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Office Sector Booms in Second Quarter 2017

Posted on July 28, 2017

The U.S. office sector bounced back in the second quarter of 2017, absorbing 12.8 million square feet of space, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That’s more than twice the 6.3 million square feet taken up in the first quarter and the highest level since the third quarter of 2016. Cushman & Wakefield expects solid absorption in the near future as well.

“Even eight years into the cycle, office-using job creation remains healthy and solid in most markets,” the company’s chief economist Kevin Thorpe says. “Moreover, the leading indicators, such as job openings, suggest that business expansion will remain healthy, and by extension, so will demand for office space.”

Cushman & Wakefield finds that rents jumped to a new high nationally, and that construction is ramping up to meet demand. The company says “16.1 msf of new office space was completed across the U.S., the largest amount of space completed since the second quarter of 2009.”

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Inspiring Creativity through Innovative Workspaces

Posted on July 27, 2017

Written by Brielle Scott

Incubators, accelerators, start-up spaces – the lines are often blurred on what these buzzed-about terms mean. In a new report from the Brookings Institute, “Innovation Spaces: The New Design of Work,” authors Julie Wagner and Dan Watch shed some light on these spaces and the trends contributing to their proliferation.

The report outlines three key factors influencing the design of innovative workspaces:

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Preparing for a Post-NAFTA Global Marketplace

Posted on July 26, 2017

A group of experts from CBRE, Costar and NAI discussed the potential upheavals that could result from changes to NAFTA and ways to implement strategic business plans to protect your investments at I.CON: Trends and Forecasts last month. Download their presentation and catch up on all conference sessions and recordings on the resources page.

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How to Attract Institutional Capital

Posted on July 25, 2017

Written by Kelvin Tetz and Greg Martin

Local and regional developers who want to build relationships with institutional investors will need to implement these reporting and operating guidelines.

MANY REAL ESTATE owners, operators and developers seeking long-term growth are interested in institutional relationships, but building such relationships can seem daunting. Investment partners with billions of dollars to invest rightly need proven and capable partners. How does a local or regional real estate firm get into the institutional-investment club? The key is to get one’s existing house in order, so that investors who court these local or regional partners can more easily understand and embrace the real estate firm’s strategy.

While every firm has its own development strategy, one key to leveraging that success to attract institutional attention is to implement the reporting methods that institutions need their partners to use. Examples of internal components for local and regional operators to consider include 1) building an institutional-quality reporting system; 2) having a proper understanding of key issues, such as U.S. generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP), fair-value reporting and international financial reporting standards; and 3) creating operating guidelines that articulate the operator’s practices.

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CMBS Delinquencies on a Downswing

Posted on July 24, 2017

Credit rating giant Morningstar reports the delinquency rate for commercial mortgage-backed securities dropped to 3.09 percent in May. That reverses a five-month-long trend. CMBS delinquencies were down five basis points from April, but remain 18 basis points higher than in May of 2016. 

“We believe the delinquency rate is close to peaking as there’s not much left that we expect to default at maturity, resolutions remain high, and issuance is starting to pick up,” Morningstar writes. “The delinquent unpaid balance of commercial mortgage-backed securities amounted to $23.84 billion, down a modest $38.4 million from the prior month and up $1.35 billion from the year-earlier period.”

Morningstar finds office and retail remain the weakest sectors.

Cost of North American Construction Disputes Declined in 2016

Posted on July 21, 2017

Legal disputes over construction contracts slow down building projects, costing both sides time and money. The Arcadis Construction Disputes report for the year 2016 shared some positive and negative trends in legal disputes.

“For the third consecutive year the average value of construction disputes in North America have dropped slightly in 2016 to US$21 million,” the report finds. “It appears the U.S. construction industry has become more sophisticated in their approach to managing risk and early intervention appears to be an effective means to keep average dispute values in check.”

That’s the good news. “This average dispute value is lower than most parts of the world; however, the average time taken to resolve disputes increased by two months over the previous year,” Arcadis points out.

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Renewable Energy Delivers at Record Level in March

Posted on July 20, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports more than 10 percent of the country’s electricity was generated by wind or solar in March, the most recent month for which information is available. It’s the first time these renewable energy sources have provided that much power.

The administration notes that wind and solar combined to provide 7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2016. It predicts that, “based on seasonal patterns in recent years, electricity generation from wind and solar will probably exceed 10 percent of total U.S. generation again in April 2017, then fall to less than 10 percent in the summer months.” Wind and solar tend to produce more electricity in the spring and fall than in the summer or winter.

The organization adds that, “about half of all utility-scale solar power plants in the United States use some form of sun-tracking technology to improve their seasonal output.”

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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We're on LinkedIn - Connect with Us!

Posted on July 18, 2017

NAIOP Charlotte is now on LinkedIn! Join our community and our newly developed page to receive relevant, up-to-date information, engage with us and industry peers, and stay informed of news and information about our programs, activities, and events.

Follow us on LinkedIn Now!

Developing Leaders Mentorship Program to Launch in August

Posted July 18, 2017

NAIOP Charlotte is pleased to introduce our Mentorship Program. This program provides Developing Leaders with valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth through focused, one-on-one networking sessions with leaders in the commercial real estate community.

Participation in mentorship is offered as a benefit of membership with the association. Developing Leaders who are members of NAIOP Charlotte, and are employed full-time in the commercial real estate industry, are invited to register to participate as mentees.

A special thank you to our mentors for your generous commitment of time to the NAIOP Charlotte’s DL Mentorship Program. Applications for participation will be sent shortly and matching with mentors in August.  For more information, go to https://mentoring.naiop.org/N2TituBW.  

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.

Senate Returns to Health Care Debate, Potential Energy Legislation

Posted on July 14, 2017

Congress returns from their July 4 recess this week, with the Senate consumed by the debate over their version of healthcare legislation meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to pass a healthcare bill prior to the July 4 recess, he will now will try to accomplish that prior to the six-week summer recess beginning in August. Senator McConnell has begun to hint that goal may not be attainable, however, because of divisions within the Republican caucus.

The delay by the Senate on healthcare has prompted Republican leadership to try to fast-track bipartisan legislation, including NAIOP-supported energy legislation governing the development of energy-efficiency codes for commercial buildings. The bill, S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, originally sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), could bypass the committee process and go directly to a floor vote. NAIOP worked with Senate staff to include language requiring a rule-making process for industry input, and that codes be economically and technically feasible. The prior Portman-Shaheen bill failed to advance when negotiations stalled in the last Congress.

Having passed their version of a healthcare bill, the House of Representatives plans to continue moving toward comprehensive tax reform legislation. This week, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, chaired by Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), will hold a hearing on July 13 on the impact of tax reform on small business. The hearing will be the third held by the committee as it moves to develop a bill that most anticipate will be ready this September.

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.

Click here to read more.

Paul Ryan: Tax Reform Will Happen in 2017

Posted on July 10, 2017

With health care legislation moving along, House Speaker Paul Ryan is eager to pivot to tax reform. During a June 20 speech at the National Association of Manufacturers, the speaker discussed the GOP Blueprint for Tax Reform. He said the plan will eliminate certain taxes, including the Alternative Minimum Tax, and vows it will “clear out special-interest carve outs and excessive deductions, and focus on keeping those that make the most sense: home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings.” Finally, he promised to use the savings from closing loopholes to decrease tax rates.

For his part, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady says, “What we are hearing from our local businesses is: go bold, go permanent, and go now.”

NAIOP’s government affairs staff meets regularly with lawmakers to discuss tax reform legislation and to voice concerns regarding proposals that could harm the CRE industry. That includes measures that would eliminate or limit real estate like-kind exchanges under Section 1031 of the tax code, and end the capital gains treatment for real estate partnership “carried interests.”

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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.

Welcome New NAIOP Charlotte Members

Posted June 28, 2017

We are proud to introduce our new association members! The following is a list of individuals who have joined NAIOP Charlotte since March 8th:

  • Barrett Blackburn, LandDesign Inc.
  • Charlie Blanton, Choate Construction Company
  • McKenzie Brady, US Lawns
  • Ross Bridgham, Choate Construction Company
  • Terry Brown, Horack Talley
  • Devin Catlin, Troutman Sanders LLP
  • Peter Greve, Pesta, Finnie & Assoc., LLP
  • Charles Jonas, Foundry Commercial
  • Anthony Lathrop, Moore & Van Allen
  • David Lee, Stiles Corporation
  • Matthew Main, McVeigh & Mangum Engineering
  • Vincent Michalesko, The Fallon Company
  • Patrick Nolan, Choate Construction Company
  • Melinda Parrish-Brumfield, Bennett & Pless
  • Chris Rogers, Metromont Corporation
  • William Simerville, Foundry Commercial