I love traveling and I suppose I still do because I haven’t done a lot yet. It began on Wed. before the Saturday tour from Oakland CA. An uneventful on-time departure on Southwest, on to Vegas, a 1 hour delay, then pulling into the Atlanta airport (claimed the busiest in the world) and a 15′ wait on the taxis-way for a parking spot.
After baggage and car rental, my two traveling buddies with their iPhone’s got us to the Embassy Suites in downtown Atlanta. We hadn’t eaten dinner yet and it was late (for us about 8:30 pm) so dumped the bags & walked across this enormous park with several locked gates to a yellow sign we were pointed to by hotel staff – The Waffle House.
Sitting at the table with my chicken salad looking so good, it occurred to me that it was now about midnight and we would be getting up for an early morning buffet breakfast and 8 am team huddle with Lori. The amazing thing to me about The Waffle House was at that time of night/morning the place was clean and every one of those people serving us (5 in total) were very friendly and thorough.
Thursday, up at 6:30. I was just amazed looking out the hotel window to see the beautiful park we had walked through the night before – Centennial Park, 2.5 acres of beauty, cleanliness and memories of the 1996 Olympic games held here. All of the tall building (some over 100 stories I was told) that line this park add to its majesty.
After breakfast (YUM) and our meeting, this day was the tour review for 3 of our 7 person team that were there. The others were in prep mode. It was a beautiful day, warm in the mid 60’s, overcast & normal humidity, perfect to see the whole of Atlanta and 5 properties we had planned for the tour. As we drove to each property I was struck by the country like setting of the entire area once out of the downtown part of Atlanta. Every property we visited seemed as though it was in a rural area with large trees, big lots of 1/2 acres or more, and greenery everywhere. At one property, I heard a familiar sound – there were nearby train tracks and the sound of a passing train brought back memories of my teen years.
Having been in real estate since 1973, I’ve seen many properties, and these were not much different than most. Average size and all the way from just acquired (A total mess with trash & broken things everywhere) to sale ready, a finished condition of rehab that is a large step above rent ready. This is how Summit prepares each property. Walking into the completed property was like walking into a new home model, every details seemed attended to and just felt amazing for the property and location. The day ended with a client dinner meeting for Lori and I at a near-by upscale restaurant – simply amazing food.
Friday was our only free day so we took the opportunity about lunch time to take a guided Segway tour of all the historical significance of downtown Atlanta. It was on this tour (Segway’s are a blast – try it you’ll like it) that our tour guide shared and I became aware of the age, history and significance of this part of the country and the heritage of the South. Here is a short list of some of what we wheeled past & learned about:
o The new trolley system being worked on everywhere
o CNN building
o The Turner building and Ted’s Montana Grill
o Capital building
o The path & place of Martin Luther King
o Coke building
o New football stadium being build
Saturday, tour day began again with and early morning meeting to review final details & make some last minute adjustments to the tour and logistics. The pre-tour group meeting began at 9 am where Lori reviewed our process, the opportunity Atlanta is, and the tour including how folks could buy what they were seeing on a unique first come first serve commitment form in the packets that all got.
By 11:30 we were on the bus, and yes as luck would have it some of the 50+ inches of rain Atlanta gets during the year came down steadily “all day long”. Conversations in the bus were plentiful among investors and team members while some with their smart phones, calculators, and paperwork were frantically doing their due diligence on each property to be prepared to submit their commitment. We spent an average of 15′ at each of 4 properties which again demonstrated every property condition from acquisition to complete for every one of the 14 investors to get a complete feel for our commitment to them. Box lunches were picked up fresh from a nearby deli just prior to leaving and we ate on the bus.
At 5:15 we arrived back at the hotel and shuffled everyone back into the meeting room complete logistics and paperwork for the property commitments we had received during the trip. All participated and watched contracts being written and a local lender discussing various lending options with the investors.
The evening ended with a celebration and charity dinner for all. The purpose was to donate $500 per property sold to City Ministries for the work they do in the area, providing homes and counseling for the homeless to return them as active members of the local culture. It was also an opportunity to notice the enormous positive impact that doing business in an area really does support in many ways not often thought of, the local economy. The food was amazing and service was astounding provided by Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the Embassy Suites.
All in all it was an inspiring trip for me and I can say, having spoken to all investors present, that there is a deep sense of understanding, commitment, and background one gets when participating in this kind of event. It adds depth to the investment experience but also reveals the heart, soul, and caring of Summit Assets Group in a way that many just won’t get until they are clients. I recommend this tour for all our clients and prospective clients to support their choice to build their holding, support Summit, and the Atlanta community.
Director of Public Relations