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When Old Buildings Are Reborn

When Old Buildings Are Reborn on morrissegroup.com

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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Florida in The Top 5 For Commercial Development

Florida in The Top 5 For Commercial Development on morrissegroup.com

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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

6 Ways to Save On a CRE Lease

6 Ways to Save On a CRE Lease on morrissegroup.com

Because everyone loves a good bargain – if the space is right

“Man is an animal that makes bargains; no other animal does this – no dog exchanges bones with another.”

Economist Adam Smith wrote these words in 1776 in his seminal Wealth of Nations, and this macroeconomic maxim is just as appropriate for today’s CRE market. Everyone loves a good bargain, from BOGOs at their local grocery store to businesses looking to lease office space.

Bargain hunting, however, is easier said than done. While not impossible, it takes due diligence and negotiation before signing on the dotted line, as well as an honest evaluation of whether a bargain is truly a bargain, long-term.

1. Make sure that Time is on your side

Saving money on an office lease requires a degree of homework. Rather than waiting to do it just before your current lease is set to expire, take advantage of the stretch of time that’s given to you before renewal. The size and complexity of your business will dictate the approximate length of time necessary to evaluate the current lease and to consider options and alternatives to better meet your needs:

  • Smaller businesses should set aside 6 months for this process.
  • Medium businesses usually require 12 – 18 months.
  • Large, complex businesses can take 2 – 3 years.

With time on your side, you can now begin the task of looking into the following cost-saving tips.

2. Know your market

Landlords know that most tenants will take the path of least resistance and renew a lease. This equation changes, though, if that landlord believes you can and will relocate. To that end, it’s important that you know what else is available so you:

  • Have some leverage in the negotiation;
  • Have a Plan B in case Plan A falls apart; or
  • Have viable options when there is a true desire to relocate.

While evaluating available properties, keep an eye open for unique opportunities. If a company is shutting its office with years left on its lease, a landlord may be willing to offer the space for a reduced price. In addition, many municipalities offer tax incentives and low interest loans to attract businesses to redevelopment zones.

3. Be realistic

It’s one thing to want all the bells and whistles; it’s quite another to be able to afford them. Keep your overhead in check by not going overboard.

It’s also a good idea to be aware of cost-saving real estate trends. For example, thanks to more efficient furnishings and technologies, the required square footage for each employee is  shrinking – from an average of 225 square feet in 2010 to 176 square feet in 2012 to just 151 square feet in 2017. This trend is likely to continue with the adoption of automation technology in the office and industrial workspace.

4. Share and share alike

When considering real estate trends, take a look at one of the hottest ones: collaborative workspaces. This idea means at least two companies can work independently while sharing common spaces, such as the reception area and break room. Frugal companies that are willing and able to share without compromising privacy or brand image can reap significant discounts.

5. Go green and save green

Some commercial spaces have received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Through the use of smart design and green technology, landlords and tenants alike can realize significant utility savings, not to mention the appeal and positive branding associated with working in an energy-efficient space.

6. Hire a tenant representative

Another way to save money and a tremendous amount of time – and to avoid doing a lot of the homework listed above – is to hire a professional tenant representative. Quality reps are intimately aware of local and national CRE opportunities, availabilities, and trends, and they will negotiate with landlords on your behalf. A quality tenant rep also thoroughly gets to know your company and its needs, applying to them to find the right space.

In addition, these professionals can spot when a bargain isn’t really a bargain. For examples, a low price per square foot will actually wind up costing money in the long run if:

  • The location will drive down foot traffic for a retail store
  • The image of the building will turn off a company’s customers and employees
  • An industrial space lacks the necessary infrastructure and will wind up needing expensive modifications or other work-arounds
  • The area is poised for economic growth – or a significant slowdown. The former may be good for the local economy and your specific business, but it could also presage an increase in rent once a shorter-term lease is up. In contrast, a slowdown within a specific location may cripple a business, regardless of the savings on a lease or the physical suitability of the space.

These are just a few of the factors that a tenant representative will take into account when finding a bargain for your business – determining if any deal is simply too good to be true.

For more than 40 years, Morris Southeast Group has negotiated office leases throughout South Florida and the entire United States. We’ve seen the CRE market in the best of times and the worst of times; we’ve seen trends come and go. Through it all, we have successfully met the needs of countless tenants, landlords, and owners.

If you’re looking for a tenant representative who can help you negotiate your next office lease, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776 for a free consultation. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

The Traits of a Good Tenant Representative

The Traits of a Good Tenant Representative on morrissegroup.com

Quality tenant representation goes far beyond listings and price per square foot

It is difficult to overstate the importance of quality tenant representation in commercial real estate. Through the peaks and troughs of the market, a good tenant rep must be able to assess economic trends, broker deals, thoroughly evaluate a client’s needs, and make sure those needs are always their priority. The best reps will possess a rare combination of market awareness and vision. They’ll not only work for you but with you to understand that the deal is more than just finding a rental space – it’s a decision with specific financial implications that directly impact the success of your business.

If you’re thinking of braving the property market alone, take a moment to review the hallmarks of an experienced tenant rep – and how having one on your side can make a world of difference.

Excellent tenant reps appraise the full potential of properties

A successful real estate deal must be viewed within a strategic framework. A great tenant rep will size up a potential property holistically, evaluating exactly how it will meet the client’s needs while contributing to the business’s bottom line. They’ll do a thorough check on the property and basic financials of course, but beyond that there are a variety of factors that may or may not suit the property’s intended use.

In order to find the right facility, professional tenant reps become lay experts about their client’s profession. A physician looking to open a new office will have vastly different needs from a manufacturer aiming to move to a new facility, including factors like location, access to parking, visibility, and the physical infrastructure of the space.

Developing this client-specific expertise comes from both experience with a range of clients and asking the right questions. A real estate professional will coax necessary information out of clients who may know they want a space, but may not be aware of the specific elements that will maximize its value. Some examples include:

  • Financial aspects: Does the price per square foot fit within the client’s budget? And does paying a little more or a little less make more sense when other factors will contribute or detract from the value of the space? Long-term, what is the projected growth of the property’s corresponding value and its potential for rate increases?
  • Spatial and structural needs: Is a potential office space for 40 employees going to have the square footage and layout for the open, closed, or hybrid office design envisioned by the client? If a property is intended as a warehouse, are the ceilings high enough and does it have a loading dock? Does a retail establishment have enough storage for inventory?
  • Geography: Is the location desirable for the principal stakeholders? For a retail business, this might be as simple as obtaining a space in an area with high visibility and foot traffic, as well as nearby anchor stores and little direct competition. A shipping company may be looking for quick access to transportation hubs and a wide enough perimeter for its security strategy.
  • Image: Does the location befit the business’s brand? This is a key consideration in office and retail locations which must make the right impression with clients, potential employees, or customers.

These are just a few considerations in addition to the essentials that every client needs to know, such as the cost per square foot and zoning regulations. For example, a business services company looking to find a new office space needs to consider if the property’s image is the right one, whether it’s centrally located for employees or clients, and if the building is flexible enough for anticipated growth or reduction of the organization. Tenant representatives assess these needs by spending the time to learn as much as possible about a client’s business.

A great tenant rep is always transparent

You hire a rep to help you navigate unfamiliar territory – but you don’t want to be a mystified onlooker while they hammer out a deal on your behalf. You may have a lot of questions, and a good rep will answer all of them while keeping you proactively and fully informed at every stage.

Commercial real estate shoppers should look for a rep who uses an open book process to analyze the entire market. Essentially, this means that you will see everything within the parameters that have been established, giving you greater flexibility and fewer surprises or regrets. With an open book process, there is simply no downside to using a tenant rep – once the list of properties is generated within the specified parameters, you have your pick of the entire market. When it comes to dealing with potential landlords however, that becomes a closed book as the professional tenant rep does their best to leverage the market in their client’s favor. The open book transparency is solely between the tenant rep and their client.

From there, a tenant rep will help you evaluate the candidates based on everything from image and cost to infrastructure access, zoning, future growth, and even macroeconomic or industry-specific factors. Complete information means complete freedom to choose.

Quality tenant reps consider all options

Some companies know that they aren’t happy with their current space, but moving may not be the best decision. The rep will assess what works in the current space and what doesn’t, followed by always providing options that are in the best interests of the client. For example, if the current space is too hierarchical for a collaborative work environment and can’t be modified, then a move may indeed be necessary. But if the real issue is that the cost per employee or square foot is too high, or a business needs to expand and there is the potential to lease adjoining space, it may be smarter to simply renegotiate the current lease. If so, the tenant rep will step in to negotiate with a landlord who is looking to maximize his or her revenue stream and doesn’t have the tenant’s best financial interests as a top priority given that the profit motive is understood and appropriate for each party to work hard to negotiate for the best terms possible. The professional tenant rep will take into account the various landlord’s metrics and advise their clients of what is and isn’t a sustainable transaction

A good tenant representative will impartially provide this advice, regardless of the personal financial benefit from one option or the other. Doing this isn’t simply ethical, it’s practical. Success in real estate is as much about long-term relationships as it is about immediate ROI, and one feeds the other.

You can take advantage of our free market report if you’re thinking of a property move. And if you’re convinced of the benefits of top-flight tenant representation, then look no further.

At Morris Southeast Group, we’re proud to be among South Florida’s leading real estate brokers. Since 1976, we’ve been devoted to meeting the diverse property needs of our clients. For comprehensive tenant representation, you can reach us at (954) 474-1776 (ext. 303). To speak directly to our president, call (954) 240-4400 or email him at kenmorris@morrisgroup.com.

Could Big Data Help CRE Investors and Developers?

Could Big Data Help CRE Investors and Developers? on morrissegroup.com

Smarter decisions are a click away

For better or for worse, we live in a data-driven world. Everything we do, eat, wear, or Google leaves a digital footprint to be placed in an algorithm for further crunching, analysis, interpretation, and distribution.

The easiest example is to do an Internet search for anything – a new mattress or a future vacation destination – and see how quickly related information and ads appear in your Facebook newsfeed. From Netflix preferences to complex medical diagnostics, big data is transforming the way many industries conduct business.

CRE is jumping into big data

For years, big data has transformed industries around the globe, and the growth of the Internet of Things has accelerated this trend. Banking and insurance are two such industries that have turned data analysis into an art. Thanks to modeling massive amounts of information, they are better able to see trends, steer marketing initiatives, and determine risk factors.

While the real estate industry has used data to a point – to get a better view of property values and taxes in a particular neighborhood, for example – 2017 is predicted to be the year that big data will have a much greater influence. The key phrase here is predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics opens a whole new world

Simply stated, predictive analytics is the gathering and analyzing of data through a variety of means, including statistics, mining, and artificial intelligence, to make predictions about the future. For the commercial real estate industry, the availability of this information and the indication of trends can bring the client-broker relationship to a whole new level. Thanks to good data, the broker may be able to spot a client’s need before the client is even aware of the need.

Let’s say there is a client interested in making a real estate investment, perhaps to own a building and then to lease out space. If the local market doesn’t meet the client’s criteria, a smaller market might.

Armed with data, the broker can fine-tune and automatically obtain a location – perhaps a secondary market the client never considered, where prices are lower but future potential is high – and that future potential might be mapped with numerous points of data, from trends within a certain industry to overall economic factors and interest rates.

Start-ups are starting up each day

The key to strong predictive analytics is rich data gathering. To meet that need, companies and apps are popping up to compile data and overlay it so that the combination provides meaningful answers.

Among the data that can be used for a successful transaction:

  • Levels of property/space availability in a specific market;
  • New construction trends in a specific location;
  • Employment trends, education level, tax information, and insurance requirements for a specific location;Traffic information and all that that entails, such as pedestrian numbers and behaviors, parking availability, and public transportation; and
  • Traffic information and all that that entails, such as pedestrian numbers and behaviors, parking availability, and public transportation; and
  • Property history, including physical soundness and renovation history.

Even unsuccessful deals can lend a helping hand. One app, for example, gets feedback from prospective tenants to analyze what about the property they didn’t like, such as the physical layout of the space, ceiling height, or windows. This information not only helps the broker to find a more suitable space for the tenant, but it also helps the broker work with the owner to consider renovations.

Moving South Florida into the future

Morris Southeast Group is excited about technology and its ability to meet the needs of tenants, developers, and investors. Not only does it keep all parties satisfied and profitable, it also helps to keep our South Florida cities growing and vibrant.

Our firm has seen a lot of changes since it opened its doors in 1976. We’re proud to have grown with the times, and we look forward to always looking forward. To discover a commercial real estate property that meets all of your needs, contact Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776 for a free consultation. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Florida Is the Only State to Tax Commercial Leases

Florida Is the Only State to Tax Commercial Leases on morrissegroup.com

Politicians, business owners, realtors, and lobbyists are all baffled

While this notoriety can be blamed on ease of access to police blotters thanks to the state’s open records law, there’s another item that is uniquely Florida: We are the only state that imposes a sales tax on commercial leases.

The monetary benefit of the Business Rent Tax

Written into the state’s tax code in the late ‘60s, the Business Rent Tax (BRT) means businesses must pay a 6% state sales tax on their rent and any added costs to that lease, such as property taxes, maintenance fees, and insurance costs. On top of this, local governments can add an additional 1.5%.

In terms of the bottom line, the tax generates a lot of money for Florida. While the bulk of state revenue comes from the state sales tax, about $25 billion dollars in fiscal year 2015-2016, the BRT also contributes its share. Current estimates place the amount at $1.7 billion dollars, with a projection of $2 billion dollars by 2020.

These numbers are important to keep in mind since Florida’s constitution prohibits a personal income tax and we are state with many needs.

How the business rent tax hurts the state

Those opposed to the tax, including Governor Rick Scott, Florida TaxWatch, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, believe the BRT puts Florida at a unique disadvantage. With the tax in place, there is little incentive for businesses to relocate to Florida.

For smaller businesses and start-ups, there is a disproportionate financial hardship. Some local retailers, for example, could pay more than $100,000 a year in taxes on their leases. Not only do these costs lead to a sluggish economy and suppressed job growth, the costs are passed down to consumers.

Florida realtors also oppose the BRT

Not surprisingly, the BRT hurts commercial real estate in Florida. Small businesses with limited capital, for example, are less likely to expand and more likely to lease spaces too small for their needs. They’re also less likely to hire employees and to provide competitive salaries for staff.

Florida Realtors has added its voice to that of the Governor and other groups to begin cutting the BRT. The organization’s findings indicate that in the first year of a complete repeal of the BRT, 185,000 jobs would be created and there would be a $20 billion economic impact.

Florida sits in the middle, and that’s unacceptable

To further illustrate the impact the BRT is having on the state, one only has to look at various rankings. Florida’s business ranking – determined by competitiveness, business costs, labor supply and other factors – placed the state in 13th place in Site Selection magazine and in 22nd place by Forbes.

In 2016, a small business friendliness survey placed Florida 15th among 35 states. That’s a B minus. Texas received an A plus, and neighboring Georgia, an A. In other words, businesses are more likely to turn to those states for opportunities, rather than the Sunshine State.

Morris Southeast Group responds to the BRT

For more than 25 years, Ken Morris has been dealing with the impact of the BRT on the commercial real estate market. It has been a headwind; stifling growth, innovation, and jobs. While the state, at the moment, may not be in a financial position to enact a complete repeal of the tax, it is in a position to begin reducing the tax so businesses and the Florida economy can grow and be competitive with other states.

It is our belief that Florida has so much to offer businesses – from our beautiful climate to cultural enrichment; from vibrant communities to a strong and eager workforce.

For a free consultation about commercial real estate opportunities in the area, contact Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776 or reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com

The Common Sense of Common Space

The Common Sense of Common Space on morrissegroup.com

Finding collaboration and innovation with free Wi-Fi, a cup of coffee, and a game

Today’s office is all about space – and how to best utilize space that’s often shrinking and more expensive. There’s open space and space dedicated to focused individual work, small group space and larger meeting space, shared space and co-location space.

With an emphasis on flexibility, productivity, and cost-effectiveness, it only makes sense for the office common space – also known as the break room – to undergo its own evolution.

Mobility and the incredible shrinking office

Over the past decade, the office footprint has gotten smaller as the result of new styles of working, tech advances, higher costs, and a younger, more mobile workforce.

It’s the idea of mobility, though, that has really pushed the idea of the smaller office. So long as there’s an Internet connection, employees can work from the field or from the local coffeehouse. Less time in the office means less need for individual offices and a greater need for plug-in locations for those day or hours when employees are in-house.

While the open floor plan has had its own issues – too many distractions, for instance – the layout has helped companies realize that informal gatherings of people can often result in some of the greatest and most inspiring ideas and problem-solving opportunities.

Maximizing a smaller space

The key to increasing productivity in a smaller space is that many office areas now need to perform double duty. For companies and designers, this has led to a shift in how the break room can be better utilized. By reframing it as a common space, it’s now able to offer a reprieve from work while also encouraging a fresh approach to ideas.

Several recent studies have looked into why so many mobile workers choose to work from a coffeehouse. Findings indicate that:

  • Moderate levels of ambient noise (the sound of a cappuccino machine) improve performance on creative tasks;
  • Being around other people working hard (on laptops in a coffeehouse) sparks individuals to work harder.

Creating a common space that works

Armed with this knowledge, companies and designers have created spaces that closely resemble coffeehouses or lounges. There’s stylish seating, plenty of tables for group or individual work, Wi-Fi, healthy snacks, coffee, and, perhaps a tabletop game or two.

By bringing the coffeehouse in-house, companies are experiencing a Field of Dreams moment. If you build it, they will come.

In this case, “they” is more than just employees. Clients are also tending to linger in the common space after a meeting or before heading to the airport to take advantage of the atmosphere, to interact with employees, and to even hold meetings with their own clients.

For the companies, smart common spaces are a way to maximize their real estate investment. The common space is an additional work location option for employees and it’s a social place in which company culture and, in some cases, products are highlighted. Clients not only gain better insight into the company with which they’re doing business, but they also have an opportunity to interact with the materials they’re interested in purchasing.

Size doesn’t always matter in the new office

When it comes to today’s office space, companies have had to make adjustments to meet both changing needs and the bottom line. The good news is that with smart design that focuses on double duty, productivity, flexibility, and efficiency, smaller spaces can accomplish big results.

Morris Southeast Group is one of the top commercial real estate brokers in South Florida, and we are available to help you meet the needs of your growing company, no matter if you need more space, new space, or any space. For a free consultation, contact our team today at 954-474-1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

How an Uptick in Collaborative Workspaces Could Affect the Demand for Commercial Real Estate

How an Uptick in Collaborative Workspaces Could Affect the Demand for Commercial Real Estate on morrissegroup.com

Workspace evolution contributes to the CRE revolution

The world of work – or at least the world of the workspace – is undergoing a major evolution as a result of a changing workforce, technology, and the twists and turns of the modern economy. As a result, the commercial real estate market is also seeing a shift in demand due to how that space is utilized.

CRE and the mobile generation

Advances in technology have allowed workers, particularly those in Generation Y and Z (who are most comfortable with tech), to be exponentially more mobile and more connected. This freedom and adaptability means an increasing number employees are able to work from home, the car, a hotel, or the neighborhood coffeehouse.

Similarly, economic changes have forced workers to meet financial challenges by adapting their approach to work. In the absence of full-time employment, they have embraced temporary or contractual work to help make ends meet. One leading analyst has referred to this as the “Gig Economy.”

CRE and the new workspace

In the course of the CRE revolution, cubicles have been torn down and corner offices dismantled. Instead, floor plans embrace open and collaborative spaces, with areas dedicated to small groups and focused work away from the maddening office crowd.

The end result of this design shift is a smaller footprint for many businesses. Mobile workers, it seems, don’t necessarily need their own in-house office. They merely need a place to log on while in the office.

A recent study found that workers in non-traditional employer/employee relationships grew from 10% in 2005 to 16% in 2015. To put these numbers in another perspective, between 2003 and 2008, 118 square feet was dedicated for each new office worker. By 2012, that number had dropped to 60 square feet.

CRE and real-world implications

The new workspace model, according to the World Economic Forum, means streamlining and cost savings for businesses, from small to large, start-up to established. For example, Aetna –which has long embraced telecommuting as a means of retaining employees – has reduced its office space by 2 million square feet, generating a savings of $78 million. In addition, its 1.3 million square-foot “office park of the future” was shut down and demolished.

Other companies, however, have brought back employees from the field. Yahoo, for one, believes that many great ideas are born in hallways and cafeterias – a nod to the strength of collaboration, or at least collaborative spaces in overall office design.

New workspaces, new opportunities

In a world in which concepts like Airbnb and Uber have become commonplace, it’s very likely that similar innovations will impact the CRE market.

Mature markets, it’s believed, may have seen a peak in rents. As commercial demands have changed, landlords have begun to lower rents or to consider possibilities that would have seemed taboo ten years ago.

One such idea is co-location or shared work environments, a concept that’s ideal for smaller companies, those that lack capital, or those that seek to avoid non-negotiable items, such as furniture. Rather than leasing their own spaces, these companies may be interested in sharing the same location, or at least the collaborative meeting areas within that space.

Two companies spearheading the co-location phenomena are Büro, based in South Florida, and WeWork, with shared locations around the world. By providing fast Internet services, stylish furnishings, conference rooms, monthly events, and a host of other office amenities, both companies are able to bring small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers together to create a work community that’s inspiring and collaborative. Currently, Büro has more than 300 companies sharing workspaces across the Miami area.

Similarly, as companies crisscross the country for deals that best meet their new needs, there will inevitably be a void in the locations that were vacated. To help fill these voids, it will be necessary to do what tech companies have done all along: to think outside of the box.

Collaboration and CRE in South Florida

South Florida continues to provide opportunity for CRE. The combination of weather, innovation, a vibrant multicultural workforce, low taxes, and new and improving properties are tremendous commercial benefits.

For a free consultation about CRE and shared work environment opportunities in the area, contact the Morris Southeast Group today at 954.474.1776 or reach out to Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

How the JOBS Act Is Affecting Commercial Real Estate Investment

How the JOBS Act Is Affecting Commercial Real Estate Investment on morrissegroup.com

Crowdfunding is the name of the game

Once upon a time, anyone with a commercial real estate (CRE) investment opportunity could only offer it, courtesy of a 1933 law, to a select group of people – only those with whom they had a substantial business relationship. That usually meant friends, family, and business associates.

All that changed in 2012, when President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. One of the key components of the law was opening up that 1933 investment restriction. With the new law, individuals earning more than $200,000 per year, couples earning over $300,000 per year, or anyone having a net worth of $1 million, excluding their primary residence, could invest.

Crowdfunding was – and is – a game-changer in the CRE investment market.

Five years since JOBS

Although the country is now five years into the legislation, it took until 2015, when Titles III and IV of the law were enacted, for real estate crowdfunding to explode. For starters, these new components eliminated the $1 million net worth requirement, thereby opening up investment opportunities to an even broader range of people.

To date, statistics are overwhelmingly positive:

  • In 2014, crowdfunding grew 156%, with campaigns ranging in size from less than $100,000 to over $25 million.
  • North America was the largest region by funding volume.
  • Crowdfunding was a $2.5 billion industry in 2015, and was expected to achieve $3.5 billion last year.

JOBS Act benefits for investors

Now that investors no longer need to know a sponsor, there is a growing investor interest in crowdfunding platforms.

In addition:

  • The minimum investment amounts are lower
  • New opportunities mean portfolios can be diversified to include real estate
  • Individuals can now invest in not only national projects, but also on a more localized level, which, in turn, gives them more of a say in the development in their communities.
  • New crowdfunding platforms have also opened up global opportunities.

JOBS Act benefits for sponsors

Benefits are equally apparent for the sponsors and developers of real estate projects. As interest rates gradually inch upward, developers need to look outside of the traditional fundraising box in order to raise capital for their projects.

With the JOBS Act, they have been able to take advantage of new technology via the Internet to reach a broader pool of investors. With more and more individuals participating, there is a greater opportunity to do more projects.

JOBS Act and South Florida

Experts agree that crowdfunding is able to benefit larger metropolitan areas and smaller cities. In a place like South Florida, that’s especially important. Our largest cities are surrounded by satellite smaller cities.

Assisting South Florida in the crowdfunding frenzy is its population. In addition to American citizens, many of the residents from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe are cash-rich but comparatively contact-poor. With the JOBS Act, they can more easily participate in real estate development both at home and abroad.

Morris Southeast Group is among the top commercial real estate brokers in South Florida. To learn more about commercial real estate investment opportunities in the area, contact our team today at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com for a free consultation.

3 Major Changes on the Horizon for Commercial Real Estate

3 Major Changes on the Horizon for Commercial Real Estate on morrissegroup.com

Globalization, new technologies, and mobile applications are accelerating industry innovations

In the last two decades, the residential real estate industry has undergone a radical transformation. Innovations like mobile technology and big data have changed and refined the sales, marketing, financial, and communications methods used to buy and sell homes. Despite these transformations, the commercial real estate sector has remained comparatively unchanged – with many brokers and companies relying on old-school tech like phone calls and spreadsheets to get the job done.

However, the commercial real estate industry is now beginning to evolve quickly; a series of new practices and technologies are saving time and increasing the efficiency of brokers, firms, investors, and other industry stakeholders.

1. Competition and increased global investment

The interest of institutional investors and large companies in diversifying their portfolios by acquiring or managing commercial real estate assets has been one of the most impactful changes to the industry in recent years. Commercial real estate, long the domain of tightly-knit family, and localized companies, has truly started to go global – and that means more demand, more competition, and new perspectives from corporate investors. It also means a new group of talent is flooding the industry – with entrepreneurs, business school grads, tech experts, marketing gurus and others now contributing to commercial real estate projects and transactions.

Additionally, this interest in commercial real estate has led to a proliferation in different investment methods and vehicles. REITs are becoming more sought after as an investment for everyone from individuals to institutional investors, while commercial real estate crowdfunding is growing more popular after the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012.

2. Technology and mobile apps

Until the last few years, the cloistered, familial nature of many of the largest companies in the commercial real estate sector also meant that it was often insulated from many technological innovations that revolutionized residential, as well as some of the broader shifts that affected the economy as a whole. That translated into less interest in apps and data analysis methods – but revolutionary change is now taking place as a result of new technology.

Some of the biggest changes are coming in the form of the increasing amount of mobile applications available for commercial real estate brokers and other CRE professionals. Apps like the Angus Mobility Platform, Visual Lease, CoStarGo, and Property Capsule are catching on quickly, allowing professionals to manage leases, compare sales, access tenant information, review portfolios, manage building control and monitoring systems, and conduct other business on-the-go.

This capability is essential, considering that brokers are usually mobile – constantly meeting with potential stakeholders owners to arrange deals.

3. Big data

Big data is also having a major effect on the commercial real estate decision-making process. With recent drops in the price of data analysis and innovative new software being developed regularly, companies like LoopNet, Real Capital Analytics, and CompStak, among others, are offering tools to help brokers better understand the short- and long-term risks and costs of various transactions. New tools also allow companies to analyze unstructured data that doesn’t fit well into spreadsheets, like search analytics, social media postings, and other digital sales and marketing metrics.

According to the CCIM institute, a professional organization for the commercial real estate industry, the percentage of commercial real estate companies that expect to be “data-driven” in the next three years will double to 56 percent – and it looks like this emphasis and reliance on data will only increase in the years to come.

Changes to the CRE industry means that stakeholders expect faster, more accurate data about all parts of their business – and the tools to work anytime, anywhere

Recent changes are making the CRE industry more mobile, more data-driven, and more competitive. If firms want to stay relevant, they’ll need to invest in the technologies and employees that can help them make smarter decisions faster – helping them create value for and better understand the needs of their clients.

To learn more about some of innovations that are rapidly transforming the commercial real estate industry, contact our team today at 954.474.1776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com for a free consultation.

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