project, and the construction team prevented about 99.5 percent of scraps and unused materials from being turned into waste.

The Skanska team also got creative in the use of salvaged materials. They set aside a small warehouse about 1.5 miles from the construction site where they were able to stockpile salvaged building materials, including slate tile that was removed from a Georgia Tech campus building. Granite from the campus’ Archives Building was used for landscaping the building site, and storm-fallen trees were collected, milled, and dried for counters and benches. The project team removed 1880s heart pine joists from a campus building to use as stair treads.

Meeting all these waste reduction requirements was far from easy, requiring constant vigilance until the project was done. Plenty of material still had to be hauled away from the site despite the reuse of soil, logs, and lumber scraps. Sending building materials to recyclers was a last resort. The recycling effort required massive sorting and tracking, and the changing cast of subcontractors had to get used to this novel way of doing things. Most construction sites use one bin for waste and one for mixed recycling, but the Kendeda Building had recycling bins for gypsum, metals, paper, insulation, and wood.

Shan Arora, the Director of the Kendeda Building, told me that a big part of designing this ultra-sustainable building was to be an example and roadmap for other U.S. commercial green buildings, especially in the Southeast. While net-zero waste efforts were challenging and even frustrating sometimes, the idea was to look at building materials differently and perhaps influence other building owners to do so. “We wanted to change how buildings are thought about,” Arora told me. “My goal is to push people with their building projects to think beyond what their building can be.”

Waste diversion and reduction are just one of the many impressive aspects of the Kendeda Building. The building is an example of regenerative design, an increasingly popular architectural concept that goes beyond mere sustainability and aims to be self-sustaining and produce net-positive environmental impacts. The Kendeda Building’s energy-efficient electrical and mechanical equipment, tight building envelope, and solar panel canopy supply 225 percent of the building’s energy needs annually. The solar panel canopy on the roof also captures rainwater. The water is then stored in a 50,000-gallon cistern in the basement, treated, and used for all building purposes, including drinking.

While the Kendeda is impressive and has won multiple awards, not all new building projects have the capital and funding to meet these standards. The building is about 13 percent more expensive than a comparable building at Georgia Tech at $544 per gross square foot. The Georgia Institute of Technology also received a $30 million grant from the Kendeda Fund to build the state-of-the-art green building. It was the biggest donation ever given by the Kendeda Fund and the largest one ever received by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The building was explicitly designed to meet the Living Building Challenge 3.1, and $25 million of the donation was used in construction, with the remainder set aside to support programming activities.

Arora frequently gives tours of the Kendeda Building to architects and building owners seeking to learn what’s behind their accomplishments. He said numerous building projects in the Southeastern U.S. have been inspired by the building, but he acknowledged other projects have more limitations. “I say to building owners, you have to deliver something without the foundation funding that we have,” Arora said.

The circle of (building) life

While not every building developer will have the wherewithal to create something like the Kendeda Building, there are still ways to reduce and divert construction waste from landfills, many of which are attributed to the idea of a ‘circular economy.’ The circular economy concept means replacing waste systems that extract resources with a circular system that keeps products and materials reused. In construction, the idea places value on building material waste as a commodity and not something to be just tossed aside. The cycle recovers and restores materials through re-use, repair, and re-manufacturing. This is what the Kendeda Building accomplished by following the Living Building Challenge certification guidelines, and while other building projects don’t have to aim for that high of a goal, they can still incorporate circular economy practices.

Using circular economy practices in building construction and demolition first means reducing the volume of new materials used. That means preserving existing buildings and prolonging their life. Salvaging and re-using materials have already been a part of building construction, but new ways of re-purposing materials are being considered. Tracking waste from building sites more closely is essential, and separating the waste and transporting it to the correct and certified recycling facilities for processing is the next step.

An illustration showing the difference between the traditional take, make, and waste linear economy approach and the circular economy approach. Source: Linia kontraŭ Cirkulero – Circular economy – Wikipedia

A prime example of circular economy practices in building construction is the Catherine Commons Deconstruction Project, a collaborative effort with the Circular Construction Lab, a nonprofit organization, and the architecture firm Trade Design Build. The project centered on developing 300 new housing units near the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, which required the demolition of 11 early 20th-century residences. The team convinced the developer to salvage nonstructural elements from 10 demolished buildings and completely deconstruct the other building.

During a week in January 2022, eight workers meticulously cut the roofs, walls, and floors into sections, loaded them onto a truck, and delivered them to a local warehouse for processing. After processing, more than 50 community members and smaller contractors have purchased the salvaged materials, including structural timber and oak flooring. It’s estimated that the structural timbers salvaged from the deconstructed house equated to more than 13 tons of embodied carbon being diverted from a landfill.

Gensler is another firm that has taken the lead on the construction circular economy, applying the principles to the interior design of Google’s $2.1 billion office headquarters project at St. John’s Terminal in Manhattan. The building has been partially fitted out with recycled construction waste, such as scrap gypsum board, diverted back to the manufacturer, and then re-purposed as new gypsum board products. Gensler says that as of April 2022, the project’s interior design had used about 200 tons of recycled materials.

Barriers to overcome

While approaches like this show promise, barriers to the widespread use of circular economy practices in building development persist. The biggest one is economic. Deconstruction of buildings to gather salvageable materials is more expensive than standard demolition, as it demands more time and labor. Typical demolition practices focus on the fastest and most efficient way to get the job done, and the challenges of recovering materials during deconstruction aren’t appealing to most contractors.

Disposing of building materials in landfills is also faster and cheaper than diverting them to warehouses to be salvaged. Building construction for developers is often all about getting the job done quickly, and extra time leads to additional costs. During a time of rising building materials prices and other costs for contractors from supply chain problems and labor shortages, any extra costs added to development aren’t welcome.

Transitioning to a circular economy in building construction is also a significant culture change for developers and property owners. Consumerist societies, especially in the U.S., see waste as inevitable, and many may even have a bad image of salvaged materials. It’s like getting second-hand clothes from your sibling, right? While some developers may embrace this thrift-store mentality, it’s easy to see how many in America are attracted to new and shiny things, including when they think about commercial buildings.

Reducing construction waste can work in the commercial real estate sector, but it’ll take time for concepts like the circular economy to sink in. Many building contractors are reluctant to change and don’t want to modify the usual way of doing business. For most building developers, unfortunately, it’s about getting jobs done ‘quick and dirty.’ Pressure from state and local building regulations and codes may push the ball forward, and the stricter standards for waste conservation in popular green building certifications like LEED will apply pressure, too. For example, LEED 4.1 standard has several credits geared toward construction and demolition waste management. As more tenants today demand green-certified buildings, this could push developers and owners to tackle construction waste more.

Any progress toward reducing building construction waste is welcomed because materials waste has become a growing and massive global problem. According to the EPA, construction and demolition waste generation in America increased by 342 percent between 1990 and 2018, and there’s little sign of slowing down. On a global scale, waste of all kinds is predicted to increase by 70 percent by 2050 if action isn’t taken, according to the World Bank.

Cutting-edge regenerative buildings like the Kendeda Building are an example of new developments that can reduce construction waste streams substantially, even though not all contractors and developers can meet that high standard. Real estate developers will not be able to reduce construction waste overnight. Incremental improvements to the process can be a goal and another essential aspect of pushing the real estate industry to greener and more sustainable standards.

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Despite Market Turbulence, Industrial Real Estate Will Continue To Boom

There has arguably never been a more robust year for industrial real estate.

Construction companies completed 121.4M SF of industrial in Q3 2022, the second-highest quarterly total on record. Demand has more than kept up, and vacancy rates trended downward for the seventh straight quarter to a record low of 3.3%.

Though macroeconomic instability is affecting all aspects of commercial real estate, industrial space has proven to be a resilient asset class. However, no sector comes without its challenges.

Rising interest rates, pandemic-induced supply chain setbacks and inflation are worrisome to CRE professionals. As many believe the market is on the brink of a recession, the Federal Reserve announced another interest rate hike in mid-December, elevating rates to the highest they’ve been in 15 years. Labor shortages, material scarcity and price increases are also contributing factors to today’s industry concerns.

As the industrial sector navigates the challenges of a world changed by the pandemic, CRE firms have had to adjust their business strategies accordingly. Taking that into account, CORFAC International — a worldwide network of independently owned commercial real estate firms — expects to see continued strength into 2023.

“While activity may have cooled off slightly from earlier this year, industrial real estate is still in strong demand,” said Mason Capitani, managing partner of L. Mason Capitani/CORFAC International and 2022 CORFAC International president. “Though economic conditions are turbulent right now, professionals in the industry are proving to be adaptable and forging new industry trends.”

One way industrial professionals have been adapting to current supply and demand conditions is by searching for less-conventional spaces.

“Companies across the country are ‘settling’ for less-desirable properties due to supply shortages,” he said. “As a result, properties in secondary locations with fewer amenities continue to be occupied when they would most likely remain vacant in other market cycles.”

Largely due to the pandemic, supply chain disruptions have spurred demand for such industrial properties, he said. At the same time, the supply of industrial property is having difficulties keeping up with demand.

Joe Santaularia, senior vice president and managing partner of Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services/CORFAC International in Dallas, agreed with Capitani that the pandemic solidified the strength of the industrial market, even as other asset classes including office, retail and hospitality took a massive blow. Both said they believe the market will remain competitive as interest rates increase.

“The rise in interest rates and construction costs will continue to make it difficult to make economic sense of speculative industrial development,” Capitani said. “Although some companies are forced to build rather than lease or buy existing properties due to specific needs, the cost-effective approach is to acquire existing properties.”

As a result, Capitani anticipates that vacancy rates will remain low and property values will continue to increase. Santaularia said rents will rise for properties below 300K SF, but will stagnate for space above this threshold.

Other trends that will remain dominant in 2023 include the process of reshoring in addition to retail space conversion and co-warehousing, Santaularia said.

“The main objective of reshoring is to ‘de-risk’ a company’s supply chain and bring operations back from Asia to the U.S. and Mexico,” he said. “This emerging trend in the industrial space has the ability to strengthen the economy, create jobs and help reduce production costs.”

On the same note, Santaularia said that warehousing companies are beginning to partner with occupants to fill unused space with users looking for short-term or bulk warehouse space.

“Co-warehousing is becoming more frequent throughout the industry as companies like OLIMP and Warehouse Pro are taking advantage of this concept,” he said. “When it comes to retail space conversion, industrial players are leasing assets usually considered retail in order to be closer to consumers. This will help them break up their footprints and lease multiple locations rather than just focusing on one market.”

Looking to next year, the two experts agreed that the need for industrial space will not be affected by many of the outside factors that impact other sectors. For instance, the office market is struggling to figure out its identity as landlords and tenants sort out the true meaning of flex work as it relates to space needs, and retail continues to gauge demand for brick-and-mortar locations in the online world.

They predicted supply and demand will continue to positively reinforce the industrial market for the foreseeable future.

“There has been very little speculative development of industrial products while the demand for manufacturing and distribution space has not abated,” Capitani said. “This trend will continue as interest rates and construction costs continue to rise, which will continue to drive down vacancy rates and increase industrial real estate values. Overall, we’re confident about what next year has in store for this market.”

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Mortgage Rates and Home Prices Favor Buyers—but How Long Will This Christmas Miracle Last?

Christmas has arrived early for America’s homebuyers! And it’s not just one gift, but two that should make them giddy.

Gift No. 1: lower mortgage rates, which have been falling for the past four weeks.

“Housing data in the week that followed the Thanksgiving holiday showed that the recent dip in mortgage rates may already be having an impact,” explains Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Halein her weekly analysis.

Gift No. 2: Home price growth “slowed notably” for the week ending Dec. 3, according to Hale.

We unwrap the latest real estate statistics and what they mean for homebuyers and sellers in our weekly column “How’s the Housing Market This Week?”

Mortgage rates dipped again

Not too long ago, it had been a grim picture: Mortgage rates had more than doubled over the past year and reached a 20-year high of 7.08% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan in late October.

Yet since then, for the past month, rates have been in a free fall, hitting 6.33% for the week ending Dec. 8, down from the previous week’s 6.49%, according to Freddie Mac.

Even this singular one-week decline comes with major savings on a typical house, amounting to $185 saved per month.

Yet with rates in flux, there may be little time for home shoppers to waste.

“With far more consumers still generally expecting higher rates rather than lower rates, those hoping to make a purchase may have some urgency to capitalize on what may be a temporary dip,” warns Hale.

Home price growth is tapering off

In November, the median price of a house hovered at $416,000. Yes, that’s high, but nowhere near the record high of $449,000 in June.

Furthermore, although the cost of a home has grown by double digits year over year for the past 49 weeks straight, the good news for homebuyers is that this growth is steadily ratcheting down.

For the week ending Dec. 3, the median listing price grew by 10.3% compared with the same week last year. So prices are still higher than a year earlier, but this was a steep decrease from the prior week’s growth rate of 12.2%.

And if the slowing continues, home price growth could move back into single-digit territory before the end of the year, giving buyers even more purchasing power.

Where are all the new homes?

While homebuyers might be thrilled by these sudden good tidings on the mortgage and home price front, the downside is that they’ll have fewer fresh listings to shop.

For 22 consecutive weeks, the number of new home sellers willing to list has dwindled, dropping for the week ending Dec. 3 by 8% compared with this same week last year.

Yet the silver lining is that this is the smallest decline since July.

And overall, the total number of homes for sale—both new listings and old—shot up an eye-popping 53% compared with one year ago.

This spike in overall homes for sale is largely a result of homes spending more time on the market. For the week ending Dec. 3, home shoppers had nine more days to scroll through listings compared with the same time last year.

“Homes are sitting on the market for longer, as buyers take their time to decide,” says Hale.

Buyers may need to act quickly

While lower mortgage rates, tapering home price growth, and more properties to choose from are all excellent news for homebuyers, there are still plenty of challenges and unknowns looming in 2023.

“Affordability continues to be a challenge compared to a year ago,” says Hale.

Home shoppers eager to make the most of their sudden boost in buying power should look to Northeast and Midwest markets for well-priced, affordable homes.

“Looking ahead, we expect midsized markets that offer affordability and are home to a mix of domestic manufacturing, government, health care, and education employers to have some of the top housing markets of 2023,” says Hale.

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Large Indoor Parks Show the Value of Office Greenspace

As we inch towards the third year alongside the existence of COVID-19, the pandemic’s impact seems more visible in some places than others. Restaurants and bars are crowded again, air travel has rebounded, and mask mandates have eased save for specialized facilities. Yet the dreaded virus has forever changed how people work, which means it has caused us to reconsider what the ideal office should look like. Even though by now, many of us (myself included) are tired of mentioning the pandemic, there continues to be a lot of talk about what amenities office owners and operators should incorporate into their buildings in order to remain competitive in a post-pandemic market, and rightfully so.

Even with the recent wave of layoffs and a recession due to appear any minute now, office workers continue to have significant leverage, and offices need to adapt to meet that new demand. Now that hybrid work has taken over, and employees have more flexibility to work where they want whenever they want, offices need to make a positive impact in order to entice a workforce out of their homes. From JLL’s point of view, one way to create an impactful workplace is to lean into the sustainable design—which means lots of plants. Owners and occupiers usually respond to this trend by installing a living wall or adding any other design element that has a natural aesthetic flair, but not many have gone so far as to make a new amenity altogether: an indoor park.

Outdoor space on an office property is extremely desirable, especially from a leasing perspective. A recent report from the University of Oxford, among several other studies, shows that outdoor space is a huge value driver of office space and offices with outdoor spaces where employees can wander get leased faster and command higher rents. In fact, outdoor access is such a hot commodity that Blackstone Properties constructed a 1-acre slab of grass in their massive Willis Tower renovation in hopes that it would help reignite occupancy levels and spur leasing activity. But does the idea of an indoor park have the same pull? Well, not every piece of office real estate has the luxury of outdoor square footage. That’s why developers are taking great pains to build outdoor respites on rooftops and terraces wherever possible.

Offices have placed a lot of emphasis on greenery as of late, so the inception of an indoor park seems almost inevitable. After all, an indoor park has all of the benefits of an outdoor park—fresh air, stress relief, and even an improvement in property values—but doesn’t lose its appeal when inclement weather strikes. Since so many companies are still mulling over whether or not to offload some of their office footprints since hybrid work schedules have fewer people in the office every day, there’s a case to be made that an indoor park would be a better use of real estate than an empty desk. Yet an indoor park is such an uncommon amenity that it’s not really prevalent in Class A buildings, but one mega-project nestled in the Lower East Side of Manhattan has an inside park to brag about.

The 9,000-square-foot indoor park, known as The Broome Street Gardens, is one of the many amenities inside Essex Crossing, an ambitious development nearly a decade in the making. Essex Crossing was built on one of the last remaining expanses of unused land on the Lower East Side, as the full-block lots that the complex sits on were once used as parking lots.

The Broome Street Gardens, Source: Essex Crossing

Before we can even get on the topic of the indoor park, we should probably touch on the sheer scale and impact of the development around it. For years, abandoned buildings and decaying vacant lots riddled the neighborhood’s litter-strewn streets, especially during the city’s housing crisis in the 1980s and ‘90s. But by the 2000s, gentrification efforts began increasing in speed as luxury developers realized that the area was only a 15-minute train ride from almost every corner of Manhattan. The area became a hot spot for high-rise bids for an affluent demographic that didn’t reflect the residents who lived there, much to their ire. But there was a relative lack of vocal opposition when it came to Essex Crossing’s development, and that’s because the biggest draw of the complex was an integration of a mixed-income housing model to accommodate a desperate need for affordable housing options in New York City.

Essex Crossing is part of a nine-building project that runs along Delancey Street. The individual building features a mix of residential and commercial space with apartments, offices, communal facilities, an urban farm, a hospital, and an indoor retail market. The full project was developed by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture of developers Taconic Partners, L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, the Prusik Group, and the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Handel Architects and the husband and wife duo behind CetraRuddy were behind the complex’s design. The entire project is expected to be fully completed by 2024, but the property buzzes with an air of excitement from recent lease signages that it almost feels like it’s open already. At least, that was the sense I got when I visited it. As of now, Retail at Essex Crossing is 90 percent leased. On the residential side, the rentals are completely sold out.

Essex Crossing has so many bells and whistles attached to it, but admittedly an indoor park is such a niche amenity, especially during a prolonged period of lower occupancy levels. With so many occupiers opting to shrink their office footprint, an indoor park sounds suspiciously experimental; as if the whole thing is more of a temporary placeholder for desk space that would be put to use in a future where office workers would finally lose their footing on their market leverage, and the 5-day, in-person workweek would come creeping back. The plants Essex Crossing had strategically placed in the garden seemed to have confirmed my suspicions. Snake Plants. Calatheas. Philodendrons. Peperomias. These were all incredibly low-maintenance plants recommended to brown thumbs that can’t seem to keep anything alive (…don’t ask me why I know that).

But it seems that the team behind Essex Crossing learned from the infamous debacle behind the Qiyi City Forest Garden development, an eight-tower apartment complex in Chengdu, China, that was advertised as an “eco-paradise” with individual gardens on every floor. The project sounded like a dream on paper, so much so that all 826 had been pre-sold before the ribbon was cut. However, only a handful of people moved in. Why? Because the developers had such a tragic lack of understanding when it came to the local horticulture that the property was swarmed with mosquitoes.

However, you’re not going to find a blood-sucking horde at the park in Essex Crossing. The developers clearly did their research on what plants would thrive in an indoor environment, would need maintenance from a gardener on a semi-regular basis, and not attract pests that would dissuade people from ever stepping into the property.

Admittedly, the indoor park is stunning. It’s a little oasis where employees can take a meeting or have a coffee break a stone’s throw away from their desks. Jane Luger, Vice President of the real estate company Taconic Partners, and my tour guide told me that the indoor park is a permanent fixture of the building. Ironically, it’s a permanent fixture built to suit a flexible need. “The park was designed to offer the buildings’ office employees a literal breathing space,” she said, pointing to one of the focuses.

But the business case for the park is a little broader than offering people a plant-laden reprieve. When Essex Crossing does open, Broome Street Gardens will be accessible to the public five days a week, as will the outdoor park outside the building that’s currently under construction. The park sits in an atrium on the market level, a spot that will get quite noisy once the property fully opens up to the public. The plants in the park have a crucial sound absorption role to play, so that park isn’t going anywhere.

Again, the park is only one of a laundry list of amenities that Essex has to offer, but according to Luger, the park is a little luxury that serves as a value-add for the office tenants’ company culture. “Amenities are what make culture,” she said, “and if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that landlords are the ones who need to provide that.”

The ideal post-pandemic office, as far as we know, is supposed to emphasize the health and wellness of the people who use it. We already know that plants clean the air, boost morale (and, to an extent, productivity), and increase aesthetic value because, hey, they’re nice to look at. However, the developers at Essex Crossing didn’t cluster a few houseplants together in one spot and call it a “park.” The indoor park at Essex Crossing is a central fixture of the building with an intentional design behind it to serve multiple purposes, from a health booster to a noise buffer to a tiny little oasis during the workday. It remains to be seen whether or not an indoor park will really catch on as the next big office amenity, but it certainly is for one building in the Lower East Side.

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Atlanta Is the Best Place to Live in the U.S.

Money’s Best Places to Live list has been around for 35 years and counting. And if you’ve come across it in any one of those years, you know that Atlanta is very different from the kinds of places that usually make the cut. Especially at the very top.

This is no accident. At a time when people are becoming much more introspective about their role in society (see: the rise of “quiet quitting,” union organizing and the recent wave of teacher, nurse, and railroad worker strikes), our goal this year was to name a number one where anyone can feel like they belong.

And for that, Atlanta is hard to beat.

Atlanta isn’t a massive city. Population-wise, it hovers right below 500,000, on par with Kansas City and Omaha. But both culturally and economically, the Georgia capital punches way above its weight.

It’s the fourth-largest Black-majority city in the U.S., and the proud hometown of Martin Luther King Jr. It has some of the best universities in the country, including Georgia Tech — which ranked 6th on Money’s 2022 list of Best Colleges — and a culinary scene that champions steakhouses and greasy spoon diners in equal measure. It has America’s largest puppetry museum, and America’s only trap music museum. It has professional baseball, and it has drag shows. (Sometimes, it even has baseball-themed drag shows).

No matter what kind of person you are, Atlanta is a place where you can feel at home. And, just as important, it’s also a place where you can find a job.

Our data and reporting show that Atlanta’s labor market — the number of jobs available in a range of different occupations — is exceptionally strong. It’s still a job seeker’s market no matter where in the U.S. you happen to live, but Atlanta’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Better yet, the city’s job growth has been consistently outpacing the U.S. for more than a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tech jobs are driving much of that growth: Atlanta also has a flourishing startup ecosystem, fueled by a growing number of tech incubators and venture capital firms stationed there. Silicon Valley behemoths like Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have all recently opened up shop in Atlanta, as have new, popular startups, like the inclusivity-centric marketing platform We Are Rosie and the meeting scheduling app Calendly.

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of growth in terms of being able to scale a company here,” says Aaron Hurst, founding director of Endeavor Atlanta, a startup accelerator that caters to entrepreneurs in underserved markets. “Now, people are starting to view Atlanta as a good place to launch their career.”

Like every place on this list, Atlanta is not perfect. Rising prices have had an outsized impact on the city’s most vulnerable residents, and have made it increasingly hard for legacy Black families to afford to live comfortably. An incoming wave of new residents—the 11 counties that make up the city’s commutable area are expected to gain 2.5 million people by 2040, bringing it to a total of 8 million—stands to exacerbate the problem.

Still, Atlanta stands out not because of its shortcomings (these are issues facing every major city in the U.S.), but what it’s doing to solve them.

‘A Deep-Seated Recognition’

Crystal Thomas knows how to hustle.

For nearly 10 years, the professional event planner climbed the ranks of Atlanta’s social scene, decorating parties and designing sets for a seemingly endless stream of photo shoots throughout the city. Until early 2020, when — well, you know what happened next.

As COVID-19 snaked through the country, Thomas started to experience the same quarantine claustrophobia as the rest of us, amplified by the anxiety of no longer having an income. So she decided to start offloading what she had in abundance: one hell of a houseplant collection.

What started as an impromptu, card-table-in-a-parking-lot sort of operation turned into an indoor popup shop, which led to a bunch of Instagram followers, and custom online orders, and then another popup.

Eventually, Thomas landed where she’s at today: a brick-and-mortar store on Atlanta’s Westside. Tropical Express, her dual plant shop-event space, is open every Wednesday through Saturday.

Thomas is no stranger to the small business grind — and all the handshaking/email swapping/happy hour networking that comes with it. But Atlanta came through for her in a big way, she says. Neighbors offered her temporary spots in their bars, offices and art galleries — and her sudden, surprisingly devoted customers followed her to all of them.

“Atlanta is a space where everyone is uplifting each other,” she says. “People had their arms open.”

Small, community-centered economies have long been a part of what makes Atlanta Atlanta — this is a city that helped catalyze the Civil Rights Movement, after all. But in 2022, as the city draws in flocks of tourists, wealthy real estate developers and expats from more expensive cities, there’s an undercurrent of shared responsibility that feels very of-the-moment.

Atlanta has cooperatively owned food manufacturersbuildings and bike shops. It has a seven-acre food forest that gives free fruit, vegetables and herbs to all its volunteers. There are 21 farmers markets in Atlanta proper, the vast majority of which accept food stamps as payment, and at least one “pay what you can” grocery store.

Thomas’ new plant store is on Jefferson St. NW, an industrial stretch that’s a perfect microcosm of the city’s many competing loyalties: a Greyhound bus depot and rival bail bond companies neighbor a new bike path, a froufrou wedding space and an art gallery that was once a Baptist church. The building is owned by the Westside Future Fund (WFF), a nonprofit that partners with the city to provide low cost office and retail space to small businesses battling ever-rising commercial rents. (WFF does a lot of other things too, like paying the annual property tax increases of legacy homeowners, and providing Black-owned businesses with favorable term loans, to name a few. )

It belongs to a growing network of grassroots and government efforts — and often a combination of the two — working to ensure that when corporations like Microsoft roll into the city, and buy up entire blocks worth of(historic) real estate, or when the construction of a $1.6 billion football stadium creates new demand for chain restaurants and hotels, there are still pockets of opportunity for moms and pops … and stores like Tropical Express. Nearby, there are groups that help place seniors in affordable homes, and those that help low-income residents build credit, manage a budget and save for a down payment on a home.

This is a line Atlanta has been toeing since the 1990s; an economic boom time for the city that started, by most accounts, when it was chosen to host the 1996 Olympics. The Dot Com bubble of the early 2000s followed, with a wave of new tech talent that poured into the city, driving up prices, and pushing thousands of Black residents to Atlanta’s outskirts.

Today, though, Atlanta is armed with lessons learned, and two consecutive mayors that have made affordability the city’s top legislative concern.

Over the last two years, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of commerce (MAC) has started to implement a series of strategic, city-wide policies purposefully designed to keep history from repeating itself. At the ground level, that means investing in Black-owned businesses, aggressively retooling corporate diversity standards and creating “strategic partnerships” with companies relocating to Atlanta that go beyond a press release pat on the back.

It’s a work in progress, but it has led to measurable results.

WFF, for one, gets a large portion of its operating budget from corporate foundations like the James M. Cox Foundation, the Chick-fil-A Foundation and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; the last of which was founded by the billionaire owner of the Atlanta Falcons (the NFL team that plays at the football stadium WFF was created, in part, to offset the ramifications of).

“We have not been perfect in this city,” says Katie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of MAC. But against the backdrop of its history, and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, its leaders are eager to “address the systemic issues that are deeply held here.”

“We’re a unique community in Atlanta,” she says. “There’s a deep-seated recognition that if we can’t get this right, then who can?”

‘The Perfect Blend of Culture’

From a cultural standpoint, Atlanta isn’t all that different from the other places that made our list this year.

It’s got ample greenspace (Denver, Colo.; Salt Lake City, Utah) historical relevance (Milton, Mass.; Alexandria, Va.), a food and music scene with global influences (Rogers Park, Chicago; Columbia, Md.) and an ever-expanding network of bike and walking trails (Carmel, Indiana; South Burlington, Vermont).

The thing about Atlanta, though, is that it has all of this in spades. Lots of places have tree-lined streets, but Atlanta has a canopy of trees so dense it’s been nicknamed the “city in a forest.” Most cities have an airport, but Atlanta has — if you believe the hype — “the most efficient airport in the U.S.”

Entertainment-wise, the city has more “things to do” than even the most social of butterflies could ever find time for.

For gamers, there’s Battle & Brew. Fans of rare, Black-authored books have For Keeps. There’s opera, street art and — for the discerning toddler — a playground designed by Isamu Noguchi. There are four professional sports teams, an underground ping pong league and a LGBTQ+ water polo team.

“I went to the symphony the other day, and they were playing Beyonce music,” says Crystal Thomas of Tropical Express. “We have the perfect blend of culture … it just bleeds through Atlanta.”

The city is getting more expensive (that’s the case for basically everywhere in the U.S. right now), but compared to other fast-growing metros like Austin, Texas — where the cost of living is higher, and the salaries are lower — Atlanta is far more frugal. (ChooseAtl, a website designed to entice millennial job seekers, has a literal “choose your own adventure” interactive for comparing living expenses in Atlanta to cities like Austin, New York and Chicago. Spoiler: Atlanta wins.)

The current median sales price for a home in the area is $395,000, according to ATTOM housing data, which is less than the median of all the places that qualified for our ranking this year ($425,000). All told, housing costs in the Atlanta metro are lower than more than half of the places to make Money’s 2022-2023 list.

Looking forward, one of the biggest priorities for Atlanta’s city planners is turning it into a place that can handle an influx of the millions of people expected to move there. That means rolling out a host of infrastructure development projects (especially as it pertains to traffic and mass transit, two perennial punching bags) and making sure there are enough workers — everyone from engineers to electricians — to get the job done.

Georgia got a massive grant from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill, and some of the funds are specifically earmarked to make this plan come to fruition. Atlanta, for its part, is “hyper-focused” on building out the workforce that will support the city’s growth, says Anna Roach, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Roach is an Atlanta transplant herself. Born in the Caribbean, and raised in New York, Roach says she first set foot in the city in 2005, while visiting a friend who lived there. She was a young lawyer with a new husband (and baby) at the time, and says she fell so deeply in love with Atlanta that her family picked up and relocated to the city less than a year later.

“I immediately felt a sense of thriving among Black, middle-class individuals who have made a life for themselves in Atlanta,” she says. “I felt like I was part of the fabric of the community because people all around me that were successful looked just like me. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Today, Roach heads the Atlanta agency tasked with maintaining the Atlanta metro’s prosperity across all of its industries — and for all its residents. It’s a tall order, but the entire city — politicians, business leaders and community members alike — are working in tandem to see it through.

“We are very focused on the tremendous opportunity … in almost every sector,” she says. “We are also very sensitive to the needs of the community, and preserving its fabric while we embrace this progress.”

An earlier version of this story overstated the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s financial contribution to the Westside Future Fund (WFF). WFF has several benefactors.


The Strong Dollar is a Double-Edged Sword for Real Estate Investors

While the dollar won’t get you as much in the U.S. these days, in most other places in the world, a dollar can buy more than ever. As a result of the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance on interest rates due to continued inflation, overseas markets in turmoil due to the war in Ukraine, and Europe’s energy crisis, the U.S. dollar is stronger than it’s been in decades compared to many other currencies in the world. That can mean a lot of things for the commercial real estate market, perhaps most notably when it comes to foreign investment. But while the strong dollar bodes well for stateside investors looking at global markets, there are downsides too. The major push to bring more manufacturing back to the U.S. could be pressured, rising cap rates could lead to falling property values, and U.S. investors who earn profits from overseas investments may see revenues fall as the dollar rises in value. “It’s a decidedly double-edged sword in the current environment,” said NYU Clinical Assistant Professor Tim Savage, who teaches at the Schack Institute of Real Estate.

Pressure points

The value of the U.S. dollar has risen sharply since May 2021 and is up 17.1 percent this year as of mid-October, the highest it’s been in 20 years. Meanwhile, foreign currencies like the Euro, British Pound, and Japanese Yen have plummeted in value over the last year. Savage pointed to two independent effects happening due to the rise in value: the direct impact of the stronger dollar and the 10-year interest rates, which are also rising. Both have an effect on cap rates because as the dollar rises, cap rates rise. There’s a lot of pressure on cap rates right now, which is generally something the commercial real estate community doesn’t like because it implies the value of a property has fallen. Given the environment, it’s imperative that owners and investors focus on growing NOI, which mainly means figuring out ways to cut expenses.

In his previous role as an economist and data scientist at CBRE, Savage worked on a study that looked at environmental effects on cap rates. He found that for every 100 basis point increase in the U.S. treasury, cap rates rise about 50 basis points. He’s seen a 350 basis point move in the 30-year treasury since the depths of the pandemic. That factor, combined with the value of the dollar and the Fed’s announcement that it won’t engage in any more asset purchases, suggests there is upward pressure on cap rates, something he expects will continue for at least a year, if not longer. “Absent a very rapid resolution in Ukraine, I just don’t see anything changing over the next year,” Savage said.

The dollar’s strength could have a negative impact on foreign investment in U.S. cities, especially secondary cities. Gateway cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago tend to fare better in uncertain economic times, as they are viewed as less sensitive to things like interest rate movements and the value of the dollar than markets like Miami, Austin, and Nashville, which are considered secondary markets to foreign investors. “In aggregate, we might see a slight decline in overall investments, but it would disproportionately affect secondary commercial real estate markets in the U.S. in a way it won’t affect places like New York,” Savage said.

Another potential impact of the dollar’s current strength is the effect it will have on one of the nation’s biggest initiatives: bringing back manufacturing. So far, it’s been going well, with the White House making big investments in the sector, notably in biomanufacturing and biotech, where it will allocate $1 billion over the next five years to help grow the sector. But the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to foreign currencies means international goods are cheaper to import. While Savage believes the strong dollar could help accelerate the country’s manufacturing rebound, some domestic manufacturers have reported declining sales as a result of the stronger dollar. “It has a debilitating effect on U.S. companies,” the president of the Reshoring Initiative, Harry Moser, told the Wall Street Journal.

On the upside is the underlying macroeconomics putting upward pressure on the dollar. Foreign investors want to invest in the U.S. because of the perception that they will get higher returns than in their own domestic markets. That, combined with the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy faster than central banks in Europe and Japan, applies further upward pressure. Basically, the dollar’s value is rising because people want to invest in the U.S. “The joke is we are the least dirty shirt in the hamper,” Savage told me. “By which I mean much of Europe is in recession, and if I had to hazard a guess, Japan is in a recession. But we are not, so there is interest in investing in the U.S.”

Investment firepower

Despite the potential downside in revenue, favorable exchange rates in Europe and Japan at the moment make it a great time to invest in real estate, and that advantage doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon. The relatively strong performance of the U.S. economy, tightened monetary policy by the Fed, and the continued view of the U.S. as a safe haven for real estate will keep the dollar strong for the foreseeable future. “American capital has a lot of firepower in global markets,” said CBRE’s Global Chief Economist Richard Barkham.

U.S. real estate investors and firms are increasingly making plays in Europe and Asia, especially in logistics and multifamily, two of the hottest real estate sectors in recent years. London has drawn the bulk of European investment from North American commercial real estate companies, according to a recent CBRE report on global capital real estate flows. In the first half of 2022, nearly $4 billion was pumped into the major European city, almost double the amount invested from the same time period last year. Additionally, the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt received one-fifth of North American investments in Europe during the same period. Asia has also been a magnet for North American investors, particularly Singapore, where investments skyrocketed 817 percent year-over-year to $978 million.

Blackstone Bets on Logistics and SFRs to Continue Hot Streak

Internet giant Google led the way at the beginning of the year when it acquired a London office building for $1 billion, adding to its already planned $1 billion office development project nearby. Greystar, the largest multifamily property management company in the U.S., has been on an investment streak in Europe so far this year. The company announced a final close of its fund focused on European residential assets in July, with $1.55 billion raised. Greystar is using the fund to acquire and develop high-quality multifamily assets in major cities of Europe, including student housing and workforce housing properties. Greystar’s Wes Fuller said in a statement that the fund follows the model of the firm’s value-add strategy in the U.S. multifamily market. Houston-based Hines has been making big investments in Asia lately through its flagship core-plus fund, Hines Asia Property Partners (HAPP). Hines’ Chris Hughes, who leads the company’s capital markets group, said markets in Asia are experiencing “tremendous growth,” with a lot of future potential for office development.

While the strength of the dollar is expected to continue for at least the next year, many predictions about a recession, interest rates, and property prices could affect the timeline of its staying power. Geopolitical tensions could also make an impact. “It’s a very complex macro environment. If Putin deploys a nuclear weapon, who knows,” NYU’s Savage said. The strength of the dollar is also putting pressure on emerging markets, and if one ends up going bust, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. There’s also concern from economists about debt burdens in developing countries, where debt is borrowed in dollars but repaid in local currency, so as the dollar rises, so does the debt burden.

Despite the downsides, it’s still a very good time to invest in foreign markets, especially in Europe and Asia. Major U.S.-based commercial real estate firms have continued to raise funds and expand their portfolios overseas. With the strong dollar expected to continue for some time, it looks like investors won’t be changing those plans anytime soon.

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The Silver Tsunami’s Impact on Real Estate

Long considered a niche real estate investment, the need for senior housing is stronger than ever. The Baby Boomers, which have had an outsized presence both by numbers and economic might compared to previous generations, are now comfortably within their golden years, the youngest being 58 and the oldest being 76 years old. Because of the sheer numbers of America’s aging population, senior housing could be an attractive real estate investment, with many going as far as to call it “recession-proof.” But while there’s an urgent need to build more senior housing developments, senior housing has been an intimidating asset class for a lot of investors.

Shifting demographics in the U.S. have positioned the senior housing sector for rapid growth over the next decade, but “senior housing” is more of an umbrella term that embodies multiple development types. There are independent living facilities, which are designed for seniors who want to maintain the advantages of living in a community without sacrificing their freedom. There are also age-restricted communities (where all residents are age 55 and older). Some senior living accommodations include some form of service, including residential care homes for tenants who need a little help with everyday tasks but don’t require round-the-clock care. Assisted living facilities keep tenants in small apartments attached to communal areas (like dining halls) and have staff available 24 hours a day to care for tenants. Then there are nursing homes that offer more specialized care for elderly adults who can’t take care of themselves due to debilitating mental or physical illnesses.

For people who fit the definition of a senior citizen, which at this point is every member of the Baby Boomer generation, there is a wide range of developments available to fit their unique lifestyle demands. Granted, it’s not just Baby Boomers who are responsible for the time-bomb ticking down to the sector’s explosion. The number of Americans 65 and older, also known as the “silver tsunami,” is expected to reach 72 million by 2030 and 83 million by 2050. This important demographic trend puts a lot more pressure on a system that already faces a senior housing deficit. For multifamily landlords, this kind of widening gap in the market is creating a huge opportunity for investment. After all, maintaining families and communities has a beneficial social impact, which is a compelling argument in and of itself for investing in this asset class. However, the wide array of development types indicates that senior living properties pose distinct challenges when it comes to managing them.

One of the reasons why senior housing has become more complicated as a sector is because of the tenants themselves. Humans are generally living longer, which means that seniors will be in the elderly stage of their lives longer than past generations. The life expectancy for 65-year-olds has steadily increased since the 1960s. Today, the average 65-year-old woman can anticipate living to 86 years old, whereas the average 65-year-old man can anticipate living to 83. Data from the CDC shows that as of 2019, a 65-year-old woman lived an additional 20.8 years on average and a 65-year-old man lived an additional 18.2 years.

Now, the increase in lifespan is adjusting metrics for senior housing developments in more ways than you would think. It’s not only extending senior housing stays, it’s also paradoxically delaying when senior citizens transition into senior housing, if they choose to do so at all. A 2021 study from AARP discovered that a growing number of senior citizens are remaining in their homes as they get older, presumably only switching to specialized senior living if their depleting health absolutely demands it.

Robert Ranieri, Managing Director at Northmarq (a provider of debt, equity, and loan services to real estate owners and investors) and chairman of the Board of Directors of Wartburg Home, a senior residential and health care provider in lower Westchester County, New York, is acutely aware of this phenomenon. “You know, fortunately we’re all healthier, so we’re staying in our home for longer,” he said. “Twenty years ago, everyone thought that once a person got to be 60 years old, they would move to a senior housing complex, whether it was high-end or something less glitzy, but that simply isn’t the case anymore.”

More seniors than before are choosing to age in place, but this trend is not enough to offset future demand for other types of senior housing. Projections by JLL indicate that the senior housing industry is stepping into a decade-long investment cycle, and even so, the sector will still be undersupplied by 600,000 units by 2045. In order to support peak demand levels, there needs to be an annual supply growth north of 25,000.

In theory, it should make a favorable scenario for lenders, but that’s not necessarily the case according to Ranieri. “I’m from the lending side, and the fact that only a few people would be willing to lend on a senior housing product just tells you, at least from my perspective, that it’s got to be high-yield,” he said. “Investors are going to expect higher returns and higher yields because it’s so labor-intensive. It’s not just housing, it’s care of people, whether they’re healthy and active or not.”

The labor-intensive aspect of the sector is exactly what makes it so tricky, both from an operational and a cost standpoint. Both the personnel and the residents of a community have a human component to consider when it comes to senior living. It’s also a very operations-intensive industry that requires specialized management compared to other property types. For any other revenue-generating commercial property, the landlord and manager’s interests are kept in line by a range of joint-venture agreements between owners and operators, regular lease forms, and alternative structures. But there is just more at stake when the well-being of vulnerable, elderly tenants are involved. So both capital suppliers and on-the-ground operators are looking for highly specialized partners. Think about it: If a commercial landlord clashes with their property management firm, there aren’t many barriers, beyond contract stipulations, that prevent a landlord from hiring a new one. But property management firms for senior housing developments, no matter the property type, are far more specialized and can’t just be changed out easily. If an operator is replaced, what happens to the residents who live there and the care staff that serves them?

Labor is typically what drives senior housing costs for the tenant and eats the ROI for the property owner, even when there isn’t enough staff to go around. Senior living worker shortages have forced an alarming number of facilities to cut down on their admission rates for new tenants. Out of 759 nursing home providers surveyed by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), 98 percent of them have struggled to hire new staff, and 61 percent of providers have limited new admissions due to staffing shortages.

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Senior housing of all types is getting more expensive, not just because of rising labor costs. Just like retail real estate, office, and multifamily, senior housing developments are feeling the sting of inflation, high interest rates, construction delays, and increased costs of construction labor and raw building materials. It’s made it extremely challenging to get lenders on board with new developments that are so desperately needed. “With the cost of building and staffing today,” added Ranieri, “I don’t know how you get that return. The price is just going to have to continue to escalate.”

Escalating prices are making senior living a messy subject, even for the companies that operate them. With current market fundamentals pushing up the property management, food, and labor costs, senior living companies are out to shed exposure by putting themselves on the market. Brookdale Senior Living, the largest owner and operator of retirement homes in the U.S., is reportedly in talks to sell. The news comes on the heels of other operators changing hands as the cost of doing business continues to creep even higher.

Those escalating prices need to be paid somewhere, so they’re often passed off to the tenant. For any other property type, rising costs can be written off as the nature of the local market, but for seniors who have retired or are too frail to generate extra revenue for themselves beyond their fixed income, this is extremely problematic. Lack of affordability makes otherwise viable housing options elusive for seniors. While wages for seniors continue to be largely steady, prices in the US home market are rising, and that’s not even factoring the cost of the supportive services that older citizens would require from senior housing developments. And the price tag will only get higher as time goes on. By 2047, the overall expense of care for the elderly in America will have doubled, from $2.8 trillion to $5.6 trillion. But solving for affordability is a complex problem with no simple solution. For Ranieri, not-for-profit senior housing is a promising avenue. “Not-for-profits can do senior housing on their campuses at a cheaper rate,” he said. “You’re not going to have government meals, but it’s the same level of care.”

Why Are So Many Retirement Communities Age-Restricted When the Data Argues Against It?

With so many moving parts to manage, the senior housing market was once thought of as a niche asset class. But with an apparent crisis around the corner, there’s a major opportunity for real estate investors. There may not be a simple solution, but the main thing that’s crushing affordability in senior housing is demand. Yes, inflation is at a four-decade high and there’s a shallow labor pool, but the turbulent economic landscape that’s supporting both of these factors are expected to balance out, at least to some degree, in the coming years. But with demand, there eventually comes supply. Developments are popping up across the U.S., with more slated to break ground in the coming years. As more investors jump on the bandwagon, more options will enter the market. The competition will heat up, and consumers will have more options of care as well as price. But if there’s one thing real estate investors know, it’s that a building’s quality will be the biggest market differentiator, no matter the sector. Senior housing may be a unique asset class with a lot of challenges, but it’s an asset class that suits a permanent societal need, making it a high-yield commercial investment.

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Manufactured Developments Are Becoming More Favorable in the Multifamily Sector

Thanks to high interest rates, supply-chain bottlenecks, and increased commodities cost for raw construction materials, prefabricated home construction is picking up speed as a substitute for traditional multifamily developments.

The prefabricated construction category includes modular units (which are homes built in a factory and later assembled on-site), and manufactured houses (which are also factory-assembled but are built to meet national HUD standards), and mobile homes. Against a backdrop of a national housing shortage and a turbulent economic landscape, traditional multifamily construction methods are getting sidelined in favor of factory-built homes. The U.S. Census Bureau is seeing a 31 percent growth in the industry from May of 2022 to May of 2020, and demand is only continuing to climb.

Because of the streamlined process that comes with building in a factory, the timeline of construction for a prefabricated home is much faster than ground-up construction, and therefore much less expensive. However, there are some disadvantages: because each building site is unique to its locale’s terrain, weather, and zoning regulations, standardizing factory construction methods to suit the destination for every building is a challenge. Then of course there’s the longstanding cultural stigma attached to factory-made homes for being “cheap,” which has prompted policymakers to create stringent zoning regulations that disallowed prefabricated developments from building in desirable neighborhoods, making it a less-than-stellar investment for multifamily landlords. Despite these headwinds, prefab construction seems to be gaining favor which may provide one more tool for developers looking to build more homes, faster.

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Georgia’s Dugdown Corridor: A ‘national model’ for conservation

Last year, a group of scientists and volunteers splashed up a creek in Paulding County to look for endangered fish.

It didn’t take long to find them.

With two people holding a net upright underwater and others shuffling downstream to shoo fish into it, the team hauled up a handful of Etowah darters the first time they tried.

“That’s pretty cool,” said Bill Ensign, a retired Kennesaw State University professor, as he picked the rare fish out of the net, tallying them as he went along.

The colorful little Etowah darters live in a handful of counties in northwest Georgia, and nowhere else in the world. They’re unique to the Etowah River and some of its tributaries, including Raccoon Creek, where the day’s sampling expedition was happening.

Those darters are just one of the unique freshwater creatures living in the region.

Thanks to some quirks of geology and the last ice age, this corner of Georgia, along with northeast Alabama and neighboring parts of Tennessee, is a global hotspot for freshwater fish, and creatures like mussels and crayfish, too.

It’s an “incredible” place of biodiversity, according to Katie Owens, Upper Coosa River program director at The Nature Conservancy. Close to 80 species of fish live in the Etowah River basin alone.

“I like to think it’s a miniature Amazon right here in our backyard,” said Owens, who’s based in west Georgia.

Efforts to protect that rich biodiversity have become a jumping-off point for an ambitious conservation project taking shape in west Georgia — protecting and restoring not only Raccoon Creek, but miles and miles of land around it, too, expanding public access, bringing fire back to forests that depend on it and creating a refuge for wildlife as the changing climate alters ecosystems.

The Nature Conservancy is working with the State of Georgia, Paulding and other Georgia counties, The Conservation Fund, Kennesaw State University, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others on the project — it’s called the Dugdown Corridor. Named after a mountain in the area, it’s a vision for a giant connected network of forests and streams, stretching from the edge of metro Atlanta to the Talladega National Forest in Alabama.

A coordinated effort
As remote as it might seem — a relatively rural area of tree farms and wildlife management areas for hunting — one end of the corridor is barely an hour’s drive from downtown Atlanta.

“A lot of people don’t realize this is one of the most unique places in Georgia right here,” said Tim Pugh, the environmental compliance division manager with Paulding County.

Pugh, who was helping with the fish research at Raccoon Creek, grew up in the area.

He said the location, where three of Georgia’s geographic regions meet and mix — the Ridge and Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Piedmont — accounts for the unusual combination of wild plants and animals.

“It’s why we have all these odd plants, odd fish, odd rocks, odd everything,” he said.

Pugh said there’s a land ethic in the area at the edge of sprawling Atlanta, a sense that people don’t want the whole county to get developed.

“There’s a lot of families that have been here since the land lotteries in the 1800s,” he said. “So there’s a lot of people [with] deep roots here, that want it to stay.”

Pieces of property have been protected over time.

The state bought land in the area in the late-1980s to create Sheffield Wildlife Management Area, and later added a second neighboring wildlife management area called Paulding Forest.

In 2007 Paulding County helped buy some of that land after residents voted to tax themselves to pay for it. At the time — before the Great Recession — the housing market was going nuts, and Paulding was growing fast.

Brent Womack, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a supervisor in the region, credits voters and the county for deciding to spend the money when they did.

“The writing was on the wall, if we don’t do something now to try to retain at least a piece of this it’s going to be gone,” he said. “It’s easy for people to say, ‘Yeah, we like greenspace.’ But you have to do things sometimes to really put your money where your mouth is and make it happen. And that’s what the county did.”

Womack can trace his family’s history in the area back to the middle of the 19th century. He said he never thought when he was growing up in Paulding County, imagining a future as a wildlife biologist, that he would get to work so close to home. “It’s pretty neat,” he said.

Between Sheffield and Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Areas, there are now about 50 square miles of public land for people to use, most commonly for hunting, but exploring through other means is an option for the adventurous. (Unlike at state parks, there aren’t bathrooms or marked trails in these largely wild areas). The Silver Comet trail travels through a portion of it.

Meanwhile, the conservation has continued — the state has added bits and pieces of property to the wildlife management areas as it’s been able to.

The broader Dugdown Corridor project is even bigger than that, though: A patchwork of public lands and privately-owned forests in an area covering around 200 square miles.

The western edge of the corridor shares a border with the Talladega National Forest in Alabama.

“We really are trying to think big picture,” Owens said.

That matters for delicate wild places, like Raccoon Creek.

That day in the creek, the team counted what they caught, tossed the fish back, then splashed their way further upstream to do the whole thing many times over again.

Ensign said what happens on land affects nearby waterways. Pollution and erosion can ruin places like this, where the endangered fish live.

“Once human development begins, those sorts of habitats are some of the first that disappear,” he said.

Forest land
It’s not just those fish and their sensitive streams that are special in this area. There are also forests here that grow almost nowhere else in the world.

On a different day, in a different part of the corridor, Owens looked across a hillside of blackened young longleaf pines. A fire had come through recently. But Owens said most of the trees would be fine; they’re adapted to fire, and this blaze was an intentional, prescribed fire to maintain the health of the forest that’s growing here.

“It looks a little bit desolate right now, with a lot of brown trees, a lot of brown needles,” Owens said. “Grasses and ferns and things are the first things to come back in greenery. It’s a really great transformation from burn day to just a few weeks later.”

Longleaf pines, an iconic Southern tree, used to cover 90 million acres across the Southeast. Now, they occupy a tiny fraction of that area.

The tall straight-trunked trees with round puffs of long needles are typically associated with the sandy coastal plain, but they grow here on rolling hills far from the ocean.

The groups working together on the Dugdown Corridor are focused on these montane longleaf forests, too, which only grow in the northwest corner of Georgia and northeast corner of Alabama.

The recently burned site had been a loblolly pine plantation until just a few years ago, Owens said. After the state Department of Natural Resources, which manages the property, harvested those trees, The Nature Conservancy came in to plant longleaf in its place, and to help maintain the new forest with the fire it depends on.

Owens also works with private landowners in the area on using controlled burns and managing their property with conservation in mind.

And for property owners that want to sell, including big investors, The Conservation Fund is buying timber land in the area to add to the corridor.

At a site the organization had recently bought, forest operations manager Jenna Schreiber looked on as a team cut loblolly pines, preparing them to go to a local mill. The trees had been planted by a previous owner for harvesting.

Though it might seem counterintuitive for an environmental group to cut down trees, Schreiber said it’s part of what The Conservation Fund does.

“Conserve large tracts of land, working forest land, supporting rural communities, supporting rural jobs,” she said.

And the money from cutting the trees helps fund the conservation work, she said.

The Conservation Fund and others working in the area say keeping working timberland is helpful for the corridor, too — as long as it doesn’t end up getting developed into housing or shopping centers.

“There’s increasing pressure on these larger tracts of undeveloped land to be cut into smaller pieces,” said Andrew Schock, state director at The Conservation Fund.

Protecting big chunks of land is important, Owens said, not just for recreation and wildlife now, but also looking to the future as climate change affects Georgia’s wild places.

The Dugdown Corridor will be able to serve as a refuge as animals move because big areas like this provide a place for them to go.

“We look at areas across Georgia and say, ‘Where are species going to move in terms of climate impacts?’ And this whole corridor, the Dugdown Corridor, lights up in terms of climate resiliency,” she said.

The state Department of Natural Resources identifies Sheffield and Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Areas as a high priority in its 2015 wildlife action plan, citing the “globally significant” forests and the Raccoon Creek watershed in all of its biodiversity.

Pausing in the creek that summer day doing fish sampling, Ensign said Raccoon Creek would likely never be restored to some kind of pristine state, “but we can protect, and we can also live in a way that minimizes what we know causes damage.”

He said the science exists on how to do less harm, but it’s a societal decision on whether or not to follow it. On the collaborative approach of the groups working to piece together the Dugdown Corridor, he said it should be held up as an example of what’s possible.

“It’s a national model,” Ensign said.

 

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Flex Space is the Next Big Office Amenity

Let’s face it, the office hasn’t evolved much over the last 30 years. But a global pandemic certainly changed that. Faced with tenants seeking spaces that match their new working models, landlords are stepping up, offering office spaces that are designed, amenitized, and even leased in new ways.

Flexible leases, with lengths as short as month-to-month, make real estate decisions easier for tenants, many of whom are still trying to figure out their long-term workplace strategies. And leases aren’t the only new offering. Flex space brings additional variety to the office category, giving companies more options for what type of space they may need.

When most people think about flexible office space, they typically think of co-working, but the spectrum of flex office space has gone far beyond just communal, open office co-working spaces. Flexible office options work for any building depending on which space is available, where the building is located, and the type of tenant it attracts. Those traditional hot desks and meeting rooms rented by the day or hour are now joined by full-fledged event and collaboration spaces designed for gatherings of distributed teams and off-hour events. In addition, flexible office suites marketed to startups and small businesses are now accompanied by their more mature sibling, enterprise flex suites.

New target tenants for flex emerge

A growing subcategory of flex space is designed and marketed for larger companies. These 3,000-10,000 square feet enterprise suites typically offer a higher level of customization for the space itself, along with additional services that bring the company’s culture and brand to life without putting internal pressure on the tenant to do that themselves.

Big companies looking for supplementary spaces and companies growing faster than their corporate real estate footprint are ideal tenants for these spaces. Today’s flex offerings have matured to meet their needs, offering better IT infrastructure, elevated workplace experiences, and exciting amenities, time and cost-intensive aspects of having an office that tenants don’t have to manage anymore.

Investors are intrigued by this enterprise suite model because of its predictability to revenue projections. Enterprise suites typically have one-to-three-year lease terms vs. monthly leases for smaller co-working flex suites. This higher suite class is also leased to more creditworthy tenants, another check in the pro column for investors.

Enterprise flex suites give companies the agility to grow or shrink their office portfolios with less risk. But perhaps the bigger draw of these suites is offloading the pressure to curate in-office experiences that lure staff back to the office. Instead, landlords and asset management firms take on this responsibility when they offer flex spaces. They own their positions as experts in the new workplace, taking what they’ve learned across their portfolios to place more of a focus on experience, wellness, and collaboration.

Flex for any building

Rather than leasing space to co-working providers, landlords are investing in their own flex space offerings, diversifying what they offer to the market and their existing tenants. Right now, collaborative spaces are the biggest growth driver for flex space overall.

Melissa Schilo, Vice President of Account Management for Flex by JLL, explains, “We always knew that meeting rooms were complementary to an office or flex suite, but that category is now running its own race. The demand for collaborative meeting spaces has increased by 40 percent as companies look for thoughtfully created environments designed for collaboration.” These rooms (that can be reserved by the day, hour, or week by tenants or non-tenants) are perhaps the easiest entry point for landlords to enter the flex game.

Flex suites, dedicated spaces for a company to rent on a monthly or annual basis, are still in demand but need a bit of a makeover to thrive in a hybrid work setting. Instead of an open office set up for five or even thirty people with one or two small huddle rooms, that ratio of desks to meeting space within a suite might need to be close to a 40-60 split with added semi-private spaces for hybrid collaboration or small group working areas. In short, there will be more thoughtful spaces for people to work together, rather than solo.

In comparison, the cost of building out a traditional co-working floor dominated by hot desks and open spaces is more prohibitive. The conventional co-working revenue model isn’t as attractive to many landlords and investors, given its lack of predictability. However, it’s a promising option for buildings in prime, central locations for business travelers willing to pay a premium for easy access to amenities.

The importance of activation

Simply offering flex space isn’t enough to make it a viable revenue stream. It’s not like the Field of Dreams. Just because a building has it doesn’t mean people will want to work there. Creating a memorable experience that tenants and guests want to repeat is just as important as the space itself.

Activating a space is often referred to as the ‘art of placemaking,’ creating both a buzz and a community that gives a place its personality and purpose. Pre-pandemic, programming in offices often revolved around a few large events for tenants, but now, space activations are becoming smaller and more frequent, given people’s varied and sometimes inconsistent in-office schedules. Meghan Rooney, Vice President of Operations for Experience Management at JLL, says this programming approach is a win for building managers in terms of both budget and time. She says, “People aren’t looking for large-scale events. They’re looking for consistency. They want to feel that personal touch on a more regular basis.”

These space activations could be pop-up events that let occupants explore and connect with the building in new ways. For example, the Aon Center in Chicago holds “Breakfast with the Bees” events to let tenants interact with the beehives housed on the building’s roof and take home some honey harvests. Rooney’s team is also working with clients to experiment with underutilized spaces to see which activations gain the most traction with tenants, like turning a conference room into a meditation space or doing a series of food and beverage pop-ups in the corner of a lobby.

Green spaces, food and beverage options, or just space to rent for private events and meetings can also be made available for the broader community. Jacob Bates, Head of the Americas for Flex by JLL, emphasizes that, when done right, this type of placemaking has a powerful potential to extend the brand of the building beyond its own four walls. “Flex opens up the building to new customers, bringing spaces and experiences to the community, to the public. Suppose you can activate an amazing event space that was originally only built for the tenants. In that case, you’re not only creating new revenue streams, but you’re curating a new future tenant mix by going directly to the consumer,” he explains. These consumers, particularly those who work at large companies, are new to the flex game and come with more buying power and choice than ever before.

The pandemic has grown the demand for flexibility in the office. The increasing popularity of flexible options like collaboration spaces, flex, and enterprise suites is also turning landlords into advisors for their tenant’s workplace needs. Beyond the diversification that flex space brings to office buildings, it creates a model that allows companies to have a long-term, multistage relationship with their landlord. A tenant can grow from a one or three-person office to a flex suite, then an enterprise suite until they are ready to enter a traditional lease. A tenant can grow and mature within the new ecosystem of the building or the broader portfolio. And that is a true evolution of the role of the landlord.

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