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Start Now: Prepare Your CRE Property for Hurricane Season

Don’t wait for the warnings

While it may seem a far way off, June 1 is right around the corner – the start of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. You don’t have to be a meteorologist or climatologist to know the far-reaching effects that hurricanes have on South Florida. After a storm hits, the future of the local economy sometimes hangs in the balance, and CRE plays a crucial role in helping get businesses and neighborhoods back on their feet.

This makes it all the more important to set your disaster preparation in motion to protect your commercial property from mother nature’s wrath.

Review your insurance policy

Don’t wait until your property is in the midst of repairs or a rebuild to consult your insurance policy. When prepared properly, these policies are living documents, adapting to the ever-shifting risk landscape. Review them annually, if not more frequently, to be sure they accurately reflect your understanding of what will happen once they take effect.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you have a flood insurance policy through either the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private company, and what does it cover? Policies through NFIP are often insufficient to cover most commercial property needs.
  • Are there any limitations – in any policy – on coverage in the event of a hurricane or named tropical storm?
  • Does each tenant have mandatory insurance (if so, usually required in the lease)? And if they do, do they have proof of insurance?

Make a plan

When that “Hurricane Watch” alert flashes across your screen, it is typically too late to begin complete preparations for what’s likely to come. Ideally, the planning process begins every January – just over a month after the close of the previous season – which will give you the time and clarity to properly plan your disaster response.

Every CRE business should have the following on their active agenda, even while hurricane season is the faintest glimmer in the distance:

  • Write a hurricane plan with step-by-step instructions for each stakeholder on how to protect your facilities during the storm. This should include a communications component that outlines the property manager’s responsibilities to keep key personnel informed throughout the hurricane and its aftermath.
  • Be clear about what triggers the plan going into effect.
  • Set evacuation procedures and allot certain times of the year to drill your teams in them.
  • Establish protocols to secure and safely back up all digital properties and equipment.

Once that “Watch” bulletin pops up, these protocols should be put into action. If you wait until the alert elevates to a “Hurricane Warning,” time may not be on your side. As always, contact your local emergency management agency to learn about specific risks in your area.

Hurricane-proof the property

Some hurricane preparations will come in the form of standard facility maintenance, such as trimming trees, cleaning roofs, and clearing gutters. But there are a number of additional steps to take in order to fully protect your property:

  • Examine all doors, windows, and the roof to make sure they will keep out water and strong winds.
  • Stock extra fuel for generators (and test them regularly).
  • Securely store outdoor fixtures including building signage, trash cans, and promotional displays.
  • Book your clean-up crew now and avoid the scramble after the storm hits.

Stock your supplies

In the event that a storm temporarily forces you and your staff to hunker down at work, you’ll want a fully-stocked supply of essentials to get you through until the sun shines again. Some items to include:

  • Food and water, such as non-perishables (energy bars, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and canned items) and at least three days of purified water (typically two quarts per day, per person).
  • Flashlights, glow sticks, and flares.
  • An up-to-date First Aid kit that includes supplies to treat broken bones and heavy bleeding. When the storm hits, it is not a good time to discover you have torn bandages or expired medications.
  • Lightweight blankets with fire and shock retardant.
  • Two-way radios, portable radios, and, of course, batteries. Also consider radios that power up by crank and don’t require electricity (many of them can also charge your phone).

South Florida has – and needs – a lot of experience in hurricane prep

While the exact path and timing of a storm can be uncertain, the preparations needed to withstand it are not. With proper planning and regular maintenance, your team and your property will be ready when the winds begin to blow. Such diligence minimized the impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida’s CRE market and set new national benchmarks for building codes and construction standards. Morris Southeast Group is proud to serve this market and invite you to consider partnering with us. For a free consultation on commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Motels Are So Cool, They’re Hot

Retro revivalism is breathing new life into roadside accommodations

There’s an old joke that if one holds onto old clothes long enough, they will eventually be back in fashion. While it may be some time before ‘70s polyester leisure suits are chic again, the same cannot be said about motels.

What was once a dilapidated and dying element of the hospitality industry has undergone a revival revolution in recent years, and the momentum isn’t slowing down. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. With a limited number of properties available, more and more smaller independent and larger hoteliers are working feverishly to make kitsch cool – and South Florida, because of its long love affair with midcentury architecture, is at the heart of the motel revival movement.

The birth of the motel

In many ways, the motel industry is the result of a post-WW2 booming middle class from decades ago. With a strong economy and automobiles, American families embarked on road trips, and motels satisfied a need for affordable accommodations located near roadside attractions, such as small amusement parks, western town re-creations, and caverns.

As the nation became more connected through an extensive and well-linked interstate highway system, motels and local roadside attractions were often bypassed. Travellers were more likely to stay in no-frill chain accommodations located near on and off ramps. In order to stay afloat, motel clientele changed, its reputation now tarnished by whispers of extramarital affairs, hourly rentals, criminal hideouts, and overall seediness.

The birth of the new motel

In the decades since the motel’s decline, more branded chain hotels swept in to fill the void and luxury hotels grew more luxuriant and expensive. A younger generation of travelers, weighed down by college debt and a weaker economy but valuing experience and affordability, helped to put Airbnb on the map.

The intimacy of renting accommodations in a stranger’s house, though, wasn’t for everyone – and inventive and creative hoteliers see an opportunity in the supply of aging motels. Often, these relics had remained in families for generations or had owners who were simply overwhelmed by the challenges of running a profitable operation. Either way, buyers and investors found eager sellers – and the revivalism revolution began.

How to make an old motel new again

The new hoteliers have pretty much stumbled upon a formula for re-doing an old motel, one that celebrates the personality of the structure without demolition. That formula’s success, though, is based on a few key elements:

  • No matter where a motel is located, from Austin, TX, to Jackson Hole, WY, to wherever the road takes you, it’s important to be restrained in design. Kitsch can quickly and easily become a cliché.

  • When considering a motel update, it’s important to leverage the work of local craftspeople and artisans. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the local flavor and to add a sense of uniqueness to the traveler’s stay.

On a local level, several South Florida motels have found a way to pay homage to the region’s historic and nostalgic architecture while creating a hip-but-authentic place for not only a new generation of travelers but also an aging Baby Boomer population looking for a stroll down memory lane. In Miami, there’s Vagabond and the New Yorker. Both are known for their nod to classic vintage style and an independent and community mindset. A little further up the coast, in Fort Lauderdale, is Manhattan Tower, with its iconic tower and Intracoastal views.

Searching for a hidden gem in SoFlo

At Morris Southeast Group, we’ve written extensively about the opportunities to repurpose old structures into something else – and we think it’s fantastic to repurpose an old motel into a celebration of its glory days that serves a new market of travelers. To learn more about hidden retro gems and other property investment opportunities, and/or our other CRE 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.

Looking For A Building? Print It!

The 3D printing revolution is on the horizon and the technology is already impacting construction and CRE

Although it was developed in 1984, it took until quite recently for 3D printing to become part of our everyday vernacular. In recent years, its use has grown by leaps and bounds – from printing artificial limbs and organs to weapons to food. It seems that the only thing that might hold back 3D technology from here is lack of imagination.

That’s why it’s time for anyone interested in CRE to pay attention. While experts debate how long it will take for 3D printing to become a viable, common technology in the real estate business, there is no doubt that it will – and that it is set to have an impact on all aspects of the industry.

The 3D printing future is playing out now

When it comes to engineering and design, 3D printing was once considered a novelty act – a tool to create three-dimensional models of future projects that clients could examine from all sides – and household décor items. Printers, though, have gotten quite a bit larger and the technology has jumped forward.

Using a technique called “additive building” or “additive manufacturing,” the 3-D printer scans a blueprint of a structure, and then “prints” with a soft concrete that is applied in stacked layers. Around the world, construction and technology firms have joined forces to make this technology possible, and nations are taking notice:

  • China: In 2015, a 3D printed apartment building was constructed at a rate of one floor per day for $160,000.
  • Japan: In less than 45 days, a Japanese-based firm constructed a 4,305 square-foot 3D printed concrete house that could reportedly withstand an 8.0-magnitude earthquake.

  • Dubai: Perhaps because of the available capital to invest in the technology, innovation here is the greatest. It’s home to the world’s first 3D printed office building – completed in 17 days. In addition, with the help of a 20’ tall, 120’ long, 40’ wide 3D printer, a 2,700 square-foot office space was created on the campus of the Museum of the Future. Government officials are so taken with the technology that they have committed to the goal of 25% of Dubai’s buildings being 3D printed by 2030.

  • As a result of these projects, numerous other countries from Egypt to Haiti to El Salvador are all embarking on 3D printing projects to solve housing crises and build in difficult-to-reach locations where traditional construction methods are impossible at best.

3D printing on the home front

In the United States, 3D printing has been relegated to specific projects, such as efforts to restore the facades of historic buildings in NYC or as exhibition projects on college campuses. Much of this is because the long-range vision for 3D technology has outpaced what already exists. While some imagine a future of entire 3D-printed communities filled with homes for less than $4,000, there simply is not a system in place for field inspections and building codes to ensure a project’s structural, electrical, and plumbing integrity.

There’s also the matter of jobs. 3D printing is sure to cause a disruption in the job market, particularly in the construction field. While there will be a greater need for designers, engineers, and innovators, many construction workers will have to be re-trained to be incorporated into this new field or find work in other areas.

3D printing and the real estate industry

Similarly, the real estate industry will also have to adapt to a 3D future. As the technology becomes more cost effective and readily available, professionals will have to understand the technology and help clients to also envision 3D possibilities – from new construction to remodels to interiors.

At the same time, available properties will also undergo a transformation. Some retail properties, for example, will only need to house a 3D printer and it’s supplies for print-on-demand products; everything from housewares to furniture to whatever else one can imagine. Similarly, small industrial properties and warehouses may again be re-purposed, this time into local 3D printing centers or storage and fulfillment facilities.

If all of this sounds like the stuff of some far-fetched sci-fi film, Morris Southeast Group would like to remind everyone that it wasn’t so long ago that virtual reality just seemed like a neat gimmick. Today, it can be a necessity for a real estate deal. Similarly, e-commerce has radically reshaped CRE as well as commerce as a whole in a relatively short time. This is why we keep an eye on the future while providing top-notch service and investment advice in the present. To learn more about property investment opportunities, and/or our other services in South Florida, 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.

Using Light to Attract CRE Tenants

CRE and LED is a bright idea

When it comes to attracting quality tenants, there’s already plenty of information about using lighting. Much of it, though, has to do with landscape lighting, security lighting, and specific lighting – such as ambient and task – for residential properties.

When it comes to commercial properties, lighting can be just as crucial to attracting top-quality tenants. For years, LED has been the standard but we are now experiencing a lighting revolution. In fact, new and improved technologies are almost being developed as fast as, well, the speed of light.

A bright idea is getting brighter

The first LED light was developed back in 1962, and its early usage was usually in the computer tech industry. Over the decades, improvements in delivery of LED light, as well as its relatively low cost and energy efficiency, have made LEDs very common. This increase in demand combined with what some experts see as a glut on the market have led to a push for differentiation – and this, in turn, is leading to customizable options for specific industries.

  • Indoor spaces exposed to daylight have been shown to improve worker morale and productivity, as well as regulate human circadian rhythms. The good news is that high-CRI (Color Rendering Index) LED bulbs are able to mimic natural daylight, which can be tremendously appealing to potential tenants.
  • Similarly, tunable lights can create different moods for different tasks. Cooler lighting with high intensities is better suited for concentration and focus; warmer lighting and lower intensities are ideal for creativity and cooperation – and all of this can happen in a single space with the help of a switch.
  • For retail tenants, there is fierce competition as they battle to offer shoppers a new and more personalized experience. The combination of LED lights and smart mirrors in the dressing room allows customers to adjust lighting so they can see clothing at different times of day. An outfit’s color, for example, will look very different in the white light of midday and the warmer tones at sunset.
  • In the simplest of terms, connected lighting is a system of light fixtures, connected to a network, that can send and receive data. Data can be used to better manage the building, from usage to temperature to humidity to efficiency. This system can either be delivered through a retrofit of existing light fixtures (also known as network control lighting) or Power-over-Ethernet, which is the installation of an all-new connected lighting system.

Lighting delivers more than light

Perhaps the most exciting innovation in the world of light is Li-Fi, which is short for Light Fidelity.  Presently, we are all familiar with broadband and Wi-Fi – and just as the name implies, Li-Fi means the light bulb is the router, with data traveling at 224 gigabits per second on the rapidly blinking waves of an LED bulb. In other words, where there is an LED light bulb, there is Internet.

Presently, a major disadvantage is also one of its advantages. Since LED light cannot penetrate walls, a signal’s range can be limited. On the other hand, it means that a company’s internal communications are secure from users in another room, building, or even outside.  

The brightest and the best in SoFlo

The team at Morris Southeast Group is always excited about advances in technology and its impact on commercial real estate. It’s important to keep properties relevant to meet the changing needs of owners, investors, and tenants. To learn more about property investment opportunities, and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Embrace Your Opponents: A Modern Approach to NIMBY

Listen, communicate, and collaborate to get a CRE project off the ground

Most urban dwellers agree that development projects such as renewable energy, homeless shelters, public transportation, and affordable housing are good for their communities. But when it comes to where those projects are located, many local residents come down with a case of NIMBY (Not in My Backyard). One of the many results of this syndrome is an increase in land use restrictions, which a 2015 study estimated cost as much as $1.5 trillion in lost productivity.

In South Florida, developers have had their successes and failures in countering the NIMBY response. Below we detail several thoughtful, proactive ways to engage a community and respond to concerns about a new development.

Put yourself in their shoes

It can be tempting to adopt a defensive posture when a community group pushes back on a project. In these situations, step back and imagine the scenario from their side. We all have families, live in neighborhoods, and want a quiet, safe place to call our own. Anything that seems to threaten that can be seen as dangerous and scary. Show respect for local residents and take the time to listen to their concerns.

To effectively mitigate this opposition, it’s crucial to address its root causes, which often fall into these buckets:

  • Misinformation. In the digital age, incorrect or biased information can circulate in a heartbeat. Correcting it quickly and clearly is essential to effective community engagement.
  • Conflicts of values. Odds are, project leaders and community residents actually share a set of values and goals (reducing unemployment, increasing local resources, improving schools) but have different opinions on how to get there. Focus on what you share and make the case for your project in that context.
  • Emotional needs. In the end, local zoning boards or planning commissions have the same desire – they want to be heard and expect to be involved in the decision process. Approach them with deference and treat them as partners. A gesture as simple as that can go a long way towards turning adversaries into allies.

Personal connections made in one-on-one conversations or meetings of small groups are the most effective way to build support. Large, public hearings are more difficult to manage and can often fuel the fire of resistance by giving potential opponents an opportunity to network on site.

Most people are not economists or urban planners. They don’t care about the 30,000-foot view; they care about the view from their porch.

Engage your supporters

An essential starting point in working against any NIMBY opposition is to find those who already believe in your cause. People will follow the crowd and if they believe that a majority of their friends and neighbors support your project, they are more likely to follow suit.

If you can rally supporters to speak out on your behalf – in person or online – even better. Residents who may be on the fence are more likely to lean in your favor if they hear testimony from their neighbors in a public forum or see positive chatter on social media.

Identify and target specific pockets of support:

  • People who benefit directly from the project, such as construction workers, property owners, new hires, and suppliers.
  • People who benefit indirectly from the project, such as area small business owners or local chambers of commerce.
  • People who make direct use of the project, such as families who need public housing or commuters who need affordable transportation

Listen and communicate

A comprehensive communication strategy can work wonders to convey a message consistently and clearly. As one-on-one interactions with residents inform your understanding of the issues involved, incorporate them into your messaging. Proactively address the most glaring concerns – traffic and parking, environmental impact, strain on services, neighborhood preservation –and your message will be one of collaboration rather than confrontation.

Share as many details of the project as possible so that they become familiar and, frankly, unremarkable, to your core audience. The more ordinary your plans seem, the less misinformation is likely to circulate.

Every NIMBY movement has its own unique motivations and local roots and thus requires a unique and locally-inspired approach. The more time you take at the outset to listen, understand and reflect back the community’s values, the more likely you are to gain supporters and minimize naysayers. We at Morris Southeast Group are proud community partners and are always tuned to the needs of our neighbors. For a free consultation on commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Who’s Bagging Your Groceries? Robots!

Disruption comes to the South Florida supermarket

Automation is the new black when it comes to speed and cost efficiency. Miami’s own Sedano’s grocery outlets, in partnership with Massachusetts-based Takeoff Technologies, is wearing this new style proudly as they deploy what is being called the world’s first “robotic grocery store.”

If successful, this new model will offer other retailers a brave new world of online growth at a fraction of the current cost of doing business. They will roll out the technology in 14 of Sedano’s 34 locations, and Takeoff plans to launch similar programs at five additional regional and national U.S. retail chains.

The process is fairly simple: customers order groceries from their phone or laptop, artificial intelligence-enabled robots at Takeoff’s automated fulfillment centers fetch the items, and Sedano’s staff helps sort and get them ready for in-store pickup or out the door for delivery. Takeoff’s system then automatically restocks inventory as needed, filters customer service requests, and provides reporting and analytics.

Cheaper, faster service

The grocery business can be cutthroat. Its low margins and high volume have companies always on the lookout for an edge. Robots bring a new opportunity to simplify processes and cut down on labor expenses. And the sector is growing, expected to reach $100 billion by 2022, with the overall warehouse robotics market expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8 percent between 2017 and 2022, putting it at $4.44 billion in value.

These automated shoppers can yank 60 items off the shelf in a manner of minutes; 900 per hour. By contrast, living, breathing shoppers can only grab 60 per hour. Every week, the system processes as many as 3,500 online orders per location, with promises of delivery within two hours. These numbers dwarf those seen by traditional stores that rely almost exclusively on manual processes.

Automation means fewer square feet

These automated micro-fulfillment centers offer efficient service and significant cost savings because, among other reasons, they don’t take up as much room. They each need only 8,000-10,000 square feet, sometimes installed in the grocery store itself, which greatly shortens the distance between supplier and retailer and saves a boatload of cash, since they don’t have to build a physically separate distribution center.

It also shortens the distance between warehouse and customer, with orders able to be picked up mere steps away from where they are stored and delivery options being that much faster.

More examples of grocery automation

While a pioneer in many respects, Sedano’s is not the only grocer to dip their toe in automation.

  • Ahold Delhaize, the world’s eighth-largest grocery retailer, plans to speed up orders and trim delivery times with their own automated warehouses.
  • Albertsons hopes to establish a more efficient way to put together bags for delivery using automated packing solutions.
  • Walmart, the 900-pound gorilla in the room and the main competition for Amazon, will capture approximately 1.8 percent of U.S. consumer grocery spending this year (up from 0.8 last year) and is in the process of testing whether robots can give them an edge in fulfillment times.
  • Ocado, a U.K. online supermarket management firm that plans to enter the U.S. market via Kroger. They plan to pack 65,000 orders per week and boast battery powered units with charging stations.

In its quest to solve the conundrum facing all modern supermarkets – offer a robust and changing selection of products at a reasonable cost and still bring in enough profit to pay the bills – South Florida’s own Sedano’s has embraced disruption and is charting an exciting course towards the future. The impact on CRE will be interesting, especially if automation moves grocers toward finding smaller spaces in strategic locations – not to mention the impact the technology will have on other retail businesses.Morris Southeast Group keeps abreast of innovation and trends in South Florida business and their potential impact on CRE, and we’d be happy to help you find your next investment opportunity. 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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

The Power of Pop-Ups on CRE in South Florida

The Power of Pop-Ups on CRE in South Florida on morrissegroup.com

A short-term tenant is better than no tenant

If there’s one thing that’s been made perfectly clear over recent years, it’s that e-retail has had a tremendous impact on commercial real estate. As consumers have changed their shopping habits and as retailers of all sizes have had to keep up with the digital times or close their doors permanently, building landlords, owners, and developers are holding vacant spaces.

Before nailing shut the coffin on brick-and-mortar stores, now – today – would be a great time to rethink how to fill these vacancies on a short-term-but-profitable basis. The pop-up economy is a solution that may boost CRE. These limited, seasonal or otherwise short-term businesses that need to lease space fast can rejuvenate the economy in areas while salvaging a CRE investor’s ROI on an empty space.

The pop-up economy is born

Ironically, the pop-up phenomenon is an outgrowth of e-commerce. In a digital field that is growing increasingly crowded, online retailers have had to find new and creative ways to reach consumers and to test out new products and brands. At the same time, a younger consumer demographic accustomed to swiping left or right for everything is, at the same time, craving experiential activities that can be shared on social media.

The answer, as it turns out, is the one thing e-commerce has decimated … the one thing retailers have known since the dawn of the marketplace: There is really no substitute for face-to-face interaction between shop owner and consumer. And the pop-up seems to check all of the necessary boxes while delivering this in-person experience.

What pop-ups mean for CRE

Most people are familiar with seasonal pop-ups, such as costume stores in the weeks leading up to Halloween. As a $50 billion industry, though, there is a lot more variety in the pop-up world. In fact, pop-ups encompass a broad range of themes, including new businesses, product introductions, museums, art galleries, and spaces filled with selfie opportunities. Furthermore, there are now several online services to help link building owners and pop-up tenants.

To help attract tenants, pop-up leases are short term, generally running from six weeks to a year, although – depending on the business – this could be modified. In addition, pop-up rents can be as much as 50% lower than those with a traditional lease. The justification for this is that very little space modification needs to be done to the vacant space. Tenants require ease in moving and moving out, while landlords do not want to get bogged down with constantly remodeling or providing extensive maintenance.

Additional bonuses for the landlord/owner

Pop-ups come in all shapes and sizes, from a store within a store to a collection of pop-ups under a single roof to vacant street level space to kiosks to mall locations. With the success of a pop-up comes buzz, which then leads to increased foot traffic, publicity, a rejuvenation of the property and surrounding neighborhood, and a chance to put an energized spotlight on the desirability of the property’s location.

For the landlord/owner, all of this adds up to generating revenue – either from a single or a series of pop-ups, a short-term pop-up that may want to make a longer commitment, or a long-term tenant that sees your property in a whole new light.

Pop-ups in SoFlo

At Morris Southeast Group, we’ve written extensively about the impact of e-commerce and the potential in repurposing buildings. In each case, we’ve always been excited. It’s the same with pop-ups because South Florida has already witnessed their impact – just take a look at Wynwood in Miami and MASS in Ft. Lauderdale – and there are more opportunities all around us. To learn more about pop-up possibilities, 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.

Want a Killer Real Estate Investment? Follow the Art.

Where the artists go, higher property values may follow

South Florida is a region with artistic lifeblood pumping through its veins. From Wynwood and Little Haiti in Miami to FAT Village in Fort Lauderdale, creativity has lifted neighborhoods, boosted economic vitality, and changed lives. Mural art has long been a fixture of area communities, on both public and privately-owned buildings. This trend, once seen as a harbinger of neighborhood decay, has in recent years become a beacon for economic vitality and community engagement.

Real estate in particular has seen this trend as a great boon to property values, and a great advertisement for the communities themselves.

The art/commerce connection

Although developers and landlords had been talking up this trend for years, it wasn’t until 2016 that researchers in the U.K. used Flickr to prove the connection between public art and property values. Up until then, there wasn’t a reliable method of getting a tally of the amount of art in a specific area. They used the social media platform’s image tags and location data to track the locations of photos labeled “art” from London neighborhoods taken from 2004 and 2013. Each photo was coded with a geotag, providing authentic geographic information. They then overlaid residential property prices and watched them shift over those nine years.

The results matched the anecdotes that real estate professionals had been mentioning for years – neighborhoods with a higher concentration of art saw prices rise more than those with little or no art.

Creating community

A city with an abundance of art brings with it a sense of joy, pride, and fun. It takes blank walls and turns them vibrant, making the building and surrounding neighborhood a place far more livable and walkable. A structure that was simply a building with a corporate function – a bank, drug store, or insurance office – can become a local landmark, something that people travel to see, and want to live near.

With ecommerce taking a huge bite of the retail industry, local businesses have to create new reasons for people to unplug, put on their sneakers, and walk into their stores. Mural art can signal to potential customers that excitement and value live within a business’s walls.

Driving business

Public mural art has come a long way. From its radical roots as a form of vandalism-inspired protest to its current place of honor in museums, galleries, and at economic development board meetings, it is now recognized as a valuable part of urban and suburban centers. Art’s role as a brand ambassador has also been solidified, with corporate behemoths from Coca-Cola to Nike sponsoring advertisements in the form of original murals.

The funnel of art to dollars runs a fairly simple path: high-quality neighborhood art shows improvement in the area and attracts more artists. Funky, independent businesses follow, such as cafes, restaurants, and local retailers. Young, hip (and often newly-moneyed) professionals want to live where the action is and put down their own stakes. Realtors see the shift and raise prices accordingly.

One of Miami’s newest properties may very well be ground zero for this trend. Canvas Miami, a 37-foot tower with 513 condos in the heart of the city’s Arts and Entertainment District, was designed to be a literal work of art. Topping out at $630,000 per unit, the space boasts work ranging from freestyle to interactive chalkboard art. Amenities include pool decks, a yoga garden, squash fields, and a playroom for kids.

The team at Morris Southeast Group wholeheartedly supports the use of art to fundamentally improve the neighborhoods and larger economy of South Florida. For a free consultation or to learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Dementia Care May Be as Close as an Empty Box Store

Repurposing vacancies for an aging population

A lot has been written in recent years – on this blog included – about the evolution in the commercial real estate market, particularly as a string of retail giants have shuttered their doors for failing to keep up with the e-changes in consumerism. At the same time, technological advancements have made millions of square feet of industrial space obsolete. The question has risen: Just what can be done with all of these vacancies?

For an answer, one only needs to look at the rapidly changing demands being placed on healthcare real estate. Some of the final product, as developers, researchers, and other parties come together, is not only good for the business of medicine, it benefits the common good – even providing hope for patients and their loved ones.

Healthcare real estate today

Once upon a time, healthcare real estate meant the construction of bed-filled towers but insurance costs and delivery of services have changed in recent years. In today’s marketplace, there is a greater focus to provide more localized services that focus on specific populations.

With this in mind, new medical office construction was the go-to solution. Such an effort can take 18 months or more, and in the world of healthcare, that is often entirely too long. For healthcare providers, one solution was hiding in plain sight: vacant storefronts in malls and strip malls. What was once a supermarket or retail store can be transformed into a state-of-the-art medical facility via a thorough remodel.

Meeting the needs of an aging population

When it comes to specific populations, the fastest growing one is people dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, so too is the number of diagnoses which in turn places a tremendous strain on the healthcare system.

A treatment that has shown great promise is reminiscence therapy, in which caregivers encourage patients to actively talk about past events and their own lives. When combined with prompts that stimulate memories, such as photographs and music, patients experience a marked improvement in mood, cognition, and communication.

Taking care to the next level

To further enhance the reminiscence therapy experience for patients, there is a global effort to develop safe spaces that encourage memories. From Amsterdam and Miami to San Diego, healthcare professionals, developers, and designers are entering partnerships to create villages and town squares that bring patients – most of whom are in their 70s and 80s – to the world that existed between the years 1950 – 1961. As this population passes, memory prompts can be updated to better reflect the experiences of a new group of patients.

While some of these projects are new construction, such as Miami Jewish Health Systems Health Village (set to open in 2020), other efforts are filling already existing warehouse spaces. The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers partnered with the Senior Helpers and the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio to build a reminiscence therapy town square in a 9,000-square-foot warehouse. There, 14 storefronts and memory-stimulating activity stations greet patients.

The group is expanding to other markets, with another town square in Maryland and its first franchise in Chicago. The organization is now moving away from warehouses and toward spaces that are centrally located, such as empty box stores, shopping centers, and strip malls.

Why this matters to South Florida

South Florida, it seems, is an ideal location for these efforts. An aging population in which many are diagnosed with dementia and age-related cognitive impairment makes reminiscence therapy particularly valuable for local citizens – and there are available properties that can be transformed into villages and town squares.

For a free consultation with Morris Southeast Group or to learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Morris Southeast Group Represents ZF Marine in Miramar Industrial Lease

Miramar, FL; January 29, 2019 – President Ken Morris, SIOR, RPA, of Morris Southeast Group announced that he has represented the worldwide leader in marine propulsion systems, ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Miramar, LLC in a 62,552-square-foot industrial warehouse lease in Miramar, a southern Broward County community near Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.

The 10-year lease, at 15351 SW 29th St. – Bldg. C, in Miramar Centre Business Park, which has a total of 125,104 square feet and was built in 2008. The rental rate was not disclosed. Mercury Marine-Miramar and Aero Accessories are the other tenants in the building.

International property investor and asset management firm, Heitman, owns the property. Larry Dinner with CBRE represented Heitman in the transaction.

“After evaluating 17 peer locations in the southwest Broward County submarket, and factoring in where employees live and related considerations, the Heitman property was clearly the best choice for our client,” said Ken Morris.

ZF Marine manufactures a complete line of propulsion systems for commercial boats and pleasure-craft boats, including transmissions, propellers, shift and control systems, surface drives and thrusters for numerous applications. In the commercial field, ZF Marine products can be found on tugboats, inland river-tow boats, passenger ferries, fire/police and naval patrol boats. Its pleasure-craft components are suitable for speedboats, yachts, sail, sport fishing and related watercraft. ZF Marine serves customers throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean from its Miramar headquarters.  https://www.zfmarinepropulsion.com/

About Morris Southeast Group

For more than 35 years, Morris Southeast Group has been recognized as one of South Florida’s leading providers of commercial real estate services. Located in Weston FL, Morris Southeast Group is a full-service firm specializing in owner and tenant representation, corporate services and investment sales in the office, industrial and retail sectors throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. For more information contact President Ken Morris at (954) 474-1776 or visit www.morrissegroup.com.


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