Published on June 9th, 2016 |1
RE expert sees trend from apartments to more condo projects
Christa Huffstickler, vice president of developer services at Atlanta Fines Homes Sothebys International Realty, told an audience of a few hundred real estate professionals that developers are hearing the message and beginning to develop condos and convert apartments.
Huffstickler said she presently is representing two new condo developments in Buckhead and Midtown that are in the range of 40-80 large luxury condos as well as one that is looking to convert rental apartments to condos.
She said a conversion problem with existing apartment developments already out of the ground is that many have small apartments that have no market for conversion to condos. “With conversions, talking about products now in planning with larger rental units. There is not a market for a building full of one-bedroom condo conversions,” Huffstickler explained.
“Historically condos have been only for the luxury buyer,” Huffstickler said. But she said today’s buyers are saying, “I don’t need 2,000 square feet of space. I need a well-designed 2 bedroom, 2 bath with an office area or study space…some private space to get away and relax.”
She indicated many of them are looking for condos that range in price from $600,000 to just under a million dollars, but they are not finding them in the market, thus they are turning to rental apartments until they can find what they want.
From her description of the clients she is working with, it appeared that Huffstickler is working with JPX Works, the Atlanta-based real estate development firm founded by Jarel Portman and Bruce Fernald.
JPX Works plans to break ground this fall on its 21-story Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired “Emerson” condo tower at 2520 Peachtree Road. Prices for the 44 units will start
at $1.8 million.
JPX Works is also developing a similar condo product in the Midtown area of Atlanta—also very modern architecture.
Another developer that very recently announced a condo building in Buckhead Village and also is developing a similar product in Midtown is the Loudermilk Cos. Loudermilk recently showed
plans for an 18-story condo tower over street-level retail on the triangle property across Peachtree Road from Charlie Loudermilk Park.
The plans call for 57 two- and three-bedroom condo units, averaging 2,900 square feet, in a tower above 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail on both Peachtree and East Paces Ferry Roads. It also includes a three-level parking deck for retail customers and residential owners.
Loudermilk also has been working on converting a building it has owned for years in Midtown to a similar format with ground-level retail and condo units above it.
Asked what the multifamily market will look like in the next 6-12 months, Huffstickler told the Bisnow audience she sees a trend from rental development to more
condos. “I know there will be some condo projects come to market—50- to 80-unit projects mainly.”
The point that went unmentioned during the discussion is that many, if not most, of the rental apartment developments presently under construction or recently completed were designed and built to condo standards, which makes conversions easy even if developers won’t talk about it.