Loft office project planned for site in English Avenue

April 29, 2016

Amy Wenk, Staff Writer Atlanta Business Chronicle

A new loft office project is in the works for Atlanta.

But this time, the project is planned for English Avenue, a neighborhood between Atlanta’s trendy Westside and downtown that’s seen little new development in recent years.

Atlanta developer John Ayers is planning to remake the former Hudgins & Co. Inc. salvage yard at 640 North Ave. NW.

The roughly 2.5-acre property today includes two existing warehouses that will be converted for loft office space. Future phases include building additional office buildings and possibly residential.

In total, the project could offer about 40,000 square feet of loft office space.

Ayers closed on the property last September and could deliver the first phase by early 2017. The project is set to go before Atlanta’s Zoning Review Board on May 12.

Richard Taylor of Taylor Architecture is designing the project. Mel Stowers of Stowers & Co. is the leasing agent. The hope is to lure technology companies, such as those coming out of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

“I think it will be a great project for the neighborhood,” said Ayers, who’s worked on adaptive reuse projects in Atlanta since the 1990s, including Brushworks Lofts, Inman Schoolhouse Lofts, Candler Park Connection and LaFrance Street Lofts. “Once this development is done, I think the rest of it will come shortly behind.”

It could mark a turning point for English Avenue, a long-neglected area of Atlanta plagued by a lack of new investment and blight, including many vacant homes.

Big institutional players are starting to invest nearby.

MetLife Inc. just paid $63.4 million for the Northyards Business Park, which consists of 17 acres of former warehouses that have been converted into loft offices near Georgia Tech. The project is known for tenants such as The Coca-Cola Co.

Loft office rents are certainly growing across Atlanta. According to new data from Cushman & Wakefield, average asking rents for loft office soared to their highest level yet in the urban core — to more than $30 a square foot in first-quarter 2016. That’s up from $23.50 a square foot in first-quarter 2015.

Vacancy, too, is down — from 8.8 percent in first-quarter 2015 to 7.9 percent in first-quarter 2016.

Perhaps no project has better illustrated the demand for loft office space than Ponce City Market.

In the old Sears building, Atlanta developer Jamestown appears to have struck the right chord, especially among technology companies including athenahealth, Atlanta startup MailChimp and software firm Cardlytics.

Some early skeptics had believed the project was too far from the heart of Midtown at Peachtree and 14th streets. But today, office rents at Ponce City Market are pushing $40 a square foot, close to the same rates for office space in Buckhead, the city’s ritziest district.

Now, more loft office projects are popping up around Atlanta and even in more suburban areas such as Brookhaven and Chamblee.

Among them, Atlanta developer Third & Urban is underway on Armour Yards. The project is transforming a collection of warehouses into loft office space along Armour and Ottley drives and near Atlanta’s largest craft brewery, Sweetwater Brewing Co.

“We are very pleased with the interest we’ve seen so far,” said Pierce Lancaster, managing partner of Third & Urban, noting even traditional office tenants are taking tours. It’s not just creative or tech companies that are seeking out alternative space to the glass office towers of traffic-choked Buckhead and Midtown.

“We are seeing demand across the market,” Lancaster said. “It’s not just intown or in creative neighborhoods. We are feeling a more macro shift in the way people want to experience their work day.”

Silver Phoenix – Stowers focuses on relationships

Silver Phoenix-Stowers

April 3, 2015

Silver Phoenix – Stowers focuses on relationships

By: Martin Sinderman, Contributing Writer Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors

Silver Phoenix Award winner Mel Stowers is president of Stowers & Co., a commercial, industrial and investment real estate firm. A native of Dawsonville, Ga., Stowers graduated from The University of Georgia in 1977 with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing. One of his first jobs was as undercover investigator for The Coca-Cola Co., working to uncover instances of trademark infringement.

Stowers turned to commercial real estate in 1980. Following the advice of Ken Griffiths of Cygnet Properties LLC, and taking advantage of an opportunity presented by Ralph Edwards, formerly with Ackerman & Co., he became a general partner in a foreign real estate investment group. During the next four years, he helped the group purchase and develop some $60 million of projects.

In 1984, Stowers broke into the brokerage business, joining with Mitchell Brannen of what was then Brannen Butler Co. In 1988 he opened his own firm, Stowers & Co. He served 10 years as real estate representative for Nortel Networks Corp. and has been involved extensively in the redevelopment of downtown Atlanta, including brokering a 1991 sale that became the Pioneer Neon lofts.

Mel Stowers

President Stowers & Co.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of deal-making?

The best part is the repeat customers. You don’t often get a ‘pat on the back’ for doing a good job in this business — but when a client calls you back a second time, you know you did the job right the first time around.

Q: In what non-commercial real estate job did you learn the most, and what did you learn?

Working as an undercover investigator job right after college was a tremendous experience. I was not directly supervised, so I had to be a self-starter. And I learned a lot of interpersonal skills that have helped me in the sales business.

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle :

The Stove Works LLC Sold Their Award Winning Property


After 14 years, The Stoveworks LLC, Richard Taylor, Jeanie Wooster and Mel Stowers, sold their successful loft office development to Paces Properties.

Pace’s Proeperties bought The Stove Works as part of their overall plan to transform Tyler Perry’s old production facility and warehouse near the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail as well as the adjacent parcels into a mixed-use development centered around a 12,000 square-foot, west coast-style market and restaurants,  titled Krog Street Market, would eventually include housing on the complex’s south end.

More than a third of the  30,000 square-foot development in the Tyler Perry Property will be a market that will feature “anywhere from eight to 15 market stalls ranging from 2,500 to 1,000 square feet where local operators can sell wares from the florist, baker, to candlestick maker.

Cochran reports that their firm’s plans for the Stove Works are yet to be determined. This award-winning complex, which includes Krog Bar, Rathbun’s, and sleek offices  is 99 percent occupied. What will become of the adjacent parking and property will become clear once the first phase of development across the street is completed.

Smoke on the Lake BBQ Festival May 10th and 11th

Smoke in the Park BBQ FestivalThe North Cobb Rotary Club, City of Acworth, and the Georgia Barbecue Association are proud to announce that the 4th annual Smoke on the Lake BBQ Festival presented by Superior Plumbing will be held at Cauble Park on Friday and Saturday, May 10th and 11th. All proceeds will be distributed amongst several local charities, so every come out and help make a difference in your community!

There will be a concert on Friday night under the stars, as well as on Saturday from 10-4 with some of the best BBQ around. There will be teams coming in to cook from all over the Southeast in professional and amateur divisions. Come out to see who will take home the title for 2013. We will have a special competition called the people’s choice where you get to be the judge. Come on out and taste different BBQ entries!

This is one of my special causes. I started this festival in 2010 to raise money for local charities. It is great to see the growth of this event over the years which now results in over 25,000 to help fund many worthy causes.

Here is a video from last year.
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2013 Million Dollar Club Top Producer

mel stowers

Atlanta’s commercial real estate Million Dollar Club honored the top industry producers for their 2013 achievements. Mel Stowers was named the fifth ranking top producers in the Industrial Landlord category. Mel has been a consistent member of the Club for over 23 years.

Gov. Deal Apointments Ga State Workforce Investment Board

State Seal of GeorgiaGovernor Nathan Deal appointed Mel Stowers to the Georgia State Workforce Investment Board in 2011.  The following is a statement describing the duties of the board:

The Board is comprised of individuals representing business, organized labor, migrant farm workers, state legislators, youth and community based organizations, education, county and city elected officials, and state agency heads.

Members of the Board serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor, and assist in: preparing the state workforce development plan; designating local workforce investment areas; developing allocation formulas; developing a performance plan with performance measures; developing a system for continuous improvement; preparing the annual report; and developing the statewide employment statistics system.

The Board’s mission is to bring business, labor, education and the public sector together to develop strategies and support efforts to best meet the needs of the state’s workforce and employers, thereby enhancing Georgia’s competitiveness in the global economy.” The Department has a new initiative to train Georgia’s workforce titled, Go Build Georgia.

Mel Stowers is honored to be serving in this capacity with public officials and private employers across the state of Georgia.

Smoke on The Lake BBQ Festival May 11 & 12 , 2012

Smoke on the Lake BBQ FestivalThe North Cobb Rotary Club and the City of Ackworth are proud to announce the 2012 Smoke on the Lake BBQ Festival presented by Superior Plumbing. It will be held at Cauble Park on May 11 and 12th. This year BBQ teams will be competing for a total of 11,000 in cash along with the chance to win four grills. Teams from all over the Southeast will compete in both professional and amateur divisions.

Last year we had 10,000 people come out. It was a successful fundraiser for our North Cobb Rotary Club! Come on out and join us. And if you think you have what it takes to be crowned Grand Champion then register your team now.

CoStar: MDH Partners Buys Industrial Bldg for $5.6 Million

240 NorthPoint ParkwayOn June 2, 2011, Co Star reported that Duke Realty Sold 240 Northpoint Parkway to MDH Partners for nearly $5.6 Million with Mel Stowers representing MDH Partners. The rear-load distribution property was built in 2002 on 11 acres. It was previously occupied by Unarco Material Handling, which vacated about two years ago. The facility is in the Kennesaw/Acworth Industrial submarket and sold for 25 dollars per square foot.

Rotary District 6900 November Newsletter: Mountain Top Boys Club Barbecue

BBQ at Mountain Top Boys HomeMountain Top Family Services is a non-profit faith based and community supported organization located on 488 acres in Sugar Valley, a totally rural setting, on SR 136 in Walker County near Calhoun, Georgia, and adjoins the Chattahoochee National Forest. The provide housing, counseling, and guidance for troubled or disadvantaged boys and young men ages 10-17 in the North Georgia area. They also advise and help build healthy families towards the goal of  eventually returning these young men to their families.  The Mountain Top Home maintains their facilities as well as many miles of scenic hiking trails on Mount Chestnut.

The Home was once a part of Must Ministries in Marietta, Georgia but was then turned over to an independent Board of Directors. Mel Stowers, a long time member of the North Cobb Rotary, sits on the Board of Directors for Mountain Top. Mel Stowers is Past President of the Board.

The North Cobb Rotary Club plays a special role in supporting the Mountain Top Home and one way they help is by hosting an annual BBQ. This year 150 people attended the event and were treated to music by the Mars Hill Porch Pickers, a Kennesaw-based bluegrass band and Roger Hurricane Wilson, a local bluegrass recording artist.

Down load the PDF: Rotary District 6900 News


Pioneer Neon Lofts: One of the First Loft Developments in Atlanta

Pioneer Neon Lofts East sideThe Pioneer Neon Lofts was one of the first Atlanta Adaptive Reuse projects.  Located at 342 Marietta Street NW, this building was constructed as warehouse in 1915 by the Selig Chemical Company. The building is a typical early twentieth century commercial construction, with arched-brick openings on the Marietta Street facade, limestone and concrete ornamentation, diamond-shaped geometric designs, cast-stone window sills and copings, and brick patterning.

In 1991, the developers of the building came to Stowers and Company to broker the deal to purchase the building for a loft development. In 1992, this was not a great part of town and their were not many people doing these conversions. At that time, the security man would shoot off his gun before entering the building. The building  was rehabilitated into loft apartments and is now in what is called Castleberry Hills.