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Equity Office Daily Brief: May 7, 2018

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Daily Brief

May 07, 2018

  EquilityOffice

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Shari Redstone attempts to ignite merger talks as CBS, Viacom stock surges

L.A. Times

 

CBS Corp. stock surged Friday on strong earnings and speculation that controlling shareholder Shari Redstone had offered a compromise to try to nudge along the stalled merger talks with Viacom Inc. CBS rose 9% to $53.17 a share on Friday after the...

 


MDL Insurance Startup Lands $10 Million Round

L.A. Business Journal

 

Marina del Rey-based LeaseLock, an insurance startup that guarantees the security deposit for renters in exchange for a minimum $19 monthly payment, announced a $10 million Series A funding round. The company said the funding came from Wildcat Venture Partners, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures,...

 


Technology: New View of Billboards

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

A billboard alongside the 405 freeway in L.A. will likely be seen by tens of thousands of drivers during rush hour, but there’s no surefire way of knowing the exact number of impressions, much less how many people were influenced to make...

 


California is now the world's fifth-largest economy, surpassing United Kingdom

San Diego Union Tribune

 

California's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday. California's gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, the data said. Meanwhile,...

 


New Metrolink Station Prompts Burbank Bus Route

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

Burbank’s city-operated bus line will start a new route on May 14 that will serve a new Metrolink station near the Hollywood Burbank Airport. The BurbankBus Golden State Circulator route replaces the existing Empire-Downtown route that ceases service as of May 11....

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Wells Fargo Provides Brookfield With $265M Refi for Ernst & Young Plaza in LA

Commercial Observer

 

Brookfield Properties has refinanced the Ernst & Young Plaza at 725 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles for $265 million, according to the landlord’s first-quarter 2018 results. Wells Fargo provided the loan, which closed on March 29, a Brookfield spokesman indicated. There were no brokers in the deal, he...

 


LA Office Construction Expected to Peak in Coming Years

CoStar

 

The Los Angeles office market has been defined by its stability in recent years. Vacancies have held steady between 10 and 11 percent since 2015, and while rent gains have slowed relative to the peaks achieved earlier in the cycle, office...

 


Foothill Gold Extension Project Gets $300M Gap Funding

Globe St.

 

The Foothill Gold Line project was awarded an additional $300 million from the California State Transportation Agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. The grant fulfills a gap in the funding and brings the project to fully funded with $1.5 billion. “The six-station Foothill Gold...

 


Rival Raises $30M for Ticketing Startup

SoCal Tech

 

Los Angeles-based Rival, a new startup founded by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, has raised $30M in funding, the company disclosed over the weekend. The funding came from Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, Dick Costolo (Twitter), April Underwood (Slack), and Patrick and John...

 


The Best Cities For Jobs 2018: Dallas And Austin Lead The Surging South

Forbes

 

Among America’s largest metropolitan areas, the economic leaders come in two flavors: Southern-fried and West Coast organic. The first group flourishes across a broad range of industries, fed by strong domestic in-migration and a friendly business climate. The other is driven...

 


The Brokerage Real Estate Tech Race: JLL Adds Workplace Planning Tool InSite To Its Arsenal

BisNow

 

In another move to diversify its offerings to provide clients with a breadth of services to cover their real estate needs, JLL has launched a new workplace planning tool called JLL InSite.  Simply put, JLL InSite streamlines the workplace planning, relocation and build-out budgeting...

 


Workplaces Green Up To Boost Health, Productivity

Globe St.

 

SAN FRANCISCO—The World Green Building Council recently released a report that provides tangible insights on why greener workspaces are healthier, more enjoyable places to work, and this has a direct impact on productivity, employee health and the bottom line. In this exclusive, Eric...

 


There Is Virtually No Chance of a U.S. Recession This Year: Goldman Sachs

The Street

 

With so many things going well in the U.S. economy, those calling for a U.S. recession this year may want to simmer down.  "The US Economic team's recession probability model assigns a 5% likelihood of a recession during the next four quarters, 19%...

 

FULL TEXT


Shari Redstone attempts to ignite merger talks as CBS, Viacom stock surges

L.A. Times

 

CBS Corp. stock surged Friday on strong earnings and speculation that controlling shareholder Shari Redstone had offered a compromise to try to nudge along the stalled merger talks with Viacom Inc.

CBS rose 9% to $53.17 a share on Friday after the company reported record revenue in the first quarter. Shares of Viacom, which owns MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET and the Paramount Pictures movie studio, climbed 3% to $30.29.

Reuters reported late Friday that Redstone was trying to fashion a compromise to win over CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves by dropping a demand that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, 54, should have a prominent management role in the merged entity. Bakish's role has been a major sticking point in talks to reunite the media companies.

However, Viacom and CBS are not close to a deal, according to three people close to the process who were not authorized to speak publicly about confidential negotiations. And it's not clear Redstone's concession will remove a key hurdle in the talks.

In recent weeks, negotiations have fallen apart over a valuation of Viacom, Redstone's demands over who should run the combined company, and a reluctance by CBS to pair with the weaker Viacom.

Analysts have long been divided over whether a merger makes sense.

"We have always liked CBS as a standalone company," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote in a research report early Friday after CBS set a revenue record by raking in $3.76 billion during the first quarter, an increase of nearly 13% over the year-earlier period.

She and other analysts pointed to CBS' solid earnings to support the company's position that owning a bunch of cable TV channels might not be a winning strategy in an era of accelerating cord-cutting. Pay-TV companies have reported higher customer losses in the first quarter, and cable channels are most vulnerable to the changing landscape.

Redstone wants the two companies to combine, and this is the second time in two years that she has tried to make a merger happen. Her family controls CBS and Viacom through their investment vehicle National Amusements Inc., and she says the two companies would be stronger together as traditional media companies gird for battle with such technology companies as Facebook, Google, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Redstone has said that she would like Moonves, 68, to serve as chief executive of the combined company for at least two years. But she has been pushing to have her hand-picked lieutenant, Bakish, to serve as the No. 2 at the combined company to position him as Moonves' successor.

Moonves dismissed that demand because he wants to run the combined company as he sees fit with his own management team, including Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello.

As part of a compromise, Redstone has proposed that Bakish would have a seat on the board of the combined company so that he still would be in line to replace Moonves.

It is not immediately clear whether Moonves would agree to have Bakish installed as one of his bosses after Moonves rejected having Bakish as one of his subordinates.

CBS and Viacom declined to comment. Redstone's spokeswoman declined to comment.

-Meg James

MDL Insurance Startup Lands $10 Million Round

L.A. Business Journal

 

Marina del Rey-based LeaseLock, an insurance startup that guarantees the security deposit for renters in exchange for a minimum $19 monthly payment, announced a $10 million Series A funding round. The company said the funding came from Wildcat Venture Partners, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, American Family Ventures and Moderne Ventures. LeaseLock’s insurance program covers damages to units as well as defaults on leases. Fifty-five property management firms use LeaseLock’s insurance program instead of traditional security deposits.

-Eli Horowitz

Technology: New View of Billboards

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

A billboard alongside the 405 freeway in L.A. will likely be seen by tens of thousands of drivers during rush hour, but there’s no surefire way of knowing the exact number of impressions, much less how many people were influenced to make a purchase by the advertisement.

Billboards and other forms of outofhome advertising are becoming less of a shotinthedark, though, and evolving into targeted media buys as outfits such as Manhattan Beachbased startup Accretive Media add a dose of new technology to the medium.

Accretive Media is a digitaloutofhome advertising company focused on a category that includes billboards, bus shelters and display screens in elevators and waiting rooms, among other venues. Accretive brings tactics found in programmatic advertising – such as tracking someone’s location and consumer behavior – to the physical world of the outofhome venues. Accretive can get information on just about anyone who passes by one of its billboards on foot or in a car as long as the passerby has at least one phone app with location services enabled and running. It does so by purchasing timestamped geolocation data from companies that aggregate information gathered from mobile apps – often with the permission of cell phone users, who likely signed off, wittingly or not, when signing up for an app.

Unique user IDs

The location data comes with unique user IDs – each cell phone has one – that can be compared to consumer reports on the individuals compiled by Viant Inc., a Bostonbased ad tech firm.

Then all of the data is sliced, diced and analyzed before being packaged as a sales pitch to advertising clients.

The key point: Accretive can offer sufficient specifics on the audience for its billboards to allow clients to craft microtargeted ads. A heavy rush-hour flow of males between the ages of 18 and 25 might convince a fast-food chain to buy placement on a digital billboard from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., for example. The digital billboards can be switched out on a scheduled basis, making specific time slots available to advertisers.

“It’s really exciting to reinvent and reshape this 100-year-old medium,” said Accretive Chief Executive Craig Benner, who previously served as senior vice president for U.S. sales for Viant. “It’s about evolving something that’s very old by using data and technology to make it happen.”

Benner said Accretive has planned, executed, or measured over a half-dozen campaigns for clients ranging from local advertisers to large national brands since its launch in February. He declined to discuss revenue or disclose any clients.

The launch of Benner’s company comes at a time when questions about digital privacy are at the forefront of the national conversation. Revelations about nowdefunct political advertising and consulting firm Cambridge Analytica’s use of personally identifiable information from Facebook Inc. to attempt to influence the 2016 election has more and more people concerned about how data is used to track and target them individually.

Accretive’s use of location data produced by thirdparty phone apps is troubling to some.

Jeremy Gillula, tech policy director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit group that advocates for privacy rights, said he’s not sure people are actually giving consent for their data to be used as extensively as it is.

“A lot of the times I’m perfectly happy sharing my location data with an app, but I’m not OK sharing my data with an analytics system,” said Gillula. “The fundamental concern when you’re broadcasting this information and someone is scooping it up, they can learn a lot about your location history,” he said.

Benner counters that the use of personally identifiable information to help advertisers target consumers is not a new tactic and actually improves the consumer experience when dealing with ads.

“People have been using (personally identifiable information) in advertising forever,” said Benner. “Phone numbers for telemarketers, emails for direct marketing. – if it’s used to serve someone an ad that may be more relevant to them rather than seeing a bunch of punchthemonkey ads, there’s no real consumer harm there.”

Either way, Benner said, his company analyzes behavioral data on cell phone users but does not identify them personally or go beyond reaching them digitally.

“In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, we always need to make sure we are ahead of the curve in terms of privacy compliance and regulations,” Benner said. “While all targeted advertising uses data, there is a right way and a wrong way to use it, and we firmly stand behind the fact our data partners/protections/processes have the best interests of both consumers and brands at heart.”

Any liability questions will likely revolve around the idea of consent, according to Mahroze Baloch, an attorney with Adli Law Group who’s worked on data privacy cases. “Consent is the main thing we want to look at if there’s a privacy issue here,” Baloch said. “You’d be surprised to find that we have consented to a lot of these things. 

Baloch said Accretive’s model appears to be legal, based on what’s publicly available about the company.

“There are no red flags in that sense,” he said.

Market opportunity Digital-out-of-home advertising represents about 3 percent to 5 percent of a typical advertiser’s budget, according to Daniel Martin, a partner at PSM Comm Arts. That could rise significantly as Accretive and others increasingly function as a clearing house, keeping track of billboards and other outofhome venues, and serving as a media buyer for clients.

“I don’t want to call up malls and then the airport and then a hospital to find out what their digital opportunities are,” Martin said. “I want to go to a group like to find all the opportunities.”

Digital-out-of-home advertising is already up 13 percent year-over-year globally to about $12 billion, and 10 percent year-over-year

in the U.S., according to Barry Frey, president and chief executive of the Digital PlaceBased Advertising Association.

“Media inside the home is fragmenting and declining,” Fray said. “Seventy percent of our time is now spent outside the home and 82 percent of the population is in urban areas.”

Benner said only tech giants such as Facebook, Viant, Google parent Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., Meredith Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and a few others have the type of consumer data Accretive is able to provide its clients.

Benner also said he is able to tell his clients about consumer history as well as how many passersby actually purchased the product.

“Billboards and other outofhome ads don’t buy products, consumers do,” he said. “We shouldn’t target the placement, we should target the consumer.”

-Eli Horowitz

California is now the world's fifth-largest economy, surpassing United Kingdom

San Diego Union Tribune

 

California's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday.

California's gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, the data said. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s economic output slightly shrank over that time when measured in U.S. dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations.

The data demonstrate the sheer immensity of California's economy, home to nearly 40 million people, a thriving technology sector in Silicon Valley, the world's entertainment capital in Hollywood and the nation's salad bowl in the Central Valley agricultural heartland. It also reflects a substantial turnaround since the Great Recession.

All economic sectors except agriculture contributed to California's higher GDP, said Irena Asmundson, chief economist at the California Department of Finance. Financial services and real estate led the pack at $26 billion in growth, followed by the information sector, which includes many technology companies, at $20 billion. Manufacturing was up $10 billion.

California last had the world's fifth largest economy in 2002 but fell as low as 10th in 2012 following the Great Recession. Since then, the most populous U.S. state has added 2 million jobs and grown its GDP by $700 billion.

California's economic output is now surpassed only by the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The state has 12% of the U.S. population but contributed 16% of the country's job growth between 2012 and 2017. Its share of the national economy also grew to 14.2% from 12.8% over that five-year period, according to state economists.

California's strong economic performance relative to other industrialized economies is driven by worker productivity, said Lee Ohanian, an economics professor at UCLA and director of the university’s Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research. The United Kingdom has 25 million more people than California but now has a smaller GDP, he said.

California's economic juggernaut is concentrated in coastal metropolises around San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

“The non-coastal areas have not generated nearly as much economic growth as the coastal areas,” Ohanian said in an email.

The state calculates California's economic ranking as if it were a country by comparing state-level GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce with global data from the International Monetary Fund.

-Associated Press

New Metrolink Station Prompts Burbank Bus Route

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

 

Burbank’s city-operated bus line will start a new route on May 14 that will serve a new Metrolink station near the Hollywood Burbank Airport.

The BurbankBus Golden State Circulator route replaces the existing Empire-Downtown route that ceases service as of May 11. The circulator will operate every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. weekdays to serve the Burbank Airport-North Metrolink Station, Empire Center, and business and residential areas.

Adam Emmer, transportation services manager for the city, said the new bus route is the result of planning that started in December 2016 when the Burbank City Council approved an agreement with Metrolink, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Los Angeles to operate the Burbank Airport-North Metrolink station, which opens on May 14.

“The new Golden State Circular route provides improved service frequency and a more direct connection to the Metrolink Antelope Valley Line,” Emmer said in a statement.

The circulator will cost about $175,000 to operate annually, a $27,000 savings from the annual cost for the Empire-Downtown route. The cost savings could potentially offset some of the cost to operate and maintain the new Burbank Airport-North Metrolink Station, the city said.

-Mark Madler

Wells Fargo Provides Brookfield With $265M Refi for Ernst & Young Plaza in LA

Commercial Observer

 

Brookfield Properties has refinanced the Ernst & Young Plaza at 725 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles for $265 million, according to the landlord’s first-quarter 2018 results. Wells Fargo provided the loan, which closed on March 29, a Brookfield spokesman indicated. There were no brokers in the deal, he said.

The loan is for two-and-a-half years at a floating rate of Libor plus 2 percent. Brookfield realized $42 million is net proceeds upon the refinancing, the company announced. It replaces a $177 million fixed-rate loan from Wells Fargo.

Last December, EY, the anchor tenant since 1999 at the 41-story, 910,610-square-foot office tower, signed a 10-year lease renewal for 120,00 square feet spanning six floors, The Real Deal reported at the time.

Brookfield acquired the building in 2006 as part of part of the $7.6 billion acquisition of Trizec Properties, as per the Brookfield spokesman. Ernst & Young Plaza, at the corner of Figueroa and Seventh Street in the Financial District of Downtown L.A., was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo didn’t immediately provide a comment.

-Lauren Elkies Schram

LA Office Construction Expected to Peak in Coming Years

CoStar

 

The Los Angeles office market has been defined by its stability in recent years. Vacancies have held steady between 10 and 11 percent since 2015, and while rent gains have slowed relative to the peaks achieved earlier in the cycle, office rents are still growing significantly faster than the national average. The measured pace of new development has helped underpin this stability. Roughly 1.1 million square feet of new office supply, or about 0.3 percent of overall inventory, was built in 2013, 2015 and 2016. In 2014, the L.A. metro’s total office square footage actually declined, as demolitions and conversions of obsolete product exceeded the amount of new construction.Office construction began to accelerate in 2017, and that trend looks set to continue through the end of the decade. Roughly 2.2 million square feet of new office supply was built in 2017, and around 2.5 million square feet is expected to deliver each year from 2018 through 2020. This ramp-up in development should not present major supply risks for the market, with projected annual deliveries still only totaling about 0.6 percent of existing inventory. However, much of this new development is concentrated in a few submarkets, and those areas could be impacted by rising vacancies and slowing rent growth if demand does not keep pace with the rate of new construction. There are three submarkets in particular that are most likely to feel pressure from new office development in coming years. Downtown L.A.

Downtown is clearly the metro hotspot for both commercial and residential development. Nearly 1 million square feet of new office space delivered in the last four quarters, including about 375,000 square feet at the Wilshire Grand tower and about 185,000 square feet at the At Mateo project in the Arts District. Things are showing no sign of slowing down, either. Between new construction and conversion of existing properties, roughly 1.5 million square feet of office product is under development, to go along with the more than 6,000 market rate apartment units that are underway. Much of the new space that delivered last year remains vacant, and the concentration of new development here will continue to put pressure on submarket fundamentals. The Broadway Trade Center and Building III at Row DTLA will each hold more than 400,000 square feet of office space when they deliver in early 2019. Warner Music Group’s relocation from Burbank to a 260,000-square-foot complex in the Arts District was the largest office lease in Los Angeles in 2016. Many downtown landlords are hoping the wealth of new creative office and residential construction here will entice other major employers to relocate to the CBD. Marina Del Rey / Venice

The Marina Del Rey / Venice office submarket, which also includes the planned community of Playa Vista, sits in the heart of L.A.’s emerging "Silicon Beach" tech hub. Office rents here are among the highest in L.A., and titans of the tech world, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Tesla all call the submarket home. Playa Vista captured the lion’s share of new construction earlier this cycle, but with most available parcels now built out, construction is diffusing to other areas. More than 500,000 square feet of office construction is underway here, but the supply risks are considerably less pronounced that they area in the Downtown L.A. submarket. Google’s renovation of the 310,000-square-foot hangar – where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose – into creative office space accounts for more than half of new supply underway, and the search giant will occupy the entire space upon completion. That still leaves roughly 200,000 square feet of speculative office space underway in the submarket. Additionally, Snap Inc. is exiting a diffuse array of smaller office spaces in Venice to consolidate operations in Santa Monica. The social media company recently put about 160,000 square feet of space in multiple Venice offices up for sublease. Relative to most other L.A. submarkets, Marina Del Rey / Venice is in for some degree of supply pressure in the near-term. However, the submarket unquestionably has the demand drivers to attract employers and fill these spaces. Any near-term weakness will likely manifest as slowing rent growth, as area tenants will soon have significantly more options than they’ve had previously. Hollywood

Hollywood’s unquestioned status as the epicenter of the entertainment industry has boosted both the local office market and the wider metro outlook. As tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Netflix look to increase their production of original content, they have expanded their office footprint in L.A., seeking to leverage the wealth of local expertise. This fusion of the tech and entertainment industries has been behind some of the largest office leases in L.A. recently. Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Hulu are among the tech-oriented companies that have signed leases larger than 150,000 square feet in the past few years. There is currently about 475,000 square feet of office product underway in Hollywood, virtually all of it speculative. Hudson Pacific Properties’ 327,000-square-foot EPIC, expected to deliver in 2020, accounts for the majority of that space. Given recent history, Hudson Pacific has plenty of reason for optimism. The developer’s two previous speculative projects in Hollywood, the 323,000-square-foot ICON and 92,000-square-foot CUE were both fully pre-leased by Netflix prior to delivering. It should be noted that the Downtown Long Beach submarket currently has about 510,000 square feet of office development underway. However, those projects will be occupied by local government entities, and thus the arrival of this new product will not alter submarket fundamentals significantly. 

-Stephen Basham

Foothill Gold Extension Project Gets $300M Gap Funding

Globe St.

 

The Foothill Gold Line project was awarded an additional $300 million from the California State Transportation Agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. The grant fulfills a gap in the funding and brings the project to fully funded with $1.5 billion.

“The six-station Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Glendora to Montclair has an estimated total project cost of $1.5 billion,” Lisa Levy Buch of the Foothill Gold Line. “The $300 million from the State of California will fill the estimated gap in funding that is currently expected; and allows the project to hopefully be fully funded. I use the word “hopefully;” because, the actual cost for the project will be determined once the design-build team is selected and their bid is accepted. The majority of the project cost is associated with the design-build contract.”

Los Angeles County Metro submitted for funding for several projects, and the Foothill Gold Line project was chosen among the group. “The goal of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) is to provide grants from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for transformative capital projects that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving transit systems,” says Levy Buch. “The project was not fully funded without these funds. Metro had made the Foothill Gold Line the county’s top priority for funding; however, there were definitely no guarantees the project’s request would be awarded. This is good news for the project and the region.” A total of $1.09 billion in grants was awarded to projects in the county.

The Foothill Gold Line extension includes six stations that will connect Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, and the Construction Authority is in the process of hiring a design-build team. “The Foothill Gold Line is being built in an area that is expected to grow by 20% by 2035,” says Levy Buch. “The project would improve mobility and access for residents, employees and students by attracting an estimated 28,149 daily passengers in its opening year, divert 20% of vehicle trips from local freeways and streets, reduce 146,700 average daily vehicle miles traveled and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3 million MTCO2e over the life of the project. The project was identified as Metro’s top priority for the TIRCP funds by the Metro board and is locally funded for more than 80% of the project cost.

Finally, unlike a lot of major infrastructure projects, this project has unanimous support by the corridor cities, elected officials at all levels and local organizations. More than 50 organizations and entities wrote letters in support of the project application.”

Once the Construction Authority hires a design-build team, the final cost of the project will be known. The team should be chosen in October. “In the meantime, the Construction Authority is underway on a project to relocate and protect strategic utilities along the 12.3-mile corridor, in advance of the design-builder starting major construction,” says Levy Buch. “W.A. Rasic Construction was awarded the utility relocation contract in 2017.”

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Rival Raises $30M for Ticketing Startup

SoCal Tech

 

Los Angeles-based Rival, a new startup founded by former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, has raised $30M in funding, the company disclosed over the weekend. The funding came from Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, Dick Costolo (Twitter), April Underwood (Slack), and Patrick and John Collison (founders of Stripe). Andreessenn Horowitz's Alex Rampell, and Upfront's Greg Bettinelli have joined Rival's board as a result of the funding.

The Best Cities For Jobs 2018: Dallas And Austin Lead The Surging South

Forbes

 

Among America’s largest metropolitan areas, the economic leaders come in two flavors: Southern-fried and West Coast organic. The first group flourishes across a broad range of industries, fed by strong domestic in-migration and a friendly business climate. The other is driven largely by technology and high-end business services clustered around expensive but highly desirable urban areas.

However, the trend lines certainly favor the former approach, which is epitomized by America’s Best City For Jobs in the 2018 edition of our annual ranking. After years of domination by the tech-driven San Francisco area, Dallas-Plano-Irving has secured the No. 1 spot for the last two years by dint of consistency: 2.8% job growth last year, 19.6% since 2012 and an impressive 25.6% since 2006. Its 2.02% population growth last year is the highest rate of any of the 10 largest metro areas while net in-migration trails only retirement haven Phoenix among the big cities. Simply put, this Energizer bunny just doesn’t stop.

Big D’s domination is all the more secure because of the diverse sources of its job growth. Dallas has logged double-digit percentage job growth since 2012 in almost every major economic sector we measured, from information to construction, energy, finance, and professional and business services. Key to Dallas’ success: It’s a great value proposition, with affordable housing, a favorable regulatory climate, low taxes and an increasing array of cultural amenities beyond the Dallas Cowboys.

Perhaps nothing proves this more than the large number of companies that have either moved whole hog to the Big D or sited significant operations there in recent years, including the likes of Toyota’s North American headquarters and Jacobs Engineering, both from Southern California, as well as Jamba Juice, Pei Wei and JetSuite. Many more have announced major expansions there, including Boeing, Oki Data and Luis Vuitton.

Methodology

Our rankings are based on short-, medium- and long-term job creation, going back to 2006, and factor in momentum — whether growth is slowing or accelerating. We have compiled separate rankings for America’s 71 largest metropolitan statistical areas (those with nonfarm employment over 450,000), which are our focus this week, as well as medium-size metro areas (between 150,000 and 450,000 nonfarm jobs) and small ones (less than 150,000 nonfarm jobs) in order to make the comparisons more relevant to each category.

Here Come The Little D's

Texas may not be the role model for most regions, but the Lone Star State’s growth formula has formidable logic for areas that don’t have the huge venture capital connections of the Bay Area. Second-ranked Austin, Texas, is certainly a booming tech hub, but its rapid job growth — 3.4% last year and 39% since 2006 — is more diversified than commonly believed. In fact, the big driver in terms of high-wage jobs is not tech but professional and business services, an area in which employment has grown 37.1% since 2006.

Like Dallas, Austin’s expansion is paced by strong population growth. The metro area last year had the strongest population increase and rate of domestic in-migration of any in the country with a population over a million. This population growth has translated into many things, most particularly growth in retail sales, construction jobs, financial services and trade, helping boost diverse jobs growth.

But you don’t have to be in the Lone Star state to enjoy Texas-style growth. Other affordable areas like No. 3 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.,  No. 5 Charlotte-Concord- Gastonia, N.C., and No. 6 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., all enjoy the same pattern of rapid population growth and mounting in-migration from the rest of the country. These areas have enjoyed strong tech growth as well, with Orlando actually now adding STEM jobs at a faster clip than the Bay Area metros. Central Florida could well emerge as a serious tech competitor over the next few years, helped by low taxes, affordable housing and a benign business climate.

The High-End Tech Hubs

Yet for all the competition and their high costs, the big three West Coast technology hubs remain ensconced in the top 10 for job growth. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area, aka Silicon Valley, continues to sizzle in fourth place, although the expansion has slowed, with 3% job growth last year. Business and professional services, as well as finance, appear to be slowing down, but strong job growth continues in the information sector -- the business of Google, Facebook, Netflix and Apple -- up 11% last year and 59% since 2006.

Much the same pattern can be seen in No. 8 San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, which has become the Valley’s urban annex. Yet there are clear signs of a slowdown, with the metro area dropping from No. 2 last year. Information job growth last year was 8.7%, down from the torrid 12% pace enjoyed since 2006, while business and professional services, which logged 4% job growth, is down from the 5.6% rate enjoyed over the decade.

Right behind in ninth place is Seattle, where the information sector and professional business services continue to grow at a healthy pace, although somewhat slower. To be sure, Seattle’s jobs picture, like that of its Bay Area counterparts, remains the envy of almost every region. The biggest problem looming for these areas is high costs, which in the Bay Area has slowed population growth and accelerated out-migration. Over time there is concern that Seattle, too, may be in the process of pricing out potential new residents, as well as less well to do longtime ones.

The Three Heavyweights Lose Ground

Much is written about the inevitable ascendancy of large global cities, but in terms of job growth none of the three largest in America — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — are burning down the barn right now. New York, at No. 24, is doing the best by far, with 1.7% job growth last year and 19.5% growth since 2006. The employment expansion has been paced by such high-wage sectors as professional and business services and information, as well as low-wage fields like leisure and hospitality.

But New York seems to be slowing from its breakneck pace after 2010, particularly in information, professional and business services, and its core finance industry. At the same time, the demographic evidence since 2010 shows population growth, impressive earlier in this decade, now ranks among the lowest in the nation.  Brooklyn, the reinvented hipster capital, last year suffered its first population decline since 2006. Gotham’s resurgence seems assured but its trajectory points to slower growth ahead.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Chicago are doing considerably worse. Los Angeles places a mediocre 48th in our ranking, with meager 1.3% job growth last year and 5.7% growth since 2006. L.A. has expanded employment robustly largely just in lower-wage categories like leisure and hospitality and transportation, both up 25% since 2012. Gains in higher-wage sectors like business and professional services has been modest compared not only to places like Dallas but also New York. Perhaps more disturbing, it’s now losing jobs in traditional high-wage sectors like information, which includes entertainment, as well as manufacturing, where there’s been a decades-long decline.

Like New York, Los Angeles’ demographics reflect this slowing, with high levels of out-migration and a population growth rate of 0.13% last year, among the lowest in the nation. The L.A. area’s rate of outmigration in 2016-17 was 40% over the annual average since 2010. Given the region’s high costs, the lack of high wage jobs growth could place a long-term damper on its future trajectory.

But as is often the case in urban economics, it could be worse. Take Chicago, which places 55th with weak 0.4% job growth last year and 4.4% growth over the past decade. The Windy City’s leisure and hospitality industries continue to grow, but the critical business and professional services sector, the linchpin of its claim to global city status, is now shrinking, after enjoying decent growth earlier in the decade of nearly 2% per annum. The information sector, greatly promoted by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, has continued to lose jobs, and at an accelerated rate.

With its magnificent lakefront, Chicago likes to see itself as a destination for the ambitious, but this is not reflected in either its high rate of out-migration, only slightly better than New York’s, or its population trajectory, which is actually negative. It may be a glamor town in certain sections, but overall the metro area looks more Rust Belt than it may like to admit.

Mixed Messages In Midwest

If Chicago once loomed as the role model for the country’s mid-section, that is no longer the case. Although none of the region’s metro areas cracked the top ten, several have performed respectably. The surprise leader in the region has been 21st-ranked Grand Rapids, where total nonfarm employment expanded 1.7% last year and is up 13% since 2012.

Although Grand Rapids’ growth has included healthy gains in information, finance and professional and businesses services, the real stars here are typically blue collar. Manufacturing employment in the metro area is up 20% since 2012 and wholesale trade 18%. The area is the global headquarters for such companies as Amway, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, Wolverine Worldwide, and Bissell; its strategy seems to be focused on becoming a world-class center for advanced manufacturing and life science innovation.

Grand Rapids is not the only promising performer in the Heartland. No. 25 Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., No. 28 Columbus, Ohio, and No. 35 Kansas City all performed above the median. Intriguingly, all four ascendant heartland burgs now enjoy more rapid population growth than their California or East Coast counterparts, and, unlike them, they are logging net domestic in-migration.

Yet, sadly, the modest success of these towns is not, as yet, evidence of a region-wide recovery. Many of the old Rust Belt cities still inhabit the basement of our best cities list: Pittsburgh places 58th, Buffalo is 60th, Detroit is 61st and St. Louis places 62nd, Milwaukee is 66th, and last out the 71 largest metro areas is Cleveland. All these areas suffer stagnant population growth and high levels of out-migration. Hopefully, in the long run, the modest resurgence seen in other parts of the Heartland will someday extend to these areas as well.

-Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

The Brokerage Real Estate Tech Race: JLL Adds Workplace Planning Tool InSite To Its Arsenal

BisNow

 

In another move to diversify its offerings to provide clients with a breadth of services to cover their real estate needs, JLL has launched a new workplace planning tool called JLL InSite. 

Simply put, JLL InSite streamlines the workplace planning, relocation and build-out budgeting process. The interactive tool is fluid in that it can visualize space needs and anticipate costs for clients' specific needs, speeding up a process that traditionally can take anywhere between a few weeks and several months, JLL Occupancy Planning Vice President Megan Mackinson said.

“We see it as a major differentiator for clients looking to change the way they work, whether that’s upsizing, downsizing, moving or staying in place,” Mackinson said. “The meat of it is if you’re trying to determine how much space you need — current space or looking for new space — it’s a tool that lets you do a quick space calculation to recommend how much space you need based on the industry standard … Once you have that recommendation it’s an interactive tool. We tweak it based on client standards."

Major brokerages have seen the perks of tech for clients and are aggressively racing to dominate the space by acquiring real estate tech startups, investing in internal tech solutions and partnering with tech accelerators. 

CBRE, one of the largest commercial brokerages in the world, launched workplace experiences platform CBRE 360 in January, headed by former Zipcar exec Andrew Kupiec. The mobile app is tailored to clients' needs and allows employees to access building services and amenities, such as booking conference rooms, managing meetings and sending out maintenance requests. Last January CBRE acquired 3D real estate modeling firm Floored. Similar in part to JLL InSite, Floored lets users visualize and edit floor plans in 2D and 3D and to create customized space layouts in real time.

In its March 8 Investor Day report, JPMorgan analysts said CBRE Chief Digital and Technology Officer Chandra Dhandapani has successfully made tech a front-and-center business driver for the firm.

“She appears to have helped CBRE create a comprehensive suite of technology offerings for clients and seems to be integrating technology-oriented acquisitions and internally developed software into all lines of business,” the report reads. “Real estate service clients seem willing to pay for technology solutions that go along with traditional functions like sales, leasing, property management and workspace management.”

All About That Tech

The goal of JLL InSite is to help clients plan ahead to cut down on both unnecessary costs and the time associated with workplace revamps and relocations.

The three-in-one tool allows companies to compare potential locations to see which would make the best use of space to accommodate employees and all of their needs. In addition to generating a tentative budget based on those perceived needs in a matter of minutes, JLL’s team of architects and interior designers create test-fits and provide 3D walk-through visualizations to help jump-start clients’ design efforts.

“Our drawings are done by architects and interior designers. We follow the major codes and they are code compliant,” Mackinson said. “From there you can hand them off to an architect.”

This is not JLL’s first foray into tech. The publicly traded brokerage giant, which boasts a market cap of about $7.8B, introduced JLL Spark, a global business that identifies PropTech solutions and delivers them to clients, in 2017. Headed by co-CEOs Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner, the goal of the initiative is to create new products and invest in CRE tech startups that will transform clients' businesses. JLL Spark made its first investment in late March when it acquired Stessa, a software-as-a-service platform that tracks the success of income properties. 

JPMorgan analyst and Executive Director Anthony Paolone is not surprised by major brokerages pushing into tech.

“I think it’s good,” Paolone said. “It’s in part responding to where the world is going. Business overall is going in a direction where you’re going to have the top handful of global competitors dominate the tech landscape.” 

CRE tech experts reiterate that the industry’s adoption of tech, which many fear could eliminate the need for brokers or further automate services that would encroach on individual jobs, will not put people out of work. Rather, tech will continue to streamline the work, creating a more paperless, transparent approach to sourcing deals and closing transactions.  

“Software will only get you so far if you don’t have skilled people behind the scenes,” JLL Head of Americas Occupancy Planning Susan Wasmund said in a statement. “Our team truly understands how space is most effectively planned, used and built, so we are able to provide clients with plans and budgets tailored to their unique workplace strategies.”

-Champaign Williams

Workplaces Green Up To Boost Health, Productivity

Globe St.

 

SAN FRANCISCO—The World Green Building Council recently released a report that provides tangible insights on why greener workspaces are healthier, more enjoyable places to work, and this has a direct impact on productivity, employee health and the bottom line. In this exclusive, Eric Ibsen, chief design officer at FORGE, discusses how corporate clients are embracing these ideals to enhance work environments and culture.

GlobeSt.com: Do you find that more of your corporate clients are seeking sustainable and innovative solutions for workplaces?

Ibsen: Sustainability is part of a larger movement in response to the recognition that today’s workplace is both a recruitment and productivity tool, and a hedge against turnover. The battle for talented people is spreading across various industries and well-being is no longer a nice-to-have feature, but an increasingly essential component of business success. Our clients are increasingly interested in ways to make the workplace a healthier, more responsible environment.

GlobeSt.com: How are companies balancing the focus on providing healthier work environments/energy efficiency versus making changes to workplace culture? Is one area being prioritized over the other?

Ibsen: As mentioned, a work environment that focuses on well-being is increasingly the standard, no longer the exception. For our clients who have been moving in this direction, we see an integration of the two, not a prioritization of one over the other.

GlobeSt.com: Has the process of collaboration with corporate clients changed as client needs have evolved?

Ibsen: Absolutely. Our inquiry process at the outset of a project (formerly programming), has expanded dramatically to cover not only functional needs but business goals and cultural emphasis. Our most innovative clients bring in professionals from HR, finance, marketing/sales and operations to provide us with a broader perspective about what’s important to the company as a whole, not just from an operational or facilities standpoint. These groups are working together for the best outcome, not vying for departmental priorities. It’s an exciting experience for us to have the opportunity to impact our clients’ business at this level and to respond to and conquer those inherent design challenges as part of the team.

GlobeSt.com: What are other ways you are seeing corporate clients using design to impact business and productivity?

Ibsen: Technology has had a huge impact on design, as well as a desire to bring the outside in by incorporating social and community efforts in the workplace. Connectivity and collaboration impact the bottom line, so we are constantly finding ways to bring those to clients and projects.

GlobeSt.com: What are a few examples of recent projects by FORGE that exemplify meeting these design challenges?

Ibsen: The DPR Construction San Francisco office, which is LEED Platinum-certified and the first net zero energy commercial office building in San Francisco, and VF Outdoor, a 14-acre LEED Platinum campus in Alameda comprising office, R&D and warehouse projects, are two great examples.

-Lisa Brown

There Is Virtually No Chance of a U.S. Recession This Year: Goldman Sachs

The Street

 

With so many things going well in the U.S. economy, those calling for a U.S. recession this year may want to simmer down. 

"The US Economic team's recession probability model assigns a 5% likelihood of a recession during the next four quarters, 19% during the next eight quarters, and 34% during the next 12 quarter," says Goldman Sachs strategist David Kostin. "An economic contraction in the near term seems remote. The consumer accounts for 69% of US GDP and confidence stands near its 20-year high. Business spending is also robust. S&P 500 capex is tracking at +24% in 1Q year/year. We forecast 2018 capex growth of 10% to $690 billion (27% of cash spending)." 

The view is echoed in Corporate America, too. 

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) CEO Frank Del Rio tells TheStreet that 2018 bookings and pricing are very strong. Further, 2019 bookings and pricing are looking quite robust as well. 

"I don't see anything in our numbers ," Del Rio says. "I don't see it in demand, I don't see it in pricing, and I don't see it anywhere else in the marketplace."

-Brian Sozzi

Daily Brief May 07, 2018 unsubscribe

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