Seismic Shift in Office: What’s Next

Originally published on June 14, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

The sluggish return to the office, financing and liquidity, and new ways of approaching the office sector were the predominant themes of an elite gathering of c-suite office owners, investors and developers. The conversation, spearheaded by NAIOP and hosted last week in New York City, explored the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. 

Here are key takeaways from the event: 

Office can learn from other sectors. Look to the retail industry for rebounding inspiration. Despite being labeled “dead” just a few short years ago, retail has reinvented itself by transforming its business model – and it has worked. Office has the same potential for turn around by creating spaces that are an experience, not only a workplace. Flexible workspaces and formats are a must – hot desks, private office and conference rooms are needed, but not equally every day. Don’t underestimate the benefit of “network effects,” or after-hours networking events that are a real draw for tenants and reasons to excite employees about coming to the office. Class A product that offers amenity and community spaces continue to be quickly leased.  

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You want to build WHAT in my neighborhood?

You want to build WHAT in my neighborhood? - Council Member James Mitchell, Jr. will host a town hall to discuss various planning and development topics including UDO implementation on June 1, Community Area Planning, understanding the blue "Z" rezoning sign, and community benefits. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
Chamber and Room 267
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
600 E. Fourth St.
Charlotte, NC, 28202

RSVP to Jocella Palmer

The State of the Markets for Industrial Real Estate

Originally published on June 8, 2023 by Natalie Fidlow, CFA for NAIOP.

“Volatility and uncertainty” describe the current state of the markets, according to Tom Griggs, managing director and head of industrial & logistics for the East at Hines, with the past 12-18 months presenting a difficult environment. Griggs led an expert panel discussion on the outlook for the industrial real estate capital markets at NAIOP’s I.CON East.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Peter Nicoletti, head of capital markets in New York at Colliers International, recalled the third quarter of 2022 when the markets seized up. “In the following months, spreads on deals slowly started coming in until January of this year, when Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed. At that point, spreads blew back out.” Lenders are risk-off. Colliers International does have $1.8 billion in construction deals and has noticed that there has been a tightening in underwriting standards. Now, a deal’s loan-to-cost is around 55-65%. The days of 85% are gone. Nicoletti anticipates seeing more competitive pricing as those investors who moved to the sidelines return.

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How Split-level Industrial Could Work in Forgotten Industrial Sites

Originally published on June 9, 2023 by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

Every day, developers drive past prime industrial real estate sites that could be warehouse-perfect, were it not for the sloped grade that would cost too much to excavate to make the facility level. Enter a new solution: a split-level building that doubles the space by creating efficiencies in construction costs and land use.

This unique multistory prototype design solution by Ware Malcomb can help utilize forgotten sites that were previously deemed unsuitable for industrial development due to their complex topography.

Frank Di Roma, OAA, MRAIC, regional vice president, and Luke Corsbie, PE, PLS, LEED AP, regional director, civil engineering, both with Ware Malcomb, walked I.CON East attendees through this exciting new concept and discussed the benefits of using split-level industrial in unexpected locations.

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Leveraging Data Science and AI in CRE Investment Strategies

Originally published on June 9, 2023, by Natalie Fidlow, CFA for NAIOP.

“[Artificial Intelligence] won’t replace real estate people. AI will replace real estate people who don’t have AI,” said Itay Ron, senior president of Northeast markets at Faropoint at the I.CON East conference this week in Jersey City, New Jersey. “Right now, we are reaching an inflection point where you can easily use data for commercial real estate,” Ron continued, discussing the state of artificial intelligence technology and how commercial real estate professionals can utilize AI in their investments. 

AI in the Spotlight

Earlier this year, Microsoft-backed Open AI released ChatGPT to the public. This tool, which can create human-like text, showed the world the robust application of generative AI, but it’s not new. “AI has been used behind the scenes for many years.  That release set off the arms race of AI between Microsoft and Google,” said Ron. And over the last year, you can see the impact of utilizing AI. News outlets and written content creators are being materially disrupted. For example, BuzzFeed, CNet and Insider are all news outlets decreasing their workforces by at least 10% and using AI to create news stories.

Insurance is another industry that is ripe for disruption, according to Ron. The industry is beginning to utilize active insurance; sensors on wearables will send your data to underwrite your health insurance policy. Sensors on your car will do the same for your auto. “By 2025, more than one million devices will be connected to sending data within insurance.”

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Seismic Shift in Office: What’s Next

Originally published on June 14, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

The sluggish return to the office, financing and liquidity, and new ways of approaching the office sector were the predominant themes of an elite gathering of c-suite office owners, investors and developers. The conversation, spearheaded by NAIOP and hosted last week in New York City, explored the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. 

Here are key takeaways from the event: 

Office can learn from other sectors. Look to the retail industry for rebounding inspiration. Despite being labeled “dead” just a few short years ago, retail has reinvented itself by transforming its business model – and it has worked. Office has the same potential for turn around by creating spaces that are an experience, not only a workplace. Flexible workspaces and formats are a must – hot desks, private office and conference rooms are needed, but not equally every day. Don’t underestimate the benefit of “network effects,” or after-hours networking events that are a real draw for tenants and reasons to excite employees about coming to the office. Class A product that offers amenity and community spaces continue to be quickly leased.  

Read More

ESG and Decarbonization: Achieving Ultimate Success in Industrial

Originally published on June 8, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and decarbonization initiatives can yield significant advances across the industry, from the important climate benefits to improved investor and community relations. While these are not new concepts – the first solar panels date back to 1954 – they are fresher to commercial real estate as owners and developers evaluate how to retrofit existing properties and incorporate elements of sustainability into their projects.

A panel of commercial real estate ESG leaders took to the stage at I.CON East this week to share how their companies have embraced these goals and moved them forward to benefit both their businesses and the communities where their properties are located.

“There’s a big drive to decarbonize in every industry, with companies tracking greenhouse gas emissions and making disclosures” said David Crist, CEM, director of sustainability with ARCO Design/Build. “Scope 3 [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s forthcoming guidelines on measuring emissions that are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly affects in its value chain] will have a big impact but is yet unknown. At ARCO, we’re looking at embodied carbon, or the emissions from the materials going into the building. Ninety percent of a building’s emissions are embodied, and the other 10% are operational.”

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The Logistics Building of the Future

Originally published on June 8, 2023 by Brielle Scott for NAIOP.

At NAIOP’s I.CON East: The Industrial Conference today, attendees explored the logistics building of the future, as designed and imagined by Matt Brady, LEED AP, architect and executive vice president, and the team at Ware Malcomb.

“The challenge we’re trying to solve with the logistics building is primarily the speed to customers,” Brady said. Getting closer to the consumer requires in many cases that companies locate in more dense urban sites. And typically, the size of those sites is limited – “you can’t just go and take down 20 acres in an urban environment, and it’s extremely expensive.”

“We have challenged ourselves to think creatively if we’re going to meet the needs of occupiers as those needs evolve, and that’s what this whole exercise is about: designing the logistics building of the future.”

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Tackling the Tenant Workforce Issue

Originally published on June 8, 2023, by Brielle Scott for NAIOP.

“Please raise your hand if your tenants have encountered any difficulties obtaining or retaining the workforce they need,” Anne Strauss-Wieder, Director, Freight Planning​, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority​, asked the audience at NAIOP’s I.CON East: The Industrial Conference.

Almost every hand went up.

In a panel discussion on this workforce issue, Strauss-Wieder joined Glenn Best, director manufacturing and supply chain sector strategy​, New Jersey Council of County Colleges​; Steven Hussain, head of government and community affairs​, Prologis​; and Owen O’Neil, executive director​, Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority​; to share their perspectives and present some potential tools and solutions.

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Corporate Real Estate of the Future: Where Sustainability and Profitability Converge

Originally published on June 8, 2023, by Kathryn Hamilton, CAE for NAIOP.

This week at NAIOP’s I.CON East: The Industrial Conference, four experts in the space shared their thoughts on how the corporate real estate of the future will integrate the evolving trends of sustainability and automation so that owners can meet carbon reduction and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals, exceed tenant specs, future-proof their properties and increase NOI.

Speakers included Alicia Case, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, SITES AP, Fitwel Ambassador, LFA, southeast region lead, sustainability, JLL; Nicolette Jaze, head of sustainability, Galvanize Climate Solutions; Shelah Wallace, director, originations, Nuveen; and moderator James Geshwiler, co-founder and chief strategy and investment officer, Catalyze.

Here are six takeaways from their conversation:

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Addressing Today’s Supply Chain Challenges

Originally published on June 8, 2023, by Brielle Scott for NAIOP.

A panel of experts dove into all things supply chain at I.CON East: The Industrial Conference, led by Beth Rooney, port director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She kicked off the discussion by asking what strategies the speakers are seeing their clients pursue to reduce operating costs, increase productivity and improve operational resilience.

Grayson Scott, senior consultant with CBRE, said one of the biggest things his firm is being asked is to help with large-scale assessments. “Clients want to know where their weak spots are, if they’re operating in the best locations. We’re taking a bigger, broader look at their entire supply chain.”

Brewster Smith, head of supply chain solutions at Colliers, said he’s seeing migration away from Tier 1 port-adjacent markets to Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets that are a bit more tenable from a cost perspective and from a vacancy perspective. “In Los Angeles, companies that have been in Riverside County or Inland Empire are now starting to look at Fresno, Bakersfield, Phoenix or Salt Lake City to figure out what the costs are of migrating to that market.”

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CLT Planning Department Launches 2040 Planning Academy

CLT Planning Department Launches 2040 Planning Academy - 2040 Planning Academy is a FREE educational program for those interested in learning more about the role planning plays in building communities.  The goals of the program are to EDUCATE, EMPOWER & UNITE residents so they can effectively engage in planning efforts across the city.  This year’s program will be different than previous years. The program will be FULLY VIRTUAL, FREE, & OPEN TO ALL!  The program schedule includes:
  • June 13 - History of Planning in Charlotte
  • June 27 - Comprehensive Plan & Unified Development Ordinance
  • July 11 - Mobility & Transportation
  • July 25 - Urban Design & Preservation
Click here for more information
& to register for sessions

What to Expect for Commercial Construction Lending in 2023

Originally published on May 25, 2023, by Jim Fraser for NAIOP.

A recent report from the American Institute of Architects shows that nonresidential construction spending is expected to slow to a growth rate of 5.8% in 2023 (down from 10% in 2022) and then fall to a mere 1% growth rate in 2024. Recent years brought new stresses on the industry – COVID-19 shutdowns, supply chain woes, labor shortages and bank failures have slowed projects or put them entirely on hold.

Associated Builders and Contractors predicts that the construction industry will need to attract more than 500,000 extra workers in 2023 – on top of the normal pace of hiring – to meet labor demand. Real estate valuations are softening and have negatively adjusted in many markets as well. In Los Angeles, for instance, office building valuations declined by 40% in the first two months of the year, according to data from Yardi Matrix.

At the same time, the cost of capital has risen considerably. Starting in March 2022, the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates to quell inflation, which hit the highest level seen in four decades in late 2022. While the Fed’s efforts appear to have slowed inflation, a number of macroeconomic factors suggest a rough patch still lies ahead for the economy. This includes volatility in the bond markets and turbulence in the banking sector. Silicon Valley Bank’s failure in March was the largest since the Great Recession. Signature Bank shuttered days later, and Credit Suisse was swallowed up by a rival in the wake of its struggles. In turn, economists are seeing a pullback in bank lending — a trend that will affect commercial construction in the months ahead.

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The U.S. Office Sector: Further Disruption and Rightsizing May Give Way to a Golden Age

Originally published on May 30, 2023, by Jennifer Lefurgy, Ph.D. for NAIOP.

The NAIOP Research Foundation, as part of its Industry Trends meeting, recently hosted a panel discussion on what’s next for the office sector. Analysts from leading service firms joined NAIOP Research Foundation Governors and office developers Greg Fuller, president and COO, Granite Properties and Paul Ciminelli, president and CEO, Ciminelli Development, to discuss problems and potential opportunities. The panelists agreed that the sector will undergo a shakeout that will include transformation, streamlining, new approaches to work and holistic solutions.

A “Broken” Market

Remote work and economic headwinds have created a negative demand shock in the office sector and a temporarily “broken” market that has not yet reached stability. Before the pandemic, office workspaces were densifying, with less square footage assigned per employee. Remote work and downsizing accelerated this trend, with tenants now needing less space per employee. Although office-using employment has rebounded from the brief pandemic-induced recession, office space demand has declined sharply. Phil Mobley, national director of office analytics at CoStar, estimated that the gap between office-using employment and previously expected demand could be as much as 400 million square feet. As supply continues to come online, vacancy rates will continue to climb over the next three years with negative absorption levels higher than during the Great Financial Recession.

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CLT Land Development Streamlining Submittal Process

We're back with our popular "Two for Tuesday PLUS" edition providing education for you about relevant issues.  Here's our list of things YOU should know about:

  • CLT Land Development Streamlining Submittal Process - In conjunction with the implementation of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the department is enhancing the application submittal process.  Some highlights include:
    • Accela Citizen Access (ACA) will be reduced to 9 record types from 70.
    • ACA will now be accepting UDO Administration Applications for Pre-submittal meetings, Appeals, Variances, and Interpretations.
    • Fees will be invoiced after all records are assessed in a gateway.  For fee estimation, a link on the application will go to the User Fee Section on the CLT Development Center website.
    • Charging to the Mecklenburg County account option will be eliminated due to payment options now offered by the CLT Development Center - conventional check, credit card payment, and e-checks.
    • NCDOT will be reviewing Plats and Traffic Impact Study records in Accela.  Staff is working with NCDOT to streamline the Commercial review process.

PLEASE NOTE:  The City’ s submittal portal Accela Citizen Access (ACA) will be “under construction” on Thursday, June 1st thru Sunday, June 4th.  ACA will re-open on Monday, June 5th.  CLT Development Center

Rob Nanfelt, Executive Director of REBIC, take:  Anything that can be done to smooth out the process and provide more certainty is a positive.  We appreciate staff taking the initiative on this.  The additional reviews that will come with the new stormwater and tree requirements will be where some delays are inevitable - probably as much as 5 to 7 business days.  It will take some time to get this right.

Charlotte Water to begin permitting and sanitary sewer allocations within WSACC Service Area

Charlotte Water to begin permitting and sanitary sewer allocations within WSACC Service Area - Charlotte Water will begin permitting projects within the Water & Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County (WSACC) Service Area on June 12th, 2023. Please refer to the Charlotte Water website for relevant information.  If you have questions, please reach out to Keri Cantrell or Nicholas Stanziale.  Other staff are working to prepare administrative needs for the projects under review for the June 12th release date.  As such, it is important to direct your inquiries to Keri or Nick.

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.

NAIOP Commends Supreme Court Ruling in Sackett v. EPA

Originally published on May 25, 2023, by Marc Selvitelli, CAE for NAIOP.

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA, a case involving the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), and an issue on which NAIOP has been active on behalf of commercial real estate.  In a victory for NAIOP members and the CRE industry, the Court ruled that the Clean Water Act extends only to wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States” and that have a continuous surface connection with that water.

For many years, NAIOP has advocated for commonsense regulation to protect our nation’s wetlands that is clear, increases predictability and consistency in EPA and Army Corps of Engineers wetlands decision-making, and reduces unnecessary permitting delays. Our most recent comments on the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule reflected this approach. Today’s Supreme Court decision finally clarifies the legal test needed to determine whether a federal wetlands permit is required for a development project. This will go a long way to reducing the uncertainty and added costs of delay that were the result of the legal ambiguity that existed.

The Biden WOTUS rule had been suspended in 26 states as a result of legal challenges. Today’s Supreme Court ruling will most likely force changes to the Biden administration’s regulation to ensure its application is consistent with the decision. NAIOP members should rest assured that we will continue to work with federal policymakers as regulations governing our industry are developed.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions about this or any of our advocacy positions.

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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