Tag Archives: Office Leasing


Common Commercial Leasing Mistakes

Common Commercial Leasing MistakesLet’s look at 10 common commercial leasing mistakes and how to avoid them. Commercial leasing transactions are among the longest term contracts parties will ever enter into, yet many often take the cavalier attitude that “it is just a lease.” That lack of focus and attention to detail often leads to mistakes that can haunt the parties for years and waste valuable time and money.

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Ten Common Commercial Leasing Mistakes and Suggested Tips:

1. Incorrect Names of the Parties
The parties’ names must be clearly and precisely listed but have errors a shocking number of times, as either the landlord’s name, the tenant’s name or both are often incorrect. These mistakes cast potential doubts regarding the validity and enforceability of the lease agreement and raise possible defenses. If you end up in such a situation, a lease amendment should be signed that expressly ratifies all of the lease terms and acknowledges the prior error(s). Avoid such situations by verifying the parties’ names by searching New Jersey and Pennsylvania corporate websites, which can be completed within a minute free of charge. Obtaining copies of filed certificates of incorporation, certifications of formation and the like will also help verify that the parties’ names are correctly shown. Further, a short form good standing certificate or a  subsistence certificate can be obtained online in a few minutes at a nominal cost.

2. Parties No Longer Exist
Entities to lease transactions (whether landlord or tenant or their successors or assigns) may be dissolved. Thus, the parties should conduct basic due diligence and verify the facts on an ongoing basis. Obtaining good standing or subsistence certificates could be helpful in this regard. If, for example, a good standing certificate indicates that annual reports and related fees are overdue, that party should be compelled to file such reports and pay such fees to avoid being involuntarily suspended by the State. If a party has already been dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily, they should be required to get their “organizational house” in order, and then lease instruments can be signed.

3. Your Lease is Actually a Sublease
Tenants should consider obtaining title searches to verify ownership of the property by the landlord indicated in the lease documents, or at the very least by asking for copies of deeds, tax records and title polices from their landlords. Otherwise, a tenant may not know that its lease is actually a sublease, which is more common than one might think. If you are a subtenant and not a tenant, your landlord cannot grant to you any rights that do not exist under the master lease and, therefore, you cannot understand your rights unless and until you review the applicable master lease.

4. Authorized Parties Do Not Sign or Incorrectly State their Title
Only an individual authorized to bind an entity should be signing documents on its behalf, and the signer’s name and title should be clearly shown. Such basics are commonly disregarded and the parties simply assume that whoever has signed the lease is an authorized signer. You should consider requesting copies of Operating Agreements, Shareholder’s Agreements and applicable consents and resolutions to confirm that an authorized person is signing. The lease documents should also explicitly represent that the person signing this lease document on behalf of each party is duly authorized to bind such party. If an agent is signing on behalf of the landlord, ask for evidence of authority in the form of a signed agency agreement granting such powers. Finally, make sure that the title of the signer matches the type of entity that is being bound. General partnerships have General Partners; limited partnerships have General Partners and Limited Partners; corporations have officers (i.e. typically President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) and limited liability companies most commonly have Managers or Managing Members.

5. Premises Size Not Indicated
The size of the premises should be indicated, especially when the lease document indicates a rental rate on a square foot basis or requires pass throughs based on a proportionate share of the building or center.

6. Blanks in the Documents
Do not leave any blanks in the documents. Aside from simply looking sloppy, such blanks may be crucial in terms of triggering contractual milestones (e.g. lease commencement date, rent commencement date, timing to complete landlord’s work and the timing for the tenant to submit plans and to open for business). In a worst case scenario, document blanks could give rise to questions and disagreements regarding enforceability.

7. Lender and Other Required Approvals Were Not Obtained
Landlord’s loan documents may require lender’s approval prior to entering into any lease or lease amendments, and it is easy to forget to obtain such approval. Landlords should reach out to their lender(s) as soon as the lease is agreed upon so that the deal does not get derailed by delays. Tenants should ask for evidence of such lender approvals and representations that all required third party approvals have been obtained (or are not necessary). The parties should also check for rights of first refusal (ROFR), rights of first offer (ROFO), use and building restrictions in leases granted to other tenants.

8. Unclear if Prior Tenant Parties and Guarantors Remain Liable After Assignment
Original tenant parties and guarantors often remain liable for lease obligations even after there has been an assignment of a lease, barring negotiated releases. However, such continuing liability is often unclear to the responsible parties, including tenants that sold their businesses. Lease assignment and consent documents should clarify the scope and extent of the parties’ liability.

9. Unexpected Zoning Board, Planning Board or Other Approvals
It is not uncommon for leasing parties to discover after signing that unanticipated approvals are needed (such as from the zoning board or planning board), which can delay occupancy by months or longer and result in significant expense. Signage and other approvals may also be necessary. Ideally, the parties would perform due diligence of the zoning code and obtain copies of prior approvals granted prior to entering into the lease, and then allocate their respective responsibilities, obligations and related costs between them.

10. Failure to Utilize Professionals
There is no such thing as a standard lease, and the parties must ensure that the documents being negotiated and signed reflect their mutual understandings. Landlords and tenants would be wise to utilize experienced and qualified professionals such as commercial real estate brokers with local knowledge to assist in the leasing process. They would also be prudent to choose an attorney with significant leasing experience, good judgment and a reputation for getting deals done.

CONCLUSION:

A leasing transaction is one of the longest term contracts most parties will ever sign, typically lasting five years or longer. Some landlords and tenants take the attitude that “it is just a lease” (and therefore not a big deal) and do not pay requisite attention to the key basics of any contract, and those basic deal terms are wrong in an astonishing number of deals. The most common commercial leasing mistakes, such as incorrectly naming the parties, leaving blanks that potentially impact the rent commencement date and other key milestones and incorrectly stating a signer’s title are shockingly common. Landlords and tenants should take their time to get the deal as reflected in the lease documents precisely right, and avoid common mistakes such as those listed above, the majority of which can be avoided without significant expense by simply paying attention to the details.

Kenneth M. Morgan is an experienced leasing attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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

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WCRE Second Quarter Report: Southern New Jersey Market Shows Strong Fundamentals

WCRE Second Quarter Report: Southern New Jersey Market Shows Strong Fundamentals, Appears Poised For Growth

July 7, 2017 – Marlton, NJ – Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its latest quarterly analysis that the Southern New Jersey market, which started off 2017 on a cautiously optimistic note, continued picking up steam through the second quarter.

“The overall mood of the market seems to be positive, riding a wave of steady moderate growth in the national economy, increasing expansion locally, and investor interest from outside the region” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Office occupancy needs increased during the quarter, and we have been seeing increased capital spending and construction hiring this year for the first time in years.”

There were approximately 395,155 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which represents an increase of approximately 24 percent compared with the previous quarter, and a remarkable 58 percent increase over the second quarter last year. While leasing showed this notable rise, the sales market had a dip in volume during the second quarter, with some 554,590 square feet worth more than $46.1 million trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 43.4 percent of all deals. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the quarter was in the range of approximately 85,000 square feet.

Download the Report (PDF) >>>

Other office market highlights from the report:

Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 10.4 percent, which is a solid improvement over the previous quarter’s 11.05 percent.

Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$14.50/sf NNN or $20.00-$24.50/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. This is essentially unchanged from the previous two quarters.

Vacancy in Camden County improved dramatically, standing at 11.7 percent for the second quarter, down from 13.3 percent in the first quarter.

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 second quarter in Pennsylvania include:

The Philadelphia industrial market remains very healthy, and the outlook is positive. Vacancy rates for flex and industrial properties in Philadelphia are well below the regional and national averages, and the expectation is that supply will continue to meet demand.

Philadelphia’s office market continues to gain strength across the board, with far lower vacancy rates than regional and national averages for both Class A and Class B properties in the Central Business Districts and around the suburbs. Conditions are in place that seem to bode well for continued growth, including increasing employment and new construction.

The Philadelphia retail sector has not been immune to the systemic challenges facing retail businesses everywhere. Namely, the massive shift to online retailing and away from brick-and-mortar. Still, there were some positive signs amid the spate of announced store closings. Community shopping centers remain an area of strength in the market, with vacancy rates nearly half the national average. 

WCRE also reported on the Southern New Jersey retail market, noting that e-commerce sales were high and moving higher still, while brick-and-mortar retail sales were growing at a modest two percent. Overall retail sales were 3.9 percent higher this year compared to 2016. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

Retail vacancy in Camden County stood at 9.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $11.33/sf NNN.

Retail vacancy in Burlington County stood at 10.5 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.35/sf NNN.

Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 7.1 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.78/sf NNN.

The full report is available upon request.

About WCRE/CORFAC International

WCRE/CORFAC International 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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WCRE First Quarter Report: Southern New Jersey Market Is Weathering Global Uncertainties

WCRE FIRST QUARTER REPORT: Southern New Jersey Market Is Weathering Global Uncertainties with Characteristic Strength

April 6, 2017 – Marlton, NJ – Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its latest quarterly analysis that despite political uncertainty at home and around the world, the Southern New Jersey market has started off 2017 on a cautiously optimistic footing.

“Even with an expected winter slowdown affecting office leasing activity, and added anxiety with the transfer of political power in Washington, the overall mood of the market seems to be positive,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “As we’ve seen the past couple of years, several business sectors increased their occupancy needs during the first quarter, and we continue to see increased capital spending, construction hiring, and expansions.”

There were approximately 317,886 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which represents a decrease of approximately 18 percent compared with the previous quarter, but is essentially unchanged from the first quarter last year. While leasing slowed a bit, the sales market doubled in volume during the first quarter, with some 767,988 square feet worth more than $133.5 million trading hands. New leasing activity accounted for approximately half of all deals – a big increase over the fourth quarter. Overall, net absorption for the quarter was in the range of approximately 122,572 square feet.

Download The Report PDF>>>

Other office market highlights from the report:

Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.05 percent, which is a nominal increase from the previous quarter.

Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$14.50/sf NNN or $20.00-$24.50/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. This is essentially unchanged from the previous two quarters.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate moved down to 4.4 percent, putting it below the national rate of 4.7 percent.

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:

Office demand in Center City is still exceptionally strong, as rental rates continue on an upswing and vacancy levels are compressing to all-time lows.

There is a significant amount of inventory of multi-family, including recently developed, under construction, and proposed, in both the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia suburbs. Rental rates have either remained relatively stable or decreased slightly. Concessions are becoming commonplace at many apartment communities.

While much of the pricing for commercial real estate accounts for increasing interest rates, many purchasers are showing signs of hesitation and fears of potential decreases in market fundamentals.

The industrial market in the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs is fetching price points never experienced in the marketplace. The lack of available product coupled with significant demand is putting further upward pressure on overall pricing.

WCRE also reported on the Southern New Jersey retail market, noting an incongruous mix of consumers earning more and showing a willingness to spend, and a high number of retailers declaring bankruptcy. The report attributes this to a growing shift to online shopping and other changes in spending habits. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

The Conference Board reports that consumer confidence is at its highest level since 2000.

Nine retailers filed bankruptcy in the first quarter, which is the same as the total for all of 2016.

Retail vacancy in Camden County stood at 6.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.92/sf NNN.

Retail vacancy in Burlington County stood at 11.1 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.31/sf NNN.

Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 5 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.01sf 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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WCRE Third Quarter Report: Southern New Jersey Office Leasing Rebounds

WCRE Third Quarter Report: Southern New Jersey Office Leasing Rebounds, Still Lags Behind 2015 Levels

Office Leasing Posts Strongest Quarter of the Year, Investments, Sales, and Philadelphia Remain Areas Of Strength

wcre_3qtr2016_reportMarlton, NJ – Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its latest quarterly analysis that the Southern New Jersey office market has bounced back nicely from the slow-down in commercial leasing activity that began late last year. Office leasing totals for the third quarter were the strongest they have been all year, though they are still off from the same time last year. The investment and sales market continued its hot streak, and the city of Camden is seeing progress from the Grow New Jersey program.

“The Brexit vote was something of a shock to the system during the second quarter, but this region showed its resilience and the strength of its fundamentals,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “The upcoming election means more uncertainty in the near term, but the overall tone is one of cautious optimism.”

There were approximately 365,224 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which represents an incredible improvement of 44 percent compared with the second quarter of the year. The quarter saw a slight decrease in prospecting, with about 225,000 SF of lease deals in the pipeline and expected to close in the near term. Still, the trend of positive absorption continued, making up approximately 195,000 square feet of total activity.

Overall market vacancy dropped as well, with Camden County leading the way.

Download the Report>>>

Other office market highlights from the report:

Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 10.65%.

Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$14.00/sf NNN or $20.00-$24.00/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. This is essentially unchanged from the previous several quarters.

All of the major private owners and REITS showed moderate leasing and prospect activity for the quarter – with Burlington County vacancies tightening up, many larger vacancy opportunities are also shifting towards Camden County, which is not controlled by these ownership entities.
On the sales and investment side, about 416,050 square feet of properties worth a total of more than $52 million were traded.

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 second quarter in Pennsylvania include:

Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs continue on an upward trajectory in terms of construction for multi-family and repositioning of older Class B/C assets to core Class A properties. Despite these trends, we are witnessing some hesitation from the banking community regarding the viability of these extraordinarily high pricing levels. With thousands of units either under construction or slated for development in the Philadelphia region, the question regarding rental rates and vacancy levels is coming to the forefront of many deals.

Aramark signed a lease at 2400 Market Street in Philadelphia for a new headquarters. The 280,000+/- square foot space will be state-of-the-art with unparalleled views of the Schuylkill River. This international entity looked elsewhere in the region for space but chose to remain in Center City, which bodes well for the future of the market.

Five Below chose the Lits Building for its new Center City headquarters. The company also plans on leasing 180,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail space at 701 Market Street.

Strong demand continues in the industrial market, as evidenced by increasing prices and rental rates. Though much of the institutional activity appears to be in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, pricing for non-institutional assets, especially in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, is stronger than ever.

WCRE also reported on the Southern New Jersey retail market, noting mixed results there. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

Overall retail sales and spending dropped again, although restaurants, grocery stores, and clothing stores did post modest gains for the third quarter. Interestingly, consumer confidence grew at the same time, hitting a post-recession high.

Retail vacancy in Camden County stood at 11 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.20/sf NNN. This is a slight increase in both vacancy rates and average rents.

Retail vacancy in Burlington County stood at 10.2 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.15/sf NNN. This is a notable drop in vacancy, while rents stayed essentially unchanged.

Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 6.9 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.01/sf NNN. This represented an uptick in vacancy with rents unchanged.

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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