Real Estate Management News - 11/22/2017

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November 22, 2017
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LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT
Freeman Webb Named IREM 2017 AMO Of The Year

IREM® HEADLINES
Retaining Talent During Change
Apply by December 15 for 2017 ENERGY STAR® Certification

INDUSTRY HEADLINES
Don't Sleep Through the Slow Season
Research Says $1.5 Trillion Could Be Saved With Efficient Usage of Space
Mall Owner Turns to Sensor-Based Tech to Improve Parking
Medical Office Buildings Expected to Remain Resilient, Despite Changes in Payment Policies
NCCo Rule Change Would Allow Brewpubs in Shopping Centers
Fact or Fiction? LED Lights Are a Smart Choice for Multifamily
A Santa Flight Academy? Malls Pull Out Stops to Counter Online Shopping
The Property Manager’s Guide to Resident Retention Via Social Media
Control Over Lighting and Temperature Boosts Productivity
Second Activist Investor Buys Stake in Mall Owner Taubman
Packages Pile Up at NYC Post Offices Because Carriers Can't Get Into Buildings
Hawaii to Use Seawater to Cool State Office Buildings in Honolulu


 

Leadership Spotlight


Freeman Webb Named IREM 2017 AMO Of The Year

Freeman Webb Company, Nashville, TN, was named as the 2017 Accredited Management Organization (AMO) Of The Year at IREM’s REME Awards ceremony in October.

Freeman Webb is a full service real estate investment and management firm that specializes in the acquisition, management and rehabilitation of multi-family residential and commercial properties. Bill Freeman and Jimmy Webb founded Freeman Webb in 1979 with one employee. Almost four decades later, Freeman Webb has over 450 employees including in-house legal, marketing and construction divisions allowing the firm to best serve investors, clients and residents. It’s first employee still works for the company, which has an average employee tenure of twice the industry average.

During the recent period of booming multi-family construction in Nashville, Freeman Webb has doubled down on its real estate management to optimize performance of its 15,000 unit portfolio, while continuing to be a leader in managing low-income properties and renovating over 3,000 units to offer first class amenities and finishes at more affordable price points.

While Freeman Webb prides itself on their support of its employees and the real estate management industry at large, it takes the greatest measure of satisfaction in knowing that it has provided substantial support to Nashville and its citizens as a whole. The company has undertaken various initiatives aimed at addressing the communities’ affordable housing issues with an effort to provide housing across all income classes. It has been active in How’s Nashville, a program to provide discounted rates and more lenient qualifying standards to house homeless individuals through the Nashville Homeless Commission. Additionally, it has introduced Apartment Angel, a non-profit that prevents the eviction of apartment residents by providing interest free loans for one month’s rent, to the Nashville market and has worked closely with Rooftops, a partnership among congregations to provide emergency rental assistance.

Freeman Webb’s goals remain focused on maximizing the value of its clients’ assets, enriching their employees and their development, and serving their tenants and customers with integrity and excellence.

Watch a video that will show you why IREM is proud to name Freeman Webb as the 2017 AMO Of The Year.

You can also learn more about all the 2017 REME Winners!
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IREM Headlines


Retaining Talent During Change

Did you know that employees affected by change initiatives at work are three times more likely to leave the organization within the next year compared to those who haven’t been affected by organizational change? Did you also know that the stress, fear, and negativity employees experience during change is also a leading cause of change initiative failure?

IREM’s white paper, Retaining Talent During Change, provides information and strategies you need to both ensure the success of change initiatives and to overcome the threats that lead to greater employee turnover during times of change. Learn:

• Why Employees Stress-Out Over Change
• How Employees Respond to Change
• Five Strategies for Retaining Talent During Change
• Tactics for Improving Your Change Management Competency

If an organization doesn’t embrace change it is most likely on a death march. But poor implementation of change initiatives can result in both failure and in the loss of good talent. Before your next change initiative takes place, check out what you need to know to not only be successful, but to keep your good talent on board.

Download IREM’s Retaining Talent During Change white paper now!
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Apply by December 15 for 2017 ENERGY STAR® Certification

Time is running out to apply for 2017 ENERGY STAR® certification! The deadline to apply is December 15.

Here are some helpful links:

1. Download instructions for how to apply for ENERGY STAR certification
2. Read 10 reasons to certify your building as ENERGY STAR

Applications received by 11:59 p.m. EST December 15, and which require no significant follow-up or changes, will be guaranteed to receive 2017 certifications if approved. Applications received after this date may receive 2018 certification.

To see if your properties qualify, look for the notification on the Summary page for each of your properties in Portfolio Manager®, and then click on the link to begin your application.

ENERGY STAR certification is free, but your application will need to be verified by a professional engineer (PE) or registered architect (RA). You can use an in-house PE or RA, or hire someone.

Log in to your Portfolio Manager account today to apply!

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Industry Headlines


Don't Sleep Through the Slow Season
Multi-Housing News (11/17/17) Willis, Paul

It can be tempting for multifamily housing marketers and individual apartment communities to view the slow season as the off-season. But the article's author warn that can have potentially damaging repercussions. A number of industry analysts and experts weigh in on how to stay active during those months to kick-start leasing early on. For instance, apartment owners and operators can utilize the slow season to focus efforts on retaining current residents. This can range from reminders to residents about any referral bonuses to holiday events geared toward resident appreciation. "We are always marketing," Katie Nelson, director of marketing for CAPREIT, said. "During our slower times, we will ramp up our resident referral programs, host open houses, invest in our community businesses and promote our communities by word of mouth."

Cassie Khaing, senior brand manager for Mill Creek Residential, cautions that the slow season can differ from market to market. To plan accordingly, she and her staff analyze each apartment community's performance over the previous 12 months and avoid any preset budget plans that encompass the entire portfolio. "I look at the trailing 12 months to account for those cyclical times," she explained. "Rather than having a predetermined amount set aside for a paid ad campaign or an ILS in certain months, we account for times of the year when we may see those cyclical downturns and adjust the budgets accordingly." Finally, slow season is prime time to revisit any old leads. It's possible some of those prospects are still looking -- or are unhappy with the apartment they eventually selected -- and are more likely to consider your building now more than they would have months earlier.
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Research Says $1.5 Trillion Could Be Saved With Efficient Usage of Space
Energy Manager Today (11/14/17) Holbrook, Emily

Philips Lighting this month released research saying businesses worldwide could realize savings of up to $1.5 trillion in reduced rental costs alone if their office buildings were refurbished to the most efficient current standards. The report, which was published in conjunction with World Green Building Week, says firms can cut the office space required per employee by up to 50 percent using energy efficient appliances, lighting, and smart technologies. In the process, they'll also be improving employee well being. The findings by Philips are based on insights from Deloitte's move from The Chrystal Tower in Amsterdam to The Edge building, widely touted as the world's greenest office space.

Through the move, the consulting giant cut office space from 50.2 square feet per full time employee to 24.9 square feet. The Edge utilizes smart technology such as a connected LED lighting system from Philips Lighting that gives employees the ability to adjust their lighting and temperature at their workspaces via a smartphone app. In addition it provides building managers with real-time insights on how the office is being used to help maximize operational efficiency. These insights are derived by the analysis of data gathered by special sensors embedded in the lighting. The research shows that the largest potential savings lie in the Asia Pacific region, where $977 billion could be saved in rent if offices were refurbished in line with best practice. Europe, meanwhile, could realize annual savings of $243 billion and North America could save $220 billion.
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Mall Owner Turns to Sensor-Based Tech to Improve Parking
Retail Dive (11/16/17) O'Shea, Dan

Towson Town Center, a shopping mall in Maryland, is using technology from a company called Park Assist to help shoppers find available parking spots and more quickly navigate its parking facilities. New features include signs connected to sensors placed throughout a parking facility that display and update the number of open parking spaces on each parking level, along with navigational assistance. The software and sensor-based system can also be utilized to help individual shoppers quickly locate their automobiles from among the 185-store mall's 4,400 parking spots upon returning from their shopping excursion. Towson Town Center deployed the Park Assist system as part of a broader revamp of its parking facilities that the mall hopes to have completed by Black Friday. Additional changes include new color-coding for each parking level.

Though it's still early in Towson Town Center's use of Park Assist, the technology is already starting to produce positive results. According to mall officials, the average amount of time shoppers spend looking for spots has declined by 44 percent, with a 12 percent decrease in the number of shoppers who have searched for a parking space for more than five minutes. Towson Town Center isn't the first mall to use Park Assist. It's also not the first mall to look to technology for an upgrade in shoppers' parking experiences. Some malls, for instance, now use systems that enable shoppers to automatically pay for parking via a mobile app. Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles recently deployed such a system, allowing customers to use a parking reservation app from a firm known as Chauntry Parkspace.
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Medical Office Buildings Expected to Remain Resilient, Despite Changes in Payment Policies
National Real Estate Investor (11/13/17) Mitchell, Donna

Transformation is the major theme driving the business of healthcare delivery in this country. As a result, it's not surprising that the medical office building (MOB) sector is also seeing fundamental changes. CBRE officials report that MOB tenants tend to set down roots and remain in place for long periods of time, primarily to stay close to their patient bases and supporting services. However, given the number of mergers and acquisitions among healthcare groups in recent years, smaller medical office spaces designed for individual and small practices are becoming obsolete. Larger medical associations require more space. Chris Bodnar, executive vice president of the investment properties division at CBRE and a co-lead of the CBRE healthcare capital markets group, states, "There is rental growth being driven in newer facilities to accommodate the way healthcare is being delivered in today's market."

Liquidity continues to flow in from newer investors. By the second quarter of this year, cap rates for off-campus properties averaged 6.3 percent, barely distinguishable from the 6.1 percent cap rates on on-campus -- or hospital -- properties, according to data from Revista. "A lot of people are looking to jump in on new opportunities. That is driving down cap rates," Hilda F. Martin, principal of Revista, states. "Investors want the deals that have not been announced." As motivated investors, especially private equity firms, build the relationships that give them the inside track on attractive deals and step up efforts to make more acquisitions, they are moving into the sector with the backing of commercial banks.
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NCCo Rule Change Would Allow Brewpubs in Shopping Centers
Delaware Online (11/15/17) Wilson, Xerxes

Delaware's New Castle County has agreed to consider loosening its development rules to permit craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries in shopping centers and other commercial property. Presently, businesses looking to brew beer or distill alcohol within the unincorporated area of the county must set up on property zoned for industry. A rule change introduced at County Council's Nov. 14 meeting is meant to allow breweries to set up shop where they can better reach customers. Councilman John Cartier, who is sponsoring the legislation, contends, "The industrial zones do not meet the needs of this emerging business concept." Compared to commercially zoned land, land zoned for industry is rare. Furthermore, such property is typically surrounded by other industrial uses. The new rules require brewing and distilling businesses in commercial areas to include a tasting room to sell their product and updates New Castle's definition of a brewpub to regulate such businesses as normal restaurants.
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Fact or Fiction? LED Lights Are a Smart Choice for Multifamily
Property Management Insider (11/14/17) Blackwell, Tim

Light-emitting diode (LED) lights have been evolving at a rapid pace since entering the mainstream nearly a decade ago. The market was expected to top $30.5 billion last year, up from $25.7 billion in 2015. According to the latest LEDinside report, there will be more than six billion LED lights being used per year before 2020. LEDs save 75 percent more on energy consumption than incandescent or compact fluorescent lights (CFL). Even better, they are coming in more shapes, sizes, colors and brightness. This is good news for apartment communities that want to retrofit existing lighting or outfit new developments. The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently published a report showing that LED bulbs are getting brighter and color quality -- a common complaint of many -- is also improving.

Jeff Watson, regional professional at Home Depot, says apartment complexes have a lot to gain by making LEDs their lighting choice. As they improve in color and style and new types enter the market, LEDs can set the mood and literally sing out to prospective and existing residents. He further warns not to be convinced that fewer bulbs will be purchased just because their lifespans are longer. "Lighting becoming a fashion item versus a functional item," Watson concluded. "As upgrades continue and technology improves, people will make lighting changes."
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A Santa Flight Academy? Malls Pull Out Stops to Counter Online Shopping
Tampa Bay Times (11/18/17) Knothe, Alli

Looking to counteract the rise of online shopping and diminished foot traffic, retailers and shopping malls are pulling out all the stops this holiday season to draw in shoppers. For many, a key strategy will be offering unique experiences, ranging from immersive Santa Claus displays to in-store fitness, cooking or swing dancing classes for adults to special "sip and shop" events. Also on tap are community fundraisers and elaborate tree lightings. Shoppers are projected to do more than 50 percent of their holiday shopping online this year for the first time, taking advantage of quicker home delivery, free and expedited shipping, or in-store pickup options. Retailers and mall operators are realizing that if customers are leaving their house to shop, they need good reason.

"The Internet itself made Black Friday less relevant," observes Patrick Berman, managing director of the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. "Now it's less important because at 2 a.m. you can buy books and stuff online. . . . It used to be you had to go to the stores." But still a large portion of an estimated 164 million Americans who will holiday shop this year plan to spend at least part of their money the old-fashioned way -- at stores. Industry analysts point to some bright spots. Earlier this month, for instance, Wal-Mart began hosting in-store holiday parties at Supercenters nationwide. Attendees get sticker sheets for kids and the latest catalogs, plus product demonstrations geared toward entertainment and popular gift options. Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the Retail Group for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York City, says, "It's all about creating an event, a place to go."
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The Property Manager’s Guide to Resident Retention Via Social Media
Multi-Housing News (11/02/17)

Multi-Housing News and SOCi are hosting a free webinar on Dec. 6 that will explore the best ways apartment property managers can utilize social media channels to both fill apartment vacancies and retain existing residents. Scheduled for 2 p.m. EST, the webinar will discuss: the key elements of your apartment community's social profile; three content strategies to use to keep residents engaged; tips on crafting the perfect social calendar; and, finally, how to address negative community reviews on social media.
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Control Over Lighting and Temperature Boosts Productivity
Buildings (11/13/17)

As part of a two-year study, Purdue University and JLL are exploring the effect of customizable indoor environmental conditions on building energy consumption and employee productivity and satisfaction. The researchers' main objective is to use data related to individual workplace preferences to create smart building technologies. To gather data, the research team has installed workplace sensors to measure everything from temperature to light levels to occupant actions as participants went about their regular eight-hour workdays. One group of workers used customizable desktop computer controls, which were designed by the Purdue scientists, for individual control of light and temperature. A second group worked in an office with standard wall-mounted thermostat and lighting controls.

The researchers determined that the workers who could easily adjust room lighting and temperature from their computers were more engaged than those using the wall-mounted controls. In addition, they used less building energy by relying more on daylight than on artificial lighting. With light and temperature just right, these participants also registered higher levels of productivity and performed better in certain cognitive tests than the control group. "We're looking for new data-driven insights and tools to help clients make informed, strategic business decisions about their facilities," concluded dLeo O'Loughlin, senior director at JLL Energy and Sustainability Services. "Studies like this create real-world scenarios and data that we can bring to clients to help them create better workplaces for their employees."
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Second Activist Investor Buys Stake in Mall Owner Taubman
Wall Street Journal (11/14/17) Fung, Esther

Elliott Management Corp. has purchased an ownership stake in shopping mall owner Taubman Centers Inc. and has been in discussions with the company's executives. Paul Singer's hedge fund is known as an activist investment firm that often acquires stakes in companies and pushes for changes, including possible asset sales. This marks the second activist investor seeking changes at the Michigan-based retail REIT. Jonathan Litt has also been pushing for the last year for a break in the control of the Taubman family over the mall owner. Litt's Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC owns a 1.7 percent stake in Taubman Centers and has continued to criticize the board of directors' oversight.
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Packages Pile Up at NYC Post Offices Because Carriers Can't Get Into Buildings
NBC New York (11/18/17) Byfield, Erica

Packages are piling up in some postal offices in Manhattan and the Bronx because postal carriers can't get into thousands of apartment buildings. There are approximately 2,000 buildings in the Bronx and 600 more in Manhattan where the United States Postal Service can't deliver packages due to a limited key-sharing situation. Letter carriers have a key to each building. But when the package carrier arrives, they don't have a key, the USPS says. In the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx, packages piled up in 17 mail cages at the local post office over one 24-hour period. It's become a huge source of frustration for residents forced to go to the post office and wait in line. If customers don't pick up their packages within 15 days, the packages are returned to the sender.

The USPS says it sent thousands of letters to building owners where package carriers don't have access to the building. To be sure, many have made changes. But thousands of others have not. According to the USPS, it may stop attempting to deliver to those buildings altogether. A spokesman for the postal service says building owners have a couple of options to ensure delivery of packages. The first is an electronic key entry, where a postal lock activates the electronic door lock release when a postal key is used. Another is a key-keeper box that can be installed in a wall or door jam. USPS spokesman Xavier C. Hernandez concludes, "These two methods allow our carries easy access to buildings and will alleviate delivery service issues for many thousands of our customers."
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Hawaii to Use Seawater to Cool State Office Buildings in Honolulu
WaterWorld -- ` (11/17/17)

The state of Hawaii this month reached a preliminary agreement with Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning (HSWAC) to cool seven state office buildings and the state Capitol. Under terms of the accord, HSWAC will deliver chilled fresh water to air condition the eight state buildings in downtown Honolulu. The planned switch to chilled water will reduce state electricity consumption by more than 5.3 million kilowatt-hours annually. In addition to expected energy savings, Hawaii's Department of Accounting and General Services expects potable water consumption to drop by 11.4 million gallons a year and sewage discharge will be reduced by more than 1.7 million gallons annually in buildings covered by the agreement.
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