Snellville picks MidCity as developer for $85 million Towne Center project

Snellville is partnering with two developers on an $85 million first phase of its new town center, the latest suburban Atlanta city embracing the chance to create a vibrant downtown.   The Grove at Towne Center will be led by a joint venture of Casto, a more than 90-year-old real estate company based in Columbus, Ohio, and MidCity Real Estate Partners, an Atlanta firm that brought walkable, mixed-use development to downtown Alpharetta.   The first phase is set to begin in 2020, depending on the development team’s ability to secure construction financing in coming months. It will include 250 apartments and over 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and entertainment space. Paths for pedestrians and cyclists will also connect to the Snellville Greenway.   The Market Center will anchor the project. Early ideas for the building include a brew pub and upscale event space. The Commons area will also allow the city to create a public gathering space for festivals and other events.   The Grove at Towne Center is a microcosm of widespread downtown revitalization underway across the country, with local examples in Alpharetta, Duluth, Suwanee, Lawrenceville and other cities. As more people return to downtowns, it’s also a reminder of how many regional power retail centers and malls that flourished in the 80s and 90s are under pressure to stay relevant with consumers.   “Historically, in areas of the Northeast, the Midwest and Europe, the town center was everything,” said Kirk Demetrops, president of MidCity. “There was a 20-year trend where land was cheap, and the power centers and the malls were in vogue. There’s still room for those. But, the town center is coming back as a place that brings people together.”   “We’ve been working on this for a year,” Demetrops said. “It’s a really good match for us.”   This article first appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 27th, 2019 by Douglas Sams. To see the original article, click...

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Winter Construction leaving 50-story downtown tower for Chamblee

Winter Construction is leaving a 50-story downtown tower for creative office space in Chamblee.   The nearly 60-year-old Atlanta company is relocating from 191 Peachtree to a small warehouse at 5616 Peachtree Road that is being renovated in downtown Chamblee.   The Chamblee building will be converted into loft office space. Winter will serve as general contractor for the project. It plans to move into the building by February.   “It’s the latest example of a company moving out of a class A space because they wanted a different kind of environment,” said Kirk Demetrops, president and founder of Atlanta-based MidCity Real Estate Partners.   Winter’s decision comes a few months after consulting giant McKinsey & Co. said it was relocating from downtown to a $200 million project on the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail. Other companies have also moved from traditional office towers in parts of the city such as Buckhead.   A joint venture between MidCity and Anchor Capital Partners acquired the 42,500-square-foot building, which is in a part of Chamblee transforming into a walkable area filled with restaurants and connected by a trail system. The joint venture paid almost $3.5 million for the property.   Plans call for renovating the industrial building into a 36,500-square-foot creative office project.   Chamblee is in the midst of a renaissance because it has embraced the development of apartments in vibrant mixed-use projects, Demetrops said. Many of the city’s older industrial buildings are being retrofitted, and they are attracting both companies and new restaurants to fill that space.   Chamblee is also benefitting from the ongoing redevelopment of the former giant General Motors plant. The planned $2 billion Assembly Yards project is just north of where MidCity and Anchor are renovating their building.   Cushman and Wakefield was the broker in the relocation of Winter to Chamblee. Patterson Real Estate Advisory Group arranged the construction loan and JV equity financing. First Citizens Bank is providing the construction loan.   This article was first published in the Atlanta Business Chronical on August 19th, 2019 by Douglas Sams. To read the original publication click...

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Aloft hotel planned for Sandy Springs

An Aloft hotel is planned for a new mixed-use project in Sandy Springs. A joint venture of Childress Klein and MidCity Real Estate Partners sold a 0.65-acre site for the 140-key hotel at its NorthPlace development. RevPAR Development paid $3 million for the site and will develop the hotel. It’s planned at Barfield Road and Mount Vernon Highway, near the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz U.S. and the Sandy Springs MARTA station. The NorthPlace project will also include a 250,000-square-foot office and retail building developed by Childress Klein and MidCity. Aloft is a contemporary hotel brand under Marriott International Inc. It serves to complement the W brand, offering a similar stay at more affordable prices. Georgia’s first Aloft opened downtown near Centennial Olympic Park in 2014. “Office tenants are looking for an amenitized environment,” said Kirk Demetrops, president and founder of MidCity. “Aloft is a great complement to the mixed-use project.” Another Aloft hotel is planned at SunTrust Park. This is an excerpt from an article that was first published in the Atlanta Business Chronical on August 2nd, 2019 and is written by Amy Wenk. To read the article in its original publication, click...

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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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Developer proposes swapping hotel for office building in Sandy Springs, Ga.

A developer wants to change a 14-year-old plan for a project in Sandy Springs to swap a hotel for one of two office buildings.   MidCity Real Estate Partners sees demand for an additional hotel due to the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters and the City Springs mixed-use development nearby the 3.7-acre NorthPlace site at Barfield Road and Mount Vernon Highway, according to a Reporter Newspapers story.   Fulton County approved the original designs for NorthPlace in 2004 before Sandy Springs incorporated. MidCity Real Estate Partners is seeking to have Sandy Springs approve a hotel in place of one of the office buildings, with construction to start next year.   The building site at 6403 Barfield Road is west of Ga. 400 and is adjacent to the Promenade at Northplace condo development. It is located at 6403 Barfield Road.   The original plan was for two multistory office buildings with ground-floor retail. Under the new proposal, one of those buildings would become a 7-story Aloft hotel, a brand owned by hotel chain Marriott.   The footprint is identical, and the only change is the use of one of the buildings, said MidCity executive Kirk Demetrops. Read more here.   This story was originally published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 3rd, 2018 and is written by Jessica Saunders. To read the original post, 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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