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Talks Continue on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Originally published on June 22, 2021, for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

In the wake of failed infrastructure discussions between the White House and Senate Republican leadership, represented by Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), the focus of attention has turned to the second group of Senators attempting to forge a bipartisan deal. The effort, led by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH), gained momentum last week with the endorsement of 21 senators, including 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. A draft framework of the plan leaked to the press last week, but the particulars of the plan remain in flux, subject to changes based on a review by President Joe Biden and the White House staff.

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Key Takeaways from the Q2 2021 Office Space Demand Forecast

Originally published on May 2021 by Hany Guirguis, Ph.D., Manhattan College and Michael J. Seiler, DBA, William & Mary and the University of Cambridge.

Office Space Absorption Projected to Stabilize by Mid-2022

The U.S. economy is experiencing a strong rebound from the COVID-19-induced recession, resulting in job growth in office-using sectors. However, tenant-safety concerns remain a drag on office leasing. The U.S. office market posted continued declines in net absorption in the fourth quarter of 2020 (-26.7 million square feet) and the first quarter of 2021 (-34.8 million square feet). Nonetheless, as coronavirus safety concerns abate and the economy continues to expand, negative net absorption is forecast to moderate over the next two quarters, with a return to positive absorption in the fourth quarter of this year (Figure 1). Quarterly net absorption in 2022 is expected to average 11.7 million square feet, in line with the 2015-2019 quarterly average of 11.6 million square feet.

At the time of this writing, more than half of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, and more than one-third are fully vaccinated. As vaccination rates increase and new coronavirus cases decline, more employers are re-opening their offices. However, a widespread return to the office will likely depend on the return of K-12 schools to in-person instruction. Many schools currently rely on a full- or part-time remote schedule, requiring parents of young children to either stay home or seek alternative childcare arrangements. With vaccination rates on the rise, most schools are now planning to resume full in-person instruction in the fall. As safety concerns about returning to the office recede and schools reopen, office absorption should begin to respond to the current upswing in economic growth.

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Covid-19 Rent Breaks for Retailers Are Becoming the New Norm

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by Esther Fung for the Wall Street Journal.

During the worst of the pandemic, many landlords offered deals where ailing retailers paid a percentage of their monthly sales in rent—rather than a fixed amount—to help them survive. Now, this once temporary way of charging tenants looks poised to outlast Covid-19.

More shopping-center owners are signing new leases where rent is tied directly to a portion of sales, at least for a period. These percentage-rent leases are especially attractive to newer retailers, offering some flexibility so that they aren’t saddled with large losses as they are starting out.

While most landlords tend to prefer the reliability of a fixed monthly rent payment, the wider use of percentage leases reflects how much retail has become a renters’ market.

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Mixed-Use at the Core of Mall Reinvention

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by Katie Sloan for Rebusiness Online.

When it comes to mall redevelopment, one of the biggest hurdles is changing the business community’s perception that enclosed malls are only for retail use, says Sean Garrett, president of acquisitions and director of community relations for East Peoria, Illinois-based Cullinan Properties Ltd. 

“There is no reason an insurance office can’t be right next to a retailer and a neighbor of a dentist,” states Garrett. “Downtowns and Main Streets have been developed this way for generations.” 

Cullinan recently followed this approach when it rebranded its Quincy Mall in Quincy, Illinois, to Quincy Town Center. One of the anchor tenants is now Quincy Medical Group, which backfilled a former Bergner’s department store. For Garrett, merging retail and medical uses today is a “natural fit.”

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A Few Spots Remain! Breakfast with Principals is Next Week

Breakfast with Principals
June 29 & 30 | 8:00am – 9:00am ET 

A few spots are still available to attend next week’s Breakfast with Principals. This event provides an opportunity to meet with fellow members, make connections, and discuss what is going on with NAIOP and Charlotte’s commercial real estate industry while enjoying breakfast from two of Charlotte’s local hot spots Community Matters Café and Nick’s Cafe.

Table hosts are Pete Kidwell, Beacon Partners, Pat Pierce, Selwyn Property Group, Sagar Rathie, Crescent Communities, and Chris Thomas, Childress Klein.

Space is limited to 6 people per table, with a maximum of 2 tables per location. This is a NAIOP member-only event.

There is no charge to sign up for this event. Breakfast will be on own – make sure to come hungry and help support local businesses! 

Register for Nick's Cafe on June 29
Register for Community Matters Cafe on June 30

Questions

If you have questions, please contact the NAIOP Charlotte office at [email protected]

Summer Networking Social on July 14 | Register Now!

Summer Social
July 14 | 4:30pm – 6:00pm | Charlotte Beer Garden

 

Network with NAIOP members and guests at the Charlotte Beer Garden! Make new connections, catch up with friends, and enjoy the Charlotte summertime!

Registration

Registration for this event is $15 for NAIOP members and $20 for non-members through July 9. Rates increase to $20 for NAIOP members and $25 for non-members on July 10.

Location

This event will be held at the Charlotte Beer Garden, 1300 S Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28203. 


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House Returns to a Muddled Infrastructure Picture

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by the NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Last week President Joe Biden broke off talks with Senate Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), on a bipartisan infrastructure package. While both sides took pains to say the talks were held in good faith, the parties could not bridge the differences regarding the overall size of the package, the scope of what should be included as infrastructure, and the methods for funding the initiative.

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Infrastructure Talks Continue as Senate Ruling Makes Reconciliation Difficult

Originally published on June 8, 2021, by the NAIOP Source E-NEwsletter

Discussions over a bipartisan infrastructure deal have entered a critical stage as the Biden administration negotiates with Senate Republicans, with progressive Democrats increasing pressure on the White House to pass legislation with only Democratic votes. The White House and Senate Republicans remain at odds on major issues but have continued to seek an agreement. Republicans oppose the inclusion of what they consider non-infrastructure spending, such as long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, in an infrastructure deal. The White House and Democrats have used the term “human infrastructure” to refer to these initiatives. Both sides also continue to argue over the funding mechanism, with President Joe Biden originally proposing an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, but recently dropping that in favor of a 15% global minimum corporate tax as a means of paying for the infrastructure plan.

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Lessons in Mitigating Risk on a Megaproject

Originally published in NAIOP's Development Magazine Spring 2021 Issue by Ann Moore.

Waterfront development in California used multiple strategies to get off the ground.

Megaprojects can transform landscapes, improve quality of life and deliver significant economic benefits to their communities. When they are sited on a waterfront in a binational urban area, they take on even more complexity. In Southern California’s San Diego County, a megaproject will transform a formerly blighted stretch of waterfront into a thriving destination. The project team is pursuing innovative ways to reduce the risk that could be instructive to other development teams. 

A megaproject is defined by its scale and complexity. Typically costing $1 billion or more, such projects take many years to develop and build, involve multiple public and private stakeholders and impact millions of people, according to the Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management. A considerable upside also brings great risk, which must be managed to improve the chances of success. 

On approximately 535 acres, the Chula Vista Bayfront is larger than Disneyland and one of the last significant large-scale waterfront development opportunities in Southern California. Once defined by a power plant and an aerospace factory, this brownfield waterfront is ripe for redevelopment in the U.S.-Mexico border region of 6.5 million people. The location is about a 15-minute drive from the busiest land border crossing in the western hemisphere. More than 100,000 people cross the San Diego-Tijuana, Mexico, border every day. Thus, the project site can target a market that includes U.S. citizens, Mexican nationals, and travelers using airports in San Diego and Tijuana. 

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White House Budget Provides Details for Biden Tax Proposals

Originally published on June 2, 2021, by Aquilles Suarez for NAIOP's blog.

Last week, President Joe Biden submitted his proposed the fiscal year 2022 budget to Congress, providing lawmakers with additional details regarding the major infrastructure and social spending initiatives comprising his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. In times of divided government in Washington, a White House budget is oftentimes described as “dead on arrival” as far as Congress is concerned. But with the Senate and House of Representatives controlled by his fellow Democrats, Biden’s recommendations are sure to be given substantial deference by lawmakers. Nevertheless, differences of opinion do exist among members of the president’s own party regarding many of his proposals. As such, last week’s submission simply marks the beginning of challenging negotiations that are likely to take place over the next two months.

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Investors Pour $10b Into Life Sciences Real Estate This Year

Originally published on June 2, 2021, by Sasha Jones for Bloomberg News.

The future of the office sector remains largely uncertain at this point post-pandemic, but there’s one segment that continues to see huge gains.

Investors have spent more than $10 billion on buying life sciences buildings this year, Bloomberg News reported, citing data from Real Capital Analytics. That’s about 4 percent of all global commercial real estate transactions through May, twice what was recorded at the same time last year.

And those numbers don’t even include new life-science developments, such as Boston’s massive Fenway Center, which broke ground in 2017.

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Office Space Absorption Projected to Stabilize by Mid-2022

The NAIOP Research Foundation has published the NAIOP Office Space Demand Forecast for Q2 2021.

Key Takeaways:

  • Increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and strong economic growth will help demand for office space rebound, with a return to a positive net absorption forecast for the fourth quarter of 2021.
     
  • Quarterly net absorption in 2022 is forecast to average 11.7 million square feet, in line with the 2015-2019 quarterly average of 11.6 million square feet.
     
  • Although tenants have begun to return to the office, it remains to be seen how widely they will adopt long-term remote work arrangements. Remote work will likely limit net absorption for the next several quarters.
     
  • Tenants may now prefer less dense office layouts than before the pandemic, partially offsetting declines in demand due to remote work.
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CREW Charlotte June Luncheon (HYBRID): The 2040 Plan with Taiwo Jaiyeoba

CREW Charlotte is excited to host its first in-person luncheon in over a year! Space is limited so do not delay.

Learn more about the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan from Assistant City Manager, Taiwo Jaiyeoba.

Charlotte has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the country in recent years. This growth has established Charlotte as a vibrant and desirable city. However, this rapid development has also contributed to and highlighted, many challenges that have faced our community for decades. The Charlotte Future 2040 comprehensive plan outlines how we address these challenges and guide our growth and development over the next 20 years. This plan is a living document that provides a policy framework that will guide our city’s decision-making and investment in both the near- and long-term. The community-driven planning process has been guided by a focus on equitable growth and Charlotte's residents coming together to prioritize what is most important to us (housing, jobs, environment, livability, etc. The plan seeks to address the inequities of the past and unite the city around a shared set of goals for our future.

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Investors Bet on Commercial Real Estate, Undeterred by Empty Offices and Hotel Rooms

Originally published on May 18, 2021, by Knorad Putzier for The Wall Street Journal.

More than a year into the pandemic, high-rise office buildings are largely empty. About one of every two hotel rooms is unoccupied. Malls are struggling to attract shoppers.

And yet by most measures, the U.S. commercial real-estate market is in remarkably solid shape. Prices fell far less than after the 2008 financial crisis and are already rising again. The number of foreclosures barely increased. Pension funds and private-equity firms are once again spending record sums on buildings.

The market’s resilience shows how the federal government’s aggressive efforts to support the economy kept landlords from suffering steep losses. Banks have also offered delinquent property owners some slack, rather than foreclosing aggressively.

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Deadline for Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Nears

Originally published on May 25, 2021 for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

President Joe Biden set Memorial Day as his deadline for reaching an agreement with Senate Republicans on a bipartisan infrastructure initiative, but despite several meetings and counterproposals, the two sides appear to remain far apart on a deal. With Democrats controlling the Senate, Biden had said he would resort to budget reconciliation, a procedural measure that would enable the White House to avoid a filibuster and pass legislation with only Democratic votes in the Senate, to get most of his proposed $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure initiative enacted into law.

 

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The Death and Life of the Central Business District

Originally published by Richard Florida for Bloomberg CityLab on May 14, 2021.

Just last spring, a chorus of pundits loudly proclaimed a sweeping urban exodus and the impending death of cities. Now, just slightly more than a year later, our cities are springing back to life. Sidewalks are starting to bustle; restaurants, which have spilled onto the streets, are teeming with patrons; museums and galleries are reopening; and fans are heading back to baseball parks, basketball arenas and even outdoor concert venues.

But one area of urban life where the pandemic is poised to leave a far bigger mark is on the places where we do business. The ongoing shift to remote work challenges the historic role of the Central Business Districts — neighborhoods like New York’s Midtown and Wall Street, Chicago’s Loop, or San Francisco’s Financial District — as the dominant centers for urban work. 

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Next Week! DL Discussion with David Furman

DL Lunch & Learn with David Furman
June 3 | 12:00pm ET

Next week, join the conversation with Charlotte native and distinguished architect, David Furman, as he talks about how he got started in the industry and what opportunities, successes, and challenges have shaped his 40+ year career.

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet and learn from a leader in the Charlotte community!

This is a free event, available only for NAIOP Charlotte Developing Leaders. Prior registration is required. Zoom information will be sent on June 2.

Speaker

David Furman is a Charlotte native, architect, and developer, who has specialized in creating the urban experience through unique residential and mixed-use developments over a 40-year career. His Centro CityWorks, company has designed and/or developed over 40 projects in downtown Charlotte and SouthEnd, including Charlotte’s first downtown high-rise condo, Courtside, as well as the 28 story TradeMark building where he lives and works. He is currently on the board of Charlotte Center City Partners as well as an active participant in many initiatives to advance Charlotte’s urban presence as a premier place to live, work, and play. 


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COVID-19 Creates a Downshift in Parking Demand

Originally published in the Spring 2021 Issue by Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D. for Development Magazine.

Large revenue shortfalls will accelerate technological advances, conversions and design innovations. 

Quarantines and business shutdowns fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a dramatic decrease in parking demand. Subsequently, many sectors of the economy that depend on parking revenue are facing budget shortfalls this year.

Spothero.com reported in 2020 that the parking industry saw parking volumes in many areas fall by up to 97%, resulting in job losses and furloughs for 50% of the industry’s workforce. Commuter lots had a 50% to 70% reduction in use, while visitor lots saw up to a 95% drop from the same time the previous year, according to a survey by Smarking, a parking software company. 

Municipalities are scrambling to recover not only lost parking income but also a dramatic reduction in revenue from fees and fines. A 2019 CarRentals.com survey of parking data for 16 major U.S. cities found that they collected a total of $1.4 billion in annual parking ticket revenue. In 2019, Chicago issued 2.06 million parking tickets. Through June 30 of 2020, the city gave out less than 500,000. New York City projected that it would lose $600 million in parking revenues in 2020.

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Construction employment stalls in April

Originally published on May 7, 2021, for the Building  Design and Construction Network.

Construction employment was unchanged from March to April as nonresidential contractors and home builders alike struggled to obtain materials and find enough workers, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials said the industry’s recovery was being hampered by problems getting stable prices and reliable deliveries of key materials, while the pandemic and federal policies were making it harder for firms to find workers to hire.

“Contractors are experiencing unprecedented intensity and range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions, and worker shortages that have kept firms from increasing their workforces,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These challenges will make it difficult for contractors to rebound as the pandemic appears to wane.”

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That Vacated Sears Store May Reopen as a Public School

Originally published on May 4, 2021, by Esther Fung for The Wall Street  Journal.

Mall owners have hit on a new way to fill gaping holes left by failed department stores and other departing big-box tenants: hosting public schools in need of more space.

Landlords are focused in particular on the nation’s 7,500 charter schools, which are public-funded institutions run independently of school districts. These schools usually have to find and finance their own buildings.

In cramped cities and other places where land is scarce, charter schools and mall owners are finding common ground. Dozens of charter and other public schools have leased space in shopping centers, public records show.

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