1) The End of Overbuilding: Concerns of an overbuilt market impacting Atlanta retail are finally beginning to wane, and the sector is back on the upswing. Overall retail absorption is increasing, which is good news for the suburban market. There was a net 3.3% absorption across the market over the past year, with staggering in-town absorption of 10%. Vacancy rates are dropping as a result.
2) Developments Spark New Interest: There are a number of exciting new developments being constructed or have delivered both inside and outside the city, including Ponce City Market, the new Braves Stadium development and Avalon. The expansion of the Westside neighborhood has buyers scrambling for sites, most of which will have retail or multifamily components.
3) Food and Fresh Air Dominate Big Boxes: High-end grocers like Sprouts, The Fresh Market and Earth Fare are driving much of the big box activity in Atlanta. Even Kroger is expanding its footprint in several areas—in some cases, growing to as large as 100,000 square feet. Outdoors retailers are also taking hefty spaces; Cabela’s opened last year, while Field & Stream is scouting to enter the market. Golf and entertainment hybrid Topgolf has opened two locations, in Alpharetta and the west side of Midtown.
4) Luxury Spreads Its Wings: When the upscale Buckhead Atlanta mixed-use development opened last year, many of the luxury retailers in its lineup were first to market. The project’s delivery loosened the grip of Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza as Atlanta’s main luxury shopping destinations.
5) Chefs Cook Up New Restaurants: A large part of the restaurant explosion in Atlanta has been driven by chefs, who are seeking space all over the city for their signature spots, particularly in Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market. The latter is home to new concepts from three James Beard-award winning chefs: Anne Quatrano’s W.H. Stiles Fish Camp; Linton Hoptkins’ Hops Chicken and H&F Burger; and Sean Brock’s Minera. Ford Fry has also added restaurants, including Marcel on the Westside and The El Felix at Avalon. Outside of chef-driven retail, fast casual continues to be a hot market, with Chipotle, Uncle Maddio’s, Marco’s Pizza and Shane’s Rib Shack leading the way.
For more information about Atlanta please contact
John Bemis, Southeast Retail Market Lead, JLL