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Beyond 72 Degrees and Sunny Inside: Optimizing the Indoor Work Environment

Posted on July 19, 2017

Written by Dan Diehl

The conversation about indoor environments is changing as tenants leverage new technologies to support employee productivity.

OVER THE LAST decade, a slow and steady evolution has been taking place in the commercial built environment. Building owners, architects, engineers and various service providers are moving to incorporate new technology that optimizes worker productivity, space utilization and the operational efficiency of a building over its useful life. They are also seeking to create workplaces that help companies recruit and retain talent.

Many commercial buildings now include features such as operable windows, dynamic glass, smart metering, prefab construction and chilled beam HVAC systems, all of which aim to optimize the indoor working environment for productivity, health and overall well-being. While a number of these technologies and approaches have been available for quite a while, many are now moving from being the exception to the norm.

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Office Amenity One-upmanship

Posted on July 18, 2017

Written by Michael Suriano

As employees increasingly work from a variety of locations and companies lease co-working spaces – or even do away with offices altogether – real estate developers and owners seek the ever-elusive “edge” that will keep their companies and their buildings competitive. To do so, developers are expanding building amenities to entice top talent and facilitate staff engagement. According to Colliers International, traditionally only 3 percent of commercial real estate was devoted to amenity space; today, the recommendation has more than tripled to 10 percent, or up to 12 percent to attract high-value tenants. The value of increasing amenity spaces can be significant: CBRE has reported that in one instance, amenities like gyms, lounges, and restaurants boosted asking rates by 15 percent.

Amenities have typically ranged from providing daily conveniences (dry cleaning, food courts, etc.) to recreation or health (gyms, saunas, clinics, etc.). To appeal to a younger generation, building owners are in a race of amenity one-upmanship, with popular amenities like table tennis and complimentary food becoming less of a differentiator than health complexes, basketball courts and hair salons.

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Six Ways Tech Continues to Impact CRE

Posted on July 17, 2017

During the most recent Industry Trends Task Force meeting, held during the National Forums Symposium in April, NAIOP Foundation Governors and invited guests participated in a session focusing on technological innovations impacting the CRE industry.

Topics discussed include:

  • Legal documents can be produced and executed more easily today than they could years ago – one simple example of how technology has facilitated leasing and sales transactions.
  • There are a tremendous number of regulatory barriers that prevent zoning technology from advancing. Parking ratios required by zoning laws are too high in some instances and too low in others. Sensors enable the collection of reliable data about when and where cars are parked but correcting the imbalance will require a change in local zoning, a feat that historically has been difficult to achieve.
  • Drones have become more sophisticated and can be used for surveying, inspection of roofs, and many other aspects of either pre- or post-construction. Drones could begin to replace people, including site crews and inspectors.
  • With aerial photography and Google, it’s now possible to look at a site and conduct market analytics, enabling a retailer, for example, to select an optimal location.
  • The brokerage industry may become like the travel industry; in the future, real estate brokers (both commercial and residential) may provide guidance rather than carry out transactions. Building management software now tracks work orders. A tenant can submit a problem and the building engineer can change a setting from an iPad without having to travel to the site.
  • A key problem is the pace at which change is occurring today. There is an inherent disconnect between technology that changes rapidly and physical, fixed, tangible real estate products that take a long time to build and modify. To address this, the industry must begin to think about how to build flexibility into real estate assets.

The session was moderated by NAIOP Distinguished Fellows Mark Stapp, Executive Director, Master of Real Estate Development, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University; and Chris Redfearn, Director, Dollinger Masters of Real Estate Development program, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.

Improving the Human Experience Makes Workers Happier

Posted on July 13, 2017

Nearly three-quarters of employees say being happy at work is the key to a good work experience. But how can companies create a happier work environment?

JLL spent a year surveying workers at 40 companies in a dozen countries. More than 7,000 people responded. “Our research shows that a positive workplace experience leads to happiness and that, in turn, improves productivity and quality of life,” says John Forrest, JLL’s Global and Americas CEO, Corporate Solutions. “Companies should think about how their real estate offers the right locations, technology, and design in order to capture the best from their employees.”

The report zeros in on three major areas: engagement, empowerment, and fulfillment. It also makes specific recommendations, such as changing the layout of a workspace.

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Bringing the Outdoors in with Living Walls

Posted on July 12, 2017

Written by Alvaro J. Ribeiro

Living wall systems can be simpler to install and maintain than one might expect — and can have meaningful impacts on building owners and occupants.

THE EMERGENCE of biophilic design and living green walls satisfies the human need to connect with nature, offers positive health benefits and provides welcome visual elements. (See “Plantscaping and the Value of Biophilic Design,” Development, Spring 2017.)

There’s no doubt that indoor plants can improve people’s health and mood. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, “interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress through suppression of autonomic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.” Architects have devised various ways of incorporating indoor plants into the design of corporate, commercial, and even industrial work environments, including living green walls.

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Creating Vibrant Office Building Communities

Posted on July 11, 2017

Design firm Gensler says now is a time of “profound change in how design supports work in all its varied forms,” as the industry sees demand for new real estate products that are “a reflection of new and more collaborative ways of working.”

A forthcoming study by the NAIOP Research Foundation, “Activating Office Building Common Areas,” will look deeper at this trend, specifically examining buildings’ common areas and how some owners are “activating” these common spaces to make their buildings more vibrant.

Through surveys and interviews, the study examines the activities, designs, costs and more associated with creating vibrant communities inside office buildings.

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What the Amazon and Whole Foods Merger Means for CRE

Posted July 7, 2017

Written by Marie Ruff

Since its founding as an online bookstore in 1994, Amazon.com Inc. has increasingly expanded its reach in a quest to sell the full spectrum of goods from A to Z. Now, as a $136-billion-a-year company, Amazon offers everything from wristwatches to tires to blenders to fresh produce, and, of course, books. The announcement last Friday that Amazon would buy upscale grocery chain Whole Foods Markets, Inc., for $13.7 billion cash set off waves of speculation about what this acquisition means for the two retail giants – and what it portends more broadly for e-commerce and grocery retail. In 2016, Whole Foods reported sales of $16 billion and a retail footprint of 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, so the merger would establish Amazon’s strong presence in physical stores in dramatic and immediate fashion.

We asked some of NAIOP’s Distinguished Fellows – an elite group of academic thought leaders from real estate programs at top universities – for their perspectives on Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, the advantages and challenges of Amazon’s expansion into brick-and-mortar grocery space, and what the future holds for commercial real estate retail.

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The Changing Landscape for Small Cap Markets

Posted on June 27, 2017

Commercial real estate is at the crossroads of major global changes. A variety of factors are impacting the industry, from moderate macroeconomic growth and space utilization shifts to changing interest rates and record pricing. Global economies have experienced noticeable slowdowns over the past couple of years, leading many central banks to resort to easing monetary policies, which put interest rates at or near zero. The United States economy, while also moderate, has maintained an upwards growth trajectory, which has cast it as a comparative bright spot in the gloomy global economic landscape.

Commercial real estate investment trends mirrored the global economic slowdown and broader uncertainty over the past year and a half.  Investors took a pause from the strong pace of investments recorded in 2015 as they weighed the impact of economic and geopolitical changes upon markets. Commercial investments in the U.S. echoed the global trends, with sales volume in large cap[i] markets closing the year at $488.6 billion, an 11 percent decline on a yearly basis, according to Real Capital Analytics. The first quarter 2017 sales volume came in at $94.8 billion, an 18 percent drop year-over-year.

Click here to read the full article written by George Ratiu.

Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement Releases Results of Customer Satisfaction Survey

Posted on June 26, 2017

During Tuesday's meeting of the Building Development Commission (BDC), Ed Gagnon, a consultant with Customer Service Solutions, Inc. provided a presentation detailing the results of a recently conducted customer satisfaction survey.  Responses indicated those surveyed were generally more pleased than they had been during a similar survey conducted in 2014.  However, the top areas of concern (ability to reach the right person, timeliness of permit request process, and timeliness of inspections) are the same as they were three years ago and appear to be more significant concerns.  For a summary of the results, please click the following link:

LUESA Customer Service Survey 2017

Celebrating 50 Years of NAIOP

Posted on June 22, 2017

NAIOP celebrates 50 years of advocacy, education and professional excellence.

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, began in 1967, when nine owners and developers of industrial parks in the eastern U.S. first met on September 12, 1967, near Philadelphia. Their goal was to support the emerging niche of industrial parks by addressing the need for standardized covenants and restrictions, building requirements and beneficial legislation and taxation.

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Commercial Real Estate Terms and Definitions

Posted June 15, 2017

The NAIOP Research Foundation has released a new glossary titled "Commercial Real Estate Terms and Definitions." It contains more than 220 terms relating to development, investment, leasing, office, industrial, retail and more.

New terms added this year include:

Bookmark this resource for future use and utilize other reports published by the Foundation. For the latest news about the Foundation, read the current newsletter or visit naiop.org/foundation.

View the Glossary

Value, not Potential Interest Rate Increases, Driving CRE Retail Investment

Posted June 9, 2017

The Federal Reserve Board is indicating that it intends to increase interest rates twice more this year. But a new report from Real Capital Markets indicates that the expected rate hikes are not causing potential investors to move their purchases up.

“[I]n spite of rate increases dating back to last Fall and the prognosis for even further hikes, investors aren’t motivated to accelerate their acquisition plans in order to lock in rates at what continue to be extremely low rates. According to the survey, almost 63 percent of respondents said interest rate activities will not be the motivating factor,” the report states.

Instead, investors tell Real Capital Markets they are motivated by value.

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Uber Moves to Shake Up Trucking

Posted June 8, 2017

First Uber changed the taxicab industry – now it wants to enter the trucking business. The company is launching a new app that is supposed to make it easier for truckers to find cargo.

“Uber Freight is an app that matches trucking companies with loads to haul. We take the guesswork out of finding and booking freight, which is often the most stressful part of a driver’s day. What used to take several hours and multiple phone calls can now be achieved with the touch of a button,” writes Uber’s Eric Berdinis in a blog post.

The company promises it will pay for every load quickly, “within a few days, fee-free.” If drivers have to wait too long to for a load, Uber promises to compensate them for their time.

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Urgent Care Facilities Fill Up Empty CRE Spaces

 

Posted June 7, 2017

report from the rating agency Morningstar finds that the number of urgent care facilities has jumped more than 20 percent since 2014, as aging baby boomers and millennials with young families seek out convenient medical treatment. “About 96 percent of urgent care centers had more patient visits in 2015 compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Urgent Care Association of America,” the report says.

Many of the newer facilities are taking space in former retail buildings such as strip malls.

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Office Space Demand Forecast: Second Quarter 2017

Posted May 30, 2017

The NAIOP Office Space Demand Forecast (released semiannually in Q2 and Q4) gives an efficient, accurate forecast of future and current conditions in the U.S. office real estate market for use by NAIOP members and the real estate community.

The current forecast calls for approximately 39.7 million square feet to be absorbed in 2017 – about 10 million square feet per quarter – similar to the 41.4 million square feet actually absorbed in 2016.

Read the Office Space Demand Forecast, Second Quarter 2017 online, and learn more about how you can support the work of the NAIOP Research Foundation.

View the Current Forecast

Data Center Leasing Activity Outlook

Posted May 23, 2017

By: Kelly McBride, Jeff Groh, and Allen Tucker

Increasing demand for cloud-based services is fueling data center leasing activity.

AS ADOPTION of cloud technologies to support the Internet economy and digital content-driven consumption accelerates, demand for third-party data centers that support the cloud-managed service sector is projected to double in the next five years. Globally, the multitenant data centers (MTDC) market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1 percent between 2015 and 2018. Market absorption for MTDCs, measured in megawatts (MW), is increasing exponentially in many U.S. metro areas, which currently represent 44 percent of the global market. 

Today’s data center IT decision makers are using increasingly sophisticated criteria when they shop for space and power. The “big six” data center REITs — Equinix, Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros Technology, CoreSite Realty, CyrusOne and QTS — have continued their development binge, while smaller MTDC players also made some notable acquisitions in 2016.  As the data center market grows, cloud providers want to bring data applications and storage closer to consumers while decreasing latency and increasing reliability, opening new markets for potential data center construction. More flexible buildouts are allowing diverse players to enter a market once dominated by only the largest providers.

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Creating Community-oriented Office Environments

Posted May 23, 2017

Landlords and tenants have a shared interest in designing office environments that foster collaboration and innovation, with the goal of attracting talented workers and enhancing their job satisfaction, well-being and productivity.

CRE’s Technology Generation Gap

Posted May 23, 2017

Not surprisingly, what people think about technology seems to depend on when they were born.

Coldwell Banker Commercial surveyed CRE professionals and broke the results down into two groups: those 45 and younger, and those older than 45. In those groups, 65 percent of younger workers think the CRE industry is lagging behind other businesses in its use of technology. Some 68 percent of the older professionals say technology adoption is keeping pace with other industries.

When it comes to ease of use, 80 percent of the younger workers say they’re comfortable with technology, while only 58 percent of older workers say they are. Older workers are more likely to think personal relationship skills are more important than technology.

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

Posted May 18, 2017
NAIOP has released the latest 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 Spring 2016 Index is 0.56. The overall composite Index has increased for the first time in two years. The current survey indicates that there is more optimism in the CRE market than there was six months ago.
 
View graphs and observations for each of the 10 questions about jobs, the space markets, construction costs and the capital markets.
View the Report
To share your feedback or inquire about participating in the next Sentiment Index survey (Fall 2017), contact [email protected].

The Rise of Robots May Mean Fewer White-collar Jobs

Posted May 10, 2017

Production line employees in the United States have been watching for years as their jobs are replaced by robots. Lawyers may be next.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Their Impact on the Workplace,” a report from the International Bar Association, warns that artificial intelligence and algorithms may soon replace as many as one-third of graduate-level jobs around the world.

The report breaks the industrial age into four chapters: 1) Industrialization, 2) Electrification, 3) Digitization and 4) Industry 4.0.

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