ATLANTA-The amount of distressed assets locally looks bad at first blush, but could be worse in the bigger picture. Real Capital Analytics has recorded nearly $2.3 billion worth of troubled commercial real estate here, largely in the retail and apartment sectors.

Although Atlanta ranks 44th in the US in distress, it’s second in the Southeast behind Miami, which has double the amount at nearly $4.6 million and is ranked seventh nationwide. Atlanta also pales in comparison to other markets across the country such as Las Vegas, with $9.4 billion, and Manhattan, with $8 billion.

“Overall, it’s a pretty good showing for this marketplace,” John Leonard, regional manager with Marcus & Millichap in Atlanta, tells “It’s not as distressed as some people would believe.”

Retail makes up the largest segment of Atlanta’s 211 distressed properties with $833.6 million, including the Forum at Peachtree Parkway shopping center in suburban Norcross. Forum Development Group has an $84-million first mortgage with Wachovia on the 389,159-square-foot strip center.

Apartment distress totals $589.3 million, mostly made up of condominium towers in the Buckhead submarket, followed by hotels with $353.3 million. Development accounts for $204.3 million, while industrial totals $148.6 million.

Office accounts for the smallest segment at $128.9 million, even though it includes the Equitable Building in Downtown Atlanta, which has been foreclosed by Capmark Financial Group for $29.5 million. The building is now being marketed for resale.

Leonard predicts more distress in retail going forward, while foreclosures are already under way among apartment properties, yet his firm and others remain bullish on Atlanta. “The market as a whole is holding up,” he says. “There is opportunity here.”

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