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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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Eight Crucial Post-Pandemic Takeaways for the Industry

Originally published by Ron Derven for NAIOP's Development Magazine Summer 2021 Issue.

The post-pandemic period could see a lot of innovation and experimentation in commercial real estate.

COVID-19 delivered a gut punch like no other to the commercial real estate industry last year, with transactions in the second quarter of 2020 plummeting approximately 40% over the same period in 2019.

By the fourth quarter of 2020, however, sales activity had nearly recovered, according to John Chang, director of research with Marcus & Millichap.

“Investors adapted to the new climate and devised new solutions to address the many obstacles to getting business done,” Chang said. “Barring a new, severe and deadly outbreak, COVID-related challenges ahead will likely be speed bumps for the commercial real estate industry rather than roadblocks.”

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5 Solutions for Building Office Interiors Through Supply Shortages, Price Volatility

Originally published on June 22, 2021 by Andy Halik for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

With U.S. coronavirus cases plunging and knowledge workers craving the social component of the workplace, many companies across the country are fully reopening their offices to employees. Some companies took the opportunity to renovate or update their workspace during the lockdown periods of the pandemic, and others are planning significant design changes to prepare for the next era of the office.

Meanwhile, the challenges of renovating or building out office interiors – or constructing ground-up office buildings – are only compounding as the desire to move forward on office projects butts up against unpredictable economic factors. Facing volatile materials prices, a tightening labor market, soaring demand and supply chain inefficiencies, real estate developers, owners, tenants and their builders must take action to mitigate the financial impacts and keep projects on track.

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When Office Real Estate Investors Can Expect a Turnaround

Originally published on June 21, 2021 by Marc Rapport for MillionAcres.com.

The pandemic recovery in the office sector is underway and is projected to reach positive net absorption in the fourth quarter of this year, according to research from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

 

That turning point will be followed by a return to more normal levels, predicts the report titled “Office Space Demand Forecast, Second Quarter 2021,” researched and written by professors Hany Guirguis of Manhattan College and Michael Seiler of William & Mary and the University of Cambridge.

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Next Steps with the 2040 Plan

The following statement was issued by REBIC on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

Last night the “Plan Policy” section of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan passed the Charlotte City Council by a 6-5 vote. This outcome had been widely expected for several weeks. In the end, REBIC took the position that moving ahead to the more difficult challenges, such as the debate over the “Implementation Strategy” and “Manuals and Metrics” sections, as well as the Place Type mapping and ultimately the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) was in the best interests of all parties. It was evident that members of City Council had withdrawn to their respective corners and that any further compromise was not possible.

Following an introduction, the real estate industry faced some big hurdles:

  • Removal of Mandatory impact fees
  • Removal of Mandatory inclusionary zoning
  • Removal of Mandatory Community Benefit Agreements
  • A broken process set up to accept comments but one that provided little feedback in return
  • A City Council (with the exception of a few members) with little knowledge of the Plan
  • A tight, artificial timeline with a proposed vote on the entire document by April 26th

After last night here’s where we are:

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Talks Continue on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Originally published on June 22, 2021, for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

In the wake of failed infrastructure discussions between the White House and Senate Republican leadership, represented by Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), the focus of attention has turned to the second group of Senators attempting to forge a bipartisan deal. The effort, led by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH), gained momentum last week with the endorsement of 21 senators, including 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. A draft framework of the plan leaked to the press last week, but the particulars of the plan remain in flux, subject to changes based on a review by President Joe Biden and the White House staff.

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Key Takeaways from the Q2 2021 Office Space Demand Forecast

Originally published on May 2021 by Hany Guirguis, Ph.D., Manhattan College and Michael J. Seiler, DBA, William & Mary and the University of Cambridge.

Office Space Absorption Projected to Stabilize by Mid-2022

The U.S. economy is experiencing a strong rebound from the COVID-19-induced recession, resulting in job growth in office-using sectors. However, tenant-safety concerns remain a drag on office leasing. The U.S. office market posted continued declines in net absorption in the fourth quarter of 2020 (-26.7 million square feet) and the first quarter of 2021 (-34.8 million square feet). Nonetheless, as coronavirus safety concerns abate and the economy continues to expand, negative net absorption is forecast to moderate over the next two quarters, with a return to positive absorption in the fourth quarter of this year (Figure 1). Quarterly net absorption in 2022 is expected to average 11.7 million square feet, in line with the 2015-2019 quarterly average of 11.6 million square feet.

At the time of this writing, more than half of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, and more than one-third are fully vaccinated. As vaccination rates increase and new coronavirus cases decline, more employers are re-opening their offices. However, a widespread return to the office will likely depend on the return of K-12 schools to in-person instruction. Many schools currently rely on a full- or part-time remote schedule, requiring parents of young children to either stay home or seek alternative childcare arrangements. With vaccination rates on the rise, most schools are now planning to resume full in-person instruction in the fall. As safety concerns about returning to the office recede and schools reopen, office absorption should begin to respond to the current upswing in economic growth.

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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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Mixed-Use at the Core of Mall Reinvention

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by Katie Sloan for Rebusiness Online.

When it comes to mall redevelopment, one of the biggest hurdles is changing the business community’s perception that enclosed malls are only for retail use, says Sean Garrett, president of acquisitions and director of community relations for East Peoria, Illinois-based Cullinan Properties Ltd. 

“There is no reason an insurance office can’t be right next to a retailer and a neighbor of a dentist,” states Garrett. “Downtowns and Main Streets have been developed this way for generations.” 

Cullinan recently followed this approach when it rebranded its Quincy Mall in Quincy, Illinois, to Quincy Town Center. One of the anchor tenants is now Quincy Medical Group, which backfilled a former Bergner’s department store. For Garrett, merging retail and medical uses today is a “natural fit.”

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A Few Spots Remain! Breakfast with Principals is Next Week

Breakfast with Principals
June 29 & 30 | 8:00am – 9:00am ET 

A few spots are still available to attend next week’s Breakfast with Principals. This event provides an opportunity to meet with fellow members, make connections, and discuss what is going on with NAIOP and Charlotte’s commercial real estate industry while enjoying breakfast from two of Charlotte’s local hot spots Community Matters Café and Nick’s Cafe.

Table hosts are Pete Kidwell, Beacon Partners, Pat Pierce, Selwyn Property Group, Sagar Rathie, Crescent Communities, and Chris Thomas, Childress Klein.

Space is limited to 6 people per table, with a maximum of 2 tables per location. This is a NAIOP member-only event.

There is no charge to sign up for this event. Breakfast will be on own – make sure to come hungry and help support local businesses! 

Register for Nick's Cafe on June 29
Register for Community Matters Cafe on June 30

Questions

If you have questions, please contact the NAIOP Charlotte office at [email protected]

Summer Networking Social on July 14 | Register Now!

Summer Social
July 14 | 4:30pm – 6:00pm | Charlotte Beer Garden

 

Network with NAIOP members and guests at the Charlotte Beer Garden! Make new connections, catch up with friends, and enjoy the Charlotte summertime!

Registration

Registration for this event is $15 for NAIOP members and $20 for non-members through July 9. Rates increase to $20 for NAIOP members and $25 for non-members on July 10.

Location

This event will be held at the Charlotte Beer Garden, 1300 S Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28203. 


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House Returns to a Muddled Infrastructure Picture

Originally published on June 15, 2021, by the NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Last week President Joe Biden broke off talks with Senate Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), on a bipartisan infrastructure package. While both sides took pains to say the talks were held in good faith, the parties could not bridge the differences regarding the overall size of the package, the scope of what should be included as infrastructure, and the methods for funding the initiative.

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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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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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White House Budget Provides Details for Biden Tax Proposals

Originally published on June 2, 2021, by Aquilles Suarez for NAIOP's blog.

Last week, President Joe Biden submitted his proposed the fiscal year 2022 budget to Congress, providing lawmakers with additional details regarding the major infrastructure and social spending initiatives comprising his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. In times of divided government in Washington, a White House budget is oftentimes described as “dead on arrival” as far as Congress is concerned. But with the Senate and House of Representatives controlled by his fellow Democrats, Biden’s recommendations are sure to be given substantial deference by lawmakers. Nevertheless, differences of opinion do exist among members of the president’s own party regarding many of his proposals. As such, last week’s submission simply marks the beginning of challenging negotiations that are likely to take place over the next two months.

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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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Office Space Absorption Projected to Stabilize by Mid-2022

The NAIOP Research Foundation has published the NAIOP Office Space Demand Forecast for Q2 2021.

Key Takeaways:

  • Increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and strong economic growth will help demand for office space rebound, with a return to a positive net absorption forecast for the fourth quarter of 2021.
     
  • Quarterly net absorption in 2022 is forecast to average 11.7 million square feet, in line with the 2015-2019 quarterly average of 11.6 million square feet.
     
  • Although tenants have begun to return to the office, it remains to be seen how widely they will adopt long-term remote work arrangements. Remote work will likely limit net absorption for the next several quarters.
     
  • Tenants may now prefer less dense office layouts than before the pandemic, partially offsetting declines in demand due to remote work.
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CREW Charlotte June Luncheon (HYBRID): The 2040 Plan with Taiwo Jaiyeoba

CREW Charlotte is excited to host its first in-person luncheon in over a year! Space is limited so do not delay.

Learn more about the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan from Assistant City Manager, Taiwo Jaiyeoba.

Charlotte has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the country in recent years. This growth has established Charlotte as a vibrant and desirable city. However, this rapid development has also contributed to and highlighted, many challenges that have faced our community for decades. The Charlotte Future 2040 comprehensive plan outlines how we address these challenges and guide our growth and development over the next 20 years. This plan is a living document that provides a policy framework that will guide our city’s decision-making and investment in both the near- and long-term. The community-driven planning process has been guided by a focus on equitable growth and Charlotte's residents coming together to prioritize what is most important to us (housing, jobs, environment, livability, etc. The plan seeks to address the inequities of the past and unite the city around a shared set of goals for our future.

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Investors Bet on Commercial Real Estate, Undeterred by Empty Offices and Hotel Rooms

Originally published on May 18, 2021, by Knorad Putzier for The Wall Street Journal.

More than a year into the pandemic, high-rise office buildings are largely empty. About one of every two hotel rooms is unoccupied. Malls are struggling to attract shoppers.

And yet by most measures, the U.S. commercial real-estate market is in remarkably solid shape. Prices fell far less than after the 2008 financial crisis and are already rising again. The number of foreclosures barely increased. Pension funds and private-equity firms are once again spending record sums on buildings.

The market’s resilience shows how the federal government’s aggressive efforts to support the economy kept landlords from suffering steep losses. Banks have also offered delinquent property owners some slack, rather than foreclosing aggressively.

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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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