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JLB Partners LP

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Once the mayor of the entire city of Atlanta, Sam Massell is now focusing on one booming section of the city. As president of the Buckhead Coalition, he is charged with helping to guide the development of this southern sub-city that the coalition describes as a “bustling business center . . . [with] serene and stable neighborhoods.” 

It is one of the largest urban mixed-use districts, with an array of commercial offices, retail centers, hotels, restaurants and other entertainment spots with nearby high-rise residential properties filled with people who crave being in the middle of it all. It’s known as a premier location by the city and beyond. 

“Buckhead is the shopping mecca of the Southeast, with more than 1,400 retail units and in excess of $1 billion a year in sales,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle says. “Forty percent of Buckhead’s shoppers come from more than 100 miles away.” 

On its website, the coalition lists commercial and residential real estate opportunities for developers who want a piece of the action, one of those being the Irving, Texas-based developer JLB Partners LP. Though headquartered in Texas, JLB capitalizes in select markets all around the nation from its offices in Atlanta, the Washington, D.C., metro area and Arizona. It develops, builds and manages Class A multifamily properties. Its portfolio includes low-density garden projects and medium to high-density wrap and podium projects. It has built multi-unit residential properties for the conventional rental market as well as student housing and mixed-use.

For its most recent Atlanta project, JLB formed a team of market-savvy firms to help materialize the 373-unit Buckhead Village. In November 2010, Report Newspapers reported that JLB acquired a 6.5-acre tract of Buckhead land on Pharr Road, parallel to a development called The Streets of Buckhead. The firm purchased the real estate, which included nine buildings, for $10 million – $1.5 million less than 235 Pharr Road Inc.’s asking price. At the time, reports speculated that JLB was considering a project with at least 300 units, speculations that have proved to be true. 

In August, the firm announced it had commenced construction of the first phase of Buckhead Village. The entire project spreads 373 units across a four- and a five-story building, totaling 345,224 square feet. The LEED- and Energy Star-certified buildings offer one- and two-bedroom floor plans with hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel Energy Star appliances. It also will include 583 parking spaces, three Zen gardens, a library and rooftop fitness center and an indoor/outdoor lounge, all situated in Atlanta’s most-wanted area.

“The location on Pharr Road is within walking distance of premier shops, restaurants and hotels,” says USAA Real Estate Co., the project’s joint-venture developer. “Buckhead’s proximity to major thoroughfares and rapid transit that provide quick access to downtown Atlanta, Midtown, Perimeter Center and Hartsfield International Airport, has also made it an attractive locale for more than 15 million square feet of office space.” 

This is JLB’s and USAA Real Estate’s first joint venture effort. USAA Real Estate is a subsidiary of the leading financial services company USAA. The real estate division provides capital to partners across the country for a variety of development types, and it is the equity partner in Buckhead Village.

On the design side, JLB contracted Niles Bolton and Associates. The firm is headquartered in Atlanta, giving it an insider’s view to this bustling market. It also boasts worldwide experience from designing projects in more than 42 states and 14 countries. Because of its extensive experience, it knows that there is no one-size-fits-all design. “Niles Bolton Associates [NBA] sees each project as unique,” the firm says. “NBA selects individuals from our diverse range of experiences for the design team that continues with the project to completion. Niles Bolton Associates’ design process begins with the client and project team establishing objectives and goals for the project. By using these objectives and goals as our standard, functional, spatial, and aesthetic requirements become realized in the built form.” 

Buckhead Village should be completed in October 2012. JLB’s construction division is managing the project’s construction. Both JLB and USAA Real Estate are confident that the experience of the entire Buckhead Village team will result in the successful completion of this project and perhaps other projects in the future. 

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with USAA on Buckhead Village in Atlanta,” Bay Miltenberger, JLB’s managing partner, said in a statement. “Their team exhibited great market knowledge and understanding of a complex development transaction, and we anticipate expanding our relationship with other opportunities nationwide.” 

USAA Real Estate Company Chairman and CEO Pat Duncan echoes that sentiment. “The principals of JLB Partners have a history of developing exceptionally designed properties in core markets,” Duncan said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with this professional and experienced team on this project and look forward to exploring future co-development opportunities.”