What’s the outlook for Birmingham’s industrial real estate market?

November 21st, 2016


The local industrial real estate market is stable heading into 2017, and several more deals could close before this year is over.

Jack Brown of Graham & Co., who spoke at the CCIM/NAIOP Central Alabama Symposium last week, said Birmingham’s industrial market is strong, with most statistics showing a stabilization or improvement over 2015.

Experts have previously said that a number of big economic development deals, particularly in the automotive manufacturing industry, helped put the Magic City’s market on better footing.

Those transactions include the sale of the property for Project Sunrise – a yet-to-be-announced economic development project expected to create nearly 750 jobs. The project is also expected to result in additional suppliers to the unidentified company coming to metro Birmingham, which would further boost the market.

Brown said he expected to see some positive trends from a statistics standpoint, but that the report didn’t quite match the level of the how the market felt from a brokerage perspective this year.

Even still, the multitenant occupancy rate in the Magic City is 88.3 percent, up from 87.9 percent in 2015. The market absorption is at 250,098 square feet, compared to negative 60,960 square feet at the end of 2015.

There have been seven leases of more than 50,000 square feet in 2016, and Brown said there are a few more that could close before the year ends. There were eight leases of more than 50,000 square feet in 2015.

There were 23 industrial sales of more than 30,000 square feet this year, compared to 20 in 2015.

Investment sales of industrial properties also had a good year, Brown said.

In 2017, Brown said he expects a continuing tightening of available space, and increased rental rates.

There should be more build-to-suit opportunities, but no speculative industrial development yet. He said to expect continued national investor interest in industrial properties, as well.

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Avadian moving Homewood branch to former Regions location

October 7th, 2016

Walter Brown, SIOR of Graham & Co. represented Avadian Credit Union in the purchase of Greensprings location.


Avadian Credit Union, one of Birmingham’s largest credit unions, has purchased a branch building from Regions Bank, and will relocate its Oxmoor Road branch to the new location at 475 Green Springs Highway.

Avadian’s current Homewood Branch is located inside the Buffalo Rock building on Oxmoor, and Avadian CEO Linda Cencula said the new location on Green Springs should be open at the beginning of 2017.

Cencula said Avadian will make some renovations and changes to the branch before opening. Avaidian purchased the building from Regions for $605,000.

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Birmingham companies merge downtown office space

September 23rd, 2016


Two Birmingham companies, AirMed International and Lifeguard Ambulance Service, have combined their offices in the Forum Building at the BJCC in downtown.

The consolidation brings the combined operations space to more than 26,000 square feet on the seventh and eighth floors at the building located at 950 22nd St. N. There are more than 130 employees in the space.

The companies are now the largest tenant in the building, and are working in a recently renovated space that includes private offices, more than 90 workstations, conference rooms and break room facilities for the staffs. Total project costs exceeded $1 million and were completed by Meadows Homes Inc.

The transaction was brokered by Jack Brown of Graham & Co.

The deal will help build the critical mass of employees working in the Uptown district, which includes an entertainment district with several restaurants and is the target location for a future Topgolf complex.

AirMed has been in the building since 2014, while Lifeguard previously had operations in Homewood. Lifeguard recently relocated several executive positions to Birmingham.

“We are excited to co-locate our services in Uptown Birmingham, recognizing the opportunity for continued growth and expansion in the Forum Building,” said AirMed International President Denise M. Treadwell and Lifeguard Ambulance President Brett Jovanovich, in a joint statement.

Company leaders said the deal will make the company more efficient and maximize space.

AirMed provides international medical air transport services and has completed missions in more than 150 countries. Lifeguard Ambulance Service transports patients via ground ambulances in seven states and plans to keep expanding.

Dallas-based Air Medical Group Holdings Inc. acquired both companies in 2014

Developers buy Five Points South property

August 16th, 2016


Developers recently purchased two 20th Street properties in Five Points South and are working on long-term plans for the site.

According to public records, 1024 1030 20th Street South LLC purchased the properties at 1024 and 1030 20th Street South in July from Southside Partners LLC for $1.15 million.

The properties include a vacant space, as well as the spaces that house Cloud Nine Southside Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio and Noni’s.

Len Shannon and Ali Wilburn of Shannon Waltchack represented the seller, while Graham & Co.’s Sam Carroll represented the buyer.

Hunter Renfroe, the registered agent for the buying entity, said he and his partner in Orchestra Partners are still working on long-term plans for the site.

The properties total approximately 10,000 square feet and are located near the Homewood Suites hotel expected to open later this year.

The deal comes at a time when Five Points South has multiple big projects in the works, as well as some notable vacancies.

In addition to the Homewood Suites hotel, Harbert Realty and Cortland Partners are teaming on the Vesta – a massive apartment complex expected to break ground this fall.

The end result of those two projects will be a surge of new visitors and residents in the immediate area, which could further solidify the retail and restaurant mix in Five Points South.

The area has seen a number of prominent brands – such as Firehouse Subs, Chick-fil-A and Waffle House – enter the mix in recent years.

But longtime tenants like Cosmo’s Pizza, Bailey Brothers Music Co. and McNolia’s Cards & Gifts have closed or are in the process of closing, leaving some prominent new vacancies.

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Experts: Birmingham industrial market makes big strides in 2016

July 5th, 2016


Following several large deals in the first half of the year, experts say Birmingham’s industrial real estate market is off to a strong start in 2016.

Ogden Deaton, senior vice president in Graham & Co’s industrial group, said the market is well ahead of where it was at this point in 2015.

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