Commercial Real Estate News Roundup for Nov. 23, 2015

REITs rejected, CBRE crunches numbers, and Utah’s tech boom – it’s all here in the Commercial Real Estate News Roundup for November 23, 2015.  And a Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!


  • CBRE Acquires Retail Analytics Firm – – Nov. 21, 2015 – National corporate firm snaps up a statistical analysis boutique, putting twenty scientists and analysts on the payroll to help retail figure out location and turnover.
  • McREIT Cancelled – WSJ, Nov, 10 2015 – Rumblings of a spinoff of McDonalds property end with an announcement from the fast food giant.
  • Macy’s Opts Out Of REIT Spinoff Too – Commercial Property Executive, Nov, 18, 2015 – Department store giant decides not to securitize its property.



  • Milwaukee Post Office Redev – Nov. 22, 2015 –  A more in-depth look at the Chicago developer’s (huge) plans for Milwaukee’s former central Post Office.
  • Utah’s Tech-Highway Sets Record – Nov. 4, 2015 – Check out a full rundown of the largest office construction boom in Utah’s history.
  • Puget Sound Eyes 725K SF Project – Nov. 2, 2015 – Puget Sound Business Journal – Amid a significant amount of competing projects, a Lake Washington development reaches for the sky.



23. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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TV News Covers A Mall Development Proposal

The above video featuring local TV news coverage of a greenlighting of an outlet mall project in East Tulsa serves as a modern study in using media to advantage a developer while at the same time informing the community of the terms of an impending commercial project.

I want to avoid commenting on the project or developer in specific. What I’d like to focus upon is the video, looking at the kind of content shown in the TV news segment detailing the impending land purchase and what the folks watching KJRH-TV were being offered.

What catches my eye is the segment’s information-rich presentation: we see the local planning commission’s vote on the project, and are told specifics of the TIF financial support of the project.

It seems to me that to tell this story at this level of detail is to benefit the project and community all at once. Voters and prospective customers are informed substantially of the terms of the subsidy, and are geared up to expect expanded infrastructure in their community as well potential commercial development in an area of need.

While I think it’s reasonable to expect the publicity earned by the news segment to help make the developer’s case in the upcoming city council vote and other  hurdles — I’m impressed with the complementary discussion of TIF details.  To my eye, this media outcome goes a long way toward getting off on the right foot — positioning the developer as above-board and offering respect to the community they seek to improve.

20. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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Retail Meets Warehouse: The Omni-Channel Effect

A logistics provider's warehouse of goods bein...

The transformation of retail business models in the age of e-tailing also forces transformation of retail and warehouse space demands. Allocation of existing retail space as well as acquisition of new space is profoundly affected by today’s omni-channel retail business models that stress flexibility and speed in the delivery of products to customers. Enabled by strong inventory control and order control systems, web sites and mobile applications, omni-channel retailing breaks up the traditional retail traffic patterns into space-sensitive delivery methods:

Drop-shipping: Supposedly a means to limit inventory costs, an order from a website prompts a fulfillment via shipment from one or more 3PL – third party logistics warehouse.  Showroom space is entirely virtual in this model, which means it simply isn’t appropriate for every retailer: any segment such as fashion where different deliveries from different vendors within a single order are common, brick and mortar showroom square footage needs will  remain.

Click-and-collect: The customer orders online and uses an option to pick up the items at a brick-and-mortar store.

Tripp Eskridge Spells Out Construction

Jones, Lang SVP Tripp Eskridge makes the case clearly for the new vocabulary in construction for omnichannel retail.  In his article The Omni-Channel Effect, managing the increasing size of distribution center footprints looms large in the industry’s future.

Combining the two types of distribution strategies into one requires a new type of product and not only in terms of size. The labor-intensive nature of direct-to-customer orders requires a building designed with workers’ needs in mind, in contrast to the automation-oriented design of traditional warehouses. big-box centers must integrate features from both sides of the house and may add some new elements:

  • Multiple mezzanine office levels – With two or three mezzanine levels, big-box centers allow workers to access merchandise easily. Plus, the extra office space is needed for ecommerce order packing, gift-wrapping and returns.
  • State-of-the-art fire protection – Higher ceiling clearance means sprinklers have more work to do. Fire protection has always been one of the main factors limiting ceiling heights, with the other factor being the stability of racking systems. Ceiling heights of 36 to 40 feet would put yesterday’s fire protection systems to the test, but in recent years, new in-rack sprinkler systems increase the level of protection per square foot.
  • Better lighting and HVAC systems – In traditional warehouses employing just a handful of workers, precise calibration of light levels or thermal comfort has not mattered as much as an office environment. Now that big-box centers have more office-type workers, it’s necessary to have heating, cooling and lighting that enables workers to be comfortable and productive.

Get the entire article here at Construction Today: Construction Today – The Omni-Channel Effect.


19. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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10 Hard Bargaining Negotiating Skills and Strategies

Before you sit down to negotiate a lease or purchase agreement, do you know your BATNA?

Do you even know what a BATNA is?  The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is here to help.

In a nutshell: preparing for negotiations is not just about imagining the deal you’re after. In fact, if all you envision is the set of terms you’re seeking, you’re already at a disadvantage in negotiations.

You need to come up with a BATNA — a best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

BATNA is part negotiation skill and part negotiation strategy.  It’s a means of understanding what your own — and sometimes, your negotiating opponent’s – best outcome is if the deal you’re working on can’t get done.

BATNA is like an anchor, defining your own “walk away” point, giving you an important context to your negotiations that might not be apparent without a BATNA.  Without context, you can find yourself susceptible to your opposite’s context — and their hard bargaining techniques.

You don’t just dream up a BATNA – you translate it to the deal you’re working on.

You can learn about BATNA as well as negotiation more broadly at the Harvard Law Program on Negotiation (PON). A great deal of very valuable, free resources are at the program’s website including a blog I recommend as a regular read.

10 Hard Bargaining Negotiation Skills

This post featuring examples of ten hard bargaining skills and strategies alone is worth checking out if only to catalog hard bargaining techniques – and to know there’s a process to identify and to counter each one. The ten include take-it-or-leave-it, bluffing, and the all-important belittling your alternatives.

Treating negotiation as an art and science is a real conversation-starter – what are some of your favorite hard bargaining techniques and counters?

16. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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The Next America: Connecting All Neighborhoods to Opportunity


Panelists discuss urban revitalization in Chicago on Wednesday.

Urban centers and national demographic trends are meeting to produce significant opportunities and challenges for commercial development. A panel convened this week in Chicago to face these head-on in a session that illustrated practical commercial development outcomes across Chicago, and showed how the future of cities – and real estate profit –  is tied to inclusion.

Sponsored by MasterCard, The Next America: Connecting All Neighborhoods To Opportunity put together a panel led by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss commercial aspects of the demographic changes gripping the country:  by 2043, the United States is, according to US Census projections, expected to become majority non-white, a trend led by urban centers.  It means that to be connected to opportunity, a more broad list of neighborhoods urgently needs to participate in and benefit from commercial development.

Chicago is emblematic of these trends as it’s one of the most diverse cities in the US and serves as a kind of test laboratory for initiatives in neighborhood revitalization, skills training and big data.  It was heads of these initiatives who took the stage on Wednesday.

Where exactly are the opportunities? Finding them is about including the communities.

Community Meetings , Community Benefits

Many projects were discussed, but probably most characteristic of the event was developer and President of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives David Doig, who told of his group’s purchase of the Ryerson Steel site in the Pullman neighborhood on the far South Side.  After buying, Doig’s team hosted “70 community meetings over a year” to find out what the neighborhood needed before building anything.  The top discovery was the area’s status as a retail desert.  “You had to go outside of the community to buy a pair of socks,” said Doig.  

The project also found a lack of indoor recreational space — rare for a city with such a robust Park District — along with a lack of affordable housing.  Doig said the project’s retail anchor – a Wal-Mart – attracted other retailers including a Planet Fitness and Ross.  Key to the Wal-Mart’s arrival was a commitment on the part of the retailer to hire from the community, such commitment obtained by Doig’s group in the form of written Community Benefits Agreements.  “80% of Wal-Mart’s staff were hired locally,” claimed Doig.

The entire two hour session is available on video here.  It’s a fascinating perspective and a reminder of the circular nature of commercial development: the performance and profits of commercial real estate projects more than ever have to be tied to the unique needs of the local communities in which such projects are proposed.

13. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
Categories: Demographic Trends | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

CBS, NBC: USDOT Will Require Drones To Be Registered

NAR members can learn about the federal regulation situation as it applies to the legal use of drones, aka unmanned aerial systems (UAS), by checking up on the most recent NAR Policy Statment on drones, as well as the extremely useful Field Guide To Drones And Real Estate.

Heretofore, the Federal Aviation Administration has been the key regulatory player in the drone regulation story.  But as of this month, you can add a new federal agency weighing in: the US Department of Transportation.

Network TV reports last week indicated that the DOT was floating a plan to enforce registration of each drone sold, such registration to be created at the point of purchase. DOT registration assigns a unique number to every bona fide aircraft, big and small, and the apparent intent by the DOT is to extend this registration structure to unmanned aerial systems.

A press conference on October 19 had US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announce the creation of a task force including leaders from private industry to determine exactly how the registration system will work.



12. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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Commercial Events, Meetings And Sessions At REALTORSⓇ Expo 2015


For all location details, visit

Wednesday November 11th, 2015

  • CIPS – Asia/Pacific & International Real Estate (registration required) 8:00-5:00pm
  • Discovering Commercial Real Estate (registration required) 8:30-11:00am

Thursday November 12th, 2015

  • Smart Growth for the 21st Century (registration required) 8:00-12:30pm
  • Commercial Legislation & Regulatory Advisory Board 12:30-2:00pm
  • Commercial Real Estate Research Advisory Board 2:00-4:00pm

Friday November 13th, 2015

  • Land:  Investment Opportunities 8:30-9:30am
  • Commercial Committee Meeting 8:30-10:30am
  • Property Management Forum 10:30-12:00pm
  • Commercial Lending & Financing 10:30-12:00pm
  • Land Use, Property Rights, and Environment Committee 10:30-12:30pm
  • Be Involved in Economic Growth w/RPR Commercial 11:00-12:00pm
  • Commercial Economic Issues & Trends Forum 1:00-3:00pm
  • Be Ready:  1031 Exchanges Enhance You Professional Value 1:30-3:00pm
  • Commercial Marketplace at the Expo 3:00-6:00pm

Saturday  November 14th, 2015

  • Commercial Caffeinated Networking Breakfast (registration required) 7:30-8:45am
  • Commercial Leadership Forum 9:00-11:00am
  • Commercial Marketplace at the Expo 9:00-4:00pm
  • Be Ahead:  Advanced 1031 Exchanges are on the Rise 11:00-12:30pm
  • Insight: Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 1:30-2:30pm
  • Commercial Red Carpet Networking Reception (registration required) 6:30-8:00pm

Sunday November 15th, 2015

  • Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 9:00-10:00am
  • Commercial Marketplace at the Expo 10:00-5:00pm
  • Using A Drone in Your Business: Knowing Your Risk 11:00-12:30pm
  • Top Ten Commercial Agent Success Strategies 1:30-2:30pm

Monday November 16th, 2015

  • Commercial Marketplace at the Expo 9:00-1:00pm
  • Deal Making! Event at the Commercial Marketplace 9:30-12:30pm
  • Be Ready: 1031 Exchanges Enhance You Professional Value 10:45-12:15pm

Commercial Marketplace at the Expo: Learning Theatre Schedule

Friday November 13th, 2015

  • Commercial Broker 101 – Best Practices for your Career 3:30-4:30pm
  • All New Demo Night 4:30-6:00pm

Saturday November 14th, 2015

  • Efficiently Finding the Right Lender 10:00am
  • IREM: Your Partner For Success in Property Management 10:30am
  • Why Land?  The Dirt on Dirt! 11:00am
  • Lead Generation & Management 11:30am
  • What’s New at SIOR 12:00pm
  • The Importance of Placemaking 12:30pm
  • Generating Traffic to Your Listings 1:00pm
  • Can Green Buildings Improve Your Bottom Line? 1:30pm
  • Analyzing the Market 2:00pm
  • CCIM: How Education Leads to Being the Best of the Best 2:30pm

Sunday November 15th, 2015

  • Why Commercial Investors are Trending Green 10:30am
  • Positioning Your Commercial Property Against the Competition 11:00am
  • 1031 Exchanges: Build Your Clients Reasons to Sell 11:30am
  • Building Security Using Smart Locks 12:00pm
  • Minimizing Time & Maximizing Impact 12:30pm
  • When 9-1-1 Falls Short 1:00pm
  • Peer to Peer Commercial Real Estate Lending 1:30pm
  • The Language of Commercial Real Estate 2:00pm
  • Influential Women in Commercial Real Estate 2:30-3:30pm
  • Analyzing the Market 3:30pm

Monday November 16th, 2015

  • Deal Making! Event (registration required) 9:30-12:30pm

11. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
Categories: NAR 2015 Annual Convention | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Commercial Real Estate News Roundup for November 9, 2015

English: Parking garage at Qwest Tower, 1801 C...

Parking garage at Qwest Tower,  Denver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What might parking garages mean in a self-driving car world?, a whopping $700K in direct marketing, and what to do when things go wrong in the deal pipeline.  It’s all here in the Commercial Real Estate News Roundup for November 9, 2015.





09. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
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unReal Estate: Can You Make A Billion In Ten Minutes?


Can you make a billion in real estate in ten minutes?

Find out in the neat online game unReal Estate – free to play right here. But be careful… it’s addictive.

How To Play

You’re an investor, starting with a modest five figure cash fund. The game begins in December 1999.  Time passes — fast — as eight global markets lie before you.  The game ends in the year 2100.

It’s time to borrow, buy and sell.  But where?  When?  Hold how long?


  • First off, you’re probably going to want to turn off the music. The button is on the lower right corner of the screen.
  • To get more information about your personal balance sheet, click the right-pointing triangle just to the right of your Net Worth figure across the top of the game screen.
  • The global market for property undergoes booms and recessions, indicated in the lower left corner.
  • To me, it looks like the rent you receive from property is 7 or 8 percent of annual property value.
  • Booms seem to last for ten years, recessions for five.

Good luck!


06. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
Categories: New Technology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Migration Destinations and Commercial Expansion

Map of USA with Texas highlighted

Workers, shoppers and families are the engines of commerce. Learning to identify which points on the national map these population groups are headed can be a kind of shorthand leading indicator of commercial expansion. So if you’re wondering what US counties saw the greatest increases in population recently,  you can check out a compilation of this month’s IRS data published on that very topic.  The interactive page is after the jump.

US Population Not That Mobile

To learn about migration patterns across 2013-2014, the IRS used an interesting method that looks at federal tax returns and counts the total number of exemptions.  According to Governing Magazine, the only about 15 million Americans moved from one county to another during that time — only 4.7% of the population as a whole.

Texas A Prize Destination

Snagging the top spot as well as five of the top ten counties that grew in population is the Lone Star State of Texas:

The top ten counties in new population are:

How’d Your County Do?

The interactive display at Governing.Com has a drop-down that includes all US counties (maybe not all – there are over 3,000 and the list doesn’t appear that long to me).  You can pick any county and get a data-rich snapshot concerning migration into, inside and out of the county in question.

05. November 2015 by Wayne Grohl
Categories: Demographic Trends | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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