To our valued clients,
In this unprecedented time, our team remains committed to vigilantly monitoring the potential impact on the commercial real estate industry as a result of the COVID-19 situation. We know that you depend on our expertise and guidance to navigate you through all elements of the commercial real estate process, and our team is actively engaged in making sure that you have the information and resources you need to operate as seamlessly as possible.
To that end, we are staying informed by examining pending legislation and keeping abreast of the latest information released by the industry’s leading sources. By engaging in regular conversations with our partners, we are helping to mitigate any potential operational challenges as a result of this public health emergency.
As all parties involved with real estate assets are being affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing various actions where many of these parties are conceding and requesting deferrals to mitigate challenges brought on by these evolving times.
As we continue to navigate this environment, our team is here to discuss these matters whenever you may need. We greatly appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to serve your needs.
If you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to any of us.
Philip Currie, president
Edwin Moss, executive vice president
Christopher Thames, senior vice president & COO
By Callan Sherrod, Brokerage Relations Specialist
There is a lot that goes into identifying and leasing the right office space for your company. Whatever specifics you may be looking for, our office brokerage team is fully equipped to help you find them and negotiate the best deal possible.
Our brokers are recognized across Alabama as leaders in negotiating deals of every classification and have a full understanding of the intricacies and nuances that go into workplace acquisition.
If you’re looking to find the perfect office space for your company or organization, here are three main components of what you can expect from that process.
After identifying all of the specific factors you’re seeking in an office, it’s time to head out and find your new space. This is where our established network of professionals will start to make a difference for you. With a robust knowledge of the office market, we will identify a quality selection of spaces to fit your needs. By knowing what’s currently available in the market, coming on the horizon, and more, we are able to most effectively provide for our clients.
Whatever your priorities may be, our talented and experienced team of brokers will work diligently to meet them and put you in an office space that fits your exact needs.
When touring and examining different properties, our team knows exactly what to keep an eye out for.
Our commercial real estate brokers are recognized leaders in negotiating spaces of all complexities. After over 100 years in the market, we have an extensive network of relationships with landlords, property owners and investors and have the market knowledge and ability to negotiate on your behalf. We will represent your business and its interests in a professional and efficient manner, working to get you the best deal possible while staying focused on your company’s needs.
Our deep and talented roster of office brokers has the expertise to come out of the negotiation process with an optimal deal for your company.
At J.H. Berry, our office brokerage team is with you every step of the way- from initial engagement to negotiation to lease execution or closing.
When entering the final steps of the deal, our office brokerage team will continue to prioritize your company’s needs and consistently ensure that everything is moving properly. No detail is too small, and we will make sure that your best interests are continually covered during the finishing terms of the deal.
We will continue to be there for you during the design, construction and moving process, and beyond.
Through the identification process, negotiation, and deal execution, we work hard to best position our clients to accomplish their commercial real estate and business goals.
Birmingham’s commercial real estate industry experienced an active 2019, as our office brokerage team tracked and brokered transactions throughout the year that should bode well for the city and the Birmingham office market.
The marquee deal of the year was Shipt’s lease of 60,000 square feet in the newly-named Shipt Tower, which was significant for the city’s Central Business District. Several of Birmingham’s largest law firms renewed their leases downtown in 2019, which will add stability to Harbert Plaza and Shipt Tower.
Shipt’s new headquarters at the newly named Shipt Tower in downtown Birmingham.
Investment sales remained steady as 1800 and 1900 International Park were purchased in an investment deal for $34.5 million. 2200 Lakeshore sold for more than $200 per square foot, Encompass Health’s headquarters sold for more than $370 per square foot, and One Highland Place sold for over $100 per square foot.
Owner occupant sales remained steady with the purchase of 2121 Highland Avenue by Progress Bank for more than $250 per square foot. Shook and Fletcher purchased a new headquarters at Liberty Park for $170 per square foot and J&M Tank Lines purchased the former Valley National Bank building for $164 per square foot.
The revitalized downtown area continues to generate palpable buzz with successful historic tax credit renovations such as Jefferson Corner, Bird’s Nest, the Forbes Building, and the Denham Building.
The Hoover and 280/459 submarkets continue to have large vacancies, but the expansion of RX Benefits at the Colonnade and the Grandview Medical lease at Grandview II helped to alleviate some of that burden. Illumicare, a local startup success story, moved into a 14,000-square-foot space at the Colonnade.
Lack of white-collar job growth in Birmingham continued in 2019, but that could change in 2020 thanks to the continued efforts of Birmingham Bound and other economic development organizations. These initiatives enjoyed early success last year, thanks in part to the city offering incentives to companies that prioritize bringing jobs to Birmingham.
Jefferson Corner represents the the popularity of historic tax credits renovations.
As the new year begins, the market is looking to the technology and biotech sectors as strong contributors to sustained growth.
Birmingham is quietly growing into a desirable destination for technology companies, and incubators such as Innovation Depot continue to be an effective breeding ground for the city’s burgeoning population of technological entrepreneurs.
While the city likely won’t see new construction of considerable-sized Class A office product prior to an improvement in vacancy rates, historic renovations should continue to play a key role in Birmingham CRE in 2020. Historic renovation projects such as the Greyhound Bus Depot and Bonds Brothers Supply Company are both slated to deliver in 2020.
Birmingham is moving in a positive direction, but a few obstacles need to be addressed to accommodate rapid growth. Parking in the Central Business District remains an issue, and high construction prices will continue to impact lease terms and building sale prices. Asking rates may also rise slightly in the new year, but actual deal terms will likely stay consistent until the market begins to absorb some of the larger vacancy blocks. On the leasing front, there is an abundance of opportunity in the suburban markets, most notably in Hoover and the 280/459 corridors. Both areas have large vacancies that would be ideal for corporate headquarter buildings or other larger operations.
We’ll also be watching the impact from several high profile developments as 2020 proceeds, such as progress on the Protective Life Stadium at the BJCC, Southtown Court, the former Carraway Hospital campus, the former Trinity Hospital campus, The Frank, the former AT&T City Center and more.
We closely monitor the transaction volume and data points of the evolving CRE market in central Alabama to help clients make the most strategic, informed decisions. Birmingham remains the largest CRE market in the state, however, Huntsville and Auburn are seeing a flurry of high-profile activity and are on the rise. While Montgomery lacks the growth of Huntsville, it is looking to position itself as a steady player in the upcoming year. If you have any questions about the status of the Birmingham, Huntsville, or Montgomery office markets or if you would like to speak further about your specific needs, please contact the office brokerage team.
Birmingham Market Statistics
Central Alabama Market Statistics
Philip Currie, president at J.H. Berry, was recently mentioned by the Birmingham Business Journal in an article detailing the sale of the Station No. 5 Building, a 17,275-square-foot office property in Liberty Park that previously served as the headquarters of Jim ‘n Nicks Bar-B-Q.
Currie represented the buyer, Shook and Fletcher Insulation Co., in the deal. The transaction continues the positive momentum in the Highway 280 / I-459 submarket.
J.H. Berry & Gilbert was mentioned in a recent Birmingham Business Journal column by Birmingham Bound’s Britney Summerville, outlining the plan to drive business to the Birmingham area.
J.H. Berry was recognized as a partner of Birmingham Bound, an initiative that aims to attract technology businesses to open satellite offices or second headquarters in Birmingham.
J.H. Berry President Philip Currie and Executive Vice President Edwin Moss
J.H. Berry Chairman Carey Gilbert, President Philip Currie, and Executive Vice President Edwin Moss were all included among the Birmingham Business Journal’s list of Who’s Who in Birmingham CRE. The annual list recognizes executives from the largest CRE firms and the professionals who have led transformative projects around Birmingham.
Next in our employee spotlight series we’re highlighting Leasing and Brokerage Associate Jake Bottcher.
In his role, Jake specializes in industrial leasing and sales and works with the brokerage team to foster new business opportunities. Jake’s client-first mentality results in anticipating clients’ needs and delivering strong customer service.
Prior to joining J.H. Berry, Jake spent time at Deustche Bank in Jacksonville, Florida, working alongside hedge funds to assist in raising capital. He then transferred to the leveraged finance team and worked with corporations to satisfy debt financing needs.
Jake obtained a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Alabama, specializing in investment management with a minor in computer science applications.
What has been your most rewarding experience since joining the J.H Berry team?
I have found the most rewarding experience to be the appreciation that our clients demonstrate when we introduce a solution that solves their need, particularly when conceived through a more creative approach that the client previously had not known possible.
In your opinion, what is the most important factor to consider when working to foster new business opportunities?
I believe that there are two equally important factors to consider when trying to foster new opportunities: listening and being front-of-mind. Thoughtful listeners fully understand what their client’s current and future needs are, which results in a more tailored approach to the client’s situation. Being a thoughtful listener requires asking the right questions. The more you understand them, the better you can serve them. Secondly, being front-of-mind is essential in this industry. This is a competitive field, and if you are not being persistent and consistent in all aspects of serving your clients, there are others that would be happy to fill that void. Clients recognize quality service and will reward hard work. When trying to drum up new relationships, they will eventually take your call and will understand that if you are willing to work that hard for a phone call, you will go above and beyond to serve them when given the opportunity.
What’s the biggest opportunity in Birmingham’s industrial real estate market?
There is a lot to be excited about in the industrial market right now. With vacancy rates as low as they are, Birmingham is a prime market for new development. On the development side, I really like single-tenant buildings ranging from seven to nine thousand square feet, particularly in the Trussville area. I believe that market to be very underserved and geographically correct for expansion given the boom Trussville has seen over the past five years and access to major markets through interstate 20 and 59. Further, I like the opportunity cold storage could bring. I believe that our society is increasingly reliant on same-day delivery and that we will see a more efficient solution than third party delivery services grocery shopping for you. I believe that the boom we have seen in “last mile delivery solutions” will expand to groceries in the next few years, and in order to do so, we will have to have more cold storage warehouses.
What’s your approach to client service?
I believe that all real estate transactions, whether buying, leasing, or selling, need to be fun. This is a major event for the companies we serve—similar to buying a house. It’s important to appreciate the magnitude of this and not lose sight of it. No one likes making this kind of capital commitment without feeling confident they have the right space or excitement for the new chapter of their business.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m not one to sit around the house during my free time. Weekends typically involve golfing, spending time at the lake, visiting my girlfriend in New York, going to the hunting camp, or watching Alabama football. These all typically involve a large group of friends and family, making whatever I’m doing that much more fun.
Our employee spotlight series continues with a highlight of Property Manager Dennis Sanders. Dennis leads the major operational aspects of the properties within our portfolio. He interfaces directly with our clients by coordinating and overseeing tenant and building construction work to ensure timely and accurate completion of improvements.
From developing and operating capital budgets to tracking vacancies and overseeing compliance of CAM reconciliation, he plays an incredibly important role at our firm.
Prior to joining J.H. Berry, Dennis served as the director of construction maintenance at Education Corporation of America (ECA), where he managed the facilities team and external vendors relating to facilities construction, maintenance and security for 79 locations nationwide.
After 26 years working as a property manager, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the industry?
The key to successful property management is building honest, dependable relationships with the customers and with vendors. The customer’s needs come first. They need to know that their needs will be met on time and within budget and that you will keep an open line of communication at all times.
A property manager juggles a lot of different tasks and assignments. What’s the biggest challenge of the role, and how do you approach that challenge?
The biggest challenges of property management are to achieve the objectives of the property owners, generate income for the owners and preserve the value of the investment property. I’ve found to accomplish these challenges is that the property must be maintained in good condition. Suitable tenants must be found and rent must be collected. Trustworthy vendors must be hired and managed along with budgeting, controlling expenses and keeping accurate reports.
In your time working at J.H. Berry, how have you seen the company differentiate itself from other places you’ve worked in the CRE industry?
Community involvement and a team environment. There is honesty and integrity in all dealings.
What project from your career are you most proud of?
Creating a maintenance department from the ground up serving 79 facilities nationwide.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with family and friends.
Paulk Turner, director of appraisal and valuation services, was recently quoted in a Birmingham Business Journal article discussing surging property values in Jefferson County in 2019.The article covers the significant rise in property values and taxes in areas like Homewood, Downtown Birmingham and Parkside.
“I’ve looked at two properties that went up 30% to 40% in county appraised value but are still probably below what I would appraise them for in the current market,” Turner said. “So, people complain, but they don’t have much of an argument.”
J.H. Berry Leasing and Brokerage Associate Jake Taylor was recognized as one of Birmingham’s 2019 Rising Stars of Real Estate and Construction by the Birmingham Business Journal.
The article recognized 22 young professionals as “emerging leaders who have been identified by their colleagues, clients or industry veterans as key names to watch in Birmingham’s real estate world.”
Paulk Turner, director of appraisal and valuation services at J.H. Berry, was recently quoted in a Birmingham Business Journal article discussing the future of Birmingham’s Parkside district, which has undergone a significant revitalization in recent years.
The article covers the resurgence and future of Parkside. Paulk pulls from his experience in appraisal and valuation to offer thoughts on what the future holds for the area’s market.
Downtown Birmingham’s Wells Fargo tower, which will become the Shipt Tower in 2020.
By Philip Currie, Jake Taylor and Callan Sherrod
Entering 2019, the performance of Birmingham’s commercial real estate market hinged on whether key submarkets would experience increased deal activity, especially along the Highway 280/I- 459 corridor and Central Business District.
Midway through the year, we are beginning to see some encouraging trends that bode well for the entire Birmingham CRE market.
With Shipt signing on to lease 60,000 square feet in the Wells Fargo Tower, Birmingham is hoping to continue the momentum of recruitment and retention of high-growth companies. Birmingham Bound, a collaborative effort to recruit tech companies to open satellite offices or second headquarters in Birmingham, is one such initiative and is closely tied to Shipt’s re-investment in the downtown core.
Birmingham’s Central Business District is particularly well-positioned to cater to the commercial real estate needs of high-growth companies. The city’s urban core has benefited from the Historic Renovation Tax Credit program and intuitive developers have utilized the adaptive reuse technique to bring new life to formerly vacant properties.
Jefferson Corner is a prime example. The property was converted from a large-scale commercial property into niche financial, retail and office space that matches the design expectations of today’s modern tenant. Other recent downtown redevelopment deals include the Forbes Building, The Frank Nelson Building, and plans for AT&T City Center and the Greyhound bus station property. The Central Business District had a steady quarter with large professional firms such as Burr & Forman and Maynard Cooper renewing their leases, and PNC signing on to backfill the vacancy at One Federal Place.
Looking outside of Birmingham’s city center, several notable transactions have created positive buzz in key submarkets.
The Highway 280/I- 459 submarket has seen some positive activity. The office buildings at 1800 and 1900 International Park were recently purchased in an investment deal for $34.5 million, and IberiaBank is preparing to move in to 2000 International Park. ENGS Commercial Capital signed a sizable lease at The Offices at 3000 RiverChase. In June, a high-profile site spanning 65 acres at the interchange was purchased. Development of this site could create a positive ripple effect within the submarket for years to come.
Birmingham’s Midtown submarket is also holding strong in 2019 with low vacancy rates and limited new product coming online. One recent transaction highlighting investor interest in the area is the sale of 2200 Lakeshore Drive, a Class A property in Homewood that sold for $200 per square foot. Prepaid Technologies recently moved in to a new office just shy of 9,000 square feet at Lakeshore Park Plaza. Sale prices remain high for owner-occupied buildings, as shown by the purchase of the former Western Supermarket headquarters in downtown Homewood for over $280 per square foot.
2200 Lakeshore Drive
Construction prices continue to affect sale prices and tenant improvements while companies focus on how their office space affects their bottom line while also aiding in workforce recruitment and retention. Additionally, building owners remain vigilant on how costs impact the ability for their properties to meet modern demands.
We’ll be closely watching the impact from several upcoming developments in the second half of 2019, such as progress on the Protective Stadium at the BJCC, Amazon’s fulfillment center expected to open in Bessemer in September, and the continued growth of Birmingham’s Innovation District. These projects, among others, bode well for the continued momentum and activity in Birmingham.
We closely monitor the transaction volume and data points of the evolving CRE market to help clients make the most strategic, informed decisions. If you have any questions about the status of the Birmingham office market or if you would like to speak further about your specific needs, please contact the office brokerage team.
Birmingham Office Market q2
Philip Currie, president at J.H. Berry, was recently mentioned by the Birmingham Business Journal in an article detailing Prepaid Technologies’ move to Lakeshore Park Plaza in Homewood.
Currie represented Prepaid Technologies in the lease of more than 8,000 square feet of office space.
“We’re glad to see Prepaid Technologies find the right space for their growing business,“ Currie said. “Lakeshore Park Plaza is an excellent location and able to accommodate growing technology firms. This lease shows that demand continues to persist in the Midtown submarket.”
Philip Currie, president at J.H. Berry, and Callan Sherrod, brokerage relations specialist, were recently mentioned in an article in the Birmingham Business Journal detailing the successful sale of a downtown office space.
Currie and Sherrod represented the seller, Pottersville LLC., in the $2.58 million transaction. The property, located in an opportunity zone at 2317 3rd Ave. N., was purchased by investment firm Featheringill Capital and will be used as the company’s new headquarters.
J.H. Berry President Philip Currie and Executive Vice President Edwin Moss
J.H. Berry President Philip Currie, SIOR, CCIM and Executive Vice President Edwin Moss, SIOR, CCIM, were recently mentioned in an article published in the Birmingham Business Journal detailing the successful transaction of a prominent Homewood office property.
Currie and Moss represented Main Street Holding Company in the $8.25 million transaction of 2200 Lakeshore Drive, a 40,230-square-foot Class A office property in Homewood. As part of the transaction, J.H. Berry will take over full management responsibilities of the 100% occupied building.
“We were pleased to assist our client in its successful acquisition of 2200 Lakeshore Drive, a prominent Class A office building in Birmingham’s midtown submarket,” Currie said. “Midtown is arguably the strongest submarket in Birmingham with low vacancy rates, and this transaction represents the high level of investor interest in the area. This building offers a Class A environment that while boutique in size, includes covered parking in a top-notch location. These are all factors making it a great asset for years to come.”