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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services is currently in the process of revising the BMP (Best Management Practices) Design Manual

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services is currently in the process of revising the BMP (Best Management Practices) Design Manual- As part of this process, the new Stormwater Control Measure (SCM) Design Manual is open to public comment for a period of 30 days.  A summary and the revised chapters can be found at:  Stormwater Control Measure (SCM) Design Manual​ – City of Charlotte (charlottenc.gov).  Please contact Gurveer Uppal by close of business TOMORROW, May 31, 2023 with any comments or questions.

CLT Council Committees Meet Next Monday

CLT Council Committees Meet Next Monday - On June 5th, Charlotte City Council Committees will meet as they always do on the first Monday of each month.  Next week's meetings will be of particular interest as the next wave of UDO text amendments will likely be discussed in the Transportation, Planning, & Development Committee.  A final resolution on the Eastland Project may also be in the offing in the Economic Development Committee.  

Check this link later in the week to view the agendas.

Boston Seaport Reimagined: The Next Chapter in this Historical Neighborhood

Originally published on May 19, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

The Boston seaport has been continually reshaped since the 1800s, devolving from what was once a thriving area of commerce to acres of muddy parking lots and a few restaurants. Today, it is being reimagined again in a rapid and remarkable transformation that includes soaring office and lab towers, high-end residential, and all the retail services you could imagine.

Members of NAIOP’s National Forums toured two components of the seaport during their annual Symposium this week in Boston, hearing from the developers, investors and advisors shaping the site today.

Boston Global Investors is a leading partner and developer of Seaport Square, a 6.3 million square foot urban revitalization and the city’s largest master-planned community to date. Kevin Benedix, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, walked Forums members through the history of the project, its inspiration, and how it’s continued to evolve.

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Choppy Waters Still Ahead for the Economy

Originally published on May 19, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

Opening with an image of a sailboat, National Forums Symposium keynote Heidi Learner said the photo captures the whipsaw tone of economic news today, with sudden shifts in unexpected directions.

Learner is head of innovation with Altus Labs and spoke to 800+ NAIOP National Forums members during their annual meeting this week in Boston. Here are some key takeaways from her remarks:

  • Unemployment has hit 50-year lows, but payroll additions are slowing and we’re not creating jobs at the same pace. Inflation remains high but has dropped from the 9.1% peak seen last summer.  
  • Real (inflation-adjusted) spending in April 2020 was 18% lower than in February 2020; but by March 2021, it had returned to February’s level. The outlook for spending is key because consumer spending is approximately two-thirds of total economic output.
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Boston’s Epicenter of Tech and Life Sciences

Originally published on May 23, 2023, by Shawn Moura Ph.D., for NAIOP.

NAIOP National Forums members attending last week’s annual Symposium had the opportunity to tour several projects in the office and life science markets in East Cambridge, Somerville and the greater Boston market. The tour, led by Rob Dickey, Executive Vice President at Leggat McCall Properties (LMP), included site visits to two mixed-use projects that are currently under development.

East Cambridge

East Cambridge is a central hub for life science and technology firms in the Boston area, with 8.0 million square feet of office space and 8.6 million square feet of lab space, and an additional 3.6 million square feet of office and lab space currently under development. The market enjoys low direct vacancy rates (2.9% for office, 1.8% for lab) and high rents ($102 gross per square foot asking rent for office space, $116 triple net lease asking rent for lab space, according to JLL). Prominent organizations in the area include MIT, Sanofi, Moderna, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Biogen.

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California’s Title 24 Introduces New Solar Requirements for CRE

Originally published on May 11, 2023, by Brielle Scott for NAIOP.

California’s Title 24, the state’s energy code, has required solar for all low-rise multifamily projects since 2016, but new provisions have gone into effect this year, impacting any projects permitted since Jan. 1, 2023.

To help navigate the regulatory landscape and explain how solar and energy storage can benefit building owners and developers, Rachel McCafferty, director of business development for CalSolar Inc., shared her expertise during a NAIOP webinar on the topic.

“The solar requirement has been extended to not just multifamily projects but to all commercial and industrial new construction in California,” McCafferty explained.

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Boston Seaport Reimagined: The Next Chapter in this Historical Neighborhood

Originally published on May 19, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton for NAIOP.

The Boston seaport has been continually reshaped since the 1800s, devolving from what was once a thriving area of commerce to acres of muddy parking lots and a few restaurants. Today, it is being reimagined again in a rapid and remarkable transformation that includes soaring office and lab towers, high-end residential, and all the retail services you could imagine.

Members of NAIOP’s National Forums toured two components of the seaport during their annual Symposium this week in Boston, hearing from the developers, investors and advisors shaping the site today.

Boston Global Investors is a leading partner and developer of Seaport Square, a 6.3 million square foot urban revitalization and the city’s largest master-planned community to date. Kevin Benedix, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, walked Forums members through the history of the project, its inspiration, and how it’s continued to evolve.

Read More

Choppy Waters Still Ahead for the Economy

Originally published on May 19, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton for NAIOP.

Opening with an image of a sailboat, National Forums Symposium keynote Heidi Learner said the photo captures the whipsaw tone of economic news today, with sudden shifts in unexpected directions.

Learner is head of innovation with Altus Labs and spoke to 800+ NAIOP National Forums members this week during their annual meeting in Boston. Here are some key takeaways from her remarks:

  • Unemployment has hit 50-year lows, but payroll additions are slowing and we’re not creating jobs at the same pace. Inflation remains high but has dropped from the 9.1% peak seen last summer.  
  • Real (inflation-adjusted) spending in April 2020 was 18% lower than in February 2020; but by March 2021, it had returned to February’s level. The outlook for spending is key because consumer spending is approximately two-thirds of total economic output.
Read More

In a Challenging Labor Market, Compensation Takes Center Stage

Originally published by Chris Lee for the Spring 2023 of NAIOP Development Magazine.

The commercial real estate industry is facing many challenges as it moves into 2023. Amid rising interest rates, the lingering impacts of COVID, high levels of inflation, a recessionary economy, shifting capital markets, technological advancements, the Great Resignation, quiet quitting and demographic transitions, one element remains clear and constant — talent management. The real estate industry can’t operate and deliver successful outcomes without exceptional talent and leadership. However, those two factors also come with rapidly rising compensation and retention challenges.

Several recent CEL & Associates post-COVID surveys found that rewarding and retaining talent has become the No. 3 or No. 4 priority for real estate CEOs and boards of directors. Exceptional talent and HIPOs (high-potential employees) are difficult to find and even more challenging to retain without a robust talent-management strategy, and competitive compensation and long-term incentive plans. Talent comprises 65% to 70% or more of most real estate firms’ operating budgets, yet only 27% of real estate organizations have a competitive, well-thought-out talent-management plan. Only 32% of real estate firms have a formal succession plan for CEO and other C-suite positions. Slightly more than 76% of real estate firms have “concerns” relative to retaining top talent.

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A Seamless Blend of Retail and Recreation

Originally published by Matthew Goelzer and Maribel Barba for the Spring 2023 Issue of NAIOP Development Magazine.

A one-of-a-kind Costco arises in a Mexico City neighborhood.

Imagine playing soccer or shooting hoops on the outskirts of Mexico City while atop a 524,549-square-foot Costco Wholesale project. Built on a landfill, this unique retail warehouse, parking structure and loading bay is almost completely hidden from public view. 

In addition to the soccer field and basketball courts, the Costco also houses a children’s roller park and a green roof, which are designed to meld into the neighboring landscapes and serve the community. A pedestrian bridge and walking/running path connect the sports facilities to the adjacent Parque La Mexicana, integrating the new installation with the urban park’s sprawling recreational offerings. 

It’s not news that large parcels of developable land can be difficult to come by in dense urban areas. Finding a location in burgeoning Santa Fe, once a sand quarry, then a construction landfill, and now an economic hub dotted with high-rises outside Mexico City, was no small challenge. 

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How Supply Chains and Logistics Drive Site Selection

Originally published by Adam Roth for the Spring 2023 Issue of NAIOP Development Magazine.

The “Rule of 1.5” explains the impact of transportation costs on industrial real estate.

A recent Q&A in the Wall Street Journal with Marie-Christine Lombard, CEO of international freight-forwarding firm Geodis SA, includes a comment that sums up the current state of the global logistics industry: “The entire supply chain is being rethought and recalibrated and re-costed.”

Lombard is correct. Risk is being assessed differently and the supply chain is changing, which means industrial real estate will follow.

For example, when transportation costs 10 times more than rent, transportation will dictate site selection. It is far and away the biggest determining factor that goes into where companies locate industrial real estate. Specifically, there is a concept called the “Rule of 1.5,” which is defined as whatever affects transportation will impact industrial real estate a year and a half later.

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Learn More About the Global Impact of CLT and American Airlines as you listen to Tracy Montross, Regional Director of Government Affairs for American Airlines

While interviewing Tracy Montross, we discovered some amazing facts about her, and the impact this pivotal airport and airline has on the health of our entire region.  For instance, did you know that at one point during the pandemic, our own Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) was the busiest terminal in the world?  It’s a testament to the airline that has helped put us on the world map in terms of attracting, maintaining, and growing business opportunities around the greater Piedmont region.

Charlotte, (or CLT which represents 5% of the entire GDP for the state of North Carolina) is fortunate to serve as America’s second-largest hub, connecting us to the world with an average of 560 daily flights, more than 170 destinations, and 23 countries, serving more than 42 million travelers in 2022.  Its regional impact on our economy, huge employment figures, and the way it supports our ability to attract world businesses; this is truly a subject REBIC wants you to know about!

Listen to this very entertaining podcast, here.

Adaptive Reuse Commercial to Residential Conversions Picking Up Steam

We definitely see growing momentum around the country related to adaptive reuse.  In some cases, this involves office-to-residential conversions and in others office to other institutional uses.  You may recall we started beating the drum on this back in November as one of our six strategies related to housing affordability (click here) with the mindset that increased production of housing units would be a positive outcome.

Since that time, we have had an opportunity to talk to a lot of folks who agree that we should see if we can make it work.

One architectural firm in particular, Gensler, has put much effort into the concept.  Click the links below to learn more about how these ideas could become a reality.

The Importance of Being “Shovel Ready”

Originally published on April 20, 2023, by Gary Tasman for NAIOP.

If you’ve ever attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for a school, restaurant, corporate headquarters, or other new building, you understand the symbolism of that first turn of the dirt. The groundbreaking ceremony signifies the physical start of a construction project. In most cases, however, months or even years have already been spent preparing the land for future growth, as planners and developers work behind the scenes to make the property “shovel-ready.”

Attempting to market a property that is not shovel-ready can be a significant barrier to making a commercial property sale. In fact, it’s hindered some significant transactions where our company is based in Southwest Florida. But what does it mean to have a shovel-ready property, and why is it so important?

What Does Shovel Ready Mean?

The term “shovel ready” became popular during the Great Recession as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The legislation placed funding priority on projects that could begin construction rapidly, in hopes of jumpstarting the economy by providing investment and employment opportunities quickly. The phrase became an important buzzword, and an even more important strategy, in commercial real estate.

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UDO Goes Into Effect June 1 - Four Text Amendments Reviewed

During last night's meeting, the Charlotte City Council held a hearing on four text amendments related to the soon-to-be-implemented Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  Since these were introduced several weeks ago, REBIC representatives met with Planning Staff and suggested revisions to the proposed amendments, some of which were accepted, and some were not.  This is the first round of changes that will likely be made over the course of the next couple of years.   Here are the details:

  • Text Amendment to the Charlotte Tree Ordinance - (1) Adds new requirements for collected civil penalties to only be used to further the purpose, intent, enforcement, spirit, and requirements of the Charlotte Tree Ordinance with regard to the use of collected funds; (2) Corrects numerical and roman numeral sequencing in Articles; and (3) Deletes two unintentional words in one sentence.  
  • Text Amendment 2023-056 - Amends the UDO for the use Landfill, Land Clearing, and Insert Debris (LCID) by (1) deleting it as a use permitted with prescribed conditions in all zoning districts except ML-2; (2) modifying the use in the ML-2 zoning district as a use requiring a conditional zoning that complies with the prescribed conditions; (3) increasing the distance between an operational portion of an LCID landfill to 50 feet from any property line; (4) adding a requirement that the actual fill area shall be located at least 300 feet from any Neighborhood 1 or Neighborhood 2 Place Type or an existing residential structure in any other place type; (5) deleting collector streets as a permitted primary vehicular access; (6) adding limited hours and days of operation for the use; (7) adding a requirement for a geomembrane liner and leachate collection system subject to state standards that is equal to or exceeds the state criteria for municipal solid waste landfill units; (8) adding a requirement that the use shall comply with the state groundwater well and surface water requirements for a municipal solid waste landfill; and (9) deleting the requirement for a zoning permit for the use. 
  • Text Amendment 2023-057 - Amends the UDO to allow Multi-Family Attached and Multi-Family Stacked development in the CG and CR zoning districts under certain conditions and to modify the prescribed conditions for the principal use of Drive-Through Establishment and the accessory use of Accessory Drive-Through (formerly Drive-Through Facility) to limit their use in Centers Place Types.
  • Text Amendment 2023-058 - This is a broad "clean up" amendment that corrects errors in the adopted ordinance and will improve functionality.  This is the first of many such amendments that will be proposed over time.  Click this link for a Summary Memo that describes the proposed language changes.  
A final vote on the amendments will likely be held prior to Memorial Day as the originally adopted ordinance becomes effective on June 1st.

CLT City Council Holds Budget Workshop, Reval, CATS, and Charlotte Water Discussed

Last Thursday the Charlotte City Council held a Budget Workshop as it works toward a May/June approval of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget set to begin on July 1st.  To view the full meeting, click this link.  Additional inks to presentations provided can be found following here: 

Town of Mooresville Talks About Enacting a Moratorium

In a move that is definitely backward motion, that will create uncertainty, and potentially threaten the economic vitality of an important part of our region, the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Mooresville adopted a resolution establishing a working group to study the legal requirements of imposing a growth moratorium. 

To view the meeting (total time under one hour) please use this link.  We will be following this development closely.  Click here to view the current Mooresville Comprehensive Plan.  As a reminder, municipal elections occur later this year with filing commencing on July 7th and ending on July 21st.  In closing, this kind of activity is the reason we ALL NEED to be educated and get involved. If you're reading this, your next move should be making sure your own cities and towns aren't moving in this direction.  Help them understand. Use your knowledge!  

New Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commissioner Named

Erin Shaw is slated to become the newest member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission as she received seven recommendations during last night's Council meeting earning her an automatic appointment.  Erin is a Managing Director with Beacon Partners, a REBIC Member, serves on the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of REALTORS®, a participant in the Urban Land Institute National Development Council, and is a member of NAIOP.  She will add a wealth of experience to the commission.  

 

 

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How to Justify an Additional $25 per sq ft for Office Conversions

Originally published on April 10, 2023 by Miles Haladay for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

America faces a multipronged real estate crisis. We have a stubborn residential housing shortage, high office vacancy rates, and flight from many downtown hubs that is killing off businesses servicing those areas. In West Coast cities like San Francisco, it’s been dubbed the “donut effect,” with workers moving farther away from the urban core.

We need to build 3.8 million more housing units in the United States to keep up with household formation rates – and we’re very behind. Construction rates need to double from now to 2030 to bring us up to speed. Climate change only raises the stakes: to stave off the worst-case climate scenario and double construction output in the next seven years, we need to slash per-project emissions by at least 70%.

Converting office towers into housing could solve multiple problems at once: increase available housing; revitalize downtowns and their property tax base; all while attracting populations to city centers where green living is easier.

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Work With a Purpose: How CRE Firms are Positioning for Success

Originally published on April 3, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

“There’s a really exciting trend emerging in hiring and compensation that’s going to accelerate throughout 2023,” opened Chris Lee, CEO of CEL & Associates, during a recent NAIOP webinar. “It’s the blending together of the quantitative – the numbers, compensation and bonuses – and the qualitative – workplace environment and benefits.”

Lee detailed compensation and benefits trends identified in his firm’s annual Compensation and Benefits Report, jointly published in partnership with NAIOP and specializing in commercial real estate firms and positions. In 2022, bonus realization for performance was around 90% of target – quite high, but a key tactic for attracting and retaining talent. Base salary increases in 2023 range from 4-6% overall, and higher for mission-critical positions.

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