Christopher Thames, senior vice president and chief operating officer of J.H. Berry & Gilbert, was recently mentioned in the Birmingham Business Journal for his role in a deal at 2701 Seventh Ave.
Thames represented the seller, Choctaw Investment Co. LLC.
The space was purchased by Gusty Gulas Group, who is planning a full renovation of the property.
Each month in 2021, we will feature one of our outstanding team members as a J.H. Berry Employee Spotlight. Today, we start with Leasing and Brokerage Associate, Jake Bottcher.
Describe your role at J.H. Berry.
I’m extremely thankful to be a part of the J.H. Berry team. I serve as a leasing and brokerage associate, specializing in industrial leasing and sales. I also work closely with the brokerage team to develop new business opportunities. In this role, I work in a business development capacity as well as helping execute deals once underway. This has been rewarding as I am identifying new leads, entertaining prospects, and gaining a better understanding of some of the more technical aspects of commercial real estate deals. A little over a year into the role, and I am learning that deals typically have some ‘hair’ to them and require some creative problem solving, which has been a lot of fun to work through.
What is your professional background, and what were you doing before joining J.H. Berry?
After graduating from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in finance, I headed to Jacksonville, Fla. to begin my career. There, I began working with Deustche Bank. During my time with Deustche, I raised hedge fund capital before moving to the leveraged finance team. From there, I worked with corporations to satisfy debt financing needs.
What is your approach to working with CRE clients?
To put it simply, clients are my priority. I always aim to take a client-first approach and anticipate any needs that they’ve entrusted to me on behalf of their business. I think everyone at J.H. Berry puts an intense focus on great communication, creative problem solving, and a deep list of connections to call upon. Our clients are the best part of this job. It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with them to help achieve the needs and desires as it comes to both business-related needs or personal capital being invested and/or utilized to maximize their personal returns.
How did you go about navigating the challenges of 2020?
The year 2020 brought about many challenges for businesses across the country. Companies were forced to adapt to the changing real estate environment. Luckily, we have a great team at J.H Berry that was able to navigate and closeout 2020 strong.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
As an Alabama graduate, I (of course) love to watch Alabama football. I also love any sort of outdoor activity like playing golf, anything on the lake, or chasing animals through the woods. Additionally, as a newly engaged man, I have picked up wedding planning as a new hobby, albeit I act in more of a ‘someone to cry at/get frustrated with’ capacity. I’m also an active member of Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church.
Buffalo Rock Co. is expanding its Birmingham operations with a distribution campus off of Lakeshore Parkway – largest infrastructure investment in the company’s history.
The company acquired 895,000 square feet of warehouse space at 400 Industrial Drive and a 120,000-square-foot office building at 800 Lakeshore Parkway.
J.H. Berry President Philip Currie and Executive Vice President Edwin Moss represented Buffalo Rock in the transaction, which was mentioned in multiple publications.
Read more about the transaction in the Birmingham Business Journal, Alabama Political Reporter, AL.com., and The Birmingham Times.
Executive Vice President Edwin Moss was mentioned in the Birmingham Business Journal for his involvement with a Highland Park apartment community transaction.
Two local multifamily investors – Bret Connor and Will Byars of Coosa Investments LLC, as well as H2 Real Estate – acquired Highland Riviera Apartments.
Moss was the selling broker in the deal.
Read the full article HERE.
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Thames was mentioned in the Birmingham Business Journal for his role in a restaurant transaction in Crestline Village (Mountain Brook.)
Thames represented the landlord in a deal that will see a neighborhood venue – Slims Pizza and Bar – open at 65 Church St. this spring.
“We think it’s a great addition to the Village,” Thames said. “We hope they’re successful along with everybody else there.”
Read the full article HERE.
The Birmingham Business Journal recently published an article detailing the construction plans Auburn Bank’s new downtown headquarters.
The article mentions that leasing and brokerage associate Jake Taylor and president Philip Currie of J.H. Berry will be handling all leasing for the building.
Read full article.
A recent article in the Birmingham Business Journal highlighted J.H. Berry’s involvement with a major redevelopment project in downtown Auburn, Ala.
J.H. Berry will handle leasing at AuburnBank’s redevelopment project at 100 North Gay St., at the corner of Magnolia Avenue. The first phase of the project will include a 90,000-square-foot Class A office building and a 535-space parking deck.
President Philip Currie and Leasing and Brokerage Associate Jake Taylor will be handling all leasing for J.H. Berry.
Taylor was quoted in the story saying: “Historically, larger businesses in this area needing 5,000 square feet or more of office space have had few, if any, options in downtown. Now, businesses that require larger spaces can operate in the heart of Auburn, just minutes from Auburn University and within walking distance of all the restaurants, shops, retail services and other amenities that downtown has to offer. We think this will be a game changer, and we hope that our project will bring new businesses and employees into Auburn’s urban core.”
Read the full article.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted businesses and markets across the country and the world. Commercial real estate is one area that has been impacted in areas across all sectors and markets.
J.H. Berry & Gilbert actively studies the changing market conditions and how it effects our clients. Today we observe the trends defining the industrial sector of commercial real estate, which has been able to maintain a degree of stability since the pandemic began.
While Birmingham’s industrial market has not been immune from the effects of COVID-19, commercial real estate experts note it remains one of the healthiest in the local market, particularly for warehousing and manufacturing. The U.S. industrial sector also remained solid as of the first quarter, with the average vacancy nearing a record low at 2.8%, per CoStar On a national level, the industrial market is a little less tight with vacancy levels at 6.0% according to JLL.
In the first quarter of 2020, industrial deals were moving along like usual, and many deals made it across the finish line before pandemic effects truly took hold of the market. April and May saw a bit of a dip, again contributed to the pandemic, but performance has been trending toward normalcy since June and July. The summer has seen more participants return after giving everyone an opportunity to catch their breath and evaluate what they believe the new normal will look like, and how to prepare for such.
The relative stability compared to other sectors and return to normalcy in the industrial CRE market can likely be attributed to a few factors. Most of the local and regional firms occupying industrial space in the Birmingham market were considered “essential businesses” and were not required by the state to work from home during the state-wide quarantine. Additionally, many occupants of industrial CRE in Birmingham compete in markets that have fared far better than many in the retail and entertainment sectors. Sectors such as transportation, manufacturing & distribution for products related to home goods, building materials, and food & beverage have largely fared quite well given the common denominator of products associated with the ‘Safer-at-Home’ mandate.
If you’re looking to buy, sell or lease industrial space, or have any additional questions regarding commercial real estate, contact J.H. Berry today.
Leasing and Brokerage Associate Jake Bottcher was mentioned in a Birmingham Business Journal article for his role in a recent transaction.
AIDS Alabama is relocating “The Hub,” its program for young men of color, from Sixth Avenue South to the former F.J. Evans Engineering Co. building on Seventh Avenue South.
J.H. Berry & Gilbert Inc. was the listing broker for the building, and Bottcher.
Read the full article.
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.