40A — March 30 - April 12, 2012 — Shopping Centers — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal


R ETAIL E XPERTS By: Buck Collins, Bohler Engineering The new Lexicon Of Real Estate Development


ince the market highs of 2008, the real es- tate community has

ined. Townhouse Projects are being converted toApart- ment Complexes; Malls re- designed with “Restaurant Rows”; parking garages are replacing surface lots; col- leges and universities are in shopping centers and indus- trial parks; new train lines; big box retailers opening smaller boxes for urban loca- tions, warehouse distribution facilities are returning to the cities and going vertical. All require new architecture, zoning, land planning, site engineering, construction methods and marketing ap- proaches. Buck Collins, LEED Green Associate is the di- rector of Client Services for Bohler Engineering, an industry leader in Civil Engineering, Proj- ect Management, Sur- veying, Environmental, Geotechnical & Traffic Engineering operating 13 Eastern U.S. offices including Philadelphia, Chalfont and Center Val- ley, PA. ■ has conducted transac- tions totaling over 500,000 s/f in a few short years. Throughout this time, he has developed ties with a myriad of institutional, regional and local owners of all asset classes, thus strengthening his ability to draw upon a large pool of resources. In addition, Jonathan has years of experience in the entertainment industry where he specialized in marketing, licensing and client management. Be- tween both New York and Los Angeles, he has an established relationship pool and broad geograph- ic knowledge of several markets. At Metro Commercial, Jonathan brings his sales experience to the Metro Commercial Investment Sales division alongside Paul and Kurt Rumley and will continue to expand upon his grasp of the re- gional and local markets, enhancing and adding val- ue to each transaction. ■

ership in Energy and Envi- ronmental Design” (LEED)”, “Restaurant Rows”, “Captive Retail”, “Transit Oriented Design” (TOD) and Sustain- ability. These changes are both market and economic driven. As more people are unable to buy houses or to get the equi- ty out of their existing homes there has been a sustained rush to develop rental hous- ing, particularly apartments. As a desirable land use due to its high return on invest- ment, it remains a challenge for developers to find ground zoned to allow apartments. Municipalities have histori- cally discouraged density by limiting the zoning districts that allow for high density housing. Suburban sprawl is out. “Live, Work &Play” is in. The newmodel is being driven by consumer’s desire for higher quality of life, by organiza- tions like the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and theUrban Land Institute (ULI). These and others simi- will test the marketplace - as would any consumer - even if they know their timing is not right. A good deal of pencil- sharpening on both sides will take place in hopes to make the deal come to fruition. Is this a credit tenant? Is this the right block, or trade area for our business? If I wait longer, can I get a higher value from another buyer? These questions, while posed for good long-term solutions, often make for a lengthy process on each side of the transaction. Consequently, a lot of the multi-tenanted shopping center owners with whom I interact are now cur- rently content, but not elated, with their tenant rosters. The centers are leased, but owners seem reluctant to try to improve their rent-roll or line-up because they fear risk of catastrophe. Obviously, some are better than others. Retailers’ businesses are ap- parently improving, but the lines of credit are stifled and holding up the process to move forward at a faster pace, as several have told me.

lar organizations, promote projects and planning that features density, a variety of land uses strategically lo- cated in close proximity and the availability of public transportation. Commonly referred to as Mixed-Use and Transit Oriented Design (TOD) projects, they offer a mix of dense residential types, office buildings for working, retail for shopping, restaurants for dining and recreational facilities for playing. Additionally, these dense “Mixed-Use” devel- opments and communities should be built around mass transit and/or highway in- terchanges. Driving through small towns and neighbor- hoods for work, shopping and commuting, increases costs to businesses, causes congestion and additional road maintenance for mu- nicipalities and lowers our quality of life. Natural Resource Protec- tion, Low Impact Devel- opment (LID) and Green Infrastructure are the regu- With the flight to quality occurring in most markets, some owners are shedding B & C class assets to focus on their more attractive ones, and deploying the capital into them to lure new and existing tenants in their properties. Owners may want to retail their fully leased centers, and some know that a higher oc- cupancy can usually demand a higher value, should they be seeking a disposition. Buyer’s money has been tired of sitting in the bleachers and wants its chance to perform, however, caution is applied far more than the optimism when it gets its chance. As brokers, finding the right home for the buyer’s money is the piece of the puzzle that keeps us in the race. The values and asking prices on these assets are not always aligned, thus making the transaction timeline longer and more complex than an- ticipated in some cases. At Metro Commercial, while my concentration is on the sale of investment-caliber properties, we are fortunate

latory forces that impact these projects. Every project must demonstrate to the local Municipality, County, State and Federal agencies that there is minimal im- pact to groundwater, surface waters, soil, vegetation and wildlife. LEED projects re- quire “Sustainable Design” features like “Stormwater Harvesting”, Landscape Ar- chitecture featuring Native Plant Species; “Dark Sky Lighting” to avoid “light pollution” with “Downcast Lighting” to avoid “Light Pol- lution”; new pavement and construction materials to control rising temperatures to and the “Heat Island Ef- fect” and many other new terms. These “Sustainable Practices” have become the law in many municipalities with requirements for in- novative Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to handle stormwater, erosion control and lighting. Existing and planned proj- ects are being Re-Positioned, Re-Purposed and Re-Imag- to have a full-service plat- form in all aspects of retail real estate: leasing, site se- lection, sales, and property management. We have an open and continual dialogue among all of the disciplines, and therefore see so much of the depth and breadth of what is occurring in our mar- ketplace, not just one sliver. Also, most importantly, it is fresh data-points, because what happened last month is often as useless and dated as what occurred last decade. I share my colleagues’ vora- cious hunger for knowledge and I can effectively deploy it to business. The good news, today, is that when transac- tions were finding reasons for not happening, nowwe are all working on solutions to make them a reality. Jonathan Klear joins the Metro Commercial team with several years of brokerage experience within the Tri-State re- gion. Drawing from land- lord, tenant represen- tation and investment sales practices, Jonathan

w i t n e s s e d a wholesale shift in ap- proaches to design, de- v e l opmen t a n d m a r - keting that touches the entire mar- k e t p l a c e . The market

Buck Collins

has struggled to answer big questions: How do we get long planned projects off the ground, design projects that increase foot traffic for retailers, shorten commutes, be Greener, and meet the changing needs of the con- sumer, the tenants and the community. Terms shaping development like “Highest and Best Use”, “By Right”, “Zoning District” and “Single Purpose” are being replaced by new industry terms like “Mixed-Use” “Stormwater Management”, “Low Impact Development” (LID), “Lead-

By: Jonathan Klear, Metro Commercial A long slow sweeping curve back to normalcy

Amongst all of the trade magazines, newspapers, pro- grams, andwebsites I attempt

t o devour, t he s en t i - ment has re- mained quite the same for most of the last year. In short, “ac- tivity is up, d e a l s a r e

Jonathan Klear

getting done”. I cannot dis- agree with this statement, even firsthand. A long, slow recovery is occurring. I have seen several deals come alive, die, revive, and then take months (and months) to com- plete. This pattern I refer to is not foreign to most Com- mercial Real Estate brokers within the industry in recent years. In fact, through vari- ous conversations with sev- eral institutional and private owners (of CRE), they are still feeling the same arduous level of time to complete a (lease or investment) transac- tion, via broker or not. A vast amount of tenants and sellers alike have and

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