ATLANTA (Dec. 19, 2011) - If there's a major-city mayor who's worked better with the city's commercial real estate market than Atlanta's Kasim Reed, I'd like to meet him or her.
Mayor Reed has emerged as a critical figure in the city's attempt to resurrect its CRE market, and that's important. Commercial real estate built Atlanta, figuratively and literally. Some say commercial real estate is to Atlanta what cars are (were) to Detroit.
The long list of developers who made Atlanta an international city is long and includes John Portman, Tom Cousins, Frank Carter and Don Childress.
Last week, the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors honored Reed's efforts. The influential industry group awarded its Henry H. Robinson Award to the mayor at its annual business luncheon. (In photo at left, Mayor Reed, center, accepts the award from 2011 Awards Chair Billy Hobbs, left, and Board President John Ferguson of CBRE.)
The award goes to people outside CRE who make an "outstanding contribution to the real estate industry."
Reed's contrubtions are highly visible. He oversaw two key CRE transactions in the city in the past 14 months.
In July, Reed celebrated the sale of City Hall East, the humongous former Sears warehouse on Ponce de Leon, to hometown firm Jamestown. The 2 million-square-foot hodgepodhge of buildings sat mostly vacant after another CRE group failed in its attempt to redevelopment the property.
In Jamestown, Reed helped the city find a well-financed partner led by a Morningside resident who wanted to get Jamestown involved in its hometown after a 10-year development absence.
In November 2010, the mayor accepted from Cox Enterprises, on the city's behalf, the donation of the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution building at 72 Marietta St. downtown. The city will house employees in the building that had been the anchor of Marietta Street for three decades. An empty AJC building would have pulled down the Marietta corridor, which is showing signs a couple blocks away.
It clearly took vision and persuasion on Reed'd part to get Cox to give the city a building valued at $50 million (the tax writeoff notwithstanding).
Moving forward, I'm sure we'll see more CRE activity from the mayor's office that benefits city residents. (Disclosure: I served on the communications committee of Kasim Reed for Mayor, Inc.)