Commercial Property Executive
Jul 26 2017
Evoqua Water Technologies signed a 60,000-square-foot office lease at one of the tallest buildings in Pittsburgh, Pa. The company will occupy the entire 32nd, 33rd and 34th floors, with a potential expansion opportunity. The relocation from 181 Thorn Hill Road, Warrendale, Pa., will move approximately 200 employees. The shift, which is the largest one to the Central Business District in the last three years, is scheduled for the end of the month.
“We’ve increased our headcount significantly over the past few years, and as we plan for the future, we thought it best to tap into the vibrancy and energy of the Central Business District,” Evoqua CEO Ron Keating, said in a prepared statement.
Recently refurbished asset
The K&L Gates Center is situated at 210 Sixth Ave. and was formerly known as the One Oliver Plaza. According to Yardi Matrix, the 637,000-square-foot asset comprises 1,200 square feet of retail space and spreads throughout 39 floors. The property was built in 1968 and renovated in 2010, featuring high-end conference facilities, a new lobby, a refurbished exterior façade and white marble interior.
The building is anchored by international law firm K&L Gates, which chose the building as its headquarters in 2007. JLL represented the tenant in the transaction.
Image courtesy of Yardi Matrix
Jul 26 2017
GSA, CBRE, Monday Properties and FD Stonewater facilitated the U.S. Department of State’s 15-year lease renewal and extension at the Berkeley Building in Rosslyn, Va. The department will also expand its operations to the building nearby, bringing its total footprint to 343,000 square feet.
Major changes underway
Monday Properties owns both buildings and in order to meet the tenant’s needs, they will be combined into a “single facility campus” joined through an above grade passage that connects the two lobbies, in addition to a multi-phased renovation of the Berkeley Building. As a result of this transaction, both properties are now fully leased.
The Berkeley Building is located at 1701 N. Fort Myer Drive and comprises 280,000 square feet of premier office space. It also features a recently renovated lobby and elevators. The other property is 1200 Wilson Blvd. and it is a 13-story, 146,000-square-foot office building overlooking the city with a 300-person conference center and a fitness facility.
The assets are situated in the city’s center, providing tenants with easy access throughout the entire area due to the nearby Rosslyn Metro Station. Neighboring amenities include hotels, shops and restaurants and award-winning Freedom Park.
The owners were represented in-house by Tim Helmig and John Wharton, together with FD Stonewater’s Joe Delogu and Chad Habeeb. GSA’s Santoni Graham and Gary Arabak and CBRE’s Henry Chapman and Sara Dunstan acted on behalf of the tenant.
“We look forward to working together on the expansion that will consolidate these two buildings with a modern solution. Our significant investment into the single facility campus will upgrade the property to the latest government efficiency standards,” Helmig said in a prepared statement.
Image courtesy of Yardi Matrix
Jul 26 2017
Financing has become more challenging for owners of smaller multifamily portfolios as some lending institutions have pulled out of the market. Small balance loans can be a viable solution for small and emerging real estate owners. Matthew Frank is vice president of Hunt Mortgage’s Small Balance Loan Group and is overseeing Hunt’s new production office in Phoenix. He walked us through the company’s Freddie Mac program, which was launched in 2014.
How are small balance loans different compared to other financing solutions for small-property owners? What makes this product competitive?
Frank: Small balance loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are non-recourse, compared to most bank and credit unions that require recourse from the borrower. Through the Small Balance Loan (SBL) Program we can offer longer fixed terms at more competitive rates than banks and credit unions. Also, we do not cap how much a borrower can borrow. Banks and credit unions typically cap how much someone can borrow.
How can these small balance loan packages be customized according to the borrower’s needs?
Frank: They can be customized in several ways: length of the fixed period, prepayment penalties, amortization length and if the borrower would like an interest-only option for one year to the full length of the loan. We work with each borrower to help them meet their objectives. Furthermore, as lending experts in the small balance space, we can help our clients think through various options available.
How have the needs of small property borrowers changed in the past few years?
Frank: I believe that many lending institutions have pulled out of the multifamily market or increased their loan sizes, leaving the smaller multifamily properties with limited access to debt. In addition, borrowers with portfolios of smaller multifamily properties have to go to several institutions to place debt on their properties. When they find out about the SBL Program they realize they can have a one-stop shop without a cap on the amount they can borrow.
Is your small balance financing available in smaller markets or do you have a limited area where these products are available?
Frank: We do offer loans in small and very small markets through the SBL Program. We operate nationwide.
Hunt offers financing through Freddie Mac’s SBL Program, launched in 2014. How do you see the performance and evolution of the program in the past three years?
Frank: Hunt was one of three lenders selected to pilot this program. It has been a huge success and we were delighted to be part of it since inception.
What are the challenges in the small-loan market? How can these difficulties be overcome?
Frank: Challenges in the small-loan market tend to be competition from other lending institutions and that many of the borrowers do not have sophisticated property management, so the income and expense numbers may not always be detailed. I believe that as borrowers of smaller apartment buildings become more aware of the agency products and familiarize them on how they work, it will increase the need for detailed management of their assets.
What are your plans regarding Hunt Mortgage’s new office in Phoenix?
Frank: Help grow Hunt’s presence in Phoenix and the Arizona market. Phoenix provides a stable market that is still affordable compared to many other metropolitan cities.
Image courtesy of Hunt Mortgage Group
Jul 26 2017
Nassau County Police Department Foundation has selected interiors and master planning firm Spector Group and Tactical Design North to create the design for the upcoming Nassau County Center for Training and Intelligence in Garden City, N.Y. The planned state-of-the-art facility will serve as a training center for the Nassau County Police personnel from 19 village and city departments located throughout the county, as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Spector Group has delivered the first design sketches, envisioning a modern and flexible property to replace the police department’s current location, a leased elementary school in Massapequa Park. The building will be a mix of academic-styled and training-fit space, with oversized doors to facilitate access throughout the entire building.
- Academic and fitness areas
- Auditorium and lecture hall facilities
- An intelligence bureau
- Emergency vehicle operations course
- Indoor/outdoor tactical training “village” that allows for simulation and scenario-based training
“This forward-thinking facility brings together top-tier design and functionality to create a collaborative and educational environment…The Nassau County Police are leading the way for law enforcement by understanding the need for a modern, fully-functional facility that will provide a thorough educational experience in both an academic and experiential environment,” Spector Group Principal Marc Spector said in a prepared statement.
The 150,000-square-foot facility will be located on the grounds of the Nassau Community College and will provide the New York City Police Department with easy access throughout the entire Nassau County area.
Other projects Spector Group is working on in the New York area include a reimagining 270 Madison Ave., in Manhattan, for private equity firm ABS Partners Real Estate.
Image courtesy of Spector Group
Jul 26 2017
Among the largest 62 U.S. cities, Virginia Beach, Va., ranked the most livable one in a new report by WalletHub, followed by Seattle and Pittsburgh. Livability— which is related to cost of living and quality of life, but is more than either—is an important driver of real estate absorption and development.
Big cities epitomize opportunity, economic and otherwise, which appeals especially to young professionals seeking advancement. The other main draw for them is easy access to dining and entertainment options, which are comparatively scarce in more rural settings. As this kind of talent comes into cities, the influx spurs real estate growth.
Making the cut
WalletHub evaluated the cities using 50 metrics in five categories: Affordability, Economy, Education & Health, Quality of Life, and Safety. Individual metrics included housing costs, overall cost of living, unemployment, income and population growth, quality of public schools and hospitals, Walk Score and access to public transportation.
A top ranking doesn’t mean a place is especially inexpensive. Seattle, for instance, while getting top marks for the strength of its local economy and education systems, is quite expensive. Residents get what they pay for: Seattle is 50 out of 62 in terms of affordability. Other high-quality and expensive cities are San Diego and New York. Oklahoma City is the most affordable city on the list, but its overall rank is 28.
Compared to last year’s report, San Francisco’s overall rank dipped from No. 1 to No. 16., while Raleigh, N.C., dropped from No. 3 last year to No. 20 this year. Seattle kept it’s No. 2 ranking.