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ATLANTA-The local office of SRS Real Estate Partners has added a team of five retail real estate professionals to its staff. The new members of the Atlanta office, who were previously with Catalyst Retail Group, have joined the rebranded version of Staubach Retail Services in order to tackle the current market cycle, Palmer Bayless, senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com.

“We’re expanding our core business beyond traditional services to manage services for distressed assets,” says Bayless. “SRS will allow us to have a national, full-service platform that will give us the ability to expand our reach nationally with existing and future clients and relationships.”

New members of the team include Bayless; Brad Westbrook, who will serve as vice president; Adrienne Crawford and Tim Mittelstaedt, who are associates; and Julia Rechsteiner, who is the transaction coordinator. The office will focus on prospecting and representing buyers and owners of opportunistic value-add properties, as well as manage services for existing owners.

In addition, the Atlanta office will work on lease transactions within the market. Over the past month, the firm has completed more than 90,000 square feet of retail agreements, including two new Hobby Lobby locations. The retailer has signed a 45,000-square-foot lease for a former Goody’s space at Barrett Pavilion in Kennesaw, owned by Developers Diversified Realty, and a 40,000-square-foot lease at Perimeter Village in Dunwoody with landlord Weingarten Realty. SRS also brokered a deal for Shoe Carnival, which has signed a 10,000-square-foot lease at Camp Creek Marketplace in East Point with landlord Retail Planning Corp.

“These tenants have had a time-tested, conservative way of running their business and real estate, and as such I don’t think either has any significant debt,” says Steve Gunning, who handled the transactions on behalf of the tenants. The state of the market in Atlanta is giving tenants the ability to capitalize on this cycle and find real estate at reasonable prices in locations that they have historically not been able to afford, says Bayless.Currently, retail landlords are negotiating with tenants in order to keep them in operation and within the existing centers. “It’s low demand and high supply,” says Bayless. “There are also some creative and adaptive reuses of existing space into churches, self storage and other out-of-the-box users and tenants.”

Vacancy is expected to continue rising and rents are expected to continue falling in Atlanta, but activity will always be strong in markets with strong demographics and limited land availability, says Bayless, citing trade areas such as Buckhead, Perimeter and East Cobb as examples. “Quality properties that have not been on the market anytime over the last 10 years are also becoming available at prices that make sense,” he adds.

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