In Cobb, warehouses rise, but the
future of office space is cloudy
194 FACTBOOK | 2022
Commercial in Cobb
Rents in Cobb
By Aleks Gilbert
Land is at a premium these days.
With just a few exceptions, commercial real estate, like
its residential counterpart, has been on a tear, according to
agents in Cobb County. Rental and industrial properties
in particular have seen their values skyrocket, whereas the
mixed fortunes of retail and office space depend more on
“The economy remains strong and the commercial real
estate market remains very healthy in Cobb County,” Dan
Buyers, a partner with the commercial real estate firm
McWhirter, said, summarizing the state of things. “I would
say that the strongest product types are probably industrial
and medical office and multifamily, and that we are over-built
Bruce Ailion, of RE/MAX and a former head of the Cobb
Association of Realtors, said the strong market is being
propelled by low interest rates, which are hovering at around
3.5% for commercial properties.
Ailion said he’s been working with several commercial
tenants whose businesses are expanding, and they are looking
to buy rather than to lease, “partly because of the good
economy, partly because of having cash in hand and mostly
because interest rates are so low.”
With the rise in e-commerce, industrial properties are redhot
as well, Buyers said.
“Industrial is just as tight as it can be. There’s simply not
enough industrial buildings and industrial land in Cobb
County,” he said.
“Everything leases as soon as it’s built, if not before, and not
just here in Cobb County but throughout the Georgia region,
it seems our industrial distribution hub status is growing over
time,” he said.
Retail in Cobb is also doing well, Ailion said. He sees few
vacancies, but isn’t as sure prices in that submarket are rising
as those of rental units and industrial properties are.
Buyers is more circumspect.
“We have more retail space than our country really
requires today,” he said, pointing to malls, many of which
have vacant storefronts.
Indeed, the Town Center mall in Kennesaw was foreclosed
upon earlier this year, and both shoppers and owners there
said business had been slow for some time, an issue predating
The planned redevelopment of Cumberland Mall is
an attempt to stave off that same fate, according to the
developers. They are betting that turning the 17 acres of
parking lot that surround the mall into apartments and office
towers will make the property viable well into the future.
The office market, on the other hand, isn’t as bright,
“We aren’t able to increase rent,” he said. “We’re happy to
renew somebody and have them stay, even if it’s short term.
Tenants are downsizing.”
Buyers said the troubled office market has been a function
of employers’ response to COVID-19.
“There’s uncertainty about the health of the office market in
general due to more employees willing and able to work from
home,” he said. “And I think that the effects of that are still
being understood and not fully realized and will probably be
with us for years to come.”
Commercial parcel count, Cobb: 14,000
Assessed value, 2021: $11,275,921,509
Assessed value, 2020: $10,538,050,829
Assessed value, 2019: $9,941,728,817
Assessed value, 2018: $9,622,021,142
Assessed value, 2017: $8,511,662,731
Multifamily, 2019 Q2: $1,248
Multifamily, 2021 Q2: $1,487
Office, 2019 Q2 (per square foot): $23.05
Office, 2021 Q2 (per square foot): $23.97
Industrial, 2019 Q2 (per square foot): $6.83
Industrial, 2021 Q2 (per square foot): $ 7.85
Retail, 2019 Q2 (per square foot): $16.74
Retail, 2021 Q2 (per square foot): $18.11
Data from CoStar, courtesy of Bruce Ailion