Building Sale Leads to Vacancy on Gateway Marietta CID Board

Marietta Daily Journal - January 16, 2018

By: Jon Gargis

MARIETTA — The Gateway Marietta Community Improvement District is expected next month to fill a vacancy on its seven-member board following the departure of the CID board’s chairman.

Jeff Shaw is chief executive officer and principal at Bridge Commercial Real Estate. Bridge had been the owner-operator of Parkway Center, a 16-acre office campus with two 12-story class-A office towers totaling 460,000 square feet. They are located at 1800 and 1850 Parkway Place off Franklin Gateway. The CID meets within the 1850 building.

Last month, Bridge sold the office towers, which stand just west of I-75 and just south of South Marietta Parkway, and an accompanying 5 acres of land to The Simpson Group at a price of about $62 million, according to CoStar Group, a commercial real estate information and marketing firm. With Bridge no longer owning the property within the CID, Shaw can no longer serve on the board of the self-taxing district, which is comprised of property owners in the district or their representatives.

“Jeff has expressed some interest of staying on the board, which would require someone to nominate him,” said Joe Knight, executive director of the CID.

Knight said The Simpson Group, as owner of the office towers, could choose to nominate Shaw or potentially tap someone else as a nominee.

The CID is expected to call a caucus of electors for its next board meeting on Feb. 20 to fill Shaw’s board seat. The meeting is also likely to see an election amongst the board for its next chairman, which had been Shaw’s role.

At the time of the Parkway Center’s sale, according to a news release last month from Bridge, the property had 29 tenants including WellStar Health Systems, the state’s largest healthcare system. The Parkway Center, according to Knight, is the largest contributor to the CID.

IKEA’S LAND PURCHASE FOR MARIETTA STORE NEARS

Expected to become the second-largest contributor to the CID, Knight said, is Swedish home furniture retailer Ikea, which last month announced along with city of Marietta officials its plans to open a second metro Atlanta location.

The retailer will go into a 28-acre property on Franklin Gateway purchased by the city in 2015 for $17.7 million and currently under contract for $9.25 million. The property was formerly the site of the Marquis Place apartment complex. The city bought and razed the dilapidated complex using funding from a $68 million redevelopment bond approved by voters in 2013.

Daniel Cummings, the city’s economic development manager, told board members that Ikea is aiming to close on the property in February or March, and is in the process of rezoning a smaller piece of land in front of the city property, which will become part of the store’s parking lot. The company has committed to purchasing the 6-acre site on which a shopping center currently sits.

But Cummings said the company has not announced a timeline to build or open the store.

“There’s so many moving parts to it, that there’s some hesitancy to do that, but I think they’re certainly interested in starting the process and moving very quickly,” he said. “What that exactly looks like with all the different moving parts, it’s a little tough to nail down.”

The 338,000 square-foot shopping center will be the largest single retailer in Cobb County history, City Manager Bill Bruton previously told the MDJ. Bruton said it will be the second largest single retailer in the state, coming in just behind the only other Ikea in Georgia at Atlantic Station. That location, which opened in 2005, is 366,000 square feet. There are 47 locations in the United States.

Cummings said Ikea’s Marietta location is expected to have between 250 and 300 employees and draw a million customers per year — an “absolutely massive” economic impact.

The new store, he added, could also spark additional activity within the city and Franklin Gateway.

“I think already what you’ve seen in the corridor between Atlanta United coming and Home Depot having their Marietta Technology Center down there, I think the call for new development was already out there, but this only provides the area even more viability from an economic standpoint,” Cummings said.

In addition to potential new development it may spark, Cummings said Ikea’s impending arrival benefits the city by putting the land back on its property tax rolls.

While Knight said the CID has not calculated a potential dollar impact from Ikea, board members were optimistic about the effect it would have.

“A million cars coming on Franklin Gateway have got to have a positive effect,” said Bob Morgan, the CID’s treasurer and principal of Cerqueda, Morgan & Collins certified public accountants.

Caroline Whaley