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Is Your Commercial Property Physically Fit?

The wellness and self-care industry—and the tenants it brings—may be just the jolt it needs

In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about the death of retail. Its demise may be overstated, but as more and more brick-and-mortar businesses succumb to e-commerce, there’s a growing concern that the trend will lead to an increase in vacancies and a decrease in tenants.

While retail discovers its footing in this new economy, there’s a new and quite profitable tenant in town. In both urban and suburban markets across the country, wellness facilities—shops that exercise the mind, body, and soul—are filling some of the CRE void as tenants in strip malls or as anchors in larger locations.

Younger consumers are at the healthy heart of the matter

The driving force in the $5-trillion-dollar self-care industry is the spending habits of Millennials and Gen Z. As gyms have morphed from rough and sweat-soaked to big and state-of-the-art, they’ve always had a place in communities. Younger generations accustomed to spending their money on experiences rather than material items, however, are steering a new trend in which smaller, boutique-style facilities are a perfect fit for small and mid-sized CRE vacancies.

A personalization trend also means self-care providers can be creative about what they offer clients. In other words, this isn’t your grandfather’s gym. It’s also not your grandmother’s spa. One location, for example, can offer high intensity fitness training, while another can offer spin classes, yoga, and manicures and pedicures.

A strong business model means a strong investment

Many of these newer wellness facilities are franchises, which tend to offer 10-year agreements for any entrepreneurs interested in entering the franchise field. As a result, many franchise tenants are interested in signing 10-year leases with two five-year options. The last thing a franchisee wants is to have a lease expire before the agreement does.

To further secure their financial success, many franchises offer monthly membership fees just like a traditional gym model. This  monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is a more secure, profitable bet than relying on the walk-in client who may walk in once and never again.

Fitness is proving to be a good fit for commercial real estate

When it comes to fitness providers, their flexibility is proving to be a good fit in both urban and suburban locations. In metropolitan areas, for example, consumers may opt to click and swipe for shopping, but they are much more likely to travel for the boutique fitness experience, often following their favorite instructors between franchise locations.

Meanwhile, in suburban strip malls, wellness centers are filling vacant spaces because they are an added convenience. People are able to work out, grab some groceries, and pick up the dry cleaning but keep the car parked in one location.

Considerations for the SoFlo owner/landlord

Of course, the greatest concern among building owners and wellness tenants is oversaturation. While there certainly seems to be enough consumers who are willing to purchase monthly memberships, it’s a good idea to explore what sort of fitness offerings already exist in a radius around a potential location. Armed with this knowledge, building owners can seek out or welcome franchise tenants that offer something unique.

To attract a tenant, some landlords offer reduced rental rates at the start of the operation, so the tenant can build up a client base. In urban areas, some franchises and landlords are working together on short-term leases to create pop-up wellness centers. The goal is to develop a strong tenant, because that inevitably leads to an increase in foot traffic to nearby businesses.

It goes without saying that wellness is good for people. At Morris Southeast Group, we believe that the same concept can be applied to the owner/tenant relationship and to the community as a whole. That’s a big reason why we do what we do. To learn more about property investment opportunities, and/or our other services, 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.

Is The Condo-Hotel A Winning Combination?

If done correctly, yes.

The idea of placing condo units and hotel rooms under one roof or in separate buildings on the same property is not a new one. It was a big idea back in the early 2000s, but then the housing bubble burst, real estate prices tumbled, and long-anticipated projects never materialized.

In recent years, the concept has returned at a fevered pace, however—especially in South Florida, where a sunny lifestyle is bringing in owners and tourists alike. It’s a big reason why there are so many cranes rising above both seaside and downtown skylines in the region, from Miami to Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale to West Palm.

The condo-hotel is an attractive brand for everyone

A driving force in many of these condo-hotel projects are international, easily recognizable brands, including Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Ritz-Carlton—to name a few. These brands are key components of project marketing strategies that satisfy a certain prestige mindset among potential owners and guests.

The trick is balancing the expectations of two different populations with the use of amenities and offerings. Very often, condo units are located above hotel rooms or in separate buildings on shared property, since owners are more likely to pay for the expansive views. At the same time, enhanced security systems provide owners with separate entrances and elevators while allowing them access to five-star amenities that travelers have come to expect from hotel brands.

Condo-hotels can be a wise move for developers

For property developers, a condo-hotel makes good financial sense. Rather than strictly creating hotels with fluctuating rental income, adding condos to the mix helps to offset some of the risk and costs. Condo-hotel risks are distributed among condo owners, and pre-sales can often help the developer recoup a portion of construction costs. The hotel portion as well as restaurants, meeting facilities, and retail space then continue to generate income after completion.

And if a brand gets on board with the project, condo units and hotel rooms could be given a premium price tag.

Condo-hotels built for success

When looking at successful condo-hotel projects, there are a few key similarities:

  • Although it goes without saying that location matters … it’s always a good idea to remember that, well, location matters. In South Florida, there are two key locations: overlooking the beach, where owners and tourists alike can enjoy seaside living, or in downtown areas, where everyone can enjoy an easy walk from the office to nightlife to culture to home/hotel.
  • Unit features continue to be an essential consideration, from materials used to square footage. Condo owners don’t want to feel they’re living in a glorified hotel room, while travelers want to experience luxury accommodations.
  • With competition, many condo-hotel projects are upping the amenities game. Among the offerings owners and tourists share are concierge and valet services, 24-hour food delivery, car service to and from the airport, spa services, bike rentals, housekeeping, tailor, and laundry services, gym facilities, and restaurants. Some buildings even allow owners to rent their condos when not in use and have them professionally managed.

SoFlo is a beautiful place to live and play

It really isn’t much of a surprise that South Florida is one of the top locations for condo-hotel combos. The team at Morris Southeast Group knows firsthand what it’s like to live and play here, so it makes sense that so many others want to make the move or simply travel to the area. To learn more about property investment opportunities and/or our other services, 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.

Making First-Rate Investments in Secondary Markets

Smaller markets may yield bigger returns

While commercial real estate in major metropolitan areas remains in high demand and continues to command top rates, supply is limited and competition is fierce for the spots that do become available. Many investors are therefore turning their attention (and dollars) to secondary and tertiary markets. And with good reason—transaction volume in these markets soared from $2 billion in 2000 to $45 billion by the close of 2017.

Markets: A brief overview

Market definitions are fluid and can depend on the specific needs of a developer or investor, but there are general guidelines that can help professionals navigate the landscape. Population, job growth, capitalization rate analysis, occupancy rates, and the volume of sales and investment in a community are some of the traditional indicators in a market classification. Nontraditional indicators such as a region’s professional sports franchises or the number of direct flights may also come into play.

Out of the more than 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with populations over one million and the 30 MSAs over two million, five to seven of them—New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., with Chicago and Seattle sometimes thrown in—are considered core markets. The “secondary” level includes places like Denver, Phoenix, and San Diego, with “third-tier” tertiary markets like Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City rounding out the list. Characteristics of this last category include a population of under one million, a mix of traditional and alternative economic indicators, and controlled but consistent job growth.

Why secondary and tertiary markets?

There are many reasons to consider investing in these smaller markets that will have an impact on both your budget and long-term prosperity:

  • There’s less opportunity in major markets. Many developers find themselves all but priced out of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. In tertiary markets such as Orlando and Austin, prices (and costs of living) are lower due to less competition—and populations are growing.
  • Eighteen is the new 24. While the “big six” mentioned above are valued as 24-hour cities, 18-hour cities like Denver, Nashville, and Portland are growing in popularity with renters and owners across generations.
  • E-commerce is a huge economic engine. The continued rise of digital retailers has pushed industrial production into secondary and rural areas, spawning healthy economic growth.
  • They are more stable during a downturn. And therefore, more appealing late in the investment cycle.
  • It’s easy to overlook them. Many investors are boxed in by traditional schools of thought and may miss the opportunities inherent in these markets.

Before you build …

While it can be tempting to jump into secondary or tertiary markets with both feet, it’s important to do your homework and make sure each region is a good fit for your investment needs.

Economics at a glance don’t tell the whole story. It’s important to look at a market’s individual traits and put them side-by-side with national trends. There are also factors outside of traditional drivers that can have a big impact on a region’s fortunes. Denver without cannabis or Orlando without Disney are far different investments than naked numbers may show on paper.

Finally, a dose of reality is always helpful. The growth of these markets can’t last forever and in the event of another economic downturn, be prepared to pivot should the local economy take a dip.

Invest early, be patient

In the words of hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, “skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” Early investors in secondary and tertiary markets may find a great opportunity where others haven’t yet ventured. Morris Southeast Group is proud to serve South Florida—one of the nation’s most vibrant and exciting secondary markets—and hope you will consider partnering with us. For a free consultation on property management services or commercial real estate investment, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Are Multistory Warehouses on South Florida’s Horizon?

A new concept may provide a solution to the need for warehouse space. But it has its own challenges

For several years now, we’ve all heard how e-commerce is changing the retail landscape. As consumers continue to click to shop, there is a greater expectation for rapid delivery. For e-retailers, that means establishing local distribution centers, most likely using vacant warehouse space or newly built facilities close to urban centers and airports.

At the moment, in locations like Miami-Dade where population is dense and available space is sparse, that formula seems to be working. But e-commerce shows no sign of slowing down and more distribution space will be needed. And the solution may involve looking upward.

Is it time for the warehouse of the past to go?

Today’s warehouse usually comes in one size: sprawling. Very often, these structures took advantage of open land on the outskirts of populated areas. They were designed to be cavernous structures, a holding place for goods stacked to the height of the high ceiling, able to manage forklift maneuvering and trailer deliveries.

In places like Miami and other densely populated urban markets, the outskirts have disappeared. This lack of buildable land has increased its value, which in turn has led to rent increases in buildings that already exist.

New tenants are shopping for space

At the same time, the tenant base has changed. In the past, most tenants would be content with 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of warehouse space but with a changing marketplace, many tenants are now seeking ten times that amount. And some experts predict there are about 10 years of available square feet remaining.

While a decade may seem like a long way off, the impact of Miami’s unique predicament is already being felt. Rising rents are encouraging potential tenants to shop for better deals, and many of these can be found north of Miami-Dade. Both Broward and Palm Beach counties tend to have lower rents and more space available, and both are close enough to Miami-Dade to still be able to provide efficient and rapid delivery.

The multistory warehouse: a potential solution with challenges

Miami is seen as a potential market for the multistory warehouse, and although it does seem to solve a problem, it also runs into a few challenges that are uniquely American. Typically, multistory warehouses are located in dense areas. As a result, their design often involves tighter turns on ramps and in aisles, as well as loading and unloading areas on each of the floors.

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much of an issue—until one considers the size and length of the typical American tractor trailer, a mainstay of the nation’s delivery of goods. In Asian and European cities, this wasn’t too much of an issue since they already use smaller trucks that are easily maneuverable in tight city streets and on warehouse ramps.

In America, big trucks could bring urban traffic to a standstill which could delay the movement of goods, which could then eat into profits. While smaller trucks and vans could solve the issue, developers and potential tenants may see compact vehicles that transport less product as inefficient, too risky, and too expensive.

Why it’s important to consider a multistory future

Generally speaking, multistory warehouses are a new concept. As a result, initial rents would be higher, and the tenant would need to feel especially secure that the investment would be worth the return. That being said, can the Miami-Dade market afford not to look at warehousing solutions for the future? At Morris Southeast Group, we have always felt it’s important to look ahead in order to meet the CRE challenges and changes that are sure to come, from multistory warehouses to using  virtual reality to prepping for climate change. To learn more about property investment opportunities and our other services, 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.

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