Real Estate Management News - 04272016

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April 27, 2016
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LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT
The Brave New World of Office Space

IREM® HEADLINES
Be More Productive – Time Management Your Way!
Leave Your Mark – Contribute to Income/Expense Analysis Report
You Could Be Celebrating This October
IREM Members in Kumamoto Dealing with Earthquake Aftermath; IREM Japan Annual Meeting Moved to Tokyo

INDUSTRY HEADLINES
Department Stores Need to Cull Hundreds of Sites, Study Says
Los Angeles Janitors Call for More Environmentally Friendly Working Conditions
4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Colorful Summer Landscapes
San Francisco to Require New Small Buildings to Add Solar Panels
New York City's Mayor Is Pushing Building Owners to Update Heating and Power Systems
5 Tips to Ditch Chairs and Get Occupants on Their Feet
Tucson's Tallest Tower Offers Naming Rights
Upscale Shopping Centers Nudge Out Down-Market Malls
National Apartment Association's First Global Alliance Partner Launches in the United Kingdom
City Moves Ahead on Building Efficiencies
Santa Clarita Building Owners Eyeing New L.A. Seismic Retrofit Law
Why Atlanta's Nearly Tops in U.S. in Having Energy Efficient Buildings


 

Leadership Spotlight


The Brave New World of Office Space

“There is a brave new world descending upon the built environment, one that directly impacts how property managers work.” That was how 2016 IREM president Chris Mellen described the watershed changes taking place within the office market, in his latest column for NREI Online.

In his analysis, he cited comments from Paul Schulman, Brookfield Office Properties’ president and COO, and Joseph Stettinius, Cushman & Wakefield’s chief executive of the Americas. Both appeared at the New York chapter’s recent Asset & Property Management Symposium.

In terms of keeping up with a new age of tenants, Stettinius noted that our stock of buildings--and therefore property managers--are behind the curve. “We tell potential tenants all that’s great about a building environment, and then we tell them that the building’s standard hours are eight to six and that you have to call 24 hours in advance if you need to turn on your HVAC. And by the way, you can’t bring your dog to work.

“As an industry we have an opportunity to update our policies, procedures and documentation in order to meet 21st century expectations of service and flexibility,” he continued, “and in the next five years there will be a huge evolution in that area. This includes separate metering and giving people a lot more control over their environments.”

For Schulman, another challenge to property managers is the densification that creative firms are asking for, describing it as “a condition that will tax our elevators and our other building systems. And it changes how we look at our buildings, and even how we’re buying assets.” He added that this change alone is bringing in a new set of acquisition criteria, “that we never had to consider before.”

When asked what the biggest influence on office buildings will be in the next five years, Stettinius noted that it was two-fold: new driving concepts and mobile phones. For the former, he said that parking structures are incredibly expensive to construct, but driverless cars and such services as Uber may make them a thing of the past, although, “local city regulations will probably lag behind the trend.”

Mobile phones, incredibly, may be one area where tenants too are behind the curve. “It’s amazing to me that tenants today still look to phone systems that will cost 6 if not 7 figures,” said the C&W executive. “In 10 years, they won’t even exist.”

For Schulman, the biggest trend is urbanization. “Everybody thought cities would be dead because workers were going to telecommute,” he said. “We’re finding that the trends are all pointing the other way--toward city centers. But rampant urbanization is putting severe stresses on our infrastructures and on our school systems.”

However the problems are solved, they’re here and the industry will rise to the opportunities they present. Joe Stettinius put it most succinctly: “We’re in an era of change equal to the industrial revolution. It’s the most exciting time to be in our industry.”

Certainly the implications are huge for building managers. And like the above-mentioned cities, those who stay ahead of this great coming wave are those who will succeed.

Check out the complete NREI article.
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IREM Headlines


Be More Productive – Time Management Your Way!

“Time Management”—two words that strike fear in the heart of many real estate managers. In the IREM Real Estate Management Job Analysis, time management was the 4th highest rated competency, with 95% of the respondents rating it as either important (28.56%) or very important (66.39%).

While real estate managers agree it is important, most don’t think they do it very well. We all want to manage our time more efficiently, but usually don’t know how to do it. Many property managers are so busy they don’t have time to manage their time. So, they look for the “easy button”—buying an expensive calendar/project management system, reading the latest book on time management, or taking a time management course. Unfortunately, these one-size-fits-all solutions don’t really fit all. They may not fit someone’s personality type, or the situation which is causing the problem.

What can we do then? We need to quit looking for the “easy button” and design our own time management system—one that works for our unique personality and unique situation. Perhaps Dr. Stephen Covey said it best, “Time management is a misnomer. The real challenge is in managing ourselves.”

A time-management tip often given is to keep a log of your activities for a week or more—jotting down what you spent your time on, and how much time you spent on each activity (including interruptions and non-work activities). It’s not always a fun process, but it can be eye opening. If you can’t do that (or as is often the case, you don’t have time to do it), try to come up with your own method of evaluating what’s taking up your time.

Your time-management system may not need to be complicated or extensive to be very effective in improving your productivity. All it takes is a little self-awareness and a little self-management.

IREM’s newest leadership white paper on time management can help you get started on constructing your customized time management system. It contains a simple planning tool for identifying and addressing your biggest time wasters, with some “off the shelf” components you can pick from in building your personalized system. Download it now!
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Leave Your Mark – Contribute to Income/Expense Analysis Report

Sharing is caring. Do your part to leave a mark on the real estate management industry by contributing to the IREM Income/Expense Analysis Report. For decades, IREM has sought the help of real estate professionals across the country to craft the most trusted and valuable resource in the industry. Now it’s your chance to help continue that tradition.

Submit your building information for a free Income/Expense Analysis Report eBook and a free Individual Building Report for your property. Submitting is easy. Just visit IE.IREM.org to access our convenient, user-friendly submission site.

Now accepting data for:

• Conventional Apartments
• Office Buildings
• Shopping Centers
• Federally Assisted Apartments
• Condominiums, Cooperatives, & PUDs

Join us, and be a part of the most precise benchmarking report in the industry. Submit your data today.
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You Could Be Celebrating This October

Prepare your acceptance speech – here’s your chance to shine. Back again, the REME Awards, honoring Real Estate Management Excellence, are returning this fall to recognize property management companies and individuals from all walks of life. And we’re inviting you to submit! Here at IREM, we believe in shining a spotlight on the achievements of real estate professionals from all across the country who are making a difference in our industry.

Workplace Environment: Sustainability Programs Award
Just last week marked the 46th celebration of Earth Day, a movement that gives a voice to environmental issues and motivates people to action. What is your business doing to support the green movement? Is your workplace a shining example of innovative sustainability programs and business practices? We want to hear about it. Tell us your story and submit for the Workplace Environment: Sustainability Programs REME Award.

REME Awards will be presented this October in San Diego at the IREM Fall Conference. Other award categories include:

Company Awards

• Workplace Environment – Employee and Leadership Development
• Corporate and Social Responsibility
• Corporate Innovation
• AMO of the Year

Individual Awards

• CPM of the Year
• ARM of the Year
• Student of the Year
And more

Visit our website to learn more and submit your application today.
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IREM Members in Kumamoto Dealing with Earthquake Aftermath; IREM Japan Annual Meeting Moved to Tokyo

The series of earthquakes that struck Kumamoto and the surrounding area in Japan in mid-April killed at least 48 people and injured thousands of others. According to a report from Yasuto Ute, CPM, president of the IREM Japan Chapter, “Earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita have caused great damage in the area. First, we would like to report that we have confirmed the safety of all members. However, as you might know, we have had two magnitude 7 class earthquakes, and aftershocks are still affecting the area. Members, especially those in Fukuoka, are taking supplies to the area and will continue to do so.”

The IREM Japan Chapter annual meeting scheduled for late May was to have taken place in Kumamoto, and a number of IREM members from the U.S. had planned to attend. Due to the damage caused by the earthquakes and the need for IREM members in the area to focus their attention on their properties, tenants, and residents, the venue of the meeting has been moved. It will take place on May 26 in Tokyo at the Hilton Hotel Odaiba. Additional information about the IREM Japan Chapter annual meeting can be obtained from international@irem.org
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Industry Headlines


Department Stores Need to Cull Hundreds of Sites, Study Says
Wall Street Journal (04/24/16) Kapner, Suzanne

According to a new Green Street Advisors study, department stores need to close hundreds of locations if they want to regain the productivity they had a decade ago. The research firm estimates that the closures could include around 800 department stores, or nearly 20 percent of all anchor space in U.S. malls. Green Street analysts say Sears Holdings Corp. alone would need to shutter 300, or 43 percent, of its Sears stores in order to regain the sales per square foot it had in 2006, adjusted for inflation. DJ Busch, a senior Green Street researcher, states, "Department stores used to be a great catchall for different brands, but today many of the brands have stores of their own, and shoppers can also find them online." Sears and such other chains as Macy's Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. have closed hundreds of stores in recent years as business has shifted to discounters or such online merchants as Amazon.com. However, these moves have not been enough to offset a drop in sales, Green Street said.

While opting not to comment on the specifics of the Green Street study, the various chains have indicated that mass store closings are not the right strategy. "There's a misperception out there that when we close a store, that business transfers online," Ed Record, J.C. Penney's chief financial officer, recently said. "When we close a store, particularly in a small market, we see our dot-com business go down." Meanwhile, in addition to closing unproductive locations, Macy's has been trying to get more foot traffic by adding Bluemercury beauty shops and Backstage discount stores to its department stores. Department stores currently occupy around 66 pecent of mall anchor space. Even though they are being replaced by restaurants, supermarkets, and big-box retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., there aren't always enough new tenants to go around. Busch cautions, "If department stores were to move forward and aggressively streamline their physical presence it could result in several hundred malls no longer being relevant retail destinations."
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Los Angeles Janitors Call for More Environmentally Friendly Working Conditions
KPCC.com (CA) (04/22/16)

In a demonstration at the Union Bank Plaza in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, unionized janitors who are part of the Green Janitor Education Program rallied for a switch to more environmentally-friendly cleaning practices. The janitors are part of the SEIU United Service Workers West, a union that is negotiating soon-to-expire contracts with different janitorial companies. The pilot program, based in Los Angeles, was launched in 2015 with the training of approximately 200 janitors. It's a partnership between SEIU, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles, and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles. Janitors who participate in the program are trained and certified on everything from recycling to waste management to water conservation. "It's something to train those that are on the front lines of some of the work that's being done throughout our city day-in and day-out, cleaning our buildings and doing that hard work in the middle of the night. They're the ones that turn off the lights and do the maintenance work," SEIU Communications Director Refugio Mata remarked.
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4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Colorful Summer Landscapes
Property Management Insider (04/13/16) Lee, Chris

For apartment owners and operators, peak leasing season is now. However, summer is a time when apartment community landscapes have their greatest opportunity to flourish and delight residents and attract prospective residents. The article's author details four things to keep in mind when working with a landscape professional or on-site staff with summer color plantings in mind. First of all, timing is everything. Plants that you'll want to thrive until the autumn must first endure extreme summer temperatures. They can only do so if they are properly acclimated. Beware planting to early and having a brief spring freeze cause damage or even kill them, forcing a costly replanting. It's been to wait until at least mid-May or even June. Another rule of thumb is that plant spacing makes a difference. "The spacing is based the theoretical bullseye of that plant," columnist Chris Lee writes. "The idea is to make sure that plants are not competing with each other for nutrients." There needs to be sufficient space for each to establish its root system without taking nutrients from a bigger area. Plants will have to fight to survive if packed on top of each other.

Third, don't select plants based solely on their appearance. Plants that appear to be fully bloomed, colorful and mature in small containers may actually not be the right choice for your beds. The best way to select a flower is to closely look at its root makeup in the four-inch container. If roots are surrounded by a significant amount of blue soil -- an indication that fertilizer is present -- and if dirt is loose when removing from the container, it's likely the plant is not established. However, when a plant is fully developed, the roots should be bright white and dirt should stay intact when removed. Lastly, know that drip irrigation is most effective in watering beds throughout the growing cycle.
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San Francisco to Require New Small Buildings to Add Solar Panels
CNNMoney (04/21/16) Kelly, Heather

San Francisco will soon begin requiring all new buildings under 10 stories to add solar panels. The new law, which was unanimously passed last week by the Board of Supervisors, is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city. A couple of much smaller cities in California, Sebastopol and Lancaster, have similar requirements in place. The ordinance, which will go into effect January 2017, builds on an existing state law which requires all new small and mid-sized buildings make a portion of their roof solar-ready. Officials do not expect the regulation to affect a large number of buildings due to the limited amount of new construction happening citywide.
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New York City's Mayor Is Pushing Building Owners to Update Heating and Power Systems
Greenfield Daily Reporter (IN) (04/22/16) Matthews, Karen

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is prodding building owners to update their heating and power systems in order to help meet his goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. This past Friday, de Blasio released a list of energy-saving measures he believes will cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in America's biggest city by 2.7 million metric tons. The initiatives aim to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city's million-plus buildings, both public and private. They include requiring building owners to update heating systems within the next decade. In addition, building owners will be asked to save energy by sealing roof vents in elevator shafts, covering refrigerators in retail stores, and other steps. City officials say teams of government-funded advisers will assist owners retrofit their structures.
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5 Tips to Ditch Chairs and Get Occupants on Their Feet
Buildings (04/12/16) McCulloch, Pace

The health benefits of standing desks in the workplace are becoming more evident. A recent University of Chester study determined that standing raised participants' heart rates by 10 beats per minute, burning an extra 30,000 calories annually. A similar study from Arizona State University observed participants burning 80 to 100 calories per hour standing. Currently, though, standing desks are not cheap -- easily reaching into four figures per desk. In addition, even the most expensive model will do no good unless the user can correctly accommodate postural and alignment needs. The article's author offers five strategies to encourage the use of standing desks that will hopefully yield considerable productivity and health benefits for your organization.

One, find desks that fit your occupants' forms, not the other way around. The number one failure of poor standing desks is they simply don't meet the user where they stand. In this regard, look for a kit or desk that can adjust in height incrementally by at least several inches and/or can be individually customized. Two, teach occupants or demonstrate the correct way to stand. Proper posture trumps any specific desk model. Three, choose a model with the right features. The solution should be adjustable, affordable, attractive, and able to shoulder potentially significant weights without collapsing onto the user. Invest in adjustable keyboard stands. Finally, provide anti-fatigue mats and other foot-friendly helpers.
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Tucson's Tallest Tower Offers Naming Rights
Arizona Daily Star (04/21/16) Rico, Gabriela

Eager to lure a major tenant into Tucson's tallest building, owners of One South Church are offering naming rights on the 23-story tower. With nearly 80,000 square feet of space available to lease, co-owner Zachary Fenton would like to get a tenant into at least 25,000 square feet with the right to place their name on the tower in lights. Fenton and his partners purchased the structure in 2015 for $32 million, marking the first time the 30-year-old tower has been in the hands of local owners. "It is in the background of pretty much every Tucson image," noted Fenton. "It would be a very prestigious branding opportunity." Fenton got the idea when he heard the owners of the Monroe Building in downtown Phoenix adding naming rights to a tenant that occupied around 27,000 square feet in that 19-story tower.

Michael Keith, CEO of Downtown Tucson Partnership, agrees it could be a real marketing boon for a tenant. "It would be a virtual billboard they'd have to themselves," he stated. "It would be significant to have the only place with your name on it." Many projects are in varying degrees of planning and development in downtown Tucson, so it's likely a good time to snag the building's naming rights. Fenton said he would prefer to see a local name on the tower. He and his partners have been remodeling several of the building's suites. Their plans have included removing ceiling panels and walls in some offices to open up the spaces. Other changes were considered -- most notably getting rid of the 1980s-inspired gold touches in the lobby -- but scrapped after meetings with existing building occupants. "Many love it as is," Fenton said. "It's a throwback." Erected in 1986, One South Church has previously been known as the United Bank Tower, the Citibank Tower, Norwest Tower and the UniSource Energy Tower. It has been known by its address since 2011.
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Upscale Shopping Centers Nudge Out Down-Market Malls
Wall Street Journal (04/20/16) Kapner, Suzanne

Such retailers as Gap Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Inc., and others are abandoning a decades-old strategy of growing sales by blanketing cities with stores as consumers do more of their shopping via the Internet and less at their nearby mall. The shifting shopping habits have prompted chains like Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Macy's Inc. to permanently shutter stores in secondary malls and place greater emphasis on online sales and more upscale shopping centers. "With technology, retailers don't need that extra store in a marginal market," states Taubman Centers Inc. COO William Taubman. This, in turn, is widening the gap between the nation's most productive malls and weaker properties. Once-solid regional "B" malls that thrived for years are losing both shoppers and tenants to "A" malls with sales per square foot in excess of $500, reports Green Street Advisors. The research firm calculates that nearly 44 percent of total U.S. mall value -- based on such measures as sales, size, and quality -- resides with the top 100 properties out of about 1,000 malls.

Some mall owners disagree about whether the Internet is their biggest problem. They point to demographic changes that redirected population and income growth away from malls constructed years ago. Others point to a real estate glut that has left the United States with 24 square feet of retail space per person versus 15 for Canada, 10 for Australia, and five for the United Kingdom, states the International Council of Shopping Centers. They further point out that e-commerce amounted to only 7.5 percent of total fourth-quarter retail sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But if you strip out grocery, home improvement, and other items you typically cannot purchase at a mall, e-commerce is closer to 20 percent of mall sales. To keep up, many malls are leasing space to upscale restaurants and gyms. Some are hosting events to keep people coming in the door.
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National Apartment Association's First Global Alliance Partner Launches in the United Kingdom
MultifamilyBiz.com (04/20/2016)

The National Apartment Association's (NAA's) first global alliance partner, the United Kingdom Apartment Association (UKAA), launched this past month in London. UKAA is the first cross-industry organization in the U.K. dedicated to improving the professionalization of multifamily housing. "NAA is eager to bring industry training, best practices, and networking opportunities to the U.K., and to support those who are investing in the U.S.," remarks NAA President and CEO Doug Culkin. "In addition, our U.S. members are increasingly seeing opportunities for global growth and are looking to NAA for guidance when entering a new market. Our partnership with UKAA will be invaluable to our association as we address the growing need for a global rental housing industry." UKAA's goal is to differentiate the multifamily housing industry from "amateur ad hoc" rental services provided by the relatively small-scale owners that now comprise the majority of the rentals in the U.K. UKAA member benefits include access to NAA's research and information databank, access to NAA operators, a discount to the annual NAA Education Conference & Exposition, and the opportunity to work with existing organizations to create an institutional asset class. Current members include Hermes, Greystar, and Savills, along with such suppliers as Roomservice by CORT and Yardi. Finally, UKAA is working in conjunction with other industry organizations to establish regional branches -- already underway in Manchester and Scotland.
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City Moves Ahead on Building Efficiencies
Orlando Sentinel (04/18/16) Shanklin, Mary

Orlando is proceeding with plans to assist building owners in paying for upgrades aimed at conserving power and water. City Council members recently approved financing methods to allow the upgrades under Orlando's Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy. Plans require owners of mid- and large-size buildings to publicly report their usage. Such upgrades as using more efficient lighting and/or adding insulation would be voluntary. City officials have vowed to work with such third-party financial groups as Clean Energy Green Corridor, Florida PACE Funding Agency, and the Florida Green Finance Authority with the goal of having funding in place by the fall.
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Santa Clarita Building Owners Eyeing New L.A. Seismic Retrofit Law
KHTS AM-1220 (04/19/16) Peeples, Stephen K.

Building owners, managers, and construction engineers in California's Santa Clarita Valley are keeping a close eye on the city of Los Angeles' strict new seismic retrofitting ordinance, which went into effect earlier in the year. The new regulations require building owners to upgrade their structures to make them much safer during earthquakes. The two biggest questions are "How much of the cost of retrofitting will be borne by the building owner?" and "How much the city of Los Angeles will help subsidize that cost?" Alex Castro, co-owner and director of a construction engineering firm in Valencia, warns that building owners in the Santa Clarita Valley may also be required to retrofit if the same regulations are adopted countywide. This would be a very expensive process that some owners may not be able to afford.

Los Angeles's Ordinance 183983 focuses on two types of structures that are most susceptible to quake damage. The first is a soft-story building, like apartments that sit above a garage or a carport. The second is non-ductile buildings, which are large concrete structures that don't sway or absorb the shock of an earthquake. The L.A> ordinance gives building owners seven years to complete required retrofitting to modern earthquake-resistant specifications. "The projected cost per building is about $64,000, and for a non-ductile concrete structure, it can go into millions of dollars," reports Castro. "The [L.A.] ordinance only allows owners to pass on a percentage of the costs to their tenants." Castro concludes that his concern as the head of a construction engineering firm would be that if L.A. County and/or the city of Santa Clarita adopt the same or a similar ordinance, possibly thousands of building owners of different socio-economic demographics would be impacted.
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Why Atlanta's Nearly Tops in U.S. in Having Energy Efficient Buildings
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (04/19/16) Vejnoska, Jill

The EPA ranks Atlanta fourth on its list of metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified commercial buildings. Washington D.C., topped the EPA's list, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco. Atlanta has a total of 311 ENERGY STAR-certified commercial buildings, ranging from office skyscrapers to schoolhouses. The certified buildings stretch from downtown Atlanta to the city's Buckhead district and range from a landmark structure like the Promenade in Midtown to the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School in Grant Park. "The mayor's goal is for Atlanta to be a top tier city for sustainability," comments Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, the city's Director of Sustainability. "That will attract businesses and people to our city and help Atlanta continue to grow and thrive."

The No. 4 ranking is indeed good news for city and business leaders who have worked hard of late to reduce energy and water consumption. Atlanta not only participates in the national Better Buildings Challenge, it has also worked with organizations such as Midtown Alliance, Livable Buckhead and the Green Building Council to hold outreach sessions with commercial building owners. And last year, the City Council unanimously passed the Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which will result in a 50 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions from commercial buildings by the year 2030.
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