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It’s About Time: Fixing the Development Approvals Process

Originally published on October 11, 2022, by Matt Baron for NAIOP.

When you invest time on the front end of your development efforts, you will reap dividends during its latter stages. Conversely, if you don’t heed the details – political landscape, concerns of residents, requirements of regulatory agencies, and more – then you will pay in stalled or stymied projects.

In vivid detail, panelists at NAIOP’s CRE.Converge this week illustrated those contrasting outcomes in a session moderated by Jill Didier, vice president of business development of Miron Construction Co – and also the former mayor of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a community west of Milwaukee.

Her varied background is fitting for the topic at a time of rising complexity in land development, new regulations, fewer municipal employees, and the COVID-19 pandemic combining to create longer delays in permit and entitlements processes; it’s vital to understand the development process from myriad vantage points. Someone who can put themselves in others’ shoes is that much more likely to have a smoother path to seeing developments take shape and bolster the region’s economic well-being.

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Timeshare Comes to the Office: Companies Save Money on Space by Alternating Days

Originally published on October 24, 2022, by Konrad Putzier for The Wall Street Journal.

Hybrid work schedules for most companies mean splitting time between remote work and time in the office. For the startup Frontier Talent Inc., it also means rotating through the same office space with another company.

Frontier employees head to their San Francisco office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. After two of those days, they pack their laptops, clean up their desks and throw away any trash so their work area will be clean when another company moves in for its turn using the space.

Thousands of companies across the U.S. are still grappling with exactly how much office space they need when many employees are in the workplace only part of the week. A growing number of companies now let their employees work part-time from home but still want them to be together in the office at least a few days a week to foster collaboration. That means offices are either mostly full or mostly empty, depending on the day of the week.

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How the Warehouse Boom Changed the Way America Looks, Lives, and Works

Originally published on October 19, 2022, for Business Insider.

As the US emerged from the Great Recession, cheap real estate and the rise of e-commerce collided to create a warehousing boom.

As Amazon and others began building million-square-foot distribution centers, construction skyrocketed. Since 2011, over 2.3 billion square feet of new warehouse space has come to market — enough room to comfortably stuff 3 ½ Manhattans inside.

Past industrial booms created coal countries, steel cities, and oil towns. Now warehouse boomtowns shoot up in places like California's Inland Empire, Pennsylvania's Lehigh County, and Columbus, Ohio, and the number of warehouse workers has nearly tripled in a decade.

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CRE Sentiment Index: Higher Interest Rates, Cap Rates Among Areas of Concern

Originally published on October 18, 2022, by NAIOP.

The NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index for September 2022 is 47, down from April’s reading of 53. It is at its lowest level since September 2020. This reading suggests that respondents expect unfavorable conditions for commercial real estate over the next 12 months. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Respondents expect higher interest rates, higher cap rates, and a decrease in the supply of equity and debt over the next year.
  • Their outlook for occupancy rates, face rents, and effective rents are also less optimistic, though they still expect rents to grow.
  • Respondents also expect a sharp deterioration in general industry conditions over the next 12 months.
  • The only positive development in the September survey is that respondents expect a slower pace of construction cost inflation over the next year.
  • Despite a more pessimistic outlook for development conditions, developers plan to maintain recent deal volume over the coming year.
  • Most respondents expect to be most active in projects or transactions related to industrial properties over the next year.
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Capital Markets: Investing in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Originally published on October 12, 2022, by Matt Baron for NAIOP.

Midway into a panel discussion at CRE.Converge, a quip about the Federal Reserve behaving like a novice teenaged driver – “way too much gas, way too much brake, way too much gas” – drew laughter from many attending the jampacked session. But palpable nervousness tinged those chuckles at the metaphor by moderator Bart Johnson, president, and CRE market head, of Wintrust Bank.

Questions over the duration and extent of rising interest rates have slowed overall market activity. And no one on the panel predicted relief from the ongoing suspense any time soon.

In fact, the first perspective offered by Peter Schultz, a 39-year industry veteran who is executive vice president – of East region, First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc., was that “rates are going to rise, there’s going to be more pressure for sure. I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.”

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Advancing Sustainability Goals Using Data and Benchmarking

Originally published on October 12, 2022, by Ian P. Murphy for NAIOP.

Pressure to satisfy environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals among companies in the commercial real estate sector has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to panelists at CRE.Converge.

External pressure is building as local governments establish environmental benchmarking ordinances. But even where regulatory demands and tenant awareness are lacking, boards and investors are asking their firms to do more. “A lot of it is internal,” said Leslie Moore, senior vice president and director of ESG and corporate operations for LXP Industrial Trust. “Certain investors really push for it.”

“We don’t have a lot of pressure from our tenants to adopt sustainability as much as I’ve seen in the office sector,” said Rielle Green, director of ESG for Acadia Realty Trust, a retail REIT. “That’s coming from our investors and board. They ask, ‘What is our strategy? Are we in line with our peers?’”

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How Supply Chain and Logistics Drive Site Selection

Originally published on October 12, 2022, by Ed Finkel for NAIOP.

Supply chain, logistics and transportation play a major role in site selection for industrial real estate, which has been disrupted along with many other economic sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic but remains in a strong position overall, said Adam Roth, CCI, SIOR, executive vice president of NAI Hiffman, at CRE:Converge 2022.

Corporations make site selection decisions by balancing the costs of industrial real estate with the percentage of suppliers and consumers they want to be able to reach same day and next day. They make algorithmic calculations that result in hub-and-spoke supply chain maps outward from central nodes where warehouses are located, Roth said.

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CLT Transportation Committee Meets to Discuss Next Steps on UDO

The Transportation, Planning, and Development Committee held its first meeting of the new council term and reviewed its charge and procedures.  Members of the Committee, along with Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston who also attended, heard several presentations from planning staff that included:

To view the full agenda and video, click the links below:

From Salt Storage Facility to Concert Venue

Originally published in the Fall 2022 Issue of NAIOP's Development Magazine.

The Morton Salt Company warehouse on Elston Avenue in Chicago once furnished tons of preservative salt for the city’s tanning industry. Today it is itself preserved — a city landmark in the process of rebirth as a concert venue combined with commercial and office space.  

The complex, containing several buildings in a 4.2-acre site along the North Branch of the Chicago River, is being transformed to contain a 30,000-square-foot indoor concert venue in the former salt storage shed, 60,000 square feet of leasable office and commercial space in what had been a three-floor packaging building, additional space in a former garage, and an outdoor performance venue in the footprint of a recently demolished second salt shed.

The site is in the city’s North Branch Industrial Corridor, which has seen considerable development since partial rezoning in 2017 to encourage mixed-used development. The zoning of this site changed from M3-3, Heavy Industry District, to C3-3, Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District.

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The Activity-Focused Office: A Fresh Way to Work

Originally published in the Fall 2022 Issue of NAIOP's Development Magazine by Plabo J. Quintana.

The modern office is in the midst of a transformation. With most knowledge workers opting out of the traditional five-day-in-office workweek in search of flexibility and hybrid work solutions, the shape, size and focus of the future office is rapidly changing.

CBRE’s Spring 2022 Office Occupier Sentiment Survey provides a snapshot of these changes and their impact on commercial real estate. In a survey of 185 tenant companies, 39% of respondents said they plan to expand their office portfolios over the next three years. That’s up from 29% the previous year, suggesting that fears about the “death of the office” have been exaggerated. Fifty-two percent said they plan to reduce their office space holdings, but only 8% say they will become fully remote. Seventy-three percent — the vast majority — plan to support hybrid work. 

As of now, office occupancy is slowly beginning to rebound from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. NAIOP’s Office Space Demand Forecast, released in May, reports that vacancy rates have increased across the country for 10 straight quarters. However, Class A buildings with amenities designed to attract skilled workers are helping to stabilize the office market. Net office space absorption in the remaining three quarters of 2022 is forecasted to reach 46.9 million square feet and total 47.3 million square feet for all of 2023.

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Walmart unveils next-gen fulfillment center

Originally published on September 28, 2022, by Dan Berthiaume for Chain Store Age.

Walmart is debuting a proprietary supply chain automation system in its new high-tech fulfillment center.

Located in Joliet, Ill., and described as the "first-of-its-kind" for Walmart,  the 1.1 million-sq.-ft, high-tech facility is the first of four state-of-the-art fulfillment centers dedicated to e-commerce that Walmart plans to open during the next three years. It will store millions of items available on Walmart.com, that are then picked, packed, and shipped directly to customers.

The new center will also fulfill third-party Walmart Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), the company's end-to-end fulfillment service for third-party e-commerce sellers.

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Development Magazine Fall 2022: Developer of the Year

Originally published in the Fall 2022 NAIOP Development Magazine by Ron Derven.

Since its founding in Dallas in 1991, Granite Properties has understood the impact of real estate developments on people and communities. That’s why it creates spaces and relationships where people can flourish while supporting local communities.

For its outstanding quality of products and services, financial stability, ability to adapt to market conditions, support of NAIOP, and support for the communities where it works, Granite Properties is NAIOP’s 2022 Developer of the Year.

“This award is recognition from our peers that not only are we doing good things, but we are doing them in a way that benefits all of our constituencies,” said Michael Dardick, CEO of Granite. “What makes it even more special is that it comes from NAIOP, a prestigious industry group.”

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Local Governments Use Federal Relief Funds to Offset Inflation Impact

Inflation is expected to remain around 8% for August according to Bloomberg. While this may be slightly lower than the 8.5% consumer price index recorded in July, the continued rise in inflation from a year ago increases the cost of providing and maintaining government programs and services at the local level. The National League of Cities has reported that cities are using federal pandemic relief funds to address the impact of inflation.

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Key Considerations for Sustainable Brownfield Redevelopment

Originally published in September 2022 by Christopher De Sousa, Ph.D., MCIP, RPP, Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Toronto Metropolitan University for NAIOP.

Former industrial sites and other properties that may be contaminated — commonly called brownfields — can be found across the United States and Canada. Brownfields are often adjacent to well-developed transportation infrastructure, and many are near urban centers. These locational advantages make many brownfields viable targets for redevelopment to new uses, but the costs and risks associated with environmental remediation often make these redevelopment projects impossible without public financial and regulatory support. For this reason, public-private partnerships involving multiple levels of government, nonprofit organizations and private developers have played a prominent role in brownfield redevelopment. Public support for these projects has long been tied to achieving social and economic goals such as increasing employment, revitalizing communities and strengthening local real estate markets. In recent decades, public-private partnerships have also prioritized environmental objectives, from green building design to renewable energy and ecological revitalization.

Social, economic and environmental sustainability are now key considerations for most brownfield redevelopment projects backed by public-private partnerships. Even developers who pursue brownfield projects without public subsidies may find it beneficial or necessary to pursue sustainability objectives to obtain necessary entitlements and community support.

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The Growing Demand for Supplier Diversity in the Commercial Real Estate Industry

Originally published by Jenna Glick in the Summer 2022 Issue of NAIOP's Development Magazine.

A new organization aims to simplify the process of procuring real estate suppliers from historically under-represented groups.

The lack of diversity in the commercial real estate industry has been under increased scrutiny for the past few years. Some of the largest companies in global real estate made it a priority, such as Blackstone appointing a global head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in June 2021 and CBRE hiring a chief responsibility officer in 2020. Cushman & Wakefield named its first chief DEI officer in December 2020, and JLL expanded its internal team dedicated to DEI initiatives.

Inclusion initiatives focused on sourcing and fostering diverse talent are widely recognized, but they are only part of the equation. Another component involves supplier diversity and inclusion programs that leverage corporate purchasing power.

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Many US Renters Rely on Self Storage, with GenX as Top Users

Originally published on September 20, 2022, by Maria Gatea for NAIOP Blog.

E-commerce provides easy access to goods with the click of a button, filling homes with stuff, stuff and more stuff. Meanwhile, the trendy minimalist lifestyle emphasizes only keeping what is needed and eliminating everything else. Where does the average American end up on the spectrum of goods ownership? As it turns out, among apartment renters, one in five uses self-storage to manage their belongings, at least temporarily.

Self-storage is a rapidly developing service that assists in life events such as moving, downsizing, or changes in family size. More recently, the widespread need to create home offices with the rise of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the traditional sources of demand for self-storage. Renters, in particular, are finding more use for storage away from home as they move more often, and apartments are generally smaller. On average, renter-occupied homes in the U.S. are smaller than owner-occupied homes by largely 800 square feet. As a result, many renters are using self-storage as an extension of their homes.

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Parking in a Post-pandemic Economy

Originally published by Robert Dunphy in the Summer 2022 NAIOP Development Magazine Issue.

As workers return to offices and shoppers return to stores, new parking strategies may emerge.

The COVID-19 restrictions that began in March 2020 led to business closures and a sharp cutback in personal travel that caused demand for parking to plummet. Except for curbside pickup of retail purchases and carry-out meals, most travelers stayed home and avoided commercial and private parking lots and on-street spaces.

In April 2020, passenger travel on roads declined by 60%, while public transit usage fell by 81%, and air travel slumped by 96%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It was not until the spring of 2021 that passenger car travel returned to 2019 levels on average, but with wide variations across the country.

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Retail-industrial Trend Poised to Spark Real Estate Innovation

Vans

By Linda Strowbridge 


Growing convergence between the retail and distribution sectors could have profound impacts on the commercial real estate industry. As retail and industrial clients adjust to shifts in consumer behavior and the overall economy, CRE professionals will be challenged to change their thinking about how to truly serve their clients. That challenge, however, could also produce innovative real estate products and new opportunities. That’s according to Dustin C. Read, Ph.D./J.D., author of the NAIOP Research Foundation report, “New Places and New Spaces for E-commerce Distribution: Three Strategies Bringing Industrial and Retail Real Estate Closer Together.”

What was the most interesting or significant discovery you made while researching the paper?

Read: It was probably that some of the most important phenomena related to the convergence of industrial and retail real estate were the ones that received the least attention. In the popular press, there has been lots of discussion of the conversion of obsolete retail buildings into distribution facilities. When you really drill down – even though there have been hundreds of articles written on that topic – the number of [these retail-to-distribution conversion] projects that have been successful in the U.S. is relatively small. I was surprised to see when you really start pulling back layers of the onion, there is more talk about it than there is actual execution of those types of projects.

The amalgamation of all the obstacles a developer must overcome to do one of these projects successfully is significant. The project has to be acquired at a relatively low purchase price and have the right access to infrastructure. It must be in a market that has good industrial characteristics and an area where the municipality has given up on the site as a viable retail location and is willing to rezone it for potential distribution. When all those things come together at the same time, there are opportunities for conversion. But often, they don’t all come together.


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Can Industrial be a Good Neighbor in Residential Areas?

 

 

Industrial

By Trey Barrineau

Industrial properties are often built near neighborhoods, but that isn’t always popular with the residents, who have legitimate concerns about noise, traffic and pollution from the increased volume of trucks and vans.

A recent NAIOP online panel discussion examined how developers can work with local communities to address these worries through outreach and engagement, as well as with design and technological innovations.

“Education is key to establishing that relationship early on,” said Sven Tustin, executive vice president with Conor Commercial, who moderated the panel. “The developer has to listen to concerns. Residents look at a site plan that shows 200 dock doors, and they assume that there will be 200 trucks coming in and out 24/7.”

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CRE Industry Steps Forward For Some Women, Stalls For Others

Originally published on September 6, 2022 by Patrick Sisson for Bisnow National.

Women in commercial real estate, particularly those in the upper echelons of management, have made gains when it comes to equity and pay parity in the workplace, but talent pipelines, mentorship and diversity in leadership ranks still leave something to be desired.

That’s according to a pair of new surveys on the careers and perceptions of women in commercial real estate as the industry goes through a generational upheaval in the aftermath of a pandemic and racial reckoning that have changed the way workplaces work.

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