The situation. In 2011, North American Properties set out to develop Avalon, a $1 billion experiential mixed-use community in Alpharetta, Ga. Nobody in the area had ever seen a walkable, urban concept like Avalon, and the suburban community was skeptical. Not to mention the real estate community, who, on the heels of a recession, was apprehensive of a new product type never before executed at this caliber. The success of Avalon depended on community buy-in, consumer excitement and telling a compelling story on the national stage to attract the best tenants.
Wilbert deployed a smart PR strategy. The Wilbert Group provided strategic communications at every phase, from entitlement to leasing to grand opening to ongoing operations. Wilbert successfully targeted B2B and B2C audiences, securing hundreds of positive media stories during construction and leasing. Atlanta Magazine called Avalon “something quite revolutionary for Georgia” before it even opened. The New York Times profiled managing partner Mark Toro. Wilbert created a Slideshare series about Avalon, which got more than 40,000 views and helped establish North American Properties as a thought leader on the national stage. The grand opening made a big splash with 124 media stories. A positive and consistent drumbeat of coverage continued after opening, positioning the NAP team for phase two, which opened in 2017.
Here’s how it drove business results. Avalon has outperformed every industry benchmark, setting a new standard for retail-driven mixed-use developments. Its single-family homes sell 100 percent above market. Hotel room rates are 50 percent above market. The multifamily and office components command rents 40 percent above market. And, despite the turbulent retail industry, Avalon’s retail component remains 98 percent leased and the restaurants and stores consistently rank as top performers in the region. Avalon’s second-generation retail space is leasing at two times original rental rates. In 2017, Avalon broke the record for being the largest single asset transaction in Metro Atlanta. Here is NAP managing partner Mark Toro explaining why he uses Wilbert for every NAP development. Video link.
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