- Investment Sales & Capital Markets
- Real Estate Solutions
- Incentives Negotiation & Location Strategy
- Project Management
- Building Management
- User Development Services
Atlanta is one of the fastest growing metros in the U.S., having seen its population grow by nearly 19% since 2010 with projections to grow another 50% over the next 30 years. The mere size of Atlanta is astonishing. It’s the fifth largest city in the country with 6.1 million people, equivalent to the Jacksonville, Nashville, and Charlotte populations combined! It’s also home to 20 Fortune 500 and 1000 headquarters. Renowned for its deep cultural significance, Atlanta magnetizes an exceptional diversity of talent and cultures, making it a vibrant and dynamic hub of creativity and multicultural exchange.
Seeing this exponential growth and the resulting opportunity, Foundry launched our Atlanta office in 2016. At that time, the leadership team recruited an amazing leader in Chris Hurd, who has quite literally grown the market from scratch. With Chris at the helm, we have been able to grow a formidable team in Atlanta, representing one of the highest producing brokerage offices in the platform the last two years. Much of that can be attributed to the record-breaking production of Jordan Camp and Reid Hanner in the industrial sector, who saw the opportunity in the industrial storage space and have shepherded Foundry into a dominant position in that market segment.
In addition to producing strong brokerage numbers, the team manages 2 million square feet while also actively pursuing deals for the Development and Investment side of the business, which has resulted in more than $85 million of D&I transactions in the area.
As our Atlanta office deepens its roots and continues to expand, Foundry recently announced the strategic acquisition of Southsource to add fuel to our fire. Founded by Lawrence “LG” Gellerstedt in 2020 (yes, when COVID started), Southsource is a boutique CRE firm that has become a force to be reckoned with, particularly in the office segment. LG may be a familiar face or name to many, as he was a Foundry client when he oversaw strategy for the Southeastern U.S. for WeWork. Jason Holwerda and Shelby Hall represented WeWork in Nashville and formed a deep relationship with LG as they worked together on several deals. As part of Foundry’s strategic growth plan, LG has recently shifted into the role of Atlanta Market Leader, setting Chris Hurd loose to focus on building out our investment sales business in the greater Atlanta region.
The acquisition of Southsource has added nine additional Atlanta CRE professionals to our lineup, and while we encourage all Foundry associates to get to know them individually (they are all awesome), we thought it might be helpful to get to know LG a little better, as an early introduction. Enjoy some excerpts from a mostly serious (we tried!) interview with our new Atlanta Market leader.
I come from a long line of commercial real estate professionals, spanning several generations. As a fourth-generation Atlantan, I have a deep connection to the city. Initially, I resisted the idea of entering the real estate industry and began my career in public relations and marketing. It allowed me to stretch and strengthen my creative muscles. However, everything changed for me during a marketing class where I discovered innovative techniques that could be applied to real estate. I seized the opportunity to blend my marketing expertise with the world of real estate. At Cushman & Wakefield, I eventually took the lead in the Atlanta team’s initiatives related to co-working and flex real estate solutions. My journey continued as I joined WeWork, where I spent two years managing 1.5 million square feet of space across the southeast region. What I truly love about my work is the ability to make a tangible impact and drive meaningful change. Many don’t think of commercial real estate as an industry of change, but I tend to think it’s ripe for those opportunities.
The city boasts essential urban features like an integrated rail system, interstates, an international airport, and a generally favorable climate. Over time, the city’s leaders have made sure to invest in assets and infrastructure. The city is home to a well-educated and diverse workforce that works together to foster a balanced ecosystem, where different groups collaborate and thrive together. The economy is robust and diversified, ensuring stability and growth. What truly sets Atlanta apart is the blend of a rich cultural and social fabric woven into its infrastructure. There’s a vibrant momentum driving prosperity and nurturing the city’s growth. Within Foundry, we already have a solid foundation to build upon. Our teams have shown their impressive capabilities, and now, by joining forces, we have an incredible opportunity to establish a stronger presence in the commercial real estate market here. With numerous capital sources in the area, we can unlock growth for other markets as well. The potential for success is virtually boundless, whether it’s in retail, D&I, Maxis, or other verticals.
I have an unbridled belief that our industry can do things differently. In all my interactions with team members from Foundry, that belief was always encouraged. I think it says something that Southsource pushed hard into the office segment right as the pandemic was unfolding, and likewise, I think it says something that Foundry was willing to invest in us when many might be running from the office segment. Among both cultures, there exists a genuine curiosity to go about our business in a more creative, personal way.
My time at WeWork taught me that to make a company truly successful, you need a perfect blend of wild, visionary imagination and rigorous execution. It’s truly incredible what you can achieve when you have both working in concert.
My favorite tattoo – and probably the most meaningful – is of Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta. It’s a dive bar, but my now-wife and I had some of our earliest dates there, and I got the tattoo on a whim on our third date. It reminds me of how I’m supposed to feel when I’m inspired.
With three kids, there’s not a lot of time to pursue my personal interests, but I enjoy running and used to play a lot of golf. These days, I love spending time with my family. Our oldest son plays baseball – both travel and for his high school – so I often find myself at his games cheering him on. We also have ‘two under two’ – Smith and Sadler. We spend time as a family at a lake house on Lake Rabun.
We work in a mature industry that’s largely focused on mitigating risk. Even though I’ve pushed the boundaries for a long time, I know I still have more to learn. Creativity is tied to risk, and most of the time, the tension point is understanding how to balance the two while still executing. As a creative, the momentum and broad appeal of ‘the way things have always been done’ has been surprising to me.
In the spirit of being really honest, I’m actually more of a podcast person, and specifically fantasy podcasts focused on games like Dungeons & Dragons. I love the fantasy of it… the math and the rules. I have a busy brain, so I find this kind of structure keeps me focused. Talking music, though, I like a wide variety of genres and artists. Zach Bryan, Luke Combs, Blink-182, Reel Big Fish, OutKast, Tupac, Garth Brooks, even Broadway classics. It really runs the gamut.