Building Successful Relationships

Tag Archives: wcre

Storm Drain Inlet Repair

Let’s look at the importance of Storm Drain Inlet Repair. Inlets, also known as catch basins or storm drains, are designed to collect water runoff from roads and parking lots during inclement weather. The main function of the inlets is to act as an underground drainage system.

Download Printable Article (PDF)

Throughout the drainage process, debris and other waste can accumulate over time, getting caught in the inlets and creating an obstruction. When this occurs, it will slow down the drainage process and can eventually stop it altogether, causing unsafe conditions. Maintaining your inlets by removing the debris will help extend the life of the inlet and surrounding asphalt.

Storm Drain Inlet Repair

The interior of an inlet is typically comprised of bricks and blocks held in place by mortar, or a precast concrete structure. During freeze-thaw cycles, and as a result of salting parking lots in the snow, the interior can erode and cause the frame and grate to sink. As a result, sinkholes are common as the surrounding asphalt deteriorates.

Always consult a licensed professional like American Asphalt Company to inspect your inlets in order to determine the severity of any potential problems. Once the issue is diagnosed, we will make sure that the inlet and the surrounding asphalt is fixed the RIGHT way. It is important to always look for the signs, first starting with the debris and make sure that they are removed.

Having the water drain properly off of your parking lot is vital and can prevent safety issues and possible liabilities.




Favorable Economic Conditions Expected to Continue into 2020

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the fourth quarter of 2019 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued their years-long overall steady performance. Sales volume and prospecting activity held steady, and although leasing activity was down, vacancy rates remain low across the region for all property types. Gross leasing absorption was positive but trending lower quarter over quarter.

Download Printable PDF >>>

“CRE performance was good by almost every measure as the year wound down,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “It seems like when one sector or part of the region underperforms, the rest of the market keeps moving in the right direction.”

There were approximately 204,077 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was down compared to the previous quarter. But the sales market stayed active, with about 1.5 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Completed sales more than doubled from the previous quarter, at approximately 781,130 square feet trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 65 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the fourth quarter was in the range 85,000 square feet, up about 20 percent over the third quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

● Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 12 percent, which is up half a point from the previous quarter. This is still near a 20-year low.

● 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 hovered near this range for more than a year.

● Vacancy in Camden County rose to 12 percent for the quarter, due in part to the return of a few large blocks of space to the market.

● Burlington County’s vacancy also stood at 12 percent. Burlington’s vacancy rate also jumped earlier in the year due to several large blocks of space returning to the market.

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 fourth quarter in Pennsylvania include:

● The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market rose slightly to 8.7 percent. The office vacancy rate is still near a 20-year low, and below that of comparable major cities.

● The industrial sector in Philadelphia remains very strong. Q4 saw vacancy rates at 5.4 percent, while net absorption was at 5.4 million SF. Rent growth of 4.8 percent has far exceeded the longterm average of 1.7 percent.

● Philadelphia retail is so far avoiding a major spike in vacancy due to the shift toward e-commerce. Rising wages and low unemployment are fueling retail spending, buoying the CRE market. The vacancy rate inched up to 4.8 percent, while net absorption was negative 98,300 square feet over the last twelve months. This represents a positive swing of more than 450,00 SF for Q4.

WCRE also reports on the Southern New Jersey retail market. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

● Retail vacancy in Camden County fell to 6 percent from 6.9 percent in Q3. While average rents stayed in the range of $17.00/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Burlington County ticked up very slightly, to 7.7 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.52/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Gloucester County jumped to 11.7 from 7.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.27/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, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at,,,,,, and


Remedies for Purchase and Sale Agreement Breaches

Let’s look at remedies for purchase agreement breaches and sale agreement breaches. What happens when a commercial contract buyer fails to purchase the property as required by the purchase and sale agreement (PSA) or otherwise commits a material breach?

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

Seller Remedies for Buyer’s Agreement Breaches

purchase agreement breaches and sale agreement breachesHere are specific remedy provisions to consider in the PSA, other than all “rights and remedies available at law or in equity”:

1. Liquidated Damages. The typical seller remedy for buyer agreement breaches is retention of the deposit monies posted at the time of signing the PSA. This is another reason for both seller and buyer to carefully consider the amount of the deposit when finalizing the agreement of sale, as this is not just an expression of buyer’s financial capability, but also the amount the buyer may forfeit to seller if it fails to close, after any contingency periods have expired. In NJ, liquidated damages provisions or stipulated damages provisions will be enforced so long as they are a reasonable estimate of the actual damages and not an impermissible penalty. Where the agreed upon amount is unconscionable, a court may refuse to enforce this remedy.

2. Specific Performance. An atypical remedy for a breach agreement breaches in favor of a seller is a court ordering that the purchaser buy the subject property. It is rare that a court will find that money damages are an inadequate remedy or that there are other equitable considerations, and therefore, the buyer must purchase the property.

3. Preserve Indemnity Obligations. While the liquidated damages provision is likely the exclusive remedy, a seller may also carve-out the buyer’s continuing obligation to indemnify seller for any damage caused by buyer or its representative in connection with buyer’s examination of the property. Given that the buyer entity may be a ne wly formed (and empty) special purpose entity (SPE), seller should confirm that buyer and its representatives have insurance in place to protect seller for personal and property damage. And, if the agreement of sale is assigned to a new SPE, seller should ensure that the original purchaser remains liable under the PSA.

4. Delivery of Due Diligence Materials. If buyer breaches the PSA resulting in termination, seller may demand delivery of buyer’s due diligence materials, including items like its title commitment, survey, environmental, property condition and zoning reports and any approvals, at no cost to seller. Buyer will want to be reimbursed the actual cost for these materials. A distinction should be drawn between delivery of the materials following a buyer breach versus following a termination under the due diligence contingency. An argument may be made that following a breach, seller should not have to reimburse the buyer for these costs.

A quick note about time being of the essence. While most South Jersey contracts contain a provision making time “of the essence” thereby setting a specific time frame for establishing a breach, many North Jersey PSAs do not. Where time is not made “of the essence” in the agreement of sale, a party can declare it to be so by delivering a written notice to the defaulting party after the date set for closing has passed. Following the failure to close, a written notice may be delivered demanding a new closing date, provided that it is reasonable in relation to the time that has passed. It should be no shorter than 10 days following the notice. The party ready, willing and able to close, will send this notice to the other to clarify whether there is a breach situation. Additionally, a party may declare time to be of the essence prior to the closing date where the other party has anticipatorily repudiated or breached the PSA. Notices and opportunities to cure may be included in the agreement of sale prior to a particular remedy being available.

Buyer Remedies for Seller’s Agreement Breaches

Seller’s Agreement BreachesSellers are guilty of breaching PSAs too. There are two general categories of seller agreement breaches: failure to close and breach of representations. For failure to close, the two most customary remedies are:

1. Termination, Return of Deposit and Compensation. If the seller does not complete closing, which sometimes happens when it is unable to deliver good title or when it changes its mind — perhaps due to a better offer — buyer is entitled to terminate the PSA and receive a refund of its deposit. Where this right is buyer’s only remedy, and savvy sellers are effective at making it so, the seller essentially has an option contract. If seller elects to breach (eg. to sell the property for a higher pric e or to take the property off the market), buyer may be limited to a termination right and the return of its deposit. In that scenario, buyer is stuck footing the bill for all of its diligence costs, attorneys’ fees and lender costs and expense. Therefore, buyers should seek to be reimbursed for these actual, out of pocket expenses (sometimes capped at a reasonable amount), in addition to the return of the deposit.

2. Specific Performance. If seller fails to close, buyer may be entitled to enforce specific performance against seller, provided that buyer has complied with its PSA obligations and commences the action within a reasonable period of time following the breach, say 45 days. Unlike the seller remedy which is extremely rare, a court is more willing to agree that the property is unique, and therefore buyer cannot be adequately compensated for seller’s breach with money alone. It is easier to convince a court to force the sale of the property to a buyer with “clean hands”, so buyer should make sure it has complied with its PSA obligations.

In anticipation of filing an action for specific performance, and perhaps as leverage in negotiating a settlement, the buyer may file a notice of lis pendens with the county recorder’s office indicating that it has a claim against title to the subject property. Doing so places the world on notice of the claim and essentially prevents sale of the property to another buyer or seller financing of the property. Some sellers will seek to prevent such filings by adding language which prohibits the filing of a lis pendens in the PSA. If specific performance is not available after being elected as a remedy, the PSA may state the buyer is able to recover all of its damages, without limitation.

For breach of a seller representation discovered post-closing the remedies may be based on parameters set for recovery in the PSA. The PSA may include language regarding: (i) a basket or deductible amount by which the damage must exceed for the claim to be actionable; (ii) a cap or maximum seller-liability amount; and (iii) a post-closing survival period for the representations and a period of time within which any claims must be made, which periods may be the same. Sellers will look to insert a high basket amount, a low cap on liability and a very short survival period. The dollar amounts will vary depending on the size of the transaction and the negotiating leverage of the parties. The survival period may vary significantly from PSA to PSA and may also vary within the PSA depending on the specific representation and its importance to the transaction. If the breach is discovered pre-closing and closing occurs, typically, no post-closing remedy will be available. Both buyer and seller should appreciate a prevailing party attorneys’ fees provision, like: “In the event either party employs an attorney in connection with claims by one party against the other arising from the operation of this PSA, the non-prevailing party shall pay the prevailing party all reasonable fees and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, incurred in connection with this transaction and the collection of any judgment.” This can significantly increase costs for a breach.


At the time of PSA negotiation, the parties rarely believe that either side will actually breach their agreement. Nevertheless, sufficient time should be spent considering the “what ifs” should the transaction go south. The parties will want to be clear on the respective remedies so that they can move on quickly following a breach. Since the deposit going to seller will often be the remedy for a buyer’s failure to close, care should be given in determining the amount. If the deposit is disproportionately high compared to the monetary damages the seller will actually suffer in the event of a buyer breach, perhaps only a portion should be delivered to the seller with the balance being returned to buyer. Conversely, if the deposit is too low relative to seller’s anticipated damages, perhaps the seller should receive additional compensation. Remedy provisions should not be considered boilerplate. The parties to a PSA should consult with experienced counsel to understand the rights and remedies, and their many variations, following a breach. 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.



Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real Estate

Sale and Leaseback of Commercial Real EstateLet’s explore the sale and leaseback of commercial real estate. 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.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

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.

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


Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF
307 Fellowship Road, Suite 202
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
(856) 222-4723
For more information, contact:


Winter Weather Liabilities

Winter Weather LiabilitiesLet’s explore some winter weather liabilities. The winter months bring more than just cold weather and shorter days; they bring the possibility for winter weather and storms that may result in a snow and ice-covered landscape. While it may be a winter wonderland for some, as a property manager, snow and ice buildup means a hazard with the potential for costly liability.

If you deal with either commercial or residential property, you are responsible for the side effects of winter. In legal terms, snow and ice are the same as any other hazard presented on a property, and just like any other hazard, property managers can be held liable if they cause injury. To avoid litigation resulting from winter injuries, it is important that you are vigilant in your snow and ice removal efforts.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>


Winter brings a variety of hazards that you need to prepare for; slips and falls are by far the most common injury associated with winter weather conditions. Diligent snow and ice removal can go far in keeping walkways and parking lots safe. Remove snow quickly after snowfalls, and salt regularly to keep ice from building up.

Not all winter hazards are under foot, however, icicles, along with other accumulations of frozen or heavy snow above walkways and building entrances, can cause serious injury if they fall on those below. Remove icicles and other buildup as soon as possible. If it still appears to present a hazard, consider rerouting foot traffic around the area.

Performing preventative maintenance in the summer and fall can also keep you prepared for winter storms. Make sure eaves are properly installed, and check that downspouts are aimed away from walkways. If eaves leak or downspouts direct water onto walkways, snow that melts in the heat of the day has the potential to freeze and create a hazard with cooler nighttime temperatures.


For smaller residential rentals, such as single family homes or duplexes, the responsibility for snow and ice removal is commonly accepted by the tenant. To make sure responsibility is clearly established in this situation, the lease should include a provision citing the tenants as responsible for any snow and ice removal. This section of the lease should also establish how long after a snowfall the tenant has to clear public areas such as sidewalks, as most municipalities have laws requiring prompt snow removal. It is important to be as specific as possible to avoid any unnecessary liability or disputes after heavy storms.


Based on the size and number of properties you manage and the average snowfall in your area, you may be inclined to contract out snow removal to an independent company. While this can save you the time and costs associated with managing snow removal yourself, it is important that you choose wisely to avoid complicating matters.

First, make sure the contractor has sufficient resources to meet your demands. It is important that they can be onsite quickly after, or even during, a snowfall to make sure walkways and parking areas are cleared. It is also important that they have the equipment and manpower to finish the task quickly to reduce any disruption to tenants’ lives or businesses.

Second, make sure the company you hire carries the proper insurance, covering both its operations and its employees. The last thing you want is to end up being liable for a worker’s injury when liability for injury is the very thing you were trying to avoid. Also, much like the lease agreement with a residential tenant, it is important to specify the conditions and time constraints for removal in writing. When contracting any type of service, it is essential to have a written contract that will guarantee you receive the services you pay for.

It should be noted that hiring a removal service does not absolve you of liability. If the company you hire provides poor service, or simple does not show up at all, you are still the party responsible for any injury resulting from a winter hazard. Make sure to pick a reputable company that you can trust to do a good job, and always have a plan of action for removal if they are unable to complete the work as quickly or effectively as you require.

For additional questions on your risks and exposures, or on appropriate coverages to protect you from liability or costly disputes, contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today.

For more information, contact:

winter-weather-liabilitiesBrian Blaston
Commercial Lines – Manager
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955


People-Centric Change Management

People-Centric Change ManagementPeople don’t change for policies or procedures, and they don’t change because they read a brochure. Rather, people change for other people—for each other or for themselves. This key insight is now shaping successful change management efforts, a concerted push toward a more people-centric inclusive model of change—a democratization of what has previously been conceived as primarily a top-down process.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

This is a welcome evolution. In the past, change management projects in workplaces may have had a tendency to put the needs of leadership above those of the occupants themselves. These efforts could essentially be boiled
down to, “Convince people that what we’re doing is a good idea.” But that is not really a change management effort—it is an advertising campaign. It treats as a foregone conclusion that people actually want and need the proposed transformation to happen, and that the plan as presented is already as good as it can get. Broadly speaking, neither of those things tend to be true.

Effective change management is neither solely top-down nor bottom-up. Everyone in an organization has a contribution to make in co-creating workplace transformation, even if that role is just to convince the person sitting next to them. Leaders help steer the ship. Individual team members can play a role in advocating for the kinds of change they want to see. Managers stand in the middle, and serve the interests of those both above and below, hopefully both accurately and positively.


Even if a transformation such as a move to Activity-Based Working is likely to improve the experience of employees, they may still resist. The problem is not that employees are stodgy sticks-in-the-mud who are unwilling to change. The problem is psychology. Most people exhibit some degree of loss aversion bias; they are generally more worried about losing what they have than they are excited about getting something new that may be even better.

People do have some reason to be skeptical of change. After all, a years-long downward trend in job security and people-centric investments such as training and benefits has already eroded some of the trust that once existed between employers and employees. When commenters accidentally (or wryly) refer to a “war on talent”, they
may not be wrong. Establishing trust is a prerequisite.

The starting point of any change effort must be empathy; it is the responsibility of those advocating for change to work to understand the source of resistance and address it, if possible. People also may have what Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey call competing commitments. Those who are resisting change usually have some good reason for doing so, even if their rationale remains hidden from view. As the team at Unwritten Labs often points out, the culture of an organization is full of unwritten rules and codes of behavior, and violating those expectations can cause people to get upset. Simply arguing more forcefully will not make them suddenly decide to go along with the plan. They may, in fact, dig in.

For example, think of a tech-enabled flexible work environment—perhaps even an unassigned environment using something like hot–desking. Before adopting this way of working, an occupant of a traditional desk can only think about what they’re giving up: a place of their own with their name on it. Attached to this furniture may be their sense of privacy or feelings of status within the organization. When someone tries to take it away, their very identity can feel threatened. On the other hand, with the current setup, they have learned to ignore the fact that they might have a filing cabinet on either side of them, or that they cannot see a window, or that they are surrounded by cube dividers that are only a few feet wider than their elbows.

Reminding people of the many ways they have adapted to a non-optimal situation helps to create what change management expert John Kotter calls the “burning platform”—it motivates those who are reticent to make the leap. This is necessary because people differ in the propensity to accept change. An adjustment that seems insignificant to one person may be upsetting or even alienating to someone else. Though it’s often invoked in discussion of technology adoption, Roger’s diffusion of innovations curve applies to workplace change as well. A relatively small number of early adopters will naturally be interested in trying something new, but the majority will wait until they can clearly see the benefits of doing so.


Things often go wrong at the very beginning of change a project—perhaps even before what most people would consider to be the beginning—with unvalidated assumptions about what people want. Success requires that one start by asking the simple questions that are too often given short shrift: Is this actually good for our people? Would they also think so? Has anyone asked what they think?

For an example from outside the world of workplace, look to a recent story from Boston. To save money and reduce travel time for public school students, administrators enlisted experts from MIT to design an algorithm that would optimize the routes of school buses. They incorporated a huge set of parameters, even accounting for the need of
teenagers to get more sleep and start school later. Though it succeeded in lowering projected costs and would have made life easier for the kids, the solution was ultimately rejected by the community.

What went wrong? The team’s solution was, by many measures, a brilliant one. The critical misstep was that they did not have buy-in from some of the people who would be most impacted: parents. The good news is that they caught this oversight before actually implementing the plan, and have a chance to incorporate that constraint going forward.




In most cases of change, the optimal solution is probably an option that isn’t visible from the starting point. The way to find it is to get into a collaborative exchange, and to take feedback from stakeholders seriously. While leaders may think or even say that they are already doing this, many employees feel otherwise. A recent survey from Quantum Workforce found that almost a third of employees don’t even know why changes are happening; their ability to engage with the change is therefore fairly limited. Whether or not a project is adjusting in response to feedback is one of the clearest ways to see if a change management effort is actually helping people. If the plan doesn’t evolve at least a little during implementation, it’s likely that it isn’t so much managing change as demanding it.

A pilot program can make all the difference, giving people an opportunity to practice the new way of doing this before they are expected to embrace it. This is not the same as a model or mockup. A drawing is better than nothing at all, but actually spending time in a space is essential. As people try the new environment, researchers can gather data under conditions that are fairly close to the proposed future state. There’s no reason that the pilot needs to be limited to one idea, either.

Whether through providing multiple protoypes in a portion of the company’s existing space or by harnessing the flexibility of coworking, piloting provides people with an opportunity to try out different work settings before they commit.

There are a couple of big caveats when it comes to piloting. It is critical that people be given the freedom to explore the new environment independently and by choice—otherwise it’s just another obligation. It is also important that a researcher is either physically present to observe or is otherwise actively soliciting feedback. Tram members often have trouble articulating what they do or do not like about a new environment.


EMPOWER CHANGE LEADERSWhen contemplating a major workplace shift, organizations often suffer from a breakdown in productive communication. Leaders may hesitate to share plans with staff before the idea is fully baked. People on the front lines might have concerns or feedback, but lack an established forum in which to voice them. Managers may feel pulled toward either toeing the leadership line or speaking up in solidarity with their reports. The result is that people often end up feeling confused or anxious and filling the information gaps with rumors or speculation. Much of this can be mitigated with the right approach.

One of the most important things leaders can do is to practice transparency from the beginning of a change project. Even if there are still many unknowns, it is important to communicate clearly using all of the organization’s communication channels; newsletters, meetings, webinars, and informal conversations all can and should be leveraged.

Employees at every level should be educated in both the business case for the change and on how it will affect them personally. Once they know what the plan is, people usually have something to say about it. Embrace this feedback from day one. In our 12-point guide to change management effort, we highlight the need to create change leaders within an organization. Savvy managers can usually spot these people and help make them part of what Kotter calls a “guiding coalition”.

Whether or not they are empowered by the formal hierarchy, there are employees who would like to actively participate in shaping the change. Make sure they have a seat at the table. This group can support the change in two important ways. The first is that they show others how to make the change successfully. The second is that they provide constructive criticism that will challenge and ultimately improve the proposal.

In order for this to work, people need leadership support and some grounding in the basics of workplace transformation.  We developed materials to support a train-the-trainer approach to change management efforts in our work with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that manages the federal government’s real estate portfolio. This was a unique project, since the GSA is involved in some capacity with the change efforts of many other agencies throughout the federal government, one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. It would be impractical to design a change program that accommodated the needs of so many unique stakeholders. Instead, we worked with architect Marble Fairbanks and the agency leadership to package this information in an easily distributable form, with the goal of democratizing the change process. By identifying key roadblocks common to many change efforts, as well as peoplecentric ways to address each one, the project aimed to empower change makers at every level of the agency.


We often define an organization’s culture as the sum of all of its people, their values, and moment-by-moment actions taken on those values. The way the organization practices change management is included in that definition. A well conducted change effort offers an opportunity to act out some of the parts of culture that are often preached but less often practiced—things like transparency, collaboration, honesty, and empathy. The key to a successful change process to engage with people as often and as genuinely as possible. They must be given an opportunity to have a real impact on what is going to happen to them and, when possible, to take a leadership role in the transformation. Practitioners who take the time to do this right will be rewarded when their team emerges more resilient, capable, and trusting than they were at the beginning.


PLASTARC is a social science-based workplace consultancy. Blending qualitative and quantitative research with design expertise, PLASTARC is dedicated to shifting the metrics associated with workplace from “square feet and inches” to “occupant satisfaction and performance.” Through a holistic approach that incorporates workplace anthropology, analytics, and change management advisory, they recommend evidence-based interventions that make the built environment more people-centric and responsive, promoting both individual wellness and business success.


Melissa Marsh, Founder & Executive Director


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 last year 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.

Download Printable PDF>>>

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.




Phil Costa to Serve Philadelphia & Southern NJ Markets

Phil CostaWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of sales associate Phil Costa. Costa comes to WCRE from the sales and customer service field at Abbott, where he worked after a four-year NFL football career. 

Download Printable article (PDF) >>>

Costa will focus and specialize in commercial and multifamily assets in the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia regions. Phil has developed a wide network of business and corporate relationships throughout the area and will focus to help landlords, investors and users develop strategies to achieve their commercial real estate goals. 

Costa, a Holy Cross Preparatory Academy and University of Maryland alumni, recently finished his MBA at Columbia University. His areas of expertise include multi-family, investments and relationship development.   

“Costa will be responsible for advising and supporting a diverse client base throughout their various commercial real estate transactions and needs.  His hiring brings WCRE, which is approaching their 8-year anniversary, to a team of 26 outstanding commercial real estate service providers”,

said Jason Wolf, founder and principal of WCRE. 

“Our people have always been our biggest asset and differentiator in the marketplace.”

Said Chris Henderson, Vice president and principal of WCRE.  

Phil was a Team Captain and two-time Academic ACC student at the University of Maryland and spent four years with the Dallas Cowboys as an Offensive Lineman. Most recently, Phil co-authored the book, “The Transition Playbook for Athletes”. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Costa is a licensed salesperson in New Jersey and Pennsylvania license candidate. 

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,,,,,,, and



Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) wrapped up its sixth annual Thanksgiving Food Drive today by delivering over 100 bags of food and $1,525 in supermarket gift cards and donations to the Samost 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-five area businesses contributed to the effort.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

“Over the past six 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 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 2016, WCRE formed The WCRE Foundation to manage and oversee our community fundraising efforts and donations.  To date, The WCRE Foundation has successfully raised approximately $315,000 from its community efforts.

Currently, WCRE and The WCRE Foundation support Bancroft, CARES Institute at Rowan University, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. We also offer our clients the option to designate the charitable portion of their transaction to a charity of their choice.

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, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at,,,,,, and

About JFCS

To learn more about JFCS’ efforts, visit


Does Your Business Have Equipment Breakdown Insurance?

equipment breakdown insurance policiesLet’s take a look at equipment breakdown insurance. Companies need safe and working equipment to operate efficiently and generate revenue. In fact, some organizations rely exclusively on a few pieces of equipment to run their entire business. Following a breakdown, major losses can occur, and many organizations turn to equipment breakdown insurance (sometimes referred to as boiler and machinery insurance).

Breakdown coverage is a form of property insurance designed to protect a company’s mechanical, electrical and computer equipment from unexpected breakdowns. These policies are flexible, and help organizations recoup financial losses related to property damage, business interruption and spoilage. Read on to see examples of this coverage in action.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

Benefits of Equipment Breakdown Insurance

• Repair cost coverage — Following an breakdown, organizations may have to pay thousands just to get their business up and running again. Equipment breakdown insurance can help soften the blow, reimbursing organizations for the cost to repair or replace damaged equipment due to an accident.

• Expediting expenses — Repairing complex equipment in a hurry can be an expensive endeavor. Most equipment breakdown insurance policies cover any expenses needed to speed up the repair or replacement of damaged property, including the cost of temporary repairs.

• Protection against business interruptions — Virtually in all cases, an equipment failure disrupts a business. In some instances, these disruptions are quantifiable, leading to lost revenue and productivity. Equipment breakdown insurance covers some of these costs, including income lost as a result of a covered accident. What’s more, this protection is in effect until the equipment is repaired or replaced.

• Coverage for perishable goods — Following an equipment failure, food-related businesses experience some of the most direct losses. Food industry equipment is not only expensive to repair and replace, but businesses can lose thousands of dollars worth of product if a freezer or refrigerator fails. Thankfully, equipment breakdown insurance provides adequate protection and covers food spoilage, manufactured goods or other perishable items after a covered incident.

Claims Scenario: Give Me a Break

The company: A metal cutting company.

The challenge: Equipment failure is a broad risk—one that can affect organizations of all kinds. What’s more, equipment failure isn’t always the result of a specific catastrophe, and many events that lead to a breakdown are out of a company’s control. Recently, a power surge caused by a major storm destroyed two circuit boards at a metal cutting shop. This unexpected outage left the business without the necessary machinery to continue operations. Furthermore, in order to meet production deadlines, shop workers had to travel to the company’s sister location. Between the lost time, travel expenses and repair costs, the organization experienced $52,000 in losses—all from just one storm. Equipment breakdown insurance in action: Equipment outages and breakdowns are not generally covered under standard commercial insurance policies. Instead, organizations should acquire comprehensive breakdown insurance to cover the cost to repair or replace damaged equipment. In addition, the insurance reimburses companies for lost time, which can prove invaluable following a sudden outage.

Claims Scenario: Spoiler Alert

The company: A small, family-owned restaurant.

The challenge: A restaurant recently experienced major losses after several of their refrigerators stopped working. The restaurant depends on these appliances to deliver fresh food to their clients. After several attempts to fix the system, the restaurant had to close for the day and call for repair services. Not only did the restaurant have to pay over $1,000 in maintenance costs, they also lost about $18,000 worth of food products due to spoilage—a major hit for a small business. Insurance in action: Just one equipment failure can lead to multiple losses, including lost revenue from business interruptions and lost product from spoilage. Thankfully, breakdown insurance can protect against these risks. In fact, equipment breakdown insurance is one of the few ways restaurants and other food-related businesses can recoup losses from spoiled inventory. An outage of any kind could easily result in the inability to prepare, cook, serve and sell food. As such, organizations need to secure the right policy to ensure their business is protected before, during and after an breakdown.

Learn More About Equipment Breakdown Insurance

Problems with your equipment can be extremely risky if you are not properly insured. What’s more, standard property insurance policies do not guarantee cover for these types of losses. In these instances, breakdown insurance is invaluable, protecting you in the face of unforeseen damage or breakdowns. Consult Hardenbergh Insurance Group today to learn more about equipment breakdown insurance to combat costly, and often unpredictable, problems at your place of business. We have the commercial property expertise to help you mitigate your risks and protect your bottom line.

Brian Blaston Hardenbergh


Avoiding Exposure for Commercial Real Estate Developers

Avoiding Exposure for Commercial Real Estate Developers

Commercial real estate developers and owners of recently completed development projects should be aware of a few things that can be done after the ribbon cutting to prevent headaches later on, avoid exposure to potential penalties for failing to comply with certain development conditions, and possibly put some money back in the till. Attention should be paid to these three issues after a project is completed.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>


An as-built survey is a detailed land survey that includes exact locations of subsurface infrastructure such as pipes and foundations. Sometimes owners rely on contractor notes that have been scribbled on design plans in the field during construction to serve as an as-built. Incorporating these notes in a clean and accurate as-built survey is well worth the time and expense as it will save headaches trying to piece information together later.
An as-built survey should be prepared immediately after the project has been completed. A purchaser might also consider procuring an as-built if one is not available. Some might view this an unnecessary expense; however, consider the following:

1) what is actually built by the contractor in the field doesn’t always line up exactly with the engineering design plans;

2) preparing a clean survey to document as-built conditions immediately after construction eliminates the time consuming and often costly effort required to piece together the information at a later date; and

3) if, at a later date, you want to make improvements or put an addition on the property, having an accurate as-built survey of existing conditions shows exactly where everything is on your site and expedites the process.

As an example of how an accurate as-built survey can save time and money, consider a scenario in which an owner wishes to construct an addition to an existing building and tie a new sewer lateral into an existing underground sanitary sewer force main. The design plans for the addition are developed based on the original design plans for the main building rather than an as-built survey, because the owner never had an as-built survey completed after construction. The design plans for the addition referenced an ‘approximate’ location of the force main, as the ‘exact’ location was never documented. What if that force main was not in the location indicated
on the design plans? If not, it would require a lot of digging and an expensive subsurface utility investigation to locate the pipe to determine the exact location. This costly delay could be avoided if the owner invested in a complete and accurate as-built survey of the property immediately after construction, including the location of all underground infrastructure.


Many landowners and commercial real estate developers understand the need to obtain permits from the NJDEP to make improvements to land in New Jersey. However, compliance with administrative permit conditions is sometimes overlooked. One of the conditions of all permits that are issued by the NJDEP under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (Rules), N.J.A.C. 7:7A, is that permits must be recorded with the Office of the County Clerk (or the Registrar of Deeds and Mortgages, if applicable) where the site is located. Permits must be recorded within 30 calendar days of receipt (for activities taking place in only one county) and within 90 calendar days of receipt (for activities within two or more counties). A copy of the recorded permit must be forwarded to the NJDEP. Recently, as of July 2019, NJDEP has also required that freshwater wetland delineations and verifications must also be recorded. As
stated in the Rules, within 90 calendar days after the NJDEP issues a wetland delineation or verification letter of interpretation on a privately owned lot, or on a publicly owned lot other than a right-of-way, the recipient of the delineation or verification shall submit certain information to the Office of the County Clerk or the registrar of deeds and mortgages in which the site is located, and shall send proof to the NJDEP that this information was recorded on the deed of each lot referenced in the delineation or verification letter of interpretation.

It is important that this condition is not overlooked, as the NJDEP has the authority to take enforcement action if permit conditions are not met. As stated in the Rules, any noncompliance with a permit constitutes a violation of the NJDEP rules and is grounds for enforcement action under N.J.A.C. 7:7A-22, which includes potential penalties and suspension and/or termination of a permit. In the case of a wetland delineation or verification letter of interpretation, termination of a permit may mean having to re-delineate the wetlands which can be expensive, time-consuming, and subject to a new interpretation.


Under the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq. (MLUL), there is a specific process for closing out escrow accounts and requesting release of performance guarantees. For application review escrow accounts, once the approving authority has signed the subdivision plat or site plan, or for inspection escrow accounts, once the work is completed, the commercial real estate developers are to send a written notice by certificated mail to the chief financial officer (CFO) of the municipality, to the approving authority, and to the relevant municipal professionals. After such notice is transmitted to the appropriate parties, the professionals are to submit a final bill to the CFO of the municipality within 30 days, with a copy to the developer. The CFO of the municipality must render a written final accounting to the commercial real estate developer on the uses to which the deposit was put within 45 days of receipt of the final bills. Any balances remaining in the deposit or escrow account, with any interest, must be refunded to the developer along with the final accounting. See N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.2.

For performance guarantees, upon substantial completion of all required street improvements (except for the top course) and appurtenant utility improvements, and the connection of same to the public system, the commercial real estate developers may submit a request by certified mail to the governing body to the attention of the municipal clerk, with a copy to the municipal engineer, for the municipal engineer to prepare a list of all uncompleted or unsatisfactory bonded improvements. That request should specify which of the bonded improvements have been completed or remain uncompleted in the opinion of the developer. In response to the request the municipal engineer is to inspect all bonded improvements and submit a detailed list and report, in writing, to the governing body, with a copy to the developer, within 45 days after receipt of the request. Simply put, depending on the outcome of the inspection, the performance guarantee may be either released or reduced by a specific amount, commensurate with the remaining work. If the municipal engineer fails to send or provide the list and report as requested within 45 days from receipt of the request, the commercial real estate developer may seek a court order compelling the engineer to provide the list and report within a set time and may also be reimbursed for the cost of applying to the court, including reasonable attorney’s fees. See N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.

Following up on these three issues after a project is completed can save time, money and headaches. For more information on any of these topics, contact Rod Ritchie or Bob Baranowski for assistance.


Just What is Title Insurance Anyway

Just What is Title Insurance AnywayWhat is title insurance? Title insurance has been around for hundreds of years, yet most people still do not truly understand the what is title insurance, what is its purpose and what is it there for. You know you need it to buy or refinance a property. It can cost a lot depending on price of your property or loan amount. But what does title insurance really do for you and do you really need it?

You should always protect yourself by purchasing a title insurance policy. Title insurance is an agreement to indemnify against damage or loss from a defect in title as evidenced by a policy of title insurance to a specific parcel or real property.

Just What is Title Insurance Anyway (PDF Download) >>>

What is Title Insurance and How Does It Function?

There are two types of policies available: Owners Policy and Loan Policy. An owner’s policy insures an owner of any type of real property against loss by reason of those matters covered under the policy of insurance for as long as they own that property. A lender’s policy insures the lender has priority by way of a security instrument that protects them over claims that others may have in the property.

For example, let’s say you are looking to buy a property that has an old mortgage showing up on public records that was given to the current owner 20 years ago. Mr. Seller is saying it was paid off a long time ago. If you purchased your property without title insurance from that seller and the lender whose mortgage was still showing up on title comes knocking on your door for final payment because Mr. Seller lied, guess who will be losing their home to a potential foreclosure? YOU.

You see, with title insurance, we review the history of public records that include mortgages, judgments, liens, and other encumbrances that may affect your property after you purchase it. We minimize the risk by addressing all the potential issues that could become claims and eliminate them so that we can provide free and clear title to you, the buyer.

Title companies provide a number of services to all of the parties in a real estate transaction. Not only do they provide the final title policy which is the ultimate proof of insurance on the property, they also provide assurances that the transfer of title takes place in a timely manner and that the interest of the buyers and lenders are protected under the terms and conditions of the policy. One major responsibility of a title company is ensuring that all parties receive their funds efficiently and securely.

Title insurance is different from other lines of insurance that most people are familiar with (homeowners, car insurance, etc). These other types of insurances assume risks providing financial protection for losses that may arise from an unforeseen future event such as a fire, theft or accident. With title insurance, you pay a one-time premium at the time of closing, unlike the other types of insurance which are typically paid on an annual basis.

For more information on title insurance, please visit our website at:

Nicole Malcolm