Real Estate Management News

March 4, 2020

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Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Next Gen CPM Leaders Program
Submission deadline is March 15, 2020

IREM Student of the Year
Submission deadline is April 15, 2020


Capitol Hill Fly-in
March 10-11

Accelerators: Live Webinars

Introduction to Excel Macros

Fair Housing: Understanding Familial Status

CAM Reconciliation Part III: Advanced Level Workshop

The Impact of Technology on Resident Satisfaction

Understanding Loss to Lease

Affordable Housing - Navigating the Owner's Goals

Classroom Course Offerings

Ethics for the Real Estate Manager (ETH800)
3/6/2020 – North Kingstown, RI
3/9/2020 – Omaha, NE
3/13/2020 – Addison, TX
3/20/2020 - Kirkland, WA

Financing and Loan Analysis for Investment Real Estate (ASM603)
3/9/2020 –Tysons, VA

Performance and Valuation of Investment Real Estate (ASM604)
3/11/2020 –Tysons, VA

Asset Analysis of Investment Real Estate (ASM605)
3/13/2020 –Tysons, VA

Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Reporting for Investment Real Estate (FIN402)
3/10/2020 – Braintree, MA

Managing Maintenance Operations and Property Risk (MNT402)
3/12/2020 – Holladay, UT

Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Multifamily Properties (MKL405)
3/11/2020 – Kirkland, WA

Managing Residential Properties (RES201)
3/10/2020 – Omaha, NE
3/16/2020 – Addison, TX

Leading a Winning Property Management Team (HRS402)
3/12/2020 - Holladay, UT

Introduction to Property Management (IREM01)
3/7/2020 – Tulsa, OK

IREM ® headlines

June CHAM Conference to Focus on Affordable Housing

The Consortium for Housing and Asset Management (CHAM) will be holding its 2020 Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, June 15-17, when it will bring together leaders in the fields of nonprofit affordable housing production and community development.

Affordable housing is a precious resource and is supported by professional asset managers who are dedicated to its sustainability and preservation. The CHAM conference is the place for asset managers to network, share state-of-the-art tools and seek inspiration. With its strong focus on improving project and portfolio-wide performance by promoting effective asset management techniques, this conference will assemble industry leaders and other key stakeholders to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the industry. IREM is a bronze-level sponsor of the CHAM conference.

CHAM is a collaboration of Enterprise Community Partners, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), NeighborWorks America, and the National Association of State and Local Equity Funds. CHAM's aim is to better enable community-based organizations and others in the nonprofit housing industry to responsibly own and professionally manage affordable rental housing.

CHAM has earned a strong national reputation for its robust training curriculum, its highly-regarded professional designation, and its thought-provoking annual conferences exploring asset management topics within the affordable housing industry.

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Save Time by Automating Repetitive Tasks in Microsoft Excel

When you think of Microsoft Excel, you may think of bottomless tables, endless lists of numbers and tedious formatting. But what if you could set up the perfect table and then just have it work for you? Time is a valuable commodity that Excel macros can help you save—and you don’t have to be a tech guru to use them.

An Excel macro is a sequence of instructions that Excel performs when you tell it to. Streamline your budgeting and trend analysis by having macros do the work for you. Formatting tables, highlighting specific data, auto-sorting, and calculating formulas—the possibilities are endless.

To find out more about what Excel macros can do to speed up your work, join IREM for a special 2-hour webinar on March 10 at 1pm CST. David Ringstrom, an expert in Microsoft Excel, will be demonstrating how you can make macros work for you. Click here for more information and to register.

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Members Prep for Legislative Face Time at Capitol Hill Fly-In

IREM members from across the country are preparing to descend upon Washington DC next week to participate in the 2nd annual Capitol Hill Fly-in. This great event offers members an opportunity to meet with their federal legislators and advocate for issues of importance to the real estate management industry.

In particular, members will be going to the Hill to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization Act (H.R 3167) and the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595).

Both issues are significant to the property management industry. The NFIP Reauthorization Act extends the program for five years, includes significant reforms to mapping and mitigation, and provides private flood insurance options. The SAFE Banking Act would create a safe harbor for federally insured financial institutions to provide banking services for legitimate cannabis-related businesses (or businesses that tangentially work with them) in states that have legalized cannabis.

There’s much to be gained by having face-to-face meetings with lawmakers in Washington. It allows IREM members to build valuable relationships with the people who create laws and regulations that impact the industry they work in and gives them the opportunity to have a say in how those laws are shaped. The more they provide firsthand perspective to legislators, the more legislators will rely on them as true industry experts and thought leaders.

For more information, contact Ted Thurn, director government affairs at IREMLegislation@irem.org or (312) 329-6021.

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Industry headlines

Shopping Malls Will Empty Out if Coronavirus Worsens in United States: Survey
New York Post (02/28/20) Manskar, Noah

A new survey from Coresight Research highlights the dangers the coronavirus outbreak poses for shopping malls. According to the survey, 58 percent of consumers said they would avoid public places or travel if the coronavirus spreads more in the United States. The consumers overwhelmingly indicated that malls and shopping centers are precisely the type of public place they would avoid if the coronavirus epidemic worsens, with 75 percent of respondents saying they would not go to the mall. In the report accompanying its survey results, Coresight wrote that the coronavirus could therefore "hit retailers hard" if the outbreak worsens or even if public perception of the virus worsens.

Restaurants and movie theaters could also take a hit if consumers opt to stay home, Coresight said. U.S. consumers are already fretting about the coronavirus, which has rapidly spread out of its epicenter in China. Some 27.5 percent of respondents said they were already adjusting their behavior to minimize the risk of contracting the virus. While international travel and public transportation are taking the most severe hits from worried consumers, shopping centers and other retail venues rank third, according to Coresight. A drop in business thanks to the coronavirus would exacerbate existing struggles for malls, which have been hit hard by e-commerce. Shares of large mall owners fell in late February.

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How Millennials Are Redefining the Tenant Experience in Commercial Buildings
Buildings (02/25/20) Duke, Kellen

As of 2016, the millennial generation is the largest demographic in the workforce, causing building managers to rethink their commercial space offerings in order to best appeal to them as tenants. Millennials came of age as technology innovations boomed and have embraced their role as digital natives. As such, technology has been incorporated into offices more than ever before. Meanwhile, building managers are enhancing amenities to remain competitive in the office market. Gyms, coffee shops, and even flex working spaces have become common amenities at offices. And while workers previously wanted to have their own private spaces, even if that meant cubicles, millennials are more willing to accept open office plans. That has changed the layout of the typical office, bringing down barriers and encouraging collaboration and social interaction. And with laptops growing ever-more popular, employees are able to move around the office freely to set up shop wherever best suits them.

A byproduct of the switch to open office plans is that each worker takes up less space than in the past. That means companies no longer have to lease large spaces for their staff. Meanwhile, more workers than ever before are embracing telecommuting, further reducing the need for large office spaces. Millennials have changed the tenant experience in other ways. While working remotely has become increasingly popular, buildings in general are able to fit more people than in the past, meaning that parking garages are overcrowded. In certain locales, property managers are increasingly hiring security and valet teams to facilitate parking employees' cars offsite. And with millennials accustomed to lightning-fast technology solutions, key fobs are losing popularity as building managers instead configure access control to workers' devices. Finally, food deliveries have become so popular that office building managers are setting up designated food drop-off areas and other systems to retain tight security while allowing young workers and workers of all ages to continue getting their lunch delivered.

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Amazon Just Opened a Cashierless Supermarket – Here Are All the Ways It's Trying to Upend the Grocery Industry
CNBC (02/25/20) Palmer, Annie

Amazon earlier this month made its latest foray into brick-and-mortar retail by opening its first full-size, cashierless supermarket. The Amazon Go Grocery, located in Seattle, is 10,400 square feet, making it significantly larger than the Go convenience stores the company opened in the past. But the premise of the store remains the same: advanced technology tracks and records what shoppers put in their carts and charges them for their groceries automatically. There are no cashiers at the Amazon Go Grocery store, and there are no checkout lines. Shoppers first scan the Amazon app on a turnstile to link their account to the groceries they take out of the store. The Seattle Go Grocery reportedly stocks about 4,000 products.

Amazon has in recent years expanded its brick-and-mortar sales strategy, even though physical stores represent a small amount of revenue for the company. Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and has since then offered discounts to Prime members shopping at the upscale grocery store. Meanwhile, there are 25 Go convenience stores across the country, providing quick grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and coffee. The company is reportedly mulling offering the cashierless technology to other retailers, including airport shops and movie theaters.

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Cincinnati Legislation Gives Renters a Choice in Security Deposits
Multifamily Executive (02/20/20) Serlin, Christine

Cincinnati recently passed Renters Choice legislation designed to break down financial barriers for renters looking for a new home. Cincinnati officials passed the legislation with bipartisan support, with the new law to go into effect in April. The legislation provides alternative options to the traditional security deposit, a financial barrier that made it difficult for some renters to move into new homes. Under the terms of the law, a renter can make a request of any landlord controlling more than 25 units to provide at least one out of three approved alternatives to the traditional security deposit. The alternatives are paying rental security insurance, paying the security deposit in six or more monthly installments, and paying a one-time reduced security deposit.

The legislation has proved popular with both renters and industry firms providing rental security insurance. Experts said the Cincinnati law is indicative of a national trend towards regulating and restricting security deposits and perhaps even towards eliminating them entirely. "By replacing cash deposits, qualified renters will be able to access units they might not otherwise have the liquidity for at lease signing," said Mike Rudoy, CEO and co-founder of the financial services firm Jetty. The shift to nontraditional security deposit options has also been supported by federal officials, including Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.

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Nike Shuts Down Oregon HQ for Deep Cleaning Due to Nearby Coronavirus Case
Footwear News (03/01/20) Chochrek, Ella

Amid growing coronavirus fears, Nike this past weekend temporarily closed its Beaverton, Ore., world headquarters complex for a deep cleaning. A Nike spokesperson issued an official statement that read: "We are aware of the presumptive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Lake Oswego. While we have no information indicating any exposure to Nike employees, out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a deep cleaning of our campus." All world headquarters buildings and facilities, including the corporate campus' on-site fitness centers, were closed over the weekend. The coronavirus, originated in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. It has to date killed more than 2,900 people worldwide, with over 87,000 cases reported internationally.

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Walmart, Verizon in Talks to Test 5G Services in Some Stores
Wall Street Journal (03/01/20) Krouse, Sarah; Nassauer, Sarah; Mathews, Anna Wilde

Walmart Inc. is in talks with Verizon Communications Inc. to outfit its stores with antennas and other equipment to create 5G wireless service. Their plan would initially bring 5G service to two locations this year to power new Walmart digital health services the retail giant hopes to begin offering to shoppers and employees via new clinics. In addition, it would provide faster wireless connections for other store operations. A signed deal would be part of an effort inside the nation's biggest retailer to remake its approximately 4,700 U.S. stores into hubs that draw shoppers for medical treatment and other services in addition to shopping. Walmart could even utilize the 5G technology to improve cameras alerting staff to shoplifters or scanning shelves for out-of-stock inventory.

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10,000-Plus New Apartments Predicted for Downtown Chicago by 2022, But Don't Expect a Break on Rent
Chicago Tribune (02/20/20) Ori, Ryan

The unprecedented pace of apartment construction in downtown Chicago has the area set for 10,000 new apartments in the next two years. That is continuing the trend of the previous five years, when the number of high-end units in the Windy City increased by 51 percent. But according to Integra executives, the influx of new multifamily housing will not give Chicago residents a break on monthly rents. The company found that rents increased by less than 1 percent in 2019 for newer high-end apartments. This year, Integra said, rents will likely increase by about 2 percent. Developers essentially have no choice but to raise rent prices, as they are staring at expected property tax increases. Those tax increases will be passed on indirectly to the tenants, but developers are trying to keep the hikes as modest as possible to avoid alienating potential new renters.

Ron DeVries, Integra senior managing director, estimated that upcoming property assessments could push property taxes up to between $5,000 and $6,000 per unit. That is significantly higher than the taxes with which developers have previously reckoned. DeVries revealed that in the past few years, developers were factoring in property taxes of $3,500 per apartment. He is urging people to temper their fears of massive property tax increases, dismissing the thought of property taxes of $8,000 or $9,000 as likely outside the realm of possibility.

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NHL Seattle Breaks Ground on Training Facility at Northgate Mall
K5 News (WA) (02/27/20) Daniels, Chris

Seattle's Northgate Mall is in the midst of serious renovations as work crews construct a new training facility for the city's future professional hockey team. Seattle's National Hockey League (NHL) team will have its practice facility at the mall, and area residents will also be able to skate at community rinks onsite. The renovation is part of an all-encompassing rejuvenation of the Northgate Mall, which opened 70 years ago but has struggled to adapt in the age of e-commerce. The mall owner, Simon Property Group, has long had its eye on a major redevelopment. Phase 1 includes the $80 million NHL training facility and team headquarters. Set to be completed in 2021, it will coincide with the opening of a new LINK light rail station nearby.

But the mall's renovation is not confined to just hockey. It will diversify its space options from just housing retailers, transforming into a mixed-use development at the center of the community. Simon Property Group plans to add a central green space, two hotels, mixed-use buildings, and new housing that will include 232 affordable units. Simon Development President Michael McCarty said malls that thrive nowadays are adept at incorporating new elements based on community feedback. "We're very committed to the mall business, but we're committing to changing it to what the consumer wants," McCarty summed up.

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'Medtailing' Appears Here to Stay
NRF.com (02/26/20) Kroll, Karen

Observers have found that one segment of brick-and-mortar retail continues to post strong numbers despite struggles for physical retail on the whole. Healthcare and medical services offered in retail settings are thriving, demonstrating consumers' interest in accessing expanded healthcare options. While many retailers have long had pharmacies and optical shops, the new iteration of "medtail" goes beyond that, providing checkups and vaccinations as well as caring for chronic problems like high cholesterol. Walgreens and CVS have led the charge for expanded medtail. Walgreens operates more than 230 retail clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, and has since 2018 expanded its program of primary care centers staffed by physicians. CVS, meanwhile, has owned MinuteClinic for almost 15 years. The 1,100 MinuteClinic locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia can offer vaccinations, monitor for diabetes, and help with minor illnesses.

Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail, said the medtailing trend is perfectly tailored to benefit both sides. Clinics and healthcare providers expand their customer base, and malls and retail centers fill the vacant space created by the rise of e-commerce. Malls also observe increased foot traffic as more people visit for healthcare reasons and then decide to browse or otherwise combine their medical and retail needs into a single trip. In Nashville, the 100 Oaks Mall was struggling for survival until Vanderbilt Health moved in, occupying roughly half of the mall and revitalizing it. Experts caution that medtailing, while helpful, also poses some challenges. One such challenge is ensuring clear wayfinding through a mall to the medical center. Moreover, medtail centers should use clear communication at all times to erase confusion about whether the person providing care is an MD or a different medical professional.

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This Downtown Miami Office Building Spent $4 Million on Renovations. But Was It Worth It?
Miami Herald (02/20/20) San Juan, Rebecca

The Wells Fargo Center in downtown Miami spent much of the past year focused on comprehensive renovations. The $4 million project was a significant investment for MetLife, the property owner, which worked with interior design firm Insight Design to create communal amenities on the ground floor. Space that was once marked for a Wells Fargo bank branch has been transformed into a cafe and conference rooms. The cafe, the Intermezzo, currently serves a wide selection of sandwiches, soft drinks, and coffee and will expand to selling beer and wine upon receiving its alcohol license. The cafe and conference rooms are the first communal amenities for all building tenants since the office tower opened.

MetLife saw immediate gains after the renovation wrapped up. Brian Gale is the vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, which manages the office tower and its leasing on behalf of MetLife. According to him, tenants immediately took to the ground-floor amenities. "It's the most leasing that we've done in 10 years in a four-month period," Gale marveled. Already two tenants have moved over to the Wells Fargo Center from other Miami buildings, and a third new-to-market tenant from Brazil has signed a lease. The Wells Fargo Center currently stands at 90 percent occupancy, which Gale said was the highest rate since the building opened in 2010. As occupancy has grown, rent prices have also increased. The average asking rate per square foot in Miami is $39.16, but Wells Fargo Center is about $50 per square foot.

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New Indoor Playground Opens at Ellsworth Place
Patch.com (02/24/20) Jezyk, Jennifer

GBT Realty Corp. has just finished its first major capital improvement project. The Tennessee-based company took on revitalizing Ellsworth Place, a Silver Spring, Md. retail and entertainment center that it acquired in 2018. At that time, there was a small playground for children located outside of the TJMaxx in the mall. GBT undertook a $300,000 renovation project to build a new playground. The new one encompasses almost the entire ground floor of Ellsworth Place, providing a sprawling interactive platform for children visiting the venue. GBT Vice President for Design and Property Olivia Dial praised the "new and modern play area," expressing confidence that it will add "convenience and fun to the shopping experience." According to Dial, GBT is planning more updates and upgrades to Ellsworth Place over the next 18 months.

Dial said the new playground at Ellsworth Place can function as a "vital component in the organic lives of Silver Springs residents." It features bright, inviting colors and multiple play sections. Two primary house structures are flanked by four secondary activity stations. The playground encourages physical activity with its slides, tunnels, and interactive panels. For children who wear themselves out running around and playing on the equipment, there are rest areas. Meanwhile, other mall visitors can walk by the playground unimpeded as it is walled off with low barriers. Dial said GBT was motivated to build the playground by statistics that show malls and shopping centers can weather challenging times and increase foot traffic by incorporating more entertainment options.

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Are Texas Developers Building Too Many Apartments or Not Enough?
Dallas Morning News (03/02/20) Brown, Steve

As new residents continue to flock to North Texas, developers are scrambling to create enough living space to accommodate the throngs of new renters. Jeanette Rice, head of multifamily research for CBRE, characterized the population growth in North Texas over the past decade as "enormous" and predicted that "multifamily is going to help provide that housing" for new residents. Dallas-Fort Worth has become the country's top apartment building market, with more than 26,000 new rental units set to open there this year. Meanwhile, Houston will unveil some 16,000 apartments by the end of the year.

At a recent meeting of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Rice discussed the current state of the Texas apartment market. Rice observes that renters are quickly pouncing on new inventory as it becomes available. But she still has concerns over the viability of the Dallas housing market over the next decade. Rice predicted that there is too much supply for the short term, but not enough for the long term. The population of the Dallas-Fort Worth area could grow by as much as 1 million people over the next 10 years. Making matters worse, most of the new apartment supply is luxury and high-priced, causing Rice to observe that "a lot of the new supply doesn't match the demand."

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