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Equity Office Daily Brief: October 13, 2017

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Daily Brief

October 13, 2017

  EquilityOffice

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Planning Commission OKs proposal for two-story office and more parking in historically cramped commercial area

Los Angeles Times

 

An empty parcel at 1109 Foothill Blvd. currently being used for parking could soon become a two-story medical office building after planning commissioners moved the project forward Tuesday, making the necessary recommendations to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council for consideration. The...

 


Why This Year Could Be A Turning Point For Suburban Office

Forbes

 

Following the Great Recession, U.S. companies flocked to downtown areas to take advantage of lower rents and young employees in the urban core. But with rents now rising in urban centers and millennials growing up and moving to the suburbs, market experts are beginning to see that trend reverse course.  "We're...

 


Why The Commercial Real Estate Industry Is Still Hesitant To Share Data

Forbes

 

Although commercial real estate has been famously sluggish in its technology adoption, the industry's reluctance may stem from having been burned in the past. Such was the case when industry professionals turned to data providers like CoStar to share information, Reonomy founder and CEO Rich Sarkis said during a panel...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Culver City's Biggest Office Deal Yet

GlobeSt

 

Culver City is heating up fast. Just as we reported that office investors are becoming more bullish on the market—with an expectation that it will soon outperform surrounding markets—one of the largest office transactions, and the largest since the Sony deal...

 


AltaSea, New Incubator Key Part Of Drawing Innovation To San Pedro

BISNOW

 

San Pedro, a community on the LA waterfront, could become the area's next tech hub. AltaSea, an innovation campus at the Port of Los Angeles, is a key part of drawing in businesses tied to ocean science and fostering new ones...

 


Texans' Love Of Business And Philly's Great Location Could Win Amazon's HQ2

BISNOW

 

If Amazon uses Moody’s Analytics to determine where it will build its second headquarters, there could eventually be 50,000 Amazon employees swarming Austin's city limits.  Moody's, a financial services company, ranked the top markets vying for HQ2 based on Amazon’s emphasis in its...

 


New Leases Signed at Office Building Near Culver City

urbanize.LA

 

Following a $5-million renovation by Watt Investment, new leases have been signed at 3000 South Robertson near Culver City. Built in the mid-1980s, the property features over 100,000 square feet of rentable space across four floors and a dedicated parking structure.  Real estate...

 


Plans for a 21-story tower dropped from massive Figueroa Street project

CurbedLA

 

A major new mixed use development proposed for Exposition Park may be a little lower to the ground than earlier plans suggested. Called The Fig, the project is set to rise at 3900 South Figueroa Street—directly across the street from the under-construction Banc of California Stadium....

 

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Planning Commission OKs proposal for two-story office and more parking in historically cramped commercial area

Los Angeles Times

 

An empty parcel at 1109 Foothill Blvd. currently being used for parking could soon become a two-story medical office building after planning commissioners moved the project forward Tuesday, making the necessary recommendations to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council for consideration.

The project — a plan nearly seven years in the works, according to property owner physician Cecilia Kaesler — would also include the annexation of a 5,600-square-foot lot previously owned by Caltrans and a reconfiguration of parking spaces behind the Foothill businesses, north of Valley Sun Lane, that would boost the total number of spots from nine to 19.

Commissioners and La Cañada planning department officials agreed that the plan to add spaces would improve logistics in the commercial area, where battles over parking have reportedly escalated to the writing of nasty notes and threats involving the county Sheriff’s Department.

“Staff believes this is a good solution for an area that does have a severe parking shortage at the current time,” said Deputy Community Development Director Susan Koleda.

Due to the scarcity of parking for businesses on the block, some of which predate the city’s 1976 incorporation and, therefore, the requirement of providing one space for every 250 square feet of gross floor area, commissioners recommended merging three contiguous parking parcels north of Valley Sun Lane into a single lot.

Together, those 19 spaces are to be used solely by the businesses occupying 1109, 1111 and 1113 Foothill Blvd., all of which are owned by Cecilia and Rudy Kaesler. To ensure that covenant remains intact moving forward, commissioners asked the couple also agree to merge the three commercial lots into a single lot operating with three separate addresses.

“It’s very important, at least in my view, that these three lots should be merged together,” Commissioner Arun Jain said.

Cecilia Kaesler, an internist who currently sees patients in her office at 1113 Foothill Blvd., explained her plans to build more space to someday accommodate a part-time physician, so she could decrease her own hours. The 2,450-square-foot building would have two stories in the front, as seen from Foothill, but would be a single story as seen from Valley Sun Lane, north of the properties.

The physician said neither she nor her husband have any desire to sell off individual lots.

“I’ll probably be practicing for the next 25 years, and we’re hoping to keep everything together,” she told commissioners. “We’re not moving, because this is our home.”

The couple secured a portion of land owned by Caltrans to create additional parking in the back, in order to ease historic tensions over spaces.

“I’ve had patients who’ve had threats put on their car by other tenants,” Cecilia Kaesler said, recounting a judge who once notified the Sheriff’s Department after receiving a threat from someone at a neighboring business. “We’re just trying to decompress the situation.”

Planning officials said the commission’s recommendations for a general plan amendment and zone change recognizing the addition of the 5,600-square-foot parking parcel would be heard by the City Council soon. Once approved, the Kaeslers would first build out the parking lot before moving onto the construction of the office space, at the city’s request.

-Sara Cardine

Why This Year Could Be A Turning Point For Suburban Office

Forbes

 

Following the Great Recession, U.S. companies flocked to downtown areas to take advantage of lower rents and young employees in the urban core. But with rents now rising in urban centers and millennials growing up and moving to the suburbs, market experts are beginning to see that trend reverse course. 

"We're at the beginning of what we perceive to be a turning point for suburban office," Marcus & Millichap First Vice President of Research Services John Chang said.

Chang, who will discuss suburban office trends at NAIOP's Office Evolution event on Nov. 9 in Brooklyn, said downtown vacancy rates in U.S. cities dropped from 16% to below 14% between 2010 and 2015. As markets tightened, the discounted post-recession rents that had drawn companies to the urban core began to disappear, and he said downtown rental rates have recently surpassed their pre-recession levels.

Companies might be willing to swallow the rent hikes if their talent base required they maintain a downtown office, but Chang said the demographics have also begun to shift.

The millennial generation has grown up to a median age in the mid- to late 20s, and the average age people are getting married is around 29, Chang said. As young people are getting married, they are moving to more suburban environments, a trend Chang expects to continue.

"Over the next five years, the majority of millennials will start to move into that age where they're getting married and starting families and that will be a key driver," Chang said. "When they do that, these suburban locations with amenities are going to be favored."

These changing trends, which Chang said researchers only began to notice over the last year, have created a boon for some suburban office markets. It has been strongest around big cities where downtown rents have risen the most, Chang said, identifying Dallas and Washington, D.C., as two primary examples.

Toyota earlier this year opened its new billion-dollar North American HQ in the Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas. Other companies, such as Alliance Data and Frito Lay, have also opened HQs there.

The key to the success of the Plano market, Chang said, has been the residential and retail offerings that have turned it into a mixed-use destination. Having large office buildings and surface parking lots is no longer enough for a successful suburban office market, and he said landlords must focus on creating amenity-rich environments.

"You can't do it with just an office building, you have to have other amenities associated with it," Chang said. "You have to create a walkability that is comparable to what you would see downtown where there are restaurants nearby you can walk to."

In addition to food and beverage offerings, landlords are also adding more amenities to the office buildings themselves such as fitness centers and open social spaces with games and activities.

Investors have also started to see this trend back toward suburban offices, Chang said. He has seen a rise in capital flowing into suburban office parks, with investors repositioning assets to create the amenities tenants desire.

"For investors who want to get ahead of this curve, they can generate a bit higher yield and see additional rewards as we go through this transition with more people focusing on a suburban lifestyle," Chang said.

Another key to creating successful suburban office markets is access to transit. In D.C.'s Northern Virginia suburbs, a 23-mile addition to the region's Metro system, the Silver Line, has boosted the area's office market. Earlier this year, Amazon Web Servicessigned a 400K SF full-building lease at a property along the Silver Line corridor. Creating new transit lines not only makes it easier for office tenants to get downtown, Chang said, but it fosters the creation of mixed-use environments in the suburbs.

"As a transit line comes out and they create a transit center, it gives access to urban amenities and urban employment opportunities that are naturally conducive to growing residential and retail in that area," Chang said. "Transit nodes can be very supportive of creating the suburban office environment that has the walkability and amenities people are looking for."

But even suburban office parks not situated near public transit have found new ways to improve access for tenants. A large owner of suburban D.C. offices, PS Business Parks, recently launched a partnership with Uber to provide its tenants with free rides to the Metro and to nearby retail centers. Some suburban landlords have also created their own shuttle services to give employees access to transit and amenities, Chang said.

"Office investors are demonstrating creativity in how they're trying to enhance the value of properties," Chang said. "Even when they're not right on top of a transit hub, they're finding other ways to create the same kind of value proposition as you would get in one of those locations."

Chang said 2017 only marks the beginning of this trend, and he expects the move toward suburban office to accelerate over the next decade.

"As you look forward five years and 10 years, you see there is a significant demographic shift to the suburbs," Chang said. "We're anticipating that will support the demand for suburban office."

-Joe Banister

Why The Commercial Real Estate Industry Is Still Hesitant To Share Data

Forbes

 

Although commercial real estate has been famously sluggish in its technology adoption, the industry's reluctance may stem from having been burned in the past.

Such was the case when industry professionals turned to data providers like CoStar to share information, Reonomy founder and CEO Rich Sarkis said during a panel at Wednesday’s MIPIM PropTech NYC Summit in Midtown.

“Once upon a time, they started giving their data to some of the data providers like CoStar and others and then that data was taken, repackaged and sold back to the brokerage firms … it no longer data,” Sarkis said. “I think there’s this psychological block now that’s saying, 'conceptually, we understand that sharing our data is more valuable and we are willing to give to get, but then how do you ensure we’re able to use our data and that it's still ours?’”

Why The Hesitancy 

Traditionally, the more data real estate companies had in their arsenal, the better their competitive edge.

“The data has always been there,” Sarkis said. "It’s been in people’s heads — a Rolodex of clients, deals, etc. Increasingly, practitioners in the space have become aware they are sitting on a treasure trove of hard data."

Although this is still true today, technology is making the industry more transparent and data easily accessible. Commercial real estate companies’ need to stand out from the competition by leveraging their particular data sets has some in the industry hesitant to share that information with data analytics providers.

“Conceptually, people want to share data,” Sarkis said. "In practice, they’re hesitant to do so given what they have experienced."

Colliers International Vice Chairman in New York Marcus Rayner said not only is sharing data still a fairly nascent concept in the industry, but many companies question the veracity of that curated data on a day-to-day basis.

“We may subscribe to CoStar, but we don’t take CoStar’s rents. We have our own conversations with the brokers and landlords to get the right ones,” Rayner said. “Anybody assemble large amounts of data —  you will need those very large platforms … in order to distill it.”

A Coming Shift 

Firms like Reonomy and Real Capital Analytics are freeing up time for brokers, developers and lenders by curating massive amounts of information on their behalf. By using machine learning and algorithms to collect and sift through raw data, these firms are providing clients with refined, user-friendly data that increases efficiency and allows clients to make more informed decisions quicker.

“When I started the company, we were scrounging, turning over every rock to find information on a deal,” Real Capital Analytics founder and President Robert White said.  "Today, it’s different. There is an increasing amount of information out there. Having a curated data set is very important. For clients, filtering out the noise and bad data, and keeping it vetted and curated, is what’s prized in the marketplace."

Already the industry is seeing a shift as companies discover the value of these data analytics providers and come to terms with the fact that they are not a threat to their jobs, but rather a liberator from more mundane tasks, Sarkis said.

“ should not be collecting data, cleansing it and housing it; machines are infinitely better at doing that,” Sarkis said. "Let humans at the brokerage firms and other companies through the CRE ecosystem look at the data sets and spot the trends."

-Champaign Williams

Culver City's Biggest Office Deal Yet

GlobeSt

 

Culver City is heating up fast. Just as we reported that office investors are becoming more bullish on the market—with an expectation that it will soon outperform surrounding markets—one of the largest office transactions, and the largest since the Sony deal in 2014, has closed. Northwood Investors purchased 800 Corporate Point from Vornado Realty Trust for $148 million, making it one of the largest transactions in the market and the largest in several years.

“Values have been trending upward in Culver City and this transaction reflects that improving trend line,” Kevin Shannon, West Coast capital markets president at NKF, tells GlobeSt.com. “The investment market is healthy and firing on all cylinders especially in desirable markets like West Los Angeles. There is plenty of both equity and debt for markets like Culver City, which is putting upward pressure on pricing. The improving submarket fundamentals on the leasing front is augmenting this upward pressure.” Shannon represented the seller in the deal.

It isn’t only the high pricing that is impressive. Shannon and his team—which includes executive managing director Ken White, senior managing director Rob Hannan, and managing directors Michael Moll and Laura Stumm—saw strong interest and competition for this asset from domestic and foreign capital and both core and core-plus funds. “Culver City has been getting increasingly more popular with capital over the last few years,” says Shannon. “As Playa Vista gets closer to being fully built out, investors have headed to markets proximate to Playa Vista that are benefitting from increased tenant demand like Culver City and El Segundo. They have gone to where the puck is going relative to tenants. These investors are repositioning many of these assets and creating a work environment similar to Playa at significantly lower rents.” The final buyer was advising capital from Europe.

In 2014, the Sony building traded hands for $159 million, which was also sold by Shannon and his team. It has taken three years to produce another significant transaction like this, but transaction activity has been steadily increasing. “There have been several sales in Culver City in the last few years but none as large as Sony and 800 Corporate Pointe,” adds Shannon. “This is the largest office deal in Culver City since our team sold the Sony campus in November of 2014 for $159 million to LBA.”

Shannon’s team also secured 12-year interest-only debt on behalf of the buyer. The debt markets are hungry for quality sponsors, and Shannon says that is contributing to the increased activity. “The debt market for core assets like this with a quality sponsorship like Northwood is frothy, which is helping to drive values on all sale transactions right now,” he adds.

800 Corporate Point is a four-story 245,786-square-foot class-A office building and was built in 2007.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

AltaSea, New Incubator Key Part Of Drawing Innovation To San Pedro

BISNOW

 

San Pedro, a community on the LA waterfront, could become the area's next tech hub.

AltaSea, an innovation campus at the Port of Los Angeles, is a key part of drawing in businesses tied to ocean science and fostering new ones — something that will be further supported by the creation of a new incubator announced this week.San Pedro is embracing change and innovation after decades as one of the world's busiest ports, AltaSea Executive Director Jenny Krusoe said.

"Now, as the economy changes and the port evolves, the community around the port understands the need for evolution and change, too," she said.

The focus of AltaSea's public-private partnership is on encouraging aquaculture and blue technologies, including underwater robotics and wave power.

On a 35-acre campus, the AltaSea facilities include 240K SF of flexible warehouse space on the wharf 10 minutes from deep water. The $150M Phase 1 of the project created 4,200 temporary jobs, 1,350 permanent jobs and $290M in annual increased economic activity.

Krusoe said the nonprofit provides a platform that connects technology, science, sustainable business creation and STEM education. That blend will appeal to companies as they consider the community as a place to locate.

"As other nearby tech centers become more expensive and crowded, San Pedro offers modern facilities and services, affordable housing, a great lifestyle and easy access to all the cultural, technical and other resources of one of the world's great cities," Krusoe said.

Krusoe said she ultimately wants to see the partners, tenants and initiatives coming out of AltaSea foster new ventures and support tech firms and the community.

She said the launch of the La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator announced Tuesday is the latest example. The incubator will focus on sustainable technology companies connected to the ocean.

AltaSea and Morton La Kretz, a philanthropist and businessman, have signed a grant agreement to create and fund the incubator.

"The newest addition to AltaSea will attract the world-class leaders and promising companies that can leverage the opportunities our ocean presents for research, exploration and innovation," La Kretz said in a statement.

Learn more about AltaSea's role in San Pedro's transformation at Bisnow's Future of LA Waterfront: San Pedro and Ports O'Call event Oct. 19 at the Topaz San Pedro Waterfront, 222 West Sixth St., in San Pedro.

-Allison Nagel

Texans' Love Of Business And Philly's Great Location Could Win Amazon's HQ2

BISNOW

 

If Amazon uses Moody’s Analytics to determine where it will build its second headquarters, there could eventually be 50,000 Amazon employees swarming Austin's city limits. 

Moody's, a financial services company, ranked the top markets vying for HQ2 based on Amazon’s emphasis in its request for proposals on business environment, human capital, cost of living, quality of life and transportation access. While the top 10 includes surprising contenders like Rochester, New York, Austin emerged as the overall winner. 

The news that Amazon was willing to build a $5B, 8M SF second headquarters outside of Seattle and fill it with thousands of high-paying jobs sparked a bidding war across North America. Around 50 cities are expected to submit bids to win over the company, and many expect leaders to court the company through financial incentives. 

Austin was already viewed as a leading candidate for HQ2 due to its existing tech hub status, but it also trounces other markets in Amazon’s RFP criteria for a stable and business-friendly environment. At $19.1B annually, Texas doles out the most business incentives of any U.S. state. From 2005 to 2012, Amazon received $277M in Texas business incentives for fulfillment centers, making it the largest corporate recipient of state grants. 

“A key thing to remember is it often comes down to more than tax incentives,” Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center research associate Megan Randall said to Bisnow. “Research shows regional factors like infrastructure and workforce and waterways that are beyond a city or state’s control in the short term often make more of an impact.”

Human capital in the form of a skilled workforce is extremely important for HQ2, which is why some view places with a heavy concentration of universities like Boston as extremely competitive in the bidding process. But Moody’s also measured the flow of skilled workers and how easy it will be for Amazon to hire from an abundant supply of relevant labor. Los Angeles, New York and Washington ended up scoring the highest overall for human capital. Dallas and Nashville scored high marks for business environment.

Factors like cost of living and quality of life often presented trade-offs. Areas like Memphis and Oklahoma City got top scores for their lower cost of living, but they did not have the quality-of-life rankings seen by pricier places like New York, Seattle and San Francisco. 

Slow and steady might ultimately win out. Consistency pays off in the Moody’s ranking, and, if geography is added to the mix, the cards play in Philadelphia’s favor. 

While it never was the leading contender in any of the criteria, Philadelphia was also never the worst. The Pennsylvania city goes from third to first when emphasis is also placed on where in the country HQ2 should be. Amazon would likely want its second headquarters to be far away from its main Seattle campus, and many see the East Coast as the best option. The Northeast corridor offers a presence in one of the country’s most economically important regions as well as easy access to the D.C. political hub where Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns both a home and the Washington Post. 

-Cameron Sperance

New Leases Signed at Office Building Near Culver City

urbanize.LA

 

Following a $5-million renovation by Watt Investment, new leases have been signed at 3000 South Robertson near Culver City.

Built in the mid-1980s, the property features over 100,000 square feet of rentable space across four floors and a dedicated parking structure.  Real estate firm NKF has signed three leases totaling 22,724 square feet at the building.  The new tenants include the Michelson Foundation, Universal Protection Services and Complete Care.

Located just north of the Santa Monica Freeway, the property is being marketed for its proximity to the Expo Line's Culver City Station and the $500-million Ivy Station development, which is now under construction.

The City of Los Angeles is currently considering rezoning nearby streets to allow mixed-use developments to connect with the Expo Line station.

-Steven Sharp

Plans for a 21-story tower dropped from massive Figueroa Street project

CurbedLA

 

A major new mixed use development proposed for Exposition Park may be a little lower to the ground than earlier plans suggested.

Called The Fig, the project is set to rise at 3900 South Figueroa Street—directly across the street from the under-construction Banc of California Stadium. When developer Spectrum Group Real Estate filed plans for the project last year, it included a 21-story hotel that would rise beside a pair of seven-story residential structures.

Last month, Urbanize LA reported that the tall tower had been cut out from plans for the development, and a new environmental report on the project confirms that it now includes three separate structures—that would each rise seven stories in height.

One building would house a hotel with 298 guest rooms and 15,335 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Another would have 222 units of student housing and 32,991 square feet of space for retail and restaurants. The third building would feature 186 residential units, including 82 that would be set aside for low-income households. It would also have 20,364 square feet of creative offices and 7,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

The massive complex would occupy a 4.4-acre project site, requiring the demolition of eight apartment buildings that exist there today. Those structures together contain 32 units.

Combined with the enormous soccer stadium rising across the street, the project could dramatically reshape the stretch of Figueroa Street where it’s proposed. As shiny new high-rises pop up along the corridor to the north, the city is also working on a streetscape projectthat will line Figueroa Street with protected bike lanes and a host of pedestrian-oriented features extending down to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

If granted city approval, construction on The Fig is expected to last 18 months, wrapping up in 2020.

-Elijah Chiland

Daily Brief October 13, 2017 unsubscribe

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