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Asset Managers Can Play a Key Role in Tenants' Return-to-workplace Plans

Originally published by Rob Naso for NAIOP Development Magazine Summer 2021 Issue

A new framework for mitigating disease in the office focuses on air quality, changing behaviors and building occupant trust.

The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined the role that office landlords play in creating safe, healthy work environments. While most office workers packed up their laptops and headed home to ride out the pandemic, building owners and property managers had to pivot quickly to elevate safety measures for the essential workers who remained, in an environment with fast-changing public health guidelines. Now, they face the next stage of recovery — ensuring tenants feel comfortable returning to the workplace as vaccination rates increase.

The landlords that return their buildings to thriving, active communities will be those that expand the definition of their role to also become socially-minded strategists charged with creating safe and healthy environments, setting the stage for tenants to safely return to the workplace. Positioned at the forefront of containing future outbreaks while enabling businesses to resume activity, the responsible asset manager has become the tenants’ partner in their return-to-workplace strategy.

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Industrial Solutions for E-commerce Grocery Fulfillment

Originally published  by Scott Murdoch for the Summer 2021 Issue of NAIOP Development Magazine.

The pandemic forced the industry to adapt quickly to meet soaring demand.

While grocery e-commerce was growing prior to the pandemic, the sector saw staggering market penetration over the course of 2020 and beyond. Concerned about safely accessing food, consumers across all demographics turned to online grocery shopping as a convenient, safe option.

A survey by LEK indicated that food e-commerce made up 3%-4% of total grocery retail sales before the pandemic and that overall penetration would reach 15%-20% by 2025. But in its February 2021 Online Grocery Report, Business Insider projected online grocery adoption will reach 55% in the U.S. by the end of 2024. Consumers have clearly grown accustomed to the convenience and safety of grocery e-commerce. 

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Commercial-Property Sales Volume Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Originally published on July 27, 2021, by Ester Fung for the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. commercial real-estate sales this year have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, fueled by historically low-interest rates and the belief of many investors that the worst of Covid-19 is over.

But the commercial-property sales landscape looks a lot different than it did before the health crisis hit in early 2020. Cities including New York and San Francisco have fallen in favor as have property types such as downtown office buildings and convention hotels.

Meanwhile, Sunbelt cities posted record sales and investors flocked to property types that performed well during the pandemic, including amenity-packed apartment buildings, warehouses and office buildings that cater to pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. “There is a move to both new property types and new markets,” said a report recently released by data and research firm Real Capital Analytics.

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Covid-19 Rent Breaks for Retailers Are Becoming the New Norm

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by Esther Fung for the Wall Street Journal.

During the worst of the pandemic, many landlords offered deals where ailing retailers paid a percentage of their monthly sales in rent—rather than a fixed amount—to help them survive. Now, this once temporary way of charging tenants looks poised to outlast Covid-19.

More shopping-center owners are signing new leases where rent is tied directly to a portion of sales, at least for a period. These percentage-rent leases are especially attractive to newer retailers, offering some flexibility so that they aren’t saddled with large losses as they are starting out.

While most landlords tend to prefer the reliability of a fixed monthly rent payment, the wider use of percentage leases reflects how much retail has become a renters’ market.

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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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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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A New Asset Class: The Future Hybrid Store

Originally published on April 9, 2021 by Brielle Scott for NAIOP Blog.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated the blending of brick-and-mortar retail and logistics real estate. This has resulted in the emergence of a new hybrid store model – one that takes omnichannel strategies to the next level and promises to revolutionize the retail, industrial and logistics industries. 

In a recent NAIOP webinar, John Morris, head of industrial and retail, CBRE, and Andres Rodriquez, senior research analyst, CBRE, shared their vision for a hybrid store that preserves the store experience for physical shopping while leveraging logistics capabilities for the fulfillment of online sales. 

Rodriquez started the discussion by sharing some historical data. According to data between 2010-2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail sales were growing about 16% per year, while in-store retail sales were growing about 3% per year. In response to that, retailers had been focusing heavily on rolling out their online platforms to meet consumer demand. 

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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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Up to $28B in Distressed Retail Could Hit the Market in the Next 24 Months

As the U.S. enters year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, strip centers and malls, which have had most of the exposure to retail tenants that have struggled from a sales perspective, stand at the greatest chance of experiencing property-level distress in the months to come, according to Kevin Cody, the senior consultant at real estate data firm CoStar Advisory Services.

CoStar expects the average vacancy rate for malls across the country to climb by around 3.1 percentage points between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2021, Cody notes. At the same time, the vacancy rate for neighborhood shopping centers and freestanding retail will likely climb by only 1.3 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points, respectively.

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NAIOP study examines how retail, office buildings will become part of the 'last mile'

Originally published by Marc Stiles on November 5, 2020, for Puget Sound Business Journal 

The tech-fueled evolution of industrial real estate is creating opportunities for underused assets, large and small. The possibilities seem almost endless.

 

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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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Preparing for a New Normal in Commercial Real Estate

Originally published on June 5, 2020 by Shawn Moura, Ph.D. 

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated social and economic changes that were underway before the outbreak, while also leading consumers, workers and employers to adopt new preferences and behaviors. Collectively, these changes will require that commercial real estate firms adopt new approaches to design, customer relations and business operations to be successful in the future. Christopher Lee, founder and CEO of CEL & Associates, offered his predictions for how the outbreak will reshape demand for commercial real estate in the U.S. and outlined steps that firms can take to remain competitive during a recent NAIOP webinar.

Lee observed that the commercial real estate market is currently about halfway through a downturn. Although the Federal Reserve’s intervention in credit markets and fiscal stimulus measures have mitigated some of the outbreak’s effects on the economy, “all of that is going to burn off fairly soon unless another economic stimulus comes forward.” Substantial economic uncertainty and fears about the coronavirus have paralyzed decision-making in most markets. Buyers are concerned about the pandemic’s effects on building revenues and expenses as well as potential liabilities from infections, and some may no longer be able to secure favorable financing for an acquisition. Sellers are uncertain whether they should sell now or wait out the pandemic, and are unsure whether they will have good options for investing the proceeds of a sale.

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10 Renovations to Consider Before Reopening the Office

Originally published on June 3, 2020 by Clay Edwards

As offices are set to reopen across the country over the next few months, many companies are considering all their options to make the workplace as safe and healthy as possible for returning employees. Companies will need to do more than put hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere and rearrange desks to put employees’ minds at ease.

Regardless of whether your company is heading back into the office ASAP or still managing a remote workforce, there’s still time to make updates with no or little disruption. At Skender, we’re actively collaborating with our clients to modify density and employee circulation to meet social distancing guidelines, and we’re seeing installations and renovations of all sizes. Here are 10 office updates that we’re recommending to support a healthy return to work...

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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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Solving the Pop-Up Puzzle: Tips for Owners and Short-Term Tenants

Originally published in the Winter 2019/2020 Issue by David Schneider, Herman Lipkis

There are a lot of reasons for developers to embrace these temporary spaces, but due diligence is required.

 

Pop-ups and short-term uses for commercial property have grown from a trendy concept into a means of monetizing vacant or underused spaces. Moreover, as improved and varied amenities have become a priority for commercial and residential tenants, real estate developers are starting to reframe how they think about existing and future development.

 

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COVID-19’s Impact on CRE: What We Know Today (and Don't)

Join NAIOP Charlotte on Tuesday, March 24th at 2-2:30 p.m. ET for The Advantage Series is an exclusive member benefit, delivering expert insights into the latest research to help you make informed business decisions.

Repercussions from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and still quite unknown, but one thing is for certain: the impact on commercial real estate will be substantial. A week ago, CRE fundamentals were solid; will that improve our recovery timeline? What do experts see for the potential future of the industry? How do you recognize a deal today, and know whether it’s better to act quickly or hold? The questions are numerous, and NAIOP is here with guidance to support you today and get you thinking ahead for tomorrow. Have a question for our speakers? Submit it now.

Speakers:
Larry Lance, Executive Vice President-Asset Services, EverWest Real Estate Investors, and 2020 NAIOP Chairman
Al Pontius, National Director of Office & Industrial, Marcus & Millichap
John Chang, National Director of Research Services, Marcus & Millichap

Click Here to Register

Retail is Alive and Well. It Just Looks Different.

Posted on November 14, 2019

By Trey Barrineau

Retail apocalypse? What retail apocalypse?

Yes, there have been significant changes in the retail space in recent years, said Amy Sands, managing director with JLL during “The Latest Trends in Retail,” a panel discussion at CRE.Converge 2019 in Los Angeles. However, she said “apocalypse” is an overblown term for what might properly be called “an experiential revolution.”

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Retailer Strategies for Meeting Omnichannel Demand

Posted July 12, 2019

By Kathryn Hamilton

Studies have shown that shoppers of all ages are buying more online than in stores than ever before. So how are retailers addressing these shopping and buying habits? David Hudson and Chris Sultemeier, two leaders from Duke Realty, tackled this topic at I.CON West 2019, NAIOP’s industrial conference held this week in Southern California.

Consumers today fully expect to have the ability to shop and engage with a retailer across multiple channels. Three experiences build the multichannel experience for the retailer: 1) giving consumers the ability to buy in a physical store; 2) enabling orders to be placed online; and 3) following and engaging on social media. Studies show that if a retailer can connect with a consumer through all three channels, the value of that consumer (who is typically younger and wealthier) is much greater for the retailer; in fact, the average value of a consumer who engages with a retailer across all three channels is four times the value of one who engages through just one channel. This loyalty – and repeat customer – is key to a retailer’s success.

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NAIOP Insights: Blurring the Retail Line

Posted on March 28, 2019

 

Redevelopment is almost 100% of what's going on in retail real estate.

Today developers are selecting premier spots where they have access to customers, and that often means reusing existing retail locations.

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Experiential Trends Spark New Retail Success

Posted on December 10, 2018

By Richard Sarkis

Demand for retail properties has taken quite the hit in the wake of rapid e-commerce growth. Companies like Amazon continue to eat up industrial spaces, while brick-and-mortar retailers seem to lose foot traffic by the day.

As that demand has washed away, however, a sturdy foundation has emerged for real estate developers to rebuild and reinvigorate the retail industry as a whole. It has become clear that value remains in the development and reuse of retail spaces across the country.

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