LAS VEGAS (May 22, 2011) - This year's ICSC RECon will be bigger than usual for Mark Toro. Managing partner of North American Properties, he comes to the large retail real estate convention as new owner of Atlantic Station's Town Center in Atlanta.
On New Year's Eve 2010, Cincinnati-based North American teamed with CB Richard Ellis Investors to acquire the retail center for a deep discount - $78.5 million. Though the center was 88 percent occupied at the time, several retailers were said to be paying discounted rents.
At 534,000 square feet, Atlantic Station's Town Center is the heart of the mini-city that rose from the ashes of a former steel plant. It's also the most-watched component fo the development, and it's achieved mixed results at best.
But Toro has a plan to revitalize the young retail center. He leveraged the power of Twitter, Facebook and ULI-sponsored charette-style meet up to help form ideas. And Toro's bold plans landed him on the cover of the May edition of National Real Estate Investor. The cover features a large photo of Mark standing at Atantic Station with the words "Turnaround Artist."
It's great timing for Toro because the issue will be the one read by thousands of RECon attendees.
Toro, who took to Twitter to talk about his trip to Vegas, is feeling pretty good about the market these days. "After years in the abyss, it feels great to be headed to #Vegas with a smile on our faces," he said on Twitter yesterday.
As for Atlantic Station, Toro continues to tell the story of how North American will "unmall" the Town Center. "It tried to be all things to all people," Toro told NREI writer Ben Johnson. "It wanted to be a mall, but it's not a mall."
For more on Toro, check out this Q-and-A from WNS client Hartman Simons' blog.