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Watts Happenings News and Blog

Economic Outlook for 2018

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 29, 2017
The following is an exert from Nov/Dec 2017 edition of the Journal of Property Management by Joseph Dobrian...

"The consensus among property management specialists and other real estate services professionals is that 2018 will be another strong year for real estate generally, although the industry seems to have passed the peak of the "up" cycle.  Conceivably, a downturn is lurking, but it's not immediately in view."

That is the consensus from real estate professionals around the nation, as Chip explains how the deep south is looking to 2018.

"The Market looks strong in the Deep South too, for now," Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM, President and Executive CPM for Watts Realty Co., AMO, in Birmingham, Ala., predicts little change for 2018, although he's less sanguine about the long term.

"We'll have a strong 2018 for multifamily," he said. "We're seeing new projects being announced almost monthly.  Office is just a little soft and will continue to be so.  Relocations from suburban to urban buildings are on the rise, and total space requirements are increasing because offices have already gotten as small as they can get."

"Retail is in a transitional time. Some of the major chains are closing units, but single stores are coming back , which indicates to me that we have a strong economy."

The overall news is positive for property managers, he said, and for people who are considering entering the profession.

"Our multifamily market will remain strong, with lots of competition for staff talent through favorable salaries and benefits," he said. "Our commercial markets will be flat because we see a lot of space in transition now.  IN Alabama, you need a real estate license to lease space, but in some other states, you don't, so management companies there might have a larger pool of personnel to choose from."

"The challenges for property managers, in the coming year, will continue to be the ability to integrate technology into your marketplace, operate smart systems, and communicate via social media. Alabama will see a strong market in 2018; it's what could happen after that, that concerns us."

You can read more about the economic outlook for 2018 in real estate management here...

National Franchise Brands Exit 5 Points South Retail Spaces

Michael Watts - Friday, October 27, 2017
Chip gets down to the basics with Brent Godwin of The Birmingham Business Journal regarding several national franchise brands that have recently left the 5 Points South retail spaces looking for new tenants.  Click here for article.

"Are the new apartment buildings filling up?"

Michael Watts - Monday, October 09, 2017

"Are the new apartment buildings filling up?" That's the question Birmingham Business Journal's Brent Godwin set out to answer and Flats on 4th was able to deliver... again!

The article is in the subscriber content of the BBJ's website, so I posted a little bit of the intro to the piece. If you want to read the entire article (and if you're already a BBJ subscriber or don't mind becoming one) here's the link...

We've Moved for the 2nd Time In 111 years.

Web Admin - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's official! Out of the old and into the new.

Our office is closed today while we unpack and move things around a bit, but if you are looking for our office tomorrow, we'll be just down the street across from Regions Field and next to Sherwin-Williams Paint.

1527 3rd Ave S, Ste 102
Birmingham, AL 35233

The Faces Behind Commercial Real Estate Growth and the Revitalization of Downtown Birmingham

Web Admin - Friday, September 08, 2017
Over the last few years, Birmingham has experienced a renaissance and redevelopment of downtown in large part due to commercial real estate growth. Commercial real estate, according the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®, contributes $465 billion a year to the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Products Index).

The economic impact of this commercial real estate growth, according to the Birmingham Business Alliance, was nearly $587 million in capital investments in Birmingham in 2016 resulting in 2,014 new jobs in the area. The commercial real estate industry stands ready to help businesses meet the needs they have- from retail space and office buildings to vacant land and warehouses.

The Birmingham Association of REALTORS® recently shined the spotlight on six members of the Birmingham Commercial Realtors Council who are doing their part to make Birmingham shine. These powerhouse members garner national and international attention for the Magic City.

For the rest of the article and their description of Chip's and Watts Realty's part in the revitalization effort, check out this link...

Southside: Shaping The Future

Web Admin - Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Brent Godwin of the Birmingham Business Journal recently interviewed Chip about newly announced projects and some currently active projects slated for the Southside community of downtown Birmingham. The following is an excerpt. To read the entire article click on the link below.  

One of these announced projects is the Vesta development at 2173 Highland Ave South by Harbert Realty and Cortland Partners.  Slated to break ground later this month, Vesta will be a 17-story high rise and a 5-story mid-rise that will consist of roughly 318 upscale apartments, including roughly 6,500 square feet of retail space along with a number of amenities.

"There is definitely an uptick in interest in properties in Southside; however, this is not new... it just happens that the deals are just now closing," says Chip Watts of Watts Realty. "Several developers see Southside as an opportunity for infill projects - if the properties can be purchased at a decent price point. Several deals have been attempted, but only a very few have been successful."

In addition to Vesta, an expected redevelopment of the Southtown public housing site located on University Blvd and butts-up right next to the Lakeview district, has helped spark investors and real estate developers interest to begin buying Southside properties this year.

"It is anticipated that these two projects (Vesta and Southtown) will be catalyst projects that will allow infill projects to flourish," Watts previously told the BBJ. "I believe that developers are just now laying the groundwork for these infill projects to occur."

For the full article, click the link below.  Please be aware that you must be a subscriber to the BBJ in order to view this article.

Chip Talks with REV Birmingham's CEO David Fleming

Web Admin - Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Last week Chip met with REV Birmingham's CEO David Fleming to talk about the continuing construction and growth of the Downtown/Parkside District.  Check out the link or watch the video.

A Zyp Bike tour of Birmingham's future (Part 2 of 2) from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A Letter From Camp

Michael Watts - Monday, July 10, 2017
As a lot of you familiar with Watts Realty Company know already, we are a big supporter of YMCA Camp Cosby.  Over the years a Watts has served on the Board for Camp Cosby as well as fundraising programs to send underprivileged kids to camp for a week.  As a thank you, we received a letter from Rylee (13) telling us all the fun and exciting things she has learned while at Camp Cosby. 

Thank you Rylee for the awesome letter and we will continue to work hard for kids to experience Camp Cosby, because through Camp Cosby we have learned a life motto that we carry with us everywhere and everything we do: "God is first, others are second, and I Am Third".

What Spring Means To A Small Family Real Estate Business.

Web Admin - Friday, May 05, 2017
That good exhausted feeling associated with 60+ hour work weeks. Every spring the hard work comes in more quantities compared to fall and winter.

Residential Property Management : Our Tenants move, sometimes scheduled and sometimes with a surprise. Life takes them to new jobs, new cities, to care for an aging loved one, buying a house, and/or new marriages with even the unfortunate divorces & deaths too. Spring also brings more Tenants to Birmingham for those same reasons. These past two years, some of our many 1 SFH Clients make calculated but very hard decisions to leave the world of being a Landlord to finally selling their investments (which they majority of the time occupied personally & couldn't sell due to the market at the time). These transitions happen in spring. Referrals for new management in and referrals to residential sale's agents out.

Commercial Leasing & Brokerage: Spring increases the real estate economy & related activities. Small businesses and corporations alike make moves; expanding & needing more space, and occasionally contracting sometimes which open up spaces.

Commercial Management: New & seasoned investors need managers, as well as current ones looking for a change in their manager. Luckily we've only seen new accounts this spring. 60+ added Tenants with a newly managed property added to our portfolio just this week. We love being of service to these new accounts as much as we love being of service to our 20-30-50+ year multi-generational owners.

We've been blessed so far this spring. A new $16M+ development opening this month (Flats on 4th). A new long term restaurant build out finishing up (iBrew in 5 Points). Renewal after renewal of current Tenants. Witnessing Chip's two big sales last year opening, one recently (TJ Tower) and one soon (2 Hilton branded hotels). Even the smaller leases starting new relationship (Road Runner Moving as an example). Just closed a sale on raw land that has been listed with us since the 1970s (Shades Valley High School on part of the parcel we sold long ago & now a new SFH neighborhood going up on 30+ acres....still have 29 commercial acres for sale from that original listing). Negotiations ongoing for almost every vacant space for leasing and brokerage. And $16+M in new commercial brokerage listings just in 3 months.

We have 4 new permanent staff just in the last year (two being family coming back into the family business). We have one 13 year staff returning from another state & 1 multi year staff returning from maternity leave. We are growing in # of commercial agents. Maybe an intern from UA starting soon. Our dedicated long term staff is pushing through the work load as well as the ups & downs associated with more work. Chip is gearing up for even more increased service to our industry via his roles in the associations to better our field. We all work like an amazing extended family. I know I've been tough on them & me while we work towards excellence.

Spring is in full bloom with wonderful exhaustion.  Let the momentum continue.

Flats On 4th makes Birmingham Business Journal's annual Deals of the Year list.

Web Admin - Monday, April 10, 2017
Watts Realty is honored to be able to accomplish this deal, and be named by BBJ in their annual Deals of the Year. The Watts family worked hard with all its partners to pull this one from vision to reality. Opening May 5th! We have been involved in Birmingham real estate for 111 years, and want to be investing in this city for another century. We wanted to build a property to reflect those values.

I hope our late grandfather would be proud. I'm sure he worked hard keeping Dad in check during the development of Arlington Business Center just as much as Dad has kept Chip & I in check during this project.

Once we close this project up, time to look for another one...(too soon?😅)

Clink link for BBJ's Deals of the Year

Office Physical Address:
1527 3rd Avenue South, Suite 102
Birmingham, AL 35233

o: 205.251.1267
f: 205.252.7777