Real Estate Management News - 06/12/2019

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June 12, 2019
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IREM® HEADLINES
Welcoming Change Discussed at Japan Conference
The Foreign Drive to Professional Property Management

INDUSTRY HEADLINES
How to Manage Food Trucks Outside Your Building
Bank of America Accelerates Sustainability Efforts
CVS to Open 1,500 HealthHubs
Redefining Smart Buildings
Romancing the Renter: Proven Strategies for Higher Retention
Buildings Are Hazardous to Migratory Birds, But There Are Solutions
Crowds Returning to Local Malls Around the Valley to Enjoy New Experiences and Attractions
Human Workers Who Feel Like Machines
Buildings Can Be Designed to Withstand Earthquakes. Why Doesn’t the U.S. Build More of Them?
American Eagle Is Thriving Even as Shopping Malls Shrivel
Multifamily Developers Embrace Green Building
Sephora Closing U.S. Stores for Day of 'Inclusivity Training' Over Racial Profiling Accusations


 
 

IREM Headlines


Welcoming Change Discussed at Japan Conference

Change is a major concern for property management practitioners in Japan, as noted during the IREM Japan Annual Meeting, held in Yokohama, Japan last week.

Keynote speaker Junichiro Koshi, CEO of Seon, Inc., noted that, “Industry change exceeds expectations. What we couldn’t imagine possible will continue to happen. That’s the reality of the ‘new normal.’”

Koshi encouraged IREM Members to think innovatively in the face of demographic challenges. “No company will last 100 years if it’s not innovative,” observed Koshi. “We have to be creative about our innovation and be innovative for 100 years. But it’s hard to say this in Japan. There’s an election soon, and no politician wants to tell you that your business will otherwise be gone in the future.”

Representatives from the Real Estate Tech Association for Japan addressed changes in how the real estate industry conducts business. Masayuki Akagi, representative director for the association, said, “Everyone was suspicious of Redfin and Zillow when they first started, and now Japan is at that point where those services are being introduced.”

Shigenori Makiguchi, another member of the association, sees more real estate companies embracing the changes in the near future: “Banks are used to fintech, so they’ve been receptive to real estate tech. All industries have to deal with banks, and if banks are open to this technology, then other industries will become more open to them as well.”

Despite the rapid change, there is still a need for reliable property management. “One plus one still equals two,” Koshi said. “You have to train your mindset and skill set.”

IREM President Don Wilkerson also installed 85 new CPM Members and six new AMO Firms at the meeting’s awards ceremony. The three IREM Chapters in Japan anticipates enrolling close to 90 new students in their 2019-2020 credentialing courses.
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The Foreign Drive to Professional Property Management

Sure, the Balkans, and Serbia in particular, have seen their share of political and military unrest. That aside, IREM President Don Wilkerson, CPM, in his latest column for NREI, points to some real progress on the business front—namely, the move to legislate the need for professionals in property management.

“This is true progress,” he writes, “not only for the global practice of property management, which clearly it is, but equally for the Republic of Serbia.” How? Wilkerson goes into great depth on the meaning of such a movement, both for the country and the profession as a whole.

He also point out that Serbia is not alone, and spells out the pending legislation in Japan and what the potential passage of such legislation could mean there.

Of course, legislating professionals raises all boats, the IREM president says, implying “the presence of standards, best practices and ethics. At the very least, it implies the existence of a track record and knowledge of what works and doesn’t work.”

And that’s where an organization with the reach and focus of IREM comes into play, as you’ll see when you read his column.

To read the original column in full, please click here.
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Industry Headlines


How to Manage Food Trucks Outside Your Building
Buildings (06/05/19) Kloepple, Sarah

For most managers of large office parks, mobile vendors such as food trucks are a large part of your business. Among workplace amenities, such mobile vendors are in increasingly high demand among tenants. In the past, organizing a mobile vendor calendar required hundreds of phone calls and coordinating requests. Today, technology has streamlined the mobile amenity management process, similar to how electronic work order systems have for managing building systems. As mobile vendor popularity continues to grow, building owners and operators must be aware of certain best practices. After all, it's not just food trucks parking at office campuses today, but also chiropractors, flower vendors, car washes, and more. "Building occupants want to find time for their weekend, so they want to take care of all these errands while they're at work," states Becky Hanner, principal at Hanner Commercial Asset Services.

The article's author details four tips for managing mobile vendors. Number one, use an electronic work order and scheduling system. Such systems allow facilities and property managers to set up an event calendar, send out invites to their favorite vendors, and establish open enrollment for applicants. Two, set requirements such as proof of valid insurance, a business license, signing some type of agreement, etc. Three, be sure to have electrical connections available. This enables mobile vendors to turn off their generators to reduce noise, which a building's occupants will appreciate. Finally, get the word out and encourage tenants to take advantage of these revolving vendors.
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Bank of America Accelerates Sustainability Efforts
Commercial Property Executive (06/07/19) Gagiuc, Anca

Bank of America is launching its own on-site solar initiative to install solar panels across its operations. The program is projected to generate over 25 megawatts of renewable energy, which will be used to power the bank's operations in select locations. So far, a half-dozen financial centers in three states -- California, Florida, and Pennsylvania -- as well as two office locations in Nevada and North Carolina are already benefiting from the energy savings and low-carbon enhancement via the bank's on-site solar installations. By the end of December, at least another 15 financial centers and 10 ATMs are set to be equipped with solar panels. Over the next three years, the company expects to add more than 60 solar installations across its operations.

These actions will support the bank in meeting its broader environmental commitment to carbon neutrality and purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by the close of the decade, in addition to reaching its goal to reduce location-based greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and energy use by 40 percent over that same time span. This past November, the bank partnered with Juhl Energy and GE Renewable Energy. In 2019, the initiative's focus will be on installing solar panels at select financial centers, community financial centers, and ATMs in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. Next year and in 2021, select administrative offices in seven states -- Arizona, Delaware, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Texas -- are slated to be retrofitted with solar panels. Bank of America's environmental operation commitment to carbon neutrality includes LEED achievements.
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CVS to Open 1,500 HealthHubs
Chain Store Age (06/04/19) Wilson, Marianne

CVS Health has big plans for its new, health-focused store concept, dubbed HealthHub, having debuted the format back in February. Long-term, the company announced this past week that it plans to have a total of 1,500 HealthHubs up and running by the end of 2021. The format emphasizes health services and products over traditional drugstore categories like greeting cards. It's in line with the drugstore retailer's goal following its acquisition of health insurer Aetna to transform its retail locations.

The design of the revamped stores allocates one-fifth of the space to health services, including medical equipment and supplies. Additionally, it offers one-on-one and group counseling delivered by an in-store licensed dietitian. The HealthHub locations also include community spaces, with "wellness rooms" available for CVS professionals and community partners to host such group events as health classes and nutritional seminars. Customers can also measure and track their blood pressure, weight, and BMI at the stores' health kiosks. "CVS may tweak the designs for different markets and store sizes," adds the article's author.
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Redefining Smart Buildings
Urban Land (06/19) McMillian, Alex

More and more building developers and companies are beginning to rethink what makes a building smart. Not too long ago a smart building typically featured complex infrastructure, sensors, and/or services that would use data to transform what the structure is and would be capable of. However, the idea of a smart building now includes design, governance, implementation, and technology. This coincides with more employees demanding working spaces that are healthier, sustainable, and more efficient. Architects are even applying research from physiology, biology, and psychology into building plans and construction. All of these factors contribute to constructing buildings that work better for the people inside them while offering radically different designs or features than in decades' past.
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Romancing the Renter: Proven Strategies for Higher Retention
Property Management Insider (06/19) Blackwell, Tim

To stand out, apartment owners and operators need to essentially "romance" current and prospective residents. In many cases, this means offering technologies and services that make their lives simpler while providing ancillary revenue to the multifamily property. In a recent webcast, RealPage experts discussed several emerging trends and resident retention ideas, ranging from empowering resident communication with a community's management staff to demonstrating a commitment to 24/7 support. Titled "Romancing the Renter: Proven Strategies for Higher Retention," the webcast also covered how apartment operators could increase visibility on the Internet -- i.e., creating a positive online reputation and generating high Google rankings. According to RealPage data, reviews continue to be a focal point of search. and Google is weighting them more. From 2017 to last year, reviews grew by 20 percent. RealPage Senior Product Manager Randy Hurn comments, "Eighty percent of folks who are engaging in social media, those reviews or comments are being viewed almost equivocally as a word-of-mouth statement. If we don't get ahead of that, it can be a negative experience and affect rankings."

Hurn urges apartment owners and managers to respond to reviews -- whether positive or negative -- and to encourage residents to share their remarks. Doing so will strengthen the trust between resident and operator. In turn, the apartment property becomes more reputable in the eyes of searchers. Kathleen McNair, RealPage Vice President Contact Centers, adds that "romancing customers" into preferred communication channels is more effective than making them connect only on your terms. This means providing multiple methods from e-mail and live chat to phone and contact center. McNair went on to tout ActiveBuilding, RealPage's contact center and resident portal that provides multiple channels for residents to communicate with the leasing office or maintenance staff. Also in the planning stages is a device that enables residents to use artificial intelligence to place maintenance requests so that property management can reduce response time and improve resident satisfaction.
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Buildings Are Hazardous to Migratory Birds, But There Are Solutions
Truthout (06/09/19) Yust, Meena Miriam

About half of all birds in the world migrate and face many obstacles along the way, not the least of which are human-made structures. Scientists estimate an astounding upper-level figure of 1 billion birds die in the United States annually from building collisions. Making matters worse, the Fish and Wildlife Service classifies more than 100 bird species in the U.S. as either threatened or endangered as of 2019. Artificial light from buildings draws migratory birds like a beckoning siren to cities where skyscraper glass reflections are plentiful and deadly. Many are killed instantly upon collision, while others are seriously wounded. Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have determined that the median light exposure to birds in cities is 24 times higher than the nationwide average. Chicago ranks No. 1 on the list of the most dangerous U.S. cities for birds, followed by Houston and Dallas. Other dangerous metros range from Los Angeles and New York City to Minneapolis and St. Louis. The country's central region is a superhighway for bird migrations. Every spring and fall, more than five million migrating birds pass over Chicago, where the city's glass office and residential towers and artificial light become a death trap.

For high-rises and low-rises, minimizing artificial window light is key to solving this problem. This can be done by turning out the lights at night, drawing curtains and blinds, and introducing lights with motion sensors in office buildings. In addition, participating in Lights Out projects during peak migration times has proven to save many birds. For building owners, minimizing exterior lighting is also extremely helpful. Bird-friendly architecture is also being urged, as is mandatory legislation. Finally, adding bird-safe architecture to green building certification standards is further recommended by the scientific community. Chicago proposed bird-friendly building legislation earlier this year, which would limit the percentage of transparent or reflective glass that can be used in new and renovated construction exteriors. The bill also calls for nonessential exterior lighting to be required to automatically shut off after 11 p.m. It is expected that real estate developers will oppose the bill.
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Crowds Returning to Local Malls Around the Valley to Enjoy New Experiences and Attractions
ABC15.com (Phoenix) (06/04/19) Wasu, Sonu

Experts say the bottom line here is that malls are not going away, they're just changing. This is especially true in Arizona where there are still many malls that are thriving by listening to their communities. In May, residents in Chandler celebrated the grand opening of the Crayola Experience located inside the Chandler Fashion Center that has proven especially appealing to the demographics of the community. Other things like a concert series, the mall's giant lawn chess board, and other "experiences" such as The Escape Room and PLAYLive Nation social gaming lounge are also on the mall property and drawing foot traffic. Other successful malls in the Valley have followed suit. Arizona Mills mall in Tempe brought in attractions such as the Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Arizona aquarium. At Kierland Commons, meanwhile, fine dining has been the big draw.
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Human Workers Who Feel Like Machines
The Washington Post (06/06/19) Harwell, Drew

Walmart has implemented robots at more than 1,500 of its big-box stores, including automated shelf-scanners, box-unloaders, and artificially intelligent cameras. However, some workers are complaining that these deployments have made their own jobs feel more robotic. Their stress comes from the experience of working alongside the robots, with many feeling their jobs are now to train and babysit the machines. Adding to the strain is the sense of being in a position of not only training potential replacements, but also tending to the robots when they malfunction.
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Buildings Can Be Designed to Withstand Earthquakes. Why Doesn’t the U.S. Build More of Them?
New York Times (06/04/19) Fuller, Thomas; Singhvi, Anjali; Grondahl, Mika; et al.

Several countries vulnerable to earthquakes have adopted policies that require buildings to include shock-absorbing technology. The technology is based on an engineering technique known as base isolation. Experts say base isolators are placed between the building and the ground. They serve as shock absorbers during an earthquake, allowing the building to slide back and forth. But they prevent more violent shaking that can cause a building to topple or suffer major damage.

Despite the benefits, base isolation is not widely used in the United States. Most buildings in the U.S. are designed to crumple like a car in a head-on collision. This spreads the energy of the earthquake through damage. The goal is to save lives, but the building is likely rendered useless. Engineers say not requiring base isolation as part of buildings' make-up in earthquake-prone areas is a missed opportunity to protect quake-vulnerable cities from costly and prolonged rebuilding efforts in the event of a violent seismic event.
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American Eagle Is Thriving Even as Shopping Malls Shrivel
Los Angeles Times (06/04/19) Holman, Jordyn

The success of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. doesn't make much sense. Most teen retailers have struggled to appeal to the newest crop of young shoppers while e-commerce sites have scattered the stores' once-loyal clientele. The situation has led Aeropostale and Charlotte Russe into bankruptcy and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. to shutter some flagships and shrink the footprint of its stores. Meanwhile, American Eagle has found solid footing and is consistently at or near the top of its peer group for both revenue growth and digital sales. American Eagle's popularity is partly fueled by Aerie, as well as its denim business, a space in which the company has preserved its stature while others have faltered. The chain's jeans are well-priced and once consumers find the right fit, they remain pretty loyal to the brand. American Eagle jeans surpassed $1 billion in annual sales in 2018, reports Chad Kessler, global brand president.

American Eagle has stayed ahead of the curve by using stretch technology, distressed treatments, and a wide range of jean sizes, including lengths. In some stores, customers can even personalize their jeans by adding back patches or paint. In addition, American Eagle is trying in-store concepts to keep current fans as they mature. Furthermore, American Eagle is gaining cachet as a swimsuit and lingerie seller through Aerie, which it launched nationwide 13 years ago. Aerie also helps to spread the retailer's diversity message as it has aimed to be more inclusive of women of different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. For instance, executives decided years ago to not retouch photos of models in Aerie campaigns.
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Multifamily Developers Embrace Green Building
Multi-Housing News (06/02/19) Friedman, Robyn

Multifamily housing developers are increasingly incorporating sustainable building materials and methods into their projects. More than 1.5 million multifamily residential units were participating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program as of March 2018, and the organization expects that number to keep increasing. The 2017 National Multifamily Housing Council/Kingsley Associates Renter Preferences Report found that 65 percent of respondents said they would be interested in an apartment community with sustainability/green initiatives, and 78 percent said they would be interested in a community with ENERGY STARTM-certified appliances.

Paula Cino, vice president for construction, development, and land use policy at the National Multifamily Housing Council, says developers are recognizing "that there are some tangible advantages to green building, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency and water savings." Lauren Zullo, director of sustainability for Jonathan Rose Cos., calculates that green buildings can have utility savings of 20 percent to 50 percent over traditional buildings.
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Sephora Closing U.S. Stores for Day of 'Inclusivity Training' Over Racial Profiling Accusations
Daily Wire (06/04/19) Bois, Paul

Sephora closed all of its 400-plus U.S. stores on Wednesday for a day of "inclusivity training" following accusations of racial profiling from R&B singer SZA. Earlier this spring, the France-based beauty chain came under fire when SZA wrote on Twitter that she was racially profiled at a store in Calabasas, Calif. She claimed at the time a staffer summoned security on the suspicion that SZA might be stealing. Sephora responded to the tweet, stating: "You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores." Several weeks later, Sephora announced that every U.S. store, distribution center, and corporate office would be closing for one day to conduct inclusion workshops.
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