MidCity Real Estate Partners Nominated for Award from Urban Land Institute

MidCity Real Estate Partners is nominated by the Urban Land Institute as a finalist for the award of “Excellence in Town Center Development” for our work on the Alpharetta City Center. Learn more about the project here.

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Kirk Demetrops brought Main Street to the suburbs

Like many cities, Alpharetta had to adapt.   For decades, the expansion of regional shopping centers stole the vibrancy of its main street. Merchants struggled to thrive, as downtowns became a pass-through on the way to the stores and restaurants at suburban regional malls.   Today, it’s a much different story.   In the age of Amazon, what once involved driving to your favorite store to shop now takes just a moment on your smart phone or laptop. For Atlanta’s largest owners of retail space such as DDR Corp. and Simon Property Group, it’s been a challenge to keep their projects relevant.   For cities such as Alpharetta, it’s created an opportunity for rebirth. People want to spend time again in once forgotten downtowns. Some visit new restaurants popping up on town squares.   Others take advantage of new greenways and open spaces.   A little over four years ago, Kirk Demetrops, founder of Atlanta MidCity Real Estate Partners, pursued a new project called Alpharetta City Center. Demetrops assembled a development team that included South City Partners, Morris & Fellows and Hedgewood Homes.   Today, the project includes 75,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 36,000 square feet of office, 168 apartments and 42 single family homes — a “mini-town” that brought Main Street back to life.   “Demand has been phenomenal,” Demetrops said. “Alpharetta, deservedly so, set a high bar for us. “The partners I brought in really delivered spectacular product. Most of the project is 100-percent leased or owned, including a corporate headquarters and eclectic group of retailers and restauranteurs.”   MidCity, which has developed more traditional office projects along Georgia 400, continues to look for more opportunities for downtown redevelopments. Demetrops joins a number of developers, architects and urban designers that are bringing new, walkable projects to the region.   What led you to your career?  I started my real estate career one month after graduating from undergrad, celebrating 30 years in the business earlier this year. Initially, I thought the industry was compelling by combining business/finance to a hard asset. As my career transitioned to development 20 years ago, I really found that I could use my “visual” strength as person to lead the creation and execution of a development/redevelopment. Who has been your greatest influence in your career or job? In 2000, Joel Griffin met with me (and my partner at the time) and offered to buy our company, Forum Realty. Forum was early in Atlanta, with the idea of redevelopment and going back in town to look at opportunities. Joel gave us the backing and infrastructure, and let us go to work. We did interesting deals all over, from Grant Park to Alpharetta. Joel had many tremendous qualities, but I mostly remember his positive attitude, which was infectious. What has been your biggest challenge? The development business is cyclical, and the Great Recession certainly emphasized that reality. However, I think our biggest challenge is time. The deals we are pursuing are complicated, with many moving parts and partners. Many take two to four years to put together. This adds a significant level of additional risk. What has been your most rewarding moment in your career? As a developer, we get to see our end product and can look back at the steps taken to get there. I really like figuring out the form and function of a development, the right mix. I consider MidCity a “custom” developer that brings a unique solution to the development/redevelopment of a property. In the 1990s, so much development in North Fulton was clustered along Georgia 400. How does the city-center trend in Alpharetta, Duluth, Suwanee, etc. underscore important changes in suburban Atlanta land use patterns? I think everyone wants...

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Alpharetta City Center Wins Development Of Excellence Award

Alpharetta City Center, the public-private partnership redevelopment in the city’s core, was honored Friday with a 2018 Development of Excellence Award by the Atlanta Regional Commission.   The project won the award in the category of Exceptional Merit for Context-Sensitive Town Center Development. The awards, given during the agency’s State of the Region Breakfast held Nov. 2, recognize the developments and places that are improving quality of life in the 10-county Atlanta region.   Alpharetta City Center’s walkable 26 acres are home to Alpharetta City Hall, a Fulton County Library branch, as well as restaurants, retail, offices, luxury apartments, single-family houses, and 2.5 acres of green space. The project is a result of a public-private partnership whose groundwork was laid 15 years ago when the city first set forth its goals to build a true downtown through its LCI program. In the years since, it has worked steadily to create City Center from mostly underutilized commercial spaces around the intersection of North Main Street and Academy Street.   The transformation is dramatic, as the project has replaced an assortment of empty lots and underused buildings with a unified building design that blends seamlessly with the surrounding historic downtown, including a network of bike-ped paths that connect housing to schools, retail, and other amenities. The development is designed around five major green spaces. At its center, the Town Green connects the new City Hall to the restaurants and shops of Main Street.   City Center has attracted a great deal of development, including chef-driven restaurants and residential, retail, and offices — including DataScan, whose headquarters now fill a 26,000 square-foot building.   The development has important green touches, too. Pervious surfaces — which help reduce storm-water runoff — make up more than 10 of its 26 acres. This was accomplished by replacing old streets and parking lots with greenspaces that house freestanding buildings. In addition, pervious materials were installed wherever possible to mitigate storm-water, and an underground system filters storm-water runoff before it reaches the property’s detention pond.   The top award, the 2018 Development of Excellence, went to La France Walk, a residential community in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood that features varied housing options and price points to encourage greater diversity and walkability.   ARC also presented its Great Places Award to The Aerotropolis Area, a dynamic part of the Atlanta region that includes communities around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.   Other awards recognized: the city of Chamblee and Mercy Park senior housing and healthcare facility, and Constellations, a lovingly restored workspace in downtown Atlanta that honors the building’s history and the civil rights legacy of the neighborhood.   This article was first published by Patch on November 2nd, 2018 and was written by Kristal Dixon. To see the article as it was first published, click...

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ARC’s Developments of Excellence Awards Recognize Community-Enhancing Places

Alpharetta City Center is the beating heart of downtown Alpharetta. Its walkable 26 acres are home to Alpharetta City Hall, a Fulton County Library branch, as well as restaurants, retail, offices, luxury apartments, single-family houses, and 2.5 acres of green space.   The project is a result of a public-private partnership whose groundwork was laid 15 years ago when the city of Alpharetta first set forth its goals to build a true downtown through its LCI program. In the years since, it has worked steadily to create City Center from mostly underutilized commercial spaces around the intersection of N. Main Street and Academy Street.   The transformation is dramatic. The City Center has replaced an assortment of empty lots and underused buildings with a unified building design that blends seamlessly with the surrounding historic downtown, including a network of bike-ped paths that connect housing to schools, retail, and other amenities. The development is designed around five major green spaces.  At its center, the Town Green connects the new City Hall to the restaurants and shops of Main Street.   City Center has attracted a great deal of development, such as chef-driven restaurants and residential, retail, and offices — including DataScan, whose headquarters now fill 36,000 of a 45,000 square-foot building.   The development has important green touches, too. Pervious surfaces — which help reduce storm-water runoff — make up more than 10 of its 26 acres. This was accomplished by replacing old streets and parking lots with green spaces that house freestanding buildings. In addition, pervious materials were installed wherever possible to mitigate storm-water, and an underground system filters storm-water runoff before it reaches the property’s detention pond.   This article was first published by the Atlanta Regional Commission on November 2nd, 2018. To read the original posting of this article, click...

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Mixed-use development booming in metro Atlanta area

Is Atlanta’s love affair with the car over? If recent mixed-use projects in development across the metro area are any indication, autos may soon become optional.   The drive to get out from behind the wheel and walk, bike or hop on public transit is fueling an array of new construction projects with live-work-play themes. While mixed-use developments have changed the metro area landscape in recent years, even more are rising both intown and in suburban communities. Developers are devising projects with retail and restaurant spaces, offices, recreation and residential components. And all include some element of travel that does not involve a car.   That fact pleases the staff of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC)’s Livable Centers Initiative, which has been working toward .   “The basic premise of the [LCI] program was to get people out of their cars and create this environment where you can live, work and play in close proximity,” said Sam Shenbaga, ARC’s community development group manager. “That program has been successful throughout metro Atlanta, as we now have about 119 designated LCI areas where we want to create these dense, walkable communities. And it’s been happening as much in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead as Acworth, Woodstock and other outlying suburbs.”   Establishing these projects may take longer in some areas, he added.   “Midtown has had this idea for a long time,” he said. “But sometimes it’s slower to come to other areas where the idea of doing dense, walkable, mixed income projects might be new.”   Still, Shenbaga said he is celebrating the successes.   “Since the program began in 1999, vehicle miles traveled per capita has dropped by 13 percent, and while it’s not all from the LCI program, LCI has had a big role in making that happen,” he said. “Twenty-nine percent of commercial development and 69 percent of office development has been in these projects that get people off the roads and walking and biking more. They’re in communities with apartments, condos, grocery stores, parks and bike trails, so people don’t need to get in their personal vehicles for every trip.”   ARC identifies two groups behind the push to abandon cars. One is the aging population that wants the lifestyle a mixed-use project brings, particularly the ability to walk to services, restaurants and recreation from a one-story living space. The second group, typically including millennials, is the next generation of workers who want to trade commuting time for communing time.   That’s the allure of Alpharetta’s City Center project, a 25-acre redevelopment in Alpharetta’s downtown area that is adding 100,000 square feet of retail and 36,000 square feet of office space, along with apartments, single-family homes, parks and a dozen restaurants.   This article was originally published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 3rd, 2018 and written by H.M. Cauley. To read the article in its original publication, click...

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120-room boutique hotel planned for Alpharetta

The hotel would sit in walking distance to the $85 million next phase of Alpharetta’s City Center project that’s bringing 105,000 square feet of restaurants and retail; three acres of green space and gardens; 36,000 square feet of office; and 168 apartments.   It’s from the Atlanta development team of Morris & Fellows (retail and restaurants), MidCity Real Estate Partners (office) and South City Partners (apartments). So far the City Center has landed restaurants including a new location of Highland Bakery.   Click here to read the original article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle....

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