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How Will COVID-19 Change How Lenders Evaluate Deals?

Originally published on May 19, 2020 by Paul Letourneau

One doesn’t have to look far to see the immediate impact of the novel coronavirus on commercial property markets. Across the U.S., millions of white-collar workers are now working from home, stores and restaurants have closed their doors, and nearly 17 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in the first three weeks after the pandemic began shutting down cities. Nearly one-third of apartment dwellers didn’t pay their rent in the first week of April, in addition to the countless retailers and hotel companies that are unable to make their lease or mortgage payments.

As lenders and investors grapple with these urgent challenges, many economists and industry experts are asking whether today’s social distancing measures will have lasting impacts. From a lender’s perspective, we’re already evaluating deals through a new lens. The aftermath remains unseen, but the current environment is raising several important questions about the future of all asset classes, including multifamily, office, retail and industrial.

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Industry, Workplace, Community and the Importance of WELL in the Post-pandemic Environment

Originally published on May 19, 2020 by Brielle Scott

There is no doubt COVID-19 has accelerated the already changing nature of commerce and work and introduced a new layer of considerations for commercial real estate development. 

Prior to the outbreak, we saw e-commerce’s exponential trajectory, increased demand for immediate goods, and the rise of urban industrial development to fulfill last-mile needs. All of these factors have created the now-accelerated need for more urbanized solutions and the inclusion of a better-integrated workforce. The emergent need for a more resilient, reliable and reconfigurable supply chain that is more locally grounded will drive this change even further.  

In a recent webinar exclusive to National Forums members, KSS Architects Partner Ed Klimek, AIA, NCARB, discussed how industrial and office development can respond to these changes in order to bring the most value in a post-COVID-19 world. 

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A Message from Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement

We have updated our Live Remote Inspections Customer Guidelines to reflect new best practices as the situation changes.  
We have also assembled guidance for restaurateurs who are reopening and may wish to add or increase outdoor dining space using a tent. Customers should consult our Temporary Assembly Guidance and Workflows, which will walk customers through the process of obtaining the proper permits, when required. Further information on temporary outdoor dining is available from the City of Charlotte, for restaurants within the Charlotte city limits. 
At this time, our Suttle Avenue office will remain closed to the public and we will continue to deliver our services as we have been since the stay-at-home order went into effect. In the near future, we will be making some changes and improvements in our lobby to allow customers and staff to interact safely and with minimal risk of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. We look forward to reopening our lobby to our customers at a later 

Stimulus, Safety and Shifts

Originally published on May 22, 2020 by Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D.

Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin Gives his Take on the U.S. Economy and the Government’s Unparalleled Response

The global coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy and caused disruptions of historic proportions. “We’re facing a very different crisis than the one in 2008, which was essentially man-made,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Ph.D., an academic policy advisor, strategist and president of the American Action Forum, during a recent NAIOP Forums Exclusive webinar. “This is a completely different phenomenon.”

Holtz-Eakin noted the swiftness of the pandemic’s effects on the U.S. economy, citing record unemployment and the contraction of GDP by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020. However, for the most part, he praised the federal response. He stated the Federal Reserve reacted appropriately to the crisis by essentially injecting cash back into the economy through its lending programs. “The Fed’s actions insulated the financial markets from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Banks and other financial entities that have performed remarkably well in this environment and are well-capitalized and capable of executing their basic missions,” he said. “That wouldn’t have happened without the very, very strong, response from the Federal Reserve.”

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Businesses Reopen Amid Coronavirus Liability Concerns

Originally published on May 20, 2020 by Alex Ford

As states begin to slowly reopen their economies, governments, businesses and the public as a whole are contemplating what a post-coronavirus America will look like. Some aspects of this “new normal” – such as limited capacity requirements in public spaces and stricter sanitation mandates, to name a few – are already taking shape. But with a cure potentially months or years away, who bears responsibility if a customer or employee contracts the virus? The question is yet another example of the unprecedented times in which we are living, and has emerged as a key wedge issue among various stakeholders.

At the federal level, debate over the next coronavirus relief package has centered on the inclusion of liability protection for businesses. “Companies doing their best to control the spread of this disease with the limited guidance available deserve legal protection. Congress should not allow good actors to be held liable for events beyond their control,” a group of more than 200 business associations and trade groups wrote in a letter to congressional leadership this month.

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Virtual Lunch with a Leader: Update from Elected Leadership

Join NAIOP Charlotte on Monday, June 1st at 12:00 pm as we learn about the quickly changing landscape at the federal and state levels in this legislative update. This Lunch with a Leader offers discussions on issues related to commercial estate development and around efforts to get the economy moving. Our special guests include:

Our Leaders
Congressman Dan Bishop
US House 9th District
Speaker Tim Moore
NC House 111th District
Representative Jason Saine
NC House 97th District
 
 
You are invited to submit questions in advance here.
 
 
Registration
This event is offered to NAIOP Charlotte members only at no charge. Prior registration is required. Zoom login information will be sent two (2) hours prior to the event.
 
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Questions
If you have questions about the Virtual Lunch With a Leader, please contact the NAIOP Charlotte office at [email protected].

Chapter Activities Keep Happening

Social distancing hasn’t stopped NAIOP Charlotte members from getting together (virtually) to continue to engage, learn, and socialize. Below are highlights from several recent member only events. A special thank you to our 2020 Cornerstone Sponsors. With their support, NAIOP Charlotte has been able to keep the conversations and information flowing during our time of social distancing.

March LWAL: Our first virtual Lunch with a Leader featured Taiwo Jaiyeoba and Alyson Craig from the City of Charlotte. Jaiyeobe and Craig shared how the city is adjusting to COVID-19 and keeping commercial development moving forward to maintain a healthy region.  If you were not able to participate in the webinar and would like to listen, click here to access the recording.

April DL Happy Hour: Our Developing Leaders are staying in touch and gathered via Zoom for a Friday afternoon Happy Hour last month. Ram Realty Services’ Rachel Krenz led a discussion on the developments in South End and later the conversation turned to how everyone is keeping busy during quarantine, recently watched shows and movies, and ideas about future DL events once mingling in person is possible.   

April LWAL: Last month, our Lunch with a Leader featured a panel of NAIOP Charlotte Board Members who shared perspectives on the commercial development market during the COVID-19 crisis. Panelists included Tom Coyle, Childress Klein; Alyson Craig, City of Charlotte; Steve McClure, Spectrum Companies; Patrick Pierce, Selwyn Property Group; and Chris Thomas, Childress Klein., Click here to access the recording.

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Opening Salvo in Phase IV Negotiations Passes House of Representatives

Last Friday, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 208-199 a Democratic-backed coronavirus economic recovery bill, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. House Democratic leadership drafted the legislation without Republican input and unveiled it earlier in the week, leading Republican leadership to dismiss it as a partisan exercise.

While the HEROES Act will not be taken up by the Senate, the bill serves as an important opening salvo by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as negotiations continue between the House, Senate and the Trump administration on a “Phase IV” economic stimulus bill.

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Preparing Your CRE Business to Operate Digitally

Originally published on May 14, 2020 by Daniel Levison.

In this crazy pandemic world, do you feel comfortable that your business is operating efficiently? If not, and most of us don’t, the question we should ask ourselves is: How do we prepare our business to operate at maximum efficiency when another catastrophic event occurs or our economy is shut down again due to a shelter in place order?

If the medical experts are accurate, we could have a second wave and possibly another shelter in place ordered next winter unless a vaccine is developed. Whether it’s next winter or next decade, the question really isn’t if something like this will happen again, but when it will happen?

Our research indicates that most real estate business organizations have not yet invested significant time and resources to streamline their back-office operations. A study by Wells Fargo states moving away from desktop, paper-based processes and outdated systems improves productivity and increases accuracy. Automation initiatives can also make a positive impact on cash flow forecasting and budgeting which is especially important in today’s environment.

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Some Guidelines on Rent Relief and Lease Obligations

Originally published on May 13, 2020 by Stephanie Friese, Christine Norstadt and Jennifer Garner for the National Real Estate Investor

The jury is still out for May income as landlords and property managers are still assessing the impact from their tenants’ payments. Office, industrial, and multifamily landlords will likely receive most, albeit with some shortfall, of rents because tenants in these sectors have not been affected as much as in the retail sector, where we are hearing reports that as many as 40-50 percent of retail tenants will not re-open.

Strategies to provide tenants with relief

Landlords must time the relief right. On the one hand, don’t rush. Investors need to make sure any relief is not in conflict with loan documents or is pre-approved by their lender(s). Many also believe we don’t yet know how long or short the recovery process will be and want to avoid the costs of multiple amendments. On the other hand, if recovery is going to be long, engaging with tenants early gives the landlord an opportunity to structure a relatively good deal with tenants, builds goodwill, and creates a basis to deny additional requests for relief from that same tenant if circumstances continue to worsen in the coming months.

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What Happens When We Return to the Office?

Originally published on May 18, 2020 by Elizabeth Brink and Arnold Levin

At Gensler, we’ve been thinking hard about how to help our clients through these extraordinary times. As we’ve adjusted to the strange reality of the global work-from-home experiment, our clients have begun to ask what the future of work holds post-pandemic.

In order to move forward, we must rethink past workplace design paradigms, mine the present situation for lessons learned, and create smart, scenario-based road maps for how, and when, we return to the office.

The Workplace Context

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A New Look at Market Tier and Ranking Systems

Originally published on March 2020 by Maria Sicola, Charles Warren, Ph.D., and Megan Weiner, CityStream Solutions, LLC.

Professionals commonly analyze and compare individual U.S. commercial real estate markets by dividing them into ranked tiers based on their investment potential or growth characteristics. Although the methodologies they use to create these rankings are broadly similar from one report to the next, each is slightly different. As a result, cities are ranked differently in different reports. This can sometimes lead to confusion as industry participants sort out which markets are the best candidates for new investment. Adding to the potential for confusion, different analysts use different terms (e.g., “Tier 1,” “Primary,” “24-hour,” “Gateway”) to describe which markets they think are the top markets in the industry.

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House Democrats Developing “Phase IV” Legislation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democratic leaders are working on a bill that could spend as much as $2 trillion more on coronavirus relief. A significant portion of that will be directed toward states and local governments, which are suffering a loss of tax revenues because of ongoing shutdowns.

Other priorities include an expansion of unemployment insurance and additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service. The bill could also include spending on infrastructure.

While House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) told local leaders that he supports spending on infrastructure as one way to help state and local governments stimulate their economies, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he opposes that. “Infrastructure is unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic that we're all experiencing and trying to figure out how to go forward,” McConnell said.

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What You Should Know About OZ and 1031 Exchange Deadline Extensions

Originally published by Phil Jelsma for Commerical Property Executive

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted multiple deadline extensions by the Internal Revenue Service, many of which have major implications for commercial real estate investors.

On Thursday, April 9, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23, which extends several time-sensitive tax deadlines including those for Section 1031 Exchanges and Opportunity Zone Investments.

In a Section 1031 exchange, which allows deferral of capital gains taxes on the sale of certain investment properties, an investor who sells real estate held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment can defer taxes if the investor identifies replacement properties within 45 days of the sale and within 180 days of the sale completes the acquisition of one or more replacement properties. The new IRS guidance extends both the 45-day deadline and the 180-day deadline, if those deadlines would have expired on or after April 1, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Thus, if the investor’s identification period was open as of April 1, 2020, it is automatically extended to July 15, 2020. Similarly, if the 45‑day identification period had expired before April 1, 2020, but the 180-day exchange period was open as of April 1, 2020, the 180-day exchange period is extended to July 15, 2020. This creates some interesting situations.

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About Charlotte Shared Streets

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing many aspects of how we live, move about our cities, and get essential physical activity. The City of Charlotte is launching Charlotte Shared Streets to support social distancing and pedestrian/bicycle safety amidst this new way of life. Shared Streets is intended to support outdoor exercise; create a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading; and promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet by identifying low-speed neighborhood streets as “Shared Streets.”

Shared Streets are streets that are temporarily designated and signed as streets for walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading. Through traffic will not be permitted, but emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, and residents who live on those streets will still be able to access the roads by motor vehicle. Residents should understand that the SHARED streets do not present an opportunity for residents to congregate and that they should continue following social distancing guidelines. Shared Streets are meant to foster solo physical activity and to connect people to destinations. This is a time to bring out the longboard, not the hammock.

The City of Charlotte will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, the State of NC, and Mecklenburg County Public Health on outdoor recreation, transportation, and physical distancing, and will adjust this pilot program as needed.

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A Message From CLT Development Center

The CLT Development Center continues to maintain plan review, permitting, and field inspections as allowed by the stay-at-home order. For the last weeks, we continue to make modifications to the ways we deliver services to protect customers, staff, and the community. 

Requests and scheduling for virtual meetings for urban and commercial pre-submittals continue to be offered. Please contact Nan Peterson, Business Relation Manager, [email protected], or 980-264-9580 with questions or inquiries. 

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States Take Steps to Reopen

Last week, the White House issued an outline containing a three-phase approach for states to follow as they move to restart activities following the coronavirus pandemic. Before a state moves forward, the administration said it should be seeing a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-like syndromic cases reported over two weeks.

As states reopen, the plan recommends they have plans to:

  • Protect the health and safety of workers in critical industries.
  • Protect the health and safety of those living and working in high-risk facilities (e.g., senior care facilities).
  • Protect employees and users of mass transit.
  • Advise citizens regarding protocols for social distancing and face coverings.
  • Monitor conditions and immediately take steps to limit and mitigate any rebounds or outbreaks by restarting a phase or returning to an earlier phase, depending on severity.
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Developing Leaders: Be Recognized for Your Achievements

NAIOP is proud to honor up-and-coming commercial real estate professionals, 35 years of age and under, for their valued contributions and commitment to the industry with the annual Developing Leaders Award. The award is presented to those who have shown exemplary achievements and demonstrated outstanding professional accomplishments in the commercial real estate industry.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 NAIOP Developing Leaders Award.
Deadline: June 26, 2020

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The Cold Storage Market is Heating Up

Originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue by Trey Barrineau

Surging demand for e-commerce grocery deliveries could spark more construction of refrigerated facilities.

In October 2019, Amazon announced that it will begin offering free two-hour grocery delivery to Amazon Prime members. The move could have a dramatic impact on demand for cold storage facilities, which were already poised for strong growth amid changing consumer preferences.

CBRE’s “2019 U.S. Food on Demand Series,” which focuses on research about cold storage, notes that owners and operators of U.S. cold-storage warehouses should see annual growth of 4% from now to 2022. Evolving consumer behavior is driving this change. The Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen predict that groceries ordered online will account for 13% of total grocery sales by 2022, up from 3% in 2018. Additionally, the Food Marketing Institute predicts that within the next 10 years, 70% of American households will regularly do some grocery shopping online.

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What’s Next for CRE? Industry Leaders Share Their Advice with Developing Leaders

Originally published on May 5, 2020 by Rich Tucker 

At the beginning of the year, nobody predicted the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On March 1, the economy seemed to be thriving with record-low unemployment and a booming stock market. Two months later, the economy is in a deep freeze, and everyone wonders how quickly, and how thoroughly, it can thaw out.

For many of NAIOP’s Developing Leaders, those 35 years of age and under, this is the first slowdown of their professional lives. Luckily, NAIOP includes many veteran leaders who’ve come through crises before; more than 600 DLs joined a recent NAIOP webinar to hear advice from industry power players.

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