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Real Estate Development

When Georgia Tech asked me why I wanted to get a masters degree in Real Estate Development at age 60 I answered as follows: 

 

“Truthfully I want to do it just to do it. I fully understand this degree is designed for a traditional younger person and at age 60 obviously that is simply not me.

 

But as a true Atlanta native growing up in Atlanta’s southwest section I was an eye witness to everything that occurred, to this part of town as a child and a teenager in the 60’s and 70’s and it all revolved around real estate in some way. And I have been a real estate attorney for close to 30 years. 

 

I remember Fulton County Stadium being built. Hank Aaron lived across the street from me the summer the Braves moved to Atlanta. Now it’s home to GSU football and massive redevelopment which we studied at length in my GT classes. 

 

My grandparents lived in the Capital View Neighborhood 2.5 miles SW of the stadium from 1922 to 1979 on Erin Ave. I had 5 great aunts and uncles living within a 3 mile radius of Perkerson Park that I saw regularly as a kid. 

 

I remember 285 being built. I remember Greenbrier Shopping Center being built and what a big deal it was. Now we study how to retrofit these old malls so they can still be economically viable. This is one of the biggest deals there is in the Urban Design program at GT which made up about one-third of my curriculum. 

 

I remember the Cascade Height’s business district when it was in its early 60’s prime. My God parents owned a small “dime store” (as we called it back then,) and my grandmother worked there. Revitalizing these in-town commercial nodes was also a big deal at GT. 

 

I washed dishes at S&S Cafeteria at Campbleton Plaza when I was 14 years old. It’s now closed and I wanted to learn how to do a redevelopment plan for that empty space. I did that in one of my research projects. 

 

I worked at Sears in West End Mall and was hanging out after work with my Morehouse College student co-workers who lived in some of the old houses close by when I was a junior and senior in high school. Now these same old houses are some of the hottest selling properties in Atlanta. 

 

I was baptized in 1959 at Gordon Street Presbyterian Church in West End’s Westview Neighborhood. As a kid I would daydream in church about what a waste of underutilized commercial real estate the church was during the week. I wanted to buy the church building and lease it to the church for Sunday and Wed Night Prayer meeting then turn it into office space and a restaurant during the week. (True story BTW.)

 

My old church was bought several years ago by former Georgia Tech quarterback Kim King’s children’s commercial real estate development company and they actually did what I daydreamed about as a kid. 

 

Now somebody is about to bulldoze West End Mall and turn it into condos, again stealing my idea! I wanted to do the same thing when I was in high school! (I was embellishing at this point but I was on a roll!) 

 

And all this BeltLine stuff! I know everyone of those BeltLine neighborhoods like the back of my hand. This is where I grew up. 

 

I remember Pittsburgh, PeoplesTown, Mechanicsville, Summerville, and all the other BeltLine neighborhoods before the full weight of urban blight set in. 

 

After all that, what could they say? GT let me in! I graduated with a 3.6 GPA. Not bad for an old man!

 

Today Browne & Price, P.A. is actively engaged in real estate development law representing developers and real estate entrepreneurs primarily in East Point and Covington. 

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