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ATLANTA-Northeast Atlanta’s industrial market is starting to pick up, albeit very slowly, Grubb & Ellis Co.’s senior vice president John Crawford tells GlobeSt.com.

Grubb & Ellis will release its fourth quarter market report in mid-January. Preliminarily, Crawford says he’s seeing a lot of one- and two-year lease renewals in the fourth quarter, but that the mood of people in the industry is starting to improve in small ways.

“The first quarter probably will still be pretty slow. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will start to pick up late second quarter, or third quarter, at least that’s my hope,” he says. “This is not based on any research, just me talking and making my calls, but I’m seeing at that people are at least willing to discuss what’s going on next year and that they are at least starting to think about real estate again. Sixty to 90 days ago, no one wanted to discuss it. That’s a long ways from a transaction, but it’s at least proof that people are willing to talk about growth and how I can encourage efficiencies. It’s not a transaction, but it’s a long way from hunkering down.”

In its third quarter report, Grubb & Ellis said Atlanta’s industrial market was uncertain for the short term, because of the sluggish economy. The vacancy rate in the market increased 3.2% this year, for a rate of 11.8% at the end of the third quarter. New construction slowed to 7.5 million sf, a reduction of about 4.5 million sf from the second quarter, according to the report.

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