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The Death and Life of the Central Business District

Originally published by Richard Florida for Bloomberg CityLab on May 14, 2021.

Just last spring, a chorus of pundits loudly proclaimed a sweeping urban exodus and the impending death of cities. Now, just slightly more than a year later, our cities are springing back to life. Sidewalks are starting to bustle; restaurants, which have spilled onto the streets, are teeming with patrons; museums and galleries are reopening; and fans are heading back to baseball parks, basketball arenas and even outdoor concert venues.

But one area of urban life where the pandemic is poised to leave a far bigger mark is on the places where we do business. The ongoing shift to remote work challenges the historic role of the Central Business Districts — neighborhoods like New York’s Midtown and Wall Street, Chicago’s Loop, or San Francisco’s Financial District — as the dominant centers for urban work. 

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Next Week! DL Discussion with David Furman

DL Lunch & Learn with David Furman
June 3 | 12:00pm ET

Next week, join the conversation with Charlotte native and distinguished architect, David Furman, as he talks about how he got started in the industry and what opportunities, successes, and challenges have shaped his 40+ year career.

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet and learn from a leader in the Charlotte community!

This is a free event, available only for NAIOP Charlotte Developing Leaders. Prior registration is required. Zoom information will be sent on June 2.

Speaker

David Furman is a Charlotte native, architect, and developer, who has specialized in creating the urban experience through unique residential and mixed-use developments over a 40-year career. His Centro CityWorks, company has designed and/or developed over 40 projects in downtown Charlotte and SouthEnd, including Charlotte’s first downtown high-rise condo, Courtside, as well as the 28 story TradeMark building where he lives and works. He is currently on the board of Charlotte Center City Partners as well as an active participant in many initiatives to advance Charlotte’s urban presence as a premier place to live, work, and play. 


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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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Construction employment stalls in April

Originally published on May 7, 2021, for the Building  Design and Construction Network.

Construction employment was unchanged from March to April as nonresidential contractors and home builders alike struggled to obtain materials and find enough workers, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials said the industry’s recovery was being hampered by problems getting stable prices and reliable deliveries of key materials, while the pandemic and federal policies were making it harder for firms to find workers to hire.

“Contractors are experiencing unprecedented intensity and range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions, and worker shortages that have kept firms from increasing their workforces,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These challenges will make it difficult for contractors to rebound as the pandemic appears to wane.”

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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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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.

CRE Taxes Changes in President Biden Proposals

In recent weeks, President Joe Biden unveiled two momentous plans that are part of his "Build Back Better" agenda. The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are designed with important goals in mind, but the proposals come with significant costs that could result in consequential tax changes and have a tremendous impact on the commercial real estate industry.

We’re at the beginning of the legislative process for these proposals, and there are months of negotiations ahead of us. As a leader in your chapter, we wanted to ensure you are aware of the issues and how NAIOP will be involved throughout the process.

NAIOP’s team on Capitol Hill will be working with Congress to help preserve existing tax treatments that have supported a healthy and vibrant commercial real estate industry so that we can continue to be a leading contributor to U.S. GDP, create valuable jobs, and build communities.

The following are the major tax proposals in the plans:

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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!

DL Lunch & Learn with David Furman is on June 3

Join your peers virtually on June 3 to hear from Charlotte native and distinguished architect, David Furman, as he leads a discussion and talks about how he got started in the industry and what opportunities, successes, and challenges have shaped his 40+ year career. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet and learn from a leader in the Charlotte community at this Developing Leader exclusive event. 

Speaker

David Furman is a Charlotte native, architect, and developer, who has specialized in creating the urban experience through unique residential and mixed-use developments over a 40-year career. His Centro CityWorks, company has designed and/or developed over 40 projects in downtown Charlotte and SouthEnd, including Charlotte’s first downtown high-rise condo, Courtside, as well as the 28 story TradeMark building where he lives and works. He is currently on the board of Charlotte Center City Partners as well as an active participant in many initiatives to advance Charlotte’s urban presence as a premier place to live, work, and play.

Registration

This is a free event, available only for NAIOP Charlotte Developing Leaders. Prior registration is required. Zoom information will be sent on June 2. 

Register Here

Questions

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

Sparking an Eco-district Neighborhood

Originally published by Alice Devine for the NAIOP Spring 2021 Issue.

The South Landing project in Spokane, Washington, demonstrates how properties can benefit from shared energy infrastructure.

In Spokane’s University District, education meets industry in a 1.2-square-mile area adjacent to the city’s downtown. In this urban laboratory of sorts — populated by five of Washington state’s major universities, two medical schools and community colleges — students and nearby businesses enjoy a cluster of mutual benefits.

University District developer Emerald Initiative, an independently owned affiliate of Seattle-based mechanical contractor and engineering firm McKinstry, embraced a goal: a smart neighborhood. The South Landing project includes an ”eco-district,“ a shared heating, cooling and electrical system that serves the energy needs of what eventually will be four commercial buildings totaling approximately 500,000 square feet. So far, the $50 million Catalyst Building (159,000 square feet) and the Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation (41,000 square feet) have been constructed.

 

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Construction employment stalls in April

Originally published on May 7, 2021, by the Building Design + Construction Network

Construction employment was unchanged from March to April as nonresidential contractors and home builders alike struggled to obtain materials and find enough workers, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials said the industry’s recovery was being hampered by problems getting stable prices and reliable deliveries of key materials, while the pandemic and federal policies were making it harder for firms to find workers to hire.

“Contractors are experiencing unprecedented intensity and range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions, and worker shortages that have kept firms from increasing their workforces,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These challenges will make it difficult for contractors to rebound as the pandemic appears to wane.”

Construction employment in April totaled 7,452,000, matching the March total but amounting to 196,000 employees or 2.6% below the most recent peak in February 2020. The number of former construction workers who were unemployed in April, 768,000, dropped by half from a year ago and the sector’s unemployment rate fell from 16.6% in April 2020 to 7.7% last month.

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Call to Action. Let's Get it Right, Charlotte

Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte

Charlotte is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, built amid diverse areas and unique neighborhoods, with families and people who recognize the qualities of a dynamic city. This growth, however, presents both challenges and opportunities alike. Due to this, the city is considering a plan that will guide this growth over the next several decades. This plan will directly affect every Charlotte citizen, both current and future, making it important you pay attention to this critical policy guide.

Over the past few months, you may have heard mentions of a “Charlotte 2040 Comprehensive Plan,” yet, the majority of Charlotte’s citizens have no idea what this is, much less what it means for our city.

Learn More About the 2040 Comp Plan

Elected leaders rolled the current draft of the plan out for input amid the chaos of the pandemic and are still actively considering it. This conspicuous launch date raises cause for concern, as citizens were more concerned about their current safety and health during its launch, rather than city policy changes, and rightly so.

As an industry leader, it is crucial that you weigh in. That’s why we launched the “Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte” public awareness campaign. The current plan, that will decide how Charlotte grows over the next 20 years, has proposed policies that stand to negatively affect every current and future Queen City citizen.

It’s up to us to make sure that this critical document reflects our values, protects current and future citizens, and preserves the uniqueness of Charlotte.

Join the ‘Let’s Get it Right, Charlotte’ movement and take action today by 

Share Your Concerns
Contact Local Officials

Join the conversation on social media.
#GetItRightCLT #2040CompPlan #Charlotte #CLT






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Digital Tools Increasingly Vital to Success of Construction Projects

Originally published on April 26, 2021 by Linda Strowbridge for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Despite its traditional roots, construction has started to transform into a digital industry. Building information modeling, geospatial technologies, prefabrication and modular construction, drone services, augmented-reality wearables and other technologies are increasingly becoming a larger and more crucial part of successful, efficient, profitable construction projects.

“An Overview of Emerging Construction Technologies,” a NAIOP Research Foundation report, details the recent advances and new horizons in construction technology. Authors Andrew McCoy, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Building Construction at Virginia Tech, and Armin Yeganeh, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech, talked to NAIOP about what these technology advances mean for construction firms and commercial real estate companies.

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The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: What State and Local Governments Should Know

Originally published on May 5, 2021, by Toby Burke for NAIOP E-Newsletter

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire country and the world. Most state and local governments in the United States issued stay-at-home orders and imposed business restrictions on nonessential services to slow the spread of the virus. This caused an economic slowdown that initially concerned many state and local lawmakers.

Revenue projections from various sectors, such as restaurants, tourism and the entertainment industry, were lowered. Budgets were restructured to increase health services and reduce expenditures in order to maintain balance. State and local governments also turned to Washington for additional assistance, and they received it.

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2021 Developing Leaders Award

On April 26, we will open nominations for the 2021 NAIOP Developing Leaders Award. Please encourage Developing Leaders in your chapter to apply for this annual honor. It is an excellent resumé booster. The deadline for applications is Friday, June 25.

Applications will be submitted online (link coming soon). Each applicant must submit a form completed by either the chapter executive director or a board member supporting the DL’s nomination (Chapter Support Form) as well as a Supervisor Consent and Recommendation form. Both forms will be available for download from the application website. Chapter executives will be notified of their chapter’s applicants once nominations are closed.

Recipients of NAIOP’s 2021 Developing Leaders Awards will be recognized at CRE.Converge, which will be held Sept. 26-29 in Miami Beach, Florida. Each award winner and his/her immediate supervisor will receive complimentary registration to attend the conference – a combined $2,290 value.

Submit Today!

Colorado Energy Benchmarking Statute a Poor Solution

Originally published on April 20, 2021, by Erin Goff for NAIOP.

Colorado legislators are poised to introduce what is being referred to by proponents as the “Energy Performance in Buildings Act of 2021.” The draft bill, which mandates energy benchmarking and performance standards, requires owners of most commercial, multifamily and public buildings over 50,000 square feet to collect and report the building’s energy use to the Colorado Energy Office (CEO). The building will then be given an Energy Star score compared to other buildings. By 2026, owners of buildings that do not meet a certain score must make improvements that lead to a 15-point Energy Star score increase, a 15% energy use intensity reduction, or other options. Failure to reach energy reduction mandates will result in hefty civil penalties for commercial and multifamily building owners. Buildings exempt from the penalty provision include buildings owned by the state, municipalities, counties, special districts, school districts and state institutions of higher education.

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How Custom Workplace Design can Improve Employee Health and Wellness

Originally published on April 13, 2021, by Roger Heerema and Dan Elkins for NAIOP.

Effective workplace design has never been about simply making an office look nice; it’s about supporting and inspiring those who will move within and around it. Now, a historic pandemic is highlighting a new opportunity for flourishing companies whose space needs have changed: To invest in build- or redevelop-to-suit design projects that enable them to manage the health and wellness aspects of their space – during a time when both are paramount.

The ability to choose building specifications inherently gives companies greater control over features like advanced air circulation and touchless doors. By investing in these and other health and wellness elements, companies can help meet long-term disease containment goals as well as show they value their employees.

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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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