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Third Spaces are Transforming Offices – Again

Third Spaces are Transforming Offices – Again on

An old idea is gaining new momentum

The philosophy of the third space (or place, in some writings) is not a new one. In 1989, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the phrase in his New York Times bestseller, The Great Good Place. In that work, he described “first place” as home, “second place” as the workplace, and “third place” as the community anchors – informal meeting places such as parks, malls, gyms, libraries, rec centers, and the like.

Urban planners have increasingly relied on third spaces when developing new communities or revitalizing existing ones. These are the living rooms of the new millennium, a vital component for human interaction in a world that seems increasingly devoid of it.

Work isn’t what it used to be

In the 28 years since Oldenburg first introduced his ideas, a lot has changed in the world, particularly in the office. Cubicles have been torn down in favor of open space designs, which have also transformed into a combination of open and private spaces to meet the needs of group and focused work, as well as collaborative spaces to offset costs.

In addition, more employees are able to work from home, from the field, or from the coffeehouse down the street. While telecommuters report increased isolation, full-time employees also report longer and more intense workweeks.

Third space meets second space

To meet these challenges, more and more designers and property owners are looking at third space ideas to do for companies and workers what they’ve been able to do for communities: revitalize and recharge.

Before embarking on a third space design, there are a few key concepts to keep in mind so that the space is more than just a coffee shop in the office.

  • Location, location, location: The obvious spot is the company cafeteria or an area of under-utilized space. The important thing is to observe where key social interactions already occur and to build upon that, even if those spaces include areas outside of the building.
  • Technology is essential: The downfall of the local coffeehouse is not enough outlets and weak Wi-Fi. Third space areas should be technologically integrated to support collaboration, information sharing, creation, and, of course, seamless Wi-Fi and ample power connections.
  • Ambiance: The look and feel of a comfortable and welcoming environment can be achieved through design. Just as in new office environments that blend group areas with private focused work areas, third space areas should feature the same. Lighting, furniture, colors, textures, and aromas are all necessary ingredients to create a space that’s inviting.
  • Once the work is done, the work isn’t finished: As with many things in business, it’s important to seek feedback so that the space can continue to evolve with the changing needs of the staff. In order for the real estate to be resilient, it must be flexible.

The corporate third space is an investment

In an interview, Ray Oldenburg, the man who started the discussion, had this to say about the role of the third space in the office:

“Corporations used to believe that the longer they could keep each employee at the desk, the more productive they’d be. That’s been shot to pieces. Managers found out that if they let people work where they want and when they want, productivity went up. The marketplace is highly competitive, and it’s important to be first with new innovations. If you get people sitting together, talking together, innovation comes quicker.”

Morris Southeast Group couldn’t have said it any better. A healthy and supported workplace is good for innovation, which is good for business, which is good for real estate and investment opportunities.

For a free consultation or to learn more about CRE opportunities, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

Technology vs. Relationships In CRE

Technology vs. Relationships In CRE on

Turning arm-wrestling into a handshake

For better or for worse, CRE is evolving thanks to technology. In a very real sense, the industry is a bit late to the technology table. While other industries have already experienced the growing pains of transitioning to and making use of hard data, CRE is just now beginning to understand and incorporate cutting-edge methods.

The move, though, does not come without some growing pains and the revelation of a CRE generation gap. One recent study found that less than 25% of CRE professionals over 45 believe the industry is lagging behind in adopting new technologies. On the other hand, 65% of those under 45 think CRE is falling behind.

The CRE generation gap

What’s becoming increasingly evident in the CRE industry is an issue that has already been negotiated in other sectors: a generation gap on technology that – depending on how it’s integrated – can easily become a rift that cuts into opportunity and profits.

For many older professionals, many of whom were teethed on cultivating personal relationships to get ahead, technology can be both overwhelming and an impediment to face-to-face interactions. Younger CRE workers, as well as the investors they hope to attract, were raised on technology. For some of them, even email may be as antiquated as the Pony Express.

Technology and people aren’t going anywhere

The truth of the matter is that technology isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will keep developing and changing and – for better or for worse – we will have to incorporate it as a means of staying competitive and relevant. Kick and scream or applaud and cheer, technology will continue to revolutionize how we do business.

At the same time, there is no replacement for people skills. They are an essential component of any personal and professional interaction. The trick, though, is how to maintain the warmth of those relationships while making maximum use of cold, hard data – and that may be the CRE skill that keeps the industry thriving.

How rapidly times have changed

It wasn’t all that long ago that CRE was mesmerized by the use of drones and virtual reality to better present properties. At the same time, new technology is allowing organizations to gather and interpret data in order to gain new insights and develop more efficient means of interpretation and knowledge gathering.

Today, start-ups are developing software that can benefit real estate professionals, tenants, investors, capital seekers, brokers, and landlords. In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart buildings monitor energy usage, predict troubles ahead, and initiate real-time responses. Then, there are next-generation geographic information systems (GIS), which compile data to find the best locations for investors and companies. CRE professionals can leverage all of this information to make better predictions and recommendations for clients.

Where do people skills fit?

In our everyday lives, we can see how easily and quickly technology can disconnect us from one another. What used to be natural for us, now takes a little bit of effort and forethought so that we do not lose those connections.

It’s the same thing in our professional lives. While some markets may welcome the opportunity to gather real estate data on their own without the assistance of a CRE professional, it is exactly that professional who can answer questions, reach out, provide solutions, gather relevant data, notice trends, and make connections.

Rather than interfering with relationships, technology can enhance those relationships and provide CRE professionals with a distinct advantage. It is imperative for individuals and the industry as a whole to stay up-to-date or risk becoming irrelevant.

At Morris Southeast Group, we understand the importance of good information, relevant technology that delivers, and the relationships that benefit us and our clients. It’s what has kept us evolving and moving forward for decades.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

Fort Lauderdale Grows Up

Fort Lauderdale Grows Up on

New projects are reaching for the sky

In a strange sense, Fort Lauderdale is the Jan Brady of South Florida cities. To the north is West Palm Beach, bastion of high society, and to the south, it’s all Miami, Miami, Miami. Even mapmakers are hard-pressed to get Fort Lauderdale’s name to fit on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Often, it’s just easier to deal with the neighbors.

That’s all about to change, though, as a series of major construction projects promise to forever change Fort Lauderdale’s skyline and investment possibilities. Just last year, Fort Lauderdale’s healthy economy, lower office rents, higher occupancy, and lower regional cost of living captured the attention of investors. Mapmakers, it seems, are going to have to make more room on their maps.

Downtown is going up

When people hear of Fort Lauderdale, they immediately think of the resorts and hotels facing the beach along A1A and memories of Spring Breaks from long ago. The city, though, is more than a pretty coastal face.

Because of its close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the FAA has a 500’ height limit on buildings in the area. New construction projects are inching closer to that height – all at the same time.

  • Icon Las Olas: At 455’ tall, this is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale. Rents will range from $2,500 to $7,000 a month, making it one of the most expensive rental properties in all of South Florida. It’s expected to open this fall.
  • 100 Las Olas: If Icon is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale, it won’t be for long. 100 Las Olas, a Hyatt hotel and condo combo, will take that position at 499’. Condo prices will start at $800,000. There will also be 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants.
  • Riverfront: Demolition has already started on this redevelopment project. When the dust settles, there will be two residential towers, 461’ and 441’ feet tall, and 58,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space.
  • Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas: This 471’ senior-living tower will also include 152 assisted living residences and 57 memory care units, as well as a host of luxury amenities and on-site medical facilities.
  • 4 West Las Olas: This proposed 273’ building – the smallest in the new bunch – will replace the 9-story Sweet Building, Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building for 46 years.

Wait, there’s more

If all of this building in a concentrated area weren’t enough, Fort Lauderdale is also addressing two important infrastructure issues.

  • Creating a vibrant and dynamic downtown scene also means addressing the transportation needs of a growing population. While the towers are going up, the city will also be laying tracks for the Wave, an electric streetcar system. Part of this process will require the five-month closure of the 3rd Avenue Bridge so the wings of the drawbridge can be fitted with Wave tracks. The system will then link the north and south banks of the New River.
  • The pedestrian walkway that runs along the north bank of the New River will be extended beyond the Icon Las Olas and the historic Stranahan House to better connect people to dining and shopping further east.

Fort Lauderdale is moving upward and outward

While all of the attention is currently focused on the downtown projects, there are two other areas of Fort Lauderdale that also deserve mention.

The first is the SOLO (south of Las Olas) neighborhood. There, the 550 Building on South Andrews Avenue will be built on the site of the existing Justice Building. The seven-story structure is Fort Lauderdale’s first new office building since 1989. In addition to six floors of office space, there will also be ground floor retail/restaurant space.

Finally, no city would be complete without an art district. Fort Lauderdale has two: FAT (Flagler & Arts & Technology) Village and MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District. On the fourth Saturday of each month, the two areas – packed with galleries, arts venues, and speakeasies – host an art walk and are linked by a free trolley.

South Florida is growing

Morris Southeast Group is excited and energized with the news coming out of Fort Lauderdale. The downtown project adds up to 1,900 apartments, 400 condo units, 238 hotel rooms, and countless square feet of commercial and retail space.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our commercial investment or property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

6 Ways To Protect Your Investment During A Crisis

6 Ways To Protect Your Investment During A Crisis on

Today is the day to develop a sensible strategy

Stronger hurricanes. Tornadoes in areas of the country where they’ve never occurred. Terrorist attacks. Fires, floods, and earthquakes.

While it’s impossible to plan for every single crisis that can occur in this crazy day and age, it’s essential to plan for most of them. Very often, key preparations include many of the same items; so, when disaster strikes, property managers, owners, and investors will be prepared for a range of emergencies.

1. Compile important information

There are two types of information to gather: the physical and the personal.

  • Whether you’re the owner of a new structure or an older one, it’s important to understand the layout and systems within that building. That means knowing where the water shut-offs and gas mains are located, the various entrances and exits, stairwells and fire doors, electric panels, fire extinguishers and hoses, etc. At the same time, it’s important to make a list of names and numbers of people who need to be contacted to address any issues with these systems.
  • Another item at the top of the list is to compile a list of tenants and their contact numbers. If necessary, you may also want to have additional contact names for every tenant. Each tenant should also create similar lists of their employees, which can also be shared with you. These lists – names, numbers, and additional contact names and numbers – should be updated on a regular basis.

2. Develop relationships within the property and the community

As a building owner or manager, you’re now part of a community. As such, it’s imperative that you develop a relationship with some of the key members of that community, specifically the local police and fire departments.

One idea is to invite officials to your site and to take a tour. At that time, explain the security plans you’re creating and welcome any input they may have.

At the same time, tenants and their staff should know who you are before a crisis. Take time to listen to their concerns – say, poor lighting in the parking lot – and implement reasonable solutions. These are the same people who need to know and understand the security preparations you are establishing.

Now is the time to compile a list of trusted vendors, companies that can arrive after the all clear has been sounded to initiate clean up. You and your tenants want to return to business as usual as soon as possible.

3. Working with a security professional

Select a security firm and invite them for a consultation. This will often involve a tour of the facility to examine any weak spots, such as a propped open rear door, a poorly-lit stairwell, or a decoy security camera that fools no one.

It’s also a good idea to do a similar tour at night in order to make note of shadows cast by landscape lighting or shrubbery. These dark nooks invite trouble.

The security consultation – as well as with any discussions with local law enforcement – is also an opportunity to address procedural concerns. Among these items could be a stay-in-place plan to alert tenants that an active shooter is in the building; a lockdown procedure if there is a dangerous situation in the area; and an evacuation plan with tenants given a designated space outside of the building for their staff to meet. Here, attendance can be taken – and if anyone is unaccounted for, the authorities can be alerted.

Many security concerns can be addressed with technology. Some security services include 24-hour remote monitoring, motion-sensitive cameras, and even drones fitted with cameras to cover large areas, such as an industrial site. Do your research and ask questions.

4. The proof is in the details

Keep a detailed account of the particular crisis. This includes notes, names and numbers, a timeline, photographs, videos, voice recordings, tenant statements. These details will be important when lawyers and insurance representatives eventually get involved.

5. Media management

For some events, media will descend, opening up a new front in the management crisis. They may look for a statement from you or your representative – and the details you’ve gathered and preparatory steps you’ve taken will help you remain in control of the information gate.

6. Training

This is a lot to digest. When entering the CRE marketplace, many of these issues are items you thought you’d never have to consider. Your tenants feel the same way.

That’s why a safety and security plan, which will be distributed to your tenants and their staff, is only as good as the training people have. Ideally, training should begin at the top with you or a representative, who will then be able to instruct tenants. These tenants will then have the responsibility of training their own staff.

Morris Southeast Group provides comprehensive, professional property management that extends beyond the traditional functions of property management. We not only want to help you protect your investment, but we also want to ensure that your tenants are safe and secure.

We pride ourselves on a high degree of personal accountability associated with each relationship. For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

Micro-Units Are A Big Deal:

Micro-Units Are A Big Deal on

And they’re coming to your city

In 1963, Walt Disney approached two of his staff songwriters, the Sherman Brothers, to come up with a catchy tune for the UNICEF exhibition in the upcoming New York World’s Fair. The result was “It’s A Small World (After All).” Little did Mr. Disney know that his song could easily be the soundtrack for today’s boom in tiny living.

Americans these days are obsessed with simplifying their lives. Television channels, like HGTV and DYI, are filled with shows celebrating tiny homes. In addition, YouTube has channels dedicated to tiny food and tilt shift photography, an effect that makes the big, wide world look like a child’s model train set. Even IKEA celebrates tiny living with displays of efficient living space in just a few hundred square feet.

Small neighborhoods, big prices

In recent years, there has been great interest – especially among aging Baby Boomers – to leave suburbia and return to city life. Developers responded by developing residential spaces above retail and commercial spaces, creating easily walk-able neighborhoods where people could live, work, and play.

Rents, though, outpaced salaries, and a younger workforce soon found themselves priced out of the urban opportunity. In cities like Miami, for example, living in an exciting urban neighborhood often requires multiple roommates and/or doubling up in bedrooms.

A big solution in a small package

It was only a matter of time before the tiny revolution made its way to the big city. Tiny homes, usually placed in rural or some suburban settings, could be adapted to urban life if they could be stacked on top of one another – in other words, the birth of the micro-unit building.

Cities across the country are in various stages of developing towers of micro-unit apartments. While some may see it as an attempt to jump on the tiny fad, for many urban neighborhoods, the micro-movement is seen as a chance to breathe new life into downtown centers. The size of the apartments forces residents to not collect stuff, but to experience city life.

  • New York City’s first micro-unit building is Carmel Place on the East Side. Studio apartments average between 260 to 360 square feet.
  • Seattle is said to have more micro-units than any other city in the country.
  • Miami’s entry into the micro-unit world is Moishe Mana Tower, a planned 49-story tower with 328 units planned for 200 N. Miami Avenue. Construction is slated to begin in 2018. Apartments are so small there’s no room for ovens, but there are plenty of built-ins and fold-aways to maximize space.

Are you a candidate for micro home management?

Living in a micro-unit is not for everyone. Most micro-dwellers are Millennials and younger, who are living alone and who have consciously chosen to trade space for affordable living in densely populated neighborhoods. Often, the micro-apartment is viewed as a stepping-stone for a specific life chapter, with residents staying for one to two years.

While many of the buildings feature amenities, such as communal full kitchens, gyms, and pools, they do not always have parking. The micro-unit towers are often located near public transportation so residents can easily commute or walk to their destination. Moishe Mana Tower, for example, will be close to public parking garages, but will also provide onsite bicycle parking.

At Morris Southeast Group, no real estate wish is too big or too small. Our team of professionals can help you find the right investment fit for your needs. For a free consultation, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

How E-Commerce is Impacting CRE

How E-Commerce is Impacting CRE on

Retailers are spinning a logistics web around the country

A lot has changed since 2011. That’s when a blog post on this site stated: “Many consumers still want to see or touch goods before they purchase, so they still go into a physical store to get this experience.”

That statement still holds somewhat true, but e-commerce has continued to grow by leaps and bounds in the past six years – and fewer consumers have to go into a physical store to touch the goods before they purchase them. Instead, many more people are shopping while sitting with their laptops in coffee houses and microbreweries, at home on the couch, or via their phones while waiting at the bank.

Big numbers for e-commerce

When it comes to e-commerce, the numbers are tremendous. In 2016, global e-commerce reached $1.9 trillion. In the United States, the National Retail Federation predicts online retail will grow 8% – 12%. In dollars and sense, this means e-commerce sales are expected to be between $427 billion and $443 billion.

As a result of these numbers, retailers are renting industrial space at breakneck speed in order to fulfill online orders. According to a report in Business Insider, the second quarter of 2016 saw the most square feet – nearly 70 million – of industrial space leased in the past 30 years. At the same time, warehouse availability has decreased.

In other words, retailers are leasing warehouses faster than new ones can be built.

What’s the driving the e-commerce force?

In its infancy, e-commerce retailers were interested in specialized buildings. The emphasis is now on logistics and proximity to consumers. Although Amazon, Walmart, and Apple are the big three e-commerce retailers, more and more retail corporations are jumping into the e-marketplace.

To remain competitive, those in the game – including the big three – have had to up the ante with free shipping and rapid delivery. While some of the e-retailers envision drones crisscrossing the sky, at the moment, most consumers will receive their packages via traditional UPS, Fed Ex, or USPS delivery.

The solution to remaining relevant in this competitive e-world is leasing or building distribution centers near major population hubs. Because it’s a growing industry, there are specific demands that e-retailers require in their warehouse space:

  • Higher ceilings to accommodate shelving and top stock;
  • More dock doors for the loading and unloading of goods; and
  • Enough space to accommodate distribution, fulfillment, returns, and liquidations.

The changing tale of retail

Once upon a time, mail order catalog shopping was considered revolutionary. It’s how some retailers, like Sears, made their name. The e-commerce retail wave is the latest in the ever-changing, always-competitive marketplace.

As a result, the in-person retail experience is morphing into something else. Many stores have streamlined their stock, choosing to offer much more online. The physical world is becoming an extension of the online world, rather than the other way around.

Sadly, it also means that some retailers – many of them anchor stores in shopping malls – have had to close locations or shut down completely. Towns and cities across the country now have ghost malls and vacant parking garages – but these too can be repurposed into e-commerce facilities. They already fulfill what logistics managers require: large spaces, high ceilings, and close proximity to population areas.

The vision for South Florida

South Florida is in a unique position in terms of e-commerce distribution. Sitting at the tip of the Florida peninsula, the area is a perfect location for delivering goods purchased online to local communities and international ones. Smart investors are capitalizing on this reality, and we can help them do it.

Since 1976, Morris Southeast Group has seen CRE’s peaks and valleys. We are especially excited about the opportunities e-commerce can bring to the local commercial market. Our team of South Florida professionals can help you find the right building for the right job, in the right location.

For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

Artists Creating – And Owning – Their Own Spaces in Miami

Artists Creating – And Owning – Their Own Spaces in Miami on

How creativity is changing commercial real estate

Art does a lot for people. It appeals to our creative nature; it’s personal; its expression touches something in all of us. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

The same sentiment can be said about art in communities. By embracing creativity, neighborhoods are learning that art can wash off their dust. We’ve seen that with Miami’s Wynwood district and Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village, and now with Little Haiti. This time, though, things are a little different.

An artist’s life in Miami

Miami is a city born and bred on art. From its Art Deco architecture and the mix of cultures to the draw of creative souls from around the world and the abundance of light and color, the city is a palette of creative juices. The fact that it had an abundance of available, cheap, and often large empty spaces also didn’t hurt.

There is a caveat, though – and that’s the word “had.” When a neighborhood such as Wynwood thrived as a result of art, rents increased and developers and owners turned their properties into more lucrative projects.

Artists and gallery owners were forced to downsize and/or face rent increases. While some found a haven in donated or discounted spaces, these deals were often short-term. As a result, many artists and gallerists, no longer satisfied with art-powered gentrification, had to get creative with real estate.

Art’s new wave

For artists known for being free-spirited, it all came down to control. If they wanted to maintain an artistic foothold and have a say in how a neighborhood was developed, and to not be priced out, they would have to become developers in their own right.

In addition to needing their own studio space, many artists also needed space to display their work, as well as the work of other local artists and pop-up installations. In some cases, artists needed a place to live.

There were also the matters of accessibility and affordability – and one neighborhood quickly rose to the top of the list: Little Haiti.

If you build it …

Nestled between Wynwood and the Design District, Little Haiti is now a center for cultural tourism – thanks in large part to the indie arts movement. The main thoroughfare, NE 2nd Avenue, is lined with galleries and commercial art storefronts.

Now that the galleries are open and tourists are arriving, so too are the other businesses. Wynwood coffeehouses and bars are now opening locations in Miami’s newest arts district. The difference is that in Little Haiti, the artists are calling the shots.

Morris Southeast Group is thrilled to be a part of the diversity that is South Florida, from its people to its neighborhoods. In the decades that our doors have been opened, we’ve seen communities thrive, stumble, and then be reborn into something new and exciting.

Our team of professionals is able to connect investors and developers to the right property for today and tomorrow. For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at


CRE In Miami is Getting Greener

CRE In Miami is Getting Greener on

South Florida cities are fighting climate change

When it comes to climate change, perhaps no other region in the nation has as much to lose as South Florida – Miami and Miami Beach in particular. With each year, King Tide flooding becomes increasingly extreme and creeps into more and more neighborhoods, and herculean efforts are underway to adapt city design and pump water back into the ocean.

It should come as little surprise that cities are also fighting back with initiatives that promote green building – and the investment is yielding results. A recent CBRE study, in conjunction with Maastricht University, has Miami in the top 20 for green commercial real estate.

What does it take to be a green city?

Despite an abundance of sunshine and palm trees, Miami wasn’t so quick to embrace green building standards. Cities like New York and San Francisco were among the first. But today, more and more cities, including those in South Florida, are offering green initiatives.

Miami is now ranked at 15. A combination of smart public policy and support from investors and owners helped jumpstart the city’s green efforts – and the work is paying off. Looking at LEED-certified and Energy Star-certified buildings, researchers report:

  • 12.29% of Miami’s commercial real estate is certified as green. (The current leader, Chicago, has 18.06%.)
  • That translates into 33.91% of total square footage in green buildings.

Going green is constant work

Climate change is a hot topic. There remain doubters out there, so it takes a particular amount of dedication on the part of public officials to continue moving forward with an eye on the future. That future, according to some predictions, may not be so bright – everything from devastating superstorms to submersion, with 2.5 million Miamians becoming refugees.

It is, so to speak, an uphill battle for city leaders – but they have taken proactive steps through the Office of Miami Sustainable Initiatives:

  • LEED Silver certification is required for new construction over 50,000 square feet, with density bonuses for projects exceeding green building certification levels;
  • There is expedited permitting for green building projects;
  • Some existing properties may qualify for financing for improvements to energy efficiency, renewable energy installations, and hurricane hardening; and
  • Other incentives and rebates are available through local and state initiatives, as well as through Florida Power and Light.

The bottom line is also the bottom line

When real estate goes green, the environment is not the only thing saved. There are financial savings, as well. Through the use of environmentally superior building materials and the installation of energy-efficient and water-conserving systems, businesses have seen savings in a variety of areas, according to Miami-Dade Green:

  • 15% – 30% savings on cleaning costs;
  • 35% on energy; and
  • 20% – 60% on water.

Additionally, Miami-Dade County, Miami, and Miami Beach have joined forces with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. As a member of this network, the area is eligible for funding and support, as well as sharing in the knowledge base of member cities from around the world.

Connecting you to green properties

Morris Southeast Group loves South Florida. It’s why we live, work, and play here – and why we’d like to see it around for many, many years to come. Our team of professionals can help you find the property of your dreams and connect you with green initiatives that will help you, the community, and our future.

For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

When Old Buildings Are Reborn

When Old Buildings Are Reborn on

CRE discovers its repurpose

Repurposing objects and residential properties has been big business for several years. HGTV has a long list of shows that have made repurposing their core theme – taking former banks and converting them into homes, teams of crafty folk raiding flea markets to re-do found objects, and remodels using reclaimed wood for floors and walls.

In real estate, repurposing has been a means of revitalizing neighborhoods and maintaining historical exteriors. The fervor seems to be picking up in the commercial arena, where there are many opportunities just waiting to be rediscovered and put to new use.

Why is repurposing happening now?

The ebb and flow of the human tide is an interesting phenomenon. With the Industrial Revolution, people left rural communities for factory jobs in cities. Economics, wars, and a growing middle class once saw cities diminish as suburbs sprawled.

Today, we are witnessing another tidal change.

  • More and more people – especially millennials and new retirees – are choosing to live in urban areas. There, they can enjoy cultural offerings by foot, by bike, or by Uber – and thanks to advances in mobile technology, they can work from home or anywhere.
  • Technology has also changed the way people shop. E-commerce has led to the wane of large box store giants and malls, while creating a need for regional distribution centers. As a result, there is a host of empty spaces begging to be repurposed.
  • Economic cycles: Businesses have come and gone, and while similar businesses have tried to fill the void in those same spaces, they too have gone under. The economy is now booming, but perhaps the time has come for a bakery to not always be a bakery.
  • Finally, there are the start-ups – new ideas in need of an affordable home base. As they start out, they may not be able to afford leasing space in a high-end location, but could easily adapt to a repurposed space in a more affordable neighborhood.

Why repurposing is important

Sometimes businesses close, the building is bulldozed, and new construction begins – or, the empty property simply sits vacant for years, slowly deteriorating. This is bad for communities, property values, and anyone interested in leasing or purchasing the space.

Around the country, repurposing and its benefits are on display:

  • A box store in Missouri is now an artist colony
  • A Maryland office building is now a green-building showcase
  • An auto dealership in Michigan became a grocery store.

Before beginning a repurposing project

While repurposing a building can be expensive – say, upgrading and modernizing the guts to meet new standards – many municipalities offer tax incentives to offset those costs. It’s also a good idea to partner with architects and developers who have repurposed before, as well as, in some cases, to work with local historical and preservation societies.

To help make the repurposing project smoother, it’s important to generate a Due Diligence Report (DDR). Broader than a Property Condition Assessment (PCA), the DDR is especially important when examining a property that was constructed before modern technologies. New tech, such as infrared photography, ground radar, and spectrographic analytics, can help “see” various issues, such as moisture and cracks.

South Florida’s repurposing project

Repurposing projects don’t always have to be about the building. It could also be about land, as it was for the FBI building in Miramar.

A developer destroyed the native wetlands on the edge of the Everglades by dumping the area with gravel fill – but a vision to restore the land and to then use the swampy landscape as a natural security barrier interested the federal government. A repurposing project was born.

Morris Southeast Group has a decades-long history in the South Florida CRE market. We know the hidden gems and believe strong real estate initiatives and imagination make stronger communities.

For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at

Florida in The Top 5 For Commercial Development

Florida in The Top 5 For Commercial Development on

For investors and developers, the sky’s the limit

When the NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, conducted its analysis to determine the top states for commercial development, it looked at GDP, salaries, wages, and the amount of jobs created and supported from the development and operation of commercial real estate.

People in South Florida, though, merely had to look at the number of cranes and construction projects filling the skyline to realize that Florida is in the top 5.

A closer look at Florida’s numbers

The compiled data indicates that Florida’s future is very bright, indeed. The Sunshine State ranked:

  • 5th in commercial real estate development;
  • 3rd in retail development;
  • 3rd in warehouse development; and
  • 7th in office space development.

Additionally, $7.59 billion was spent on commercial real estate in 2016, which resulted in more than 134,000 jobs, contributed nearly $16 billion to the state’s economy, and earned workers more than $5 billion. The end result is new job creation, infrastructure improvements, and opportunities to develop new spaces in which to work, shop, and play.

Why Florida matters to developers

For decades, Florida’s climate had always played a major role in attracting developers to the state. While weather is still an influence, it’s difficult to ignore a dynamic economy, a low tax burden, and a growing population that is culturally diverse and globally connected.

According to a report from the CBRE Group, foreign investors are attracted to the state’s strong cultural and economic connection to Latin America and the Caribbean. It also helps that many of the state’s cities, like Miami and Orlando, are strong global brands that are familiar to investors and developers from around the world.

Florida is the new frontier to meet new trends

Florida is in a great position to meet the needs of a changing labor market and a new work model. Technology has created a workforce that is able to work remotely, while at the same time shrinking the average square footage needs of employees when they’re in the office.

At the same time, smaller businesses and start-ups are sharing workspaces. As a result, traditional office spaces are being repurposed or new spaces need to be built from the ground up. New opportunities will be available in all areas of the region, from multi-building complexes in suburban areas to mixed-use facilities in downtowns.

In terms of industrial space, a growing e-commerce economy means there is a greater need for warehouse space to promote faster delivery of goods. It also means that some large box stores are closing down, and these spaces will have to be torn down to become something else, or converted into something smaller. In other words, it’s a chance for developers to think outside the box store.

Bringing Florida into the future

Morris Southeast Group is excited by the possibilities of Florida’s excellent development ranking. Our team of professionals is able to connect investors and developers to the right property so that the economy can continue to thrive.

For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at


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