On June 1, Governor Phil Murphy announced the state is entering “Stage 2” of the reopening plan he laid out last month. The Governor stated he will be allowing outdoor dining, hair salons, gyms, and nonessential retail stores to reopen, but with staggered time frames.
Nonessential retail may reopen and outdoor dining will be allowed to resume June 15. Personal care businesses, such as salons and barbers shops, may open on June 22, and gyms/fitness centers may open at a later date still to be determined.
Part 2: Communicating With Your Landlord | Vantage RES Top Tips for Rent Relief
As trusted real estate advisors, everyone at Vantage RES will continue to do our best to guide you, our tenant clients, through the COVID-19 crisis. Listed below is part 2 of our Top Tips for Communicating with Your Landlord during this complicated and dynamic situation. Just as we mentioned in part 1, we will continue to advise on and review specific lease agreements, but also encourage and advise you to speak with your legal counsel as well.
Don’t wait for your landlord to come to you! Showing your landlord that you are on top of the situation will go very far. Be prepared for the conversation – over phone, Zoom, or email, of course – with all the necessary documents and with your lease agreement at the ready.
In addition to being prepared with your paperwork, it is advised to have answers ready for questions that your landlord is likely to ask. These, of course, will vary, but we suggest preparing answers to the following:
-Are you looking for total rent relief or a deferment?
-How will you use your savings from this relief to help your business at this time?
-What are your sales numbers?
-Are you currently applying, or have you applied, for any other help or assistance?
-Has the government mandated that you close your business?
-Have you laid off or furloughed any/all of your employees?
Your landlord is simply asking these questions to determine who actually needs help and who is attempting to take advantage of the current situation (we know you are in the first camp!).
Rent Relief Application
Once you answer your landlord’s questions to his/her satisfaction, he/she will send you a Rent Relief Application. This could include a request for:
Personal Financial Statement and past 3 months of bank statements
Credit Check (refuse this if you think it could hurt your standing)
Your relief, should it be granted, can materialize in a number of ways including rent reduction, deferral or abatement. Your landlord will likely encourage a rent deferral, as this protects them from diminished long-term valuation of their asset.
Once there is an agreement on your rent relief, it will be documented as a lease amendment and will include a confidentiality clause, both of which your attorney will need to review.
Our hope is that these tips help you move through this process with ease and assist with a mutually beneficial agreement between you and your landlord. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have as you begin the process!
The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid and evolving situation, with mandates impacting our society that appear to be changing by the hour. As experts in landlord/tenant relationships, Vantage RES is providing you with our top tips to make sure you aware of your obligations as a tenant during this crisis. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about your specific situation during this perilous time.
Vantage RES will continue to be a support system for you and will guide you through the options you have regarding your specific lease agreement. However, we do strongly advise that you consult with your legal counsel as soon as possible. We are happy to work in tandem with your attorney to find the best viable solution. Given the current social distancing rules, we recommend you schedule a phone call, rather than an office visit, with your counsel.
Listed below are our top tips for engaging with your landlord and requesting rent relief during the pandemic.
Engage your legal counsel to discuss and verify all the steps listed below. We are not attorneys, and we want to make sure that your counsel is aware of your respective situation and advises you, along with us, every step of the way.
Review your lease as soon as possible. Become fully aware of your legal obligations and read any fine print in the lease that could alter your understanding of the agreement. Pay special attention to the “Act of God” clause in your lease and review with your attorney.
Reach out to your Insurance Agent to ask if your business and insurance policies allow you to qualify for Business Interruption Insurance. Your landlord will also need this information from you.
Be proactive when engaging with your landlord. Communication will show your landlord that you want to remain a good neighbor and, above all else, that you are committed to your business and your space. Call your landlord and speak candidly about the situation you are in. Be prepared with your lease and any specific questions or asks you plan to make.
Following these four steps will be helpful when securing a Rent Relief Application from your landlord. We hope these quick tips will help you navigate this complex situation. We will continue to keep you updated as the news changes and new updates surface.
We wish you all the best and remain here for you for any questions.
Retail sales record their biggest drop since September 2009
U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December as receipts fell across the board, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales tumbled 1.2 percent, the largest decline since September 2009 when the economy was emerging from recession. Data for November was revised slightly down to show retail sales edging up 0.1 percent instead of gaining 0.2 percent as previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.2 percent in December. Retail sales in December rose 2.3 percent from a year ago.
The December retail sales report was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended on Jan. 25. No date has been set for the release of the January retail sales report, which was scheduled for publication on Friday.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales dropped 1.7 percent last month after a slightly upwardly revised 1.0 percent surge in November. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. They were previously reported to have jumped 0.9 percent in November.
December’s sharp drop in core retail sales suggested a moderation in the pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, increased at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the July-September quarter.
Gross domestic product estimates for the fourth quarter are around a 2.7 percent rate. The economy grew a 3.4 percent pace in the July-September period.
In December, online and mail-order retail sales dropped 3.9 percent, the biggest drop since November 2008, after increasing 2.8 percent in November. Receipts at service stations dived 5.1 percent, the biggest fall since February 2016, reflecting cheaper gasoline prices.
There were also declines in receipts at clothing and furniture stores. Receipts at restaurants and bars fell 0.7 percent and spending at hobby, musical instrument and book stores plunged 4.9 percent, the biggest drop since September 2008.
But sales at auto dealerships rose 1.0 percent in December after advancing 0.7 percent in the prior month. Sales at building material
Commercial property sales hit near record-breaking total of $562B last year
Commercial real estate sales hit near-record levels in 2018, and low interest rates could make for another strong year.
The total value of U.S. commercial properties selling for $2.5 million or more reached $562.1 billion last year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from Real Capital Analytics. This was a 15 percent increase compared to 2017 and about $8 billion less than the 2015 record of $569.9 billion.
Property prices increased by 6.2 percent year over year and are now 30 percent above 2007 levels. Those figures could have been higher were it not for concerns about rising interest rates, according to the report. The Federal Reserve’s recent announcement that it would keep these rates steady could help bolster the market going forward.
Mental Health Clinic Opens in Walmart as Part of ‘Retail-ization’ of Medical Care
A Walmart store is the home of the first mental health clinic that Beacon Health Options has opened in a retail store, and super stores like this one may provide more sites for Beacon.
Texans stressed out by the busy holiday season can now not only shop for Christmas gifts at Walmart, but drop by for some mental-health help as well.
Beacon Health Options, a Boston-based behavioral health-services company, has opened an outpatient clinic at a Walmart Super Center in Carrollton, Texas, a city in the eastern part of the Lone Star State. It is the company’s first such mental-health office, offering therapy in a retail outlet like Walmart. And the health-care provider said it won’t be the last because it is evaluating other locations for a possible expansion.
“This initiative combines our company’s behavioral health expertise with our longstanding dedication to making quality care more accessible,” Russell Petrella, Beacon’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “We chose a retail setting for the first practice because it offers the convenience of a local neighborhood location that is close by and easy to get to, and our evening hours accommodate our patients’ schedules.”
The clinic’s debut in Walmart is an example of what one executive calls the “retail-ization” of medical-office space, one of the changes sweeping this sector of commercial real estate. It emphasizes reducing health care costs by keeping people out of hospitals. As a result, medical providers are increasing looking to treat consumers in geographically convenient outpatient settings, be it a Walmart or other shopping center storefront.
Hospital systems are leasing large office buildings and filling them with their own physician groups, providing one-stop shopping for consumers. And reflecting the evolving needs of Americans, more mental-health facilities and drug rehabilitation centers are springing up and leasing space, partially driven by the opioid crisis sweeping the nation.
Unlike some sectors, medical-use leasing remains relatively recession-proof and has been boosted by the growing need for health-care services as baby boomers age, real estate brokers and developers said at a recent conference on medical properties sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal.
The same week as the conference, which was held in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Beacon said it opened its clinic in the Texas Walmart.
“We have 60 square feet as well as use of a waiting room we share with a Walmart medical clinic,” a Beacon spokeswoman said in an email. “We are looking at a variety of opportunities to make behavioral health more accessible in areas like Carrolton, Texas.”
Beacon also said providing therapy in a retail setting offers patients more privacy, ironically, than stepping into a therapist or psychiatrist’s office, which is clearly marked as such. At the conference Deborah Nappi, a senior health care manager for the accounting firm Sax LLP, mentioned that now some traditional doctors are providing mental-health services at their practices.
“So therefore maybe if someone still has this stigma of ‘I’m going to a counselor,’ it’s right within your primary care so no one really knows what your visit is for,” said Nappi, whose firm is based in Clifton, New Jersey. “In all of my reading, mental health is huge. There is a shortage of mental health workers, so there’s a really big push to try to figure out how to meet this need.”
Panelist Darren Lizzack, an associate vice president with the brokerage NAI James E. Hanson, based in Teterboro, New Jersey, is helping tenants with another medical specialty that carries a stigma for some: treatment for drug addiction.
“I have just finished my first deal with a drug-rehab facility in New Jersey,” he said. “It’s national company. I’m working with another client right now that’s looking for the same thing. They’re also coming from out-of-state. I think there’s a big push to deal with the opioid problem here in the state and around the country, of course, for that matter. The issue is a lot of landlords don’t welcome that use very nicely. They’re very hesitant to allow that into their building because of that traffic that’s going to start showing up at their doorstep. The interesting thing is a lot of the people who are patients are like you and I. That’s the sad thing. So it’s going to be awhile to see this thing unfold, but it’s going to happen.”
The first tenant that Lizzack referred to, BayMark Health Services Inc. of Lewisville, Texas, took a lease at a building at 23-00 Route 208, Fair Lawn, New Jersey. BayMark specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction and has clinics around the country.
Conference panelist Cory Atkins, vice president of acquisitions for Atkins Cos., a real estate developer in West Orange, New Jersey, said large health care providers have shifted strategy, acknowledging that a big campus medical building isn’t the most cost-effective setting for a patient’s treatment. The new paradigm is that “they should be off-campus and in the community,” according to Atkins. That’s a way to promote branding and increase market share, he said, a trend he called “the retail-ization” of medical office space.
“Some of the medical users are essentially turning into a quasi-retail user where they’re going into retail strip centers, they’re going into places with high visibility and high traffic where they can brand themselves and get more visibility and new patients and new market share and kind of feed everything back to the hospital just for really critical cases,” Atkins said. “It’s just cheaper for these systems and large groups to practice medicine off-campus in these outpatient ambulatory centers. So that’s kind of what we’re seeing in terms of development.”
Because of hospital consolidation and the competitiveness of the market, the era of the single doctor or a handful of doctors leasing just 5,000 to 10,000 square feet is over, Atkins and other panelists said. Hospital systems are buying physician practices and looking to consolidate them in larger buildings, even 100,000 square feet or so, to provide one-stop shopping for patients. A cardiologist could refer a patient to an oncology specialist associated with the same hospital right down the hall door, panelists said.
H. Guy Leibler, president of Bronx, New York-based Simone Healthcare Development and another conference panelist, described how his firm is repurposing old office and other space for medical users. Simone just completed a project in Greenlawn, which is part of Huntington, New York, at 5 Cuba Hill Road. A 100,000-square-foot former research and development site for defense contractor BAE Systems has been redeveloped for medical use for Mount Sinai Doctors Long Island, which is part of Mount Sinai Health System.
“Mount Sinai will be combining three of its current (multi-specialty physician group) locations in Huntington into a large state-of-the-art multi-specialty practice at the new Greenlawn location,” Leibler said. “That tells you health care is becoming more inclusive, it’s under one roof and it’s more regional as opposed to … 1,500-square-foot offices.“
Simone recently announced a prject at a second property, this one at 104 Campus Park Drive, Harrison, New York, in Westchester County. The company is acquiring a 115,000-square-foot office building and repurposing it as a medical office building, according to Leibler. It is being redeveloped as pediatric ambulatory care facility for Montefiore Medical Center, he said.
Overall, the panel was bullish on health-care properties.
“Medical office within the office sector has really become it’s own niche, an asset class within itself,” said conference panelist Ben Appel, a senior director at the brokerage Holliday Fenoglio Fowler. “Ten years ago, it wasn’t.”
Liberty Property Trust sells its Camden Waterfront projects
A Pennsylvania development firm has announced plans to exit a $1 billion project on the city’s Waterfront. Liberty Property Trust will sell its office projects to make a “strategic shift” away from office space, the company said Tuesday in announcing third-quarter earnings.
“We’ve made the decision to focus all our time, energy and capital solely in the industrial space,” Bill Hankowsky, the firm’s chairman and CEO, said in a conference call with investment analysts.
He said pending changes “include the sale of the remaining parcels in Camden,” where Liberty Property launched a sweeping project in 2016.
The Wayne, Pennsylvania, firm said it will finish buildings under construction, a category that includes two corporate headquarter sites on Camden’s Waterfront.
But, Hankowsky said, Liberty Property “will not be initiating any office development on a go-forward basis. Liberty Property in July took a $26 million write-down on the value of the Camden project. It cited faltering market demand and the likely demise in 2019 of state tax breaks that have lured firms to the impoverished city.
The firm said then it was still seeking to develop four parcels that could hold some 500,000 square feet of office space off the Delaware River.
Several firms are already planning moves to new facilities at the Waterfront site:
American Water Works in early December is expected to formally open One Water Street, a five-story, 220,000-square-foot facility that will hold more than 600 workers.
Construction is underway on an 18-story tower that will house three firms — Conner Strong & Buckelew, NFI, and The Michaels Organization. The companies have said that building could open by August 2019.
A 180-room hotel and a 156-unit apartment complex are also planned for the site, as are parking garages. The Waterfront site has an overall capacity of 1.1 million square feet on 26 acres, according to Liberty Property and described the industrial market as “robust.”
Liberty Property has developed several landmark properties in Philadelphia, including the Comcast Center, Liberty Place and The Navy Yard. The company said its new strategy recognizes “dynamic” conditions in the logistics industry, noting “fundamental changes in the way consumers search out, buy and receive goods.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is proposing revamping the state’s expiring tax incentive programs, as well as pushing a host of other programs to spur the economy.
Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a proposal he says could jump-start the state’s lagging economy by auctioning off tax credits to attract private venture capital investment and to overhaul how the state doles out tax incentives.
Murphy delivered the speech at ON3, a medical-biotech development campus in Nutley, about 16 miles west of New York, before hundreds of business people, Cabinet officials and lawmakers.
It comes as he enters the final few months of his first year in office after succeeding Republican Chris Christie, and as the state continues to lag neighbors in wage growth and reducing poverty, according to the freshman Democratic governor and former Goldman Sachs executive.
Poverty is increasing at a faster rate in New Jersey than in 46 other states, while median wages have fallen faster in New Jersey than in all but one other state, Murphy said, citing United Way and Labor Department data.
Much of the speech reflected familiar campaign-style rhetoric focused on making the state stronger and fairer, as well as pledging to make New Jersey a national model for economic development. Unlike before when details were murky, Murphy offered some specific proposals aimed at meeting his goals.
One plan calls for auctioning off tax credits to state businesses, and using the proceeds to set up a fund, which would then be used to help New Jersey-based startups.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the state agency that oversees business incentives, would auction off about $60 million in credits and then partner with private venture capital firms to invest the funds. The administration estimated returns of about $225 million a year.
EDA executive Tim Sullivan says venture capital firms would match state funding and jointly invest in New Jersey-based startups. He estimates the new fund would bring in about $500 million over five years.
Partnering with private venture capitalists carries risk that the state might not see a return, especially on poor investments. Murphy used a baseball metaphor to explain the risk the state could face.
“Some investments will be home runs. Others, solid singles. There may even be a foul ball or two — that’s the nature of startups. But, we’ll reinvest the returns back into more startups, and if we have enough home runs, we’ll invest excess returns directly back into the state,” he said.
Murphy also said he wants to revamp two of the state’s expiring tax credit programs, which award about $1 billion annually in incentives. The biggest change there would entail capping those awards. Murphy called them unfocused and inefficient. Murphy also said he wants to prioritize job creation over job retention and encourage firms to look to locate to cities with mass transit.
Other proposals include setting up a tax credit program to rehabilitate historic structures across the state, as well as expanding brownfield development.
The idea is redeveloping or repurposing old buildings and contaminated sites would lead to new jobs. Federal historic tax credits led to 109,000 new jobs in 2016, the governor said.
It’s unclear what the new costs the programs Murphy is calling for would carry. It’s also murky how much revenue they could mean for the state if they succeed. Most of the changes would require sign-off from the Democrat-led Legislature, according to Sullivan. Assembly Speaker Craig Couhglin’s spokeswoman, Liza Acevedo, said he shares the governor’s vision and will review the proposals.
Whether Murphy will succeed in convincing new businesses to start in the state, of course, remains to be seen. As part of this year’s state budget negotiations, Murphy gave in to legislative proposals to raise the corporation business tax on companies making more than $1 million by an average of 2 percent over four years. The move concerned business groups and Republicans, who argued it would drive companies from the state.
Murphy also did not directly address one of the state’s perennial issues: it’s sky-high property taxes, except to point out that increased K-12 aid under his administration helps relieve pressure on towns and school districts to hike those rates.
Making good on a $6 trillion opportunity in Opportunity Zones…
There’s a $6 trillion opportunity in Opportunity Zones… Here’s what you need to do to make good on it.
A recent headline estimated the potential market for the Opportunity Zones program, the new tax-break that allows investors to defer taxes on realized capital gains with investments into “O-Funds” with the intention of incentivizing long-term investment in low-income communities in the U.S., at an eye-popping $6 trillion.
Excitement has followed as developers and fund managers race to set up O-Funds, eager to start channeling these trillions into communities. As an industry, we will not fully realize the potential because of a common and crippling assumption in impact investing: that interest translates into action.
Many of these funds are being built on the assumption that – because of the tax-incentive – capital raising will be a cinch, like shooting 6 trillion fish in a barrel.
Let’s unpack that number. $6.1 trillion is the total estimated unrealized capital gains that both American households ($3.8 trillion) and American corporations ($2.3 trillion) hold. These are two different pots of money that require different strategies to address. Let’s focus on the bigger number – American households, the key word being “households.”
$3.8 trillion is a tremendous amount of money, but that money is disaggregated across millions of individual accounts both large and small, and those individual accounts are managed across thousands of different institutions and platforms.
Want to offer an O-Fund to a bank’s private wealth management client? Have a personal account that you manage online that you’d like to use to invest in an O-Fund? How about getting your O-Fund in front of a family office? Each of these platforms has a distinct – and significant– set of legal, operating, regulatory and compliance hurdles that you must clear before accessing their client’s capital. Even then, products need to be marketed effectively in a language that advisors and clients understand.
Given the challenges of clearing hurdles to access investor capital, how much of that $6 trillion can you actually reach? In other words, the Total Addressable Market (TAM) is $6 trillion – what is your Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), the portion of the TAM that you can address? It’s not $6 trillion; it’s likely not even close.
The failure to understand and distinguish between TAM and SAM isn’t unique to O-Funds, it’s something we’ve witnessed often in private impact markets. Products and funds are increasingly built to address market demand, which is the right side of the market to emphasize, but building for market demand doesn’t mean ignoring the realities of if and how investors can access those funds and products. Because of this, the capital raising process for impact funds and businesses has become more about who you know than about the quality of the product.
In impact investing, once you’ve solved for the challenge of access and determined your SAM, it is further narrowed by the issue of appetite. What is your share of the serviceable addressable market, your SOM (serviceable obtainable market)?
Let’s say your O-Fund is one of several similarly structured funds that can tap family office networks to raise capital. Impact is personal and for many investors it has a very particular definition– it’s this sector, this region, this population, measured with these metrics and nothing else. Your fund’s focus on small businesses might not appeal to an investor whose main concern is affordable housing.
When investing for impact, many investors adopt a philanthropic attitude, creating a major impediment to scale. It’s a challenge facing all of us in impact investing – we must move away from an obsession with outputs and articulate the importance of systemic change and scale that impact investing is built to do. Yes, we’re building homes and schools, but we’re also building markets and infrastructure that can distribute capital in a more just and equitable way.
So, is there really a $6 trillion market opportunity for O-Funds?
Absolutely. And some funds will tap into this market quickly, raising hundreds of millions from the lowest hanging fruit. But if we want to realize the full potential and move anything close to the $6 trillion, it’s another question entirely. We have to start building for scale – not only moving hundreds of millions from a small group of investors – but moving billions for systemic change. The ability of investors to access impact funds and products can’t be afterthought; it must be a driving concern.
It’s certainly ours. We know how challenging, but ultimately game-changing, it is when you get it right. And while global industry stats on the amount of capital invested for impact and exciting demographic trends about the impending wealth transfer to women and millennials are exciting indicators of potential, they aren’t a substitute for disciplined market segmentation, analysis, structuring, and effective distribution.
So the next time a stat about the trillions of dollars waiting to be invested for impact catches your eye, get excited – and then get serious about making sure the dollars have a way to get to the communities that need them.
Housing investment has transformed in the years following the real estate market crash of 2008. The number of privately constructed housing units has steadily climbed since then, increasingly so over the past six years. In 2009, a total of 582,000 building permits were authorized for privately-owned housing construction in the United States; the total bounced up to 1.2 million in 2017.
The 11-county Greater Philadelphia region shows a similar trend (Figure 1). The number of units permitted dropped from 20,000 units to 7,000 from the peak to the trough. Since 2013, the number has climbed back to around the 13,000-level.
The increase in the number of housing units authorized for buildings with 5 units or more is significant. In the mid-2000s, around 18 percent of units nationwide were in buildings with 5 units or more. By 2017, the percentage had increased to over one-third.
In the Philadelphia region between 2014 and 2017, the number of units permitted in buildings with 5 units or more averaged around 5,330 units. This is higher than the peak number of 4,900 units prior to the housing market collapse. In contrast, 8,030 permits were issued in 2017 for single family homes, twin homes, and buildings with fewer than 5 units, which is half of the 2005 level.
Figure 2 shows the trend of permits issued for buildings with 5 units or more in the Greater Philadelphia region; now the share nears 40 percent, about 15 points above the level before the crash.
Figure 3 shows a comparison of similar developments between Philadelphia and Montgomery County, PA. In Philadelphia, the share of units authorized in buildings with 5 units or more has sharply increased since 2010. The share in suburban Montgomery County varies greatly, except for the years 2014 and 2016 when it ranged around 50%.
There are several possible explanations for this shift, including an increasing consumer preference for higher density living, the rising cost of construction of single family homes, mortgage lending difficulties, and the rising cost of land cost in Philadelphia and the close-in suburbs.
The rise in permitting of multifamily housing is often a cause for concern within communities. Long-time residents may see new multistory buildings as a threat, as they change the skyline and the established visual experience of their community. They may associate such development with gridlock, school crowding, and even property value decline. On the other hand, proponents of Transit Oriented Development and New Urbanism contend that multifamily developments have insignificant impacts on roads and school. They suggest that young professionals and empty-nesters prefer living in higher density neighborhoods, and when housing is close to public transit, traffic and parking demand decreases.
Until recently, impact assessments of residential projects relied on statewide demographic multipliers that are based on the 2000 Census records. Considering the demographic shifts and housing market changes that have occurred during the past 18 years, the methodology has to change in order to provide accurate estimates of generated impacts. The starting point is using up-to-date, locally relevant demographic multipliers. It is difficult to generalize the anecdotes on impact of individual projects because the results are inconsistent.