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Office Space Near Philadelphia Independence Hall in Great Demand

Could there be signs the Philadelphia Independence Hall office market is heating up?

Throughout 2015 and 2017 Independence Hall was an outlier with noticeably higher vacancies than other submarkets in and around Philadelphia’s central business district (CBD) such as Market Street West and University City. These higher vacancies were caused by move outs by both government and private sector tenants including the U.S. Navy, the GSA and Dow Chemical.

Independence Hall’s concentration of older office buildings and its distance from key center city regional rail stations are potential drawbacks from many office tenants’ perspective. However, a slew of office renovations, restaurant/bar openings and high-end residential construction throughout the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – are now coalescing in what was once a relatively sleepy submarket.

This report on U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties, being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate – a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm, is part of the Market Insights series from the CoStar Group research organization. These periodic reports provide a snapshot of recent real estate trends. CoStar monitors commercial real estate across 390 metro areas and analyzes the economic trends that move these markets.

Since 2014, Keystone Property Group has re-energized the ground floor of 100 Independence by bringing Independence Beer Garden — which includes outdoor seating and a gaming area — and modernist café La Colombe. One block away, MRP Realty’s newly-renovated Bourse — previously home to the nation’s first commodity exchange — is reopening this fall with an impressive array of new dining and drinking options on the ground floor. Coworking operator Make Offices also recently leased 35,000 square feet on the fifth floor of one of these key national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties.

More than 850 new, high-end apartment units have either completed or broken ground in the Independence Hall submarket over the past five years. Parkway Corporation recently completed its Civic Design review for a proposed 278-unit apartment tower at 709 Chestnut in this key segment of the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market. Toll Brothers is also planning an 85-unit condo development on the 700 block of Sansom Street.

These improvements to Independence Hall’s ambience and amenity offerings are beginning to bear fruit for office owners. A handful of large leases including Macquaire Investment Management, Five Below and a few coworking operators have been signed in recent years. These leases, combined with conversions of older office space into apartments, have helped bring Independence Hall’s office space availability rate — the percentage of space being marketed for lease — back in line with other Center City submarkets in 2018.

Given Independence Hall’s complete lack of new office construction, the submarket’s availability rate has nowhere to go but further down if tenants’ interest in these U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings continues to rebound. It will be interesting to see just how much more tenant interest Independence Hall can garner in the years ahead.

 

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the 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 and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Landlords Could Seize Opportunity If Papa John’s Shuts Stores

It’s not often that commercial real estate landlords want to lose tenants, but that may be the case with the criticized pizza chain Papa John’s as it faces the prospect of closing 250 restaurants across the country.

Landlords throughout the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – are concerned the chain’s highly publicized missteps by its former chief executive, who received swift criticism after using a racial slur on a recent conference call, could dissuade shoppers and they may hope the chain shuts stores, an industry spokesperson said recently.

“There’s a need for that size of space in the market and there’s not that much of it,” the spokesperson explained. “They (landlords) may be able to get higher rents from other tenants.”

This report on U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties from the CoStar Group research organization is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Papa John’s, the country’s third-largest pizza chain, has suffered public blows this past year from, among others, owners of national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties. Founder and former Chairman and Chief Executive John Schnatter — who still owns about 30 percent of the company — this summer used a racial slur to describe African Americans on a conference call. Last fall, he blamed NFL leadership for allowing players to kneel during the National Anthem and complained the controversy was hurting the chain’s sales. At the time, Papa John’s was an NFL sponsor. It has since been replaced by Pizza Hut.

In a recent earnings call, Papa John’s Chief Executive Steve Ritchie said the chain was struggling and may be forced to close some locations.

“We’re going to evaluate all the options as they’re presented to us, if there is some sort of increase in closures that exist here because of the declines in the sales,” he said.

A Papa John’s spokeswoman declined to comment.

If the chain does close stores, a new commercial real estate report providing insight into the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market offers clues as to which businesses might replace them. The report said non-retail and non-restaurant space in shopping centers increased to 23.1 percent this year from 19.2 percent in 2012. Forty-four percent of shoppers say they prefer to visit shopping centers that have a wide variety of non-retail tenants.

“The growing focus on experience has led to a rising share in non-retail tenants, including food and beverage, salons, movie theaters, fitness centers and medical clinics,” the report said.

Most Papa John’s stores are in shopping and strip centers, and industry observers believe two popular concepts — Mediterranean or taco restaurants — could backfill the space in these U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and drive traffic.

Rival pizza chain Domino’s, the country’s second-largest pizza chain, in particular is taking advantage of Papa John’s woes, said Henry Renaud, president of retail brokerage Renaud Consulting. In contrast to Papa John’s, Domino’s Chief Executive Richard Allison said this summer that the chain was preparing to build about 2,500 restaurants in the next decade or so and two supply chain centers in the next two years to keep pace with growth.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the 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 and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

WCRE 2018 THIRD QUARTER REPORT

SUMMER SLOWDOWN SLIGHTLY COOLS SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE MARKETS

Activity and Prospecting Both Take a Dip

October 11, 2018 – Marlton, NJ – Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its latest quarterly analysis that the Southern New Jersey market took an expected pause in the third quarter of 2018. Leasing and sales dropped off somewhat from their earlier pace, but the market still shows overall solid fundamentals, continued new investments from outside of the region, and economic inflows to support local expansion.

“A lot of the positive trends we’ve been tracking for several quarters are still in place, so there are reasons to stay bullish,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “But activity did cool off noticeably, at least in part due to summer.”

There were approximately 274,931 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was down about 10.5 percent compared to the previous quarter. The sales market stayed active, with about 1.43 million square feet on the market or under agreement. This metric was essentially unchanged.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 32 percent of all deals. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the quarter was in the range of approximately 194,282 square feet.

Download Printable Report (PDF) >>>

Other office market highlights from the report:

  • Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.3 percent, which is nearly one point higher than the previous quarter.
  • Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$15.00/sf NNN or $20.00-$25.00/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. These averages have stayed near this range for most of 2018.
  • Vacancy in Camden County increased to 12.3 percent for the quarter.
  • Burlington County vacancy was up more than a full point to 10.4 percent, after falling during the first half 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 vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market inched up to 8.1 percent in the third quarter. It stood at 7.9 percent in Q2 2018. Demand for office space continues to be strong, and the office vacancy rate is a full point below the national average.
  • Net office space absorption in Philadelphia was down compared to Q2, but still positive, at 443,032 square feet for the quarter.
  • The industrial sector is as strong as ever in Philadelphia. The third quarter saw a further decrease in vacancy rates, to 5.4 percent, net absorption in the range of 6.1 million square feet, and average rents at $5.36 per square foot. All of these figures were improvements over the previous quarter.
  • Philadelphia retail was largely flat in Q3. The vacancy rate ticked up a tenth of a point, to 4.4 percent, while net absorption was negative after three consecutive quarters of very positive absorption. Net absorption was -273,875 square feet. This number was impacted by large stores such as Sears and Bon-Ton shuttering locations.

WCRE also reports on the Southern New Jersey retail market. The third quarter saw consumer confidence inch upward in September after dramatic improvement in August. It is in the range of 18-year highs. The job market is remarkably strong, supporting consumer spending and reverberating through other indicators.

Other highlights from the retail section of the report include:

  • Retail vacancy in Camden County stood at 7.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $15.38/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County stood at 8.2 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.84/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 7.6 percent, with average rents in the range of $14.77/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 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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Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Debt Surges to New Record

Mortgage debt underlying offices, apartments, and other non-farm commercial real estate rose the most in any quarter on record to a new high of $3.27 trillion in the second quarter of 2018 as all major investor groups increased their holdings amid strong economic growth.

The $52.3 billion growth in debt on office, multifamily, retail, industrial and hotel properties in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – outpaced the previous record growth from the first quarter by 1.6 percent. This led to the record total debt as of June 30, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

This report on U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties from the CoStar Group research organization is being offered through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

“The four major investor groups all increased their holdings, and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding topped $1.3 trillion for the first time,” Jamie Woodwell, the association’s vice president of commercial real estate research, said in releasing the data.

Overall demand for national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties is rising, fueled by job growth and early benefits of the new tax law passed in December, as U.S. economic growth rose 4.2 percent in the second quarter, the strongest since 2014. The four major investor groups are bank and thrift; federal agency and government sponsored enterprises; life insurance companies; commercial mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities issuers.

Woodwell added that “strong property fundamentals and values, coupled with still-low mortgage rates and strong loan performance” all support the growth of commercial real estate lending.

Commercial banks hold the largest share of the retail, office, industrial, hospitality and multifamily mortgages in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market — $1.3 trillion, or 40 percent of the total. In the second quarter, banks and thrifts had the largest increase in dollar terms in their holdings of commercial mortgage debt – an increase of $23.9 billion, or 1.9 percent.

Life insurance companies hold $486 billion, or 15 percent of the total. Life insurance companies increased their holdings of U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings by $10.6 billion, or 2.2 percent.

Commercial mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities issuers hold $452 billion, or 14 percent of the total throughout the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space. They increased their holdings by $5.7 billion, or 1.3 percent.

While the major groups were upping their holdings, state and local government retirement funds decreased their holdings about 72 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers.

Separate data released last week from the Federal Reserve shows that real estate investment trusts also shrunk their share of commercial mortgage debt outstanding by about $3.2 billion, or roughly 1.9 percent.

Multifamily mortgage debt made up a huge chunk of the increase with outstanding amounts rising to $1.3 trillion, an increase of $20 billion from the first quarter of 2018, representing a 1.6 percent increase.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the 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 and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Market Value and Replacement Cost

Market Value and Replacement CostDo you know the market value and replacement cost of your commercial building? In today’s article we discuss market value and replacement cost and obtaining the best insurance policy.

Download printable PDF >>>

If you own commercial property, choosing a property insurance policy that fits your specific needs is important. A wide variety of policy options are available at different prices that cover an assortment of reimbursement options. Although there are policies that offer a large amount of financial coverage, depending on the type of property that will be insured, it may make more financial sense to pick a policy that still offers adequate coverage while having lower premiums. Commercial properties can be covered in a variety of ways, and a number of factors can determine whether your property’s value goes up or down each year. Knowing how much your property is worth, market value and replacement cost, and obtaining the insurance policy that both protects you and suits your financial needs is important. The following are descriptions of common types of policies and valuation, and the costs that they generally cover.

MARKET VALUE

Simply put, market value describes the estimated amount that a property would sell for on the date of valuation. Any land included in a commercial property is also a part of its market value. The term market value can be used interchangeably with open market value, fair market value or fair value. A number of factors are considered when a property’s market value is appraised, some of which cannot be influenced by the buyer, seller or appraiser. These include the location of the property, capitalization rates, rent growth rate, the general state of the real estate market and more. Market value is most often used when buying or selling a property. However, it may also be examined when determining the type of insurance policy to place on a property, or the amount of compensation in the case of a loss.

REPLACEMENT COST

Replacement or reconstruction cost is a type of insurance that covers the cost to replace or repair a building with materials of the same or comparable quality. For the purposes of coverage—and unlike market value—replacement cost policies do not include the value of any land and is determined based on the amount needed to hire contractors and purchase materials to repair a building or construct a replacement.

Functional replacement cost coverage can also be used to repair a partially damaged property with less expensive materials, such as replacing a wall with drywall instead of plaster. The main reason for using functional replacement cost coverage would be to save money with lower premiums, so it may be a good option for properties that use expensive materials that are not necessary to the function of the property or for buildings with intangible value that is not relevant to their commercial function.

WHICH TYPE OF COVERAGE BEST FITS YOUR NEEDS?
The value of any piece of commercial property changes constantly. Knowing your property’s value and obtaining the policy that best suits your needs will safeguard your current and future assets. Contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today to appraise your property’s value and learn more about which type of policy is best for you.

For more information, contact:

Brian Blaston
Partner
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955
email: brianb@hig.net
www.hig.net

 

New Jersey Bill Aims to Help Vacant Malls, Office Parks

New Jersey lawmakers are making a new legislative push to help rid the state of its vacant and half-empty malls and office complexes, properties that have fallen victim both to e-commerce and a new preference in corporate America for urban settings.

Under a bill that recently came out of committee in the state Legislature, “buildings used, or previously used, as a shopping mall, shopping plaza, or professional office park,” that have been vacant or partially vacant in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market with less than 50 percent occupancy for at least two years, can qualify to be designated as needing redevelopment.

This report involving South Jersey retail space commercial properties is being made through South Jersey commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a South Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Once a municipality in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market designates an area as needing redevelopment, that site becomes eligible for economic incentives from the town – including being able to make payments in lieu of taxes, or Pilot programs. The bill’s goal is to spark the repurposing of such underutilized and sometimes rundown properties by developers.

With the demise of many retail chains among all South Jersey commercial real estate properties – and the rise of online shopping – malls across the nation have struggled with vacancies and closings. New Jersey has been hit particularly hard by office-park vacancies, because of its large supply of suburban office stock at a time when the millennial workforce is favoring downtown workplaces.

“Without the help proffered by this bill, there is good chance that investors will just be unwilling to take on these complex redevelopment projects, and the malls will deteriorate, cease to provide revenue support for the towns in which they’re located and, not least, they will go from being a destination to unattractive and possibly dangerous, lightly occupied, vestiges of a time gone by,” said one industry spokesperson.

The bill, whose sponsors include State Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, a Democrat representing Legislative District 7, basically updates and expands the types of South Jersey commercial real estate listings that can qualify as being in areas in need of redevelopment.

Murphy said she is very familiar with the issue of vacant malls in part because of what has happened within her own area, Burlington County. Earlier this year, Sears, the last retail tenant in the once-busy Burlington Center mall at 2501 Mount Holly Rd. in Burlington, New Jersey, shut its doors in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market, leaving a vacant shopping center in its wake.

“What used to be a thriving shopping center, a shopping mall, is now completely closed,” Murphy said. “So that’s sitting there and we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with that.”

Real estate firms dealing with South Jersey commercial real estate listings should be financially encouraged to look at existing, empty retail and office properties to redevelop “without having to take up more of our free land and space,” she said.

For more information about South Jersey retail space or other South Jersey commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading South Jersey commercial real estate broker that specializes in South Jersey retail space.

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

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

As experts in South Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our South Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about South Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for South Jersey retail space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the South Jersey 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 and South Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our South Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Big Retailers Shrink Stores to Boost Sales

Plans by fast-food chain Taco Bell to open 300 new small-format restaurants across the country in the next four years are the latest being undertaken by a slew of major national brands experimenting with smaller stores to cut real estate costs and cater to urban millennials.

Taco Bell, Nike, Target, and Nordstrom are just a handful of major brands looking to increase market share in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market – and, at the same time, wring out more dollars per square foot of space in expensive urban markets – by opening smaller brick-and-mortar stores.

This report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

The decision reflects a rapidly evolving retail environment in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – that is forcing retailers nationwide to reevaluate their real estate footprints. That scramble for space offers property owners and developers new opportunities to reconfigure properties and reshape their tenant mix.

“It’s not much different from what a lot of office users are doing right now,” said one industry expert. “Everyone is trying to be smarter with their space and realize the savings that comes from that.”

Sales at small-format stores among all national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties outgrew those at larger stores by almost 400 percent in 2016 and now constitute more than a $1 trillion market, according to a 2018 report by Koupon Media. It added that 51 percent of millennials – those between the ages of 22 and 37 — say a store’s location is the top factor in a purchase decision.

In other words, the success of small-format stores also relies on convenience.

That’s a driver behind fast-food purveyor Taco Bell’s plan to open – in the next five years – 125 mostly small-format restaurants in New York City, instead of utilizing any other available U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. The company said it was under-developed in New York and wanted to tap into the city’s thriving urban market.

The Irvine, California-based company’s small-format restaurants — called Urban In-Line and Cantina — are tailored for “highly walkable areas” and have no drive-through windows. The smallest are just 1,200 square feet. The company plans to open 1,000 new restaurants across the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – in the next four years. Thirty percent will be smaller-format concepts.

Many companies opening smaller stores are using technology to capture customer data and personalize the shopping experience.

Nike this year unveiled Nike Live in Los Angeles, a small-format, 4,600-square-foot store that coincides with the release of the Nike app designed to gather customer information and which allows shoppers to reserve items online, scan barcodes for product information, and book personal appointments with in-store experts.

Nordstrom last year launched Nordstrom Local, a 3,000-square-foot store in Los Angeles’ tony Melrose neighborhood with no inventory. Shoppers can pick up items there and even order a drink. It plans to open more.

Target is opening small format stores with an average store size of 50,000 square feet, compared to 170,000 square feet in its larger store, by utilizing both national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings in urban areas across the country.

The small-store trend “shows no signs of slowing, which will inevitably lead to continued growth of small format in 2018 and beyond,” the Koupon report said.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the 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 and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Tenant Improvements and Betterments

Tenant Improvements and BettermentsLet’s explore how Tenant Improvements and Betterments impact insurance. Suppose that a landlord leases a storefront to a retailer that makes improvements to the facility by adding features to help sell its products. During the lease, a fire breaks out and damages the building, including the features added by the retailer to improve the space. When the insurance claims are made, the following questions arise:

• Who did the improvements belong to?
• Who is responsible for paying the damages?

Download Article as Printable PDF >>>

Defining Tenant Improvements and Betterments

While legal definitions vary, improvements and betterments are anything that a tenant attaches to the landlord’s real estate that becomes a permanent part of that real estate. Under most leases, such improvements become the property of the landlord and tenants are responsible for repairing or replacing the improvements in the event of loss. However, property policies can be customized to determine whether tenants’ improvements and betterments are covered under the building category or under the contents category.

A Landlord’s View of Tenant Improvements

When a tenant makes substantial improvements and betterments to a building, it adds to the building’s value. In order to realize this added value, the landlord needs to clearly establish who is responsible for damages to that property to avoid insurance complications. In doing so, the landlord typically has to make one of the following decisions:

1. Increase the limits of the property insurance policy to account for this extra value.

2. Add a clause to the rental contract stating that the tenant is responsible for damages to improvements and betterments.

In the absence of one of the aforementioned decisions, the landlord may face penalties in the event that he or she has to make an insurance claim. For example, if a tenant makes $100,000 worth of improvements and betterments to a property that was initially worth $500,000, and a fire destroys the entire building, the insurance adjuster will value the property at $600,000 when processing the claim. But, since most landlords’ property policies consider improvements and betterments as covered property, the landlord may be charged an underinsured penalty if the building’s policy hasn’t been increased to reflect the amount of the improvements
and betterments.

A landlord who does not wish to insure for the values of the improvements and betterments should specifically exclude them.

A Tenant’s View of Tenant Improvements

If the lease requires the landlord to repair or replace tenants’ improvements and betterments that become damaged, the tenant does not need to insure them. In contrast, if the lease does not require the landlord to repair or replace tenants’ improvements and betterments, tenants need to make sure they are covered under their own property policy.

 

Tenant Improvements – Considerations When Entering a Lease

When entering into a new lease or renewal, it is critical for both landlords and tenants to carefully review the terms of the lease to ensure that it adequately delegates the responsibility for insuring tenant improvements and betterments. It is also important to make sure that each party’s insurance policy is adequate enough to properly protect the scope of the tenant improvements agreed upon in the lease. When reviewing the lease, both the landlords and tenants should discuss the following questions:

• Who owns the improvements?
• Who is responsible to replace the improvements if damaged?
• Which insurance policy covers the improvements—the landlord’s or the tenant’s?
• Is the policy adequate?

Insuring Tenant Improvements and Betterments

Tenant Improvements and betterments are not difficult to insure, as a building’s insurance forms automatically cover them. However, many landlords expect their tenants to insure any improvements and betterments that are
made, and some landlords refuse to increase the value of their building policies to reflect the new value of such changes. Therefore, it is important to understand the insurance ramifications of tenants’ improvements and betterments. Hardenbergh Insurance Group can help you identify your exposures and make appropriate recommendations.

For more information on Tenant Improvements and Betterments

Brian Blaston, Partner
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955
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Who Owns the Fixtures at Lease Expiration

Who Owns the Fixtures at Lease ExpirationLet’s examine who owns the fixtures at lease expiration. In order to facilitate a smooth transition between commercial tenants, it is important for landlords to understand their rights regarding items attached to their property. Generally, a lease will govern these rights. However, if the lease is silent on the issue, articles annexed to the property deemed “fixtures” must stay with the property, while articles deemed “trade fixtures” may be removed by a vacating tenant.

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In New Jersey, a fixture is an object that “become[s] so related to particular real estate that an interest… arises under real estate law.” N.J.S.A. 12A:2A-309(1)(a). In contrast, an article may be considered to be a trade fixture if: (1) the article is annexed to the property for the purpose of aiding in the conduct of a trade or business exercised on the premises; and (2) the article is capable of removal from the premises without material injury thereto. Handler v. Horns, 2 N.J. 18, 24-25 (1949). As such, an important distinction between fixtures and trade fixtures is whether removal of the item will cause material injury to the premises. See e.g.
GMC v. City of Linden, 150 N.J. 522, 534 (1997). In applying this test, courts infer that if removal of an article would cause material injury to the premises, the parties must have intended for the article to remain beyond the lease term. Id.

A typical conflict involving this nuanced distinction may involve a vacating tenant removing an item from the leased premises under the assumption that it was (1) attached to the premises for the purpose of conducting a trade or business; and (2) capable of removal without material injury to the premises. A landlord may dispute one or more of these assumptions, arguing that the article was not used in the conduct of business (that it was in fact attached to improve the structure) or is not capable of removal without material injury to the premises.Over the years, vacating tenants have attempted to remove countless items from leased premises, including air conditioning systems, irrigation systems, bolted down light fixtures and even circuit breaker panels, by arguing these items were trade fixtures. See e.g. In re Jackson Tanker Corp., 69 B.R. 850 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 1987).

However, it isn’t difficult to imagine a hypothetical where the traditional landlord and tenant arguments are reversed – that is, where the tenant argues that the article must remain with the property and the landlord argues that the tenant is responsible for its removal. This unusual fact pattern may especially arise where the tenant’s business is specialized in nature, and where equipment is not easily removed from the premises.

For example, Landlord rents out space to Tenant, who plans on operating a restaurant. The lease does not specifically address what does and does not constitute a trade fixture. Tenant plans on installing a walk-in freezer and other specialized, complex systems. After several years of operating, Tenant declines to renew the
lease, closes, and vacates the premises. Tenant removes the furniture, appliances not fixed to the premises and other items it deems to be trade fixtures and leaves the walk-in freezer infrastructure. Tenant refuses to remove the walk-in freezer, arguing its removal will cause substantial damage to the premises. Unable to re-let the premises to a restaurant tenant, Landlord is left with a walk-in freezer occupying a substantial portion of the premises. It is important that during the lease negotiation, landlords think carefully about the business their prospective tenant is in, the kinds of equipment the tenant will install and what will happen to that equipment upon termination of the lease. This same thought process applies when landlords receive requests for alterations. In the above hypothetical, Landlord could have avoided being left with a walk-in freezer and a less than desirable space if it addressed the issue during negotiation of the lease. A discussion with prospective tenants concerning the specific kinds equipment the tenant will install is always a good idea, followed by specifications and drawings for approval. Landlords are wise to reduce these conversations to writing, and specifically address each party’s expectations regarding the disposition of specific equipment when the lease inevitably comes to an end. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and none of these materials is offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice or a legal opinion based on any specific facts or circumstances.

William F. Hanna, Esquire
Hyland Levin LLP
hanna@hylandlevin.com
Hyland Levin LLP
6000 Sagemore Drive, Suite 6301
Marlton, NJ 08053-3900
(p) 856.355.2900

Commercial Construction Spending Headed to Record High

Spending on hotel, office, distribution, and other commercial and public buildings likely will expand for an unprecedented ninth-consecutive year in 2019, according to a consensus forecast by the country’s top industry economists.

The panel of experts from construction industry analytics company Dodge Data & Analytics, trade organization Associated Builders & Contractors, and others recently surveyed by the professional organization American Institute of Architects raised its prediction for nonresidential construction spending in 2018 in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market to increase 4.7 percent, up from the 4 percent increase it forecast in January.

The panel also slightly raised its spending forecast for 2019 to 4 percent at midyear from 3.9 percent in January.

This report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

“If these projections materialize, by the end of next year, the industry will have seen nine years of consecutive growth,” said American Institute of Architects Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Much of the optimism in the outlook is coming from the over-performing commercial sector.”

The panel’s consensus is that spending on commercial buildings in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – will increase 6.7 percent this year, up sharply from 4.4 percent projected at the beginning of the year, and 3.4 percent in 2019, up from 2.9 percent in the January forecast.

Total spending by the end of next year in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties market on nonresidential buildings, which includes public safety, health care, education, and religious facilities, is expected to be 5 percent greater than the last market peak in 2008, Baker said.

The bullish forecast is significant because, as recently as a year ago, the same economists warned a construction industry downturn could be on the horizon for U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings due to a shortage of construction workers, rising interest rates and construction costs, and concerns the economy was slowing. U.S. nonresidential spending increased just 2.2 percent last year, barely outpacing rising inflation in building costs.

One key sign that construction won’t be slowing any time soon is architect workloads in the U.S. commercial real estate market, including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space; these continue to increase. Architecture firms saw healthy growth in billings and new project activity last year, and both indicators remain strong through the first half of 2018.

Billings by design firms are an indicator of hard construction spending a year to 18 months in the future. Architects designing all types of buildings and housing types among current national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings are reporting average project backlogs of more than six months, the longest since 2010.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the 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 and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Cost Segregation Misconceptions Prevent Tax Savings

Cost Segregation MisconceptionsProperty owners misconceptions about cost segregation are leaving money on the table. In 2001, an IRS ruling allowing taxpayers to “catch up” on prior years’ depreciation deductions was a significant upgrade to the benefit of cost segregation studies. Yet, as we approach midyear 2018, it’s estimated that 9 out of 10 commercial real estate owners don’t take advantage of this exceptional savings tool on a regular basis.

This inaction can easily be traced to misconceptions that persist in today’s marketplace. They are preventing the capture of large tax savings and increases in cash flow for commercial property owners and investors.

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Cost Segregation Misconception #1:

The real property (building) depreciable value should be at least $10 million. The size of any tax savings that results from a cost segregation study is tied directly to the value of the property. However, a building does not need to be worth several million dollars to benefit. Because the realized savings are generally 7-10% of the value, even a $500,000 property could generate a savings of $35,000-$50,000, a large sum for many small business owners. Multiply that by larger property values and the savings will quickly exceed six figures. Commercial properties valued at $500k-$5 million have been the most underserved due to this
most common misconception.

Cost Segregation Misconception #2:

Cost segregation studies are just too expensive to see any real return. For the $500,000 property, the net cost of a study would be in the $3500-$4500 range. This provides a return of 8-12 times the investment. What owner wouldn’t be pleased to get their money back several times over? There are few business investments that can generate that level of return, especially on an immediate basis, in a single tax year.

Cost Segregation Misconception #3:

A cost segregation study should be done within the first 3 years of ownership, or the opportunity is lost. This was addressed in the 2001 IRS ruling that created the single most awesome feature of cost segregation – “catch up” depreciation. In a given tax year, a study allows the taxpayer to deduct all of the depreciation they could have taken since Day One of acquisition, minus the depreciation that was taken. Accumulated over all the years of ownership, this difference, and the resulting tax savings, can be quite substantial.

To understand how this all comes together, let’s look at a real-life example:

Owners of a medical services business were making plans for retirement. This included the sale of their office building which they had acquired 12 years earlier. At that time, it had a depreciable real property value of about $1,340,000. A cost segregation study was never performed during their years of ownership.

The tax advisor for a potential buyer suggested a study be completed now to “unlock” the tax savings benefit they had been sitting on. They were then able to deduct $303,000 in additional “catch up” depreciation, leading to a tax savings of $121,300. This was a very surprising and welcome boost to their retirement fund, extra money they didn’t know they had. Cost segregation companies will typically provide a free, no-obligation analysis for any commercial property. Owners are then positioned to weigh the study’s cost against the possible huge financial return without wasting time or money.

About John Ottino:

John is a Consultant serving the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey region for Fuller CSS. FullerCSS, cost segregation specialists, with on-staff engineers and accountants, has completed hundreds of tax-savings studies for real estate investors and commercial property owners.

john ottino

Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real Estate

Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real EstateConfer with the professionals at WCRE or ask us for a seasoned real estate or tax attorney but here’s one technique Abo has seen work well with business clients. Although real estate is generally thought of as an illiquid asset, some liquidity can be achieved by taking out a loan backed by the property. Alternatively, a sale and leaseback may be used effectively if a company’s balance sheet is burdened with excessive debt or just having difficulty in obtaining new capital. Typically, the transaction involves the company owned property being sold to a third party and then leased back to the company under a long-term lease.

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Sale and leaseback transactions may be on the rise but clients need to be aware that the IRS often focuses on transactions between closely-held corporations and their controlling shareholder to make sure that these transactions benefit the company as well as the shareholder. In one common type of sale and leaseback transaction, the company sells the land with a building on it to the shareholder and, in turn, the shareholder leases it back to the company. Some of the financial and tax benefits we’ve seen have included:

The rental deductions the company could take might be significantly larger than the former depreciation deductions if the property had been in service for many years.

After the sale and the leaseback transaction, the shareholder’s basis in the property will be its fair market value which is usually greater than the price paid for the property by the corporation. Thus, the shareholder’s depreciation deduction would be much greater than what was previously available to the corporation (also still need to consider the tax consequences of the sale to the corporation).

The sale and leaseback may enable the shareholder to generate passive rental income that could be offset
against passive losses of the shareholder.

The IRS would obviously be concerned that these transactions have economic substance and that they are
based on reasonable market conditions, and not just designed to generate larger tax deductions. Thus, for
a sale to be valid, the controlling shareholder should have taken an equity interest in the property and also
assumed the risk of loss. For the leaseback to be valid, four tests come to mind that really should be met:

1. The useful life of the property should exceed the term of the lease.

2. Repurchase of the property by the corporation at the end of the lease term should be at fair market value and not at a discount.

3. If the leaseback allows for renewal, the rate should be at a fair rental value (speak to WCRE, not necessarily the accountant).

4. The shareholder should have a reasonable expectation that he or she will generate a profit from the sale and leaseback transaction based on the value of the property when it is eventually sold and the rental obtained during the lease term.

I suspect one of the biggest risks for the seller-lessee is the loss of a valuable asset that could have substantially appreciated over its useful life. Also, the rental market could drop, leaving the seller locked into a rental rate in excess of fair value. On the other side of the table, the seller could move or default, leaving the buyer with unattractive real estate in a soft market.

Even if there are no other problems, the benefits of the deal could be substantially reduced if the IRS deems that it is merely a “financial lease.” In that case, the IRS will treat the seller-lessee as the true owner of the real estate, with all the appropriate tax assessed, and the buyer-lessor will be treated as a lender-mortgagee.

Since sale and leaseback transactions can be quite complicated and also have to pass IRS muster, as I stated earlier, whether you are a buyer, seller or investor, you are well advised to consult with WCRE and seasoned real estate/tax counsel about your financial and tax consequences and the manner of structuring and implementing them to withstand possible IRS challenge.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF is a principle 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.

 

Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF
307 Fellowship Road, Suite 202
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
(856) 222-4723
marty@aboandcompany.com
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