Spanx Deal Helps Buckhead Atlanta Get Into Shape
April 4, 2014
Spanx Deal Helps Buckhead Atlanta Get Into Shape
Atlanta Business Chronicle

By Martin Sinderman One of the most prestigious awards given by the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, the Alvin B. Cates award recognizes “a transaction that is considered to be outstanding, noteworthy and is based on creativity, ingenuity and skill, rather than on volume,” with the size and/or dollar value of the deal not of particular importance. This year’s winner is the transaction in which Atlanta-based Spanx Inc., maker of innovative undergarments and apparel, and OliverMcMillan inked an agreement for Spanx to establish a custom-designed and expanded world headquarters in the heart of Buckhead Atlanta, as well as open a flagship retail store in the San Diego-based developer’s project. Spanx was represented in, and advised throughout, by a Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.(JLL) team comprised of Brannan Moss, senior managing director, and Josh Hirsh, managing director. The deal capped a year-long process that began in June 2012. Moss and Hirsh had begun working with Spanx with an initial focus on the company’s long-term growth plans at its current location in 3344 Peachtree. But when Spanx expressed interest in using its real estate as part of creating a stronger identity and brand in the Atlanta community, Buckhead Atlanta came into the picture. OliverMcMillan’s ambitious, heavily-retailed redo of the six-block, 8-acre area comprising the old Buckhead Village bar district made sense as a location for Spanx — but at that time, the project was stalled, with many inside and out of real estate wondering if it had a future. “When we started the deal, it took us some time to understand the project, and whether they (Spanx) were interested in making the big leap, moving out of a traditional building with an abundance of amenities, and taking a risk on moving to a project that had been dormant for a long time, with some real uncertainty in the community about whether it would ever go forward,” Moss recounted. Spanx decided the deal at Buckhead Atlanta was worth exploring. With that in mind, the JLL team and OliverMcMillan began a year-long process of planning, negotiating, and revising, as Moss put it, to “provide Spanks with the headquarters project it wanted, but at the same time make sure that it fit in with OliverMcMillan’s overall vision for Buckhead Atlanta.” Starting with the conception of a relatively simple, 80,000-square-foot headquarters office building, JLL worked with OliverMcMillan to create the perfect headquarters and flagship retail store for Spanx. Getting there involved the JLL team negotiating changes to a number of project elements that Spanx wanted before it would agree to sign a lease. These elements included re-engineering and adding space to the original office building that would remain open to Spanx for future expansion; extensive signage rights for Spanx; the addition of a rooftop garden with kitchen and event space; and providing Spanx with significant flexibility with regards to the location of its flagship retail space, and lease expansion and termination. The closed deal between Spanx and OliverMcMillan was announced June 28. Days later, OliverMcMillan announced it had secured a $167 million syndicated construction loan, led by PNC Capital Markets LLC, to fully finance construction on Buckhead Atlanta. Spanx is expected to take its space in November. Between July and November, OliverMcMillan plans to deliver 225,000 square feet of retail, 125,000 square feet of office, and 370 luxury apartments. “Spanks was the catalyst for Buckhead Atlanta moving forward, said JLL Managing DirectorRob Metcalf. “The deal took an extraordinary vision on the part of Spanx to look past the history of the site and focus on the impact it could have to their brand, their employees, and the company’s mark on the city of Atlanta.” “The Alvin B. Cates Award recognizes the most outstanding transaction of the year, and in my opinion, the Spanx deal truly exemplifies that,” said Norm Richie, vice president atBatson Cook Realty LLC, who is also an awards committee member and past recipient. “It served as a great kick start to the Buckhead Atlanta project, and will combine a high-profile Atlanta company’s corporate headquarters and flagship store in one project.”

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