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Infrastructure Deal Revived After Biden Walks Back Comments

Originally published on June 29, 2021 for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Last week President Joe Biden announced agreement with a bipartisan group of senators, led by Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH), on a bipartisan infrastructure plan. The infrastructure deal would total $1.2 trillion over eight years, with approximately $579 billion in physical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, transit, water and sewer projects, and upgrades to the electrical grid. However, the nascent deal almost unraveled when Biden, in an effort to appease Democratic progressives, promised not to sign the legislation unless it was simultaneously accompanied by a reconciliation bill incorporating elements of his other domestic spending priorities.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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!

Congress Begins Drafting Legislation for Biden Infrastructure Plan

Originally published on April 20, 2021, for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Congressional committees are moving ahead with plans to hold hearings and draft legislation to implement President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal at the same time a group of Republican and centrist Democratic senators are trying to negotiate a smaller, bipartisan package. Republicans have objected to the inclusion of what they consider non-infrastructure provisions, such as $400 billion to cover care for the elderly and disabled people, in Biden’s American Jobs Plan. They also object to financing the program by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% rather than fees such as the gas tax or an alternative mechanism.

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Measuring the Impact of Smart Building Technology Investments

Originally published by Marta Soncodi for NAIOP's Spring 2021 Issue.

A new ratings system quantifies how effective they are across several important criteria. 

Investing in smart building technology may not be seen as a priority after commercial real estate investments were hit especially hard in 2020. However, if improving tenant experience was being considered before the pandemic, it’s now an imperative.

Why should commercial real estate owners consider investing in smart building technology upgrades? Based on research and industry analysis, fully integrated smart systems can increase building efficiency, optimize facility operations, improve occupant safety, security and wellbeing, and enhance end-user preferences. And, in light of the pandemic, stakeholders — commercial real estate companies, building owners, managers, and tenants — should examine the competitive advantages of smart building technology. 

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How Has COVID-19 Accelerated Dining Trends?

Originally published by Gary Tasman on March 30, 2021, for NAIOP.com.

If nothing else, 2020 taught us that we can all adapt to changing conditions and learn how to navigate through radical shifts in how we function day-to-day. This is the case not only for individuals and families but also for businesses. Millions of business owners and managers were forced to radically reinvent their business models to remain solvent during the COVID-19 crisis. This is especially true of the restaurant industry, which is rapidly accelerating new and pre-existing trends.

Stay-at-home regulations, social distancing, and public apprehension have forced restaurants to shift their models significantly to focus on delivery and carry-out to stay profitable. Fortunately for many establishments, this quick-service restaurant trend had already emerged pre-pandemic. Restaurants that had already embraced this shift were better positioned to weather the storm produced by COVID-19.

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Public Meetings for 1-77 Corridor Project are on April 21 and May 13

In January 2020, representatives from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) publicly launched Beyond 77, a project focused on improving travel along the I-77 Corridor from Statesville, N.C. to Rock Hill, S.C. To date, over 19,000 surveys have been completed in an effort to prioritize transportation alternatives for the area. In early April, the third and final public engagement phase kicked off, where participants are asked to weigh in on potential solutions. Residents who live, work or travel through this region are encouraged to participate in the study by visiting Beyond77.com and taking a brief survey.

For those who want to hear directly from the planning team, representatives from the Beyond 77 study will be hosting two Virtual Public Meetings on April 21 and May 13 from noon to 1 p.m.

To learn more about the public meetings and to register, visit Beyond77.com/Register.

Congress Returns to Take on Infrastructure, Biden Budget Request

Both chambers of Congress return to Washington, D.C., this week from a two-week recess, prepared to begin work on President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, an approximately $2.4 trillion package to fund infrastructure investments, research and development, clean energy tax credits, and expansion of Medicaid coverage for long-term care services, among others. Biden is scheduled to meet with Republican and Democrat leaders to begin talks on achieving a bipartisan bill, but the White House and Democrats have signaled their intent to pursue the budget reconciliation process if a bipartisan agreement is too difficult. Budget reconciliation allows legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes usually required to avoid a filibuster.

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Biden Unveils $2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal

Originally published on April 6, 2021, for NAIOP Source E-Newsletter.

President Joe Biden has unveiled his American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion plan to fund infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and railways, but also what the administration terms “human infrastructure” investments in childcare, as well as measures to transform the energy sector toward a carbon-free future. In order to fund the plan, the Biden administration proposes to raise the corporate tax rate from the current 21% to 28% and would seek a global minimum tax for multinational corporations.

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The Vaccines are Here. What Happens Next?

Originally published  by Trey Barrineau for NAIOP Spring 2021 Issue

The rollout of immunizations to defeat COVID-19 has enormous implications for the commercial real estate industry.

In late 2020, the U.S. and other countries began distributing vaccines to control the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the single most important development in the year-long fight against the disease, which has killed and sickened millions around the world and crippled the global economy.

The stakes are high. The vaccines will not only save lives and boost the morale of hundreds of millions who have been forced to live constrained lives due to lockdowns and other public health measures; experts say they are also the most important factor in the overall economic recovery from the pandemic. The commercial real estate industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, particularly the retail, office, and lodging sectors.

“If we get 70% to 85% of the country vaccinated by the end of the summer, I believe by the time we get to the fall, we will be approaching a degree of normality,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Biden, said in late January. “It’s not going to be perfectly normal, but one that I think will take a lot of pressure off the American public.”

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There's Opportunity at the Office Park

Originally published in NAIOP's Development Magazine Fall 2020 Issue by Ray Kimsey. 

COVID-19 could spur greater interest in transforming suburban office parks into mixed-use developments.

Suburban office parks were already experiencing a renaissance in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. A combination of rising commercial and residential rental rates in urban core areas and the desire of millennial workers to reduce their commutes had led real estate developers to transform older office parks into competitive properties by offering the right mix of uses and amenities.

The pandemic, which may have effectively reset corporate America’s work/life balance equation, has given new impetus to this strategy. Nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas in the wake of the pandemic, according to recent data from a Harris Poll conducted among 2,050 U.S. adults from April 25-27. This could significantly impact the attitudes of both office tenants and residential buyers regarding location and amenities. It would also be happening as futurists predict a “new normal” following the pandemic where remote working could become more accepted. In addition, even when restrictions are lifted, there will be an emphasis on outdoor amenities that support social distancing. 

As commercial real estate leaders plan for the future, many are evaluating changing user preferences and are looking for creative solutions to meet the needs of changing demographic preferences. Here are some insights into reimagining aging office parks by realigning space and tenant engagement strategies through the introduction of residential and mixed-use elements.

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Amazon Could Provide a Peek at Industrial’s Post-COVID Future

Originally published in NAIOP's Summer 2020 Issue by Ed Kimek, AIA, NCARB

The e-commerce giant understands how to connect products and consumers.

Commerce was changing before the outbreak of COVID-19, from the exponential trajectory of e-commerce, to the growth in consumer demand for more immediate goods, to the rise of urban industrial development to fulfill last-mile needs.

The unknowns of this novel virus have accelerated that change to a tipping point. The structures of commerce, and the development that supports it, may be altered for good. This crisis is proving the necessity of a resilient supply chain.

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Apply for NAIOP’s National Forums Program

The National Forums program brings together industry professionals in select groups to share industry knowledge, develop successful business strategies and build strong relationships in a confidential and non-competitive setting. Learn more about this unique opportunity and apply for appointment today. 

The Forums provide a unique opportunity for members to openly discuss project challenges, business opportunities and lessons-learned in a confidential and non-competitive setting. Over time, fellow members become a trusted circle of advisors.

The National Forums are an excellent way to become involved, stay in touch and develop new connections with key industry leaders.

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Lawmakers Pass $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill; PPP Deadline Extended

House lawmakers last week passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 2), a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that has been a key priority for Democrats since 2018. However, the bill advanced on a mostly party-line vote – with only a handful of members on either side breaking ranks – suggesting its prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate are likely dim. 

The chamber’s Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), later confirmed that sentiment, saying: “This so-called infrastructure bill would siphon billions in funding from actual infrastructure to funnel into climate change policies… It will just join the list of absurd House proposals that were only drawn up to show fealty to the radical left.” 

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