Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio is an award-winning podcast was launched on October 7, 2011. Approaching its 1,000th episode, the show releases two episodes a week. All About Real Estate features the movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate industry along with news and information on new projects, communities, etc. Around Atlanta features all the things that make our city great to live in – local events, attractions and things to do around town.
Atlanta Real Estate Forum is a product of Denim Marketing. The show is produced by Intrepid Group, LLC and sponsored by New American Funding. Show hosts are Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick.
City of Refuge Provides Affordable Housing in Atlanta
Bruce Deel, founder and CEO of City of Refuge, Andy Litvak, partner and Abe Kannof, associate with Nelson Mullins, join the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss the 1300 development. They discuss the importance of affordable housing in metro Atlanta with hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the Around Atlanta segment.
Founded 24 years ago, City of Refuge has serviced the west side of Atlanta for the past 19 years. The organization provides wrap-around services for those who find themselves in difficult situations. A one-stop-shop, services include housing, medical, dental, mental health, vision, parenting classes, financial literacy, vocational training, homeownership and job placement.
With workforce training and an innovation hub, the organization provides a rich roster of classes focusing on auto technician training, culinary arts, personal fitness training, hospitality, customer service, security personnel and recently, the cybersecurity and coding academy. The goal is to equip the 500 annual participants in the vocational training programs to find employment in metro Atlanta and secure a livable wage, which is currently at $19 per hour. With nonprofit partners across the city, including high schools, vo-tech schools, churches and police departments, they are able to teach soft skills and critical life skills.
Currently, the organization receives referrals from organizations across metro Atlanta, exceeding their capacity. Recently, 300 applicants applied for the 45 spots available in the cybersecurity academy. City of Refuge refocused the process to allow for quicker organization of upcoming classes to assist in the large number of applications.
“Everybody that comes to us comes from someplace of brokenness in life,” shared Deel. “Helping them figure out not just how to get a job but how to keep that job and how to move forward in a successful manner.”
A crucial aspect of securing employment is finding safe and affordable housing. With a partner like Nelson Mullins providing pro bono legal services, City of Refuge can identify apartments and hotels and transform them into affordable and safe spaces. Affordable housing near the City of Refuge campus provides convenience for program participants to settle while having easy access to organization services.
Nelson Mullins is a full-service law firm that provides a full suite of legal services to various businesses and clients. There are 25 offices open on the eastern seaboard, but the company considers the southeastern United States home. Litvak and Kannof work within the commercial real estate practice along with 45 to 50 attorneys, focusing exclusively on commercial real estate transactions. The firm has been working with City of Refuge for the past five years.
The 1300 Project is a culmination of efforts and recognition of the acute need for affordable housing in Atlanta, becoming the first foundational housing project on Atlanta’s Westside. The project came out of years of discussion and strategic brainstorming to expand the City of Refuge campus, creating a ripple effect to demonstrate the affordable real estate potential on the Westside. Litvak shared that the multigenerational project of City of Refuge is a consistent effort Nelson Mullins hopes to carry on.
“We really view ourselves as a spoke on [the] wheel. We have particular resources and particular areas of expertise on the legal side and the real estate side,” said Litvak. "That’s where you’re really going to start to see inertia and momentum when it comes to moving things forward as it relates to affordable housing on the Westside.”
The challenging situation on Atlanta’s Westside makes developing new real estate is not an easy feat to accomplish. There is an elevation in real estate prices, and investments occurring within the neighborhood are more concerned with a return on investment versus...
Portman Architects on Adaptive Reuse, Changing Atlanta Architecture
Rob Halverson, CEO of Portman Architects, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss adaptive reuse as well as changing and restoring the architectural face of Atlanta. Halverson joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
Halverson, originally from New York, relocated to Atlanta after working for the largely influential architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He has been a resident of Atlanta for the past 15 years with wife and daughter. Originally a designer with Portman Architects, Halverson recently celebrated two years as CEO of the company.
Portman Architects designs spaces to positively impact and affect the creativity, productivity and well-being of the occupants. Based in Atlanta with an additional office in Shanghai, Portman Architects services several markets across the country. By prioritizing clients of the firm and developer partners, Portman Architects sets itself apart from other firms in the metro Atlanta area. The company prides itself on working collectively to meet client needs and improve the architectural integrity of projects.
“It’s not necessarily one voice. It’s everyone working together to find the right balance and right solutions for our clients,” said Halverson.
In 1965, before it was Hotel Indigo, the building that houses the renowned hotel was an office space designed by Mr. Portman. An incredible deal in terms of design and adaptive reuse, Portman purchased space at 50% occupancy, moved all office occupants up and converted the lower half into a hotel. The development was Mr. Portman's final project.
Adaptive reuse is a process very similar to new construction in terms of design and methodology. The potential of the space, as well as ideas, are regularly discovered. By updating a structure and changing the use, code changes and occupancy are essential elements to understand. Understanding what can transform and what must remain stationary is critical.
With an existing structure, reviewing the framework and its history is vital before making changes. When Portman Architects renews an older building, the goal is to make the process seamless and for the construction to appear naturally incorporated into the landscape versus as an added element. Portman Architects believes the process and finished product should be clean, seamless and exceptional.
With cities and buildings constantly changing, the contexts of spaces change just as rapidly. Halverson shared that it is exciting to see the faces of young professionals experiencing the process of adaptive reuse on a construction site. He also revealed that he particularly enjoys mentorship and seeing young professionals learn and grow.
Another important aspect of adaptive reuse is to reinvent space rather than waste it. The process empowers architects to make great strides to keep a development's integrity and historical significance, elevating the property and its return to the community. Portman Architects believes in giving properties the extra piece it needs to be a building with a story versus just a beautiful construction.
Portman Architects is currently working on South Tower, a Banyan Street property located within the Peachtree Center, originally designed by Mr. Portman. The project is a partnership between Portman Architects and the Peachtree Center to transform the architectural face of downtown Atlanta. Much like how New York repurposed its downtown to include more residential properties, downtown Atlanta is in the process of transitioning into a 24-hour active district. This change will elevate all other businesses within the neighborhood. Halverson predicts it will lead a considerable revitalization in downtown Atlanta.
An immense shift also occurring is Atlanta office spaces as they incorporate more outdoor areas.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta Teaches Children the Power of Play
Karen Kelly, director of exhibits and education at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss educating children on the power of play and upcoming exciting displays. Kelly joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the Around Atlanta segment.
The mission of the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is to inspire and educate children on the power of play -- something Kelly feels is very important for today’s generations of children. Focusing on children from zero to third grade, the museum offers children the freedom and initiative to learn and play in tandem with parents and adult caregivers. Exhibits throughout the museum allow children to participate in hands-on activities and stimulate their brains while learning new skills in a fun and interactive environment.
For example, “Step Up to Science,” a program courtesy of The Cognizant Foundation teaches children cause and effect. The current exhibit, “Force in Motion,” focuses on how things happen, what pushes them and how to act on them. Exciting interactions include a racetrack for kids to build and test racecars and a display to design rockets for the wind tunnel.
“This is all about open-ended experimentation,” said Kelly. “There is no one result or one path so kids can try and see if they can make it better, see what went wrong and see what happens again.”
One of Kelly’s favorite exhibits is the augmented reality flow wall that demonstrates air and fluid dynamics. Kids use magnets to build a dam and see the result of obstructions in the water. Open-ended play is an integrated mix of technology and hands-on, creating the best way to teach children. All museum activities incorporate hands-on elements so kids can learn with both their eyes and hands.
The diner exhibit is perfect for all children as each age group has a specialized experience. A two-year-old that is learning role play will take the food order of a guardian. A third grader however will focus on using math to determine the order total for a different experience tailored to their education. The museum works in tandem with Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards to design exhibits such as this one. The museum can inform visiting teachers how the interaction meets their curriculum standards while also keeping it fun.
The fantastic permanent collection is “Fundamentally Food.” Featuring farm-to-table interactive play, this popular section teaches children the various stages of food production, from milking a cow to shopping in a grocery store. The important exhibit teaches children the path of food production and helps them develop a healthy relationship with nourishment.
“Leaping into Learning” features a backyard pond setting for kids to “fish” and focus on early science learning. A featured climber allows them to learn the importance of a safe-danger space; the idea of a space far enough from watching eyes to experience independence but close enough for guardians to keep a watchful eye.
The “Gateway to the World” features two-story climbers that teach safe-danger space and the difference between left and right while climbing. A staging area hosts storytimes and science experiments every hour on the hour, constantly debuting new shows. The arts section boasts sand tables and painting on the wall. A giant ball machine features six simple machines for every complicated one with different access points to play and receive different outcomes.
The museum takes measures to ensure children are always safe and requires visitors two and up to wear facial coverings. Each day has two visiting periods with a cleaning period in-between to sanitize exhibits.
Karen Kelly, director of exhibits and education at the Children's Museum of Atlanta joins the studio to discuss the power of play.
Opening September 18,
Traton Homes Celebrates 50 Years of Homebuilding
Chris and Clif Poston, principals with Traton Homes, a family-owned premier Atlanta home builder, join the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to celebrate 50 years in business, upcoming developments in and around metro Atlanta and recent accolades. They join hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
Established in 1971 by brothers Bill and Milburn Poston, Traton Homes builds award-winning homes in Cobb County, a thriving metro Atlanta region. Steadily approaching its 13,000th home, the company recently won the Best Builder in Cobb County Award from Cobb Life and celebrated its eighth Guildmaster Award for quality. Another exciting company venture is the recent reunion with HomeAid Atlanta, an exciting and meaningful partnership in the metro area.
The company has a great track record with its homeowners and its staff. Although the company recently made several new hires, at the beginning of 2021, the average employee had a history of 17 years with the company.
“We have a well-tenured team that has been with us and stuck with us through lean times,” remarked Chris Poston. “They know the business and are proud of Traton. They are good people to have around you and running a business.”
Traton Homes has an exciting remainder of 2021 with exciting projects slated for 2022 fit for active adults, single-family homebuyers and more. Each community features sought-after amenities and a great location, expanding the already successful portfolio of Traton Homes.
Priced from the low $400,000s, High Parc at Smyrna is an 80-unit townhome community less than a mile from the heart of Smyrna. A swimming pool, cabana and nearby Truist Park recommend this community for homebuyers craving lots of activities and a centralized location. Smyrna offers residents a large selection of shops, dining and excitement close to the downtown area.
Talk about popularity! With over 1,000 people on the waiting list, Tapp Farm is a community with early on success unseen by Clif and Chris in 25 years working for Traton Homes. Three different price points, as well as a location near locally loved amenities such as the Silver Comet Trail and downtown Powder Springs, explains the never-before-seen success in this fantastic community. This community will feature single-family homes, two-story townhomes and single-family detached homes priced in the low $300,000s to the $400,000s.
The Courtyards at Hickory Flat, a 65-unit active adult community, will feature a clubhouse and pickleball courts. An up-and-coming area, this community is close to popular grocers and restaurants while also near the countryside, a perfect balance of urban and suburban. The beautiful ranch homes will feature 10-foot ceilings, a private courtyard, ample storage and more.
Traton Homes places great importance on amenities within its communities, especially ones focused on active adults. Due to the changes the industry experienced during the pandemic, amenities that are close to home offer residents an exciting lifestyle close to home. Smaller home products are growing in popularity for homeowners craving a well-amenitized, spaced out and well-located community. Traton Homes offers products as small as 1,800 square feet to meet the demand present in the market.
“It allows us to do some things that you wouldn’t normally do,” said Clif Poston.
Ten additional developments are ready to move forward, setting up 2022 as a year of increased growth. Currently, there is a low supply of new home inventory on the market, motivating homebuilders like Traton Homes. This low inventory could potentially drive a strong housing market in the next few years. Housing agents and homeowners must be flexible in the home buying process due to continuous changes and shortages of materials and other home building supplies.
Chris Poston remarked,
Bringing Broadway Back to Atlanta with Russ Belin
Russ Belin, vice president of the Southeast region for Broadway Across America, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum podcast to discuss the pandemic's effects on the theater industry and this year’s exciting season at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Belin joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the Around Atlanta segment.
Celebrating 40 years in the peach state, Broadway Across America is back in our beautiful city for a highly anticipated season of shows. Broadway Across America has 47 markets in the U.S. and presents the best of Broadway direct from New York.
Acting as a middleman, Belin and his team handle subscriptions, marketing and present shows featured at the Fox Theatre. Broadway Across America works with producers to build out incredible displays for patrons to enjoy, typically bringing 10 to 12 shows per season. According to Belin, the past 18 months were tough for performers and patrons alike as the theater industry largely depends on the revenue from live shows.
“It’s been 550 days since we presented our last show,” Belin said. “Our job is to bring people together to make memories. It’s been weird to not have that feeling.”
The theater industry and Broadway Across America underwent many changes attempting to build seasons and reroute shows as pandemic conditions worsened. The main focus was to reschedule shows and plan and manage ticket subscriptions to ensure an easy return once it was safe to do so. According to Belin, it was amazing to see the support and excitement from season ticket holders during such a difficult time and how thankful his team was for the continued support.
In residence until September 26, 2021, Hamilton is the first show to return to the Fox Theatre since its March 2020 closing. Belin expressed gratitude that a big show like Hamilton is the season debut after a turbulent previous year. Operating safely, about 4,500 patrons per show enjoy the magic of Broadway in person once again.
Written by Tony-award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is the story of Alexander Hamilton, a young immigrant from the Caribbean, and his journey to the United States. Working in tandem with acclaimed historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, Hamilton built the U.S. treasury, as well as other developments, to make our newly formed country successful. Told uniquely and powerfully, Hamilton implements hip-hop, dance and expressive music to tell the story based on the biography by author Rob Chernow.
Although Disney+ released the professional recording of the original cast of Hamilton during the height of the pandemic, it motivates many viewers to see the show live. Releasing shows on digital platforms allows for larger audiences to access the brilliance of Broadway. However, nothing compares to seeing a show in person! Although the current cast of Hamilton is not the original, it is a talented group of professionals, including a few Atlanta natives, that are passionate about delivering this show to audiences.
This season marks 40 years of Broadway in Atlanta and will feature highlights such as Fiddler on the Roof, Disney’s Frozen, Ain’t Too Proud, Mean Girls and more!
“I’m excited that we’re going to help the Fox doors reopen and get our audiences back there,” Belin said.
Fiddler on the Roof is a great show to bring family and first-time theatergoers, winning multiple Tony Awards on its original run and the revival. Ain’t Too Pride celebrates the career of The Temptations on their journey from Motown to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with well-known hits and a night filled with nostalgic fun.
Disney’s Frozen is a much-anticipated debut at the Fox Theatre and a great opportunity for families to experience the magic of Disney up close. Based on the pop culture hit by Tina Fey, Mean Girls will continue the stream of hit shows coming to the Atlanta area with ...
Cloudland Station: A Reimagined Natural Escape in Northwest Georgia
Coleman Mills, an architectural designer with Harrison Design, and John Tatum with Cloudland Station join the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to share the journey and inspiration behind the show cottage at Cloudland Station. Mills and Tatum join hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
A picturesque mountain and valley community, Cloudland Station sits in northwest Georgia in the Chattanooga Valley on the east side of Lookout Mountain. According to Tatum, the unique vision behind Cloudland Station was to create a community of families of all generations to come together and enjoy the outdoors.
The community features plenty of conservation property with waterfalls, caves, lakes and more! The project, originally named “Stories Reimagined,” began with a river that acted as an anchor for the development. In the beginning, only a few properties sat along the river but soon formed an entire community that is an integrated part of the gorgeous mountain and valley scenery of northwest Georgia.
“We believe architecture is an important part of the aesthetic,” Tatum said. “We don’t want to do anything but tread very lightly and add beauty to it.”
With 20 completed homes, five are currently in development and about a dozen are in the planning stages. A mountain village, still in development, will act as a clubhouse for the community with surrounding swimming holes reminiscent of older and simpler times.
The theme of the community is to “take time for the simple things” and enjoy the natural surroundings. Amenities in the community include foosball, a puppet theater converted from an old barn, ping pong, an outdoor amphitheater and a sweet shop that was formerly an old mill.
“We really try to breathe life into the notion of taking time for the simple things,” Tatum said.
Coleman Mills joined the project to add another beautiful brushstroke to the Cloudland Station canvas. Founded by Bill Harrison, Harrison Design is a renowned architectural firm celebrating 30 years.
Harrison was extremely passionate about teaching young people and passing on the tradition of design. The role of architects in his eyes extends to the ability to impact a client's life and the landscapes in a way that exceeds their own lives.
The Mountain Laurel, the designer show cottage at Cloudland Station, is the last project commissioned under Harrison’s name. Along with the delightful partnership that blossomed between Tatum and Mills, the show cottage organically developed into an authorless and blended design with Gothic and European influences overlaid against the natural, available materials locally sourced during construction.
Up the hill from the home sits a natural springhouse, a structure commonly found in Europe. Springhouses traditionally acted as community refrigeration and cooling structures due to the low temperatures of the water flowing beneath them. This is a perfect example of the design elements prominently featured throughout the community. The development represents the stories of immigrant families traveling with traditions and building styles that adapted by using the nearby resources.
“It’s a blending of a lot of different bloodlines to make one authentic piece of architecture,” Mills said when discussing the interplaying elements of the cottage and springhouse.
The vision behind the community comes alive when passersby question whether the structures are older buildings versus newer constructions, according to Mills. The shared belief amongst the team speaks to the authenticity and integrity of the project, whether it stems from locally sourcing materials or modeling builds after traditional structures.
The show cottage sits on 1,800 square feet and comfortably sleeps 12 people with the option for additional sleeping space in the springhouse.
Amazing show with relevant content!
Fantastic show with terrific guests and relevant content! If you are looking to stay in the “know” then this podcast is for you!
I love listening every week. I learn some really cool stuff on the All About Real Estate episodes, and the Around Atlanta episodes always highlight something new to do in the city. Definitely recommend!
Great show with informative information!