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Brandywine Expects Return-to-Office Recovery To Take At Least Three Quarters

Brandywine Realty Trust is seeing a big comeback in leasing activity as more tenants contemplate returning to the office, but executives cautioned it could take several months until operations are back to normal.

More than a year into the pandemic, office landlords across the country are seeing more tenants start to return to their office space as the coronavirus vaccine rollout expands. However, as Brandywine’s portfolio shows, the return to office is likely to unfold in fits and starts over the coming months as companies evaluate their long-term real estate needs.

“We have to keep in mind that we are in the beginning phases of a transition in the return-to-work journey. … We believe it will take three quarters or so to fully play out,” said Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Philadelphia-based Brandywine, during an earnings call Thursday with investors.

Brandywine solely and jointly owns about 25 million square feet located mostly around Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and is one of the largest office landlords in fast-growing Austin, Texas. It recently expanded into Maryland.

The office-focused real estate investment trust said physical tour activity from prospective tenants increased 40% in the first quarter and it had more than 1,500 virtual tours. The company’s overall pipeline of leasing activity jumped by 400,000 square feet in the first quarter, hitting about 1.2 million, with 165,000 square feet in advanced negotiations.

Most of the midsize to smaller tenants are leading the charge to get back to the office, Sweeney said. Many companies also are still determining how many employees may work from home permanently, he said.

“We are clearly seeing from the pipeline additions that the return-to-work movement will accelerate and the flight to higher-quality office buildings is increasingly clear,” Sweeney said. 

Among the tenants searching for space, there is a greater emphasis on health and safety. Tenants are increasingly favoring spaces with private offices, more air circulation, larger workstations, and smaller gathering areas versus one large central space, Sweeney said. Some tenants in Philadelphia even took more square footage to allow for a more spacious layout, he said. 

“Certainly more and more companies are seeing the value of having people together physically,” Sweeney said. In conversations with larger companies, he said some employees are pushing back on the idea of being remote-only workers and want some flexibility to switch between remote work and being in an office at a dedicated workstation.

Few Workers Want Full-Time Return

While data varies, a January survey of office workers from Slack found that only 17% of office-based workers want to return to the office full time, 20% want to work remotely full time and 63% want the flexibility of a hybrid model.

Overall in the first quarter, Brandywine signed 493,251 square feet of new leases and renewals, according to its earnings results. Its profits were down about 14% year over year to $6.77 million, while revenue dipped 16% to $120 million, according to its first-quarter earnings results. However, about 99% of its office tenants are paying rent despite mostly not being back at the office. Brandywine is expecting some deferred rent later this year.

Although there is still uncertainty about the timing of a full recovery, Brandywine is seeing noticeably more touring activity, with tenants in the Philadelphia market seeing the biggest jump and Austin ranking last in its portfolio for tour activity, Sweeney said.

Brandywine is moving forward with Block A and the first phase of Block F in its massive redevelopment of the IBM Broadmoor campus into a mixed-use district near The Domain in north Austin. (Brandywine)

In downtown Austin, Brandywine has substantially completed construction of the office tower at 405 Colorado St., Sweeney said. The 25-story tower has struggled with leasing in the pandemic, particularly after law firm DLA Piper abruptly dropped its lease commitment last year. 

The 206,000-square-foot tower has remained about 18% leased since at least October, according to Brandywine’s previous earnings and first-quarter supplemental earnings results. However, Sweeney said the firm has a letter of intent for a full floor that it hopes to finalize in the next 30 days.

“Activity is definitely picking up. We’ve had four new tours in the last week alone,” Sweeney said.

Elsewhere in Austin, at Brandywine’s proposed Broadmoor campus in north Austin across from The Domain, IBM has declined to renew its lease at Building 905, and Brandywine expects to demolish the structure as part of its redevelopment of the area into a 66-acre mixed-use development.

Brandywine plans to advance Block A and the first phase of Block F at the project, encompassing $360 million of development. That includes 613 apartments, with about 341 units to start at a cost of about $119 million by the third quarter, Sweeney said. Brandywine also wants to kick off Broadmoor with 350,000 square feet of office but plans to wait until a significant portion is preleased prior to starting construction. Brandywine is looking for a joint-venture partner to help develop the first phase of Broadmoor and expects to select one within the week, Sweeney said.

Philadelphia Life Science Space

In Philadelphia, Brandywine and its joint-venture partner started construction on the $287 million Schuylkill Yards West in March at 3025 JFK Blvd.That project is expected to include 326 apartment units, 100,000 square feet of life science space and 100,000 square feet of office and street retail.

Brandywine struck a deal last month with the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center to create B.Labs, a life science incubator at Cira Centre directly adjacent to the Schuylkill Yards neighborhood in the University City section of Philadelphia. 

The initial 50,000-square-foot lab and research space is expected to open in the fourth quarter. Sweeney said Brandywine has a pipeline of leasing activity for 35% of the space in that project.

Discovery District in Maryland includes The Hotel at the University of Maryland on U.S. Route 1. (Robert Isacson/CoStar)

Last quarter, Brandywine expanded outside of its core markets into Maryland after it was selected by Terrapin Development Co. and the University of Maryland as the exclusive developer of a 5-acre mixed-use neighborhood within the University of Maryland’s Discovery District. 

Plans for the development include 550,000 square feet of research and life science space and about 200 to 250 multifamily units in several phases. Permitting and planning is underway with a target groundbreaking in the second half of 2022. 

Discovery District is a $2 billion, 150-acre research-focused campus located in College Park, Maryland.

*Article courtesy of Costar

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

 
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Consumers Spent $900 Billion More Online in 2020. Here’s Who Will Keep the Biggest Gains

Consumers across the globe spent $900 billion more at online retailers in 2020 compared with the prior two-year trend, according to a report released Tuesday by the Mastercard Economics Institute. 

Shoppers are heading back to restaurants and returning to stores to buy clothes and shoes in person. Yet they will continue to stock their fridges and hunt for good deals online — a sticky habit developed during the Covid pandemic, according to the report.

Nearly every retailer’s online sales jumped as shoppers were stuck at home. As consumers picked up online purchases in the parking lot and got packages or takeout dropped at their doorsteps, e-commerce made up about $1 out of every $5 spent on retail globally. That’s an increase from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019, the report said.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” with Frank Holland, Mastercard’s chief economist, Bricklin Dwyer, said about 20% to 30% of the $900 billion in additional digital spending will continue into 2021 and the next few years.

However, the long-term e-commerce gains will be uneven and will depend on what a retailer sells, how they adapted their business model and how consumers prefer to shop. For some merchandise, such as clothing, shoppers may prefer to go back to brick-and-mortar stores where they can try on an outfit before buying it. In certain retail categories, such as electronics, online purchases already drove a larger share of overall sales, so there was less room to grow.

Grocery and discount stores will see the most dramatic and lasting shift to e-commerce, according to the report. Discount stores include dollar stores, wholesale clubs, and other retailers that sell to customers at near-wholesale prices. Grocers will likely retain about 70% to 80% of the digital sales gains they saw during the peak of the pandemic and discount stores will hold onto about 40% to 50% of them, the report said.

For both sectors, online sales made up only a single-digit share of overall sales before the pandemic — creating an opportunity for more noticeable growth.

Clothing stores, restaurants, and sporting/toy stores saw the biggest initial spike during the pandemic, however, but only kept 10% to 20% of that peak in sales, according to the report.

Electronics and department stores had the highest penetration of online sales before the pandemic, with e-commerce making up about 55% to 60% and 40% to 50% of their total sales, respectively, according to Mastercard. For the two sectors, their expected permanent shift will be around 20% to 30% of their peak jumps.

Dwyer said grocers face unique hurdles — even as more consumers shop online for produce, meats, and other ingredients. Only about 10% of overall grocery spending is through e-commerce, he said.

“You have to trust someone else to pick your peaches,” he said. “You have to have trust for someone else to deliver your goods and still have them good when they arrive. So that really is some of those barriers that we’re crossing.”

 *Article courtesy of CNBC

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Retail Rent Collections Climb to 90% for the First Time in a Year

Retail rent collections are steadily improving. In February, rent collections surpassed 90% among national retailers for the first time since March 2020, when the pandemic began, according to research from Datex Property Solutions. In the same month last year, national retailers paid more than 93% of rents, showing that retailers in this category are inching closer to pre-pandemic performance.

Mark Sigal of Datex says that a few factors are driving rent collections. “For one, there is a commitment to a lease, so it’s part of the basic give and take, he tells GlobeSt.com. “At the same time, most tenants have had some form of coordinated efforts with the landlord, which is the embodiment of ‘we are in this together,’ so that is no small driving force. Plus, for those who have weathered the storm unbroken, there’s an enduring commitment to and belief in their craft. Underlying all of this is an expectation that there is pent up demand from the consumer, which seems logical. The light at the end of tunnel is real based on all of the data we have.”

Rent collections among non-national tenants however, fell nominally in February to 80.76%, down from 80.79% in January. However, this signals stability in the sector. Overall, retail rent collections totaled 85.6% in February. “February collections data shows that we are holding steady at 85% and some change, with collections for nationals hitting the 90% range for the first time in about a year,” says Sigal. “Plus, we have the stimulus kicking in, and the slow thaw of the pandemic, which will feel to the economy and retail operators in general like a volume control gradually turned up in the next few months. I am bullish on the overall direction of things.”

Retail collections have steadily improved as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, which is happening across the country in accordance with vaccine distribution. The stability of rent collection signals to a retail recovery once pandemic eases. “I believe that there is pent up demand,” says Sigal. “People have foregone travel and the usual bloated holiday spend, to some degree, so there is consumer spend waiting to be deployed, which is further bolstered by the stimulus.”

 *Article courtesy of Globest

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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13M Square Feet and Growing: Mapping Amazon’s Rapidly Expanding Real Estate Footprint Across the Philadelphia Region

From Northeast Philadelphia to King of Prussia, Amazon.com Inc.’s real estate footprint continues to grow throughout the tri-state area and the company now occupies a tad more than 13 million square feet between expansive fulfillment centers and last-mile distribution facilities. 

That figure doesn’t include the large warehouses or other properties the company leases in Central and North Jersey or out in the western part of Pennsylvania. For example, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) operates a 1-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Findlay in Allegheny County and occupies several smaller buildings for last-mile distribution.

The Philadelphia Business Journal mapped Amazon’s expansive footprint across the region using internal research. 

The map doesn’t include Whole Foods locations or new Amazon grocery stores the company plans to open in the region. For example, the company has signed a lease on 40,000 square feet for one of its new grocery stores at a planned mixed-use project at 5th and Spring Garden streets the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. It has plans for several other stores in Bucks County.

The data does include a new 1-million-square-foot distribution center in Berks County that Amazon opened last November, adding to the 14 large fulfillment centers it operates across the state and bringing to more than 10,000 the number of people it employs in Pennsylvania, according to the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development. At the new facility in Berks, the company expected to hire 1,000 full-time employees. 

Zoom in on the map below and click on the points for details on each of Amazon’s 29 leased properties in the tri-state area. The brown points indicate fulfillment centers, which are larger in size than the last-mile distribution centers identified on the map using blue points. 

Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $8.5 billion in Pennsylvania, including customer fulfillment and cloud infrastructure, research facilities, and compensation to its employees, according to DCED.

More recently, Amazon has been leasing smaller buildings as it creates a network of last-mile distribution centers across the region to fill and deliver online orders in an even faster time. 

Expect Amazon to lease more of these buildings as it continues to expand its reach throughout the tri-state area and dominate retailing. These smaller buildings are located in office and industrial parks close to densely populated areas as well as right in the heart of several Philadelphia neighborhoods. 

By leasing space in an office park or neighborhood around the block, Amazon has become not only a force in retailing but as an occupier of space and an employer throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. It is one of the fastest-growing companies throughout the tri-state area. 

Across the Delaware River In New Jersey, Amazon has more than 13,000 employees working in distribution centers as well as its Audible.com subsidiary. It’s also growing in the Garden State. Amazon plans to open late this year a 1.25-million-square-foot distribution center at 742 Courses Landing Road in Carney’s Point in Salem County. The site, which will be Amazon’s 15th in New Jersey, will employ 800 people.

It’s growing in Delaware as well. In addition, it plans to also open later this year an 820,000-square-foot distribution center at a former General Motors plant on Boxwood Road in Wilmington. Delaware’s Council on Development Finance approved a $4.5 million grant from the state’s Strategic Fund for the project. 

 *Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Office Sublet Space May Pose More of a Competitive Threat Than Initially Thought

Office sublet space may pose more of a competitive threat than initial estimates indicated. 

Initially, it looked to some that, while the amount of sublet space in the U.S. office market reached record highs, it wasn’t a major threat because not all of it competes with direct space offered by the landlord. For example, spaces with lease terms expiring next year probably aren’t attractive to a wide audience. 

According to that line of thinking, as most of the country’s office employees are still working remotely, even the least expensive sublet with 12 or even 18 months of term remaining would be likely to sit unoccupied for the majority of the sublease. The short duration makes it unappealing as the subtenant risks being forced back into the market for different space if it’s unable to come to terms with the building owner to remain after its sublease expires.

However, only about 15% of the 200 million-plus square feet of office space available for sublease has terms expiring in 18 months or less. Arguably, subleases that have more than three years remaining on the lease term become far more competitive with direct space. Right now, nearly 45% of the square footage available for sublease has 37-plus months of term remaining.

Even in New York, which at nearly 30 million square feet has the highest nominal amount of available sublet space, only 9% of that space offers terms expiring within the next 18 months. Conversely, 55% of the sublet square footage has more than three years of term remaining. 

An example of a more competitive sublet option is a full-floor availability at 192 Lexington Ave. in New York. The asking rent is $48 per square foot with a term of anywhere between three and 10 years. A similar lower-floor direct space is listed with a $64 per-square-foot asking rent, and upper-floor direct space has asking rents of $75 per square foot. This is just one example of a situation where an office tenant could achieve possible cost savings of between 25% and 36% for up to 10 years compared to a direct lease.

The San Francisco office market bucks this trend a bit, although both office tenants and residents had been looking for more cost-favorable alternatives even prior to the pandemic. Only 38% of the available sublet space in that market has more competitive term lengths.

Assuming the build-out of the office sublet is functional for a prospective subtenant, as build-out allowances to customize sublet space are not the norm, the cost savings could be rather appealing. Amid this challenging leasing climate, landlords competing with sublet space carrying longer terms may be willing to offer an early direct extension at favorable rates, with a full build-out allowance following the expiration of the sublease for those tenants seeking greater lease length while realizing significant cost savings on the front end.

With additional sublet availabilities continuing to come on the market, we may see downward pressure on direct rents grow over the next several months.

 *Article courtesy of CoStar

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Empty Office Buildings Squeeze City Budgets as Property Values Fall

WASHINGTON — At a meeting with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last month, Jeff Williams, the mayor of Arlington, Texas, laid out his grim economic predicament: Heavy spending on coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution had dwarfed dwindling tax revenue, forcing the city to consider painful cuts to services and jobs. While sluggish sales and tourism were partly to blame, the big worry, Williams said, is the empty buildings.

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As Store Owners Sign More Short-Term Leases, Landlords are Taking a Risky Bet on the Future of Retail

Retailers and their landlords are engaged in a high-stakes game of risk right now. And it will be a few years until we find out which party is on the winning side.

As thousands of retail leases come up for renewal, their duration is increasingly shrinking, as businesses grapple with an unpredictable future and look for ways to slash costs, stay flexible and maintain leverage over their landlords, even after the health crisis abates.

The risk is a two-way street, though. Because on one hand, in two or three years, mall and shopping center owners could have the chance to turn the tables back in their favor, by hiking rents or booting retailers out for another tenant. But more short-term deals could also leave landlords with even greater vacancies down the line.

Best Buy Chief Executive Corie Barry said Thursday that the big-box retailer’s average lease term is definitively dwindling.

She said the company has about 450 leases coming up for renewal in the next three years, or an average of 150 annually. The electronics retailer has closed about 20 of its larger-format locations each of the past two years, but expects to shut even more in 2021, she said.

“As we look to the near-term, there will be higher thresholds on renewing leases, as we evaluate the role each store plays in its market, the investments required to meet our customer needs, and the expected return based on a new retail landscape,” Barry said during a conference call with analysts.

The trend spreads far across the retail landscape and into malls. Apparel companies are increasingly rethinking whether it makes sense to be in an enclosed shopping center anchored by department stores that are struggling to lure shoppers and grow sales.

 

Vans and Timberland owner VF Corp. said leases for its stores have been trending shorter for years. But they’ll be even briefer coming out of the pandemic, according to the company’s chief financial officer, thanks to recent and ongoing negotiations. VF Corp. is making the shift to allow it the freedom to close stores more quickly.

“The way we structure our leases now allows us to be quite nimble, quite agile, and … we can pivot as consumer behavior changes,” CFO Scott Roe said in a recent phone interview.

The retailer’s average lease term is about four years, Roe said, and will soon be even shorter as new agreements are signed.

“The landlords have been cooperative and working with us,” VF Corp. CEO Steven Rendle added. “We both have the same objective, which is to be viable and to be productive.”

Vacant space abounds

While it has traditionally been in a landlord’s best interest to sign a long-term lease — lasting 10 or 20 years — to limit risk and keep a space filled as long as possible, many are succumbing to the pressures brought on over the past 12 months.

With vacant space abounding in many markets across the country, tenants such as retailers and restaurateurs are finding themselves in a greater position of power. It’s a trend that many real estate experts expect will only proliferate, and become the norm, from here.

Leases on roughly 1.5 billion square feet of retail space in the United States are set to expire this year, according to a tracking by the real estate services firm CoStar Group. That’s about 14% of the retail market. So either those leases won’t be renewed, and more retail stores will close, or those contracts will be renegotiated.

‘We’re OK with that’

To be sure, while short-term leases can pose a greater risk for landlords, which then have to deal with unpredictable waves of tenants moving in and out, it goes both ways. Retailers could sign a short-term lease and rents could trend higher in the future if the market strengthens.

David Simon, CEO of mall owner Simon Property Group, told analysts during a conference call in early February that there has been an interest among tenants to go “a little bit shorter term.” Simon is signing more three-year leases these days, he said.

“We’re OK with that, because I’d rather negotiate two or three years from now” than not have a store filled at all, he explained. “I think actually that could be in our best interest, too, because … we don’t quite have the ability to point to sales as a way to increase rent,” he said.

“It’s actually a two-way street, and it’s working out fine with a vast majority of our retailers,” Simon said.

Beth Azor, CEO of retail real estate management and development firm Azor Advisory Services, said she has worked on a number of super short-term deals during the pandemic. Azor, often referred to as the “Canvassing Queen” on social media by her peers, helps leasing agents fill vacant space across the country, working with a number of publicly traded real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

She recently took her service to the up-and-coming social network Clubhouse, where she has been hosting rooms for entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses, and landlords with vacant spaces can listen in. The leases are for anywhere from three months to a year, and sometimes that’s rent-free. She calls it “Space Tank,” a play off ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Occupancy pays

According to Azor, landlords shouldn’t view the shorter-term leases as a negative, especially given the state of the retail industry. Having a tenant — period — boosts occupancy, she said, which can be helpful when other companies come knocking on the door asking for rent relief.

Businesses on the national and local level have been coming to mall and shopping center owners during the health crisis to try to renegotiate their rents down, Azor explained. And if a property is fuller, albeit with some short-term leases, it is harder for a business to argue that their rent should come down. So occupancy can, quite literally, pay off.

Outlet owner Tanger Factory Outlets has also been doing more short-term deals. Currently, about 7% of its tenants’ leases are classified as temporary, when it has normally been between 4.5% and 5.5%, CEO Stephen Yalof told analysts during a conference call earlier this month.

“A number of deals that actually started out as pop-up or short-term leases … we’ve extended the terms of those leases,” he explained. “So that seems to be a trend.”

He went on to explain that the REIT has favored maintaining high occupancy, with more shorter-term deals, over rent collection in 2020.

“We will see a lot more local and [temporary] leasing probably in the first half of the year,” he said. “But we’re very proactive with our long-term leasing to replace that tenancy and grow our permanent leasing base.”

Not all real estate seems to be prime for pop-ups, though.

New York City’s glitzy Fifth Avenue district, for example, is still largely populated by tenants with long-term leases, according to Fifth Avenue Association President Jerome Barth.

“These are going to be premium leases, no matter what … because this is still the No. 1 market in the world,” said Barth. “I think leases will evolve, and that’s going to be a constant. But people know the Avenue is going to be an exciting place to be for years to come.”

*Article courtesy of CNBC

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Amazon is Now America’s Most Popular Grocery Store as Online Food Shopping Soars

As the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in online orders, Amazon is now the country’s most popular grocery store, according to a recent study by the Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index.

The online retail giant is ahead of big-box retailers such as Walmart and Costco, and fan-favorite Trader Joe’s. This is Amazon’s first year to claim the study’s top spot (finished third in 2020), with the company’s speed and digital performance being its main driving factors, according to the study.

Dunnhumby used a “COVID Momentum Metric system” to get results, which considers preference drivers, emotional connection and financial performance to get a RPI (Retailer Preference Index) score.

“COVID-19 created a perfect storm that played right into the unique strengths of Amazon’s customer value proposition,” Dunnhumby said in the study. “In Q2 of 2020, Amazon reportedly tripled their online grocery sales.”

When the coronavirus pandemic began in March, Amazon experienced an extreme surge in online orders. Amazon Fresh and Prime Now experienced delivery delays and unavailable inventory due to increased demand, while Prime Pantry temporarily ceased operations as a result of too many orders. Prime Pantry’s operations have since been permanently ceased.

Timely delivery from Amazon has since resumed, and Amazon Fresh is constantly offering daily deals on groceries.

The service is exclusive to Amazon Prime members, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month, and offers free shipping and fast delivery as two of the biggest membership perks.

*Article courtesy of NJ.com

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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A Weed Legalization Bill Inches Closer to Approval in N.J. After a Long Wait

New Jersey voters approved a measure in November to legalize recreational marijuana. More than three months later, Gov. Phil Murphy still hasn’t signed a bill to make it happen. And, in the interim, thousands of people have been arrested on cannabis possession charges.

The purported holdup has been Murphy’s concern that the proposed law hasn’t specified uniform penalties for underage users.

This week, state Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez, (D., Camden) and state Sen. Nick Scutari (D., Linden) introduced a “cleanup” bill to address Murphy’s concerns.

It provides for light penalties for underage use. It discourages police from making arrests by making the process onerously time-consuming. It also creates a 26-person task force to review underage marijuana consumption in the Garden State and police encounters with users.

The cleanup bill is slated to be heard in committee in Trenton on Monday. It must pass both the Assembly and the Senate — and there is no guarantee it will — before Thursday for it to proceed to the governor’s desk, as per the agreement between Murphy and the Legislature.

“It’s my understanding we have broad agreement, “ Scutari said. “It may not be unanimous, but we have majority. I think the governor will sign this simultaneously along with the other two bills that will create the cannabis industry and stop arrests.”

That could happen by the end of next week.

State Sen. Troy Singleton (D., Moorestown) said the governor’s delay had caused a “level of frustration for many of us.”

“My colleagues in the Black and Hispanic caucus have been working with the leadership that is respectful of the process but also make sure that our children don’t become political casualties,” Singleton said. “It didn’t need to be held hostage while we were working on a cleanup bill to effectively stop the thousands of arrests for a product that the voters of New Jersey said was no longer illegal.”

The cleanup bill makes possession of any cannabis a civil penalty of up to $50 for people ages 18 to 21.

It forbids police from using the scent of marijuana as probable cause to conduct a search. It requires police officers to activate their body cameras before investigating a suspected cannabis violation. A minor who is caught with cannabis items may not be photographed or fingerprinted. Any records generated by a police encounter over a minor’s use of weed must be destroyed within two years.

It would also grant immunity from prosecution for any underage person who reports a cannabis medical emergency or is in need of medical assistance due to an unlikely cannabis-caused emergency.

“I’m happy we’re ending our reliance on the criminal justice system to prevent use by minors. That’s because it simply doesn’t work,” said David Nathan, a psychiatrist and founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. “The preponderance of evidence shows cannabis can indeed be harmful to the developing brain. The younger you are and the more you use, the worse the outcomes appear to be. The best way to prevent underage use is telling kids what the real dangers are.”

Bill Caruso, a lobbyist and head of the cannabis practice at Archer Law in Haddonfield, said the new legislation “attempts to bridge the divide between the question of what penalties should exist for minors. It appears to strike the right balance.”

The bill does not mandate drug treatment for any minor offender.

As for the task force with over two dozen appointed members? No one had directly asked for that.

“Essentially the task force’s mission is to figure out all the problems the legislators can’t figure out right now,” said Chris Goldstein, an activist and regional organizer for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Maybe that’s the default Jersey solution.”

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Inquirer

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Working With a Commercial Real Estate Broker

Working With a Commercial Real Estate BrokerDo you want to rent a commercial property for your business? If so, you need to make an important decision. It’s time to hire a commercial real estate broker to help you locate an ideal spot for your company. Here’s a deep dive into how to work alongside your broker successfully.

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What Does a Commercial Real Estate Broker Do?

There are a few similarities between commercial and residential real estate brokers. If you’ve ever purchased a house with a broker, you know they guide buyers through the process from start to finish. These professionals are licensed by the state to perform various tasks, including finding properties and negotiating sales.

That’s the same for every broker, no matter what they sell. However, you should know that commercial brokers tend to work with multiple parties since more people are involved in these sales. It’s also standard for commercial brokers to know their clients’ financial situation so they can prioritize their bottom line.

Essentially, you hire a commercial broker to find a property that aligns with your company’s needs, wants, and goals.

Reasons to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Broker

Reasons to Hire a Commercial Real Estate BrokerIt’s smart to hire a broker for many reasons. If you’ve never rented a space for your business before, you might not know how to navigate the process alone. That’s a thought many people have before they rent a property. Let’s take a look at how a broker will help.

1. Negotiate Terms
Are you a natural negotiator? If not, you’re certainly not alone. Many savvy business owners don’t feel like they can negotiate successfully. These professionals will consider your finances as they review rent prices and other fees. Additionally, they might negotiate points like parking, utilities, and more. That’s all to arrive at a better agreement between you and the landlord.

2. Evaluate Leases
You need to fully understand lease agreements before you sign one. This space will be under your business’s name. If you need someone to help you evaluate leases, your broker can assist. That’s a bonus when you might look at two or three agreements in one week.

3. Market Knowledge
If you’ve rented commercial space before, you know you have to look far and wide to find properties that are both quality and affordable. Brokers can access listings that might not be available publicly. It’s essential to consider more than one rental so you can get the best deal. As a result, you can benefit from their market knowledge. These are only a few reasons why brokers can be helpful when you want to find commercial rental properties.

What to Remember When You Hire a Commercial Real Estate Broker

These professionals have various advantages that make them worth every penny. However, you might be curious about how to “use” your broker effectively. After all, you don’t want to pay someone who doesn’t meet your expectations.

Take a look at what you can do to work with your broker correctly.

1. Make a Checklist
Do your best not to expect your broker to read your mind. This individual won’t know your needs, wants, and goals unless you communicate with them. If your company requires a commercial garage door, for example, you need to jot down that point, as well as any special features that you need from it. These details will allow your broker to find the best location for you as quickly as possible.

Set a meeting with your team to determine what your rental space needs to look like. Consider everything from bathrooms to storage to location. Be sure to outline your budget, and don’t forget outdoor space, too.

Do you need a highly visible spot for advertising? Take every point into consideration.

2. Conduct Enough Research
It’s smart to choose a broker who specializes in your industry. If you own a coffee shop, you don’t want to work with someone who’s only rented office buildings. That’s where research comes in handy. Do your best to find an individual broker or entire brokerage for your specific situation.

How do you know whether a broker will be a good fit? Ask them to discuss their recent transactions. If you see they’ve had success with companies similar to yours, you’ve probably found someone who can help. It’s always important to ask for referrals, too. Call any references to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind you might have to interview several brokers before you find a connection with one. It’s essential to plan ahead so you have enough time. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel rushed and overwhelmed.

3. Don’t Sit Back
There are times when your broker will need to “take the wheel,” such as when you want to negotiate lease terms. This point doesn’t mean you should check out entirely. It’s still important for you and your partners to be involved. If you don’t know what happens throughout the process, you’ll inevitably run into obstacles later. Nominate someone from your company to visit rental properties and attend related meetings when you don’t have time.

4. Always Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer comments. It’s your business’s space, so you need to have the final say. If you’re curious about something during the search, you should be vocal. It’s key to trust your broker, but you don’t want to let things slide that might affect your prospects.

5. Look at All Options
However, you also need to consider every broker you come across. Don’t limit yourself to whichever broker you find first. If your friend recommends a specific professional, you should certainly speak with them — but you don’t want to pick them just because you got a recommendation.

Be sure to look at multiple brokers in your area. There’s a chance you’ll find someone along the way who meshes with your company better than anyone you interviewed beforehand. It’s always smart to cast a wide net. These tips will help you build a strong relationship with your broker so you can find an ideal commercial rental space.

Use These Tricks to Build a Relationship With Your Commercial Real Estate Broker

It’s not always an easy process to find a commercial property for your business. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate broker to help. Be sure to use these tips to form a successful relationship with whoever you choose. This way, you can find the best possible space.

Rose Morrison is a residential and commercial real estate writer and the managing editor of Renovated. To see more of her work visit: https://renovated.com/

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Retail Vacancies Spike in South Jersey as Prospective Tenants Remain Skittish on New Leases

Retail vacancies are rising across South Jersey as ripple effects of Covid-19 continue to grow nearly a year after the pandemic first hit the region. 

A new report from Wolf Commercial Real Estate on the South Jersey market found that Burlington County’s retail vacancy rate jumped to 10% in the fourth quarter, up from 7.6% in the prior three-month period. The increase marks the largest consecutive quarter-to-quarter jump in the past three years. 

At the same time, Camden County hit 10.5% retail vacancy, up from 9.7% in the third quarter. It started 2020 at about a 6% retail vacancy rate. 

In Gloucester County, the rate is up to 13.7%, from 11.7% at the start of last year. 

The rising number of vacancies in the region reflect the financial hardships many businesses, especially independently owned restaurants, faced earlier in 2020, said Jason Wolf, managing principal of Wolf Commercial in Marlton. 

“We’re finally starting to see the true numbers come to light,” he said. 

While South Jersey saw an impact from big-name retail store closures, Wolf said it’s the closure of small “mom and pop” operators driving the vacancy increase. 

Throughout 2020, South Jersey lost independent restaurants like Collingswood staple El Sitio Grill & Cafe, Haddonfield’s Villa Rosa pizzeria and Vitarelli’s Italian restaurant in Cherry Hill. The Smith restaurant group, which operates five concepts across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, permanently closed its Brickwall Tavern in Burlington City. Charlie Brown’s last two South Jersey locations also shut down in Woodbury and Westampton.

“My heart bleeds right now for these restaurant operators,” Wolf said, adding the ones still holding on are struggling to survive. “These people all had thriving business and they’re all on the verge of going out of business, battling revenues being down 50%, 60%.” 

Clothing stores have also suffered. One operator of a men’s clothing store told Wolf that “suits are the new tuxedo,” as demand for professional attire sank during Covid-19.

When retail vacancies are filled, Wolf said it’s often with an alternative usage like a health care office. Empty big-box stores are being used for warehouse and distribution space. While not filling a vacancy, the Moorestown Mall’s owner, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, also recently secured approvals to build more than 1,000 apartments and a hotel at the shopping center.

“I think you’re going to see these retailers evolve into a more diverse strategy,” he said. 

Wolf is cautiously optimistic about what 2021 has in store for the South Jersey commercial real estate market, especially later in the year when there’s more clarity into the future of the pandemic. People are calling, he said, but they’re just not ready to make a move just yet. 

“The demand is there, we just have to get people through making decisions,” he said. “There’s a lot of tire-kicking going on.” 

On the retail side, he said quality retail locations in high-visibility areas will come out fine on the other side. Mom and pop retail fronts in peripheral areas Wolf believes may face more of a challenge. 

“I worry, yes,” he said. 

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Exeter Property Group to be Acquired by EQT AB in $1.9B Deal

Exeter Property Group, a global industrial property behemoth started by Ward Fitzgerald in 2006, has entered into a deal to be acquired for $1.9 billion. 

EQT AB, a Stockholm private equity firm, will buy Conshohocken-based Exeter in a transaction that involves $1.07 billion in cash including $300 million to refinance existing debt and $800 million in EQT shares. 

Exeter has $10 billion in assets under management and, for 2020, it is expected to generate $135 million in revenue and $80 million in earnings. While the bulk of Exeter’s portfolio consists of industrial properties, the company has expanded into life science, suburban office and other real estate throughout the United States and Europe. 

Under terms of the agreement: 

    • EQT will acquire 100% of Exeter’s management company;
    • Fitzgerald and other Exeter management shareholders will receive 65% of their consideration in newly issued EQT shares and 35 percent in cash;
    • Fitzgerald and other Exeter management shareholders to join EQT and enter into lock-up agreements; and
    • Funds managed by TA Associates, which own roughly 40% of Exeter, will receive 25% in newly issued EQT shares and 75% cash. 

Fitzgerald had been with Liberty Property Trust prior to forming Exeter 15 years ago with Tim Weber. The focus for Exeter was industrial real estate. The two figured a confluence of variables including technology, e-commerce, bar codes that allowed a faster and more efficient movement of goods and a rise in disposable income would eventually lead to an evolution in modern big box warehouses. Industrial properties constructed three decades ago were functionally obsolete, providing an opening for companies such as Exeter to swoop in, build new ones, lease them up and make their mark by accumulating a portfolio of modern warehouse-distribution centers.

The gamble paid off as e-commerce began to dominate retail, logistics continued to expand and demand for industrial real estate grew globally. Exeter continued to evolve as a company.

In 2010, Exeter went out to raise its second fund and closed in 2011 on $615 million. That money was spent building up its core investment properties. A third fund totaling $400 million was raised in 2014 and deployed to help secure long-term leases and modernize the portfolio.

 

By 2015, Exeter had built up its portfolio to 209 properties totaling 58 million square feet in 25 markets. In its first big transaction, Exeter sold the properties for $3.1 billion to a joint venture of Henley Holding Co., a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, a Canadian pension investment manager.

The deal didn’t stop Exeter from continuing execute on its original strategy. The company deployed a value-add fund totaling $832 million that was focused on big box warehouses and multi-tenant logistics facilities throughout the U.S. Exeter used another $600 million fund to acquire core assets as well as a fund totaling 300 million euros to buy warehouses throughout Europe.

Exeter eventually became not only one of the leading players in industrial real estate in the U.S. and Europe but one of the largest private equity firms in Philadelphia. By the end of 2017, it had $6 billion in assets under management and grew that to $10 billion in 2020. 

Exeter is vertically integrated and controls every aspect of its work whether it’s constructing, leasing or managing a property. It has 37 offices. 

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of the year. Upon completion, Exeter will be rebranded as EQT Exeter and operate independently.

“The transaction is part of EQT AB’s strategic growth ambitions within real estate and creates a scaled thematic investment platform across North America and Europe,” EQT said in a statement. “It also provides Exeter management with the ability to continue their track-record as a top performing real estate investment manager.”

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, or New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space with the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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