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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NEW 2040 Comp Plan Draft Released

The recommended draft of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan is now available online at cltfuture2040.com. The City of Charlotte is hosting a virtual Planning Community Conversation about the recommended draft on Thursday, May 27, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in participating must complete the community conversation sign-up form to speak during the meeting and submit questions or comments through the WebEx virtual meeting platform. The meeting will also be live on the City of Charlotte’s YouTube and Facebook pages, and staff will take questions submitted through the video comments.

The City will be hosting a press conference at 3:30 today to discuss the new draft.

Our analysis will be released in the coming days, once we have had adequate time to review the changes.

Read the New Draft Here

Charlotte City Council Special Meeting at 5:00pm

This past week, we launched our campaign "Get It Right, Charlotte" to educate the public about the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Today at 5 pm, the Charlotte City Council will have a meeting to straw vote on the plan. Unfortunately, all of these meetings are still closed to in-person attendance by the public and the press. Our team has discovered numerous points of concern about the plan, including the possibility of increased taxes, increased housing costs, and added restrictions to business owners.

The latest poll states only 10% of Charlotte
citizens have heard about the plan.

Since nobody is allowed in person for these meetings still, we can’t pack the room with concerned citizens like we usually would, so we need your help to "virtually pack the room" today anytime from 5:00-6:30 pm and 8:30 pm until?

You can watch the meeting on the City's YouTube or Facebook page.

How you can help:
  1. Post on social media. You can copy and paste any of these messages, or tag council members with your own messages and concerns about the 2040 Comp Plan.

      • Still, no public or press allowed inside council meetings when the Governor has lifted restrictions? That’s crazy! Just like how the city council rolled out this plan amid the chaos of the pandemic, when citizens were more worried about their health and safety, rather than public policy. The continued lack of transparency surrounding the #2040CompPlan is unacceptable and is preventing community input. #GetItRightCLT #cltcc

      • Today at 5 pm, Charlotte City Council will be having a meeting to straw vote on the plan. Since tonight’s meeting is still being held online only, we need to virtually “pack the room.” Let’s flood social media and tag, local officials, placing our concerns front and center before policy leaders. Visit https://getitrightclt.com/ to sign the petition, contact local officials, and join the conversation. #GetItRightCLT #2040CompPlan #cltcc

      • Members of the ‘Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte’ group share a concern that many Charlotte residents are not aware of the #2040CompPlan - primarily because it was released just before pandemic shut-downs. Residents are mostly unfamiliar with the scope of the plan - which will add regulations and costs to housing across all income levels. Charlotte needs a plan - just not this one. Contact your local officials and ask them to reconsider, and rework this costly plan. Visit https://getitrightclt.com/ to get involved, and join the conversation. #GetItRightCLT #cltcc

      • ‘Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte’ believes that local residents deserve to fully understand what this plan will mean for their lives - as business owners, taxpayers, and homeowners. Local leaders owe Charlotte residents that level of transparency. Visit https://getitrightclt.com/ to get involved, and join the conversation. #GetItRightCLT #2040CompPlan #cltcc

      • ‘Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte’ is a public education campaign requesting the Charlotte City Council to slow down the process of the #2040CompPlan, address key concerns, consider the costliness and the economic impact on Charlotte residents, and be fully transparent with the public. The continued lack of transparency surrounding the #2040CompPlan is unacceptable and is preventing community input. Do better, Charlotte; and let’s get this right. Visit https://getitrightclt.com/ to get involved, and join the conversation. #GetItRightCLT #cltcc

      • Use the hashtags #GetItRightCLT #2040CompPlan #cltcc and follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @GetItRightClt
  2. Sign the petition
  3. Contact local officials
  4. Share this email with other industry leaders, so we can all work together to Get It Right.

CRE Taxes Changes in President Biden Proposals

In recent weeks, President Joe Biden unveiled two momentous plans that are part of his "Build Back Better" agenda. The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are designed with important goals in mind, but the proposals come with significant costs that could result in consequential tax changes and have a tremendous impact on the commercial real estate industry.

We’re at the beginning of the legislative process for these proposals, and there are months of negotiations ahead of us. As a leader in your chapter, we wanted to ensure you are aware of the issues and how NAIOP will be involved throughout the process.

NAIOP’s team on Capitol Hill will be working with Congress to help preserve existing tax treatments that have supported a healthy and vibrant commercial real estate industry so that we can continue to be a leading contributor to U.S. GDP, create valuable jobs, and build communities.

The following are the major tax proposals in the plans:

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City Manager’s Response to the Draft 2040 Comp Plan

On May 6, 2021, Marcus Jones, Charlotte City Manager, released a memo providing an update on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.  Included is a link to the 650+ comments from the community and the next steps.  The timeline continues to move toward a release of the second draft of the plan on May 19 with a potential vote by the City Council on June 21.  To access more information:

Take This CLT Development Center Survey

The CLT Development Center would like your opinion about their services and processes. Please click the link below to provide your input:

Share your perceptions of City services; please DO NOT evaluate Mecklenburg County as a part of this research.

Charlotte-based Customer Service Solutions, Inc. (CSS) is conducting this survey on behalf of the City of Charlotte. If you encounter any problems in completing this survey, please contact CSS at [email protected].

Thank you for your time in taking this survey and helping the City of Charlotte to continuously improve its programs and services!

DL Lunch & Learn with David Furman is on June 3

Join your peers virtually on June 3 to hear from Charlotte native and distinguished architect, David Furman, as he leads a discussion and 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 at this Developing Leader exclusive event. 

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.

Registration

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

Register Here

Questions

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

Sparking an Eco-district Neighborhood

Originally published by Alice Devine for the NAIOP Spring 2021 Issue.

The South Landing project in Spokane, Washington, demonstrates how properties can benefit from shared energy infrastructure.

In Spokane’s University District, education meets industry in a 1.2-square-mile area adjacent to the city’s downtown. In this urban laboratory of sorts — populated by five of Washington state’s major universities, two medical schools and community colleges — students and nearby businesses enjoy a cluster of mutual benefits.

University District developer Emerald Initiative, an independently owned affiliate of Seattle-based mechanical contractor and engineering firm McKinstry, embraced a goal: a smart neighborhood. The South Landing project includes an ”eco-district,“ a shared heating, cooling and electrical system that serves the energy needs of what eventually will be four commercial buildings totaling approximately 500,000 square feet. So far, the $50 million Catalyst Building (159,000 square feet) and the Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation (41,000 square feet) have been constructed.

 

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