Tag Archives: Real Estate

The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019

The Urban Land Institute’s annual look at the year ahead focuses on technology and transformation at an uncertain moment

How will the real estate market respond to a period of uncertainty in 2019?
Shutterstock

It’s complicated. In the course of compiling its annual Emerging Trends report, the Urban Land Institute found that the only certainty in its outlook for 2019 was uncertainty. Expert analysis points to a more complex, multi-layered series of overlapping trends, with unpredictable results, as opposed to a few strong narratives.

Will technology offer more opportunity and enhance competition and efficiency, or help consolidate the industry and drive out smaller players? How will shifts in demographics and shopping patterns challenge current investment practices? Will the U.S. ever get a grip on its housing affordability issues?

The report, a joint project of ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers researchers unveiled during its fall meeting in Boston this afternoon, considered the responses of more than 750 real estate professionals in creating an high-level overview of the trends it believes will impact the real estate world. While the report expects an overall economic slowdown next year, emerging trends and markets in flux that could provide new opportunities.

Here are the broad trends and innovations expected to shape the real estate industry next year.

Grappling with a transformative moment

While vague, predicting a year of significant transformation only reflects the climate of uncertainty and possibility that’s settled over the market. This year alone, the homebuying market was expected to be the most competitive in history before buyers pumped the brakeslater in the year. After years of steady growth and low interest rates, many observers anticipate a correction, especially in the face new technology, generational and demographic changes, the rise of new markets, and the continued winding-down of traditional retail. One survey respondent described the feeling of “coming off a peak,” and others have said the “low-hanging fruit has been picked.”

One of the most far-reaching changes rewriting the way real estate professionals do business has been the rise of industry-specific technology, startups, and better and more transparent analytics. In many cases, capital is following fintech, or financial tech, leading to more efficient—and automated—transactions.

Construction labor shortages continue to hamstring the homebuilding industry. Shutterstock

Tapering growth leads to a new numbers game

Less growth means a more challenging environment, and analysts predict a slow down on multiple fronts. Population growth has continued to trickle up, labor force availability, especially in the construction industry, is lackluster at best, and productivity figures for the economy at large show minuscule improvements. Add in government forecasts of an economic slowdown—Congressional Budget Office projections show average GDP growth of 1.9 percent in 2018-19, much slower than at the beginning of the current economic upswing—and real estate activity will likely taper off as well. This deceleration means identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities—such as emerging markets, replacing older buildings, adaptive reuse, and new office space—will be much harder.

Second cities, and now their suburbs, may be key markets

Investors have long seen urban revitalization in smaller U.S. cities as a great bet, but as these downtowns boom and millennials continue to return, young adults have started to make inroads into the suburbs. Researchers are seeing more evidence the younger generation that put off buying a home has its eyes on single-family homes, meaning that housing surrounding these so-called 18-hour cities—especially if it’s in walkable, transit-oriented developments—is in high demand. Census Bureau stats show evidence of a second-city suburban shift. Over 2.6 million people annually moved from principal cities within metropolitan areas to the suburbs in 2016 and 2017, and of the smaller markets in the ULI’s Top 20 emerging market report, 55 percent of new residents over the last five years have relocated to suburban homes.

Can your apartment complex keep up? Shutterstock

Amenity creep and the apartment arms race

In a competitive housing market, apartment landlords and builders have been engaging in an arms race for new amenities. Fancy gyms and rooftop access doesn’t cut it anymore. Today’s cutting-edge multifamily developments include movie theaters, dog runs, communal gardens, and access to coworking space. As landlords “knock themselves over” looking for new selling points to attract downtown renters, smart home and service-economy firms are also rising to the challenge, offering benefits such as laundry service.

Technology tackles the real estate market

Tech has always had its eye on opportunity, and real estate, which represents 13 percent of the U.S. GDP, is a big prize. Next year will see increasing inroads by tech firms, services, and startups seeking to capture and consolidate this fragmented market. Venture capital and tech investors have responded in kind. CB Insights projects real estate tech investment may top $5.2 billion by the end of 2018, firms such as Fifth Wall have zeroed-in on the industry, and investment in building and construction tech has boomed. New platforms for home sellingkeep popping up, trying to disrupt how this traditional transaction works.

Continued rise of artificial intelligence

Will hype about the game-changing potential of artificial intelligence begin to manifest itself in the real estate industry? While some tech startups have integrated AI into their market analyses, perhaps the most immediately relevant use for machine learning and other emerging technologies is building management, organization, and design. Companies such as WeWork, and smart buildings such as The Edge already see big potential in analyzing user behavior in their shared office space to refine their offerings, redesign the layout of their spaces, and create a virtuous feedback loop. ULI report authors suggest that for the real estate industry, AI may offer big benefits for building efficiency and safety, as well as security and property access.

These boxes have a big impact on real estate. Shutterstock

Dealing with the real costs of free delivery

As next-day increasingly becomes just-in-time, a sea change in logistics and shopper expectations has created new challenges for the real estate industry. The never-ending hunger Amazon and other e-commerce companies have for warehouse space has supercharged the industrial real estate sector, but the possibilities of increasing speedy delivery have contributed to transportation gridlock in major U.S. cities.

Add this to increasingly underfunded infrastructure: Businesses will bear an estimated $240 billion in congestion costs over the next five years, while annual spending on roads and highways is just 37 percent of what’s needed to keep pace with deterioration. It’s clear real estate will not only have to factor in, and pay the price for, this oversight, but will need to pay attention to how potential solutions—such as congestion pricing—impact land values and investment opportunities.

Retail transforming into a new equilibrium

The much-hyped retail apocalypse narrative overstates the situation: it’s not extinction, more a culling of the herd. The rise of omni-channel retail and the shrinking size of America’s retail footprint—a response to e-commerce and just-in-time delivery—means commercial developers and investors need to support more efficient uses of space, and see how everyone, from small firms to big box stores, are seeking out a better, not necessarily bigger, brick-and-mortar presence.

This is an era where merchandizing is being overshadowed by services, and the rise in new kinds of tenants—such as urgent-care medical facilities, health and fitness providers, restaurants, financial services, and entertainment venues—underscore the strength of the experience economy. It’s also changing how leases are written. With the sector in flux, the standard long-term agreement is making way to shorter deals, even pop-up leases.

Seeing more in going green Shutterstock

A renewed sustainability focus

In the wake of serious recent reports on climate change, there’s been a renewed focus on sustainability in the building and construction industries from groups such as We Are Still In and the Climate Mayors. As calls to curb emissions and control environmental impacts only rise over the next decade, more and more investors and building managers will make green practices a core part of their business. “Real estate has been proactive on sustainability issues for many years,” reads the report. “As a matter of self-interest as well as social responsibility, the industry is moving ahead to advance its sustainability performance regardless of the direction of national policy.”

The acute affordability crisis

The statistics couldn’t be clearer: the United States faces a widespread housing crisis, from big cities to small towns. Half of all renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, HUD says 12 million Americans spend more than half their earnings on a place to live, and since 2015, the combination of rising prices for single-family homes and rising mortgage rates has cut home affordability by 15 percent. This country needs new homes, and fast; academics estimate the U.S. requires 4.6 million additional rental units by 2030.

That rate of construction should be possible, based on the money bring invested in the multifamily sector, but for a variety of reasons, including regulations, new construction has and remains skewed towards the upper end of the market. A vast reckoning will take place in the rental market. Hopefully public and private stakeholders can work together and build off a handful of good examples to rework how rental buildings are funded and delivered.

Read original article on Curbed.com

RMA Contracted by City of Deltona, FL – Will Provide Strategic Economic Development Plan

RMA has been contracted by the City of Deltona in Florida to provide a strategic 5-year economic development plan for a Business Park and Manufacturing Related Recruitment. The award-winning firm’s scope of services, in addition to the plan, will also include relationship building with multiple partner organizations to ensure support of new initiatives and meetings with developers.

“The City of Deltona has determined that manufacturing is a target industry for the City,” said Lynn Dehlinger, Economic Development Director for the project. “RMA is honored to partner with them to develop a Business Park with a focus on attracting targeted industries.”

Deltona is located in Volusia County and borders Interstate 4. This location provides easy access to the entire I-4 High Tech Corridor as well as coastal Florida and the entire eastern seaboard.

This area is considered one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, with numerous development opportunities for industrial and commercial properties. The low-cost tax environment and wealth of workforce training resources make this a destination conducive to a variety of business needs.

Another bonus is that the average manufacturing wages are lower than Miami, Tallahassee, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Melbourne.

Deltona’s Open for Business Mission Statement is to provide the highest quality professional plan review, permitting and customer service that respects the time and cost elements of a project to the maximum potential.

RMA’s team members have firsthand experience with Deltona, Volusia County and the larger Central Florida region, having worked within the market for the past seven years. The unique public and private sector perspective and experience that this team provides will allow the successful attainment of the City’s goals, while navigating the governmental processes in an efficient and productive manner.

About RMA:

Founded in 2009 by Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown, RMA is comprised of a phenomenal team of redevelopment experts passionate about building better communities. RMA is the most experienced full-service economic redevelopment consulting and management firm, headquartered in the state of Florida, specializing in revitalizing core areas and corridors for cities, counties and special districts nationwide. The co-founders are also the authors of one of the definitive books about city redevelopment, “Reinventing Your City: 8 Steps to Turn Your City Around.”

Latin America’s influence on South Florida’s Real Estate Market

By Jenae Valentine, MSRED, Economic Development Manager/Real Estate Associate

With some Latin American economies showing signs of deterioration, foreign investors have paid attention to the resurgence of the real estate market in the United States. Those with the means to invest have especially taken interest in the South Florida real estate market, which has seen tremendous growth in development and real estate transactions stemming from Latin America. See below for an infographic on some of the effects this has had on South Florida’s Real Estate Market.

Meet Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown of Redevelopment Management Associates in Pompano Beach

Via VoyageMIA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown.

Chris and Kim have been in the redevelopment field for over 30 years. Chris’s background in architecture set the stage for a career in real estate development and ultimately to become a partner in his own firm at RMA. Kim started her career abroad in the Netherlands Antilles, first as Marketing Director and later as Executive Director of the Downtown Management Organization (DMO), eventually moving to work within cities throughout Florida as CRA Director.

In 2009, RMA was formed when Chris and Kim saw a need to provide highly technical skills to government clients who were struggling with blighted and run down areas within their municipalities. The ultimate goal was provide services to cities who wanted to work on improving their economic health, their quality of life and promote economic activity.

Their first client, the City of Pompano Beach, had suffered from years of deterioration and a poor image, especially from a development standpoint. During the last real estate cycle, while other cities were attracting new developments and enjoying an expanded tax base from all the new growth, Pompano lagged behind as it was passed over by the development and business communities. Even being in the height of the red-hot real estate market and being conveniently located right next to Ft. Lauderdale didn’t put Pompano on the development map; over several years, only one residential project was built.

When RMA was hired by the City in 2009, they were able to identify what was holding the city back and put plans into place to overcome the barriers preventing attraction of investment to the City. RMA also assisted the city in figuring out how to fund the public improvements that would ultimately transform the city’s image of being tired, dated and blighted, to a trendy, desirable hot spot for investment.

With all the changes being implemented in Pompano, word of RMA’s unique approach to city revitalization spread and the firm began to grow. Each new employee embraced the company culture of creating quality urban redevelopment with passion, integrity and hard work. With over 40 employees deployed in various cities throughout South Florida, and recently out of state and into South Carolina, the firm continues to grow to provide service to its growing client base.

After studying and working in many cities over multiple decades, including being in the redevelopment field abroad, Kim and Chris noticed that many cities suffer from the same issues yet struggle to find the right path towards revitalization. With that in mind, the two decided to write a book to guide cities through the process. In 2015, they published Reinventing Your City. The book highlights the eight steps needed to implement a successful revitalization program and provides local and international case studies.

Reinventing Your City

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall? And if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Has launching a new business with our unique and highly specialized services been smooth? Of course not. First of all, we did not avoid some of the obvious challenges almost everyone faces when opening a new business, including having enough time and resources, time to service clients while keeping “back of house” in order, and time to hire new people quickly as we grew. Eventually, we built up an administrative team and easily grew from 15 to 40 people. The rapid growth created a new challenge of inadequate office space. We kept expanding into the next bays of our office building until there was nowhere to expand to. That’s when we learned the valuable lesson of having control over your own space and its needs and bought two small office buildings; one we would immediately occupy and one we could grow into.

Probably the most difficult obstacle our firm faces today is politics. It’s an ugly subject to contend with. We have witnessed hard working, well intended and thoughtful elected officials take charge of their cities and finally make the right plans for the future, only to have an election take place where everything they had worked for gets torn apart by a new set of commissioners that tilt the voting block in a different direction. Those cities ultimately fall right back into the abyss of blight or turmoil and nothing happens for years. We write a lot about this situation in our book, Reinventing Your City.

RMA (Redevelopment Management Associates) – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

In summary, we are change agents. We transform cities that are suffering from lack of direction, a poor image, blighted or outdated public realms, lack of business investment, weak commercial corridors or commerce, etc. and set them on a path for revitalization. Change is scary to a lot of people and the process can get derailed quite easily if not managed correctly. We are most proud of our ability to see the future of a city and create a vision that they can buy into and build upon over an extended period of time. Our plans and visions aren’t just about improving roads and parks and plazas, and are not just about how to attract new types of businesses or industry. Our plans literally reinvent the city and create actual change. We are masters at implementing these plans and making sure the plans don’t sit on a shelf. Part of that comes from understanding the real estate and business side of what a city must do to prompt the change. That could include analyzing how to fund and finance the plans, defining the organizational structure needed to implement the vision, or defining the policies elected officials must take to turn the city in a different direction.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?

We are very proud of our book, Reinventing Your City. After working in the redevelopment field for 30 years, we could see why some cities had created a desirable environment for residents, businesses and visitors, and why some did not. The ability to help other cities truly understand the crucial elements of a successful revitalization program was very rewarding. Some cities even bought the book and had their top-level directors read it!

Another proud moment happens when a city finally reaches the point when they can clearly say that change started based on a specific event or happening, and they can feel the electricity in the room because change has started. It’s a pivotal time for that city.
It happens differently each time, but in one city, Pompano Beach, it happened at a city commission meeting. For decades, a group of about 100 condominium residents (red shirts) had a stronghold on a beach area and had managed to keep public parking away so nobody else, other than themselves, could easily access the beach. After working on the issue for a year, the 100 people in red shirts were reduced to 10, and there were 100 yellow shirts (the agents for change) telling the commissioners they wanted to also be able to use the beach as well and that they wanted parking. The redshirt leader stood up a stated she didn’t want “people” there, and the whole room fell silent. It was suddenly and blatantly apparent by the selfish nature of the comment, that something had to change. After a minute, the stunned Mayor said, “Well, the tides have turned in our little city and it’s different now.”

Today, there is a stunning new restaurant and two more planned on the beach, along with an iconic 600 space parking garage and retail. Even the condo residents have recognized that a revitalized beach area with people, is better than a blighted beach without people.

Pompano Beach Pier Parking Garage

Note: This article has been updated from its original version for accuracy.

Davie Public-Private Partnership (P3) Consulting Services

Agency

Davie Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Economic Analysis
Real Estate & P3 Strategy
Draft Bid Documents for RFP
Community Outreach
RFP Selection Process
Developer Negotiations

Performance Period

June 2016 – Present

Davie Public-Private Partnership (P3) Consulting Services

Issue

The Town of Davie is one of the most unique towns in the state of Florida and prides itself on offering an authentic experience for residents and visitors with its Western themed architecture and rodeo arena. For years, the Towns’ downtown did not reach its full potential for a variety of reasons, including not fully capitalizing on the Western theme. Although there were a few residential, retail, and gathering places that generated some activity in the area, the downtown was not a destination and was mostly overshadowed by the local university neighbors and successful commercial corridors across town. RMA was retained to assist the Town with consulting services and to be the Owner’s Representative to establish a Public-Private Partnership (P3) for the development of the Davie Downtown Center on property owned by the Town of Davie and the Davie Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

Strategy

Over the last few years the Town had seen increased interest from the private sector, with both residential and mixed-use projects starting construction in the downtown area; the time seemed right for the Town of Davie and Davie CRA to find a development partner to build a unique Western Themed Downtown Center to increase the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors. The vision for the Downtown Center was to include mixed-use components that provide daytime and nighttime uses including restaurants, retail shops, and public spaces with programmed activity. An analysis of the local conditions and future vision for the Town Center was determined through discussions with Town leadership, stakeholder interviews, public workshops, proforma modeling, and the review of previous plans. The RMA team completed the necessary due diligence for the 24-acre site by reviewing existing concept designs, zoning and land use designations, and infrastructure plans. RMA utilized that research and created a very comprehensive approach when writing the Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a private partner for the specialty development opportunity. Targeted digital/traditional marketing and advertising for the RFP included local newspapers, national and state recognized development organizations, and a large developer database.

Outcome

RMA successfully guided the CRA and Town officials throughout the entire process of developing and evaluating the Public-Private Partnership. The work included meeting with local stakeholders, writing the RFP, marketing the RFP, and sitting with the Town during the BID proposal presentation, then providing feedback to the Town on what would make this Public-Private Partnership successful. In early November 2017, a developer was selected to be the Town’s private development partner and builder for the Downtown Center. Both parties are currently negotiating the development terms with assistance from RMA and legal counsel. It is anticipated that construction of the Downtown Center will commence in 2019.

The Lofts on West University – Gainesville

Location

Gainesville, FL

Our Role

Developer

The Lofts on West University – Gainesville

The three-story, 31 residential units, for sale, and 1,500 square feet of retail project are situated half- way between downtown Gainesville (Main Street) and the University of Florida (13th Street). The condominium flats were marketed successfully to football alumni, to Shands Hospital professional employees, and to parents of children attending UF. Mr. Brown was 50% partner in the project and he co-supervised the pre-construction, sales and marketing, construction, closings, and warranty work. SunTrust Bank financed the project with a $3.6 million loan.

1350 Main – Sarasota

Location

Sarasota, FL

Our Role

Developer

1350 Main – Sarasota

William Morris (Southcoast Partners) and Chris Brown (RMA/LB Jax) developed a 17-story mixed-use, high rise in downtown Sarasota in 2007, including 6,000 square feet of retail and 134 condominiums. The project set a sales record in the market when it sold out in one day. The project’s architect included Cohen, Freedman, and Encinosa as well as Andres Duany (DPZ) who served as the consulting urban designer to the City and to the developer. The project was a P3 with the City in which the City transferred part of the right of way of two main streets, allowing the development to build four floors of loft urban housing on top of an arcaded public sidewalk. DPZ provided the City of Sarasota with a downtown masterplan and the development followed the plan before it was adopted. 1350 Main is an example of new urbanism at its best.

RMA Taps New Beer Trends to Combat Urban Blight

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., Feb. 13, 2018 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — As the craft brewery trend matures, RMA (www.rma.us.com) is advising city leaders on the smartest ways to continue tapping into the beer industry as a tool for revitalization. In states such as Florida, the full-service economic redevelopment firm, still sees growth potential for craft breweries. In other areas, the firm is guiding cities to develop attraction plans for distilleries, co-op breweries and brewpubs.

“Florida still offers tremendous potential for beer-industry growth,” said Farrell Tiller, RMA’s Economic Development Coordinator. “Recently, The North Miami Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (NMBCRA) announced the state’s first ‘Brewery District’ and craft brewery incentive program. The NMBCRA recognized a market gap in this area, and RMA guided the CRA through the process.”

Breweries can improve slum and blight in a community by creating an adaptive reuse for derelict/vacant buildings such as old department stores, warehouses, churches, fire stations and train stations. Once the buildings are retrofitted as craft breweries, they have the potential to become a major catalyst for revitalization within a city, attracting additional visitors, job creation and investment.

“With North Miami Beach, RMA analyzed the market potential and developed the framework for a targeted industry incentive program to attract craft breweries,” continued Farrell. But he also warns cities not to jump on the craft beer bandwagon just because it worked in other towns.

The cities who have successfully engaged breweries as part of their revitalization plan, did so after careful analysis and as part of an overall redevelopment strategy.”

Back in 2011, RMA launched the revitalization of Oakland Park, Florida with the creation of a culinary arts district. That city’s growth was ignited when Funky Buddha brewery relocated to the area. That success story led to craft breweries popping up in many cities including Pompano Beach, Wynwood and more.

“Currently, the craft beer market represents about 12% of market share in the United States, while other beverage markets like coffee and high-end drinks can command up to 40%,” he explained. “So, there is room for smart growth, but we also see related emerging trends in the market.”

Farrell notes that Millennials, who have grown accustomed to drinking craft beer, are now seeking to socialize in brewpubs, where they can enjoy their favorite beers accompanied by housemade foods.

“The demand exists for family-friendly restaurants where guests can enjoy great beer and food while experiencing the good feeling of supporting a local business versus a chain. Brewpubs fit this model and will be the next phase of development.”

Taking a giant leap beyond simple community gathering spots, co-op brewery models are on Tiller’s radar as he tracks states like Montana, New Mexico and Texas, where groups or cooperatives are investing in breweries as a means to stimulate revitalization. Cooperatives are organizations owned collectively by members who share in profits or benefits. While currently there are only a handful of these co-ops in in the United States, Canadian co-ops are touting increased employment and neighborhood unity.

For cities wanting to capitalize on the economic engine of the beer industry, Tiller advises city leaders seek experts to analyze 3 key areas:

  • Feasibility: Does your area have a market of consumers to support the business? And will the city offer incentives to entrepreneurs looking to open and operate breweries in your community?
  • Zoning and Land Use: Is zoning and land use attractive or prohibitive for breweries? Many cities still have antiquated codes that make it difficult for breweries to locate close to their customers and other food and beverage related businesses.
  • Real Estate Environment: Does the available real estate match up to brewery needs? And if not, can it be adapted?

To Learn more about these topics, please visit our website at www.rma.us.com

About RMA:

Founded in 2009 by Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown, Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) is comprised of a phenomenal team of redevelopment experts passionate about building better communities. RMA is the most experienced full-service economic redevelopment consulting and management firm in the state of Florida specializing in revitalizing core areas and corridors for cities, counties and special districts nationwide.

*Web photo caption: A diesel plant in Vero Beach, Florida has been transformed into American Icon Brewpub.

Downtown Housing for Retail Survival and Success

By Chris Brown, Principal & Marc Snediker, Real Estate Manager 

If you expect urban neighborhood retail to succeed, you must make sure the underlying economics of the area will support it. That means a stable, permanent population to support the stores. The city must ensure there is enough housing built in the area; they cannot rely on visitors or daytime workers. “Successful retail depends on successful residential neighborhoods…Successful retail needs a growing number of high-quality residents.” (“Ten Principles for Rebuilding Neighborhood Retail,” Beyard, Pawlukiewicz, Bond, Ten Principals for Rebuilding Neighborhood Retail

Permanent residents provide consistent business for retailers and that means consistent cash flow for their operations. Seasonal business from tourists is certainly helpful but it is unpredictable and, by its very nature, inconsistent. Daytime population from local offices is also great but they are only going to support certain types of businesses and for limited times and days. A restaurant may be able to make a living selling lunch to downtown workers, but you want businesses to have extended evening and weekend hours to maximize revenue and real estate value. To generate the highest sales and energize a neighborhood, you need “seven-day” business. More sales revenue means higher real estate values means higher tax base.

The successful downtown will have the right mix of development between residential, office, and retail. While you may find an adventurous entrepreneur from time to time to open up in an area without sufficient population density, most quality retailers will want to see that population either in place or coming soon before they put their capital at risk. If you want retail to not only survive but thrive, surround them with dense residential.

5 Tips for Leasing Your Properties

By Marc Snediker, Sr. Real Estate Manager

Strong leasing efforts are obviously critical to the success of any downtown real estate project. The space needs to be desirable to tenants, it should be seen by as many potential tenants as possible, and it must be priced in accordance with the prevailing market conditions. Below are five tips for overseeing any leasing program.

  1. Leasing is only one part of a more complicated story. Often, there are obstacles to retail or office leasing beyond just the size and cost of the space. Leasing is most productive when it is a piece of a comprehensive regulatory, infrastructure, and economic development plan.
  2. Maximize the visibility of the vacant space. It is axiomatic that the more businesses that are aware of the leasing opportunity, the quicker the landlord will find the best tenant. The marketing of the project should include professional “Space Available” signs in the windows, listings on the top real estate sites such as LoopNet and CoStar, feature it on the city website, e-blasts to local commercial brokers and targeted business categories, and old-fashioned direct phone prospecting.
  3. Keep the property in “ready to show” condition. The property should always look “clean, safe, and friendly.” While spaces in less than pristine condition do get leased all the time (if a location is great, businesses will find it), poor conditions on site can affect the overall image the market has of the location and that can drive down rental rates or even prevent a business from approving a site. With that in mind, and interior space should always be broom-swept clean with the window signs in good repair and not torn or faded. Vacant land should not be overgrown and the leasing sign should be in good condition. Curb appeal matters!
  4. Select your professionals carefully. Generally, it is advisable to have a licensed real estate professional handle your leasing. Proper leasing efforts can be very labor intensive and follow-up skills and a sense of urgency are important factors in the success of any leasing program. Make sure the broker has experience not only in the local market, but has either a statewide or national presence to attract the type of business targeted. It is also important that the broker have experience with the kind of project being leased. Downtown tenants do not often come from the same pool of businesses as suburban strip center tenants.
  5. Be realistic. Wanting a particular use or retailer is not enough to bring them to a location if the underlying market conditions are not conducive to their needs. Retailers, in particular, often have very specific criteria for demographics, site configuration, traffic counts, and available parking. This does not mean it is unproductive to think outside the box: creative solutions can often work. But a business needs to be able to thrive in the space. Otherwise, be prepared to have to lease the space again in a short time.

This list is by no means exhaustive but can form the foundation of a strong leasing plan.