What Millennials Really Want in Commercial Real Estate

What Millennials Really Want: Not the Fancy Office Space

Skip the fancy commercial real estate offices? That’s what some Millennials and members of Generation Z are saying — as they look beyond office space and a paycheck when they go to work, according to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey. The survey captured the thoughts of more than 10,000 Millennials and nearly 2,000 Gen Z respondents globally.

Younger employees want to work for companies that drive societal progress, believe in social progress, practice environmental sustainability, and keep the safety of their employees and customers at the forefront at all times.

The report shows that their perceptions of businesses have changed, however, especially over the past year. The majority of Millennials now think that business leaders do not behave ethically or think outside of their own agendas.

The report indicated that the keys to keeping Millennial and Generation Z workers’ loyalty will be the showing that the company values the same things they value:

  • Training
  • Diversity
  • Flexibility
  • Sustainable environments

Since many commercial real estate decisions are made based on maintaining employees, business leaders should consider these factors when selecting a location for their office space and building out the space.

Office Space: Consider the Urban Core

By moving commercial real estate offices to the urban core, employers can find a diverse workforce of people and address sustainability issues. Many Millennials prefer to walk, bike or use public transportation to get to work because these modes of transportation are more environmentally friendly and don’t require car ownership.

Employers should also think about building out their commercial real estate spaces with collaborative areas for training. Younger workers are looking to hone their skills in softer Industrial Revolution 4.0 areas, and they often learn best in a more casual, small-group oriented environment, for example. Everything from flexible conference space to casual breakout areas with soft seating can help with these training needs.

General flexibility is also important to Millennial workers. Many of them have or would consider joining the gig economy as a supplement to or instead of having a full-time job, so they want to be able to work from anywhere—an office, their home, a coffee shop, or a beach. Employers should consider making sure their commercial spaces are technologically well-equipped to meet these needs. Collaborative spaces will also help bring employees into these offices when they do need to talk face-to-face with their colleagues.

Retailers Turn to Niche Opportunities

Retailers Turn to Niche Opportunities

Retailers turn to niche to thrive

May 20, 2018

By Lauren Farhat

Niche retailing should be considered risky business, right? Well, think again. According to Dees Stribling in this Bisnow national story, up-and-coming retailers can still look ahead to a bright future, but, “the niche has to be right.” With some retailers across the nation closing up shop, some such as Dutch men’s clothier Suitsupply, Magnolia Bakery and Club Pilates aren’t ready to be put to rest.

Suitsupply initially grew its brand in countries overseas. Unlike many other men’s clothing suppliers, the company now has big plans to expand beyond its 33 already existing stores in the U.S.. In selling, off-the-rack suits that are more expensive than mass-market but not as pricey as custom suits, the company’s niche is a perfect fit for cities like Brooklyn, Manhattan and Boston.

Retailers Focus on Niches

According to the Wall Street Journal, New York City brand Magnolia Bakery is also planning an expansion of franchises over the next few years. Except this time around, the company’s strategy isn’t to leverage from the sole success of its cupcakes, but the other parts of Magnolia that just as equally establish sales.

Other deep-seated commercial real estate retailers are those following the rage in the newly hot and trendy fitness world. Fitness chains such as Club Pilates, have been replenishing unoccupied spaces once filled by their failed retailer counterparts. Next year, Club Pilates foresees 5% to 10% of their locations occupying these types of retail spaces.

Will this niche approach work for retailers? It just might. As the industry transforms, look for more creative approaches that target niche markets. Consider how retailers are using a mix of online and bricks and mortar, for example.

 

RCM Report: Retail Investors Still Buying

RCM Report: Retail Investors Still Buying

May 2018

Real Capital Markets Report: Retail Investors Still in Buying Mode

Retail investors are still in a buying mode, as they continue to focus on finding assets that can meet the changing needs of today’s consumers and produce desirable returns, according to Real Capital Markets’ May 2018 Retail Investor Sentiment Report.

While big box vacancies and high-profile retail store closures continue to adversely affect parts of the industry, investors surveyed noted optimism in other retail segments. Retail owners who embrace new models—whether they are experiential or contain some variation of mixed use—are considered to be in the best position to succeed in today’s retail environment.

“Retail may be the most diverse and bifurcated of all commercial real estate asset classes,” said Steve Shanahan, Executive Managing Director, Real Capital Markets. “Certain subsets of retail perform well, are in great demand and push the market in terms of price and value. Others have issues and are part of what is leading investors to consider other options, such as exploring other asset types.”

In May 2018, RCM surveyed its U.S. database of retail investors to gauge their sentiment on various investment related topics. Highlights of the 2018 RCM Retail Investor Sentiment Report include:

  • The State of Retail is Most Impactful—The overarching state of the retail market is having the greatest impact on retail property investing.
  • Investors are Expanding Into Alternative Asset Classes—Almost 70 percent of investors surveyed categorize themselves as net buyers with only 11 percent taking a wait and see attitude.
  • Anchored Shopping Centers Remain the Preferred Retail Investment—Especially grocery-anchored centers—by a greater margin in 2018 than in 2017. Nearly half of investors, 48 percent, said anchored centers are the most attractive retail investment today compared to strip centers, which were characterized as the most attractive by 23 percent.
  • Greatest Threat is Big Box Vacancy—With new big box bankruptcies and previously announced store closures taking place, investors’ views on the greatest threat to retail investing has changed. Big box vacancy is now viewed as the greatest threat, cited by 39 percent of investors.
  • The Call for Core and Value—Many buyers—private capital, entrepreneurs, foreign investors and private equity investors—primarily are acting when a value component is present. The survey results echo that finding that value-add remains a popular strategy, with 52 percent seeking properties where they can create value.
Retail Stores Outlook: What’s Ahead After Toys “R” Us Store Closings?

Retail Stores Outlook: What’s Ahead After Toys “R” Us Store Closings?

Retail stores are scrambling to fine tune their approach as Toys “R” Us announces plans to close 800 stores

March 25, 2018

By Lauren Farhat

Toys “R” Us stores close: downfall sends wakeup call to other retail stores

With the recent closure of 800 Toys “R” Us store throughout the U.S., many retailers are reevaluating their own retail presence. Lucky for them, there are various solutions being proposed. Jamie Ward, group head of the retail finance group in the Boston office at Citizens Business Capital, tells Midwest Real Estate News the answer is online marketplaces.

By tying into booming online markets such as Amazon and Walmart, physical retailers can use these platforms for the implementation of their own shops. This provides customers greater convenience, lower prices and expanded product selection. Ward notes that about half the customers who start an online search today start it on Amazon.com. Retailers such as Nike, Land’s End and Lord and Taylor have brought in seemingly more customers through this “omnimethod” approach, as opposed to relying on just bricks and mortar stores and their own websites.

Retail stores and larger malls throughout the Midwest are also experiencing the same types of issues when trying to attract customers. The efficiency, cost savings and wide selection found with online retailers is brutal to compete against. Mall owners and leasing brokers are better off focusing on customer experience with the incorporation of restaurants, bars, and gyms – to name a few. Malls that give customers more reason to traffic their facility rather than browse the web will have the ability to stay afloat.

What’s the outlook for traditional retail?

There is plenty of hope — as long as retailers stay mindful of changing their habits as customers change theirs. Those physical retailers who decided to stay close-minded about an “omnimethod” approach may soon find themselves descending into their own demise, leaving the commercial real estate industry with a surplus of vacancies, and online retailers a heaping of new customers.

Commercial Real Estate Investors Still in Buy Mode

Commercial Real Estate Investors Still in Buy Mode

Feb. 16, 2018

Strong corporate growth and recently-passed tax legislation are among the factors keeping commercial real estate investors in a “buy” mode for 2018, according to the recent National Investor Sentiment Report released by Real Capital Markets. Recent surveys and interviews revealed that 76.7 percent of commercial real estate investors characterized their investment strategy as “buy.” More than 41 percent said they were in full buy mode, while 35.3 percent said they were buyers, but trending toward holding.

Commercial real estate investors are in a buying mode, according to a report by Real Capital Markets

“Investors across the country continue to see great opportunity and benefit in commercial real estate investing,” said Steve Shanahan, Executive Managing Director, Real Capital Markets. “Regardless of the product type or whether the strategy is core or value add, the focus is on finding assets that can deliver strong yields that outpace other investment options.”

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • Multifamily assets are seen as the most attractive, with 35 percent of investors ready to buy them. Industrial is close behind with 33 percent of investors interested.
  • E-commerce continues to drive industrial growth, creating a need for more warehouse space, sometimes at the expense of retail real estate.
  • Investors are looking for value-add, but those properties are difficult to find.
  • Investors are concerned about unrealistic pricing and the availability of quality product.
  • Southern and Western regions are attracting the highest number of investors.
  • Overall, 48.4 percent of investors say that their attitudes about investing have not changed in the last 12 months. 5 percent say they are even more of buyers no than they were one year ago.

Overall, investors are optimistic going into the first quarter of 2018, which is likely to give rise to another good year for capital markets.

To read the full report, click here.

Race for Amazon HQ2 Narrows; Questions Arise

Atlanta is seen as a favorite for Amazon HQ2 given its low cost of living and strong talent pool.

Jan. 29, 2018

The race is still on for the Amazon HQ2 project — a potential $5 billion construction bonanza that would bring 50,000 jobs. After 238 cities and regions in 54 locations (US and Toronto) submitted bids, Amazon recently announced the short list of 20 cities still in the running.

Before we get to the finalists, let’s take a look at some contrarian views coming out:

It’s all a sham, as the Washington, D.C. area (which has 3 finalists) has already been chosen, according to a recent Bisnow story.  The story points to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ new mega-mansion in the area as the critical link to those sites. Executives do like to live near their offices, after all.

Others say it could all be a publicity stunt by Amazon. Look at all the good publicity and the scramble by government officials to appease Amazon.com. See more on that at axios.com.

Time will tell where the Amazon HQ2 goes and what the motivates are. Meantime, the official list of contenders includes Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, L.A., …and several others. Here are a few snapshots of those that made the cut:

Atlanta

This southern city with $5.8M residents is considered a top contender due to its cost of living, strong talent pool and access to the world’s busiest airport. Traffic was cited as one negative issue, however.

This is how a Chicago Amazon HQ2 might look. Image from Goettsch Partners.

Chicago

Chicago made the cut and here’s what is pushing the city ahead, according to this Bisnow story. The proposal included 10 sites, many with large land areas for development. From Lincoln Yards to the old Michael Reese Hospital site to 700 W. Chicago (pictured here), the city proposal includes many land masses.

The incentives package included about $2B. One frontrunner, according to the story, is the old Chicago Tribune printing plant in River West, as it would connect downtown, River North, the Fulton Market and other neighborhoods.

 

Dallas

Dallas and Fort Worth are gaining attention for their strong supply of tech talent. And, the cost of living is much lower than other tech hubs, such as New York or San Francisco.

Columbus and Nashville are in, but neither has a major airports, which seems like a liability.

For a detailed look at which cities made the list — and why — see this money.com story.

Office REIT Movement and Other Commercial Real Estate Updates

January 15, 2018

Here’s a quick look at what’s going on in commercial real estate news, along with the retail and industrial sectors.

Office REITs Moving Away From Acquisitions

According to National Real Estate Investor, some office REITs are shying away from acquisitions for 2018. Citing rising interest rates as a factor, the story notes that REITs will now be focusing more on development opportunities. Another factor at play is the shortage of high quality commercial real estate assets in some markets — given the strong investment cycle over the past several years and the desire by institutional investors to hold on for a longer term.

New York Investor Likes Chicago’s Uptown

Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, with its growing transit-oriented-development corridor, has caught the eye of

Image from Great Global Holdings, which acquired the retail holdings in this Uptown development.

a New York investor, reports Bisnow. Great Global Holdings paid $8.9 M of the retail portion of the Wilson Yards mixed-use development. This is the firm’s fifth Chicago retail acquisition. What’s driving this activity?

Click here for more.

Amazon HQs Update: Residents Look Beyond Economic Stats

The race to lure the Amazon HQ2 continues, with more than 200 locations across North America vying for this prize. According to this Business Insider story, some residents are worrying about the problems associated with adding up to 50K employee into one area. Traffic, souring housing prices…you name it. Check out the story for more on who’s in the running and what this all could mean in terms of economic growth.

Grocery Anchored Centers Losing Luster?

Image courtesy of REJournals.com

Once the darling of the commercial real estate investment world, grocery anchored shopping centers are losing some of their luster, reports rejournals.com. Citing research from Morningstar Credit Ratings, the story details how the food buying landscape is changing. While grocery stores that offered a full line of goods and has at least $2 M in annual sales were once considered “e-commerce resistant,” that appears to be changing.

How will this play out for investors in 2018? Stay tuned!

 

Commercial Real Estate Report: Industrial Hot; Retail Lags

December 2017

Where is the commercial real estate market headed in 2018? The industrial sector has continued it’s strong run through 2017, but the picture is varied for the office, retail and multifamily sectors. Retail, for example, continues to struggle, with a 32% drop. For a detailed look at what’s ahead, check out these insights from the National Association of Realtors’ latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook.

Highlights:

  • Investment volume in LCRE (Large Cap Commercial Real Estate) markets continued into the third quarter of 2017.
  • Office sales were down 18%on a yearly basis—mostly due to a drop in CBD office transactions—but suburban office sales rose.
  • The industrial sector posted strong sales volume, exceeding the prior peak set in the third quarter of 2007.
  • Retail sales dropped 32 percent during the third quarter.
  • Commercial real estate in SCRE (Small Cap Commercial Real Estate) markets continued to experience advances in investment sales, however the momentum moderated during the third quarter of 2017.
  • Following on the first quarter’s 4.4 percent decline and the second quarter’s 4.4 percent increase in sales volume, REALTORS® reported sales volume rose 3.6 percent in the third quarter.

Click here for more.

Industrial Real Estate Investment Still Strong

Industrial Real Estate Investment Still Strong

RCM Media image1 SOCIAL

A Real Capital Markets and SIOR Report found investors bullish on industrial real estate heading into 2018.

Industrial real estate investment is expected to continue its healthy run into 2018, as strong leasing, construction, and investment sales fuel the market, according to the recent Real Capital Markets (RCM)/SIOR Investment Sentiment Report. What’s driving this record investment? It’s easy to point to e-commerce as a major force, but that is just one part of the story, according to survey respondents.

Here are 5 key findings from the report:

  • Volume for 2018? — 90.3% of investors and brokers across the country say investment levels will at least stay the same going into 2018, with many predicting a slight increase in activity.
  • E-commerce Effect — E-commerce is having the greatest impact on market activity, but is not the only factor driving industrial activity. There is growth in light manufacturing, specialty food manufacturing and general corporate distribution space, for example. Also, many corporations are expanding their distribution space needs, moving to larger or newer facilities. Other companies are using warehouse and distribution space for newer manufacturing needs — such as recycled materials or green energy related uses.
  • Investment sales pricing — is expected to stay the same (92.7% of respondents) or rise by 5% or more going into 2018 (33.8% of respondents).
  • Watch out for overbuilding — 40.6% of investors say that overbuilding is the greatest threat to the industrial market.
  • Mid-size and modern new buildings win out — 35.8% of respondents prefer new, mid-size, modern, multi-tenant building

This current industrial market is unique in its longevity — and the array of market fundaments that are propelling activity. With growth in the supply chain, corporate distribution space realignment, and the continued expansion of e-commerce, it’s difficult to see an end in sight for investment in industrial real estate.

Amazon HQ2 focus: real estate, tech talent

Amazon HQ2 focus: real estate, tech talent

Amazon image

Real estate and tech talent are key for Amazon in its HQ search.

October 2017

The commercial real estate industry is abuzz as bids were submitted for the hometown of Amazon’s HQ2, a 50,000-employee, $5 billion second headquarters. With more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada vying for the company’s attention, competition is fierce, with some cities getting creative to make their case.

According to this Bisnow article, Tucson, Arizona, sent Amazon a 21-foot cactus to remind the company of the city’s growth and resiliency while Stonecrest, Georgia, offered to change its name to Amazon.

Where’s the Best Real Estate and Tech Talent?

While the right commercial real estate is important, Amazon is looking for a city that will attract young talent, a city with good connectivity, and a city that will offer tax incentives. Along with those requirements, the company will potentially bring 50,000 people, along with their spouses and children, to the city, raising the need for housing, schools and retail—and hoping the city can keep up. Here’s a recap of some of the pitches:

Multifamily predictions

Atlanta

Atlanta is pitching several sites including real estate along the Atlanta Beltline, GID’s High Street site in the Central Perimeter, the Gulch in downtown Atlanta, Integral Development’s Assembly Project, the former GM plant in Doraville and the redevelopment of Fort McPherson.

Baltimore feels that its Port Covington, home to UnderArmor’s headquarters on Sagamore Development’s property, is a good choice for Amazon, especially as it may see a transit stop in the near future. And, several Bay Area cities have teamed up to put in a bid for the 5,000-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station, which is within 45 minutes of an airport, has two nearby BART stations and convenient highway access. Also:

  • Boston has proposed its Seaport neighborhood as the Amazon HQ2 site and has committed to building a $100 million cable-operated gondola system to shuttle Amazon employees to work.
  • Brooklyn real estate developers are highlighting their neighborhood’s tech talent and proposing Industry City, a massive complex of former industrial buildings, for the project, which will eventually need to be 8 million square feet. 

Could Chicago land Amazon?

In the Midwest, Chicago’s Old Main Post Office is currently the largest redevelopment in the U.S. at 2.8 million square feet and offers 250,000 square foot floor plates just steps from the Loop. Here’s more on that Amazon proposal.

And, if the U.S. sites are not the answer, Amazon can always go a little north. Teaming up with its Canadian neighbor, Windsor, Ontario could mean an international headquarters in Detroit.

Which city the internet retail giant will choose will remain a mystery for a while longer, but the promise of such a major real estate development has brought out each city’s competitive side over the past several months.

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