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

 

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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.
 

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

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The Outlook for Capital Markets and Industrial Real Estate

 

originally published by SHAWN MOURA, PH.D. for NAIOP National

Capital Market

Low cap rates and rapidly rising rents reflect industrial real estate’s status as the leading sector in commercial real estate development. Record levels of capital are flowing to industrial real estate while tenants are willing to pay higher rents to secure additional inventory and shorten delivery timelines.

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E-Commerce Drives Industrial Development in Q4 2021

 

originally published by LUCIAN ALIXANDRESCU for NAIOP National

warehouse

After the initial shock of the pandemic, industrial real estate emerged as one of the asset classes least affected by the ensuing economic downturn. While the causes are multifaceted, the sudden spike in demand for products ordered and curbside pick-up meant that retailers — both online and brick-and-mortar — scrambled to secure the space they needed to fulfill the influx of new orders.

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Vacancy Rates at Less Than 15% and a Rise in Average U.S. Office Listing Rates

 

originally published by COMMERCIALEDGE TEAM for NAIOP National

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The Delta variant of COVID-19 has continued to delay the return-to-work plans of many companies. Still, rising vaccination rates and declining case numbers have provided hope for many companies. Anyone worried about the future of office work can look at the continual investment of big tech into the industry to feel confident that offices are far from a thing of the past.

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Pandemic, Shifting Markets Creating Risks, Opportunities for Capital Markets

originally published by JEFF ZBAR for NAIOP National

Capital Markets

While some assets in the real estate market have been jolted by pandemic-related fallout, some investors, managers, and property owners will look back on the COVID-19 era as the “golden era” of real estate investment.

While some sectors have struggled, like office and retail, certain sectors have seen tremendous growth. Managers with operational expertise with the right property type have found success.

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The Future of Goods Distribution and the Supply Chain

originally published by Trey Barrineau for NAIOP National

Card over Bridge

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain problems have become pervasive. In fact, things are getting so bad that many fear they could imperil the all-important holiday shopping season this year.

Michael Landsburg, chief development officer with NFI Real Estate, said there are currently 70 cargo ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. A month ago, there were about 40.

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Alternative Means and Methods for Maintaining Project Momentum

originally published by BRIELLE SCOTT for NAIOP National

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The post-pandemic construction boom has taken many forms. E-commerce and big box retailers are developing across the country, while at the same time, construction projects that were postponed during the pandemic have resumed. However, the lack of workforce at manufacturing facilities last year combined with the high demand for materials have led to price increases and lead-time delays.

In a session at CRE.Converge this week, a panel of experts led by Bill Finfrock, president, FINFROCK, shared some of the strategies used in construction to keep projects moving forward despite these challenges.

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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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