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                                                                                                                                            July 20, 2010

The Inside Scoop on the People & Places that Shape Atlanta Real Estate
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Hallister Gets the Goat
Party on the Goat Farm
Just another Monday night party on the Goat Farm.
A legendary tract of land, known for brokers' near-fatal run ins with the shotgun toting "Goat Man" and other follies of yore, has traded in West Midtown for approximately $7 million, our sources tell us.

CB Richard Ellis Senior Vice President George Reid represented the estate of Robert S. Haywood in the sale of 11+ acres, "The Goat Farm," at Huff Road and Foster Street. Reid declined to discuss pricing, but our sources indicated that the land requires an additional $1.1 million in environmental remediation. Hallister Development acquired the tract, which is zoned mixed-use and includes brick structures built in the late 1800s on the National History Register. Hallister plans to hold the property as an investment for now, Reid said, though he would not divulge the individuals behind Hallister.

The property still has its goats as well as an artists' and designers' enclave and an urban, organic garden. In the past few years, Gables Residential, Jamestown and Griffin Development all had the Goat Farm under contract before Hallister acquired it.

"It's been one of the city's most high profile infill redevelopment properties for years," Reid said. "Everybody and his brother tried to buy it."

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Come Fly with Pattillo
Larry Callahan, CEO of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate
Larry Callahan, CEO of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate at the company's build-to-suit site for ZF at Gainesville Business Park.
At election time over the past decade, we hear the typical lament regarding the demise of American manufacturing. A look at Pattillo Industrial Real Estate's roster of build-to-suits, including one announced late last week for Boeing in North Charleston, S.C., suggests otherwise.

In the fourth quarter, Pattillo will begin construction on a 250,000-square-foot interiors fabrication facility for Boeing 787s at their Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston.  The new plant will serve Boeing's Dreamliner assembly endeavor, which begins full production next July and, in total, represents a billion-dollar investment and 3,800 new jobs.

Pattillo also has developed a build-to-suit for Venture Aerobearings, a General Electric JV, at Palmetto Business Park, and currently is developing manufacturing facilities for ZF Wind Power in Gainesville, Ga., in addition to flex and distribution developments for companies such as Marten Transport in Dekalb County and Falken Tire in Jacksonville, Fla.

For companies with strong balance sheets, there's no better time than the present to forge ahead and invest for the future, said Pattillo CEO Larry Callahan, especially in the Southeast, which is expected to accelerate growth coming out of the recession.

"The market needs a dose of positive information," Callahan said. "It's not just happy talk.  We're seeing it happen.

"With companies that are looking at where they want to be in the next 20 years, it's the best time in history to be a buyer," Callahan said.

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Deal Behind the Deal: Ackerman and MREC Devour Distressed Assets
John Speros
John Speros of Ackerman & Co.
Mountain Real Estate Capital's (MREC) acquisition of more than 1,300 metro Atlanta acres allotted for more than 1,500 home sites exemplifies the gap between residential and commercial real estate and land. Where many owners and banks are clinging to commercial properties, moving distressed residential off the books is paramount. Charlotte-based MREC acquired the 1,300 acres from Synovus in three separate tranches, and each piece closed within 30 days of entering a purchasing agreement, said John Speros, senior vice president of Ackerman & Co.

At the market's peak, the three portfolios' value totaled more than $160 million. Speros declined to comment on pricing, but other sources indicated that MREC's total investment on the three pools was between $20 and $25 million. Most of the transaction involved developed residential lots - including 25 entire subdivisions - as well as a horse farm and some mountain property.

The acquisition's financial structure gives MREC and Ackerman the flexibility to put the land into production at realistic price levels aligned with market demand, Speros said, whether they sell pieces in bulk or joint-venture with builders. Speros and his Ackerman peers Kyle Gable and Sean Patrick are working with MREC to market the property.
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Lackey Gets REAL
Rick Lackey
Rick Lackey, founder of REAL Professionals. 
Every two weeks, leaders from a group of independent real estate firms and a few vendors get together and trade info and leads on projects and deals. The REAL Professionals Network gathering may uncover suburban opportunities and listings for the intowners - or vice versa - or lead to a partnership where one member of the network can assist another with his or her expertise. For information junkies, it's an extra pair of eyes and ears.

"I get exposure to other facets of the industry in a condensed amount of time from qualified people," said Harold Shumacher, president of The Shumacher Group, which specializes in restaurant and retail brokerage.

Since REAL Professionals inception late last year, it's generated $30 million in leads, according to founder Rick Lackey. REAL Professionals grew out of Lackey's efforts with his own independent firm, City Commercial. He found that the best prospects for City Commercial wanted to have their own brand or already had created their own, strong brand - guys like Shumacher, Rooker Real Estate Development and Construction and Steve Massell. Ultimately, that led to REAL Professionals, a cross-specialized local network that also includes vendor-partners like Regus and CoStar, as well as lawyers, sign companies, space planners, lenders and cost-segregation specialists. It's especially effective for the small firm that may need help or outside expertise closing a complex deal. Next up: a mobile application that connects to the organization's database, customer relationship management platform and other technology.

"It's a cross between a network for the entire industry that's local, a leads group on steroids and a Costco for commercial real estate services," Lackey said. "Deals are happening, big and small, but most of them are not lay ups."
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