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Equity Office Daily Brief: April 6, 2018

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Daily Brief

April 06, 2018

  EquilityOffice

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U.S. job growth slows sharply; unemployment rate stays at 4.1%

L.A. Times

 

U.S. job growth slowed sharply in March, offsetting the hiring spurt in the prior month. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the sixth straight month, and wage gains went up slightly for workers. The Labor Department's latest snapshot of the labor...

 


Beijing responds forcefully to Trump's escalating threats, raising risks of all-out trade war

L.A. Times

 

President Trump's latest threat to ratchet up tariffs on Chinese imports was met with a forceful response from Beijing on Friday as escalating trade tensions between the two largest economies once again unnerved financial markets and increased concerns about the prospect...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

The $1.2B, 2M SF Angels Landing Site In Downtown Los Angeles Will Only Have 465 Parking Spaces

BisNow

 

The proposed massive $1.2B Angels Landing development in downtown Los Angeles will have two hotels, 425 apartments, 250 condominiums, an elementary school, 45K SF of retail space, a food hall and 50K SF of park space.  What it will not have is...

 


Tech Growth Isn't Limited To Silicon Valley

BisNow

 

Tech companies have made a splash in Silicon Valley with big campus plans and expansions into new spaces. But Northern California is not the only place experiencing growth in office leasing from major tech companies. The tech boom is expanding into Southern California,...

 


Improvements Under Construction at Van Nuys Commuter Rail Station

Urbanize LA

 

Construction began earlier this year for a series of improvements to the Van Nuys commuter rail station. The project, which was detailed last week on the Metrolink Matters blog, is intended to improve travel times, passenger capacity, and operational reliability on the segment of...

 


Franchising May Be a Way for Co-Working Operators to Expand Quickly

National Real Estate Investor

 

One opportunity for co-working operators to scale up and grow quickly is through franchising, says Dallas-based Ryan Hoopes, a senior associate at real estate services firm Colliers International and co-founder of the firm’s flexible workspace advisory services practice.  While only two major...

 


Five Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Affect Real Estate

Forbes

 

For most of the last century, the automotive industry has focused on developing more powerful, comfortable and fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers. But over the past decade, automakers have begun asking a much more exciting question: What if we didn’t need a driver...

 

FULL TEXT


U.S. job growth slows sharply; unemployment rate stays at 4.1%

L.A. Times

 

U.S. job growth slowed sharply in March, offsetting the hiring spurt in the prior month. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the sixth straight month, and wage gains went up slightly for workers.

The Labor Department's latest snapshot of the labor market on Friday came in well below analysts' expectations. Employers added a relatively modest 103,000 jobs last month, only about half of what many analysts were expecting and down from an unusually large 326,000 new jobs in February.

Economists and investors are likely to take the employment report in stride, given that it is just one month's data. For the entire first quarter, job growth has averaged about 202,000 a month, a solid number that is more than enough to absorb new entrants to the labor market as well as some who have been on the sidelines or unemployed for some time.

"The upshot is that even though March was weaker than we were expecting, there is still evidence of an acceleration in the underlying pace of employment growth," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Of more concern to economic growth are the heated tensions on the trade front, with rising concerns about an escalation of tariff threats from President Trump and China that could lead to a costly trade war.

Friday's jobs report showed continued healthy gains in manufacturing and mining, two industries that Trump has sought to bolster and are also getting a boost from a stronger global economy and recovery in the oil and gas business.

Construction payrolls fell last month after a burst of hiring in February, and other business categories including leisure, information, financial services and temporary-help were all flat last month.

The nation's jobless rate has been at a 17-year low of 4.1% since October. The labor participation rate edged down last month, while the share of working-age population that is employed held steady.

Average hourly pay for all private-sector workers went up a notch, increasing at a moderate annual rate of 2.7%.

-Don Lee

Beijing responds forcefully to Trump's escalating threats, raising risks of all-out trade war

L.A. Times

 

President Trump's latest threat to ratchet up tariffs on Chinese imports was met with a forceful response from Beijing on Friday as escalating trade tensions between the two largest economies once again unnerved financial markets and increased concerns about the prospect of a full-blown trade war.

After Trump ordered his administration to consider slapping taxes on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods on top of $50 billion in goods previously announced, China's Commerce Ministry vowed to fight the new tariffs "at any cost" with a full slate of counter-measures.

Chinese officials did not provide specifics, but Beijing could take a host of actions to make life difficult for American businesses operating in China, in addition to levying tariffs on more U.S. imports to China.

Earlier this week, China quickly responded to the Trump administration's tally of $50 billion in Chinese products that would face 25% tariffs with its own list of American-made goods, including cars, aircraft and soybeans, that would be subject to import taxes of a similar amount.

Trump, apparently angered by Beijing's tit-for-tat response, upped the ante Thursday evening, saying that instead of correcting its practice of unfairly appropriating American intellectual property, "China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers."

"China's illicit trade practices ? ignored for years by Washington ? have destroyed thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs," Trump said in a statement.

Trump, however, kept open the possibility of negotiations. And U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, while saying the president's proposal is "an appropriate response," made clear that any additional tariffs, like the earlier ones announced, would not take effect immediately. The tariffs would first be subject to a 60-day public comment and hearing period.

Even so, the intensifying rhetoric and threats from both sides have shaken stock markets in recent days and left many wondering how much worse things will get. The Dow was down more than 300 points by mid-morning Friday, and many are bracing for the standoff to last for some time.

"As both China and the U.S. try to gain concessions from each other in the ongoing trade talks, the back-and-forth between the two countries on tariff threats is not likely to end soon," said the Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based firm involved in trading, logistics and retailing.

"However, while the tariff threats seemed to raise the chances of an all-out trade war," Fung said in a report, "both sides have left room for negotiations."

GOP lawmakers, who traditionally have favored free trade, voiced concerns about Trump's latest action. "Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam again, but if he's even half-serious, this is nuts," said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). "He's threatening to light American agriculture on fire. Let's absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this."

But House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), called for both sides to resolve their differences in talks. "The deliberation period announced by the president gives the U.S. and China a long overdue opportunity to resolve this serious trade dispute,'' he said in a statement. "It is in both of our countries' interest — and frankly, the world's — to find a new path forward on unfair trade practices."

-Don Lee

The $1.2B, 2M SF Angels Landing Site In Downtown Los Angeles Will Only Have 465 Parking Spaces

BisNow

 

The proposed massive $1.2B Angels Landing development in downtown Los Angeles will have two hotels, 425 apartments, 250 condominiums, an elementary school, 45K SF of retail space, a food hall and 50K SF of park space. 

What it will not have is significant parking. The JV development team of Claridge Properties, MacFarlane Partners and The Peebles Corp., dubbed Angels Landing Partners LLC, is purposely underparking the site, a rare anomaly in car-centric Los Angeles. 

The 2M gross SF or 1.2M net SF mixed-use development will only have 465 parking spaces under the current proposal, Claridge Properties founder Ricardo Pagan said at Bisnow’s Neighborhood Series: Evolution of Downtown LA on Tuesday at Los Angeles-based RYDA’s The Pettebone Building.The city of Los Angeles currently requires multifamily developments to provide two parking spaces for each two-bedroom unit, 1.5 spaces for one-bedroom units and one space for studios. Hotels are required to have one parking space for the first 30 guest rooms, a half space for the next 30 rooms and one-third for remaining guest rooms.

Business and commercial developments are required to have one parking space per 1K SF for buildings of 7,500 SF or more.

The audience of 250 or so commercial real estate professionals gasped upon hearing Pagan’s bold underparking plans.On a given day, when Angels Landing opens sometime in 2024, Pagan said he estimates thousands of people would come in and out of the development.

But the Angels Landing Partnership is preparing the site for a car-limited and car-less future in downtown.

“The story is very clear we are looking to drop it to a point to force people to use the systems instead,” Pagan said referring to public transportation or ride-sharing. “We will still be able to park you into your condo, hotel and school without any issues but we will do it in a way where we are not overdoing it.”

“It is going to be about walkability, mobility and ride-share services,” Pagan said.

The Los Angeles City Council named Angels Landing Partners to manage development of the Angels Landing site, a 2.24-acre area in Bunker Hill at Fourth and Hill streets. Handel Architects is tasked with overseeing the design. OLIN is handling the landscaping.Pagan said because of the land’s terrain (it sits on a 43-degree angle), building a parking structure would be difficult and eat up too much space that would be better served for commercial or retail uses.

There have been studies and efforts from groups, organizations and developers to push the city to eliminate minimum parking requirements. Pagan said the city asked the developers to underpark Angels Landing, which could be seen as the city being open to changing future parking requirements.  

Pagan said for those preferring a car, an efficient valet system and ride-sharing is the key. He is planning to design a dedicated loading and drop-off zone and an area with electric car charging stations specifically for ride-sharing vehicles to wait. 

“Right now, you need a phone and to stop on a corner to get picked up,” Pagan said. “But what happens if you lose your phone or if it’s not charged? We’re going to put some kind of service station so people could just tap and go.”

He said he is already in discussions with major ride-sharing companies to possibly service the area but the development is still in its early stages.

Pagan, a native New Yorker, said he knows underparking Angels Landing would benefit the future of downtown Los Angeles. People need to exercise and move and are tired of getting stuck in traffic and gridlock or wasting an hour or two to get to and from work. 

“That’s the problem,” said Pagan, who travels an hour to an hour and a half to work in downtown from his home in Arcadia. 

“I know it’s going to take the people of LA to get used to this model but the thing is the city is heading that way,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense and people are getting tired of . I think that even though people are used to that and that’s the lifestyle here, I think eventually they will be forced to either deal with the gridlock or giving it up a little.”  

-Joseph Pimentel

Tech Growth Isn't Limited To Silicon Valley

BisNow

 

Tech companies have made a splash in Silicon Valley with big campus plans and expansions into new spaces. But Northern California is not the only place experiencing growth in office leasing from major tech companies. The tech boom is expanding into Southern California, according to CBRE Managing Director Patrick McRoskey, who manages several office products in Santa Monica, in the area known as Silicon Beach.

Oracle came to Southern California looking for 45K SF several years ago when CBRE was working on a project with JP Morgan, according to McRoskey, who spoke during a recent Bisnow event about Silicon Valley office. The tech company liked the 7-acre project so much that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison signed a 10-year lease for an entire 175K SF building in Santa Monica. The major draws to the campus were the outdoor work areas and amphitheaters, according to McRoskey.

He said when the market gets frothy in Southern California, suddenly everything is 99% leased and tenants have to look for alternatives in ancillary markets, which has resulted in the expansion of Playa Vista, West Hollywood and Culver City. He said Apple came out of nowhere and leased 85K SF in Southern California. Amazon has already taken 285K SF of a new project and it is rumored the company will take the rest of the project, adding 250K SF. The Los Angeles area also is in the running for Amazon's HQ2.

“These guys are coming in and they’re coming in hard and fast,” McRoskey said. “A lot of times you don’t see them and you just hear about the deal.”

The biggest difference between Silicon Beach and Silicon Valley is that large floor plates are more commonplace in Silicon Valley. Buildings in Southern California have typical floor plates of 20K SF to 25K SF and are just starting to incorporate 60K SF to 70K SF floor plates, according to McRoskey.

Silicon Valley has already surpassed 250K SF floor plates, according to Sares Regis Group of Northern California President Jeff Birdwell, who did his first 75K SF floor plate in Silicon Valley 20 years ago.

-Julie Littman

Improvements Under Construction at Van Nuys Commuter Rail Station

Urbanize LA

 

Construction began earlier this year for a series of improvements to the Van Nuys commuter rail station.

The project, which was detailed last week on the Metrolink Matters blog, is intended to improve travel times, passenger capacity, and operational reliability on the segment of the Ventura County line which spans between Chatsworth and Burbank.  Plans call for the addition of a new center platform, which will allow passengers to board trains on both tracks, as well as a new pedestrian undercrossing. 

Crews have already completed some work for the project, including the replacement of tracks adjacent to the station, as well as the addition of new fencing, a signal bridge, and a shoring wall for the center platform.

Construction is expected to occur over approximately two years, signaling a completion date sometime in late 2019 or early 2020.

The station currently serves 33 trains today between Amtrak and Metrolink service.

-Steven Sharp

Franchising May Be a Way for Co-Working Operators to Expand Quickly

National Real Estate Investor

 

One opportunity for co-working operators to scale up and grow quickly is through franchising, says Dallas-based Ryan Hoopes, a senior associate at real estate services firm Colliers International and co-founder of the firm’s flexible workspace advisory services practice.  While only two major co-working operators so far, New York-based Serendipity Labs and Naples, Fla.-based Venture X, have leveraged this strategy, he expects more co-working operators to adopt the franchising model.

Learning how this corporate model works, in fact, may be the primary reason why Ucommune, China’s largest co-working operator, partnered with Serendipity Labs to enter the U.S. market, Hoopes notes. “If Ucommune can figure out how this works and apply it to other foreign market locations, that would be very smart,” he says, noting that the Chinese co-working operator already has 160 locations in 35 cities across China and the world.

Ucommune, the second largest co-working operator in the world with over 50,000 desks, recently opened a 34, 000-sq.-ft. co-branded, co-working location at 28 Liberty Street in Manhattan in partnership with Serendipity Labs and New York RockTree Capital, an international merchant banking firm that is also a co-founding shareholder of Ucommune.

The deal provides Ucommune instant access to U.S. companies and helps its international growth, Hoopes says, while providing Serendipity Labs access to foreign investors as it expands.

Hoopes notes that one of the biggest challenges for co-working operators today is attracting and retaining management talent, especially people with a sales background that can turn inquiries into memberships. By partnering with an established U.S. co-working operator, Ucommune is better positioned to overcome this obstacle to entering a new market.

Serendipity Labs takes a hospitality approach to service and amenities, even billing itself as itself as a hospitality company rather than an office leasing entity. The company is targeting high-net-worth investors with a hospitality background as franchises and already has a large pipeline of franchise investors, some with multiple locations, Hoopes says.

He cites WorthHospitality, a hotel developer/owner based in Fort Worth, Texas, as an example. WorthHospitality is planning to open nine upscale co-working facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth region in partnership with Serendipity Labs.

Furthermore, with the office sector disrupting an important source of hotel revenue by putting conference spaces in office buildings, Hoopes says he “wouldn’t be surprised to see hospitality operators opening co-working spaces within hotels.” Apartment developers are already adding co-working spaces to their buildings as another amenity to attract tenants and command higher rents.

Ucommune’s entrance to the marketplace offers users another option that may fill a void in the co-working sector and may also put competitive pressure on co-working operators, which could potentially benefit users financially, says Alan Pontius, senior vice president and national director of specialty divisions at brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap. “The caveat is that the office market overall continues to strengthen, so added competition for space in general will likely prove to be a counter-balance.”

“A new co-working entrant to the marketplace is yet another indicator of a still improving office climate,” he continues. “This puts additional absorption pressure on the office sector that was already in a positive trajectory.” During one recent 12-month period, WeWork, for example, was the second biggest consumer of office space nationally after Amazon.

While new co-working entrants create competition among sector operators, the supply/demand balance in the office sector as a whole plays a role in how the market is affected, Pontius notes.

If there is positive absorption, rents will continue to rise and co-working operators will pass the costs of higher rents on to their users.  

-Patricia Kirk

Five Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Affect Real Estate

Forbes

 

For most of the last century, the automotive industry has focused on developing more powerful, comfortable and fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers. But over the past decade, automakers have begun asking a much more exciting question: What if we didn’t need a driver at all?

Whether it is scary or exciting to you, the transportation revolution has begun! Driverless cars are on the horizon, and the implications of this technology will greatly impact just about every industry you can think of, including real estate. As a broker in Los Angeles, which is home to the world’s worst traffic congestion, it’s my business to think about how driverless cars will affect my clients — and real estate at large.

The transportation revolution will affect the housing market in five surprising ways:

1. Density in major markets will increase. 

As is common with unique technology like this, fully autonomous cars aren’t likely to be available at dealerships right away. Instead, they’ll be used by ride-sharing companies in well-mapped cities, further encouraging consumers to favor on-demand car rentals over buying or leasing models. 

With fewer and fewer cars permanently housed in urban markets, the real estate around them will adjust to match. Prime real estate such as parking structures, gas stations or auto dealerships may be transformed into apartments, allowing more professionals who work in city centers to live nearby. This will increase density in our cities.

2. Outlying markets will fill out, too.

Anyone who has had to sit in monstrous traffic on LA’s infamous 405 will confirm: long commutes are painful. However, for many residents, living close to work isn’t always an affordable option, and public transportation is limited. As a result, many professionals are stuck in the torturous traffic while throwing away several hours of their day commuting, thinking, “Hey, it could be worse.”

Driverless cars will fundamentally change how we view long commutes. Think about it this way: If you didn’t have to do the driving, wouldn’t you consider living in a suburb so that you could live in your dream home even if it is an extra hour away from your job? I would!

An extra hour that you could actually use to do work, or even prep work, could go a long way toward getting ahead on that project, or sending those last-minute emails, or relaxing with a book you’ve been meaning to read. So I predict that major markets aren’t the only ones who will see populations grow due to the driverless car implementation — so will the suburbs.

3. Housing turnover will decrease, driving renovations.

Transportation plays a huge role in our independence, especially in markets that are as spread out as LA. As seniors age and are unable to renew their driver’s licenses, the lack of transportation to places like the grocery store or bank can force them out of their homes before it would be otherwise necessary.

Driverless cars will be integral in allowing our aging populations to remain in their homes longer. As the turnover of these homes is delayed, these homes can subsequently be renovated to offer sustainable living situations for their elderly owners.

4. Construction costs will drop, but so will home price appreciation.

You might be surprised by how much construction costs are impacted by the cost of transporting materials. Simply moving materials from a warehouse to a property site can add thousands of dollars to construction costs over the course of a single project.

Automated vehicles will allow construction workers to focus on other tasks, driving costs downward — and just in time for that surge of new residential developments I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately for current homeowners who may wish to sell, this wave of new housing will impact demand, meaning it’ll take a while for home prices to start rising again.

5. The modern garage will be redefined and repurposed.  

Of course, homeowners will probably always own standard cars — it’s just the most practical approach when multiple schedules are involved. But as the AV model grows in popularity, purchasing three or four separate cars (and housing them) will no longer be the most affordable option available to many families, especially in major metropolitan markets. 

When families no longer have cars to fill their three-car or separated garages, we’ll see a trend among homeowners to repurpose these spaces into livable areas, formalized storage or guest quarters — all while adding value to their homes.

Are you ready for the driverless revolution?

There are many forecasts out there about when fully autonomous vehicles (AVs as they are referred to by those “in the know”) will hit the mainstream, but they all suggest we’re still many years out. Currently, we’re limited to a few models outfitted with systems that allow for limited hands-free driving. Our transition to driverless cars will be a slow one. But as they make the incremental transition to our roads, the potential impact they have on the housing market is worth understanding.

Perhaps they’ll change where you call home, what you do with that extra garage space, when you decide to sell or simply how you think about your commute. Regardless, it’s time to start looking forward to the road ahead for automated vehicles — and not in the rearview mirror.

-Gina Michelle

Daily Brief April 06, 2018 unsubscribe

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