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Vacant Storefronts Can be Repurposed into Retail Incubators

Retail incubator

Vacant Storefronts Can be Repurposed into Retail Incubators

They can provide an immediate boost in shopping districts and grow future businesses into long-term tenants.

  • Written by Ilana Preuss, Development Magazine

The COVID-19 pandemic has left America’s retail districts pockmarked with empty storefronts, but there is a creative solution. These vacant spaces, which often can be purchased or rented at reduced prices, are prime targets for conversion into retail incubators.

Retail incubators, like business incubators, nurture new or small-scale entrepreneurs during the startup phase. They mitigate some of the challenges of opening a business by providing financial and technical assistance, such as the basics of marketing and business plans. Tenants typically share space, ideas and operating expenses in locations that they could not otherwise afford. Many spaces have flexible or temporary lease terms. Some allow for small-scale manufacturing and hold community events, such as product demonstrations, fashion shows and art openings.

In addition to real estate, retail incubators provide fledgling businesses with valuable resources such as technical and financial assistance.  

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, new business applications in the United States set an all-time record of 5.1 million in 2021. At the same time, the pandemic has led to consolidation of space and locations by major retail brands, which reduced the prospect of attracting businesses. The challenge for small businesses is they can’t immediately fill the footprints of major store closings. However, they can make temporary use of retail space to establish their businesses, and occupying formerly abandoned stores can help energize struggling downtowns.

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Permit Reform Legislation Advances Following NAIOP’s N.C. Advocacy Day

BY TOBY BURKE,   

Members from NAIOP’s three chapters in North Carolina traveled to Raleigh last week to advance the priorities of the commercial real estate development industry in meetings with state lawmakers. The top priority for NAIOP of North Carolina, the state alliance of NAIOP chapters, is the passage and enactment of House Bill 291, permit reform legislation sponsored by State Representative Jeff Zenger.

Local building permits are an essential and fundamental requirement for the development and improvement of commercial and residential properties. However, the processes for obtaining these permits can vary by city and county in North Carolina. These variations lead to uncertainties and delays in projects moving forward, which can impact the costs, financing and contractional relationships with contractors and providers of construction equipment and materials.

The enactment of House Bill 291 would bring reforms to the permitting process similar to those advocated by our local chapter in Georgia which were ultimately enacted into law in that state. These reforms to the local permitting process bring more predictability and accountability, reducing uncertainty and unnecessary delays. Core elements of the bill include:

  • A local permitting entity has 21 days in which review the plans.
  • During the 21 days, the local entity shall resolve issues associated with the application and may seek additional information from the applicant.
  • If additional information is needed or the application must be resubmitted, the permitting entity has 15 days from receipt of the additional information to issue a permit.
  • If the local permitting entity is unable to meet the time parameters, the applicant or inspections department may seek approval from a certified third-party (engineer) or the Department of Insurance.

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 291 in May of 2021 on bipartisan vote of 79-33, sending the bill to the state Senate. The legislation was eventually sent to the commerce and insurance committee in March for their consideration. Our meetings last week focused on urging Senate leadership and the committee chairs to move this important legislation forward before adjourning for the year as early as the end of June. NAIOP of North Carolina’s advocacy played a key role in HB 291 being scheduled the following day for a hearing before the insurance committee the subsequent week.


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Strategic Mobility Plan Out Thursday


UDO graphic

Thursday will mark the release of the Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP) draft. The public can access the May 19 meeting at this link.

The SMP’s goal is to shape the mobility future for the City of Charlotte and expand on the “Safe and Equitable Mobility” goal of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan (2040 Plan). The SMP dives deeper into the mobility policies of 2040 Plan to achieve a safe, connected, equitable, sustainable, prosperous, and innovative mobility vision for Charlotte. To learn more, follow this link to the Strategic Mobility Plan homepage.

SMP Virtual Engagement Sessions will be live on Thursday, May 26 (6 p.m.) and Tuesday, May 31 (noon). Meeting links will be available by visiting charlottenc.gov/smp.

Additionally, you can sign up to share input during the public comment portion of the City Council Business Meeting on Monday, June 13, at 6 p.m.

UDO – Updates

On Wednesday, there will be a presentation on the findings related to the Economic Analysis of the draft UDO.


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Newsletter Winter 2021: Office Demand, Proptech, Adaptive Reuse and More

 

NAIOP Research Pic

Although office net absorption remained negative throughout 2021, it is gradually climbing toward the positive side of the scale.
Office utilization rates remain low due to continued concerns about coronavirus transmission, and the Omicron variant has also introduced a new degree of uncertainty.
However, while a long-term increase in remote and hybrid work arrangements is likely to reduce demand for office space, the authors of the latest NAIOP Office Space Demand Forecast predict this will be more than offset in coming years by employment growth in office-using industries.
 
Demand for new office buildings is also favorable, as new builds offer the flexible work environments demanded in today's more uncertain world.
 

People picVIEWPOINT

"Investors funneled $9.5 billion into Proptech this year. What technologies do you see your business potentially implementing in the future?"

See replies.

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Welcoming Freight to the Neighborhood

 

originally published by MARIE RUFF  for NAIOP National

Infrastructure Neighborhood

Industrial real estate contributes valuable jobs and services to the economy but is not always well understood by the local community. Concerns about traffic and adjacent land uses may also exist. In a session at NAIOP’s I.CON East in Jersey City, New Jersey, this week, a panel of experts discussed effective practices for engaging with local officials, decision-makers, and community members about the role of industrial facilities as a “good neighbor.”

Read the Full Article Here!

Charlotte Future 2040 Policy Map Survey

A special thanks to Elizabeth McMillan at Crescent Communities for sharing this information below.  Please pass along to your colleagues.

As a follow-up to the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the Charlotte Planning Department has moved into Part 2 of the implementation phase, the Charlotte Future 2040 Policy Map. This part of the process will translate the plan’s place-based policies to specific locations throughout the community.  The Planning Department has put out a survey to collect data and input from residents and professionals to help influence the Policy Map, which will help guide the UDO.

Please feel free to share this email with others in hopes that more of our voices can be heard.

Complete Survey

** The first page sets the stage for the previous work and gives an overview of the process, so may be helpful if you need a refresher.

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Important Government Affairs Update

Top 3 Items to Note:

  1. We are making significant progress on our efforts to identify and bring aboard a seasoned individual to provide additional eyes and ears on the ground in Iredell County and Cabarrus County.  More on that to come later this week.
  1. The City of Charlotte is seeking development/real estate representatives to serve on two advisory boards created by the passage of the policy section of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.  It is essential we engage qualified and knowledgeable individuals to fill these positions.  We have an incredible opportunity here and I could use your help.  (Deadline is Friday, August 27th, details follow)
Charlotte Equitable Development Commission
The Charlotte Equitable Development Commission was created with the adoption of the Future Charlotte 2040 Comprehensive Plan by City Council resolution on June 21, 2021. The Commission is charged with advising in the assessment of infrastructure throughout the city and recommending strategies that balance equitable investments in areas most in need, including areas with absent and insufficient facilities, areas growing fastest, and areas targeted for growth. The Commission will work with the Office of Strategy and Budget to provide input on the development of the city’s proposed Capital Investment Plan. The Commission will provide regular updates to the Budget and Effectiveness Council Committee and quarterly reports to the entire Council.  The committee will consist of individuals with significant backgrounds in community development and infrastructure assessments. Examples of preferred experience shall include consulting engineers in the project development business; attorneys specializing in development; developers; independent business representatives; construction contractors; bankers or insurance agents engaged in the financial aspect of development; representatives from homebuilder's association; homeowners or neighborhood association representatives.
9 Members (3 appointments by Mayor, 6 appointments by City Council), Term Length – 3 years, 1 term
 
Charlotte’s Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Commission (Charlotte’s NEST)
The City of Charlotte needs to address displacement caused by gentrification in a comprehensive, broad, and systematic, intentional manner. The recently adopted 2040 Comprehensive Plan includes the establishment of the Charlotte Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Commission (Charlotte’s NEST). The City currently has an adopted Affordable Housing Framework coupled with a number of neighborhood programs that are used to address gentrification. However, the City desires to engage the community in developing additional strategies to limit displacement. Therefore, the Charlotte Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Commission is established for a 3-year period and is charged with reviewing and recommending specific anti-displacement strategies and specific tools for protecting residents of moderate to high vulnerability of displacement. The Commission will make regular reports to the Great Neighborhood Council Committee, quarterly reports to the entire Council and provide recommendations for combatting displacement prior to the implementation of the Plan.
15 Members (5 appointments by Mayor, 10 appointments by City Council) who shall be appointed according to the following criteria:
- 3 appointees - Housing Advocates (1 appointed by Mayor, 2 appointed by Council)
- 3 appointees - Neighborhood Leaders or Community Organizers (1 appointed by Mayor, 2 appointed by Council)
- 3 appointees - Involved in the Real Estate Development Industry as specified below:
- Non-Profit Affordable Housing Developer (1 appointment by the Mayor)
- For Profit Affordable Housing Developer (1 appointment by the Council)
- Market Rate Housing Developer (1 appointment by the Council)
- 2 appointees - Residents who have experienced or are experiencing displacement (1 appointed by Mayor, 1 appointed by Council)
- 1 Urban Studies and Planning Representative with experience in displacement and gentrification and implementing equitable inclusive development strategies (1 appointment by the Mayor)
- 1 Housing Finance Representative with experience in rental housing finance and homeownership and affordable and subsidized housing (1 appointment by the Council)
- 1 Land Use Representative with expertise and experience in historic preservation and landmarks, zoning, and development rights (1 appointment by the Council)
- 1 appointee - Neighborhood Conditions Representative with expertise and experience in economic development, health, racial/ethnic segregation, schools and education and crime (1 appointment by the Council)
Term Length – 3 years, 1 term
 

For more information on the new advisory boards, please visit: https://charlottenc.gov/CityClerk/Pages/BoardsandCommissions.aspx

 

  1. The next phases of CLT Future 2040 (mapping and UDO) are underway –
    • Alan and I had our second monthly meeting with Taiwo and Alyson last Thursday.  As a result of that meeting, REBIC will be putting together a small group of design professionals that will meet with planning staff every two weeks (for as long as necessary) beginning a few days prior to the public release of the UDO on October 4th.  These meetings will allow REBIC representatives to provide feedback and to receive an immediate response, much earlier in the process, on elements of the proposed ordinance that could be problematic if implemented  It also allows us to be a cheerleader for those things in the UDO that help streamline the process and reduce development time frames.
    • Brenda Hayden will be joining Alan and me for the monthly meetings beginning in September.
    • A brief presentation containing the projected schedule for mapping/UDO is here.
  • Due to recent and higher than anticipated COVID infection rates, the Government Center has been closed to the public for the time being.

North Carolina Budget Update

 

originally published by REBIC with permission to repost through NAIOP Charlotte

State Seal PicThe North Carolina General Assembly released their long-awaited conference budget report on Monday. The budget, once approved by both chambers, will then be sent to the Governor. Today, Governor Cooper indicated he would sign the budget proposal.

The budget includes massive infrastructure investments. 

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NAIOP Commends Congress on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

 

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, commends congressional lawmakers on the passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which now moves to President Joe Biden for signature into law. 
 

A longtime priority issue for NAIOP members – the nation’s foremost owners, developers, and investors of office, industrial, retail, and other commercial real estate – the bills $550 billion in new federal investments in U.S. infrastructure will provide critical financial support for roads, bridges, rail and mass transit systems, as well as underlying water, energy, power, and broadband systems, among others. 
 

Investment in these transportation and infrastructure networks is essential to repairing and strengthening the supply chain. Included in the bill are $17 billion for port infrastructure and $25 billion for airports – critical funds that will help address facility deterioration, lower emissions through electrification and other low-carbon technologies, and reduce congestion near these heavily-trafficked areas.  
 


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Help Needed With Survey for Economic Impacts of CRE

 

Dear NAIOP Chapter Executives:

The NAIOP Research Foundation is currently conducting a brief survey of U.S. members on development costs for office, warehouse/distribution, manufacturing and retail projects. This updated information is needed to complete the 2022 U.S. edition of the Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate, and we would appreciate your help promoting the survey to members who are likely to know about development costs for manufacturing and retail properties, as only a few respondents have provided information for these property types.

The survey takes about 2-3 minutes to complete, and we are now offering anyone who provides information on development costs (including those who have already completed the survey) with a $10 Amazon gift card. Please encourage members to complete the survey, either using the personalized link they received on Monday, September 20, or using this open link: https://research.zarca.com/r/hh79EQ If someone else at their firm would be better able to complete the survey or is more familiar with manufacturing or retail projects, members can send them the open link. The survey will now close on October 6.

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Buildings account for 39% of global greenhouse emissions — that could be an opportunity for investors

Originally written by Karen Gilchrist on September 17th, 2021 for CNBC.

Investing in sustainable buildings could offer a real solution to reducing emissions in one of the world’s most polluting sectors, said Taronga Ventures, an investment firm focused on sustainable innovation and tech.

Buildings currently represent 39% of global greenhouse emissions, according to U.N. data. Almost one-third (28%) of the global total is the result of running buildings — referred to as operational emissions, while 11% comes from building materials and construction.

Read the full article here!

Vote on Senate Infrastructure Bill Expected This Week

Originally published on August 3, 2021, for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

The bipartisan group of senators negotiating infrastructure legislation finalized legislative text over the weekend and officially introduced the measure Sunday night. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has stated he plans to hold a vote on the bill later this week.

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) officially introduced the 2,702-page Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, emphasizing the bipartisan nature of both the process and the legislation. The bill includes $550 billion in new spending and provides more than $1 trillion in total spending on roads, bridges, ports, and broadband. The package also includes spending on Biden administration priorities, including electric vehicle charging stations, climate resilience, and water infrastructure.

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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.

Full Story

 

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: