Newport RE now controls 50 sites in Downtown Atlanta – Atlanta Business Chronicle


The development firm transforming more than 10 blocks of historic properties in South Downtown is expanding its vision — again.
In its first major move of the year, Newport RE has acquired four new buildings and a surface lot along Broad and Mitchell streets. The acquisitions bring Newport’s portfolio in Downtown up to 50 properties, the company confirmed this week.
Newport’s plans for the buildings were undisclosed, though they will become part of Newport’s years-long efforts to restore and fill historic buildings in Downtown with new office and commercial space, including Historic Hotel Row and the former executive offices for Nations Bank at 222 Mitchell Street, which Newport plans to open this quarter.
This is the first update from Newport in the new year. In September, the firm detailed its plans for the first two ground-up components of its South Downtown development, which are 18- and 21-story residential towers. Newport expects to begin construction this year and to complete the residential project by 2025.
Later that month, Newport also acquired a historic building at 175 Trinity Avenue and 1 acre of parking lots along Peachtree Street. Both properties border existing buildings in Newport’s portfolio.
For this transaction, Newport acquired two office buildings with ground-level retail at 111 and 115 Broad St., which are owned by an LLC associated with law firm Levenson & Associates. Two buildings on Mitchell Street were also acquired — 185 and 191 — along with a lot at 187 Mitchell St. The sale prices were not disclosed, and the transactions aren’t in the Fulton County property deeds as of press time.
Newport’s project is continuing during an uncertain period for the real estate market in Atlanta and the U.S. as a whole. Federal interest rate hikes intended to curb inflation have inhibited investment and lending activity. The cost of acquiring construction financing is higher. U.S. lenders are becoming more selective and issuing fewer new commercial property loans. And though there is a lot of equity waiting to be deployed, institutional investors are sitting on the sidelines until more positive economic indicators emerge. 
It’s possible Newport’s new projects could stand to better weather the turbulence than others in the city. Though Newport has yet to begin construction on its residences, multifamily is a product type favored by investors and developers, given its strong demand fundamentals, according to Pricewaterhousecoopers’ Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report. 
Similarly, office buildings completed after 2015 have seen more leasing activity over the last eight quarters than any other type, according to a study from real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Though 222 Mitchell is not a ground-up building — it dates back half a century — the renovations Newport have led over the past few quarters are turning it into a completely new structure.
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