Tag Archives: Wolf CRE


Performing Pre-Construction Due Diligence

Let’s explore why performing pre-construction due diligence prior to the acquisition of a site or proceeding towards construction is critical.

We’ve heard it all before:

  • “Do your homework.”
  • “Measure twice….cut once.”
  • “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
  • “Hindsight is 20/20”
  • “Snooze, you lose.”

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My father didn’t author any of those lines, but he said them so often I thought he might have. And quite frequently, I can still hear his voice in my head giving me such sage counseling. But it was more than fatherly advice; it was sound advice that helped prepare me for the world of design and construction; as he would say: “Always be prepared.” He never used the term “due diligence;” but I knew what he meant.

Now that I’m all grown up, his words seem even more to the point. Performing pre-construction due diligence prior to the acquisition of a site or proceeding towards construction is critical. You need to protect your interests and investments of time and money, and the best way to accomplish that is to assess potential risks in every
development venture.

It may sound like a simple task, but it is a complex process to identify and analyze the risks and arrive at sound and level-headed solutions to obstacles that may arise. After that, you’ll need to address and mitigate each through the planning and construction processes. If the obstacles appear too great, or reveal other issues that verge on being unsurmountable, it may be a good time to rethink and retool the project.

Pre-Construction Due diligence must be done for every project, no matter how big or small…be it single family home or multifamily housing, commercial, office or retail, educational or worship, healthcare or hospitality, industrial or government. So, before you take that leap and make the decision to proceed with a site and/or building project, take the time and effort to perform the investigation and assess if it (and its context) are suitable for a particular project, and if it is in balance with the other various risks involved.

Thorough pre-construction due diligence is critical to your project…from the selection of the site, to the designer and builder, delivery method and materials, to compliance, financial assessments and budget. Nothing can place you on a better course than proper pre-construction due diligence. It’s just as my dad said: “measure twice, cut once.”

Paul Stridick, AIA is Director of Design/Build at The Bannett Group. He is an award-winning architect that also has extensive government experience. Prior to joining TBG, Paul was the Director of Community Development for Cherry Hill Township, NJ, a 26-square mile suburban community in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Before that, he was the Director of the Division of Housing and Community Resources for New Jersey’s Dept. of Community Affairs. His last article “IS THERE AN EASIER WAY TO GET SOMETHING BUILT?” was published on WCRE’s blog in August 2017.

The Bannett Group is a South Jersey firm that was founded in 1970. Since then, we’ve become one of the fastest growing design and construction firms in the region, with a portfolio of work that spans the country. The Bannett Group always views our design & construction services as a set of tools available to complete each job. We’ll pick the best tool or delivery method for each job…general contracting, construction management or even a fully integrated Design-Build package. Whatever the tool, we get the job done. With our steadfast history and fine-tuned in-house talent, we’re able to complete each project on time…on budget…every time.

Proposed Modifications to Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing Bill

Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing BillThere have been some proposed modifications to the Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing Bill. On June 22, 2017, City Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sanchez introduced a bill proposing to provide for new affordable housing requirements in Philadelphia in the commercial real estate context. The bill, as originally drafted, would amend the Housing Code to require residential developers to include affordable housing units in their new and redeveloped residential projects. In return, developers would be rewarded with height and floor-area ratio bonuses. Since its initial introduction in June, the bill has been recently modified by its sponsor as part of the Planning Commission review process, resulting in certain substantive changes to its original form. A November 27 public hearing revealed dissension against the bill from neighborhood groups, housing advocates and developers, resulting in Councilmember Quiñones-Sánchez putting a hold on the bill. Further amendments to rectify the differing viewpoints are to be expected, and another hearing as well as a vote has been scheduled for December 5, 2017.

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Background of the proposed modifications to the Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing Bill

Legislating affordable housing requirements in the commercial/residential real estate context is not a new trend in major cities nationwide. San Francisco and New York City, for example, have long had robust mixed income housing programs. Given Philadelphia’s high poverty rate, city officials view this bill as a way to provide increased affordable housing to its residents while still recognizing and meeting the needs of private developers.

Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing Bill NO. 170678

The bill directs private developers of new residential projects or substantially rehabilitated projects containing more than 10 units to set aside 10 percent of the units for affordable housing. The amended bill specifies, however, that its affordable housing requirements do not apply to student or subsidized housing. Under the original bill, the affordable units would have been available to prospective renters whose incomes were between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income (AMI) and to purchasers between 50 percent and 80 percent of the AMI, depending on the location of the units. Now, under the amended bill, the units would be available to prospective “low income” renters at or below 50 percent of the AMI and “moderate income” renters at or below 60 percent of the AMI. The amended bill would also make the units available to prospective “low income” purchasers at or below 70 percent of the AMI and “moderate income” purchasers at or below 80 percent of the AMI.

Originally, the bill applied to the entire city; as amended, however, the bill would only affect high-density zoning districts of RM-4, RMX-3, CMX-3, CMX-4 and CMX-5. These modifications result in both the affordable housing requirements and the incentives offered being inapplicable in zoning districts other than those listed above. The bill defines an affordable unit as one whose cost—whether rental or purchase—is 30 percent or less of the applicable maximum qualifying income level. These units were initially proposed to them should they opt to build affordable units. The amended bill grants substantial height and floor-area bonuses to developers who incorporate the affordable housing proposals, although the specifics of these bonuses may change in the next version of the bill. These developers will have enhanced development opportunities as a result of their assistance in providing homes to a wide range of Philadelphians.

The bill, if passed into law, would go into effect on July 1, 2018. Should it pass, the bill will not apply to construction pursuant to valid zoning permit applications that were filed prior to the effective date. Currently, a Rules Committee public meeting and the vote on the bill have been set for Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

Want More Information about the proposed modifications to the Philadelphia Mixed Income Housing Bill?

This Alert has been authored by Aaron R. Feinblatt, an associate in Duane Morris’ Real Estate Practice Group. If you have any questions about this Alert or otherwise, please contact Brad A. Molotsky at 856-874-4243.

brad-molosky

 

How to Encourage Office Creativity

Encourage Office CreativityLet’s look at ways to encourage office creativity. Most people think that working hard is the most effective way of working. However, that is not always the case. A great way to accomplish everything on your to-do list is to do smart work instead of hard work. To encourage office creativity and welcome various thoughts from different channels at the work place, there needs to be a collaborative working environment. Here is a list of activities that will help you achieve maximum levels of creativity within your office.

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1. Arrange for some games that encourage a team-building attitude to encourage office creativity

You should plan a small game for your employees and schedule it once every few weeks. Introduce such games that are to be played between teams. This will help you to educate your staff about the importance and benefits of team work.

2. Entertain employee suggestions to encourage office creativity

You should dedicate an area where employees can come and share their creative thoughts or suggestions. You can hang a notice board in a corner so that the employees may write their thoughts on paper and pin it on the notice board or you can place a suggestion box where employees can raise their concerns without revealing their identity. Make sure that you value their suggestions and reward them for creative ideas.

A notice board is preferable, as the content on the board can be seen by other employees as well and it provides a platform to interact. Employees can pin up suggestions as well as any challenges they are facing while accomplishing any given task. This way they will get input from others to get problems solved. This improves collaboration and teamwork.

If you have a huge office with thousands of employees, you can replace notice boards with digital
collaborative platforms.

3. Encourage brainstorming to encourage office creativity

Brainstorming sessions are the best way to get the creative ideas flowing. Try to make every employee a part of the brainstorming sessions where everyone should be given freedom to express their thoughts.

4. Treat all your employees equally to encourage office creativity

A workplace is full of people with different backgrounds and thoughts. Everyone must be treated equally, and there should not be any bias to any particular group of employees. Plan a few informal get-togethers’ where all the employees gather and spend few hours together irrespective of their designation in the workplace. It is an awesome sight to see the director talking to a trainee and getting to know about him/her; an accounts person talking to a technical person and sharing thoughts; and many more such interactions. This is the sign of a great work culture within an organization.

Creativity is directly linked to the flow of ideas. The better the flow of ideas, the more creative your team will be. Creative resources are the assets of an organization and the creative atmosphere results in the best quality output. Give it a try today and let us know how successful your working environment
is.

 

Josh Smargiassi: Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
6950 Sherman Lane
Pennsauken, NJ 08110
P 856.582.0100
F 856.582.0104
www.boomerangofficefurniture.com

Why Corporate Owned Real Estate is a No No

corporate owned real estate noLet’s explore Corporate Owned Real Estate. A frequent mistake made by small business owners is to have the operating corporation own the real estate, or to have a separate C corporation own the property and lease it to the business. The reason is that when the  company eventually disposes of the property, usually after it has significantly appreciated and been substantially depreciated, a double tax bill will result. First, the corporation will be taxed on the appreciation upon the disposition of the real estate, and then, the shareholder(s) will be taxed on the proceeds of the disposition when they are distributed to them as a dividend or through liquidation. The tax traps are not limited to C corporations. Holding real estate in an S corporation has its own pitfalls. Mortgage debt does not constitute “basis” for tax losses when the accompanying real estate is owned in an S corporation. As most real estate investments yield potentially deductible losses after factoring depreciation on the structure, this could eliminate the tax benefits for a great deal of investors. There are great alternatives to corporate owned real estate.

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A Better Approach to Corporate Owned Real Estate

corporate owned real estate yesA better approach than corporate owned real estate is for the business owners to own the real estate personally in a limited liability company or in a partnership with other investors, and then lease it to the operating business. Among the advantages:

• The business owner can sell the real estate interest for his or her own account, avoiding tax at the corporate level.

• The owner can refinance the property for his or her own benefit.

• Lease payments received by the property owner are not subject to employment taxes and are deductible by the company as a business expense.

• If the property owner dies while still owning the property, heirs will get it at its stepped-up basis, eliminating tax on all of the gain resulting from appreciation.

It’s particularly important for small business owners to engage in careful tax planning with respect to real estate being acquired for use by their business, and we receive frequent requests for assistance with appropriate tax strategies.

While we’re talking real estate and hopefully that which is not titled in corporate form, do you own a property that has appreciated considerably and that you want to sell? Are you concerned about incurring a large capital
gains tax liability? One option is to structure the sale as an installment sale. Here the buyer pays the cost of the property plus interest in regular installments, frequently for a period of 5 years, enabling the seller to reflect the capital gain for tax purposes over the entire payment period. Sellers who decide on this strategy are cautioned, however, that an installment sale carries more risk than an outright sale of the property. Thus, the seller needs to:

• Carefully assess the creditworthiness of the buyer and possibly obtain personal guarantees, if the purchaser is a business.

• Evaluate the future income producing capability of the property to make sure it provides sufficient cash flow to enable the buyer to make the payments.

• Use an interest rate that is competitive with current market rates in the area so as not to squash the deal.

• Obtain a down payment of at least 20% to have a cushion in the event of buyer default, and to cover the expenses if foreclosure becomes necessary.

Similarly, a topic for another alert is our frequently suggested use of Section 1031 which provides an alternative strategy for deferring the capital gains tax that may arise from a business/investment property sale. As of the writing of this Abo and Company Tip-of-the Month, we’ve read that the days of deferring 100% of gain via likekind
exchanges of real-estate could be numbered if the much talked about tax reform occurs in this particular arena does take place. Republican lawmakers are seeking tax breaks to trim or scrap to offset the cost of significantly cutting the income tax rate for businesses. We’ve seen tax-free real estate exchanges/swaps targeted before nixing like-kind swaps, immediately taxing the full amount of gain or in President Obama’s proposal to cap the deferral at $1 million. If the deferral is curbed, we don’t think the break will be axed retroactively but who really knows at this point.

Business property transactions are often complex, and the services of a knowledgeable CPA (hopefully we at Abo and Company) can be vital in developing strategies that make it possible to bring a contemplated transaction to a successful conclusion.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF is a principal of Abo and Company, LLC and its affiliate, Abo Cipolla Financial Forensics, LLC, Certified Public Accountants – Litigation and Forensic Accountants. With offices in Mount Laurel, NJ and Morrisville, PA, tips like the above can also be accessed by going to the firm’s website at www.aboandcompany.com.

WCRE Third Quarter Report: Fundamentals Remain Strong

SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS PERFORMING STEADILY

October 6, 2017 – Marlton, NJ – Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its latest quarterly analysis that the Southern New Jersey market is in good shape, but remains in somewhat of a holding pattern.

“For most of 2017 we have seen an overall positive tone and conditions that usually indicate a period of strength,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “The national economy has been adding jobs, the financial markets are on a hot streak, and our market continues to attract outside investors – yet increased activity and enthusiasm are tempered by trouble in the retail sector and uncertainty related to current events.”

There were approximately 421,113 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which represents an increase of approximately 6.6 percent compared with the previous quarter, and a 15 percent increase over the same period last year. While leasing showed moderate gains, the sales market was quite active during the third quarter, with more than 1.76 million square feet worth more than $105 million of completed sales transactions trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 43.3 percent of all deals. Overall, net absorption for the quarter was in the range of approximately 91,600 square feet.

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Other office market highlights from the report:

  • Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 9.75 percent, which is a solid improvement over the previous quarter.
  • Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$14.50/sf NNN or $20.00-$24.50/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. These averages have stayed within this range for most of this year.
  • Vacancy in Camden County maintained its dramatic improvement, standing at 10.8 percent for the quarter, down from 13.3 percent at the beginning of the year.

WCRE has expanded into southeastern Pennsylvania, and the firm’s quarterly reports now include a section on transactions, rates, and news from Philadelphia and the suburbs. Highlights from the first quarter in Pennsylvania include:

  • The Philadelphia industrial market continues its hot streak, and the outlook is positive. Vacancy rates for flex and industrial properties in Philadelphia are well below the regional and national averages, and this is expected to continue.
  • Philadelphia’s office market continues to gain strength across the board, with far lower vacancy rates than regional and national averages for both Class A and Class B properties in the Central Business District and the suburbs. We see increasing employment and new construction, both of which bode well for continued strength.
  • The Philadelphia retail sector is the one area that is not performing well. It has been affected by the same challenges facing retail businesses everywhere. Namely, the massive shift to online retailing and away from brick-and-mortar. Still, there were some positive signs amid the announced store closings and bankruptcies. Community shopping centers remain an area of strength in the market, with vacancy rates nearly half the national average.

WCRE also reports on the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia retail market, noting slight declines in consumer confidence and related metrics as the third quarter wound down. Overall retail sales were 3.2 percent higher this year compared to 2016, and were likely impacted by the major hurricanes affecting Texas and Florida in late August and early September. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

  • Retail vacancy in Camden County stood at 9.5 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.47/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County stood at 10.7 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.38/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 7.9 percent, with average rents in the range of $14.10/sf NNN.

The full report is available upon request.

About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long-term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE online on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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Protect Your Property Against Attractive Nuisance Dangers

attractive-nuisance-dangersThe following article explores how to protect your property against attractive nuisance dangers. Although property owners are generally not responsible for protecting trespassers, in some cases, landowners or those who occupy land under leases can be held responsible for injuries to children that are caused by man-made conditions on the property. Considered attractive nuisances, these might include buildings, construction sites, heavy equipment or even man-made ditches.

Property owners have the power to thwart entrance onto their property and discourage young trespassers from getting hurt. One might use fencing, illustrated signs or other means to prevent children from entering the property and potentially injuring themselves. If you have any reason to believe that children might trespass onto your property or in your facility, treat the problem with the highest gravity. Doing nothing to prevent the entry or injury of trespassers creates a serious financial risk for your company.

Owner Liability in attractive nuisance dangers

As the owner of the property, you are responsible for taking steps to assure that anyone who enters, whether welcome or unwelcome, stays safe from injury. While warning signs are an excellent start, many children may not be able to read them, so it is important to find additional ways of protecting your property.

Ensure that gates are secured and fences are not easily climbed. Adequately protect any conditions,
including pools, ditches, walls or other man-made physical features, that might present a hazard. This may mean covering the pool to avoid accidental drowning, placing sturdy fencing around hazardous areas or placing warning or “No Trespassing” signs. In addition, all safety equipment should be stored and locked at the end of each shift to avoid trespasser tampering.

Premise Liability in attractive nuisance dangers

Property owners are also liable for the maintenance and security that the property needs so that it remains safe for all visitors. This includes the following:

• Fixing cracks or gaps in walkways to avoid slip and fall dangers
• Locking all hazardous tools, equipment and chemicals away from the public
• Ensuring that employees can conduct work duties without the risk of injury
• Hanging flood lights in areas with low visibility
• Hiring security guards for added protection
• Installing rescue equipment, such as ropes and poles, when necessary
• Installing alert devices, such as flashing lights, sirens, alarms and telephones to alert security that
someone has trespassed onto the premises

With regard to attractive nuisance cases, negligence means that the property owner was aware that someone could get hurt on the property and did nothing to prevent it. If you take all necessary precautions to protect individuals that are on your property, you are less likely to be found negligent in a premise liability suit.

For more assistance in protecting your property and your business, contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today.

brian-blaston-hardenbergBrian Blaston
Commercial Lines – Manager
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955
www.hig.net

5 Self-Defense Tips for Realtors

Self-Defense Tips for RealtorsLet’s look at some self-defense tips for realtors. As in any job, but especially in real estate, agents have the possibility of being confronted with the threat of physical attack Unfortunately, the majority of employees are typically armed with little to no self-defense awareness. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 40% of the respondents reported that they had experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information while on the job. Below, we’ve outlined 5 self-defense tips for realtors that can help all real estate agents protect themselves while on the job.

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1. Unlock the doors and perform any safety checks prior to your prospect’s arrival. Make sure all exits are unlocked and clear of obstacles.

2. Never walk into a property first. You already have the door unlocked and open. Step aside and allow your prospective buyer to go in first. If you walk in first, it’s easy for your would-be assailant to lock the door behind him and proceed with the attack.

3. Maintain a personal comfort zone. There is no reason for a person to be within 3 feet of you at any time without permission. If attacked, stand your ground. You are far less likely to survive an attack if the perpetrator moves you from one location to another. Don’t let an attacker force you into a car, as this will decrease the chances of emergency responders finding you with enough time to save your life.

4. Breathe. This is often the first thing people forget to do in an assault. The easiest way to prevent this is to start yelling. Yell at the attacker to stop. Yell at them to go away. Or simply yell “NO!” Target sensitive areas. There are several areas of the human body that are very sensitive to attack. Pinch together all five fingertips of one hand and go straight for the eyes. If the attacker is behind you, jab your elbow into the face, throat or pit of the stomach.

5. Take a self-defense class. You can never be too prepared in an attack. Learn the most effective ways to fend off an attacker from a trained professional. At the end of the day, the most important point is that you make it out alive.

If you are interested in learning more about these and other self-defense tips for realtors, please contact:


Mike Andrus

Personal Security Expert
Guard Llama
MAndrus@guardllama.com
(215) 370 -1650
www.guardlama.com

WCRE Adds Accomplished Business Development Officer Tom Bove

Tom Bove to Expand WCRE’s Relationships in Professional Service Sector

Tom BoveWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of Tom Bove, who will serve as Business Development Officer.  Bove brings more than 20 years of sales leadership and business development experience to complement the skilled team at WCRE. 

As Business Development Officer, Tom will work closely with WCRE’s sales professionals and its Director of Strategic Relationships to generate new business relationships with service professionals in the region.
A consummate business connector and manager, Bove has developed an extensive network of trusted relationships leading sales teams and managing customer accounts for the past two decades.  In addition, his experience in the tech and IT sectors will open new avenues of opportunity for WCRE.

“Each new member of our team strengthens our ability to meet specific client needs,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Tom brings a valuable background as a leader who can build and manage new business relationships, allowing WCRE to serve clients in new ways.”

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About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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Improve ROI by Utilizing Office Space

utilizing office spaceHow can you increase the return on your investment by utilizing office space? When a business makes an investment, they expect to see a return on that investment. So it is important, that when making design decisions that you first establish the outcomes that you expect and that the interiors solution provider that you are working with knows how to use design to achieve those outcomes to help you
reach your corporate goals.

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Utilizing Office Space for Employee Engagement

Each year, actively disengaged employees cost U.S. companies between $450-$550 billion in lost productivity. Making sure that employees are engaged in the job that they do, will have a big impact on your business. Not only will it make a work more meaningful for your employees, but it will employees will have a sense of purpose.

Incorporating flexibility and adaptability into an office creates a balance within the space. By using adaptable desks, lounges, phone areas and touchdown spaces, workspaces should contain different types of spaces within one space for employees to engage in collaboration or focused work. Designing your space to reflect your company’s core values will consistently support employee engagement.

Utilizing Office Space for Retention and Recruitment

As employee engagement increases, so does retention rate. In fact, recent studies have found that strategic office design has a huge impact on the overall satisfaction of employees. By incorporating design features such as an natural lighting, adjustable and multi-use furniture and a variety of workspaces to supplement an open floor plan increases employee retention.

As far as recruitment goes, by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be millennials, and the new workforce wants to feel connected and engaged in the work that they do. In addition to the other design features mentioned, top talent is looking for flexibility when choosing a job, so why not allow for easy access to technology in your space. By having a state-of-the-art design in the workspace, not only will it optimize efficiency and productivity, but it will attract the best talent to your company.

Utilizing Office Space to the Max Per Square Foot

In order to maximize spatial efficiency, will keeps cost down and increase profit. So designing your workspace
to be flexible and adaptable leaves room for your business to grow and change as needed. For example, current
seating trends such as hoteling, benching and hot desking decrease the amount of square footage needed per
employee which will allow room in your workspace other needed areas like touchdown spaces, quiet areas,
collaborative spaces or meeting rooms.

Most businesses are pretty conservative when it comes to design spending, but when you strategically plan design investment to achieve certain outcomes, not only will you see a big return, but you will maximize productivity, increase competitiveness and achieve your corporate goals.

Bellia President, Anthony Bellia understands and values the importance of helping clients succeed by providing a seamless experience when furnishing commercial interiors. Bellia Workspace Solutions is a family owned and run business with over 40 years of experience and service to the community. Their clients’ visions and goals are the motivation for probing into the culture, style and nature within workspaces. It is his mission to help companies within the Tri-state area be more magnetic to remain strong and continue to grow by attracting top talent, building spaces that provide flexibility in the future, and creating branded environments that support the company message.

Anthony Bellia

 

Attracting and Retaining Talent with Well-Designed Workplaces

Attracting and Retaining Talent1Let’s explore attracting and retaining talent with Well-Designed Workplaces because at the end of the day: IT’S MORE THAN JUST A PAYCHECK. Keeping workers satisfied through compensation is a high priority for organizations desiring to lower turnover rates, which can have negative effects on profitability and morale. But for many people, their job is more than pay and benefits. Where they work—and what their organization stands for—carries significant weight. What makes one organization more attractive than another to existing and prospective employees lies in its core values, which are expressed through its culture and brand. These values are weighed differently among individuals—and among generations.1

Today it’s more critical than ever for organizations to attract and retain top talent, and one component that can be used for recruiting, but is often overlooked, is the workplace. It’s more than just desks and chairs. Research shows that the work environment accounts for up to 25% of job satisfaction.2 Offering workers an attractive package that includes fair compensation is one way to help keep workers satisfied. The next step is for organizations to invest in a well-designed workplace that communicates its commitment to company values and brand.3

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Attracting and Retaining Talent – NEW Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent1Because any work environment is likely to include members of four generations—Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials—it must accommodate the needs of a wide range of ages.4 In the last U.S. Census, the number of Millennials already surpassed the number of Baby Boomers by population.5 As the Boomers retire from the workforce, employees from Generation X and the Millennials are beginning to replace them. But the preferences and workstyles of the Millennial cohort have received much attention because of its size. Organizations that consider Millennial values will be the most successful.6

Attracting and Retaining Talent1The Millennials are the generation born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, in the last decades of the 20th century. Digital Native expert Marc Prensky claims “they have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones and all the other toys and tools of the digital age.”7 They are tech-savvy and used to being connected from anywhere. They grew
up with the Internet at their fingertips for entertainment and social activities, and now use it for business tasks. They are globally connected, flexible and collaborative because they have developed different communication styles due to advanced technologies such as social media. They are entering the workplace—and transforming it forever.8 Although they have many of the same needs as previous generations, Millennials are different in how they approach work, communicate and integrate technology into their daily lives. Research from Johnson Controls reveals significant findings that organizations should consider for attracting younger workers and accommodating their workplace preferences:

• They value sustainability.
• They’re flexible, mobile and unconventional.
• They prefer collaboration and interaction in the workplace.
• They demand to be connected 24/7.
• The workplace is a space they emotionally engage with—where they socialize.
• The workplace should support their health and well-being.
• The lines between their business and social worlds blur, and they often use the same devices for both.
• They want faster computers, more frequent software updates and higher Internet speeds.9

Organizations are challenged to commit to the values that workers—especially Millennials—are seeking, from corporate social responsibility (CSR), to work/life balance, distributed work, and health/wellness.10 And they are challenged to create work environments that attract younger employees without excluding the other generations.11

The role of Corportate Social Responsibility in Attracting and Retaining Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent1Both Generation X and the Millennials consider sustainability—an element of corporate social responsibility (CSR)—a core value.12 Sodexo suggests “initiatives that represent the passion and commitment of people who choose to live their values through their work” are related to job satisfaction, motivation and intent to remain with the organization. 13 And “organizations that inspire people to connect with their community and create meaningful, sustainable work environments are able to retain top talent, especially among the younger generations.” 14 Sustainability—which used to be a special feature in office environments—has now become standard, with organizations “incorporating recycled products (including buildings), locally sourced and sustainable materials, energy-efficient HVAC systems and better indoor air quality.”

Making sustainability a design principle of the workplace helps turn the work environment into a tool for attracting and retaining top talent.15 The Millennials are known for having social consciences, which is why they’re drawn toward organizations that are committed to CSR. Sustainability is now a “must have” rather than
a “nice to have” when it comes to attraction and retention.16 And why not? Research shows that people who work in sustainably designed environments benefit from better health, decreased depression rates, improved sleep patterns and less eye strain.17 It’s a principle that works for all generations.environments benefit from better health, decreased depression rates, improved sleep patterns and less eye strain. 17 It’s a principle that works for all generations.

The role of Work/Life Blending in Attracting and Retaining Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent1Organizations today are challenged with how to help employees blend their workload with their personal responsibilities, presenting creative benefits and perks to entice them. Technology has enabled work anywhere, which means people are accessing e-mails from mobile devices 24/7. To compensate, many companies are offering casual, flexible and fun policies—including unlimited vacation days, gym memberships, relaxed dress codes and childcare, to name a few.18 The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests “workplace flexibility has a positive impact on employees’ worklife experiences. These low-cost initiatives can lead to increased employee job satisfaction, lower turnover and lower insurance costs.” 19 They can also encourage creativity and foster innovation by requiring people to get away from their routine by taking a sabbatical, for example. In a recent study, SHRM determined 53 percent of organizations offer flextime, in which employees can choose their work hours. Companies benefit from offering these options to workers by attracting and retaining people who can’t fit into a typical schedule working 9 to 5.20

Not every perk or benefit fits for every organization, however. They shouldn’t be standard across organizations—it depends on what the workers value, and this can vary by generation. 21

The role of Distributed Work in Attracting and Retaining Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent1The outcome of the need for work/life balance and a flexible work schedule is often distributed work. People are working anywhere, anytime—from the office to third spaces, and from their kids’ athletic events to the airport gate. Microsoft Canada suggests “employers who can offer flexible workspaces to their employees are leading the pack in becoming employers of choice”— especially for the younger generation. 22 Work/life balance is key for Millennials to remain satisfied on the job, and organizations that facilitate mobility programs will be a magnet for this generation. 23

Because technology has “broadened the playing field for finding talent globally, ” organizations will need to make distributed work a priority and find ways to enable collaboration, both virtually and face-to-face. 24 With people distributed across the globe, virtual teams are relying more on collaborative technologies.25

The emphasis on employee engagement as a foundation for innovation means companies will need to accommodate collaborative activities and foster a sense of community. Individual spaces will continue to shrink in both size and number. 26 Not just the Millennials, but also the elder generations have an increasing need for spaces that support teamwork. 27

Even the meaning of individual space has changed: Technology is “so pervasive that a workstation is anywhere networks can be accessed wirelessly.” 28 Hoteling and shared spaces provide ways to accommodate heads-down work when needed to save space and allow group spaces to expand. Telecommuting programs are simple solutions for organizations to incorporate flextime into their corporate culture. It not only saves space and reduces costs; it can also increase worker productivity up to 20 percent. 29

The role of Health & Well Being in Attracting and Retaining Talent

In today’s challenging economic times and volatile business world, there are elements in the workplace that are just as important—and sometimes more valuable—than adequate pay and benefits. Sodexo research reveals that a psychologically safe and healthy workplace is essential for companies focused on human and organizational performance. 30 When the workplace is used as a strategic tool, organizations can create places where people can work and live better. They can adapt the workspaces to fit the worker instead of the other way around—addressing the needs of individuals. 31 Simply providing naturally lit environments with access to daylight and views can help people be more productive than in workspaces with artificial lighting. Enhancing indoor air quality can also improve employee health and satisfaction levels.32

Personal control is another way to enhance physical comfort and health. People feel better about their jobs when they can claim some control and ownership in the work they do as well as in the place in which they do it—even if that means simply adjusting the furniture and other tools in the workspace to better suit their individual needs. Granting individuals some control over the appearance and organization of their work area can improve a person’s perception of his or her work and the actual experience doing it. Even small adjustments can satisfy personal preferences related to aesthetics, workstyles and comfort, increasing worker satisfaction. 33

Beyond Employee Retention: Engagement

Once organizations have attracted top talent, what’s the secret to retaining high-performing workers? One way is through employee engagement. “Higher levels of engagement can be a result of reward and talent programs adopted by employers that creatively seek a balance between responding to employee needs and coping with cost pressures. Employees’ desire to preserve their jobs may have also contributed to higher engagement levels demonstrated by a willingness to go the extra mile, be resilient and embrace change.” 34

The strong correlation between engagement and retention is well understood. “Intent to stay,” or an employee’s stated desire to remain with his or her current employer, is a strong predictor of actual turnover. It is also an indication of how strongly committed an employee is to the employer’s success. Globally, 60 percent of all employees report that, given the choice, they plan on remaining with their current organization for the next 12 months. However, this number jumps to 81 percent among engaged employees but drops to 23 percent among the disengaged. 35

Design Implications for Attracting and Retaining Talent

In a competitive race for talent, the workplace is a key component of the employment package organizations can offer. In fact, workplace effectiveness is “a strong factor in attraction and retention of talented people; ratings of a company’s attraction/retention capability are almost three times higher when workplace effectiveness rises above 80 percent.” 36 Companies with the highest WPI (workplace performance index) scores have close to perfect scores on valuing people, attracting/retaining talent and work/life balance. 37 It becomes a means for
fostering long-term loyalty when the workplace both supports and rewards workers’ efforts. 38 Here are some ways to consider designing the workplace to incorporate the values of CSR, work/life balance, distributed work and health/well-being.

TO ATTRACT PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES
• Express culture and brand—from colors and furniture—to reflect the attitudes and values of the organization.
• Offer the latest technology tools to support collaboration, flexibility and mobility.
• Create dedicated third spaces for employees to collaborate in a space away from the main campus.
• Assign workspaces even for mobile employees to help foster social networks and interaction.
• Design work environments to support the work—group spaces for collaboration and privacy for heads-down work that requires concentration. 39
• Create a comfortable, residential, fun environment that feels like home, with amenities such as kitchens, pantries, living rooms, and family rooms. 40
• Incorporate sustainable design when planning a new facility and include sustainable practices in existing or new
• workplaces.

TO RETAIN EMPLOYEES
• Nurture social networks through events such as celebrations.
• Build relationships by supporting impromptu interactions in community spaces such as cafés, and along deliberate pathways throughout the facility.
• Offer a variety of workspaces with mobile furniture to support collaboration, mentoring and meetings.
• Provide spaces for independent, heads-down work.
• Offer mobility and flexibility programs, and the technology tools employees need to support their work.
• Update or refresh spaces frequently to help employees feel valued. 41
• Integrate technology to create smooth transitions between work and home.
• Solicit feedback, address concerns and ask for employee input about how to improve the workplace.
• Encourage consumerization, especially among Millennials, offering consumer-friendly IT solutions rather than
corporate.
• Allow workers to use their own technology, such as iPads and smartphones, to do their work. 42
What people really want at work is a comfortable, functional place where they can be themselves. The more employees can identify with their workspace, the more content and motivated they are at their jobs. 43

Organizations need to make sure work environments align with corporate culture and values as well as brand. Then, by understanding the attitudes and workstyles of four generations—with a focus on the Millennial cohort—they’ll be able to accommodate workers’ needs. Flexibility is key in creating inspiring workspaces that attract top talent and retain workers through an engaging employee experience.

For More Information:

Steve Sable
Hayworth – Dealer Sales Manager
1700 Market Street – Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
c: 215.397.5656
o:215.977.8607
www.haworth.com

 

 

 

REFERENCES

1. CoreNet 2012
2. CoreNet 2012
3. CoreNet 2012
4. CoreNet The Leader 2013
5. Catalyst.org
6. Johnson Controls, 2012
7. Prensky, Marc, 2001
8. Johnson Controls, 2012
9. Johnson Controls, 2012
10. CoreNet 2012
11. Johnson Controls, 2012
12. CoreNet, The Leader, Mar/Apr 2012
13. Sodexo 2013
14. Sodexo 2013
15. Sodexo 2013
16. Colliers International 2011
17. M Moser Associates, 2008
18. Malcolm, Hadley, USA Today, 2013
19. SHRM 2012
20. SHRM 2012
21. Malcolm, Hadley, USA Today, 2013
22. Microsoft Canada
23. CoreNet, The Leader, March/April 2012
24. Mitel 2012
25. Johnson Controls 2012
26. Sodexo 2013
27. Johnson Controls 2012
28. Sodexo 2013
29. M Moser Associates, 2011
30. Sodexo 2013
31. Sodexo 2013
32. M Moser Associates, 2008
33. Haworth Summary Paper, “The Importance of User Control,” Sept 2009
34. WorldatWork, 2010
35. Blessing White, 2013
36. HR.com, 2008
37. Gensler, Workplace Survey 2008
38. M Moser Associates, 2008
39. CoreNet, The Leader, 2013
40. Sodexo 2013
41. CoreNet, The Leader, 2013
42. Johnson Controls, 2012
43. InDesign.com, 2012

Ashley, Scott, “It’s Not a Workplace, It’s a Work Place,” CoreNet Global, The Leader, March-April 2013
Blessing White, “Employee Engagement Research Update,” January 2013
Catalyst.org, Generations in the Workplace in the United States & Canada, May 1, 2012. Retrieved May 2013.
Colliers International white paper, “Generation Y: Implications for Office Markets,” July 2011
CoreNet, The Leader, March/April 2012
CoreNet Global, The Leader, Member Viewpoints, May/June 2012
CoreNet, The Leader, 2013
Haworth, “Designing Across Generations,” Summary Paper, April 2009
Haworth, “The Importance of User Control,” Summary Paper, September 2009
HR.com, Gensler Survey Measures Connection Between Workplace Design and Business Performance, October 23, 2008. Retrieved May 2013.
InDesign.com, The Power of Office Design, June 20, 2012. Retrieved May 2013.
Johnson Controls, “Digital Natives: Born 2B Connected,” Global WorkPlace Innovation Report, 2012
M Moser Associates, “Sharpening the competitive edge in today’s talent wars,” 2011
M Moser Associates, “The business case for sustainable workspace design,” 2008
Malcolm, Hadley, “Pets at work, time off: Employers add perks,” USA Today, April 29, 2013
Microsoft Canada, Flexible Workspaces Survey, 2012
Mitel Networks corporate white paper, “Work 3.0: The Next Generation Model for Smarter Business,” July 2012
Prensky, Marc, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001
Society for Human Resources Management, “2011 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: Gratification and Commitment at Work in a Sluggish Economy”
Society for Human Resources Management, “2012 Employee Benefits: The Employee Benefits Landscape in a Recovering Economy”
Sodexo 2013 Workplace Trends Report World at Work, June 30, 2010

 

 

WCRE Welcomes New Vice President Tony Banks

Tony Banks will focus on expanding the Wolf Commercial Real Estate’s footprint in Philadelphia and the Philly suburbs

View Tony Banks Hiring Release in PDF

Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of Tony Banks, who joins the firm as a Vice President. Tony brings a unique combination of commercial real estate and high finance experience to WCRE. Banks brings nearly a decade of experience in commercial real estate, representing local and national retail tenants, landlords, community development groups, investors, and startups in the Philadelphia area. Prior to his work in real estate, he was a trading analyst on the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange for more than ten years, where he worked with some of the more prominent firms on the NYSE.

Tony’s role at WCRE will include a focus on expanding the firm’s client base in Pennsylvania, especially in and around Philadelphia. He will also provide leadership in sales and leasing, tenant and landlord representation, investment sales, and multi-family dwellings. Banks was most recently an associate at Legend Properties, where he focused on sales and leasing, landlord and tenant representation, and investment sales.

Having recently marked its fifth anniversary, WCRE is now well established in Southern New Jersey, and leadership sees growth in the Pennsylvania markets as a natural next step. The firm has added two new key team members on the account service side every year since its founding.

“Our team has been evolving according to our deliberate strategy to ensure we are able to anticipate and meet the specific needs of our clients and community,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Tony has a terrific track record as a real estate professional and a knowledge of finance that will enable us to educate and serve clients in new ways.”

WCRE is highly dedicated to community service, and seeks new team members who share this value. Banks is an excellent fit in this regard, as he is active in several local community and professional groups. He is on the board of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club, and is a member of the Watertower Recreation Center Advisory Council, among others.

“I’ve admired WCRE’s commitment to building strong communities and relationships and its leadership in innovation for a long time,” said Banks. “I’m truly excited to join such a dynamic team and look forward to all we will accomplish together.”

About Wolf Commercial Real Estate

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE online at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com , www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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How to take control of health insurance costs

health-insurance-costsLet’s take a closer look at one of those major business expenses: health insurance for you and your employees. As an employer, you are undoubtedly in a constant state of evaluating the many costs driving your company’s bottom line. Without considering all the relevant factors and finding ways to minimize cost, it is difficult to be profitable and run a successful business. If you’re like most business owners, your top three expenses tend to be: cost of working space (rent, mortgage, upkeep); payroll; and health insurance. So you keep plugging away, working daily to find ways to make sure you are operating as cost-effectively as possible, ensuring that your bottom line continues to improve because if that doesn’t happen, then your business ceases to be profitable.

Let’s take a closer look at one of those major business expenses: health insurance for you and your employees. As health insurance premiums continue to rise with no sign of relief, this is one expense that not only negatively affects your bottom line, but also impacts your ability to attract and retain valuable employees.

Download Printable PDF>>>

How do you take control of health insurance costs?

When you shop for a building/office space, there are tangible things that you can see and steps that you can take to procure the best space at the best price. If you are looking for a new building, you call your real estate broker and schedule a visit. You look up the building address online and view 200 pictures from every angle possible — even 360-degree views — that make you feel like you are actually there without stepping outside your office and getting into your car. However, when it comes to health insurance, a 360-degree view of your health plan is not readily available. It’s difficult to really drill down and get to the bare bones of your plan. You just know the costs keep going up and, just as with many employers, the resulting impact on your company’s bottom line is huge.

So here is a question to ask yourself:

Is my benefit program where it is today because of a 3-5 year plan that I’ve successfully executed, or is it in its current state due to a series of reactions to annual renewal increases?

Most employers find themselves playing defense when it comes to health insurance costs. They react to the annual renewal and then repeat the process every twelve months thereafter; they’re stuck on the proverbial wheel. (Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”) Many employers want to find a way to reverse this trend and create a better solution for their bottom line while providing coverage for their employees. Does such a solution exist?

Depending on the size of your company, there are a number of programs available that can actually give you a look under the hood. With this information comes valuable data that can be used to take back control of your health insurance costs. What if you were told that you can get a report of where every health care dollar that you spend is going? How valuable can that be?!

You can take that information and create short-term and long-term savings through retention of carrier profits and decreased taxes. You can also gain more control through data transparency and structural optimization. Most companies are looking for the best ROI on so many other aspects of business, and overlook the power of being able to use your employee benefit program to improve your bottom line.

For more information, contact:

chris-flowers
Chris Flowers
chris@katzpierz.com
413 Marlton Pike East, Suite 100
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-2483

Office 856.672.6146
Fax 856.672.6147
www.katzpierz.com

 

katz pierz