Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Tag Archives: Wolf Commercial Real Estate


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.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

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.

peter-cordua

Share

Common Commercial Leasing Mistakes

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

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

Ten Common Commercial Leasing Mistakes and Suggested Tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

Share

Midsize Tenants Dominate Demand for Industrial Space

E-commerce and last-mile logistics tenants in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – are fueling additional demand for expansion in the U.S. and spurring midsize space users to dominate the industrial market.

Midsize industrial tenants – those who occupy 50,000-sq.-ft. to 300,000-sq.-ft. boxes – are driving industrial demand in various segments of the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate market, according to a report from real estate services firm Avison Young in a recent issue of National Real Estate Investor magazine.

For example, between January 2017 to June 2019, tenants in Chicago signed 872 industrial leases totaling 97.3 million sq. ft., with an average size of 111,629 sq. ft. Tenants in Atlanta signed 320 industrial leases totaling 36.2 million sq. ft., with an average size of 113,243 sq. ft. Dallas tenants signed 490 leases totaling 52.5 million sq. ft., with an average size of 107,265 sq. ft. Tenants in Indianapolis signed 41 leases totaling 52.5 million sq. ft., with an average size of 146,341 sq. ft., according to Avison Young.

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

“[Midsize users] do dominate the market,” says Brooks Staley, senior consultant with The CoStar Group, a research firm dealing with market metrics dealing with U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. “There are a lot more users who are looking for space in that kind of sweet spot than those who are looking for big boxes.”

For example, in Indiana, demand for midsize industrial space is booming, but the supply is scarce. As of mid-June 2019, there were 12 speculative industrial buildings of 250,000 sq. ft. or less being developed in Central Indiana, totaling 2.1 million sq. ft. In the state’s southern submarket, there is, however, only one midsize space available, a 70,400-sq.-ft. property in Greenwood.

Florida’s industrial markets also are showing growth among midsize users. Orlando tenants signed 68 industrial leases totaling 7.3 million sq. ft., with an average deal size of 108,095 sq. ft. Tampa Bay tenants signed 53 industrial leases totaling 5.0 million sq. ft., with an average deal size of 94,333 sq. ft. Jacksonville tenants signed 61 leases totaling 7.0 million sq. ft., with an average deal size of 114,590 sq. ft.

The growth in e-commerce and the need for last-mile delivery throughout national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties has only strengthened the demand for midsize industrial boxes. At the end of June 2019, pricing for these types of assets averaged $68.71 per sq. ft., with around $4.7 billion in sales volume, according to CoStar data. At the end of June 2018, prices averaged $59.08 per sq. ft., with $7.7 billion in sales volume. In June 2017, pricing in the sector was at $59.56 per sq. ft., with $7.3 billion in sales volume.

“You can see that there’s been a pretty steady acceleration of pricing at 300,000 square feet and below. The same goes for larger sizes as well,” says Staley. “Industrial is the hot property type to be in right now, and that makes sense because of the tailwinds we’re seeing from e-commerce, from how all sorts of retailers are looking at their supply chain. We’re going to see pricing boosts for both midsize and large boxes.”

But despite strong demand and rising prices for midsize industrial facilities, investment sales activity in in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – is decelerating. In June 2019, there were 639 deals closed in the sector. In June 2017 and 2018, there were 1,121 and 1,197 deals, respectively. Staley says this drop stems from investors choosing to invest in ground-up construction to dodge rising prices on existing properties.

“We’ve done analysis that shows a lot more players in the industrial space actually are turning to development rather than acquisition in order to make returns,” says Staley. “[Pricing has] gotten so frothy in the marketplace that players are backing off or they’re saying, ‘We can develop. We can scrape a site and develop something.’ That would be the best shot at getting good returns.”

The same story is happening for large industrial facilities, or boxes with more than 300,000 sq. ft. In June 2017, pricing among such national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings reached $48.18 per sq. ft., with around $3.2 billion in sales volume. By June 2019, prices climbed to an average of $76.20 per sq. ft., but with around $3.9 billion in sales volume.

“We would expect at the moment, because of pricing trends among all size ranges, that price appreciation will maybe stagnate a little bit as deals begin to dry up,” says Staley. “People are little bit leery of overpaying this late cycle.” – By Sebastian Obando; CoStar Realty Information Inc.

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

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Share

How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

Let’s look at How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space. There’s nothing worse than working in a cluttered cramped space from 9 to 5. The space you share with your team matters. The culture of your business depends on the comfort of your employees. However, before you evaluate how much square footage you need, look into the design of your floor plan. Make a list of what is most important in your office space in order drive the most business and keep employee morale high. Is your company heavy on meetings? Do you have a need for a fun and extensive lunch area, or do most people leave the office for lunch? Do you entertain in the office space? Do you need specific areas for storage of marketing goods or other products? You may be holding onto a layout you no longer need, when you can be maximizing the space for more important things. There are many ways to make the most of the space you’re in now, therefore take the time to properly evaluate your office space using the steps below.

Download Printable PDF>>>

How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

LET NATURAL LIGHT IN to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

Natural light not only affects mood, but also the aesthetics of a space. Light can make rooms feel larger and better the mood of your employees. This comes down to color contrast. If you’re in a room that is dark, it will feel like you’re in a tight constricted space. Consider opening the blinds to let light in. If you have light colored walls and furniture, the light will bounce off and give the feeling that you’re in a larger space than you really are. If
you’re feeling adventurous, install a skylight in the office. You’ll be surprised how much light a skylight lets in. To avoid glare, add a filter so light is spread evenly throughout the office.

BECOME LESS RELIANT ON PAPER to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

Not only is printing documents killing trees, it’s not as necessary as it was in the past. With the technology that we have today, you can share documents easily without having to print on a single piece of paper. This will also allow you to minimize the space needed for a printing station and using the space for something else. You will also save on ink, paper, and electricity costs by switching everything to digital.

UTILIZE COMMON AREAS to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

You may not have as small a space as you think! Do you have dedicated areas specifically for meetings like conference rooms or a dining area? Those spaces can be used as extra work space.

It’s refreshing to have a change of scenery when you’re working. This is great, especially if your employees have their own laptops. Spread out and utilize the space you already have, but may not be using 80% of the time. Your employees will feel happier and their productivity will go up as a result.

CREATIVELY STORE to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

You would be surprised on how many “dead spaces you actually have within your office layout. Underneath most desks and cubicles there exists an empty space where you can add either low bookcases or filing to hide items that require long term storage. By examining this storage option you will eliminate the need for storage in other areas, and gain back some of that wasted square footage. Cubicles and office desks now even have options for built in coat closets which allow employees to store their coats within their own space and allow you to eliminate the need for a central coat closet. Gaining the closet space back can allow you to rethink how that area can be designed.

MAKE SMART CHOICES ON FURNITURE to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space

Select furniture pieces that are easy to store and tuck away neatly when furnishing areas that are used less than 25% of the time. Plan your space with the overall design in mind. Whichever is your preference in color and style try and stay consistent throughout so that your message is as consistent as your sales process. Filing cabinets tend to take up a lot of space. Save your files digitally in a cloud instead of having physical pieces of paper, folders, binders, paper clips, etc, whenever allowable. You and your employees will be much more comfortable with the fresh open space!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Josh Smargiassi
Principal
Boomerang, Inc.
6950 Sherman Lane
Pennsauken, NJ 08110
P 856.582.0100
F 856.582.0104
www.boomerangofficefurniture.com

Share

Fire Protection Impairment Programs

Fire Protection Impairment ProgramsAn uncontrolled fire can be extremely damaging to your organization, and while a fire protection system may be able to protect against many threats, impairments are an inevitable part of a fire protection system’s life cycle.

For the safety of your organization and its employees, it is necessary to have a fire protection impairment program in place. An impairment is any time that a fire detection, alarm or suppression system is out of service or unable to operate to the full extent of its intended design. During an impairment, the chances of a fire developing and causing major damage is greatly increased. The goal of a fire protection impairment program is to minimize the risk of a fire developing and spreading during an impairment while maintenance, repairs and tests are performed to the system.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

There are two types of impairments: planned and unplanned, which are grouped into two different levels of severity: major and minor.

• Planned—The system is purposely put out of service for maintenance.
• Unplanned—The system is unintentionally out of service, and may be so without anyone’s knowledge.
• Major—The impairment lasts more than ten hours and/or affects multiple systems.
• Minor—The impairment lasts for fewer than ten hours and is limited to a single system.

When an unplanned impairment is discovered, accurately determining its severity is crucial to understanding how to handle the impairment. When scheduling an impairment, such as for routine maintenance, it’s important to limit the extent of the impairment as much as possible, aiming to make it a minor impairment so that the threat of fire damage is lessoned.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES DURING FIRE PROTECTION IMPAIRMENTS

Ensuring safety and efficiency during an impairment requires a great deal of work, planning and coordination. To be prepared for an impairment, organizations should develop a written program, assign responsibilities to staff and train employees in the procedures to be followed during an impairment. The written program should outline exactly what to do before, during and after an impairment based on its type and severity, as well as assign and detail the role and responsibilities.

Commonly, there are two primary roles needed during an impairment: an impairment supervisor and a fire watcher. Responsibilities should only be assigned to supervisor-level staff, with impairment supervisor responsibilities going to a safety manager. There should be a primary and alternate impairment supervisor for each shift.

FIRE IMPAIRMENT SUPERVISOR—The impairment supervisor’s job is to implement and manage the fire protection impairment program. They take care of scheduling planned impairments and implementing the plan during unplanned impairments. The impairment supervisor must also minimize the impact of the impairment by considering the unique factors of the situation and keeping as many effective fire protection systems online during the impairment as possible. This person is also responsible for notifying all relevant personnel, departments and agencies of the impairment, including the fire watcher.

FIRE WATCHER — The fire watcher’s job is to work with the impairment supervisor to ensure that conditions during the impairment are as safe as possible, and to report any unsafe conditions to the impairment supervisor. As part of this, the fire watcher is in charge of and should be fully trained on using temporary fire protection, such as fire extinguishers and water hoses, which they should keep at the ready in the area with the impairment for the duration of the impairment. This person should be very familiar with the impairment program, the facility and the procedures related to sounding a fire alarm.

MANAGING THE IMPAIRMENT

Before an impairment period, or upon discovering an unplanned impairment, the impairment supervisor should obtain a copy of the organization’s fire protection impairment program form and fill it out. This form must be updated as progress is made to include further details of the impairment and repair process.

The following persons and organizations should be notified in the event of an impairment as soon as possible:
• Insurance company or companies
• Local fire department
• Safety manager, or relevant managers and supervisors
• Personnel
• Building owner or their designated representative

Prepare the area to reduce the risk of a fire as much as is possible. Cease all processes that may be hazardous, and relocate all combustibles from the impaired area. Ensure that fire protection systems are working in all but the smallest area necessary to carry out maintenance during the impairment, and have manual fire extinguishers and other fire protection alternatives at the ready.

Display a fire protection impairment permit during the duration of the impairment and issue a hot work permit if any operation involving open flames, sparks or excessive heat is necessary. Maintain a continuous fire watch throughout the impairment and work continuously until systems are restored, keeping the impairment time as short as necessary. In the event that an impairment lasts longer than a single shift, have a formal handover procedure in place to ensure an efficient transition and continued safety. Supervisors taking over should be made fully aware of the details of the situation and the precautions in place.

When repairs are complete, restore the fire protection systems and test to ensure that they are fully operational. Once operational status has been verified, notify the local fire department and insurance company that the impairment period has ended. Lastly, finalize the impairment form and keep it filed for at least one year, as it may need to be referenced at a later date.

For more information about protecting your organization from a fire, reach out to your friends at Hardenbergh Insurance Group.

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

Share

Philadelphia’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 30-Year Low

After another month of job growth, the Philadelphia market has reached an important milestone: The metro area’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent in May, the lowest level of unemployment recorded in Philadelphia since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began publishing the figure in 1990.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving Philadelphia commercial properties and employment is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

For the Philadelphia commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – current record-low unemployment represents both a blessing and a potential risk.

On the positive side, it reflects how the local economy and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings are clearly stronger than they were 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. The healthcare sector has powered this transformation, growing its employee count by 25 percent – or more than 100,000 local jobs – since the end of the last recession 10 years ago.

With available workers in short supply, competition for new job recruits across all industries operating out of Philadelphia commercial real estate properties is forcing companies to raise wages across industries and not just for the highest paid positions.

At least five local health systems have announced plans to raise their minimum wage since late 2018. The BLS also reported that average hourly wages across businesses contributing to the local commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – sectors grew by 3.6 percent last year. Pay increases such as these have supported rent growth over 3 percent among Philadelphia’s workforce housing rentals.

But the lower Philadelphia’s unemployment rate goes, the harder it will become for local companies to find the employees they need, making it more difficult for businesses to grow and less likely that they will expand their real estate footprints.

At 1.2 percent year-over-year, Philadelphia’s pace of job growth has already slowed to about two-thirds of the pace recorded in 2014 to 2015, when available workers were easier for companies to find. In line with that trend, the pace at which local office tenants looking for Philadelphia commercial real estate listings are expanding their square footage has also slowed in the past three to four years.

Philadelphia’s tight labor market will likely persist into next year. Under this scenario, wage gains should continue to support accelerated rent growth in workforce housing rentals while slowing job gains keep a lid on office tenant expansions.

Office tenants in Philadelphia commercial real estate markets may not be growing aggressively, but they will likely continue to put increased emphasis on leasing high-end space to help recruit and retain employees, as it is becoming increasingly costly to lose them. – By Adrian Ponsen; CoStar Realty Information Inc.

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

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Share

Why You Need a Phase I ESA and a Preliminary Assessment Report in New Jersey

Phase I ESA

I’m buying a commercial or industrial property in New Jersey, and I’ve been told I need an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA). However, I’ve also been told I need a NJDEP Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR) as well? Do I really need both? Won’t the Phase I ESA provide me adequate innocent purchaser protection?

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

SHORT ANSWER: NO. HERE’S WHY:

Chances are, you’re conducting a Phase I ESA to satisfy one of the requirements to qualify for the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser limitations on CERCLA liability (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. §9601)), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule, Subsection 312.10 of 40 Code of Federal Regulations 312 (40 CFR §312). However, CERCLA is a federal law, and provides landowner liability protections under that particular law. What a Phase I ESA does not necessarily do, however, and as is made clear in the Phase I standard itself (ASTM E 1527-13, section 1.1.4), is address requirements of state or local laws; users of a Phase I ESA are cautioned that federal, state, and local laws may impose environmental assessment obligations that are beyond the scope of [the Phase I standard itself].

Like many other states, New Jersey has enacted its own innocent purchaser defense that requires a property owner to demonstrate that, at the time they acquired the property, they did not know and had no reason to know that any hazardous substance had been discharged at the property, by performing an “all appropriate inquiry” prior to purchase of the property. As stated in the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act), any person who owns real property acquired on or after September 14, 1993 on which there has been a discharge prior to the person’s acquisition of that property and who knew or should have known that a hazardous substance had been discharged at the real property, shall be strictly liable, jointly and severally,
without regard to fault, for all cleanup and removal costs no matter by whom incurred [N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11g(c)(3)].

However, contrary to most states, New Jersey has not adopted the federal All Appropriate Inquiries rule (which can be satisfied by performing a Phase I ESA) but instead has its own unique definition for satisfying “all appropriate inquiry.” Under N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11g(d)(2), an “all appropriate inquiry” is defined as the performance of a preliminary assessment, and site investigation, if the preliminary assessment indicated that a site investigation is necessary.

As was again made very clear during a January 14, 2016 court ruling, a party buying property in New Jersey after 1993 must obtain a PAR in accordance with NJDEP rules in order to have a chance of obtaining innocent purchaser protection in the state of New Jersey. The decision was affirmed regarding environmental contamination at the Accutherm mercury thermometer manufacturing property in Salem County, that later became a Kiddie Kollege daycare. DEP v. Navillus Group, App. Div. Dkt. No. A-4726-13T3. In this case, despite advice of counsel, the defendants merely relied on various environmental reports, instead of performing a PAR; thus, no innocent purchaser protection was afforded them under the Spill Act, and they were liable for the contamination identified at their property.

IN SUMMARY:

If you’re performing real estate due diligence in New Jersey and want to qualify for both federal and state innocent purchaser liability protections, you need to perform both an ASTM Phase I ESA, as well as a NJDEP PAR.
Here at Whitman, in addition to standalone Phase I and Preliminary Assessment reports, we also provide our clients a single, combined PA/Phase I report that concurrently satisfies both federal and state innocent purchaser protections.

If you have any questions regarding real estate due diligence in New Jersey, or would like a quote for any of Whitman’s wide selection of the due diligence services, please contact Chemmie Sokolic, Whitman’s Director of Due Diligence Services, at 732-390-5858 or csokolic@whitmanco.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chemmie Sokolic, Director
Whitman
7 Pleasant Hill Road
Cranbury, NJ 08512
(732) 390-5858 (phone)
(973) 931-2474 (cell)
(732) 390-9496 (fax)

Share

Property Investors Increasingly Prefer the Flavor of Fast-Casual Restaurants

Sit-down, full-service restaurant chains operating in national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets continue to face pressure from fast-casual competitors, and not just in the competition to woo diners.

Investors also appear to be losing some of their appetite for real estate in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – that has been leased to such “casual dining” chains such as Hooters, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Chili’s and Texas Roadhouse.

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

Cap rates, the annual yield for U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, jumped up in the first quarter for so-called “net lease” properties tied to casual dining restaurants.

According to a report from Wilmette, Illinois-based real estate firm The Boulder Group, “cap rates in the net lease casual dining sector increased to 6.32%” in the first quarter, up from 6.05% a year ago. The firm noted that the rate of increase among national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties was wider than other types of net lease investment properties.

Net lease properties involve leases in which the landlord has little to no responsibility for managing the real estate beyond collecting a rent check. An increasing cap rate in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – can reflect the greater risk that a tenant might struggle or fail to renew at the end of its lease. The length of the term left on a lease is one of several factors used in determining the cap rate. The more years left on a lease tends to attract better prices for the property and lowers cap rates.

Many investors looking for lower risk among national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings have targeted fast-casual properties, or restaurants that typically do not offer table service. Earlier this month, the dirt underneath a Portillo’s in Normal, Illinois, sold for $4.4 million and is expected to produce an annual yield of 5% for the private investor. – By Richard Lawson; CoStar Realty Information Inc.

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

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Share

May Retail Sales Data Shows Strength in Consumer Spending

May retail sales numbers reported throughout businesses operating in national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets did not disappoint, suggesting a rebound in consumer spending from a slow start to the year. And that’s good news for commercial real estate.

First-quarter consumption related to the U.S. commercial real estate market – including such action taking place involving Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – was relatively weak and volatile, as consumer spending declined on durable goods, such as cars and furniture.

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

The consumption slowdown raised concerns about the health of the U.S. economy, which relies heavily on Americans’ willingness to consume. Despite the choppy retail sales data at the start of the year involving businesses in U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, CoStar economists expected consumer spending to rebound. Those expectations were based on the continued strength of consumer fundamentals, including healthy income growth, subdued inflation, rising wealth and access to credit.

May retail sales data from the Census Bureau was in line with those expectations. Retail sales among businesses operating in national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties grew 0.5 percent compared from the previous month, and the April data was revised higher. Compared to a year ago, retail sales were up a solid 3 percent.

Sales at warehouse clubs and superstores throughout the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – were especially strong in May, as were food sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores. Food services continued to do well, with especially robust growth at limited-service restaurants. By contrast, sales at department stores declined over the past year, dragged down by double-digit declines in conventional chain stores; sales at discount stores, however, have held up better.

While the American consumers who interact with businesses dealing with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings appear happy to spend, all this consumption does not translate into demand for physical retail space. The May retail sales data was in line with the ongoing shift in buying preferences. E-commerce continued to grow at roughly four times the pace of total sales – up 12 percent in May on a year-over-year basis. — By Galina Alexeenko; CoStar Realty Information Inc.

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

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Share

New Proposed Regulations for Qualified Opportunity Zones

Qualified Opportunity ZoneThe second round of proposed regulations issued on April 17, 2019 provide additional guidance on some of the questions and issues that remained unclear after the initial round of proposed regulations that were issued in October 2018. The Opportunity Zone program was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to stimulate economic development and job growth in low income communities across the US, DC and the five US territories by providing tax breaks to investors in the qualified zone areas.

Download Printable Article (PDF) >>>

TAX INCENTIVES OFFERED BY THE PROGRAM:

• Tax Deferral
• Step-up in basis
• Permanent Exclusion

TAX DEFERRAL:

Most capital gains can be deferred with tax savings to the taxpayer until 12/31/2026 or until the investment in the Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) is sold, whichever is earlier, if the original capital gains are invested in a QOF within 180 days of the sale of the asset.
• Gain from sale or exchange of assets between related parties as provided in the proposed regulations does not qualify.
• Investment in QOF must be an equity interest and cannot be a loan or another debt instrument.
• The deferred gain retains its attributes

STEP-UP IN BASIS:

The basis in the capital gains invested in the QOF is increased by:
• 10% if the taxpayer holds the QOF investment for at least 5 years, or
• 15% if the taxpayer holds the QOF investment for at least 7 years

Thus, the taxpayer can defer and effectively exclude up to 15% of the original capital gains from taxation.

PERMANENT EXCLUSION:

The capital gain on the sale or exchange of the investment in the QOF can be permanently excluded from taxation if the QOF investment is held for at least 10 years.

Example:

• John has a capital gain of $ 100,000 from sale of Apple stock as on 7/1/18.
• He invests $ 100,000 in QOF on 11/1/18 (within 180 days of 7/1/18):
• Does not pay any tax on the entire gain in 2018
• Holds the QOF investment until 11/30/23 (past 5 years) and sells the QOF investment at a gain of $ 20,000:
• Gets a step-up in basis of 10% or $ 10,000 on the original gain and pays tax only on the remainder of the original gain of $ 90,000. The $ 20,000 gain on the sale of QOF investment is also subject to tax in 2023.
• Holds the QOF investment until 11/30/25 (past 7 years) and sells the QOF investment at a gain of $ 35,000:
• Gets a step-up in basis of 15% or $ 15,000 on the original gain and pays tax only on the remainder of the original gain of $ 85,000. The $ 35,000 gain on the sale of QOF investment is also subject to tax in 2025.
• Holds the QOF investment until 11/30/28 (past 10 years) and sells the QOF investment at a gain of $ 65,000:
• The $ 65,000 gain on the sale of QOF investment is permanently excluded from taxation. Must pay tax on the
deferred gain of $ 85,000 in 2026.

There are several key topics and rules that need to be followed in order to take advantage of this tax benefit. For more information, contact Jeffrey Cohen, Partner, Tax Services Leader, at jcohen@grassicpas.com or Shashi Singal, Tax Senior Manager, at SSingal@grassicpas.com. For more information on Grassi and additional services, please contact Chris Fifis, Director of Business Development at 201-808-9746.

 

Share

Second Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament Raises $35,000

Second Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament Raises $35,000In its second year, built on the remarkable success of WCRE’s community commitment and annual celebrity charity hockey event, The WCRE Foundation has successfully raised approximately $35,000 to be shared equally by 6 charitable causes within the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region. Over the past three years, The WCRE Foundation has now raised close to $235,000.

The Second Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament which was held at Ramblewood Country Club in Mount Laurel this past Friday afternoon, is the brainchild of Philadelphia Flyer legend and WCRE director of strategic relationships Brian Propp and WCRE’s vice president and principal, Chris Henderson. WCRE welcomed 120 area business leaders and many guests to an afternoon of great golf, fun, competition and contests.

All proceeds from the event will be shared among the CARES Institute at Rowan University, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, the American Cancer Society, Susan G Komen-Philadelphia and Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice. Each of these organizations benefits from WCRE’s long-standing practice of donating a portion of its proceeds from every transaction to an area charity. Learn more about this program at http://wolfcre.com/community-commitment/.

“This event was another successful gathering for The WCRE Foundation and our community partners. Special thanks to the entire WCRE team, our incredible sponsors, donors, golfers, friends and Ramblewood Country Club who all helped make our 2019 Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament a victory for 6 incredible non-profits in our community,” said Jason M. Wolf, founding principal of WCRE. “It is a credit to our friends, neighbors, and business associates that we are able to come together to improve the lives of others.”

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.

 

Share

Tips for Investors Entering the Cannabis Real Estate Market

With 10 states plus the District of Columbia legalizing cannabis for recreational use and medical marijuana legal in another 23 states across the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets, cannabis sales are projected to grow from $10.8 billion today to about $100 billion over the next five years, according to the National Institute for Cannabis Investors.

As a result, investors in cannabis-related industrial real estate can expect exceptional returns on investment (ROI) throughout the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space. In a 2018 survey by Denver-based PropTech developer Apto, 76 percent of commercial real estate brokers handling cannabis deals in all states where the drug is legal in some form reported cannabis deals pricing above market.

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

Cannabis property deals may be more lucrative than other industrial transactions, but they are also more complicated, according to survey respondents. When asked to compare the difficulty of cannabis transactions involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings with traditional industrial deals, they answered with an average of eight on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being “most difficult.” Even so, 85 percent of brokers surveyed said they are willing to do more cannabis deals.

Investors willing to take a property through local licensing and entitlement processes for national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties prior to leasing space or putting it on the block will realize the greatest boon in value, however, because there are limited number in any location, according to Rick Frimmer, managing director and head of the national cannabis advisory group at EisnerAmper, an accounting and advisory firm based in New York City.

Cannabis real estate values are likely to continue rising due to the supply-demand imbalance, says Clint Callan, a San Francisco Bay Area-based partner at the national law firm of Duane Morris LLP. “With cannabis, there are only so many spaces and opportunities available, which runs up the price,” he adds.

When asked how well the supply of industrial cannabis real estate in their market aligns with demand for space, respondents in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – answered with an average of four on a scale of one to 10, with one being “not in balance” and 10 being “in perfect balance.”

Commenting on survey results, Apto founder Tanner McGraw says that legalization of marijuana across more states is beginning to impact real estate markets, as local jurisdictions grapple with zoning and other issues that affect availability of sites. “Survey results suggest there is somewhat of a shortage of sites available, likely because allowable zoning has not caught up with demand,” he notes.

Local jurisdictions dealing with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings may limit zoning for cannabis uses to specific industrial areas and impose strict security, fire, and safety requirements for cannabis operations because cannabis products are at high risk for theft and manufacturing processes use chemicals to extract compounds, such as THC and CBD oil, according to Frimmer.

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

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

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

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Share

Share

Share