South Jersey, Philly Industrial real estate a hotbed for investors

South Jersey, Philly Industrial real estate a hotbed for investors

By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read August 2020 — Even before the pandemic, billions of consumers had already been shopping on e-commerce sites like Amazon for years. But the pandemic is accelerating the platform’s growth as more and more people pivot away from physical stores. Shoppers say that there is something extremely gratifying about clicking a button and having a product delivered to their door the very next day. That’s music to the ears of those in the industrial real estate segment, as companies see an increasing need for distribution space.

When COVID-19 started to rapidly spread around the world, digital buying was no longer just a trend but a necessity. U.S. online sales grew 76% in June, reaching $73.2 billion that month, according to Digital Commerce 360. As a result, industrial real estate became even more of a hotbed for investment. Warehouses and distribution centers provide companies like Walmart and Target the local space they need to get purchase orders out to their customers quickly and efficiently.

To offer consumers fast shipping, a large majority of the industrial real estate is located near key transportation hubs like seaports, highways, railroads and airports. That’s one of the reasons why a handful of out-of-state investors like Peter Lewis, president and founder of Coastal Realty LLC, have started building their industrial portfolios in the Northeast. Lewis explained to the Philadelphia Business Journal why his firm has increased their industrial properties in South Jersey: “These middle-market companies are going to start transitioning to becoming much more sophisticated online,” he said. “They have to. What that means is they’re going to require more warehousing, which is what our property offers. I continue to see a real demand for warehousing in densely populated areas. It’s going to be all the way from the 4 million-square-foot guys to the 2,500-square-foot guys,” said Lewis. Coastal Realty recently teamed up with Walton Street Capital to buy a 32-building industrial portfolio in Pennsauken. 

 

South Jersey and Philadelphia are lucrative areas because of their unique placement between Washington and New York. “The overall demand for warehouse space has continued to remain strong, especially with the uptick in e-commerce and the expectation by the consumer to have goods in their hands as quickly as possible. When Amazon Prime was introduced, two days for delivery seemed fast and quickly became the norm. We are now finding that next-day delivery, if not same-day delivery, is an integral part of the supply chain that is driving a lot of companies to look for warehouse space in South Jersey. The new speculative and build-to-suit development in our market has been mostly in the northern parts of Burlington County and the southern parts of Gloucester County,” Ian Richman, senior managing director of Southern New Jersey Colliers International, told Invest: South Jersey 2020. 

As long as there is a continued increase in consumer spending, the demand for retail space and other commercial activities like distribution centers, in theory, should rise. 

To learn more, visit: 

https://www2.colliers.com/en

Spotlight On: Leor Hemo, Founder & Managing Principal, Vantage Real Estate Services

Spotlight On: Leor Hemo, Founder & Managing Principal, Vantage Real Estate Services

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — Real estate investors from high-valuation areas like New York, North Jersey, Texas and California are bringing considerable activity to the Southern New Jersey region due to its affordability, according to Leor Hemo, founder and managing principal of Vantage Real Estate Services. The Invest: team recently interviewed Hemo about the strengths, challenges and areas of growth in South Jersey’s real estate market. 

 

 What unique investor opportunities does South Jersey offer?

South Jersey geographically is positioned to attract not only investors but also companies that require space, such as those in logistics, transportation and warehousing. South Jersey has the land mass to allow for large-scale, industrial developments. I-95 and or I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike connect to New York, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and further down to the Southern states. Comparatively, the eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia markets lack this land mass. With the national economy so strong, low interest rates and small business confidence up, we are experiencing an influx of small businesses leasing office space. There has even been increased activity in the retail world in the past few years. Retail space is being occupied by service providers, such as healthcare and financial services. There is a soaring demand for large-scale developments for multifamily projects in South Jersey. 

 

What is the landscape for healthcare real estate?

The large healthcare systems are taking over the traditional family practices and specialties. Dental specialists and oral surgeons are active in starting new practices or expanding them. The same can be said for physical therapists and chiropractors. These specialty practices are growing and fueling a large demand for space. By the nature of their business, chiropractors, physical therapists and dentists are always interested in retail space for visibility and exposure purposes.

 

What challenges do you face in South Jersey?

The biggest challenge is the bureaucracy from our local governments, as well as the tax burden on businesses and individuals. Real estate taxes are still the No. 1 issue for property owners and businesses because of the impact on rents. Some regulations in place are hampering business and growth.

 

What is your outlook for the company and the market?

In terms of Vantage Real Estate, we just opened a new office in Philadelphia. It is a market we are rapidly growing into. We are also expanding our services portfolio: We have expanded our services and specialties and offer healthcare real estate, business brokerage, investment sales and multifamily as well. If the economy does well, South Jersey will do well, provided the regulatory framework remains unrestrictive. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Vantage Real Estate Services: https://www.vantageres.com/ 

 

Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Miami Beach’s hospitality industry entered 2020 with a bang, with two high-profile hotel openings. Both the Greystone development and the Hampton Inn at The Continental are refurbished versions of the Art Deco and Miami Modernist styles of the 1930s and 1940s, combined with a cool beachy chic that is synonymous with Miami Beach.

 

The Hampton Inn at the Continental was acquired by the Hampton by Hilton brand, which subsequently invested $25 million to give the hotel an overhaul to make it not only align with the brand but also to maintain the historic relevance of the building. 

“As renovation experts, we’re proud to present this completed project alongside Pebb Capital,” said Alan Waserstein, principal with LeaseFlorida, in a press release. “The historic component of this hotel, coupled with the Hampton by Hilton brand will make it a mainstay in Miami Beach’s hospitality scene.”

As well as the 100-room hotel, the development has embraced the multiuse concept that makes or breaks hotel chains. The ground floor will become the Piola restaurant, and future updates will incorporate a parking garage and retail space, according to the developers. 

This strategy has also been adopted by the Greystone Hotel in Miami Beach, which was opened for reservations this month. Conscious of the need to offer a more unique experience, the hotel is adult-only and eco-friendly, and offers a rooftop pool, mixology lounge and courtyard café. And although human babies may not be allowed, patrons should feel free to bring their furry four-legged babies (up to a maximum weight of 25lbs). 

There are 91 renovated guest rooms for most tastes and budgets with private decks and hot tubs (the Hot Tub Terrace Suites come in at over $600 per night). You can also interact with hotel facilities through your smartphone, including locking and unlocking the door, ordering room service and contacting the concierge through the hotel’s bespoke app. The Golden Gator basement speakeasy completes the lineup in a nod to the hotel’s 1930s roots. 

Vos Hospitality is the developer behind the $70 million renovation, which partnered with private investment group the B Group in 2018 to purchase the adjacent building on 20th Street, giving the development an impressive total 54,000-square-footprint.

“We will bring in an alternative to the area’s club scene,” said Vos hospitality owner James Vosotas to the Miami New Times. “We are catering to young-minded professionals with a nontraditional luxury of high-quality without the white glove. Everything has been upgraded cohesively so that locals and guests will have plenty to explore within the property.”

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.greystonemiamibeach.com/

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/miacahx-hampton-miami-beach-mid-beach/

http://www.voshospitality.com/

https://leaseflorida.com/

 

Miami Dominates in Innovative Coworking Real Estate

Miami Dominates in Innovative Coworking Real Estate

By: Sara Warden

2 min read NOVEMBER 2019 — The traditional office space is changing fast. Hot-desking came first, and now with more pressure to recruit highly skilled personnel, workers are increasingly able to command perks such as home office and telecommuting. According to Fundera, telecommuting has grown by 40% in the last five years and employers offering the benefit save around $44 billion per year in total. The drive to home office also created a new real estate niche – coworking spaces – and that niche is now driving real estate growth in Miami.

“Coworking tenants continued to dominate absorption activity in Miami for the second quarter in a row as they continue to lease significant footprints in buildings throughout the market. Out of the seven largest lease transactions year-to-date, five were coworking tenants, with WeWork leading the number of coworking companies,” said Donna Abood and Michael Fay, Principals and Managing Directors-Miami at Avison Young in an article written for Rebusiness Online.

According to a special report by Yardi Matrix, coworking spaces accounted for one-third of leases over the last 18 months. Miami comes in third in terms of metros with most shared space as a percentage of real estate stock, at 3.5% –behind only Manhattan and Brooklyn. In the last 10 months, Miami has added around 1.1 million square feet of coworking spaces.

But one of the most highly-leveraged companies in the coworking arena is WeWork, a company that underwent a failed IPO attempt in the last year and wiped out around 80% of its value in the process. The company stretched itself too far, playing the Amazon tactic of taking on huge losses to undercut and wipe out the competition, but without having Amazon’s clout.

Alan Patricof, chairman emeritus of venture capital firm Greycroft and an early backer of Apple, does not believe the coworking space is a bad idea, but rather that WeWork simply bit off more than it could chew. “If you want to be a publicly traded company, you should act like a public company,” Patricof said in an interview with TechCrunch in September, adding that the board members “were all seeing the pot at the end of the rainbow.”

But the global value of coworking spaces is estimated at $26 billion, with growth of 6% expected in the United States to 2022 and 13% elsewhere. Despite WeWork’s errors in judgement, the market is there for a $49 billion valued unicorn, and Miami offers huge opportunities to those investing in the right way. According to Pandwe Gibson, founder and president of EcoTech Visions, a coworking space for manufacturing businesses, these spaces need to be constantly offering the next new thing. 

“Entrepreneurs in America don’t just need a WeWork. They don’t just need a desk. Entrepreneurs want to make stuff,” she told Moguldom. The Miami-based startup has 52,000 square feet of space and approximately $3.2 million in public and private investment to scale the business, while it carries out its first raise.

It doesn’t stop with manufacturing space. ShareMD recently spent $33.15 million to purchase a building in South Miami and one in Coral Gables in which to set up co-working spaces for doctors. “Because of the demographics in Florida, we are aggressively trying to expand in the metropolitan areas,” said Easton & Associates Vice President Elliot LaBreche, representing ShareMD in the deal in an interview with The Real Deal.

The attraction of this concept is accessibility to a doctor without the pressure to sign new clients, LaBreche added. “If you have a doctor, and their primary practice is in Fort Lauderdale, but they have some patients in Miami and West Palm, but not enough patients to support their practice, they can join the ShareMD network and use our offices as satellite offices.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.avisonyoung.com/

https://www.yardimatrix.com/

https://www.wework.com/en-GB

https://www.greycroft.com/

http://ecotechvisions.com/

https://wesharemd.com/

http://theeastongroup.com/about/

 

Spotlight on: Gary Jonas, President & Principal, The HOW Group

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Philadelphia’s real estate market has been growing steadily over the last few years. Many international and national investors are targeting the sector, where rents are affordable, when compared to surrounding markets, and there are numerous low-risk investment opportunities. This week’s “Spotlight On,” with Gary Jonas, president and principal of the The HOW Group, illustrates the landscape for the city’s real estate industry, including the most in-demand services, top neighborhoods and the trends in the sector.

What HOW Group business lines are seeing the most growth in Philadelphia today? 

The two divisions that are seeing the most growth are construction and real estate. We attribute that to the hole in the market between companies working for themselves and building a small number of units and companies building hundreds of units. There is a spot in the middle where people need contractors to build 50 to 100 units. It is hard to find companies to fill that space because of the labor shortage. It is also hard to find companies that are capitalized enough to work in that space. Because we are able to fill that gap, we have seen significant growth in our construction division over the last year. There is a huge need for that type of work.

Our real estate company does a lot of new construction sales, which speaks to the Philadelphia market. We expect this division to double its business this year. We made a big investment three to five years ago to launch this division, and now we are seeing significant growth. Between those two companies, we are going to do north of $100 million this year.   

 

What areas of Philadelphia are most in demand in residential real estate?

There is a huge growth opportunity in neighborhoods where you can provide housing that is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. That is an underserved market and there is a lot of development starting to happen in that price range. For example, Mantua is a neighborhood right on the edge of Schuylkill Yards, education centers and the development going on in the area, and it is a great place for these types of projects. University City has a 17% to 20% homeownership rate, but it’s the second-biggest job hub and there is a need for affordable housing in the area. The edges of University City are primed for significant growth. There is a neighborhood next to Grays Ferry, known as the forgotten bottom, which is another great area for development because of its location and access to major highways. We also expect to see growth in south Philly. 

 

What are some trends in Philly’s real estate sector?

We are seeing people who want to do co-living spaces. We are seeing a lot more buildings that provide a product similar to Airbnb. We are also starting to see more micro units because affordability is starting to become an issue. As construction and land costs continue to rise, we are seeing unit size starting to decrease and become a popular option. Because of the inadequate labor pool, we are also starting to see more manufacturing stock like modular and prefab units being placed.

We are always looking to create advancements within the construction division. We are working with manufactured housing developers to figure out ways to use technology to build in a more efficient and cost-effective way. We are working with foundation companies that use proprietary systems and build foundation walls that are more energy efficient and cost-effective than concrete. We are doing these things to differentiate our products.

 

How does The How Group impact the community?

Our charity division, HOW Charities, supports underserved families with homeownership and financial literacy. We want to get people to financial freedom and this year, we are donating two houses. We are working with the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA) to figure out ways to duplicate this effort on a broader scale. Along with the BIA, we are looking at solutions with the private sector toward affordable housing and job placement within the industry. There is a lot of momentum because of how great the sector and the city are performing.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

The HOW Group: https://howgroup.com/ 

Spotlight On: Brett Forman, President & CEO, Trez Forman Capital

By Max Crampton-Thomas

 

2 min read July 2019 — The demand for residential and commercial real estate development in Palm Beach County is at a high, and developers are jumping at the opportunity to capitalize. This spike in demand has not only been beneficial to developers but also to those who are helping fund this development. Invest: Palm Beach recently sat down with Brett Forman, President and CEO of Florida-based, commercial bridge lender Trez Forman Capital. He discussed how Palm Beach County is uniquely positioned for real estate development, and how his company is benefiting from the boom in the market.

Where are you seeing the highest demand for your services? 

We experience the highest demand from developers of condominiums or multifamily rental apartments. There are a variety of financial firms pursuing these type of deals, but we offer something slightly different. We’re competing with banks every day, and we’re competing with more traditional mezzanine players and preferred equity investors. As a result, we have to be creative and offer a unique one-stop shop, including higher proceeds than the banks and non-recourse options. 

How is Palm Beach County a unique market for real estate development? 

Palm Beach County is home to some of the most expensive residential real estate in the world. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s also home to some of the poorest areas. So when you talk about Palm Beach real estate, you’re talking about a very diverse asset mix.

Trez Forman is more or less asset-agnostic; we lend against residential real estate, whether it’s apartment communities for rent, single-family houses for rent or condominiums for sale. We don’t necessarily construct homes, but we finance the lot on which developers do the horizontal development. 

What differentiates Trez Forman Capital from a traditional bank? 

It’s very easy to understand what differentiates us from the banks, since the banks are highly regulated. They have to do things according to what the regulatory agencies prescribe, and their leverage is usually much lower and typically requires recourse. What we’re offering is a much higher loan-to-cost solution. Trez Forman basically can take what the bank and the preferred equity investor offers and combine it to provide our clients with a one-stop solution that has surety of execution. We like to under-promise and over-deliver. We can fund a deal in 30 to 45 days, unlike a bank that may not be able to lend in that timeframe.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit its website:

https://www.trezforman.com/