Bleakly President Participates in Prestigious Panel


Bleakly Advisory Group president Geoff Koski recently returned from serving on a week-long ULI Advisory Services Panel in Hancock County, Indiana. The panel, which was tasked with assessing potential real estate and economic development opportunities along the Mt. Comfort Corridor just east of Indianapolis, included land-use and economic development experts from across the country.

According to ULI, these panels bring together the best and brightest from ULI’s diverse membership — developers, planners, financiers, market analysts, economists, architects, designers, and public officials — to provide practical solutions and objective advice not available from any other source.

Through this program, ULI members, such as Koski, integrate into communities dealing with a wide array of real estate and land use challenges to provide unbiased, expert advice and specific recommendations for improvement. Members link together with local leaders to draft a plan to revive, rethink, and restore communities around the globe to ultimately enact change and improve the lives of the people who live there.

The goal of the Indiana effort was to help chart a path for a well-developed Mt. Comfort corridor that will achieve several goals:

  • Generate consistent quality job growth over the next several decades

  • Grow an agbioscience industry cluster that leverages Hancock County’s farming legacy

  • Provide a growing tax base that will diversify local government revenue streams and help to control tax rates for residents and small businesses

  • Connect residents with jobs and businesses to enhance the quality of life for all Hancock County households

  • Reduce the development pressures elsewhere in Hancock County by creating planned growth districts along and adjacent to the Mt. Comfort Corridor.

    Additional details on the results of the ULI Advisory Services Panel in Hancock County, IN, in which Geoff Koski was the market analyst, can be found here.

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MIlledgeville Rental Housing Study


Bleakly’s Jonathan Gelber and Sara Patenaude have been helping the City of Milledgeville , GA study the city’s rental housing market and outline the challenges and opportunities affecting housing in the city. On January 8, they presented their findings to the Milledgeville City Council. This project will help Milledgeville understand its current housing market and assist in decisions about the future of the community’s housing.

The report was featured on Macon’s nightly news.

Link Here:

Cross Post: "Segregated by Design" by Sara Patenaude

Our own Sara Patenaude has written an insightful article over at The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association, titled “Segregated by Design: 'Free Choice’ and Baltimore Public Housing”.

The article is adapted from her recent PhD dissertation. In it she writes:

The rise and fall of public housing is a popular topic for urban historians. The story has been told for cities from Chicago to Los Angeles, New York to San Francisco. While the story in Baltimore may not, at first glance, seem unique, the city has become known for its public housing and related issues of poverty, drugs, corruption, and crime since the critically-acclaimed HBO series, The Wire,debuted in 2002. More recently, the tragic death of Freddie Gray and the resulting uprising in the city’s streets have brought Baltimore’s housing problems back to the public mainstream. Though its official motto is “The Greatest City in America,” Baltimore, Maryland is more likely to be colloquially referred to by the pejorative, “Bulletmore.”

Yet the projects have been home to thousands of Baltimore residents since 1940, when Poe Homes (named for one of the city’s most famous residents, Edgar Allen Poe) opened in West Baltimore. Poe Homes, and the twelve housing projects that followed, were divided into “Negro” and “White” projects. After 1954, when the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) officially desegregated the projects in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, applicants to public housing were legally allowed to apply for residence in whichever projects they preferred, regardless of race.

When it came to implementing these desegregation policies, however, the reality was not so simple. By ignoring the legacy of segregation and ongoing systemic racism, the focus on removing official barriers to “choice” did little to actually alleviate segregation among public housing residents. Even as federal officials mandated a new policy aimed at ending continued segregation, allowing local control provided Baltimore officials and residents ample opportunity to maintain several all-white projects—primarily in the interest of maintaining any white residents on their public housing rolls. In Baltimore, as elsewhere across the country, residential segregation was enforced not by government decree, but by individuals abandoning “block-busted” neighborhoods for the suburbs, pressuring elected officials to stop “encroachment,” and loudly proclaiming racially coded complaints about declining property values.

It is worth a read. Go check it out at The Metropole.


Season’s Greetings to all our clients and friends!

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Thank you for making 2018, our 18th year in business, the most rewarding yet.
Reflecting on the past year in real estate and economic development and the trends that shaped our work, the first word that comes to mind is WOW!
Not only did the quality growth trends in our Atlanta region continue on an upward trajectory, the trends accelerated, confirming that our region continues to serve as a shining light in the nation, out front in attracting innovative jobs, seeking cutting-edge answers in the transportation field, and pushing real estate and economic development boundaries. 

The progress is real and sustained but many challenges lie ahead. Creative solutions still elude us on many fronts.  Among the most important are addressing the transportation and housing affordability issues that come hand-in-hand with being one of the country’s fastest growing regions. 
We had the privilege of working on some truly gratifying projects over the past year on these fronts. Notably, ULI Atlanta engaged us to identify the issues and possible solutions regarding equitable housing in the region. We are very pleased that this work informed the HouseATL taskforce that will, no doubt, continue to be the city’s most effective initiative addressing housing affordability.
Our work in the housing field expanded in 2018. We completed a county-wide housing study that examined the issues of a stagnant housing market in the Greater Dalton, GA area. Other assignments for public sector clients took us to various corners of Georgia in 2018: Forsyth County, Milledgeville, Troup County/LaGrange, and Newnan, to name just a few. We currently are part of a team working with the City of Asheville, NC to find innovative ways to increase attainable housing on publicly-owned properties. We see that our input is contributing to more equitable access to housing throughout the Southeast and we are glad to have the opportunity to do so.
At the same time, we have helped a variety of private sector residential developers understand the supply and demand conditions and their implications that are relevant to their potential developments.
Speaking of the public and private sectors, we continued our work this year in helping Georgia communities use their economic development toolkits to attract quality development through public private partnerships. For example, we recently helped create the first Tax Allocation District authorized by Bartow County, GA. We also provided implementation and public financing services for municipalities across the state. Our work in this area for the team redeveloping Fort MacPherson has helped to move that very important project in Southwest Atlanta closer to realization. 
In search of innovative transportation answers, we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on a team of seasoned professionals on the DeKalb County Transit Master Plan that is in the works. Stay tuned in 2019 for exciting recommendations on that front.
We continue to help smaller cities rediscover the value of their historic downtowns and leverage them as catalysts for economic growth. We worked with cities statewide to transform downtowns and commercial corridors into more walkable mixed-use places that are in high demand. In addition to work in Atlanta-area cities such as Duluth, Woodstock, Tucker, and others, we found great opportunities for downtown development in Evans, just outside of Augusta.
We helped several Atlanta-area Community Improvement Districts (CIDs), and their leaderships, chart their path forward to improve the built environment for their constituents.
Finally, the year was full of positive changes to our staff. Most importantly, firm founder Ken Bleakly, and his stalwart wife Barb, decided it was time to make the move to the beach. They now call St. Simons, GA home as Ken continues to service many clients along the Georgia coast. The rest of us here at Bleakly Advisory Group headquarters in Midtown Atlanta still look to Ken for wisdom and guidance as we work with the rest of our wonderful clients and colleagues.
As the Atlanta region, and the Southeast, continue to grow we hope you have a wonderful rest of 2018 and we look forward to working with you in the new year.
Geoff Koski
Bleakly Advisory Group, Inc. 

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Jonathan Gelber, as Part of ULI Technical Assistance Panel, to Address the Future of Savannah's Civic Center

I am heading to Savannah, GA next week as a member of the Urban Land Institute's technical assistance panel to assess redevelopment opportunities for the Civic Center site. The City of Savannah proposed redevelopment of the site to better meet the needs of the city and surrounding communities.

Savannah’s Civic Center under construction. Source: Savannah Morning News.

Savannah’s Civic Center under construction. Source: Savannah Morning News.

The major priorities of any proposals for the Civic Center are to respect Savannah's historic district and adhere to the Oglethorpe Plan as closely as possible, while reconnecting neighborhoods and determining the best mix of uses on the site. The City shared a survey asking Savannah residents to rank what characteristics for redevelopment of the site they value most: green space, arts and culture, community diversity, preserving historic character, and promoting employment opportunities and economic development.

Ogleshorpe’s Savannah Plan is the one of the most iconic things in the field of planning. It is our Mona Lisa. It is featured on the first day of any Urban Planning class and on the first page of any Urban Planning book. As a planner, I am honored to be entrusted to participate in such an important discussion.

Bleakly Advisory Helps Client Secure Zoning for 320-unit Apartment Community in Newnan

The Newnan Times-Herald reports that Bleakly client, Continental Properties, has the green light to build 320 market-rate apartments in the fast-growing town of Newnan, which is in the southern portion of the Atlanta region.

In the news report Continental development director Gwyn Wheeler said the company was attracted to Newnan because it’s the fifth fastest growing community in Georgia—data she gathered from a recent Bleakly market study for the property.

Bleakly’s apartment market study for Continental analyzed the supply and demand conditions for the local Coweta County market area and made recommendations regarding achievable rent levels and potential lease-up pace.

Continental has since hired Bleakly Advisory Group to conduct similar analyses for other locations in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

For information on how Bleakly Advisory Group can help analyze housing development related questions email or call Geoff Koski, president of the firm.

Read the Times-Herald report here:

In Dunwoody, Development a No-Go

Gary Mongeon, Senior Vice President at Bleakly Advisory Group, addressing the audience on August 23rd, 2018. Source: Reporter Newspapers.

Gary Mongeon, Senior Vice President at Bleakly Advisory Group, addressing the audience on August 23rd, 2018. Source: Reporter Newspapers.

Gary Mongeon, Senior Vice President, delivered a presentation last month to City of Dunwoody officials and residents on the feasibility of proposed redevelopment along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The conclusion, Mongeon said, was that redevelopment without formation of a public/private partnership with $10 to $20 million invested, which City Councilmember Jim Riticher believes the Council is unlikely to do, is infeasible and unlikely. Bleakly Advisory's market research supported this conclusion. Per Reporter Newspapers;

Gary Mongeon with Bleakly Advisory Group said at an Aug. 23 meeting on the PIB Study that the market study conducted by his group shows the land in the study area is valued at approximately $1.1 million per acre and that it would take more than $200 million to simply assemble the apartment complexes included in the area.

Within the Study area, there are 2,023 apartments across 188 acres, an average of 11 units per acre. While these apartments are predominantly blue collar, collectively they still generate an estimated annual income of $26.2 million, according to the Bleakly Advisory study. City Councilmember Tom Lambert said that "Now that we know redevelopment probably won't happen, we are turning our focus on other improvements, such as trails, better lighting, and better infrastructure in the area."