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NJEDA Small Business Financing Programs

NJEDA Small Business Financing ProgramsLet’s look at some of the NJEDA small business financing programs. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) is an independent state-level financing agency providing various programs and services that support business growth and expansion in New Jersey. NJEDA small business financing focuses on job growth and retention, making loans more accessible to business, and reducing risk for banks while administering several incentive programs that support job creation and real estate development.

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NJEDA Small Business Financing Programs

The NJEDA menu of programs including small- and medium-sized business financing programs that assist with real estate acquisition, fixed assets, and working capital. Three programs in this category are the Premier Lender Program, Direct Loans, and the Small Business Fund.

NJEDA’s Premier Lender Program provides up to $2 million in loan participation to supplement financing from banks for fixed assets. NJEDA may also provide loan guarantees of up to $1.5 million for fixed assets. Funding is limited to $65,000 per job created or retained within two years, with 100 percent loan to value for real estate and 90 percent for equipment.

The program makes it easier for businesses to qualify, creates blended terms, and reduces bank risk. Direct Loans also provide up to $2 million in financing, limited to $65,000 per full-time job created or retained within two years. Businesses located in targeted urban areas, regional centers, and metropolitan planning areas may apply for up to $3 million. NJEDA may also approve loans for working capital of up to $750,000. Direct Loans rates are the higher of either the five-year U.S. Treasury or two percent.

The Small Business Fund focuses on creditworthy small, women- and minority-owned businesses in New Jersey. Businesses that have been in operation for at least one year are eligible for up to $500,000 in fixed-asset or working capital financing.

Not-for-profits in operation for three years are also eligible to apply for this program. These financing programs are just a few of the full menu of NJEDA financing and incentive programs available to business.

In 2019, look for a greater focus on small business with a few new NJEDA small business financing programs as Governor Murphy’s administration implements their goals to develop the state economy with an emphasis on small business, innovation, and technology.

gary marx

WCRE HELPS FEED NEIGHBORS WITH 5th ANNUAL THANKSGIVING FOOD DRIVE

Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) wrapped up its fifth annual Thanksgiving Food Drive today by delivering over 100 bags of food and $1,400 in supermarket gift cards and donations to the Jewish Family and Children’s Service food pantry.

As in previous years, the firm spent the past several weeks collecting food and grocery store gift cards from friends, clients, and colleagues throughout the region. More than thirty area businesses contributed to the effort.

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“Over the past five plus years, WCRE has become an integral charitable partner in our efforts,” said Marla Meyers, MSW, executive director of Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey. “We thank Jason Wolf and the entire WCRE team for their generosity and leadership today and throughout the year.”

The food drive is part of WCRE’s Community Commitment program, which also includes donating a portion of the proceeds from transactions to one of several local charities. In September the firm hosted its third annual celebrity charity hockey game, in which local business leaders played alongside several former Philadelphia Flyers. That event raised more than $60,000 that was shared among several local charities.

Over the past 3 years, The WCRE Foundation has successfully raised approximately $200,000 from its community fundraising efforts.

About WCRE

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

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

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WCRE ADDS EXPERIENCED POLITICAL CONSULTANT, FORMER COUNCILMAN

David Spector to Enhance Engagement with Local Communities and Leadership

David SpectorWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of David Spector as Director of Community Relations. Spector brings nearly a decade of community engagement and public service to expand the reach and strengthen the bonds with municipalities and businesses throughout New Jersey.

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As Director of Community Relations, David will work closely with elected officials, economic development offices and community leaders to strengthen WCRE’s connections within the various regions where the firm does business.

An experienced community relations professional, Spector has served as a Town Councilman in Bellmawr, NJ and was an Eagleton Fellow at Rutgers University. David started his career in politics working on a number of different campaigns at all levels of government on behalf of Chairmen Donald Norcross and James Beach. He was also an aide for Senator Fred Madden, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, where he spearheaded communications, social media and constituent relations. Additionally, Spector has built close relationships with a variety of community organizations throughout Southern New Jersey including the Jewish Community Relations Council, Community Planning & Advocacy Council, American Red Cross and much more.

“As a firm that works closely with a wide variety of communities and businesses, we are excited to be partnering with someone like David who can help our clients to build stronger relationships with their neighbors throughout the Garden State,” said Jason Wolf, Founder and Managing Principal of WCRE. “David brings WCRE strong relationships with leaders throughout the region as well as the ability to establish new ones. We are very excited to bring our clients these new possibilities.”

About WCRE

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

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

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Landlord Issues from Tenant Bankruptcies

Landlord Issues for Tenant BankruptciesTenant bankruptcies are creating headaches for landlords. RadioShack. Brookstone. Toys R’ Us. Sears. With fifteen major retail bankruptcies filed to-date in 2018, the toppled retail behemoth has almost become a cliché, and brands once courted by commercial landlords have become major sources of risk. With no sign of a slow-down, this article provides a refresher on your rights, as a commercial landlord, in commercial tenant bankruptcies.

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Commercial Tenant Bankruptcies 101: THE BASICS

• Ipso facto clauses in a lease, which trigger default or acceleration upon the filing of a bankruptcy case, are generally unenforceable under the Bankruptcy Code. Thus, you cannot terminate a lease or stop performing your obligations under the lease on account of the bankruptcy filing.

• The filing of a bankruptcy case triggers the automatic stay, which requires all actions to enforce the lease, evict the tenant or collect a debt (including unpaid rent) to cease. Unless you have a judgment to possess the subject premises, or the lease has otherwise expired by its terms, you must not continue to pursue collection or enforcement activities.

• A commercial debtor may assume a lease and assign it to a third party, in most circumstances without your consent, even if the lease requires the consent of the landlord to assignment.

• A commercial debtor may reject a lease based on its business judgment, and you have very few (virtually no) grounds on which to object to a lease rejection.

Commercial Tenant Bankruptcies 201: WHEN WILL I GET PAID AND HOW MUCH?

The Bankruptcy Code requires bankrupt tenants to continue paying rent under the lease during the pendency of the case (post-petition rent). If a debtor does not assume a lease within 210 days of the commencement of the bankruptcy case, the lease is deemed rejected.

Depending on whether the lease is assumed or rejected and the financial health of the bankruptcy estate, rent that was unpaid as of the date of the filing (pre-petition rent) may be paid in full, in part or not at all. Tenants under assumed leases must cure all breaches under the lease, including to pay in full all unpaid pre-petition and post-petition rent and any damages incurred as a result of the breach of the lease. The cure amounts must be paid at the time the lease is assumed by the debtor or its assignee.

Landlords under rejected leases, on the other hand, are entitled to a claim against the bankruptcy estate, which, depending on the financial health of the debtor, may be paid in full, in part or not at all. While unpaid postpetition rent constitutes an administrative (or dollar-for-dollar) claim against the estate, all other pre petition rent and damages caused by the rejection of the lease constitute unsecured (often, cents-on-the-dollar) claims, and will be paid pro rata with other unsecured creditors. Further, while rejection damages include the amount of rent remaining in the life of its lease, damages are statutorily capped at the greater of one year of rent or the rent for 15% of the remaining term of the lease, not to exceed three (3) years. Landlords who successfully mitigate their damages and re-let the premises may not be entitled to any claim if the rent received under the new lease is greater than or equal to the rent under the existing lease. Payments on unsecured claims are typically paid, if at all, after the debtor has confirmed a plan of reorganization.

Commercial Tenant Bankruptcies 301: DO I HAVE TO ACCEPT A RENT REDUCTION?

Bankruptcy affords the debtor tenant a unique opportunity to re-negotiate its leases. On one hand, the Bankruptcy Code prohibits the debtor from cherry picking which provisions of a lease it wants to assume and which provisions it would like to reject; instead, the Code requires the debtor to assume or reject the lease in its entirety. On the other hand, many debtor tenants leverage the specter of potential rejection to obtain significant rent concessions from landlords. Rent reduction negotiations often begin in the pre-bankruptcy period and continue in the early days of the case, with landlords being told that failure to negotiate will result in certain rejection.

You do not have to negotiate with the debtor tenant or accept a rent reduction, though doing so may increase the possibility of the assumption of your lease. Debtor tenants are more likely to reject leases:

• Not essential to the continued operation of the business,
• With above-market rent,
• In areas saturated with other debtor locations, or
• With low-performing stores.

If your lease falls outside of these categories, then the debtor may assume the lease even without obtaining a rent (or other) concession.

Commercial Tenant Bankruptcies THE BIG PICTURE

As soon as a tenant shows signs of financial weakness, consider actively pursuing remedies under the lease, including termination or eviction proceedings. If the lease has expired or you have already obtained a judgment for possession when your tenant has filed for bankruptcy, tear up this article! (after confirming with your attorney that the lease is, in fact, properly terminated).

If the lease has not expired or terminated at the time of filing, be sure to engage bankruptcy counsel to review the proceedings and protect your interests in the case. Bankruptcy counsel will object to any insufficient cure amount, file a proof of claim for your damages and review any plan of reorganization to advise you of your
anticipated recoveries. Even though retail bankruptcies have become commonplace, sound counsel will ensure
that your rights are protected and help you get paid.

Finally, engage competent real estate professionals, who can provide an accurate assessment of current market
rent and assist in finding a replacement tenant to satisfy and requirement that you mitigate your damages
after rejection/termination of the lease.

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.

 

Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate

Wire Fraud in Commercial Real EstateLet’s examine Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate and how you can avoid it. No industry is exempt from cyber crime, and the commercial real estate industry has become a common target. As hackers devise plans to obtain sensitive information about commercial real estate transactions, real estate professionals need to take particular interest in cyber security to protect their clients and themselves from wire fraud.

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Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate: WHAT IS IT?

In instances of wire fraud in commercial real estate, a common ploy involves hackers breaking into a real estate agent’s email account to obtain details about upcoming transactions. Once the hackers have all the information they need, they send an email to the buyer, pretending to be the agent or a representative of the title company.

In an email to the buyer, the hackers state that there has been a change in the closing instructions and that the buyer needs to follow new wire instructions listed in the email. If a buyer falls victim to the scam and wires money to the fraudulent account, they’re unlikely to see the money again.

Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate: RED FLAGS

A potential indicator of wire fraud in commercial real estate is an email that makes any reference to a Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) wire transfer, which is sent via the SWIFT international payment network and indicates an overseas destination for the funds. However, since the emails tend to include detailed information pertaining to the transaction—due to the perpetrator having access to the agent’s email account—many people make the mistake of assuming the email is from a legitimate source. The email addresses often appear to be legitimate, either because the hacker has managed to create a fake email account using the name of the real estate company or because they’ve hacked the agent’s actual email account.

Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate: HOW TO AVOID IT

Wire fraud is one of many types of online fraud targeting commercial real estate professionals and their clients. To prevent cyber crime from occurring, every party involved in a real estate transaction needs to implement and follow a series of security measures that include the following:

• Never send wire transfer information, or any type of sensitive information, via email. This includes all types of financial information, not just wire instructions.

• If you’re a real estate professional, inform clients about your email and communication practices, and explain that you will never expect them to send sensitive information via email.

• If wiring funds, first contact the recipient using a verified phone number to confirm that the wiring information is accurate. The phone number should be obtained by a reliable source—email is not one of them.

• If email is the only method available for sending information about a transaction, make sure it is encrypted.

• Delete old emails regularly, as they may reveal information that hackers can use.

• Change usernames and passwords on a regular basis, and make sure that they’re difficult to guess.

• Make sure anti-virus technology is up to date, and that firewalls are installed and working.

• Never open suspicious emails. If the email has already been opened, never click on any links in the email, open any attachments or reply to the email. IF YOU’VE BEEN HACKED

Take the following steps if you suspect that your email, or any type of account, has been hacked:

• Immediately change all usernames and passwords associated with any account that may have been compromised.

• Contact anyone who may have been exposed to the attack so they too can change their usernames and passwords. Remind them to avoid complying with any requests for financial information that come from an unverified source.

• Report fraudulent activity to the FBI via the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. Also contact the state or local realtor association, which will alert others to the suspicious activity.  Contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today for more information on avoiding real estate fraud and other types of cyber crime.

For More Information about how you can prevent Wire Fraud in Commercial Real Estate, please contact:

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

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.

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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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Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for Winter

Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for WinterWith the fall season in full swing, it’s time to start preparing commercial HVAC systems for winter, well before Ol’ Man Winter comes to town. Hutchinson, a leading energy services and mechanical services contractor serving the region’s commercial customers, offers tips to help add life to your systems, enhance comfort and improve your bottom line.

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Seven Tips for Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for Winter

1. Use Energy Star Portfolio Manager
Use Energy Star Portfolio Manager to see how your building rates with other similar buildings. If you rate low, there are many things you can do to improve the operation of your building.

2. Check HVAC settings
Check HVAC settings to get maximum efficiency. Set your thermostat at 68°during the day and at 60° at night. You can save approximately 3% on heating costs for every degree under 70.

3. Install a programmable thermostat.
A web and cloud based control system offers peace of mind by keeping settings maintained during and after office hours.

4. Establish a preventive maintenance program.
• Change or clean all air filters, preferably every month.
• Repair leaks in piping, air duct s, coils, fittings and at the unit(s).
• Replace defective equipment insulation, ducting and piping.
• Install/upgrade HVAC controls to include new energy management systems technologies.

5. Clean Heating Ducts
Heating ducts should be cleaned periodically to allow efficient heating and provide fresh, clean air. Also check to make sure the ducts are properly insulated.

6. Take Advantage of Energy Efficiency Programs
Hutchinson is a designated contractor of Direct Install, a program offered by New Jersey Office of Clean Energy. Upgrade to energy efficiency with Direct Install and 70% of the cost will be covered for energy upgrades, including lighting and HVAC equipment. Instead of pumping money into your outdated, inefficient units, why not upgrade to a new, state-of the-art energyefficient system?

7. Conduct daytime/nighttime audits.
Check to see if the lights are on. Is the building comfortable? Make adjustments as needed.

Contact Hutchinson at 888-777-4501 or dicoordinator@hutchbiz.com for help preparing commercial HVAC systems for winter

About Hutchinson
Hutchinson is a leading energy/mechanical service contractor performing energy services, mechanical construction and retrofit installation work in the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State Region. Hutchinson’s
technicians are factory trained, NATE certified and are on-call 24/7 365 days a year. Visit www.hutchbiz.com for more information.

ed-hutchinson

Third Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Hockey Game Raises $60,000

The Third Annual WCRE Charity Hockey Game was another success, raising $60,000 to be shared by several charitable causes.

The game, which was played At the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees this past Saturday, is the brainchild of Philadelphia Flyer legend and WCRE director of strategic relationships Brian Propp. Blending community fun with sports fantasy camp, WCRE brought several Flyers Alumni fan favorites back to the ice for a game alongside thirty area business leaders. Over its three years, the WCRE Foundation has successfully raised $200,000 from its community fundraising efforts.

Joining The WCRE Foundation for this year’s event were former Flyers Brian Propp, Brad Marsh, Doug Crossman, Kjell Samuelsson, Andre Faust, Todd Fedoruk and Ray Allison. Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame inductee Lou Nolan, public address announcer of the Philadelphia Flyers, served as emcee. This year Kerry Fraser served as referee. Fraser was a referee in the NHL for 30 seasons, including officiating 12 different Stanley Cup Finals series.

All proceeds from the event will be shared among the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, the American Cancer Society, CARES Institute at Rowan Medicine, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia Flyers Alumni Association supporting Ed Snider Youth Hockey, Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice and Susan G. Komen-Philadelphia.

Additionally, each of these organizations benefits from WCRE’s long-standing practice of donating a portion of its proceeds from transactions to an area charity. Learn more about this program at http://wolfcre.com/community-commitment/.

“This event gets better every year. We had more sponsors, more spectators, more raffle prizes, and most importantly, more money going to our charitable partners,” said Jason M. Wolf, managing principal of WCRE. “The WCRE team thanks our friends, neighbors, and business associates for their involvement in our efforts to improve the lives of others in the community.”

See a video recap of the game featuring comments from the participants, sponsors, and beneficiaries below:

Donations can still be made @ https://bit.ly/2zvGTXI

 

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 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.

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?

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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
email: brianb@hig.net
www.hig.net

Is Open Floor Office Design Good for Business?

Open Floor Office DesignIt’s tempting to consider open floor office design for your new headquarters, but is open floor office design good for business? Open floor offices advertise their collaborative environment and cheap rent, but is this true? Most likely not. You’ll come to find that the privacy of cubicles will be sought after, once the thrill of an open floor office wears off. Productivity will suffer, and so will your company work ethic.

Cubicles may not be as visually appealing, but they serve their purpose in keeping your business running smoothly. Open floor offices may have negative effects on your business that you’ve never thought of but should consider. If you’re currently renting open floor offices, a few of these points may feel a bit familiar. If
you haven’t hit “PAY” yet, read this before you are making your final decision.

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Open Floor Office Design Problem #1 – HIGH PERFORMANCE EMPLOYEES NEED QUIET SPACES

It is no surprise that open floor spaces are loud. When there is chatter all around you, it’s hard to focus on your work at hand. There could be someone on a call, or a group of coworkers discussing their next business strategy, and maybe even a disagreement that’s within earshot. To you, this is just noise. You must reset your brain multiple times to zone back into your project in front of you.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #2 – JOB SATISFACTION OR NOT SO MUCH?

A study investigated the correlation between office type and employee job satisfaction. It revealed that those who worked alone in cellular offices and those who worked in a room shared with one other colleague experienced a positive work experience. However, as the number of co-workers increase in a room, job satisfaction decreased. Sure, you’ll save money on an open floor office, but you’ll pay for it in the long run with the costs associated with job satisfaction going down. It’s more cost effective to consider the impact an office type will have on employees rather than solely focusing on the short-term financial benefits.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #3 – LACK OF INTERACTION

Unfortunately, face-to-face interaction decreases in open floor offices, the opposite effect of what an open layout is going for. Communication through emailing and instant messaging increased and productivity declined. Because everyone is constantly surrounded by people, there was no longer the privacy that cubicles
provided. Online interactions increased as a result. Some may even go as far as to avoid more interaction with team members. Having so many people around you
can be overstimulating. You’ll see earbuds in and coworkers making the effort to avoid as much contact with others as possible.

Open Floor Office Design Problem #4 – VISUALLY DISTRACTING

When you’re in such close proximity to so many other team members, it’s visually distracting. In open floor offices, you’re surrounded by people that may not necessarily be in your department or even your company. Not only is their presence distracting, but their projects can also disrupt your work ethic. You could be bombarded with questions about what you do and how you do it, something you wouldn’t have to worry about if you were in a cubicle.

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WCRE EXPANDS REGIONAL TEAM WITH TRIO OF NEW HIRES

WCRE EXPANDS REGIONAL TEAM WITH TRIO OF NEW HIRES

Team Members to Serve Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey Markets; Support Company Marketing

September 5, 2018 – Marlton, NJ – Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of three new members of our firm serving our southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey teams.

April Loomis has joined the WCRE team as a Senior Sales Associate focusing on the Southern New Jersey market.  Loomis brings over 25 years of professional experience with major corporations in the region, having recently served as a Contracts Manager at Lockheed Martin and Comcast Corporation.   She has been licensed as a New Jersey Salesperson since 2012.  April is also active in the local community and has numerous civic and professional affiliations.  She is a member of the National Contract Management Association, the Gloucester County Board of Realtors, and the Witches of East Greenwich Charity Organization.  She serves as Vice President of the Villages of Whiskey Mill Homeowners Association and is a New Jersey State Bar certified Paralegal.

Mitchell Russell has joined WCRE team as the firm’s newest sales associate in Pennsylvania.  Russell will generate and service new business in the office and industrial sectors for clients in Philadelphia and its suburbs.  Russell is a recent Duke University graduate, where he was a member of the Duke University lacrosse team and a proud four-time ACC honor roll member.  As a senior this past year, Mitch helped lead the 2018 Blue Devils to the national championship game.

Nora Farghaly has joined WCRE as a Marketing Coordinator and Administrative Assistant.  Farghaly will bring new ideas to WCRE’s best-in-class marketing team and enhance client service by providing additional broker support.  Nora brings more than five years of experience designing, creating and executing marketing campaigns across various industries through her independent marketing consultancy NF Design.  She has also served in marketing roles at Valley National Bank, Golf Performance Institute, ANCERO, and Compass Group at Rowan University.

“I’m excited to have such talented new team members servicing our clients in Philadelphia and South Jersey,” said WCRE Managing Principal, Jason Wolf.  “Our people have always been our biggest asset and our biggest advantage in the marketplace.”

FULL PDF VERSION OF PRESS RELEASE HERE

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 ww.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 Building Life Expectancy Isn’t What It Once Was

Commercial Building Life ExpectancyBuilding life expectancy isn’t what it used to be. What to do with obsolete commercial buildings and how to prevent your portfolio from falling into the trap. Buyers, owners, investors and developers of real estate are facing questions regarding how properties are valued in the current market, especially where there are problems appraising a property’s highest and best use. More specifically, this question focuses on reversion value.

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Commercial Building Life Expectancy – Multiple Cases

Recent Class B or lower valuation projects (as well as some lower level Class A properties) have presented serious, widespread questions from a valuation standpoint. The main question is simple: What should be done with “obsolete” buildings?

Historically, such a question became pertinent only after 50-100 years. Buildings were “built to last,” and most were designed to be updated over time. Part of the reason for that long horizon was that ample land was available for expansion. Another was that zoning was very prescriptive and clearly defined in many ways. Lastly, fixed real estate was a capital-intensive asset class.

In the past five years alone, that question, however, is now being asked about buildings that are only 20 to 30 years old. Many buildings that have been constructed in the last 30 years or so, like suburban office buildings and parks, retail centers and malls, some well located industrial parks and even sports stadiums, now face the wrecking ball because they are, effectively, obsolete. Some investors report that many U.S. submarkets, for a variety of uses, are “under-demolished.”

What is driving Decreased Commercial Building Life Expectancy?

The short answer is technology. The longer answer is human interaction with technology.

Historically, most companies had fairly simple operations and spatial needs, so real estate decisions were driven by location and/or resources, with physical building changes limited by cost and location. The current digital revolution, however, is changing that—literally at the speed of light. Locations are not as “fixed” as they were previously, and businesses’ physical space needs tend to change quickly due to technological shifts. Flexibility will be the key to long-term survival in all industries, including real estate.

Traditionally, real estate has been a fixed asset acquired at high prices compared to most assets. Such requirements mandated long lead times, high fixed costs, significant capital resources, segregation of uses, long-term contracts (i.e., leases and mortgages) and zoning. The industry faces the challenge of adapting fixed physical space needs, and all that goes along with it, to meet the new reality of demand for change at the snap of a finger, and how to underwrite office or other spaces that will likely shift to “creative space” when re-financed (at lower rents, not higher).

Possible Solutions to Decreased Commercial Building Life Expectancy

From a valuation standpoint, there are two traditional factors: zoning/legal issues and physical utility. To maintain real estate flexibility, underwriters, analysts, municipalities and all industries will have to consider:

1. Revised zoning codes that stress density/form over use. The economic lives of buildings are getting shorter and it may be necessary to re-configure space more quickly. This change, however, often runs afoul of local zoning ordinances, minimally, as it relates to uses. If structures in the future are more generic in form, site-specific codes may have to be revised to reflect multiple future uses. By “pre-coding” such code requirements, one of the major impediments to re-development (generically, all permitting costs) can be streamlined for material cost savings and faster re-use. Urban areas already have an advantage in this regard due to greater densities and uses. Suburban areas will need to adapt this concept, or face an even stronger “back to the city” trend than currently in the market. Otherwise, suburban office parks and similar “obsolete concepts” could risk vacancy. All jurisdictions, in order to retain and attract industry—their tax base—will have to re-write zoning laws to allow rapid flexibility.

2. In terms of physical utility, architects and engineers will have to design buildings that can be quickly adapted to alternate uses at a reasonable cost. Aesthetics will still be important. Those who are able to successfully design and build the most flexible buildings first will fare the best. Prime locations will also continue to have great importance. These locations, however, will not be limited strictly to traditional site selection parameters. The key will be how flexible the site and/or building improvements are perceived to be for needed changes due to technological shifts that dramatically alter market demand for that space.

The combination of these elements will require a shorter-term view, and investors and municipalities should incorporate some level of alternate use analysis, even from the original construction date. Underwriters would then have the benefit of downside underwriting (to consider future conversion costs)—on a current basis.

For many years, zoning and functional utility have simply been boxes to check during the valuation process. Moving forward, and given the rapid clip of technological change, it is now time to remove it from a box and think about a real exit strategy beyond the end of a lease or mortgage term.

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