Expert's take on Sembler's Town: Brookhaven

sembler co.'s town: brookhaven ~ what now, atlanta?

Are there parallels between Town and Atlantic Station?

Town: Brookhaven, Sembler Co.'s latest Atlanta project, is a whopping 600,000-square-foot mixed-use development.

The 54-acre project near Oglethorpe University in DeKalb County offers restaurants, retail, and more than 1500 residences (Alexan Brookhaven and The GoodWynn apartments).

Town's largest retail tenants include Costco, Publix, LA Fitness and CinéBistro and recently welcomed Here to Serve's Noche restaurant, the third location for the brand in Atlanta.

It was thought for sometime that Sembler would not be able to weather the economical storm that hit during the project's conception.

Keep in mind, Sembler bought the property (previously an old apartment complex) for more than $40 million-- entering the market at a major disadvantage considering the cost per square foot land value at the time.

While there are more "for lease" signs in the windows than occupied space (slightly feels like a ghost town), the quality of tenants Town has attracted so far is a strong starting point for the development-- pulling together this project during a recession is impressive.

One could assume the strategy Sembler used in finding merchants was to attract a select few retailers that could survive or possibly see growth during the down-turned economy. Sembler doesn't seem to be signing leases for the sake of filling space; instead they are trying to create a community where the retailers will play an intricate role.

Being a fan of Costco it's exciting to have one located closer to metro Atlanta. CinéBistro is once again, an attraction that has virtually no competition in the Atlanta market and will serve as a destination and unique experience (with the exception of Buckhead Backlot-- similar to CinéBistro in that it serves food and alcohol in a theater).

LA Fitness is a smart play since the Buckhead location seems to be more congested than downtown Bangladesh.

Another creative move by Sembler was to convert the original plan for condominium units to apartment homes. The apartment business is recovering much faster than the home market, mainly because these days it is much easier to rent than to get financing-- young professionals are able to secure a place to live with great amenities and close proximity to Buckhead.

Brookhaven has already broken away from Buckhead as the independent hipster version of Buckhead and Town will add another destination point outside of Brookhaven Village.

So what does the future hold for Town Brookhaven? Will the success continue or will it be the next Atlantic Station? Please share your thoughts.