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Equity Office Daily Brief: March 1, 2016

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Daily Brief

March 01, 2016

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How Drones Are Transforming The Way You Shop For Real Estate

Fast Company

 

Your local realtor might have a new trick up their sleeve very soon: Using drones for aerial photography of sprawling properties. The practice is increasingly commonplace in other countries, and the national trade association for realtors has written up a set...

 


Medical Office Offers Shot In Arm to Downtowners

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Though Kaiser Permanente is known for its massive medical facilities in neighborhoods including Los Feliz and West Los Angeles, the Oakland-based health system has been branching out with smaller offices such as one it opened last month in Bunker Hill. Occupying more...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Striking Mixed-Use Complex Under Construction in West L.A.

Urbanize LA

 

Los Angeles-based real estate firm CIM Group has broken ground on another residential-retail in West Los Angeles. The mixed-use development, located on a 1.3-acre site at 11800 W. Santa Monica Boulevard, is slated to birth a five-story complex containing 147 studio, one-...

 


Millennial Motive & Commercial Real Estate Trends

Llenrock Blog

 

I hate generalizations about entire generations of people, especially coming from someone outside of that group. In fact, I hate generalizations in general. However, I will say that we, Millennials, are quite an interesting, diverse and powerful group to study: 25% of U.S. population Largest...

 


Are Office Rents Dropping in Pasadena?

GlobeSt.com

 

The Pasadena office market seems to be losing momentum. There has been ample multifamily and retail development in the market lately, but the office vacancy rate has climbed to 13% with the vacation of two major office users. Rene Soto, a...

 


Boutique Firms Are Sourcing Deals for Institutions

GlobeSt.com

 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Global Real Assets has acquired a 20,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail property in Santa Monica from Related California. The purchase price of the property was not disclosed. Boutique investment firm BrandView Capital Partners sourced the acquisition for J.P....

 

FULL TEXT


How Drones Are Transforming The Way You Shop For Real Estate

Fast Company

 

Your local realtor might have a new trick up their sleeve very soon: Using drones for aerial photography of sprawling properties. The practice is increasingly commonplace in other countries, and the national trade association for realtors has written up a set of guidelines for real estate agents looking for their own personal eye in the sky.

Drone photography is far cheaper than the next cheapest alternative—helicopters—and much easier to implement in terms of logistics and planning. Stephanie Spear, an attorney at the National Association of Realtors who works on the issue, told Fast Company that the demand for drone photography is simple: Many properties, especially commercial facilities or rural tracts of land, don’t necessarily photograph well on the ground. In late 2015, the NAR issued a FAQ and a sort of best practices guide for realtors who want to use drones.

And, as the FAA streamlines their rules, expect many more realtors to use drones in the future.

Real Estate Agents With Drones

The FAA currently allows commercial, for-profit drone use under limited circumstances and through a complicated registration process; however, the agency is reportedly working on a more streamlined process for registration and permission with a wide variety of stakeholders. In the meantime, private companies are waiting; Spear says that to come up with their guidelines for realtors interested in drones, the NAR had to work with both policy and legal counsel and the FAA itself. In recent congressional testimony, the NAR's president at the time, Chris Polychron, said the organization and its members were "excited" about the commercial use of drones and called for federal regulations allowing clear and unambiguous use of UAVs for for-profit aerial photography.

"Drone technology offers a tremendous opportunity for the business of real estate and the broader economy. That’s why NAR continues to support the integration of drones into the National Airspace and a regulatory landscape that allows for the responsible commercial use of drones," said the NAR’s current president, Tom Salomone, in a statement emailed to Fast Company.

It’s All About Aerial Photography

Currently, many real estate agents are believed to be using drones without seeking formal government approval in a sort of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" situation. The first realtor believed to have sought government approval for UAV photography is Douglas Trudeau of Arizona’s Tierra Antigua realty, who obtained permission to "to fly a Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter to enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos." The Phantom 2 Vision+ is part of a larger family of DJI Phantom drones increasingly used by commercial customers thanks to their relatively low price points and ease of use.

A rich industry exists of third parties working with commercial clients to produce and leverage drone photography. At the recent International Drone Expo, a trade show in Los Angeles, approximately one-third of the booths were dedicated to small startups offering to help existing companies with FAA reporting requirements, image analysis needs, and consulting services.

One of the companies in this space, a Bay Area-based startup called BetterView, essentially serves as a drone consultancy that links businesses seeking aerial photography with qualified experts who both fly the UAVs and then help clients leverage information from the photographs. David Lyman, the company’s CEO, says they initially worked in the real estate space before pivoting to primarily serving insurers and commercial roofers looking to find damage from aerial photos they couldn’t otherwise easily obtain.

The shift to insurance was partially due to cofounder David Tobias’s background in the insurance world, but Lyman added that aerial photography for real estate was "for the pure marketing stuff, it was something that looks great and plays out well. We did it for residential and commercial, and would take some shots that end up in a real estate listing. Its either the leading shot or ones that enhance a listing quite a bit."

International Shores And Aerial Views

Outside of the United States, aerial regulations are generally more liberal when it comes to aerial photography and drone shots for realtors are increasingly routine. AirVu is a Cayman Islands-based drone firm that started off doing aerial real estate photography and then expanded into areas like flying drones over prisons to patrol perimeter fences.

AirVu’s cofounder, Adam Cockerill, told Fast Company that the company was the first in the Cayman Islands to obtain a permit to use drones for aerial commercial photography. "We were one of the first businesses in Caribbean to do so, and were in uncharted territory. We needed to establish ourselves as a drone business, so we did photography for real estate. Initially, it was a lot of residential properties, and we were hired by brokers and some homeowners. There are some beautiful beachfront properties that benefit from aerial views. The only other way you can obtain it is from helicopter, which is both cost-prohibitive and takes place from a higher altitude."

Cockerill’s company uses another firm in turn, Skyward, which produces cloud-based software that conducts drone airspace mapping, logs flights, and takes care of FAA compliance requirements. Because of the safety issues around using drones and the risk of unqualified pilots causing property damage or worse, it’s crucial for realtors or property owners to be careful and err on the side of caution when doing aerial photography.

For most apartments or homes, drone photography is an extravagance. However, it does hold very real appeal to anyone attempting to sell industrial properties, large tracts of land, large estates, or especially photogenic properties. If, as believed, the FAA issues updated commercial requirements for drones in 2016, expect the category to skyrocket.

-Neil Ungerleir

Medical Office Offers Shot In Arm to Downtowners

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Though Kaiser Permanente is known for its massive medical facilities in neighborhoods including Los Feliz and West Los Angeles, the Oakland-based health system has been branching out with smaller offices such as one it opened last month in Bunker Hill.

Occupying more than 10,000 square feet in the Bank of America building, the new Downtown L.A. Hope Street Medical Office features a primary care center and occupational medicine suite whose services include family and internal medicine, women’s health care, physical therapy, a nurse’s clinic as well as lab and imaging capabilities.

“We estimate that about 40,000 to 44,000 patients who belong to Kaiser live or work in the downtown area,” said internist Kim Tran, the physician in charge of the Hope Street location. “It makes sense to have a small clinic in the community to serve those patients.”

Keeping in mind the early hours many of those patients keep, the Bunker Hill Kaiser office operates from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

“It’s extremely important for us to be able to see patients where they live and play rather than patients having to come to a hub,” Tran said.

This marks the first time the health provider has had a downtown L.A. outpost in decades, having closed a Chinatown office in the early 1980s. At that time, the view was that patients should come to the medical centers, which feature hospitals and more specialized care, Tran said.

“Now I think that with the changing environment in health care, Kaiser Permanente just wanted to provide convenience and quality care to our patients who may live or work in the area,” she said, adding that just a decade ago a lot of downtown was empty. “Now, you drive to the Staples Center and that area, you see a lot of apartments and condos and lofts being built.”

Industrial Slump

While downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of a renaissance, the Industrial District – a 40-block, 260-acre geographic area – is still facing a number of physical and financial challenges.

According to a study released late last year by the Central City East Association in conjunction with downtown design and planning firm Aecom, the district’s economic prospects have dwindled in recent years while its homeless problem has grown.

For instance, the study says many manufacturing and seafood businesses have been leaving for neighboring cities such as Vernon, which have more favorable tax rates.

The study also says the Industrial District’s 9 percent job growth rate since 2002 trails the 17 percent growth seen in downtown as a whole. In addition, its 5,600 jobs account for only 2 percent of the jobs in downtown even though it takes up about 10 percent of downtown in terms of physical space.

While the study does not endorse a specific course of action, it does offer a variety of plans to help alleviate those problems. Some of the suggestions include focusing development on major east-west corridors such as Fourth or Sixth streets in order to bring in restaurants, shops and housing, and preserving large industrial parcels for “transformational, once-in-a-generation” projects.

The study also calls on the city to consider diversifying the district’s housing policy. While 4,000 people live there, residential zoning is not permitted except through adaptive reuse of existing eligible buildings.

As for Skid Row, the study notes that the Industrial District should keep its homeless service sites but it should not be the city’s sole regional provider.

South Park Opening

Olive DTLA, a $56.4 million mixed-use project in downtown’s burgeoning South Park neighborhood, is on pace to be the first new residential complex to come to market since the recent development boom began in the area.

The builder, Bernards of San Fernando, topped out Olive DTLA late last month, meaning the project’s seven stories have taken shape and the firm is now finishing construction on the exterior walls.

At the corner of Olive Street and Pico Boulevard, Olive DTLA will include 293 apartment units and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

Wolff Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz., owns the property and tapped Bernards to build it. Olive DTLA is scheduled to open in August.

“Our client was ahead of the curve … in this South Park gateway neighborhood, enabling them to start construction first in this current wave of development,” said Jocelyn Topolski, Bernards director of business development.

Bernards is also building Wolff’s G12 complex, which sits immediately West of Olive DTLA at the corner of Grand Avenue and 12th Street.

G12, a $63.8 million project with 347 apartment units and 19,000 square feet of retail space, is expected to top out soon, too, and should open by February of next year.

-Staff reporters Marni Usheroff and Cale Ottens contributed to this column. #DTLA is compiled by Managing Editor Omar Shamout. He can be reached at oshamout@labusinessjournal.com.

Striking Mixed-Use Complex Under Construction in West L.A.

Urbanize LA

 

Los Angeles-based real estate firm CIM Group has broken ground on another residential-retail in West Los Angeles.

The mixed-use development, located on a 1.3-acre site at 11800 W. Santa Monica Boulevard, is slated to birth a five-story complex containing 147 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments above approximately 40,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.  Proposed residential amenities include a swimming pool, a fitness center, a clubhouse and a screening room.

Designed Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, the building will establish a unique presence along a mostly staid stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard.  Elevation plans on file with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning portray a distinctly modern complex, clad in cement plaster and metal panels.

The project is rising from the former site of Buerge Ford, a West Los Angeles automobile dealership which was owned by the defunct Buerge Motor Car Company.  Their other shuttered dealership, located immediately east, is also owned by CIM Group.

-Steven Sharp

Millennial Motive & Commercial Real Estate Trends

Llenrock Blog

 

I hate generalizations about entire generations of people, especially coming from someone outside of that group. In fact, I hate generalizations in general. However, I will say that we, Millennials, are quite an interesting, diverse and powerful group to study:

25% of U.S. population

Largest generation yet

Most racially diverse generation

43% of Millennials identify as non-white

PEW Research notes a few characteristics which I think are good representations of me and my fellow Millennials:

“Now ranging from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry – and optimistic about the future.”

Yeah, we sure are full of many contradictions! Maybe that’s why researchers are so enamored with us. We’re drowning in student debt, sleep no more than five feet from our phones, and idealize a social utopia. People say we’re socially conscious philanthropists but then call us a generation of narcissists who lack communication skills. We’re lazy but, at the same time, innovative entrepreneurs. Countless advertising and marketing reports on how to attract us as consumers have been published over the last few years and it’s safe to say the commercial real estate industry is just as concerned with the Gen Y beliefs, values and needs as any other industry..

Multifamily

Yes, it’s true that we’re flocking to the city. We like connectivity, what can I say?

According to Goldman Sachs, peak home-buying years are between 25-45. However, we are choosing to start families much later than our parents. In 1968, 56% of 18-31 year olds were married and living on their own. In 2012, only 23% of people in the same age range were settling down. That’s a whopping 50% drop!

Between 2005 and 2013, the percentage of Gen Y renters rose 8% to 60%. While a rise in ownership is expected in the years to come, multifamily developers and investors are benefiting from the renting economy at a pretty consistent rate currently. But how are developers tapping into the needs of today’s most connected generation? We’re seeing pet-friendly and tech-connected micro-units popping up everywhere (especially in urban areas) and an increase in innovative temporary living situations since we enjoy the freedom of moving at the drop of a hat. Ahem, residential hotel crossovers are making a come back. Not only has this lead to a steady rise in rent, but it’s allowed for tech-startups (like apps which enable a simplified means of searching apartment listings) to thrive.

Office

Walkability: one attribute of my Philadelphia neighborhood I value a lot. Robert M. Wilff, Director of the Real Estate Development Master’s Program at the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship, says developers are finding that Millennials are preferring “urban, dense, mixed-use and walkable neighborhood.”

They are, indeed. From the surge of Innovation Districts to the mixed-use developments (mimicking a city-like feel) surfacing in both urban, metro and suburban areas, developers have tapped into the work-life balance many of us strive to find. Since we seem to be a entrepreneurial generation which holds collaboration, efficiency and creativity above all else, smaller shared office spaces are now allowing start-ups and smaller companies to work side-by-side on open floor plans.

Retail

First off, big things are happening in the area of urban retail and non-urban areas are noticing. Similar to changes in the office sector, retail development is heading down the mixed-use path. Just take the Reston Town Center, located in Northern Virginia, which is owned and managed mostly by Boston Properties. The Town Center has office space for brand name companies like Google and Rolls-Royce North America alongside high-rise luxury condominiums and a diverse mix of big retail companies like Victoria’s Secret and lesser-known niche boutique-type retail stores as well as 40 restaurants. These mini-cities in suburban areas won’t disappear anytime soon.

Industrial:

Ever heard of Amazon? I thought so. Online shopping provides us with the comfort of getting in some retail-therapy from the comfort of our own bed. E-commerce is expected to reach a $370B volume by 2017 which means with development of standard warehouses and storage centers is expected to increase as well.

Entrepreneurial Generation

It’s important to look at this generation as more than just consumers, since we look at ourselves as content driven entrepreneurial spirits. From crowdfunding to leasing management platforms to integrated software solution – there are dozens of start-ups that are (or have the potential to) thriving. They just need the money to make it happen.

In an era where obtaining capital is the easiest it’s ever been, investors of my generation are becoming more and more willing and able to invest their money into the new tech gurus and developers who are changing the entire CRE industry.

-Tatiana Swedek

Are Office Rents Dropping in Pasadena?

GlobeSt.com

 

The Pasadena office market seems to be losing momentum. There has been ample multifamily and retail development in the market lately, but the office vacancy rate has climbed to 13% with the vacation of two major office users. Rene Soto, a principal at in Lee & Associates newly opened Pasadena office, and Chris Larimore, president of the Lee & Associates Pasadena office say that this could mean declining rental rates in the market. We sat down with Larimore and Soto to find out more and see how serious this issue is. Here, they give us an insiders look at the office market in Pasadena.

GlobeSt.com: Give me a snapshot of the Pasadena office market.

Rene Soto: The Pasadena office market is currently 13% vacant, but I think, when taking that into consideration, you also have to factor in the indirect vacancy. You have a bank vacating the market and leaving over 100,000 square feet, or you have the latest federal regulation that basically pushed Le Cordon Blue out of the market, which was a huge hit for Pasadena, leaving 180,000 square feet on the market. Between those two deals, you have 300,000 square feet on the market. So, the net absorption in the next year is going to be essential to justify the current asking rental rates of class-A buildings in Pasadena.

GlobeSt.com: Do you think there will be enough absorption to justify rents?

Soto: It will be based on the engineering and technology sector as well as medical office, which is really driving the market right now. What you have is a surplus of direct office space and shortage of medical space. There is lots of development right now in Pasadena, but it is more of a retail and multifamily development play than office development. You still have a migration of tenants that are moving into adjacent markets that are going west to Glendale or going east to the San Gabriel Valley market in search of lower rental rates.

Chris Larimore: A lot of office owners in Pasadena right now are at a cross roads with regards to what they are going to do with their rates. A lot of these owners bought these properties that are leveraged, so they need to get rental rates to justify the acquisition. That is why we are seeing an increase in the asking rates, but we are seeing that 13% vacancy rate impacting a lot of those owners. Some owners are keeping their rental rates high to justify their pro forma by giving other concessions, like rental abatement or a higher construction allowance.

GlobeSt.com:  If there are investors who need to justify their pro forma with these rental rates, are they in a potentially precarious situation?

Soto: No, because you still have a lot of companies that need to be in Pasadena. I don’t think it will be disastrous. I think it will be somewhere in the middle. The current asking rates are plus $3 a foot for a class-A building in Pasadena, but I see that may be declining to $2.75 to $2.80 to stabilize the rents and stabilize the tenant rosters. It will be a slow absorption over the next few years. We aren’t going to have a lot of people losing their buildings. Landlords are going to have to face the fact that they are either going to have a vacant building or they are going to have to lower their rental rates. The landlords that realize that are going to be the ones to do the deals.

How does this issue affect office investment in the Pasadena market?

Larimore: There are limited opportunities in Pasadena. I think there is a strong demand to buy office product in Pasadena, but we really don’t see the availability of opportunities. There is a lot of capital that is trying to get into the market, but there is a lack of product for them to invest in, but there is a feeling among the investment community that Pasadena is a great place to allocate capital. The problem is that a lot of owners right now are not selling.

Soto: That is why net absorption is going to be so critical in the next year, because that is really going to tell the tale of what will happen at this cross roads.

GlobeSt.com: Are investors still looking for opportunities despite the potentially declining rental rates?

Larimore: I don’t think a lot of them understand or know that the vacancy rates are where they are at right now. I don’t think that they fully understand the indirect vacancy. Remember, people are seeing a lot of development going on in Pasadena. It has a young vibe and people want to be here. Investors think that translates to: ‘let’s buy office buildings.’ I don’t think that they fully understand what is going on in the market right now.

GlobeSt.com: Do you recommend that investors still look at opportunities in the market when they are available?

Soto: Pasadena is still a good market to be in; it is a matter of getting in now and the value of the asset. Pasadena is a good long-term play for office, and it is a good place to put your money. I would still encourage people to buy in Pasadena. The problem is that we don’t have product available for them to purchase. Anything that might be available to purchase is overleverage, so if you are going to get into the market, you are going to pay a premium.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Boutique Firms Are Sourcing Deals for Institutions

GlobeSt.com

 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Global Real Assets has acquired a 20,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail property in Santa Monica from Related California. The purchase price of the property was not disclosed. Boutique investment firm BrandView Capital Partners sourced the acquisition for J.P. Morgan from Hanley Investment Group, which represented the Related in the transaction. Although the property isn’t typically fodder for institutional investors, it is a great investment opportunity and one that J.P. Morgan could take advantage of by sourcing through a boutique firm.

“I had worked on mixed-use development joint ventures with J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Global Real Assets while at my previous firm. During that time I also worked with Hanley Investment Group SVP Carlos Lopez on sourcing retail investment opportunities,” Babak Ziai, founder of BrandView Capital Partners, tells GlobeSt.com. “I regularly communicated with both firms after founding BrandView Capital Partners, so relationships, teamwork and having a flexible platform made it happen. I think this transaction underscores the value proposition of boutique real estate firms to help institutional investors source and operate unique investment opportunities.” BrandView Capital Partners is providing owner’s representation services for the property of behalf of J.P. Morgan.

Located at 1705 and 1755 Ocean Avenue, the property sits on the oceanfront and is 85% leased to lifestyle and food retail tenants. “This property was a timely fit for J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s retail investment platform, which is increasingly focused on highly differentiated urban retail opportunities within top-tier markets,” says Ziai, adding that the property should be fully leased by this summer.

J.P. Morgan will continue to look for opportunities in the market, especially those that facilitate an 18-hour live/work/play lifestyle. “As a long-term core holding on behalf of institutional investors in J.P. Morgan’s retail portfolio, the property will benefit from the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Santa Monica and transformative public infrastructure projects in the immediate area like the recently completed Metro Expo Line station and the recently completed Tongva Park,” says Ziai.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

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