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Utilizing Big Data in Commercial Real Estate

Big Data May Change Commercial Real Estate

Big Data May Change Commercial Real Estate

Let’s look at how you can utilize big data in commercial real estate. Over the past few years, new computer technology has made data analysis — assessing and using datasets that are too large for conventional analytics — increasingly practical for businesses in and outside the tech industry.

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Big data can provide new, profound insights that you couldn’t uncover with less comprehensive information. New analytics techniques are also making nontraditional, unstructured datasets more accessible. As a result, new tools and approaches have made it possible for landlords and real estate companies to take advantage of the tech.

Some commercial landlords are already using data analytics for marketing, building management and investing. Over the next few years, the tech could radically transform the way commercial landlords buy real estate, market to potential tenants and oversee their properties.

Using Data Analytics for Intelligent Building Management

In some buildings, property owners are already using big data and new analytics technology to make building management more efficient and eco-friendly. For example, a building owner might install new Internet of Things sensors that collect minute-to-minute data on humidity, temperature, lighting and air quality. In aggregate, this information could give building owners and their tenants a nearly real-time picture of where renters might be underserved — like inadequately ventilated or poorly lit rooms. The data may also show where building resources may be going to waste Property managers may use this information to make building lighting, cooling and heating more efficient — shutting off lights and cutting temperature control in unoccupied rooms. In some buildings, this information will help smart HVAC and lighting systems manage these changes automatically, allowing building owners to reduce costs and improve the building’s energy efficiency.

The right tool might also help building owners identify areas for potential improvement. For example, they may find rooms that are harder to heat or cool due to poor insulation, hallways that may have inefficient lighting setups or areas where natural lighting may allow tenants to cut down on their use of electric lights.

Preventing Building Systems Failure With Big Data

IoT sensors and big data analysis can also help detect energy fraud and failures in metering systems — both of which can lead to inaccurate billing measurements.

Big data is “smart” enough to identify failures in other building systems — potentially reducing maintenance costs or preventing costly repairs. Data from air quality and humidity sensors, for example, can give building owners an idea of when HVAC systems are beginning to fail, or when simple fixes are necessary — like a new filter. These sensors might enable a kind of predictive maintenance strategy, which could cut down on the need for frequent maintenance checks and help reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected building system failure. This use of data can even help some buildings qualify for green building certifications like LEED certification. Recently, these certifications have become a significant draw for tenants looking for ecofriendly buildings. In some areas, they’ve also improved buildings’ property value by a substantial margin.

The adoption of analytics in commercial real estate is ongoing, but not mainstream yet. Even in buildings where systems are already collecting data, it mostly goes underused. One survey found that 77% of smart building owners store the data their building management systems collect, but 42% of those owners don’t analyze that information.

However, before too long, the tech is likely to be a standard fixture of modern buildings. Current industry estimates forecast that, by 2035, there may be as many as 45 trillion connected sensors in operation in the built environment. All these sensors will be collecting massive amounts of data, at volumes that will make big data critical for commercial landlords.

Data Driven Marketing of Commercial Real Estate

Big data could also transform how commercial landlords market to and negotiate with potential tenants Collected market data might give landlords a better idea of which potential tenants are looking for commercial space in their area, or how much they should charge for a particular building based on floor space and building amenities. This information could help improve marketing efforts — allowing landlords to create targeted advertising campaigns or adjust rents to better reflect tenant income and local property values.

Data Analytics for Real Estate Investment

Soon, this data might also help landlords develop new investment strategies. Market analysts have found that there may be significant, untapped power in nontraditional data for real estate investors and commercial landlords. big data analysis could evaluate information drawn from new sources of real estate data — anything from residential surveys to online restaurant reviews to the number of permits issued to build swimming pools in the area.

Insights in that data can reveal hyperlocal patterns in the real estate market — giving investors a better sense of how property values may change over time. These patterns might help them create more informed investment strategies, and develop the best possible understanding of the local real estate market. Insights into market trends, coupled with data on comparable properties, may also help improve estimated property valuations. Better estimates might enable real estate buyers to develop better bidding approaches, helping them secure valuable properties without overspending.

How Big Data May Change Commercial Real Estate and Property Management

Over the next decade, the big data market is likely to grow significantly — and the industry will probably produce even more data-based solutions for commercial landlords. Right now, landlords can already use this data and IoT tech for building management. With the right information, building owners can adjust and optimize systems to cut down on wasteful energy use, reducing costs and making buildings more eco-friendly. It might even be possible to automate entire buildings.

At the same time, data analytics can also help property companies improve their marketing and investing efforts. More comprehensive data sets drawn from traditional and nontraditional sources can give businesses a better picture of their local real estate marketing — allowing for more effective targeted advertising and informed investment strategies.

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/

Rose Morrison

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WCRE APPOINTED EXCLUSIVE LEASING AGENT FOR COLWICK BUSINESS CENTER

LEASING AGENT FOR COLWICK BUSINESS CENTERWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce that it has been appointed exclusive leasing agent by Golden Gate Management for its recently acquired Cherry Hill office portfolio located at Colwick Business Center, 53-55-57 Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Colwick Business Center consists of three office buildings comprising of approximately 173,000 square feet.

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Among many desirable attributes, Colwick Business Center features highly efficient suite layouts, private 24/7 access to each tenant suite, and ample parking. Available suites range in size from 2,500 to 29,475 square feet.

Current anchor tenants of this premier office complex include Virtua Health, Rutgers University and the State of New Jersey.  The new owner, Golden Gate Management, is committed the southern NJ marketplace with recent acquisitions of flex and office parks and their ability to enhance value with the lease-up of the available space in these buildings.  

“We are excited to be working with WCRE’s leasing team of John Mozzillo, and Bethany Brown, and I am confident they will be very successful in marketing this premier business center,”
– Fishel Schlesinger Principal, Golden Gate Management

All of the available buildings in Colwick Business Center are single story office properties with private entrances, offering all useable space with no loss factor. The efficient layouts not only provide cost savings but also help to ease the logistical and safety concerns Covid-19 has posed for tenants in multi-story properties that require elevators and common areas.

Colwick Business Center is located just west of the Cherry Hill Mall on a stretch of Haddonfield Road that has recently undergone a massive redevelopment renaissance. The area features affluent residential communities, retail centers, hotels, and other amenities attractive to office tenants. Additionally, The Garden State Towne Center, home to Wegman’s, Best Buy, Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other high-end retailers, is conveniently located a short distance away on Haddonfield Road.

Colwick Business Center

 

A marketing brochure and tenant information package is available upon request and also in at this link

 

About Golden Gate Management

Golden Gate Management has led the development and repositioning of more than 1,500,000 million square feet of best-in-class commercial and residential properties. The company is highly experienced in managing all aspects of the development process, from site selection and
entitlements, through coordination of tenant move-in.

Golden Gate’s 10-year history as a preeminent management company is unmatched. Reflecting the company’s core competencies and start-to-finish execution capability, Golden Gate has served as a single-source solution for small and large tenants with its full breadth of its in-house capabilities of construction services thus building relationships with their tenants, Leveraging the strength of its experienced team, Golden Gate has emerged as a first-class project management firm.

 

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.comwww.southjerseyindustrialspace.comwww.southjerseymedicalspace.comwww.southjerseyretailspace.comwww.phillyofficespace.comwww.phillyindustrialspace.comwww.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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Change to the Bankruptcy Code Protects Landlords

Change to the Bankruptcy Code Protects LandlordsLet’s look at how a temporary change to the bankruptcy code protects landlords. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA), signed into law on December 27, 2020 provides money for governmental departments, coronavirus stimulus to individuals and businesses, but also made a temporary change to the bankruptcy code. Some of those amendments directly affect the rights of landlords of commercial properties.

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Since the pandemic started, landlords have been working with their commercial tenants by reaching deferral and waiver arrangements for payment of rent in arrears. Landlords are concerned that if their tenants filed a bankruptcy petition, payments made outside the ordinary course of the lease could be recovered by the bankruptcy estate, if the trustee brought a lawsuit to recovery of those payments under Section 547 of the Bankruptcy Code. Sections 547 and 550 provide for the avoidance and recovery of payments made on or within 90 days before the debtor filed for bankruptcy or one year if such transfer was to an insider, known as the preference period.

Under the CAA landlords have temporary protection from preference and claw back litigation. The safe harbor is geared toward encouraging landlords to work with their struggling commercial tenants, reaching agreements on the payment of rent without the fear of having to turn over those payment to a bankruptcy estate. To qualify, the payment arrangement should have been entered into on or after March 13, 2020, and the payment arrangement should not include, fees, penalties, or interest in an amount greater than what the tenant would have if paid on time and in full.

Landlords should also be prepared that if a tenant does file for bankruptcy, Section 365(d)(4) allows additional time for debtors to assume, assign, or reject nonresidential real property leases. Under the CAA, a Chapter 11 debtor has an initial 210 days to make a determination, and a 90-day extension provision with landlord written consent. However, debtors will still be required perform all of their obligations under the lease in a timely manner, unless the court directs otherwise.

Since these amendments will sunset on December 27, 2022 unless extended, it is important to understand the developments in case law and provisions of the change to the bankruptcy code. Our professionals can assist you in navigating the new rules and how they can impact your rent collection actions.

This e-alert is provided by Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as a general summary of the topics discussed; it does not replace the need to consult with a legal professional and is not intended to be a substitute for competent professional advice, including any advice regarding the effect of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 on your particular business. If you have any questions about the provisions summarized above, please contact Angela L. Mastrangelo, Esquire at mastrangelo@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2989.

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.

Angela L. Mastrangelo, Esquire

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Why Reviews Matter in Business

Reviews Matter to ConsumersLet’s examine why reviews matter to consumers. The wide-spread and long-lasting effects of COVID-19 remain to be seen, but one thing we can all agree on is that both retail and consumer behaviors have been forever changed. Prior to COVID, consumers were gradually shifting to a more digital landscape, mostly driven by convenience. This past year, business and consumers were forced to drastically alter their behaviors and operate almost completely online overnight. While hopefully, some normalcy will return, studies are finding that customers prefer the digital transformation and many conveniences that it provides.

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What does this mean for businesses? Being online is no longer a luxury or an afterthought, it is a necessity for survival. Even further than that, a company’s online reputation and reviews has now become their biggest marketing and piece of influence.

Consumer’s are spending more time than ever looking at business listings, in fact 31% of consumers say they are more likely to check a Google listing before visiting than they were pre-pandemic. They are also referencing online reviews, not only to research the service or product, “they are confirming the safety of businesses by checking reviews” (https://lnkd.in/dKZ3Ky3).

As a small business, retailer, start-up company or commercial real estate firm, your online reputation can be your biggest advantage or your greatest liability. According to Aversa PR, “No matter your resources and budget, this Reputation Management should be a key principle in operating any business” in 2021.
(https://www.inquirer.com/business/covid-online-sales-small-business-fraud-reputation-risk-20201117.html).

Why Do Reviews Matter?

Choosing a new business or product is a risky decision and while making it, customers are looking to trust factors that show that this business is the best choice. Online reviews serve as Social Validation that a business is trustworthy. Consumers turn to online reviews as a judgement of approval from their peers to guide their purchasing choices.

In fact, 92% of B2B buyers said they purchased from a company after reading positive online reviews, while 72% said they ended their conversations or prospecting with a company due to negative reviews. The customer base has changed, over half of customers today grew up with the internet, cell phones, social media. They have been taught to consult the internet, and believe the internet, for every decision. Many businesses grow from word of mouth or direct referrals, online reviews are now the reference of choice from consumers.

A study from BrightLocal showed that 87% of customers (91% of 18-34yr olds) trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and that 93% of people Google first, then decide to engage based off their discovery. When it comes to your online reputation, it is simply too important to not have a proactive strategy or plan in place. Simply asking for reviews isn’t enough anymore. From responding to customers, analyzing review trends, managing the platforms and listings, it is easy to understand why companies quickly become overwhelmed.

With a firm strategy and execution plan, companies are able focus on growing their business offline with the piece of mind that their reputation is being protected and built positively online. Many commercial real estate brokerage firms employ these business and marketing strategies. Whether you choose to manage the process inhouse or use a full-service reputation management agency, to succeed in 2021, your online reviews can no longer be an afterthought.

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Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real Estate

Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real EstateLet’s explore the sale and leaseback of commercial real estate. With COVID-19 affecting so many businesses many may be looking at their real estate holdings to see if they should entertain a sale-leaseback transaction with a nonprofit real estate foundation for a particular property to free-up cash tied up in their real estate. For mission critical buildings that are being leased from non-profit or for-profit landlords, they may consider negotiating with the property’s owner for a sale-leaseback with a nonprofit real estate foundation, attempting to reduce rent expense. A nonprofit real estate foundation is a third-party nonprofit entity that sources low-cost capital to acquire or develop properties used by hospitals in furtherance of their charitable mission. The sale-leaseback option for so monetizing these non-core assets will work as well with traditional sources like insurance companies, REITs and other institutional investors.

Confer 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
For more information, contact:

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WCRE HIRED BY LANDMARK HEALTHCARE FACILITIES TO LEASE MEDICAL OFFICE BUILDING

Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce that it has been retained by Landmark Healthcare Facilities as the exclusive agent to market for lease the Medical Office Building located at 6 Earlin Avenue, Browns Mills, New Jersey.

Landmark PR (PDF)

This new listing opportunity adds to WCRE’s growing number of assignments of medical and healthcare properties in the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia region.

This Medical Office Building is a multi-tenanted healthcare property totaling 57,962 rentable square feet and is located in Burlington County, New Jersey. 

The Medical Office Building features 3-stories with approximately 20,000 square foot floor plates offering built-to-suit suites that can accommodate from 1,000 – 20,000 square feet. The trend–setting leaders of Landmark Healthcare Facilities have established the national standard for the development, ownership and management of the complete range of outpatient buildings.

Michael Cleary, Executive Vice President at Landmark Healthcare Facilities LLC said,

“This is the first time that Landmark has engaged a commercial real estate firm to lease space in a Landmark asset. Leasing outpatient buildings is a core competency of Landmark so we wanted to be 100% certain that the firm we selected to partner with was a firm that was aligned with Landmark’s values and a firm that had a deep understanding of the physician and health system relationship. After speaking with several commercial real estate firms Landmark recognized that WCRE has an outstanding track record of leasing success. Landmark believes that partnering with the WCRE team will enable this asset to exceed all expectations.”

WCRE’s New Jersey leasing specialist team of Ryan Barikian and Bethany Brown said,

“Landmark Healthcare Facilities is known for developing modern, technologically advanced assets and this MOB is no exception. We are proud to be representing Landmark for this best in class medical building – an asset to the Southern New Jersey medical community.”

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.comwww.southjerseyindustrialspace.comwww.southjerseymedicalspace.comwww.southjerseyretailspace.comwww.phillyofficespace.comwww.phillyindustrialspace.comwww.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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How to Prepare Your Parking Lot for Winter

How to Prepare Your Parking Lot for Winter

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Did you prepare your parking lot for winter? Most property owners neglect this because many property managers and commercial property owners are unaware of how the winter weather, salt and plowing can cause damage to their parking lot. Winter weather can wreak havoc on a commercial parking lot, specifically in our region. The harsh freeze-thaw cycles cause asphalt to expand and contract, allowing water to seep into the foundation. This creates permanent damage, in the form of cracks and potholes.

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Ways Prepare Your Parking Lot for Winter

Crack Sealing: As a preventative measure, consider filling cracks in the parking lot before they turn into potholes. Longitudinal cracks between ¼” and 1” can be cleaned and filled with hot rubberized material that will expand and contract as the temperature shifts. The crack sealing material creates a bond with the surface of the asphalt pavement, preventing water from penetrating the asphalt.

Asphalt Repairs: Potholes can be repaired with hot mix asphalt in the fall months. Damaged asphalt is saw cut and removed, then the area is cleaned and prepared for the installation of new asphalt. When hot asphalt is unavailable, EZ Street high performance cold asphalt is a great alternative. This material works in cold temperatures, and can even be applied in water. Neglecting potholes, especially in the colder months, can be very dangerous. As the asphalt continues to break apart and the holes become larger and larger, this creates a safety hazard for both pedestrians and vehicles.

Inlet Repairs: When water seeps into your inlets, the inside structure deteriorates. Salt and ice melt used in the winter months also washes into the storm drains, which further erodes the walls. To avoid a potential sinkhole, make sure your catch basins are structurally sound, the interior walls are parged, and the surrounding asphalt is intact.

For more information on ways to prepare your parking lot for winter, contact:

 

david sulkin

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Cost Segregation Can Increase Cash Flow for Commercial Properties

Cost Segregation Can Increase Cash Flow for Commercial Properties

Let’s look at how cost segregation can increase cash flow for commercial properties. Have you recently built, purchased, expanded or renovated a commercial property? If so, there may be significant untapped tax savings in the property or facilities. A cost segregation study can unlock those savings through greater tax deductions, accelerated depreciation and increased cash flow. Here’s how it works: Portions of a new or existing building are reclassified as “personal property” or “land improvement.” This cost classification can be depreciated over a shorter five, seven or 15 year period as opposed to the standard 39-year depreciable life of a commercial building.

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What if you built, renovated, expanded or purchased a building in prior years? Cost segregation is still an option. The IRS allows taxpayers to change prior accounting methods to take advantage of these previously understated depreciation deductions. This can be done without amending tax returns and can generate a relatively large tax deduction in the year of change.

TAX REFORM MAKES COST SEGREGATION MORE VALUABLE THAN EVER

The tax benefits of cost segregation are even greater thanks to tax reform’s enhancement of bonus depreciation.
In general, bonus depreciation is applicable to depreciable business assets with a recovery period of 20 years
or less. Tax reform doubled bonus depreciation from 50 to 100 percent for qualifying property with acquisition
and in-service dates between September 27, 2017 and December 31, 2022. This means that 100 percent of
qualifying costs would be fully depreciated and recognized in year one and only the remaining building cost
would depreciate going forward over 39 years. After 2022, the bonus rate decreases by 20 percent annually,
so the time to act is now.

REAL RESULTS FOR REAL PROPERTIES

RKL performs over 80 studies every year for companies in a variety of industries, including rental real estate, office buildings, hotels/motels, golf courses, auto dealerships, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and more.

Here are two recent examples to demonstrate cost segregation can increase cash flow.

• Construction of a new hotel facility in 2018: Of the total project cost of $13.5 million, RKL identified $5 million as personal property and land improvements. This cost segregation combined with enhanced 100 percent bonus depreciation a present value of the tax savings of $958,000 (using a 37 percent federal tax rate and six percent discount rate), with projected additional depreciation deductions of $4 million for a tax savings of $1.5 million.

• Turn-key construction of a new medical office in 2017: Of the total project cost of $2.4 million, RKL identified $1 million as personal property and land improvements. This cost segregation combined with enhanced 50 percent bonus depreciation produced a present tax savings of $200,400 (using a 42.67 blended tax rate and six percent discount rate), with projected additional depreciation deductions of $695,000 over the next seven years. This will produce tax savings of $296,500 over that seven-year period with $233,200 in the first year alone.

• 2018 look-back study for a previously purchased office/distribution warehouse facility: RKL identified $326,200 of the original $1.375 million building cost as personal property and land improvements. This resulted in a one-time additional depreciation deduction in the current year’s tax return of $170,700. To obtain an analysis of potential cost segregation tax savings, contact RKL today.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

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Why Smart Buildings Matter to Commercial Real Estate Owners

smart buildings energy consumptionLet’s look at why smart buildings matter to commercial real estate owners. Energy cost savings are top of mind for every commercial building owner, operator, and facility manager, but it’s time to be proactive. On average, a U.S. office building spends nearly 29% of its operating expenses on utilities, and much of this expenditure goes toward HVAC operation.

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Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) estimate commercial buildings account for 20% of all the energy used in the U.S. and conclude that as much as 30% of that energy is wasted. Wasted energy will only increase over time without intervention. Imagine a solution that prevents waste and saves 15-30% on energy expenses? That’s possible to achieve with smart buildings.

Smart buildings are any facility that have complete automated controls and systems in place that are integrated together to form an intelligent data collection application, usually via a building automation system (BAS).
BAS offers reduced operation and energy consumption, improved building efficiency, preventative maintenance, comfort for workers and building occupants, and better use of resources.

At Pennoni, we offer our Utilities Watch (UW) solution, a combination of best-in-class energy analytics/fault detection software and engineering expertise that optimizes buildings, reduces costs, and minimizes environmental impact.

Through UW, our software continually analyzes data from diverse systems: BAS, energy, water, and other resource metering systems to identify opportunities for cost reduction. The fault detection and diagnostics application within the software drills down into patterns to identify issues, deviations, and opportunities for operational improvements and cost reduction.

Utilities Watch Key Benefits

Reduce costs

  • Optimize buildings and reduce energy consumption
  • Increase control and visibility of energy budget
  • Decrease maintenance and capital costs through proactive and predictive maintenance
  • Increase lifespan and reliability of HVAC systems

Validation and M&V

  • Performance goals
  • ECM’s, LEED

Commissioning

  • MBCx – automated ongoing commissioning

Risk Management

  • Disaster recovery (information supports better identification of issues)

Improve sustainability strategies, goals, and metrics

  • Full integration to EnergyStar Portfolio Manager
  • Earn additional LEED points for existing buildings

Improve portfolio management

  • Benchmark buildings and compare performance
  • Performance accountability

Deploying smart buildings software is only half of the equation. Our energy analysts and engineers write custom algorithms to automate analyses that traditionally required constant manual effort. From there, our team of engineers interprets the data to make it meaningful and actionable with custom dashboards and notifications that ensure the facility manager has full visibility and can readily prioritize activities, ensuring much greater efficiency.

For more on smart buildings and Utilities Watch, contact Tony Lepre at (609) 214-5520 or TLepre@Pennoni.com.

tony lepre

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Architectural Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic World

Architectural Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic WorldLet’s look at architectural design considerations for a post pandemic world. Are you tired of hearing about the “New Normal”? Do you yearn for the “Old Normal”, or fear that life as we knew it has changed forever? These are legitimate thoughts as we navigate through and beyond this pandemic. The good news is that we are natural survivors, with a long history of staring-down adversity and rising above with resolve, courage, and grace. Even in such extraordinary times, we overcome fear, fight through pain and loss, heal ourselves and our world, and eventually move forward as well or better than when the crisis first began.

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Another common saying at times like these is “this too shall pass”. We at Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc. agree, however, it is incumbent upon all of us to first deal with the situation in a safe and vigilant manner, and to do what we can to prevent this from happening again. The reality is, we live in a world of expanding population growth, urban swell, suburban sprawl and frequent international travel, all factors that facilitate the spread of a deadly virus such as COVID-19. Like many of our colleagues throughout the architecture, engineering and planning community, the team at Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc. has been considering strategies that protect our health while helping restore and preserve as many characteristics of the “Old Normal” as
possible. The firm recently conducted a round table video call to discuss how we as design professionals can address the behavioral, physical and technological changes needed to keep our society safe, prevent further spread, and help expedite return to “normalcy”. The topics discussed in this paper are the results of our collective thoughts on this matter, and would be delighted to expand upon them in greater and more technical detail based upon our client’s needs.

Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers is active in several industry sectors, but the three most prominent are residential, office/commercial interiors, and education/childcare; all indisputably linked to lifestyles of our fellow Americans. We’re engaged daily in designing buildings and spaces where people live, work, shop, and educate their children. In the context of these specific sectors, this article will explore the behavioral or “humanistic” side of how to better plan for and help prevent similar challenges in the future, and explore the physical and technical considerations that could be implemented to fight and defeat this crisis.

Workplace Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic World

Workplace Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic World

Whether you work in an urban high-rise, suburban office suite, or in a retail location, changes will be obvious as soon as we all return. Office tower workers and visitors will endure delays at security/reception checkpoints and can expect lengthy lines waiting for an elevator. All who work in offices will be required to follow safety guidelines such as social distancing, wearing protective face masks, and submitting to health screening upon entering. Employers will be forced to weigh productivity and efficiency factors against employee safety and wellness.

Many companies have already considered (or are implementing already) the following policies and procedures:

• Adding hand wash and disinfecting stations
• Modifying office, conference room, and workstation configurations to assure adequate distance between staff members
• Placing shields and barriers between workstations
• Limiting use of office pantries and kitchens
• Implementing staggered shifts, 4-day work weeks, and permitting/encouraging work-from-home Encouraging remote videoconferencing in lieu of face-to-face meetings
• Limiting business travel to the best extent possible
• Temperature check / overall health assessment screening at entry

These, and many other operational and “behavioral” safeguards have been discussed via news outlets and various blogs and webinars, and are mostly common-sense. Additionally, workers can be safe-guarded by implementation of technology, much of which is already available:

• Hands-free operational entry doors
• Facial recognition technology
• Clear graphic signage for directions, wayfinding, room capacity, etc.
• Occupancy sensors in office and common spaces
• Voice-activated elevator call commands
• Hands free toilet/urinal flush and touchless lavatory faucet control
• Introducing more outdoor air intake for ventilation systems
• Ultraviolet / germicidal lighting for cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces
• Ultraviolet / germicidal devices in HVAC systems and distribution ductwork
• Use of antiviral surfaces and coatings

Overall design standards for offices can and should be altered to create a higher “area-per-workstation” ratio, and work-benching, hoteling, and shared computer spaces should be greatly reduced or eliminated. Office environments in firms such as ours, where collaboration and cooperation among various disciplines is imperative, must utilize more and more the technology that already exists to share information, share documents, share screens, etc.

Residential Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic World

Residential Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic WorldJarmel Kizel has designed countless multi-family residential projects over its history. We recognize that many reading this paper are more accustomed to single-family home living but certain considerations run consistent regardless of lifestyle. Also, many reading this have some involvement in multi-family residential through business (developers, investors, designers, leasing agents, property managers, etc.). Multi-family residential buildings, whether they be owner-occupied or rental property, share certain inherent concerns with office
buildings, especially high-rise, and the same behavioral, operational physical, and technical precautions should be followed.

Some additional residential design considerations considerations are as follows:

• Building maintenance and cleaning must be ramped-up to provide even more protection against viruses.
• Common areas, lobbies, corridors, shared entertainments spaces and others must be utilized with the same social-distancing standards
as utilized in an office environment.
• Amenity areas (fitness rooms, lounges, business centers, community rooms, swimming pools, shared social/entertainment areas, etc.) must be designed or re-designed to foster social distancing, which may include layouts of more building area
• Information Technology must be upgraded to support more and better connectivity for the influx of those working from home
• Design trends must be studied, evaluated, and implemented for any new residential development. Trends may include increased unit size and physical accommodation of work-at-home areas and/or full home offices
• Package/mail delivery and pick-up must be designed with adequate space for the onslaught of on-line shopping deliveries, and to ensure that multiple residents can safely retrieve packages. (Note: This is not a “new trend”, but likely one that will expand due to COVID-19, but not necessarily change back once the pandemic is behind us)
High-rise and “urban” multi-family residential buildings will likely require more expensive systems and costly retrofit for the same reasons as high-rise office buildings. Primary reasons for this include limited points of entry, security/concierge check-in, and need to utilize elevators within social-distancing guidelines.

Educational Building Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic World

Educational Building Design Considerations for a Post Pandemic WorldJarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers is very active in the design of educational facilities, and has designed hundreds of child daycare centers across the country, for many of the known national brands. Although COVID-19 has proven to be less interested in youngsters than their parents and grandparents, protecting these precious boys and girls is an obvious necessity. This industry sector is different than others mentioned because operations are linked not only to building codes, but also to licensing requirements on a state-level. Even as restrictions
have been lifted to a large extent, it is unknown how many students and staff will be permitted in the building at any given time.

Operational and behavioral considerations are fairly obvious, including distancing of the youngsters from each other, vigilantly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and “eye-balling” boys and girls for potential symptoms. Some less obvious operational safeguards include the manner by which parents/guardians are permitted to enter buildings for pick-up and drop-off.

Many of the physical and technical considerations are similar to the aforementioned building uses, with a few industry-specific design considerations:

• Designing centers with more bathrooms to allow for less sharing of common facilities
• Addition of spaces dedicated for sanitizing teaching materials and toys
• Use of sterilization machines, where toys, books, pillows, blankets, etc. can be placed and sterilized overnight and when school is not in session
• Automation via voice activation and occupancy sensors, similar to those proposed for offices.
• Use of Ultra-violet and germicidal lighting, as proposed for office spaces.

Behavioral and technological recommendations for Child Daycare and Early Child Development should be consistent in “K-12” grade level school buildings as well.

CONCLUSION

Americans are outgoing and socially engaging by nature, and our culture has been deeply impacted by the voracity and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of us know someone who has suffered from it, or has even died, but we must focus our attention now on protection, prevention, and adaptation to the “post-COVID” way of life. If we continue to adhere to prescribed guidelines and common-sense, and the architectural and engineering  community leads the way with innovative approaches to design, the virus AND its aftermath can soon be in our rearview mirrors, and the “New Normal” could become substantially similar to the “Old Normal”. We at Jarmel Kizel wish you and yours the best of health during this crisis, and always.

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Reopening a Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown

Reopening a Business After the Coronavirus ShutdownLet’s look at what liabilities to consider when reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an unprecedented effect on daily life, many business owners are looking forward to the future and a return to normalcy. However, even when stay-at-home orders are lifted and nonessential businesses are allowed to resume operations, there’s a lot for organizations to consider before reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown. What’s more, many of these considerations are workplace-specific and could be more involved depending on the industry you operate in.

To protect their customers and employees alike, it’s important for organizations to do their due diligence before opening their business back up to the public following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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WHEN TO START reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown

While many essential businesses (e.g., hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations) have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, other operations deemed nonessential have shut down temporarily or changed the nature of their operations. Not only has this led to significant business disruptions, but, for many, it has critically impacted their bottom line.

However, we may be nearing a time when stay-at-home regulations are scaled back and all businesses are allowed to resume as normal. The question then is: How will business owners know it is acceptable to reopen?

Best Practices When Reopening a Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown

• Review guidance from state and local governments —The COVID-19 pandemic impacts states and regions in different ways. Just because a business is allowed to reopen in one region of the country doesn’t automatically mean your operations will be allowed to resume as well. As such, it’s critical to understand and review all relevant state and local orders to determine if and when your business is allowed to reopen.

• Understand the risks —If and when the government allows all businesses to reopen, that doesn’t necessarily mean COVID-19 is no longer a threat to your operations. What’s more, some businesses may have greater COVID-19 exposures than others, underscoring the importance of performing a thorough risk assessment before reopening. Prior to conducting a risk assessment, it’s important to review guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), state and local agencies, industry associations as well as your local health department. More information on conducting a risk assessment can be found below.

Again, before reopening, it’s critical to seek the expertise of legal, insurance and other professionals.

CONDUCTING A RISK ASSESSMENT

Even after the government allows reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown, firms still need to determine if it makes sense to resume operations. Safely restarting your business won’t be as simple as unlocking the front door.

Before reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown. one should perform a risk assessment to determine what steps must be taken. While the complexity of risk assessments will differ from business to business, they typically involve the following steps:

• Identifying the hazards—When it comes to COVID-19, businesses need to think critically about their exposures, particularly if an infected person entered their facilities. When identifying hazards, it’s a good idea to perform a walkthrough of the premises and consider high-risk areas (e.g., breakrooms and other areas where people may congregate). It’s also important to consider what tasks employees are performing and whether or not they are especially exposed to COVID-19 risks when performing their duties.

• Deciding who may be harmed and how—Once you’ve identified hazards to your business, you need to determine what populations of your workforce are exposed to COVID-19 risks. When performing this evaluation, you will need to make note of high-risk individuals (e.g., staff members who meet with customers or individuals with preexisting medical conditions).

• Assessing risks—Once you have identified the risks facing your business, you must analyze them to determine their potential consequences. For each risk facing your business, you’ll want to determine:

• How likely is this particular risk to occur?
• What are the ramifications should this risk occur?

When analyzing your risks, consider potential financial losses, compliance requirements, employee safety, business disruptions, reputational harm and other consequences.

• Controlling risks—With a sense of what the threats to your business are, you can then consider ways to address them. There are a variety of methods businesses can use to manage their risks, including:

• Risk avoidance—Risk avoidance is when a business eliminates certain hazards, activities and exposures from their operations altogether.

• Risk control—Risk control involves preventive action.
• Risk transfer—Risk transfer is when a business transfers their exposures to a third party.

For COVID-19, control measures could include cleaning protocols, work from home orders and mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) usage. Additional workplace considerations can be found below.

• Monitoring the results—Risk management is an evolving, continuous process. Once you’ve implemented a risk management solution, you’ll want to monitor its effectiveness and reassess.

Remember, COVID-19 risks facing your business can change over time.

MAINTAINING WORKPLACE SAFETY USING OSHA AND CDC GUIDANCE

Once you conduct a risk assessment, you will need to act to control COVID-19 risks. Again, risks and the corrective steps that organizations take to address those risks will vary by business and industry. Thankfully, there are a number of OSHA and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) workplace controls to consider if your risk assessment determines that COVID-19 poses a threat to your employees or customers. For instance, you should:

• Implement administrative controls—Typically, administrative controls are changes in work policies or procedures that reduce or minimize an individual’s exposure to a hazard. An example of an administrative control for COVID-19 is establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time.

• Utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)— PPE is equipment worn by individuals to reduce exposure to a hazard, in this case, CVOID-19. Businesses should focus on training workers on and proper PPE best practices. Employees should understand how to properly put on, take off and care for PPE. Training material should be easy to understand and must be available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.

• Consider engineering controls—Engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. For COVID-19, engineering controls can include:

• Installing high-efficiency air filters
• Increasing ventilation rates in the work environment
• Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards

• Be adaptable — You should be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. This could involve identifying alternative suppliers, prioritizing existing customers or suspending portions of your operations.

• Create a dialogue with vendors and partners — Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities, and especially those in your supply chain.

• Encourage social distancing — Social distancing is the practice of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. In terms of COVID-19, social distancing best practices for businesses can include:

• Avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people
• Instructing workers to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people
• Hosting meetings virtually when possible
• Limiting the number of people on the jobs site to essential personnel only
• Encouraging or requiring staff to work from home when possible
• Discouraging people from shaking hands

• Manage the different risk levels of their employees — It’s important to be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other workers, customers and visitors.

• Separate sick employees — Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers and visitors, and sent home. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19. The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.

• Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene — Businesses should encourage good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVD-19. This can involve:

• Providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles
• Providing soap and water in the workplace
• Placing hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene

• Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection — Businesses should regularly sanitize their facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some best practices include:

• Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails and doorknobs.
• Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
• Providing disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

CONTINUED SAFETY

While resuming operations following the COVID-19 pandemic may seem like a daunting task, businesses don’t have to go it alone. To help with this process, organizations can seek the help of their insurance professionals to determine what actions they need to take to ensure their business reopens smoothly. To learn more about reopening a business after the coronavirus shutdown, contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today.

Brian Blaston Hardenbergh

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WCRE Appointed Exclusive Agent to Market Florence L. Walther Elementary School Property 

Florence L. Walther Elementary SchoolWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce that it has been appointed exclusive agent to market for sale and lease the Florence L. Walther Elementary School, located at 56 Chestnut St. Lumberton, New Jersey.

This new listing opportunity adds to WCRE’s growing number of assignments of educational and institutional properties in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region.

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The Florence L Walther consists of 2 buildings with a total 55,806 square feet and is situated on an approximate 4.07 Acre site offering an excellent location near heavily traveled Route I-295 and Route 38 in Lumberton, New Jersey.

The Florence L Walther School is planning to close at the end of June. This highly visible property has a campus-like atmosphere with the main building offering 53,406 square feet. Additionally, the Lumberton Extended Daycare building offers 2,400 square feet of space with a vast playground next to the site. The school has been well maintained and is available for immediate occupancy.

Mark Leung, School Business Administrator and Board Secretary for Lumberton School District said, “We had a need for commercial real estate professional services and put out a request for qualifications. WCRE’s response exhibited extensive experience working with schools, coupled with their breadth of knowledge of the local real estate market, made them the obvious choice.”

WCRE’s institutional specialist team of Chris Henderson and Phil Costa said,

“WCRE is proud to partner with Lumberton Township Board of Education as our latest institutional relationship in Southern New Jersey. We look forward to applying our WCRE 360 marketing approach to find a new user for this highly-desirable property.”

A marketing brochure 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 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, www.phillyretailspace.com.

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