Category: commercial real estate (161)

Source: CoStar News
By: Lou Hirsh
February 11, 2020

A new list of the federal government’s surplus properties targeted for disposal includes what brokers say is real estate that’s expected to be in high demand by developers of offices and housing in some posh West Coast locales where land is tight.

What’s more, the decades-old properties — most of them underused offices — could be revamped for new uses, ranging from distribution centers to high-end apartments, retail and other mixed-use combinations that could bring new life to the areas, brokers and analysts say.

On the list, which contains 12 underutilized properties nationwide that could bring in more than $750 million, is real estate in areas where development and business have been growing from Seattle to Silicon Valley. It includes an entire city block just three miles from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, that could soon be for sale.

“The Menlo Park property is located in one of the country’s strongest markets for tenant demand,” said Jesse Gundersheim, CoStar Group’s director of market analytics in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Sales activity in Silicon Valley and San Francisco is robust, and cap rates remain at historic lows which is indicative of strong investment interest.”

The surplus property list put forward last month by a federal advisory panel stems from a bipartisan 2016 law requiring the Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration to identify opportunities for the federal government to reduce its inventory of nonmilitary properties. The list is just the first round of potential sell-offs, with more rounds of recommendations expected in coming months, as the government looks to consolidate locations, maximize property values and revenue and trim down a real estate portfolio that includes roughly 77,000 underutilized properties.

Some that aren’t in their city’s downtown or prime office district could face the bulldozer, as developers put the land underneath them to more suitable uses demanded by the market, such as apartments and single-family homes — provided their projects get the blessing of local governments.

Take for instance the property at 1352 Lighthouse Ave. in coastal Pacific Grove, on the northern tip of central California’s Monterey Peninsula. The property, that CoStar data says was built in 1952 and spans 11,220 square feet on 4.4 acres, is a Department of Commerce fisheries science center.

Located just 5 miles north of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean, that federal facility sits in a city where the median home value is $902,528 and the median monthly apartment rent is $3,300, according to data firm Zillow.

“That location could be very sought-after for high-end housing,” said Cale Miller, senior vice president in the San Francisco office of commercial brokerage Hughes Marino, noting the neighborhood currently hosting the fisheries center is generally not known for offices or other heavy commercial uses.

The same generally goes for the 1 million-square-foot Chet Holifield Federal Building, built in 1971 at 24000 Avila Rd., about 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean in coastal Laguna Niguel. That city, in Southern California’s Orange County, has a median home value of $844,539 and median rent of $3,300, both well above regional averages.

Miller said housing or other mixed-use elements serving that neighborhood — rather than offices — would probably see the most practical demand going forward.

Coveted Silicon Valley

At the other end of the spectrum, brokers are expecting the listed property in Silicon Valley’s Menlo Park to see the greatest future demand on the office side. Washington, D.C., attorney David Winstead, who serves on the federal building advisory board, recently told CoStar News that the city block surrounding the Menlo Park Complex at 345 Middlefield Road “could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

With multiple major tech firms expanding their office footprints in the supply-constrained region, the location is a major draw. The Menlo Park federal complex, housing the operations of the U.S. Geological Survey among other tenants and spanning just more than 140,000 square feet, is 3 miles south of Facebook’s global headquarters and even closer to local office strongholds of companies such as Apple and Hewlett Packard.

“Menlo Park has been ground zero for tech expansion,” said Eric Luhrs, regional president in the San Jose office of brokerage Kidder Mathews. “That’s still a very strong market, and that’s a great location as well.”

Luhrs said he’s expecting the Menlo Park location to garner serious interest from multiple developers and future tenants, including the venture and financial firms that have thrived in Silicon Valley. It could also attract smaller nontechnology firms that have found it tough to find new space as the major tech giants, including Facebook and Google, have expanded throughout the region.

Gundersheim noted that, based on its size, more than a million square feet on a 100-acre lot, the Laguna Nigel property could prove more valuable on a pure sales-price basis than the Menlo Park site. However, the Menlo location could represent a rare investment opportunity slightly east of that city’s most active section, the downtown area where most developers are now focused on revitalization.

In Menlo and other office locations, Luhrs said changeovers to commercial uses will depend on how the government chooses to transition out of them — for instance, whether the GSA sells buildings and immediately clears out the agencies that occupy them or chooses to stay in them for a period under leaseback arrangements with the buyer.

In the Seattle area, where older federal buildings on the list are not located in what are currently deemed the hot office markets, other types of nonresidential buyers and tenants could still find strategic uses for the properties.

That includes the property currently known as the Federal Archives and Records Center, operated by the National Archives and Records Administration at 6125 Sand Point Way NE. The warehouse and office building was completed in 1945, spanning 184,251 square feet on 10 acres.

Owen Rice, executive vice president in Hughes Marino’s Seattle office, noted the area that grew up around that Seattle facility over the decades is primarily a residential neighborhood, known as Hawthorne Hills.

“That area has not really been a big hub for commercial offices in terms of demand,” Rice said. “It’s also a very constrained market in terms of supply.”

Alternate Seattle Scenarios

He said possible future nonresidential users of that government complex could include those in the fast-expanding healthcare industry. For instance, Seattle Children’s Hospital has existing operations next door to the Sand Point Way property and is known locally to be scouting sites for future expansion.

Rice said another vintage property on the federal list in Washington state, a government complex at 400 15th St. SW in Auburn, is located in an area just north of Tacoma that has become a popular regional hub for mostly small to mid-size industrial developers and tenants.

He said the 119,000-square-foot property, built in 1950 and last renovated in 2006, has good access to area ports and freeways but is in an area of the Kent Valley that has so far not become a hotbed for office expansion by major tech giants such as Amazon. The e-commerce giant has been expanding its corporate hometown operations primarily in and near downtown Seattle.

It could take several office tenants to fill up the space at the Auburn facility, based on the size of companies that are currently predominant in that area, leaving the possibility for industrial and other uses of the property if it is sold off by the government.

“It really depends on what the zoning would allow and what the developer would want to do with it,” Rice said. “It’s hard to imagine that someone would want to tear down a building that was just renovated in 2006, but that’s a possibility.”

Miller said other factors to watch include how fast the properties get sold off by the government and whether officials decide to sell them as one or two large portfolios, or instead choose to shed some individually in one-off deals.

In several locations, the government could get more for the properties by selling them separately, but finalizing several separate deals could also take longer to dispose of the assets and garner the revenue that the government is seeking.

“They’re going to be incentivized to sell these in a relatively short time frame, if they’re looking to capitalize while the market is still at its current peak,” Miller said.

Because some of the federal properties are older and not in neighborhoods deemed the hottest for offices, brokers said their future owners will probably require substantial financial resources to weather long transition periods in which the properties are being approved for significant renovations or repurposing.

That’s a potentially time-consuming prospect in states such as California, where projects must clear numerous environmental and other hurdles, especially in coastal locations.

“It’s going to take patient money, from experienced developers who are able to afford the carrying costs for a project that might take five years to approve,” Miller said.

These are the Western U.S. properties on the national list of locations recently targeted for potential sell-off by the GSA:

Sacramento Job Corps Center, excess land sale only, 3100 Meadowview Road, Sacramento, California, Department of Labor.
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 1352 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove, California, Department of Commerce.
Veterans Affairs Denver Medical Center, partial sale, 1055 Clermont St., Denver
Auburn Complex, 400 15th St. SW, Auburn, Washington, GSA.
Menlo Park Complex, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California, GSA.
Chet Holifield Federal Building, 24000 Avila Road, Laguna Niguel, California, GSA.
WestEd Office Building, 4665 Lampson Ave., Los Alamitos, California, Department of Education.
Federal Archives and Records Center, 6125 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, National Archives and Records Administration.

Link to article: Government Surplus Properties

4th Quarter 2019 Industrial Market Summary
-San Francisco & Peninsula

The reported industrial vacancy rates in San Francisco and surrounding Peninsula areas increased to 4.1% at the end of Q4 2019 (up from 3.5% in Q3 2019). The Bayshore Corridor of San Francisco vacancy rate increased to 3.3% in Q4 (up from .9% in Q3 2019). The San Francisco/Peninsula market reported a delivery of 34,200+/- square feet of new construction, and 2,772,511 square feet of product under construction, primarily in South San Francisco, Brisbane & Daly City. The industrial core of San Francisco (Bayshore / Potrero Hill / Dogpatch) reported 238,000+/- square feet of product under construction, with zero deliveries, or construction starts.

Q4 2019 ended with averaged over-all asking rents (industrial and flex) remaining at $2.26 per square foot, representing no change over the previous quarter. Comparatively, current average US industrial asking rents are reported as $.72 per square foot (no change from Q3 2019). Asking rents specific to warehouse product dipped slightly to $1.83 psf at the end of Q4 (down from $1.88 Q3). Quoted daily warehouse asking rents for the Bayshore Corridor at the end of Q4 increased to $2.10 psf from $2.04 psf at the end of Q3. Year-over-year market rents have increased by 2.7% for the San Francisco/Peninsula industrial/flex market.

Q4 2019 Industrial sale transactions are down from Q3 2019 with $174M in sales volume averaging $362 per square foot compared to $440M in sales averaging $360 per square foot in Q3 2019. CAP rates averaged 4.7% in Q4, representing no change over the previous quarter. National CAP rates have remained at 6.7% for Q1-Q4 2019.

Calco Commercial has leased and sold 1,505,690+/- square feet of industrial, flex, office and land in 2019 comprising 83 transactions, with 407,846+/- square feet and 24 transactions in Q4 alone. Following are the notable Q4 2019 transactions: 1000 25th Street, San Francisco (18,432 +/- sf industrial lease), 195 Bayshore Boulevard, San Francisco (21,000+/- sf industrial lease), and 415 E. Grand, South San Francisco (21,000/- sf industrial lease), and 464 9th Street, San Francisco (16,080+/- commercial/sale). Calco Commercial is a leading industrial & commercial real estate firm with decades of experience in Landlord /Owner representation, and repositioning assets into net leased properties with in-place income streams. Let us help make the most of your real estate properties and investments.

If you would like to discuss your real estate options, or would simply like more information related to current market conditions, please call our office a 415.970.0000, or directly contact one of our professionals.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT: Q4 Industrial Market Report

Source: CoStar
By: Jesse Gundersheim

While some investors are exploring secondary and even tertiary markets throughout the country in search for higher yields, coastal gateway cities continue to take home the lion’s share of capital investment.

As typical, New York outpaces all other U.S. markets by far. Next up is Boston, then Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Seattle. And while San Francisco and San Jose in California rank sixth and seventh, respectively, and the state’s East Bay rounds out the nation’s top 15, if all the Bay Area markets were combined they would outpace all but New York.

It’s further evidence of enduring demand generated by buyers attracted to the Bay Area’s expanding tech industry, along with several owner-user acquisitions, which has maintained downward pressure on capitalization rates, or the expected rate of return on investment, at premium asset pricing.

Combined, the three major Bay Area markets have seen $12.5 billion of office assets sell over the past 12 months, behind only New York’s $19.6 billion.

Sales volume in San Francisco alone, at $5.2 billion year to date, has already eclipsed the previous two year’s annual totals.

Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have each seen about $8 billion in office assets trade over the past year.

The reported industrial vacancy rates in San Francisco and surrounding Peninsula areas increased slightly to 3.8% at the end of Q2 2019 (up from 3.6% in Q1 2019). However, the Bayshore Corridor of San Francisco witnessed yet another decrease in vacancy to a sub 1% rate of .9% (down from 2.5% in Q1 2019). The San Francisco/Peninsula market reported a delivery of 233,576+/- square feet of new construction, and 741,368 square feet in construction starts, primarily in South San Francisco. The largest project currently underway is a flex R&D/biotech project in the South SF/East of 101 Freeway submarket totaling 512,000 square feet. The industrial core of San Francisco (Bayshore / Potrero Hill / Dogpatch) reported 56,100 square feet of product under construction, with zero deliveries, or construction starts specific to the Bayshore Corridor.

Q2 2019 ended with averaged over-all asking rents (industrial and flex) down from $2.49 per square foot to $2.30 per square foot, representing an 8% decrease over the previous quarter. Comparatively, current average US industrial asking rents are reported as $.71 per square foot (remained static from Q1 2019). Asking rents specific to warehouse product increased from $1.88 psf in Q1 2019 to $2.04 at the end Q2 2019. Quoted daily warehouse asking rents for the Bayshore Corridor as of June 30, 2019 remained static at $2.04 per square foot. Year-over-year market rents have grown by 4.8% for the San Francisco/Peninsula industrial/flex market.

Q2 2019 Industrial sale transactions are up from Q1 2019 with $308M in sales volume averaging $328.61 per square foot compared to $274M in sales averaging $323.46 per square foot in Q1 2019. CAP rates averaged 4.90% in Q2 2019, representing a minimal increase over Q1 2019 CAP rates of 4.85%. National CAP rates averaged 6.7% in both Q1 2019 and Q2 2019.

Calco Commercial has leased and sold 918,760+/- square feet of industrial, flex, office and land in 2019 comprising 43 transactions, with 510,590+/- square feet and 19 transactions in Q2 alone. Following are the notable Q2 2019 transactions: 1500 Tennessee Street-1475 Indiana Street, San Francisco (120,000 +/- sf – industrial portfolio/sale), 202 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco (63,700+/- sf industrial lease), 330 8th Street, San Francisco (22,500/- sf commercial/lease), and 30 Tanforan Avenue, South San Francisco (215,539+/- sf warehouse & land/lease). Calco Commercial is a leading industrial & commercial real estate firm with decades of experience in Landlord /Owner representation, and repositioning assets into net leased properties with in-place income streams. Let us help make the most of your real estate properties and investments.

If you would like to discuss your real estate options, or would simply like more information related to current market conditions, please call our office a 415.970.0000, or directly contact one of our professionals.

Click here for the full report: Q2 2019 Industrial Market Report – San Francisco & Peninsula

The reported industrial vacancy rates in San Francisco and surrounding Peninsula areas increased to 3.6% at the end of Q1 2019 (up from 3.3% in Q4 2018). Demand for warehouse space specific to the Bayshore Corridor of San Francisco continues to outpace supply as referenced by the critically low vacancy rate of 2.5% (down from 2.9% in Q4 2018). Few new industrial properties have been constructed in San Francisco proper in the last decade, with zero new deliveries in Q1 2019. South San Francisco & the Peninsula has a reported 2+ million square feet of mostly R&D and biotech product currently under construction, with 460,000+/- square feet slated for delivery in Q2 2019.

Q1 2019 ended with over-all asking rents (industrial and flex) up from $2.45 per square foot to $2.49 square foot, representing a 2% increase over the previous quarter. Comparatively, current average US industrial asking rents are reported as $.71 per square foot. Asking rents specific to warehouse product increased from $1.87 psf in Q4 2018 to $1.88 at the end Q1 2019. Quoted daily warehouse asking rents for the Bayshore Corridor as of March 31, 2019 are reported as $2.04 per square foot, up from $1.94 psf as of December 31, 2018. Year-over-year asking rents are up 21.5% from Q1 2018 ($2.05 psf).

Q1 2019 Industrial sale transactions are up slightly from Q4 2018 with $274M in sales volume averaging $323.46 per square foot compared to $225M in sales averaging $313.00 per square foot in Q4 2018. CAP rates averaged 4.85% in Q1 2019, representing a decrease over Q4 2018 CAP rates of 4.875%. National CAP rates averaged 6.7% in both Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, respectively.

Calco Commercial has leased and sold 408,170+/- square feet of industrial, flex, office and land in Q1 2019 comprising 24 transactions. Following are the notable Q1 2019 transactions: 2070 Newcomb Avenue, San Francisco (20,000 +/- sf – industrial/sale), 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City (12,000+/- sf – warehouse & 307,000+/- sf land/lease), 245-247 Utah Avenue, S. San Francisco (17,263/- sf warehouse/lease), and 615 Bayshore Boulevard, San Francisco (10,200+/- sf warehouse/lease). Calco Commercial is a leading industrial & commercial real estate firm with decades of experience in Landlord /Owner representation, and re-positioning assets into net leased properties with in-place income streams. Let us help make the most of your real estate properties and investments.

If you would like to discuss your real estate options, or would simply like more information related to current market conditions, please call our office a 415.970.0000, or directly contact one of our professionals.

Click here for the full Q1 Market Report 2019: Q1 2019 Industrial Market Report

Source: CoStar
By: Diana Bell

Prologis, the country’s largest owner of industrial real estate, is raising its projected earnings for the coming year by more than 2% as it pursues further rent increases and seeks to capitalize on a preference for smaller warehouse developments.

The real estate investment trust, headquartered in San Francisco, said rent growth will be about 4% globally, principally driven by the United States, though Europe is expected to outperform later in the year, Chief Financial Officer Thomas Olinger said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts discussing first-quarter financial results.

Prologis plans to spend $2 billion on starting development and $600 million on acquisitions but seeks to reduce its ownership in open-ended European funds from 28 percent to 24 percent to accommodate “partners and bring ownership in line” with a long-term target of 15% on the continent, Olinger said.

The REIT signaled a focus on smaller-sized warehouse space, with only about 25% of its portfolio comprising big-box regional facilities over 250,000 square feet. About two-thirds are less than 250,000 square feet.

“We are seeing higher rent change on roll under 250,000 square feet versus bigger box, and that spread is accelerating. We are well-positioned to capture that opportunity,” said Olinger.

Chairman Hamid Moghadam doesn’t see weakness in large space demand but said “there are some markets on the periphery like outlying corridors of Chicago where there are a lot of big buildings and market rent is softer now until those buildings get absorbed.”

The executives declined to name locations Prologis is considering, but Moghadam said the REIT is staying out of overdeveloped markets.

“The big boxes got their growth early in the recovery cycle. They are up significantly on 40% to 50% in the past four to five years. Now they are taking a back seat to the medium and smaller spaces,” he said.

The REIT’s strategy this year will be to push rents up. “Don’t be surprised if you see occupancy be a little lower throughout the year,” said Olinger. “We are going to make the right long-term decision, which is going to be pushing rents and extending term.” Prologis expects to end the year with an uptick in occupancy to 97.5%.

As the first developer to build a multistory warehouse in the United States, Prologis has faced headwinds with leasing the three-story, 589,000-square-foot Seattle building known as Prologis Georgetown Crossroads, where it is asking for rents in the range of $1.30 to over $2 a square foot.

Of the Seattle property, Olinger said, “We have done a 100,000-square-foot lease in this asset, and one lesson we’ve learned about this is there is a process that we have to go through with customers. It is a new product in a new location. We need to get a premium and we think we’ll get that premium, but deal gestation periods are long and they will continue to be long until customers are basically more accustomed to this product.”

The REIT said it will pursue opportunities with Seattle-based online retailer Amazon, its largest customer.

“Broadly we are seeing customers like Amazon and other customers focused on e-commerce with some network rollouts involve a combination of large buildings and a series of higher number of smaller buildings that are located close-in to larger population centers, all of which fit really well for our portfolio,” said Olinger.

Moghadam noted the smaller-footprint buildings these types of tenants are favoring offer more options in terms of parcel size and have higher clear heights with more mezzanine floors, which effectively increases space utilization.

Of the 772 million square feet Prologis had within its portfolio as of March 31, 59% was U.S.-based and is expected to generate 77% of the REIT’s net operating income for the year. Prologis has about $97 billion in assets under management.

Some of the largest shippers and household-name companies lease from Prologis, with Amazon in first place contributing to 3.6% of its net effective rent. Amazon leases about 20.7 million square feet. Shippers DHL, UPS and FedEx, retailer Home Depot and automaker BMW all rank within Prologis’ top 10 largest customers. Retail giant Walmart is in 11th place with 4.4 million square feet. And the U.S. government ranks 19th, with just over 1 million square feet.

This year, Prologis expects to complete just under 12.4 million square feet of development activity for properties it will fully own and manage spending $1.1 billion to do so. Roughly half of that development is planned for the Western United States. For 2020 and beyond, so far it has docketed 1.6 million square feet in development solely in the West.

Of the $239 million Prologis spent on development starts globally in the first quarter, just 41.2% is build-to-suit, showing a bulk of speculative industrial work.

Despite recording a decline in net earnings in the first quarter, the REIT saw rental revenues jump year-over-year to $696.8 million compared to $555.9 million. Occupancy was roughly flat at 96.8%, but Prologis leased 43 million square feet in the first quarter, compared to 33 million the in the same quarter a year ago.

The results follow what Moghadam called Prologis’ “strongest year ever” in 2018. The REIT embarked on $3.1 billion in new developments globally totaling 36 million square feet. The year also saw Prologis sell off an 86-property portfolio to MapleTree and acquire Denver-based industrial REIT DCT Industrial.

Link to article: Prologis Sees Opportunity in Smaller Warehouse Footprints

Source: CoStar
By: Diana Bell

Related Companies, one of the largest developers in New York City and a significant builder nationally, established an opportunity zone fund targeting $250 million in investments to become the latest investor to take advantage of the program designed to spark development.

The move signals that interest keeps growing among investors to stream capital toward opportunity zones, which are federally mandated swaths of land in economically depressed areas that carry tax breaks for commercial real estate investors.

“Nationally there has been a spike in investor interest and activity for opportunity zone properties,” said Darin Mellot, head of research for the Americas at commercial brokerage firm CBRE. “There is really nothing I am questioned about more, except when is the next recession.”

Related declined to comment to CoStar News with further information explaining the investment goals of the new fund, reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week, such as which markets it is targeting.

Related is not the only big name in commercial real estate to launch a fund under the federal Opportunity Zone program. Normandy Real Estate Partners has a $250 million fund, Starwood Capital and RXR Realty have each launched $500 million funds, and CIM Group has a $5 billion fund.

Created by Congress in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Opportunity Zone program encourages investments of at least five years in order to defer portions of capital gains taxes. For example, an investment of $10 million would, if sold after five years, be taxed on just $9 million. After seven years, the taxable amount would be $8.5 million. If held for at least 10 years and sold, gains would become tax-free.

“Opportunity zones are a generational type of incentive, not just for New York City but across the country. There are real advantages to be reaped with the program, and it’s no surprise that multiple institutional groups are rolling out funds. The investor pool for this strategy has expanded significantly,” said Victor Sozio, executive vice president in the investment sales group at commercial real estate services firm Ariel Property Advisors.

Of the 258 opportunity zone funds tracked by CoStar News, just over 33 percent plan to raise at least $100 million, and about 14 percent are targeting at least $250 million. Roughly 22 percent of the funds could be traced back to investors in New York and New Jersey, based on zip code. The 22 percent concentration combining New York and New Jersey outstrips the next-largest clusters of investors. About 8 percent of funds tracked hail from California, followed by 6 percent from Virginia.

New York state has a significant number of census tracts designated as opportunity zones, with 514. By comparison, California, a state three times the size of New York, has 879. There are 8,700 Opportunity Zones identified across the country.

New York City Investment

“In New York City, we’ve already seen increased activity in contract signings due to properties located in Opportunity Zones,” said Sozio, adding that his firm’s assignments under contract achieved 10 percent to 30 percent more in asking price because of stiff competition for Opportunity Zone investments.

But because of the cost to develop within New York City, neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the Bronx are attracting a bulk of activity.

“The program is designed to incentivize development in depressed areas, but in New York City many of the areas that have been designated as Opportunity Zones are in areas that are already emerging markets, such as Mott Haven in the Bronx and Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood in northern Manhattan,” Sozio said. “Inwood, for example, is benefiting from a double whammy of investor interest. It has been rezoned to allow more density and it is located in an Opportunity Zone. It is a neighborhood in Manhattan where pricing is still conducive to build rental buildings, and investors can also benefit from the Opportunity Zone structure. Inwood is a bit more attractive because you can buy land at $130 to $140 per buildable square foot.”

Manhattan has an Opportunity Zone in Hell’s Kitchen and one on the Lower East Side, but these areas below 96th Street prove challenging because their development sites have been trading based on condominium executions, noted Sozio.

“The program is not designed for a condominium developer because they don’t typically hold for 10 years. How do you secure a site that makes sense for a rental play in Manhattan? It is difficult because of pricing,” he said. “For parcels, you need to buy at $300 per buildable square foot in the Lower East Side to make it work … and sellers won’t sell because that is below market pricing. Those parcels are trading at $500 per buildable square foot.”

James Nelson, head of tri-state investment sales at commercial real estate services firm Avison Young, has predicted that 2019 will experience a 20 percent uptick in sales of development sites within the five boroughs of New York City because of opportunity zones.

“The investment possibilities that opportunity zones can provide in New York and around the country are huge to real estate and non-real estate investors. For real estate investors it is clear and intuitive. They look at the deal and invest. But for investors with non-real estate capital gains that cannot use a deferral program like 1031 exchanges, opportunity zones provide a great new avenue to accomplish a similar deferral with the possibility of back-end appreciation that they would not otherwise have,” explained Adam Sanders, an attorney specializing in investment transactions at law firm Rosenberg & Estis and its resident expert in opportunity zones.

Time Sensitivity

According to a 2019 real estate investment survey released by global business law firm Seyfarth Shaw, 32 percent of respondents said they will take advantage of the federal Opportunity Zone program as either an investor or a sponsor in 2019. Of that group, one-third are doing so to tap a new source of capital and a quarter are doing so to defer current taxable gains.

“Nationally the market is over a trillion dollars between capital gains of households and corporations, so there is significant capital moving into investment vehicles to take advantage of the capital gains savings,” said real estate adviser Greg Kraut, a managing partner of New York-based investment firm K Property Group and the CEO of bipartisan think tank Economic Policy Project.

One important caveat to opportunity zones is that they are time-sensitive. On December 31, 2026, a lump sum of taxes owed, based on hold times, are due.

“The tax benefits are time-sensitive, tax obligations are reduced more the longer you hold. You can only defer taxes for the period of time until 2026,” said Mellot. “Keep in mind that the IRS looks at two sets of gains, the original gain and the gain from the investment in the opportunity zone itself. There is no preferential tax treatment on the gain from the investment itself if you hold for 0-9 years.”

Facing an ever-dwindling timeline, the rush to invest nationally is being played out via pricing premiums on property trades.

“We are aware of some premiums being for paid for properties in opportunity zones, with some data showing a 5-percent to 10-percent premium on trades in select zones,” Mellot said of select zones nationally, but added he could not say for sure that finding is uniform.

Working It Out

But there is some uncertainty on key aspects of the Opportunity Zone framework, for which investors are still waiting on further guidance from the government. One significant area that has not been clarified is the federal government’s stance on refinancing an opportunity zone property. That would enable investors to recoup a bit of capital and would make it easier for smaller investors to play in the space.

“Certain ambiguities regarding technical details, such as whether that can be a distribution of proceeds during the hold period. If you can’t refinance and distribute proceeds during the hold, that doesn’t make much sense for investors. It especially puts smaller developers at a distinct disadvantage, because they don’t have the capital depth and scale to hold for a decade [compared to larger institutional investors.] Large funds have sufficient liquidity and scale to weather that,” noted Sozio.

A seminar scheduled for January to work out these kinks was canceled because of the government shutdown and investors are expecting additional guidance in the coming months.

One issue to watch, according to Kraut, is whether opportunity zones are artificially creating demand by forcing investment. Sanders said that the more complicated a transaction or development play, the more concern investors are showing until more guidance is released.

“For example, in New York City, a good amount of development is done on ground leases. Currently, New York views long term ground leases as real property but the IRS still has not confirmed that. This is holding up development on ground leases that want to utilize the OZ Program for investors,” he said.

Asked his perspective on pros and cons of opportunity zones, Sanders said, “Pros are that the Opportunity Zone program will provide an additional benefit for investors on deals that they were going to invest in already and potentially draw investors to deals for developments that are just on the edge of being viable. Cons are that some developers and investors are going forward without proper ongoing legal and accounting guidance.”

In light of the uncertainty, investors would be wise to step back from the fervor and scrutinize the merits of the investment strategy for a property or land parcel.

“Governors can designate up to 25 percent of their census tracts as opportunity zones, so there is a large volume of zones, but you still need to have an investment strategy. Sound investment principles still apply. Not all zones will make sense for investment. The OZ deals must have a market reason to make sense,” said Mellot.

“Investors should be cautious in these funds to make sure the underlying investment is viable, not just jump into it because it is located in an opportunity zone,” Sozio noted.

Link to article: Opportunity Zone

Source: CoStar | By: Mark Heschmeyer

The single-borrower market for commercial mortgage-backed securities is off to a strong start this year due largely to a major real estate investment trust merger as investors turn to more secure deals.

Brookfield Asset Management completed the $11.4 billion acquisition of Forest City Realty Trust in December. The purchase consisted of 6.3 million square feet of high-quality office space, 2.2 million square feet of retail space, 18,500 multifamily units, and five large-scale development projects.

Now this month, lenders on that deal have dominated the market, rolling up $2.43 billion of those loans into three bond offerings. Those three deals along with a fourth single-borrower deal has pushed the January single-borrower total so far to $3.07 billion.

That’s ahead of the pace at this time last year of $2.29 billion. Last year’s activity through the same time included nine smaller deals.

Two other single-borrower deals are in the pipeline for issuance, which should keep the pace ahead of last year.

As the commercial mortgage bond market has shown in the past two years, there is a shift toward single-asset, or single-borrower, deals.

Single-borrower bond offerings have become popular with investors partly because on an overall basis, institutional borrowers with higher quality assets are a large part of the sector. That means the bonds historically have lower default rates.

In addition, single-borrower deals have a higher percentage of financing with loan-to-value ratios greater than 60 percent, which is an enticement for borrowers. Such deals also offer borrowers longer terms with more extension options.

Multiple lenders on the Brookfield and Forest City deal contributed loans to the three offerings this year. Citigroup, Barclays Bank, Bank of America, and Deutsche Bank contributed office loans to two deals.

The collateral for the CAMB 2019-LIFE bond offering is a $1.17 billion mortgage loan secured by eight life science properties totaling 1.3 million square feet of Class A office and laboratory space on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The capital includes debt of $130 million subordinate to, and held outside, properties that were initially developed by Forest City.

The collateral for NYT 2019-NYT bond offering is a $515 million loan on the office and retail condominiums of the New York Times Building in Manhattan. The office condominium consists of floors 28 through 50, while the ground-floor retail condominium is 738,385 square feet.

The third bond offering this month tied to the merger is a $745.86 million pool of mortgages offered through Freddie Mac. Wells Fargo contributed to loans secured by 23 multifamily properties.

Calco Commercial recently completed a lease transaction at the 30 Tanforan Industrial Park in South San Francisco. Calco represented the Chariot, the Tenant, who will be occupying 51,524+/- square feet of building area and a total of 215,289+/- square feet (4.49 acres) of land. Chariot, a division of Ford Smart Mobility, is focused on transit solution by providing transportation options for commuters, enterprises and charters. Chariot operates across the Bay Area and is now offered in cities ranging from Austin to London.

Source: CoStar
By: Randyl Drummer
Date: October 18, 2018
Link to article: ProLogis

Prologis, the world’s largest warehouse and logistics property company, has begun to consider its leasing options should space suddenly come available as a result of recent bankruptcies by retailers or the consequences of a trade war with China.

So far, San Francisco-based Prologis has yet to find any “measurable impact” from trade issues or retailer bankruptcies this year, Prologis Chief Executive Hamid Moghadam told investors during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference. In the latest sign of struggles among retailers, Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week and announced another 142 closings of Sears and Kmart stores.

“If we search real hard, we can point to one or two companies who backed out of lease negotiations in the U.S., but the impact of those isolated cases was negligible in the context of our overall leasing volume,” Moghadam said.

“I can think of 20 other reasons why tenants stopped negotiating or dropped out of a negotiation, and certainly the trade stuff has not yet in any way translated to any action on the ground that we can tell,” Moghadam added.

The company isn’t waiting for any trade war to start before monitoring possible effects on customers. Prologis is already making sure it’s aware of how long it would take to fill space should customers start vacating.

The fact that the largest company of its kind is concerned enough to seek signs of effects of tariffs and bankruptcies reflects the cautious nature of corporations at this point in the extended economic expansion since the recession.

The company has found that “there are plenty of other customers that are waiting in line for quality space and are frustrated by the shortage of suitable options,” Moghadam said.

The Trump Administration has levied tariffs on a total of $250 billion of imported goods from China, which has retaliated by announcing tariffs on $110 billion of U.S. exports.

About 25 percent of the most recent round of tariffs enacted in September is on consumer goods, unlike earlier announcements that mostly targeted materials and intermediate goods, according to Peterson Institute for International Economic, a Washington D.C.-based think tank.

Prologis has said that while a protracted trade war could increase the likelihood of a global downturn, about three-quarters of its U.S. customers are focused on local and regional business activity, including e-commerce delivery, rather than international trade.

Prologis now expects companies to take 260 million square feet of industrial space in the U.S. this year, 15 percent more than 2017, even as newly built space falls an estimated 10 million square feet short of tenant demand. As a result of the tight market, Prologis has been able to keep more than 80 percent of its tenants when their leases expire, despite imposing average rent hikes of more than 11.5 percent.

Not all companies in that industry can operate with that level of efficiency, meaning that Prologis could have a better chance of withstanding any downturn than smaller rivals.

“The markets are really strong and that’s why we’re getting these increases,” Moghadam said. “And not every discussion with every tenant starts out with the intention of them staying. In fact, many of them when they hear about the new rent get a little spooked.”

He said many tenants come back to Prologis and renew after shopping the market and failing to find lower rents.

Among the major commercial property types, only apartment and industrial real estate investment trusts have gained ground in their stock prices since the beginning of the year, according to National Association of Real Estate Investment Trust data.

Matt Kopsky, an analyst for Edward Jones, noted that about 30 percent of new Prologis leasing activity is related to space needed to fill online orders, with Amazon the company’s largest tenant at about 3 percent of total revenue from rents across its portfolio. The company also has demand from overseas to help insulate it from any downturn.

“Despite increasing competition from new construction and trade-tariff concerns, we think demand will remain robust,” Kopsky said. “Increased global trade is also a significant factor, particularly overseas, since Prologis leases space to third-party logistics firms providing warehouse and distribution to multinational corporations.”