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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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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.

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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.

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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

House Advances Legislation for Brownfield Development, Air Pollution Standards

Posted on June 26, 2017

Last Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Environment voted unanimously to advance the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfield program for the first time since 2006. The program provides funding to states for the cleanup and repurposing of contaminated industrial and commercial sites.

Because of the threat of contamination, as well as liability and other cost concerns, developers and lenders tend to avoid brownfield sites. The EPA program, therefore, plays a major role in helping get projects off the ground in communities across the country. Since its inception in 1995, it has yielded a substantial return on taxpayers’ investment: On average, each dollar spent on brownfield cleanup has leveraged $17.54 of private investment. The program also boosts nearby property values and has resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.

The subcommittee also approved H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, which would delay implementation of the EPA’s controversial new ozone standards and allow the agency to take into account economic and technological feasibility when setting standards in the future. H.R. 806 would also require the EPA to submit a report to Congress detailing the impact of foreign pollution on compliance with these standards.

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Enroll Now: Two Online Courses Start in August

Posted on June 23, 2017

Advanced Development Practices and Basic Real Estate Finance start the week of August 7. The NAIOP Center for Education online and on-demand courses deliver exceptional education in 10 core competency areas. Read More

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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