Carter Finding Opportunities

Local Media Coverage in Atlanta Business Chronicle

On Friday, September 27, 2013, the Atlanta Business Chronicle ran a front-page article titled Carter finding opportunities. The blog post below is an excerpt of that article:

Written by Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor

Atlanta-based Carter continues the trend of local real estate companies seeking projects in other U.S. cities.

Carter started almost $140 million in new residential projects the last week of September — it’s most active period since before the Great Recession.

Above: Carter’s student housing projects in Ann Arbor, MI (L) and San Antonio, TX (R).

Two of the projects are in Texas and Michigan. In San Antonio, it broke ground on a nearly $34 million student housing development at the University of Texas. The 198-unit, 590-bed project reflects Carter’s confidence in the student housing sector. In Ann Arbor, Mich., it’s underway on a $65 million residential tower meant to tap into demand from students attending the University of Michigan and young, urban residents working for downtown employers such as Google. Seeking development in cities outside Atlanta is nothing new for Carter. Several years ago, it created a partnership with Atlanta’s The Dawson Co. to develop The Banks, an 18-acre site along the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. Carter hopes to begin the next phase of the project later this year, President Scott Taylor recently told Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Carter also remains confident that Atlanta’s recovery is speeding up.

The company has narrowed its focus in recent years. In 2011, it sold its brokerage and property management businesses to St. Louis commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley. As the new real estate cycle continues to unfold, Carter is scouting Atlanta development sites close to existing job centers, transit options and transportation corridors.

It recently started construction on a $40 million mixed-use project in Decatur, known for its mix of residential towers, restaurants and boutiques near MARTA.

Carter is adding more than 200 apartment units, the first in Decatur since 1999.

The project is part of Carter’s strategy to invest in and develop at least $500 million of new projects, including those outside of its home city and within intown markets. The more than 50-year-old firm announced that strategy on the heels of its decision two years ago to sell its brokerage and property management groups to Cassidy Turley.

It has sought more projects in parts of the upper Midwest, said Conor McNally, Carter’s chief development officer. “These markets are not as big as Atlanta,” he said, “but they also didn’t see all that exuberance near the peak that eventually led to the fall.”

Carter expects more activity in Atlanta heading into 2014, McNally said.

MARTA is also seeking developers for more transit-oriented projects. It stems from Atlanta’s young professionals, part of the broader demographic known as Generation Y, that prefer living in walkable neighborhoods close to job centers and amenities such as restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

“Atlanta is coming into its own with great infill development,” McNally said. “We think it’s done sprawling in the suburbs.”

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