Bringing the Outside In

Posted on November 22, 2017

By Roger Heerema

A fresh-air, 28th-floor amenity lounge has transformed a Chicago office tower.

EXPANSIVE CITY views might be the greatest advantage offered by an upper floor of a downtown high-rise. But once you turn your back to the windows, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the center of a bustling city. You could be on any floor of any office building, anywhere.

That’s not the case at 200 West Jackson, a recently redeveloped building in downtown Chicago. On the 28th floor of this office tower, windows open during warm weather months to bring in fresh air and the sounds of the city below. This full sensory experience creates an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for a hospitality lounge, where building tenants socialize, collaborate and recharge.

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What Did You Miss at the Office Conference?

Posted on November 21, 2017

NAIOP and the Greater Workspace Association convened with great success last week in Brooklyn, with close to 400 attendees gathering to talk all things office real estate: from co-working to design to demand to tech and beyond. Want to see what you missed? Check out the presentations, with more content being added here daily. Read More

How Data is Tranforming CRE

Posted on November 20, 2017

Tapping into financial and property data can allow commercial real estate companies to save both time and money; using real-time performance analytics, for example, can help optimize operating expenses. As the volume of data across the globe increases at a staggering rate, meanwhile, the data center industry faces critical questions about cybersecurity and data management.

  • Next Wave of CRE Tech: Harnessing Data to Unlock Value 
    Commercial real estate is coming to terms with the critical need for data-driven organizations, teams and results, reports Waypoint. The current tech landscape enables financial data to be aggregated into a single, company-wide system of record rather than compiling disparate data from separate, siloed systems. How organizations leverage and analyze the data is what will ultimately provide the competitive edge they need to rise above the rest.
  • Four Ways the Cloud is Forever Changing Data Center Real Estate
    The future of data center real estate is looking more global and automated, according to JLL research, helping the data center industry become more efficient and keep up with the surging amount of data being generated by corporations, entertainment companies, and personal devices. Combined with the growth of cloud computing, these trends mean that the industry is facing important questions about cybersecurity, data sovereignty, and digital content consumption.

Webinar: The Forces Shaping Office Space Demand

Posted on November 17, 2017

The Advantage Series is an exclusive member benefit, delivering expert insights to help you make informed business decisions.

Get the inside track on upcoming opportunities in the office sector with Dr. Josh Harris of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate and well-known industry economist Dr. Mark Dotzour. Together, they will provide insights and data from the new NAIOP Office Space Demand Forecast, identify linkages between overall economic activity and the demand for office real estate, and engage in a live Q&A session with attendees.

Register Online

Malls Invest More Than $8 Billion to Attract Shoppers

Posted on November 16, 2017

To create destinations that captivate shoppers beyond mere retail purchases, owners have dramatically transformed malls by investing more than $8 billion in renovations over the last three years. JLL’s new report, A New Mall Rises, explores 90 super regional and regional malls that are currently undergoing or have gone through a significant renovation during that time period.

“Malls must respond to changing shopper preferences with laser focus and evolve their purpose through redevelopments to be relevant,” said John Lambert, director of retail development for JLL. “Many of the 90 properties we looked at are elevating their role beyond purely shopping and becoming destinations for dining out and entertainment, community activities and even lodging and residential.”

 The capital improvement upgrades fell into five main categories:

  • Forty-one percent of malls added food and beverage options, and of those, 55 percent also added entertainment offerings.
  • Forty-three percent of malls are adding non-retail uses including multifamily, office, hotels, call centers, schools, distribution centers and/or medical facilities.
  • Twenty percent of malls are dedicating space to the community including open green spaces and kid-friendly play areas.
  • Ninety-four percent of malls are getting a makeover through common area improvements, rebranding and/or making tenant upgrades.
  • Twenty-two percent of malls are de-malling the space or demolishing it for the highest and best use in the community.

Tax Reform Measures Taking Shape in Congress

Posted on November 16, 2017

Last Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee released draft tax reform legislation that they will move through committee later this week. The Senate bill was released after the House Ways and Means Committee passed its version of tax reform earlier that day.

The Senate draft differs in some aspects from the initial House version, which NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino detailed last week in terms of its impact on the commercial real estate industry. Overall, both bills continue taxing commercial real estate development and investment on an economic basis, recognizing the long-term, capital-intensive nature of the industry.

Importantly, both bills would preserve the use of 1031 exchanges and continue the deductibility of business interest expense for the commercial real estate industry. Both would also lower corporate tax rates to 20 percent. Under the Senate bill, however, the rate reduction would be delayed until 2019. Some other differences of note for commercial real estate include:

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Deloitte: Can Real Estate Firms Keep Up?

Posted on November 15, 2017

The U.S. commercial real estate industry ecosystem is changing at a rapid rate due to new forms of technology (e.g., artificial intelligence, smart cities, mobility improvements, sensors) and demographic changes in the workforce, according to Deloitte’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018. The report urges the real estate industry to embrace these changes even though they might represent uncertainty.

The key, according to the report, is to close the gap between technological changes and business productivity over the next 12-18 months by prioritizing the following themes:

  • Accelerate business: Unlock the value for REITs by examining their corporate governance and communication strategies, optimizing property portfolios and reassessing public status.
  • Avail alternative capital options: Traditional commercial real estate companies can engage with fintech startups for sharable solutions, diversified funding sources and investment purposes.
  • Augment productivity: Companies should embrace robotics and cognitive automation to improve productivity in data collection, management and analysis.
  • Advance talent and culture: The commercial real estate industry is facing a talent shortage and must be agile, innovative and collaborative to attract new employees.

Digital Tools Are Modernizing Today's Investment Sales Cycle

Posted on November 14, 2017

Written by Champaign Williams

Technology is transforming the investment sales process. 

Ten-X Commercial Division Managing Director Yan Khamish said though technology can never replace brokers in the investment sales process, it can cast a wider net and help investment brokers, buyers and sellers close more deals faster. 

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CRE.Converge 2017 Session Recordings Now Available

Posted on November 13, 2017

Miss CRE's premier event? We've got you covered with the conference session recordings, recaps and news coverage you need on the CRE.Converge resources page.

Click here to read more.

Charlotte Architecture Firm Finalizes Merger with Progressive AE

Posted on November 8, 2017

A Charlotte architecture and interiors firm has finalized its merger with Progressive AE.

ai Design Group, which announced the merger last summer, has formally adopted its new name of Progressive AE, effective today. The merger will result in expanded service lines in the Charlotte market, including new engineering services. The local leadership team of principals Wes JonesKim Marks (NAIOP Charlotte member) and Ryan Doherty will remain intact, according to Progressive AE, with Jones serving as managing principal of the Charlotte office and Marks appointed as the firm-wide workplace practice leader.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Charlotte is the second office for Progressive AE, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Tax Reform's Effect on CRE

Posted on November 3, 2017

House leaders took a significant step forward with tax reform efforts on Thursday with the release of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R.1, which includes an expansive set of proposed changes to the corporate and individual tax system.

As promised in my previous messages to you on this topic, our legislative team and I are committed to keeping you informed on tax reform developments affecting the commercial real estate industry. In this proposal:

  • Section 1031 like-kind exchanges are preserved for real estate.
  • Current tax treatment of carried interest is preserved.
  • Deductibility of interest on debt is maintained for those involved in real property trades or businesses, including commercial real estate development.
  • Current eight individual tax brackets are condensed into four brackets: 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent. The top rate of 39.6 percent would apply to income levels of more than $500,000 for an individual and $1 million for couples.
  • Corporate tax rates are reduced from the current 35 percent to 20 percent.
  • Pass-through businesses (such as partnerships and limited liability companies) will pay a new, lower top rate of 25 percent on their business income, subject to certain restrictions.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is eliminated.
  • Estate tax threshold is doubled (from the current $11.2 million for married couples), and phased out entirely by 2024. The step-up in cost basis on assets is retained.
  • Deduction for state and local taxes limited only to property tax and capped at $10,000. (Currently, state and local income and sales taxes can also be deducted.).
  • The Historic Preservation Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit are discontinued, with transition periods provided. As legislation moves forward in the House and Senate, NAIOP will advocate for the continuation of these important incentives.

Starting next Monday, the House Ways & Means Committee will begin marking up the legislation. The president has expressed his desire to accelerate tax reform and sign a bill before the end of the year.

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CRE Development Opportunities in Public-private Infrastructure Partnerships

Posted on October 25, 2017

By: James M. Mulligan

Public-private partnerships are emerging as a mechanism that marries the funding of public facilities like courthouses, libraries, government offices and more with private commercial development.

From its earliest colonial days to its reign today as the world’s largest economy, the U.S. has seen tremendous evolution in how it develops its infrastructure: from the bones of its communities to connections between its population centers, to the very buildings it constructs to serve public needs. Approaches to financing and delivering the nation’s infrastructure are more dynamic now than ever, with a renewed focus on how both the public and private sectors can contribute to infrastructure development.

This article explores the nature of public-private infrastructure partnerships and highlights changing opportunities for private commercial developers in providing the infrastructure that U.S. communities depend on for continued economic growth.

Click here to read the full article.

2017 NAIOP/CEL Commercial Real Estate Compensation and Benefits Reports

Posted on October 24, 2017

Recruiting and retaining top talent has become essential in today's highly competitive marketplace.

Is your 2018 salary and bonus package competitive? Find out with the 2017 NAIOP/CEL Commercial Real Estate Compensation and Benefits Reports.

These valuable reports enable commercial real estate businesses to stay current on salaries, bonuses and benefits for CRE professionals from executive to entry-level positions. The reports include submissions from 400 companies; salary, bonus, incentives, and benefits for 200 positions; and data from 120,000 distinct jobs in the office/industrial, retail and residential property sectors.

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Get Out and Vote! - REBIC Election Guide

Posted on October 23, 2017

REBIC has put together an Election Guide to help you cast your vote for candidates who support the real estate industry.

See which candidates REBIC has endorsed

NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index: Cautious Optimism for U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market Over Next 12 Months

Posted on October 20, 2017
NAIOP has released the latest CRE Sentiment Index based on a survey of member developers, owners, and investors on whether their 12-month outlook for commercial real estate development is positive, neutral or negative.
The Fall 2017 Index is 0.49, registering the second lowest reading in the history of the three-year-old survey, decreasing from 0.56 as measured in the March 2017 survey. This survey reflects an expectation that the CRE market will be moving ahead at a more cautious pace than what was expected six months ago. 
Key takeaways:
  • The Fall 2017 Index returned to the level noted in September 2016, when commercial real estate fundamentals were generally positive but uncertainty regarding the U.S. presidential election clouded the general economic outlook.
  • The two largest positive changes in the survey that helped keep the Index in positive territory were much greater confidence in the availability of debt and equity capital.
  • However, respondents were much more concerned about the costs of construction materials and labor – with these two survey components hitting all-time lows. 
View graphs and observations for each of the 10 questions about jobs, the space markets, construction costs, the capital markets and more.
View the Report
To share your feedback or inquire about participating in the next Sentiment Index survey, contact

Surveys: Green Building and Employee Wellness Matter

Posted on October 13, 2017

A recent survey conducted by construction management firm Structure Tone found green building is still a major market differentiator, and employee wellness is increasingly important to tenants. Structure Tone sent its “Client Sustainability Survey” to a nonscientific sample of corporate real estate and facilities management professionals. Questions centered on participants’ opinions on third-party certification systems like LEED, challenges to building green and the newer pressures of wellness and climate change in the built environment. Findings indicated that 62 percent of respondents agreed that LEED is a valuable market differentiator, but cost is the primary barrier to adopting sustainable building practices. Over 80 percent of the respondents consider employee wellness essential to their retention and recruitment; more than 50 percent reported they plan to seek external expertise to incorporate wellness into their buildings.

Amazon’s HQ2 RFP: A Blueprint for Future Economic Development?

Posted on October 12, 2017

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters has North American cities scrambling for ways to attract the world’s fourth-largest corporation. However, jurisdictions, even those not in the running, should take their economic development cues from Amazon’s HQ2 Request for Proposals (RFP), according to Brookings Institution’s Amy Liu and Mark Muro. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “What Amazon’s HQ2 Wish List Signals about the Future of Cities,” Liu and Muro’s advice to cities that want to attract high-tech industry is “not to just polish up branding and marketing materials and wait for the next Amazon-scale business attraction opportunity,” nor rely on assembling parcels and offering generous subsidies. Rather, cities need to examine the criteria outlined in the RFP and “ask whether they’ve done enough to build up the fundamental assets prized by innovative firms and industries.” Those assets include:

  • Capacity to produce skilled technical talent, including partnerships with higher education institutions along with science programming in K-12 education.
  • Modern infrastructure. The presence of highway networks, international airports, and high-speed broadband to reach global and domestic markets.
  • Connected and sustainable placemaking. Amazon’s RFP emphasizes its “interest in promoting walkability and connectivity between densely clustered buildings through sidewalks, bike lanes, trams, metro, bus, light rail, train and additional creative options.”

Localities that invest in people, infrastructure and quality places rather than offering only traditional incentive packages, according to the authors, will attract the attention of forward-thinking firms.

U.S. Cities' Revenue Growth to Contract in 2017

Posted on October 11, 2017

According to a report by the National League of Cities, U.S. cities’ revenue growth will shrink for the second consecutive year in 2017. The findings in “City Fiscal Conditions 2017,” based on a survey of finance officers from 261 cities, “signal a trend that was last seen in 2006 before the Great Recession.”

Key discoveries include:

  • “General Fund revenues are slowing. General Fund revenues grew by 2.61% in 2016, and revenues are projected to stagnate with just 0.9% growth in 2017.”
  • “Property tax revenue growth is budgeted much lower than in 2016. Finance officers have budgeted for 1.6% growth in property tax revenues in 2017, compared to 4.3% in 2016.”
  • “Finance officers project a decline in sales and income tax revenues for 2017. Both sales and income tax revenues grew in 2016 (by 3.7% and 2.4%, respectively), but finance officers project a decline in 2017 (by 0.2% and 2.7%, respectively).”
  • “Confidence of municipal finance officers has waned. Although the majority of finance officers (69%) are confident in the fiscal position of their cities, widespread optimism hit its peak in 2015.”

Is Your 2018 Salary and Bonus Package Competitive?

Posted on October 10, 2017

Is your 2018 salary and bonus package competitive? Find out with the 2017 NAIOP/CEL Commercial Real Estate Compensation and Benefits Reports.

These valuable reports are the national standard allowing commercial real estate businesses to stay current on salaries, bonuses, and benefits for CRE professionals from executives to entry-level positions.

The reports include:

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Tax Reform Provisions Important to CRE

Posted on October 9, 2017

Below are some details on the recently released Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code, in which the Trump administration and congressional Republican leadership have outlined chief areas of agreement for tax reform legislation.

While House and Senate GOP leaders and members of President Trump's economic team left many details of the legislation for the tax-writing committees in both chambers to resolve, there are several agreed-upon major provisions of interest to CRE:

  • Reduction of the number of tax brackets from seven to three: 12, 25 and 35 percent, leaving open the possibility of an additional higher bracket for the highest-income taxpayers to ensure the share of taxes paid by the wealthy remain the same.
  • Reduction of corporate tax rates to a maximum of 20 percent, down from the current rate of 35 percent.
  • A top rate of 25 percent applied to the business income of small and family-owned businesses conducted as sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations (pass-through entities). The framework contemplates that the committees will adopt measures to prevent any recharacterization of personal income taxed at ordinary rates into business income taxed at the lower pass-through rate, done solely for purposes of avoiding taxation.
  • Immediate expensing for new investments in capital assets, not to include structures, but leaving open the possibility for increased expensing for small businesses and modernizing current depreciation schedules for assets not provided immediate expensing.
  • Partial limitation for deductibility of interest expenses for C corporations, asking the committees to consider the appropriate levels of deductibility for other types of businesses.
  • Elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Repeal of the Estate Tax.

We believe that these provisions will spur stronger economic growth and job creation, benefitting our industry in the long term, but many questions remain unanswered.

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