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Panelists representing the industrial, office, retail and multifamily sectors of commercial real estate made the case for investment in their respective sectors at NAIOP’s CRE.CONVERGE, the virtual conference recently taking place.

In a real-time audience poll, the attendees cited industrial as the sector they would be most likely to invest in.  However, much of the discussion pointed to the upsides in what, so far in 2020, has been mostly seen as a negative story for the other sectors.

“Retail may be the sector everyone loves to hate, but all that means is that it’s at the bottom of a cycle that is going to rebound,” said Wade Achenbach, executive vice president, Portfolio Management at Kite Realty Group. “The strip sector and the mall business were struggling for a lot of reasons, and COVID has dramatically made them the hardest hit. If you just look at that trend alone, that’s going to be short lived. You have to be very careful of what you’re looking at. There is no online-only retailer that’s making money today, nor has there ever been. What’s really happening when somebody says e-commerce?  It’s more of an omnichannel. Even Amazon realizes the value of stores with its purchase of Whole Foods.”

The old adage, buy low and sell high, applies.

“I think there is more of an opportunity (in retail) than any of the other sectors,” Achenbach said.

Speaking on behalf of the office sector, which many are questioning in light of the shift to work from home, George Hasenecz, senior vice president, Investments at Brandywine Realty Trust, said its demise has been incorrectly predicted in the past — just as it is now.

“When you think about all the economic events and social trends that have occurred, the dot com bust, September 11, the densification of the office and COVID, people have always said that office is dead. Office has always reinvented itself,” said Hasenecz. “Work from home has been successful in response to the crisis, but it’s very difficult to work in a collaborative environment. How do you maintain your culture, bring new employees on and recruit? Work from home really does go against people’s needs and desires to come together. We think that Class A office is going to be in high demand. Companies want to make sure their employees and their talent feel safe. There still is the competition for talent and office space will be used as a recruiting tool.”

A similar story is playing out in the multifamily sector, said John Drachman, co-founder at Waterford Property Company. The pandemic has driven many people out of dense urban areas and into suburban multifamily units. The turnaround has been sharp in large markets such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, where vacancies are increasing and rents are falling. One year ago, the main story line in these markets was a lack of affordable housing.

“As with retail and office, a wider perspective will benefit investors,” Drachman said. “People will move back to urban areas. If you can stomach a little bit of pain, over the long term there could be great buying opportunities for urban apartments.”

Rene Circ, senior managing director and COO at GID Industrial and GID Investment Advisors LLC, spoke on behalf of the industrial sector, which to no one’s surprise seems to be strong. He said there are essentially very few people who are not buying things online.

“I would argue that too much capital is allocated to multifamily and way too much is allocated to retail,” Circ said. “Investors will need to invest in industrial.”

The panel was moderated by Will McIntosh, head of Research at USAA Real Estate.

 

Source: GlobeSt.

A developer is set to acquire land at the intersection of University Drive and Sample Road in Coral Springs for construction of a hotel, an apartment building, and retail space.

Coral Springs Financial Plaza at University Drive and Sample Road (Credit: Sun-Sentinel)

Developer Ron Sheldon of Boca Raton-based PreDevCo expects to close next month on the acquisition of a seven-acre site on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Sheldon would build a $168 million cluster of developments there, including a 450-unit apartment building and a 150-room hotel  with its own parking garage. He also plans to build retail spaces for a grocery store and a half dozen bars and restaurants. Coral Springs Financial Plaza, a 10-story office building on the southwest corner of the intersection, would be razed.

Sheldon’s development would be part of the city government’s vision of a new downtown district in Coral Springs at University Drive and Sample Road.

Coral Springs, which is preparing to open a new City Hall on the southwest corner of the intersection of University Drive and Sample Road, wants to sell the current City Hall location on the northwest corner to a developer. The city also may acquire a nearby shopping plaza for redevelopment.

In addition, the city plans to find a new location for the Coral Springs Charter School on the southeast corner of the intersection and to sell the land there to a developer.

The northeast corner of University Drive and Sample Road is occupied by the  former location of a Publix supermarket that closed after Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida in 2005.

 

Source: The Real Deal

U.S. commercial real estate is a likely winner in the evolving Republican tax overhaul, which is poised to lower rates for property owners, spur new investment and increase demand for rental housing, according to a new report.

Owners and developers of commercial real estate stand to gain from a new tax break for “pass-through” entities, which don’t pay corporate tax but instead pass income through to their owners’ individual tax returns, according to the report, by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. The House and Senate have reached a tentative agreement to create a 20 percent deduction for pass-throughs, which the report notes are responsible for 61 percent of investment in U.S. commercial real estate.

It’s not as big a boon for the industry as it might have been. The House bill passed last month slashed the top tax rate on pass-through income to 25 percent from a current top rate of 39.6 percent. That would have been a “huge win,” said Revathi Greenwood, head of Americas research for Cushman & Wakefield.

The Senate bill has tied the new deduction to the amount of wages the business pays, said Greenwood, meaning larger savings for ownership structures with more employees, such as real estate investment trusts. It’s unclear whether the House-Senate compromise retains that provision.

Representatives of the two chambers are meeting this week to reconcile their versions of the legislation, setting the stage for President Donald Trump, who made his fortune in commercial real estate, to sign a bill into law as early as next week.

In the weeks since the House of Representatives unveiled its tax plan, on Nov. 2, housing experts have warned of its potential effects on the U.S. housing market. Proposed changes to the treatment of mortgage interest and state and local taxes could reduce incentives for buying a new home. Potential effects on commercial real estate have gotten less attention, perhaps because the industry doesn’t have much to complain about.

Opportunity for Malls

Still, not every sector will benefit equally. The tax plan should favor residential landlords, the report said, with the tax benefits of homeownership curbed. It is also likely to benefit retail landlords by lowering taxes on companies that rent space and leaving consumers with more discretionary income to spend.

“Mall operators are looking at restructuring anyway, remaking their properties to give shoppers experiences they can’t get online,” Greenwood said. “We think some of the money saved in taxes will be reinvested back into the business. Office landlords are likely to see more-modest gains. While corporate tenants are key beneficiaries of the tax plan, they’re likelier to return tax savings to shareholders than to increase spending. The tax overhaul could benefit the office sector by discouraging companies from moving their headquarters abroad to save on taxes. Health-care companies are likely to pare back investment in real estate.”

That’s partly because a Senate provision to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate could curtail demand for services, and partly because both the Senate and House bills reduce exemptions for charitable gifts, which are often used to fund the construction of new hospital buildings.

Click here to view the Bloomberg news video ‘House, Senate, Said To Reach Tentative Tax Deal’

 

Source: Bloomberg