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Equity Office Daily Brief: July 27, 2016

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Daily Brief

July 27, 2016

  EquilityOffice

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Economy Watch: CRE Execs Still Mostly Optimistic

Commercial Property Executive

 

Akerman LLP’s seventh annual U.S. Real Estate Sector Report, which the national law firm released recently, found steady optimism among a majority of top commercial real estate executives, despite global jitters and a volatile investment market. Ninety-two percent of executives surveyed had...

 


The Changing Nature of Property Management

National Real Estate Investor

 

It is no cutting-edge revelation that technology is changing the way we do business. It’s as true for property management as it is for any other line of real estate business. But property managers face a specific challenge in dealing with that...

 


Car-Shopping Guide Edmunds Opens HQ That Rivals Tech Giants For Fun Features

Forbes

 

Edmunds, the vehicle-shopping network that originated as a series of booklets with specs, is marking its 50th anniversary with new headquarters to rival any tech giant. The multi-million dollar Santa Monica, Calif. office, designed by M+M Creative Studio, anchors the Colorado Center...

 


Office Tenant Announced for Big Arts District Project

Los Angeles Downtown News

 

DTLA - Developer and property owner Atlas Capital in 2014 bought the massive, salmon-colored complex at Seventh and Alameda streets that includes the headquarters of American Apparel.It announced plans to turn it into Row DTLA, a mix of creative office space,...

 


Former Van Nuys Hotel Site Sold

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

The site of the former Voyager Motor Inn in Van Nuys has been sold to an apartment developer, according to New York commercial real estate brokerage Berkadia. IMT Residential, the property management arm of L.A. multifamily real estate investment firm IMT Capital,...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Neighborhood Retail Center in Santa Clarita Sells for $58 Mil

RENTV.com

 

Northpark Village Square, an 87.1k sf neighborhood shopping center in the Santa Clarita Valley community of Valencia, was acquired for $58 mil ($665/sf) by Inland Retail Property Fund LP, a newly formed investment fund sponsored by Inland Institutional Capital Partners Corporation...

 


U.S. Office Sector Enjoys Steady Q2 Leasing Momentum Even as Rent Growth Slows, Sales Stall

CoStar.com

 

The U.S. office market continued its steady momentum in the second quarter, recording 39.4 million square feet of net absorption in the first six months of 2016, nearly equaling the 40.2 million square feet absorbed during the record-setting first half of...

 


Hines Gets Back Its $225M on Office Deal

GlobeSt.com

 

Douglas Emmett in a consolidated joint venture with Qatar Investment Authority has acquired a class-A office property in the Brentwood submarket of West Los Angeles for $225 million from Hines. Hines had purchased the property in 2007 for the same $225...

 

FULL TEXT


Economy Watch: CRE Execs Still Mostly Optimistic

Commercial Property Executive

 

Akerman LLP’s seventh annual U.S. Real Estate Sector Report, which the national law firm released recently, found steady optimism among a majority of top commercial real estate executives, despite global jitters and a volatile investment market. Ninety-two percent of executives surveyed had little or no change in their optimism compared to last year, mainly due to strong U.S. real estate fundamentals.

After a six-year recovery, however, there’s also cyclic expectancy among CRE executives, and a sense that a slowdown is a sign of a healthy market correction. Even so, as long as the U.S. economy continues to show momentum, the Akerman report expects positive activity through the end of 2016, including greater investor appetite in smaller markets and increasing focus on longer-term investment opportunities.

The respondents cited a number of trends that will have the most impact on short-term real estate development. One is generation-specific housing. Thirty-four percent of real estate executives believe the aging population and its housing preferences will have the greatest effect on real estate development in the next three to five years.

Another trend is “co-urbanism.” Twenty-nine percent of executives say changing lifestyle preferences in compact city centers and a shift to a sharing economy will have a significant impact on real estate development in the near-term. Along the same lines, 14 percent believe office mobility and collaborative workplace design are key trends shaping the next iteration of office buildings.

Also, 15 percent of real estate executives ranked the effects of technology as one of the most important issues impacting real estate. Ransomeware and other attacks designed to manipulate systems or seize private information have brought attention to the industry’s exposure to cyber risk, as well as the need to develop a security and privacy framework as technology in the sector advances.

-Dees Stribling

The Changing Nature of Property Management

National Real Estate Investor

 

It is no cutting-edge revelation that technology is changing the way we do business. It’s as true for property management as it is for any other line of real estate business.

But property managers face a specific challenge in dealing with that reality in that the practice of management is traditionally a face-to-face, hands-on business. How does our growing ability to monitor and respond to issues remotely sync up with that age-old expectation? The answer is the two are not mutually exclusive.

Indeed, property management today is at a juncture at which we split from old methodologies and preconceived notions to follow a new path of efficiency and customer service.

First some facts. As was recorded during an IREM webinar, to best meet today's customers’ expectations, the smartest service teams are making use of specially-designed software and apps on smart devices like iPads, smart phones and many other tools that are coming onto the playing field daily. Doing so can deliver benefits for managers and occupants alike, including a 45 percent increase in productivity and a 44 percent jump in efficiency.

It’s simply a function of the modern 24/7 mode of work. We’re communicating all the time and so doing more through the above-named devices, social media and emails. But remember, so too are all of our occupants, whether those occupants are residential or commercial. Technologies are assisting in all parts of our day, whether it’s remote meeting capabilities, lease renewals, virtual building tours or online banking.

We all want service, but we want it done quickly and efficiently. The tools available to us today make us as property managers more proactive than ever before while simultaneously making us more responsive to the needs and wants of our constituents. Everyone gains.

Well, not everyone. While the cost of technology is generally always coming down, certain systems, such as remote applications for monitoring building equipment, can carry hefty price tags. And there are those of the older guard who might balk at the expense or at the very challenge of doing things other than how they were done years ago. Their choice is to render themselves irrelevant or to keep up in order to increase their own profit margins.

And we must note here the overplayed hype of Milennials and technology. Yes, the generation that is taking hold of a greater percentage of the workforce is savvier than all others as to the applications of technology, and indeed, they do reinforce its need. But, by-and-large, they are not as yet in decision-making capacities, not at least in business. No, tech is advancing on its own. We’re all merely adopters.

At IREM’s Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington DC earlier this year, keynote speaker John Santora, of Cushman & Wakefield, made an important point about relationships. He said that if a manager has to introduce himself to the building receptionist, she or he is not doing their job.

The importance of having a face-to-face presence will never go away. But more than ever, it’s presence with a purpose. We’re in a new day of management where our frontline constituents—our occupants—recognize and appreciate the efficiency of our operations as much as our onsite presence. After all, they’ve experienced the power of tech in every other aspect of their lives. They expect it in their building operations as well.

The essentials of good management will never change. The tools available to us today simply allow us to employ those essentials in a way that makes sense.

-Chris Mellen

Car-Shopping Guide Edmunds Opens HQ That Rivals Tech Giants For Fun Features

Forbes

 

Edmunds, the vehicle-shopping network that originated as a series of booklets with specs, is marking its 50th anniversary with new headquarters to rival any tech giant.

The multi-million dollar Santa Monica, Calif. office, designed by M+M Creative Studio, anchors the Colorado Center complex, shared by high-profile tenants such as Hulu and HBO. Edmunds opens its doors to the two-story, 143,000-square-foot “EdQuarters” this evening for its semi-annual all-company meeting, but my sneak peak last week suggested that Edmunds hit its mark.

When I arrived on Wednesday, the parking garage elevator opened directly into Edmunds’ vast central atrium, which looked more like a circus than an office. The open space, done up in oversized fonts and primary colors, caught the scent of popcorn budding from nearby carnival-style machines.

“This is Day Three,” said Edmunds C.E.O. Avi Steinlauf. “You’re looking at it.” Mounted overhead was a gravitational feat – 6,000 pounds of Corvette suspended from the second floor rotated – one from 1966, Edmunds’ founding year, and a 2016 model representing its golden anniversary.

But it’s not all fun and games. The new space has 55 conference rooms – a 75% increase over the old space across the street, which Edmunds occupied for 10 years – named after autos manufacturers, in alphabetical order. From Audi to Volkswagen, the rooms boast ample whiteboard space for brainstorming – 35 square feet per employee, to be exact. “I don’t know how many football fields that is, but it’s a lot,” Steinlauf said.We walked through the maze of rooms until a stainless steel slide jutted into our path. A marketing manager named Dave called down to Steinlauf from the second floor.

“I just got here,” he said, referring to the new EdQuarters. “I’m so in shock.” He mounted the slide and landed at our feet with a thud. “Wow, that thing is fast,” he said before casually heading to his next task. “Beautiful work.”

What’s most impressive about Edmunds’ new office is that everyone has a desk, but no one is required to sit at it. There’s the LED-lit, umbrella-shaded patio replete with water features and movie projectors, the expansive coffee bar with a frozen yogurt machine that’s proved especially popular, or a plethora of couches, armchairs and seats tucked away in serpentine nooks. Five of them even hang from the ceiling.

But employees aren’t even required to go into the office – ever. Edmunds’ results-only work environment (ROWE) guidelines stipulate that workers can stay at home, or travel Timbuktu, as long as they meet their obligations. But it’s hard to say which place promotes the most productivity. Undoubtedly, the new office boasts plenty of distractions. It has six phone booths for private calls, fragrant balconies replete with jacaranda and honeysuckle, and two 600-gallon saltwater fish tanks with coastal motifs. The East Coast aquarium includes replicas of the Empire State Building, Gateway Arch, and Willis Tower. The more relaxed West Coast aquarium has the Capital Records building, Santa Monica Pier, Space Needle, and Golden Gate Bridge.

Edmunds signed a 12-year lease, signifying it expects its mobile, social and sales businesses to thrive even as the automotive industry changes, heading toward ride-hailing services and autonomous systems. “We see it in a whole bunch of places that ought to generate growth,” Steinlauf said. “Every side of our business is growing now.”

And if you’re interested, they’re hiring.

-Jaclyn Trop

Office Tenant Announced for Big Arts District Project

Los Angeles Downtown News

 

DTLA - Developer and property owner Atlas Capital in 2014 bought the massive, salmon-colored complex at Seventh and Alameda streets that includes the headquarters of American Apparel.It announced plans to turn it into Row DTLA, a mix of creative office space, retail and restaurants, and become a new gathering point for the community. Last week, it revealed its first new office tenant: Shared workspace company Real Office Centers will take over nearly 27,000 square feet of space. Real Office Centers signed a 15-year lease at Row DTLA; this will be its 13th branch and first location in Downtown Los Angeles (the two closest outposts are in Santa Monica). Industry Partners is handling leasing for Row DTLA’s roughly 1.3 million square feet of creative office space. Real Office Centers is expected to move in to the complex in the fall. Atlas in May announced its first retail lease, interior design store A+R.

-Staff

Former Van Nuys Hotel Site Sold

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

The site of the former Voyager Motor Inn in Van Nuys has been sold to an apartment developer, according to New York commercial real estate brokerage Berkadia.

IMT Residential, the property management arm of L.A. multifamily real estate investment firm IMT Capital, paid $10.15 million for the 1.22-acre parcel at 6500 Sepulveda Blvd. from L.A.-based Maryland Estates Inc. in an all-cash deal, said Berkadia.

Zoned for residential, the site can potentially hold around 130 units and sits near Interstate 405 and the 101 Freeway.

“We are excited to continue the expansion of our portfolio with the addition of another multifamily development project in the area,” said David Tedesco, principal of IMT Capital, in a statement.

The 45,000-square-foot structure was reported to have been an apartment building when it was built in 1964 but at some point changed to a hotel. A fire in 2013 destroyed the majority of the hotel.

Berkadia Director Daniel Withers negotiated the deal on behalf of the seller.

-Staff

Neighborhood Retail Center in Santa Clarita Sells for $58 Mil

RENTV.com

 

Northpark Village Square, an 87.1k sf neighborhood shopping center in the Santa Clarita Valley community of Valencia, was acquired for $58 mil ($665/sf) by Inland Retail Property Fund LP, a newly formed investment fund sponsored by Inland Institutional Capital Partners Corporation (ICAP). The property is anchored by a Ralphs Market and a Rite Aid Drug Store. Located at 27756 McBean Pkwy, at the heavily-trafficked intersection of McBean and Decoro Rd in Valencia, Northpark Village Square is the dominant grocery/drug store-anchored center in the region with a roster of tenants that also includes Wells Fargo Bank, Starbucks, a Circle-K convenience store and a Mobil gas station. The property was sold by institutional giant TIAA. It was fully leased and managed by NewMark Merrill Companies at the time of sale. Michelle Schierber and Don Ellis of Colliers International represented the pension-fund seller in the transaction. Matthew Tice with Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc advised ICAP. “With both a high-performing Ralph’s grocery and a national chain drug store anchor in place, and with a dwindling supply of such dual-anchor centers available in Southern California, the center’s attractiveness to investors rose dramatically,” Schierberl said.

-Staff

U.S. Office Sector Enjoys Steady Q2 Leasing Momentum Even as Rent Growth Slows, Sales Stall

CoStar.com

 

The U.S. office market continued its steady momentum in the second quarter, recording 39.4 million square feet of net absorption in the first six months of 2016, nearly equaling the 40.2 million square feet absorbed during the record-setting first half of last year. The U.S. office vacancy rate ticked down another 15 basis points to 10.6% in the second quarter of 2016, well below the long-term historical vacancy rate of 11.3%. CoStar analysts expect the office vacancy rate to continue trending lower before bottoming out at around 10.2% in 2018, about the same as lowest point of the last real estate cycle. "Basically, we expect to have two more years of occupancy recovery in the office market," noted Walter Page, CoStar's director of office research, who presented the Mid-Year 2016 Office Review and Forecast along with Hans Nordby, managing director for CoStar Portfolio Strategy and CoStar senior real estate economist Paul Leonard. Several markets showed marked improvement at mid-year, including ones that were previously struggling, such as Phoenix, which posted positive absorption of 3.4 million square feet. In Seattle, which has enjoyed a particularly strong run, Amazon's ongoing expansion helped drive 3.1 million square feet in net absorption. Even Washington DC saw a welcome return of strength in the second quarter after several years of flat demand growth. The D.C. office market absorbed a respectable 2.3 million square feet over the last four quarters. "Finally, we’re starting to see some momentum in the D.C. marketplace, which should allow the vacancy numbers to start inching downward," said Page. There were several notable exceptions. The energy sector slowdown and corporate relocations related to the completion of several pending build-to-suit projects played a role in Houston and Dallas, which recorded absorption declines of 2.4 million and 3.7 million square feet, respectively, since mid-year 2015. San Francisco, Raleigh, Boston and San Diego also logged declines due to a variety of factors. But for the most part, the vast majority of office submarkets -- 66% -- saw their office vacancy decline in the second quarter, and more than half of all U.S. office submarkets have a lower vacancy rate than during the previous market peak in 2006-2007.

Demand for High Quality Space Resulting in Limited Supply

In a theme seen in many markets across the country, the supply of available space in newer, higher-quality office buildings is becoming increasingly limited. With relatively little new development in the pipeline based on historical levels, only about 81 million square feet of space is available today in buildings constructed over the last 10 years. That total is less than half the 167 million square feet of vacant newer space that was available in 2007, according to CoStar's analysis. "While there are some exceptions where plenty of high quality, new office space remains available, such as Houston and Washington, DC, for the most part we're really tight on nice, new space," noted Page. As evidence, Page noted that the vacancy rate for 4- and 5-Star office properties remained unchanged at 11.7%, despite the fact that 90% of the new office space added to the market falls into that category. Suburban office markets also continued to see increasing activity as large blocks of high-quality space become harder to find -- and more expensive -- in most major markets, with the exception of Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta, where large blocks of downtown space remain readily available. "Part of the story is that it’s now the suburbs’ turn in the cycle, and part of it is that the CBDs were so successful earlier in the recovery cycle that there’s no place left to grow," Nordby said. As investors begin to focus on which markets are the most recession-resistant in the later innings of the recovery, certain niches such as medical office space stand out, Nordby said. Demand growth is nearly twice as strong for medical office as for regular office, and over the long term, medical office has grown at about 1.3% annual rate compared to 0.7% for the broader office market, Page said. The medical office sector, which has never had negative demand growth, even during the two recessionary periods since 2000, had a midyear vacancy rate of 8% compared to the broader market's 10.6%. Office construction stayed flat in the second quarter at about 130 million square feet under way, due in part of a large decline in Houston. But building activity is still slightly above its long-term average of 125 million square feet, with increased construction in D.C. and Atlanta, among other metros.

Some Cautionary Yellow Flags

While leasing and absorption levels remain robust and construction still well below historic levels, the U.S. office market did see some cautionary flags in the second quarter, including a big slowdown in office sales activity and the beginning of a slowdown in rent growth. CoStar is projecting office rent growth will likely finish the year at an average of 3.4% and decelerate to the low 3% range over the next year. As with all trends, there will likely be a few exceptions, including the Nashville, Atlanta and Florida markets, where lower rents earlier in the cycle have limited construction. Also, rent growth in CBDs is expected to continue to outpace suburban markets. Meanwhile, reflecting declines across all the property types, the volume of office sales completed in the first half of 2016 declined compared to the same period one year earlier, according to preliminary CoStar data. "It's a worry," Nordby said. "A decrease in transaction volume generally portends a decrease or at least a flattening in prices." And in another historical sign of softening demand, rising levels of surplus space placed on the sublease market by tenants, is rising in a few markets. In Houston, the contraction of large energy tenants has caused sublet space to balloon to more than 3.5% of total inventory. Companies such as Shell, ConocoPhillips, and BP have each put 500,000 square feet on the sublet market in recent quarters.

-Staff

Hines Gets Back Its $225M on Office Deal

GlobeSt.com

 

Douglas Emmett in a consolidated joint venture with Qatar Investment Authority has acquired a class-A office property in the Brentwood submarket of West Los Angeles for $225 million from Hines. Hines had purchased the property in 2007 for the same $225 million price tag, and held it through the recession after prices fell. Located at 12100 Wilshire Blvd., the property is 365,000 square feet and 77% leased.

“It was good that Hines could hold onto it as long as they did to get back to the price that they paid for it in the last peak,” Aleks Trifunovic, president of the Lee & Associates West L.A. office, tells GlobeSt.com. I am sure that Hines was happy to dispose of the building at the price that they paid for it.” Trifunovic is a market expert and was not involved in the transaction. Both Douglas Emmett and Hines did not respond to a request for comment.

This acquisition increases Douglas Emmett’s already tight hold in the Brentwood office market from 50% to 61%. In total, the investor owns 67 office properties totaling 17.6 million square feet. “This also allows Douglas Emmett to increase their hold on West Los Angeles of class-A and class-B office space,” adds Trifunovic. “They have significant scale, and are probably the largest owner now or one of the largest owners of class-A and class-B office space in this market. This buy really allows them to continue to grow their control over the marketplace. It is a great acquisition for them.”

Douglas Emmett will manage the joint venture and plans to retain 20% to 30% ownership in the property. It acquired the property with a $90 million loan at a floating rate of Libor plus 1.55% and a three-year term.

It isn’t totally clear what the joint venture’s plans are for the property, however, with a 77% occupancy rate, there is tremendous upside potential at the property. Douglas Emmett’s office portfolio in the Brentwood market is 97% leased.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Daily Brief July 27, 2016 unsubscribe

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