CoStar | Did You Hear? Former TBS Executive Turns Talent Into Major Developments
During her tenure at Turner Broadcasting System, Cathryn Houchins learned the importance of storytelling, understanding what TV show fans wanted and how to create a community among their audiences.
Now, Houchins is applying those skills to something more concrete – helping fill two high-profile projects in transitioning neighborhoods left out of Atlanta's post-1996 Olympic Games boom.
Houchins is director of marketing at Carter, a 61-year-old Atlanta developer and investment firm, that is working on The Met, one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in the Southeast, and on the revitalization of a long-dormant commercial corridor in Summerhill, adjacent to the former Turner Field stadium – originally named for Ted Turner, founder of TBS and CNN.
Houchins said her 10 years in brand marketing, which included a stint in global marketing at Bumble and Bumble Products LLC, taught her how to "tap into what fans wanted." Now in commercial real estate, Houchins said she is transferring those skills to understand what the communities surrounding The Met and the former Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, want to see in the neighborhood-altering projects.
A native of Southwest Georgia who moved to New York City in 2008, Houchins returned to Georgia about four years later and started her five-year-plus run at TBS and TNT. She had a baby at the end of 2017, and when she re-entered the workforce in 2018, she grew interested in commercial real estate while working on the planned food hall that will be part of the redevelopment of Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta.
"I just got super interested in what's going on in Atlanta business with all of the development and new restaurants," Houchins said in interview. "I realized how intertwined what I was doing is with real estate development."
Houchins' opportunity to move into commercial real estate full time came when she met with Carter Executive Vice President David Nelson, who was seeking a new marketing director. Carter President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Taylor considers marketing critical to the success of the company and its developments. Houchins and Nelson hit it off, and Houchins started at Carter in January.
Since then, Carter has signed tenants at both Summerhill and at The Met, and they will help Carter tell the story of each development, Houchins said.
"There is an incredible amount of content that can come out of the tenants," she said.
For instance, Little Tart Bakeshop opened early this year on Georgia Avenue in Summerhill, and the owner told Carter "it's the bakery of her dreams," Houchins said. At The Met, Mammal Gallery will open an arts-and-music venue that includes a two-story coffee and cocktail bar that will be part of the property's iconic water tower.
Four months in, Houchins said, her job offers her the opportunity to make an impact on her city.
"I really love Atlanta and would like to find a way to dovetail my career with something that makes Atlanta better," she said.
By Tony Wilbert, CoStar
« Go Back