UST MSRE Program – Real Estate Matters
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Affordable Housing, Development, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Residential Real Estate

Ten Surprising Facts: State of the Nation’s Housing Report

Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, the market has seen an increase in demand for homes, but home inventories remain stagnant. Further, either from the bank restrictions or consumer caution new home growth has been at record lows for the last 10 years. Whether this is just a trend or due to socio-economic reasons can be debated, but statistics do show Millenials are living with their parents longer and seem to be putting off buying homes due to a different economic situation than previous generations at the same age (US Census).

Further a recent housing report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, posit similar statistics in the market strengthening the argument that Millenials and uncertainty are holding down the housing market.

1. For-sale inventories dropped even lower over the past year.

For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were an historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply – almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.

2. Fewer homes were built over the last 10 years than any 10-year period in recent history.

Even with the recent recovery in both single-family and multifamily construction, markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.

Read more of the Full Article or go straight to the full Housing Report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

 

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Property Management

History of the Empire State Building: A Financial Flop for Nearly 20 years

By QuickLiquidity | Date: June 13, 2017 | Category: History

In the late-1920s, New York’s economy was booming and a competition to build the world’s tallest building was heating up. One man who was at the center of it all was Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation, who wanted to build the world’s tallest building as a monument to himself and American capitalism. Chrysler began construction of his monument, the Chrysler Building in 1928 at 405 Lexington Avenue. Despite the buildings name, the Chrysler Corporation did not pay for the construction of the building and never owned it. Instead Chrysler paid for it himself, with the hope of his children one day inheriting the world’s tallest building.

The architects of a competing building, 40 Wall Street, had devised a plan to prevent the Chrysler Building from ever becoming the world’s tallest building. Seeking the title for themselves, they planned 40 Wall Street to be 925 feet tall: 85 feet taller than the Chrysler Building had originally planned to be. When Chrysler found out about 40 Wall Street’s plans he decided to add a surprise 186-foot spire to his building. 40 Wall Street finished construction first in April of 1930, and held a celebration for being the tallest building in the world, without knowing that they were about to be surpassed. Less then two months later, the construction workers at the Chrysler Building hoisted 4 parts of the secret spire to the top and riveted them together in 90 minutes. At 1,046 feet high, the Chrysler Building became the world’s tallest building¹.

John J. Raskob of General Motors, a rival of Chryslers, also aspired to build the world’s tallest building. Raskob purchased 350 Fifth Avenue and began construction of the Empire State Building in March of 1930, only a few months before the Chrysler Building was completed. Raskob hired architect William F. Lamb, who finished the original drawings for the Empire State Building in only two weeks. In one of their first meetings Raskob had taken a jumbo pencil, stood it on its end and asked Lamb, “Bill, how high can you make it so that it won’t fall down?” Using over 3,400 laborers a day, the building went up in just over a year, well ahead of schedule and under budget at $40 million, which would be nearly $600 million today. During certain periods of construction, the frame grew a remarkable four-and-a-half stories a week. Not to be bested by the Chrysler Building, Raskob put the final cherry at the top of his building – a spire, making the Empire State Building a soaring 102 stories and 1,250 feet high. The Empire State Building was completed in May of 1931 and became the world’s tallest building, a title it would hold for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center was completed in 1970. While successful in beating the Chrysler Building in height, the Empire State Building was far from being the success Raskob had hoped.

 

Full Article: http://www.quickliquidity.com/blog/history-of-the-empire-state-building-a-financial-flop-for-nearly-20-years.html

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Real Estate Trends

Minnesota: Commercial Development Hub

A recent post by the New York Times blog, shows Minneapolis is among the leaders in urban development. One may ask, why and how does Minneapolis keep attracting people to the city? Simple, the city’s diverse population allows for vibrant restaurants and events, and municipal transportation creates accessibility to and from these destinations. Looking deeper, destinations and even housing were only possible through recent Minneapolis commercial development. You can see from almost any point in the city a construction crane or sign saying, “Opening Soon.”

Setting aside apartment and condo developments, the last 15 years has seen revitalization of major Minneapolis buildings. The old Sears building on Lake Street is now the Midtown Global Market which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year, and the Foshay Tower is now the W-Hotel. Recently, the Minneapolis Armory, also on the national landmark registrar, looks to be renovated into a venue hosting large crowds as an event center. The Armory was recently sold for $6 million dollars to Nedal Yusuf Abul-Hajj who has submitted plans to convert the 80 year old building.

Architecture & Design, Development, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Former Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home Development Remains Postponed

If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis. 

The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.

While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2017/05/31/court-blocks-teardown-for-alatus-40-story-condo.html

 

Commercial Real Estate, Economics, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas’ Commercial Real Estate Survey Finds “Essentially Neutral” Outlook with Gradual Improvement Ahead

water color MPLS SkylineData shows the semiannual survey of 50 commercial real estate industry leaders correctly predicted this year’s higher rents, occupancy rates and building materials.

Leaders in the field of Minnesota commercial real estate don’t foresee drastic changes in their industry over the next two years. What they do predict is relatively slow growth and gradually improving conditions. That is the theme of the eighth Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey, a semiannual poll of 50 Minnesota commercial real estate leaders from the fields of development, finance and investment. The survey has been conducted each fall and spring since 2010 by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.

In all eight surveys the same group of 50 industry leaders have been polled on their expectations of future commercial real estate activity. Their responses are used to create index scores that can be compared over time. Scores higher than 50 represent a more optimistic view of the market over the next two years; scores less than 50 represent a more pessimistic view. The November 2013 composite score stands at 47 and continues a “slightly less than optimistic” trend for the third-consecutive survey.   “This fall’s results reflect a mixed bag of optimism in some areas and pessimism in others,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university. “This is similar to the pattern that was observed last spring. However, the degree of optimism and pessimism has become slightly more moderate.”

Price for Space

The index score for rental rates remains positive but dropped slightly, from 69 to 66, as did the index for occupancy levels, which moved from 66 to 62. “Despite the decrease, the panelists remain optimistic that rents and occupancy levels will continue to improve, albeit at slower rates,” Tousley said. This marks the fifth-consecutive survey with scores above 60 in these two areas, indicating, he said, “continued optimism that the economy is going to continue to improve and there will be a greater demand for space.”

Land Prices

The land-price index dropped from 33 last spring to 31 this fall. It was the third-consecutive decrease and, Tousley said, “reveals a strong expectation that land prices will continue to increase. “Increasing land prices increase total project costs and are a hindrance to new development, making it more difficult to obtain financing and adequate returns for investors.”

Building Materials

The building-material index moved from a strongly negative 22 to a slightly less negative 24. “That reflects the panel’s opinion that building-material price increases are expected to moderate,” Tousley said. “An improvement in prices will be favorable for future development.”

Return for Investors

The index for investors’ returns has remained at 48 for the past four surveys. That is seen as essentially neutral and indicates the panel does not see a significant change in expected returns over the next two years. “Investors will continue to seek out quality investments but they are being much more diligent about how they price risk and evaluate return,” Tousley said.

Required Equity

The index for the amount of equity required by lenders dropped significantly, from 64 to 57. “This indicates the panel’s belief that credit will be available for good projects but lenders will increase their equity requirements in the coming two years,” he said

 Accuracy

With eight surveys completed since the Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey began in 2010, the researchers compared the panel’s past predictions with how things actually turned out. It turns out that market conditions in 2013 are very close to what the panel predicted in 2011. Some examples:

  • In 2011 the panel predicted higher rents in 2013. Rents for class A office property in the Twin Cities went from $14.88 in 2011 to $15.74 in 2013.
  • In 2011 the panel predicted higher occupancy in 2013. The average retail vacancy in the Twin Cities went from 8.4 percent in 2011 to 7.8 in 2013.
  • In 2011 the panel predicted higher costs for building materials in 2013. The price for lumber increased from $252 per 1,000 board feet in November 2011 to $396 in November 2013. 

Summary

“Panelists don’t see any drastic changes in the next two years,” Tousley said. “It can be interpreted that things will continue to progress forward, but at a slightly slower pace due to higher development costs in land and materials. “Overall, our panelists do not foresee a commercial real estate recession coming in this market, but we will likely see two years of relatively slow growth and gradually improving conditions in the commercial real estate market in the Twin Cities.

“One thing we have observed in the current survey is there is less variation in the responses and that has caused a more uniform response rate reflecting the panel’s certainty in their views.”

The survey is conducted and analyzed by Tousley and Dr. Thomas Hamilton, associate professor of real estate at St. Thomas. Additional details can be found on the Shenehon Center’s website: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html

 

 

Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Aileen Halligan

aileenhalliganAcademic researchers who study social, behavioral, and organizational psychology have spent the previous decade studying how people make judgement about people they meet. Some of these researchers believe that your brain, specifically the emotional centers, work incredibly fast to make snap judgements about people, a trait that was crucial in our species history, when ascertaining friend from foe was often a life threatening decision. The common phrases for these experiences are “gut feeling” and “a hunch”, and contradictory to the general belief that these emotions are irrational, scientists are increasingly discovering that they are actually the product of an incredibly complex system of sensory analysis, memory, and a syntax that follows a precise logical argument. This insight becomes all the more powerful when one begins to realize just how accurate that gut feeling is when the situation is appropriate.

Considering the opening paragraph of this interview, it is without surprise that Ms. Halligan makes a significant first impression, worthy of the pretense. Very confident, driven, intelligent, well spoken, and conscientious  are the gut feeling(s) I experienced when Ms. Halligan began answering my questions. Aileen’s career, education, and goals are all reflective of these traits, and it would appear a solid bet that her future holds plenty of successes.

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Appraisal, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile- Lane Thor

DSC_5428“The (best part of the UST MSRE program is the…) whole package; having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and learning, first hand, their opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb.  These connections will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.”

Real Estate Matters has had the opportunity to sit down with several MSRE students in the graduating class of 2011 and get their impressions of the program, their plans for the future, and their advice to perspective students as their time in the MSRE program draws to a close. The first 2011 graduate, Lane Thor, has been working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office as an Appraiser. Lane was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

What is your background and experience?

I grew up in St. Paul, and have lived in Lino Lakes since 2006. I earned my undergraduate degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, where I majored in Political Science. I was fortunate enough to play football for Hamline while I was a student there, which provided a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about life, responsibility, and leadership.

So who do you route for in the MIAC?

I have to route for Hamline.  But I promise, I alway route for St. Thomas to win.  If they play Hamline I just hope for a tie…

Where have you worked since earning your undergraduate degree?

I am fortunate, in that my first job out of school is one I have really enjoyed. I began working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office in 2006.  My day-to-day duties involve the appraisal of real estate for tax purposes. I specialize in residential property and am currently one of 52 appraisers working for Ramsey County. The thing I like most about the job is the unique nature of each property.  Each property presents new challenges and opportunities for me every day. As an undergrad I was interested in getting into business law, but after a few law classes I changed my mind.  My passion for public sector work, especially the parts of the government that support the real estate industry, has remained which makes my current position a great fit for me. Also, my job affords me the opportunity to keep a healthy work-life balance, which is something that is very important to me.

Why did you decide to get an MSRE, and how did you choose UST?

I wanted to strengthen my skill set and knowledge of real estate issues to compliment my current background, with the goal of having more opportunities  in the field of real estate. Looking back on my time in the program I can definitely say that I have broadened my skill set and given myself many new and exciting options. Furthermore, my sophistication in real estate has increased two fold, (1) I have learned more about the theoretical aspects of the real estate industry than I ever imagined, and (2) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of practical knowledge I gained, with regard to the different aspects of real estate. I am certain that this experience will benefit me in any area of real estate that I get into.

I chose St. Thomas, because the program and the school is regarded in the Twin Cities, as the gold standard in real estate education. UST has an extensive professional network, including the real estate advisory board, which is basically all the heavy hitters in the Twin Cities real estate industry. I looked at a few other programs but ultimately chose UST because I wanted to have classroom experience – that personal level, face-to-face contact with my professors and peers is important for me. Because of this I have built life long friendships.  The small class sizes have allowed me to meet everyone and make valuable connections. The classroom experience and the relationships that stem from this structure is what brought me to UST.

What is the best part of the program?

The whole package – having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and getting first hand opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb and will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.

Do you have some advice for perspective students?

If you have a passion for real estate, this will be a great opportunity.  As with any graduate degree program, the workload gets heavy at times.  But, if you have taken the time to prepare for the program, taken the GMAT, etc. you will find a way to manage the out of classroom work. This program is great for people who love real estate.

What are your career goals?

Right now, I am working on a couple of ideas that I have been formulating for a long time. I wanted to wait until I graduate before I really focused on one plan, as I needed to really see what was involved in each part of the industry, and where my passions really were. I think for the long-term, I would like to go into business for myself. . For the time being, I will continue to pursue high level positions in the public sector dealing with real estate or real estate related issues. After I get settled in, I would like to begin my own business, doing both at the same time, public sector and private. My private business will consist of a full service real estate company focusing solely on  niche markets that  have not been tapped. With good marketing and perseverance there is a lot of upside to  some areas that  remain untouched.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

At Hamline, my football coach told me to be successful you need to surround yourself with the right people. That means making the right connections, having the right network, as well as putting good people near you. At UST you get that, professors who are helping you and working so you succeed. My new network is due in large part to UST.  This alone has made my decision to enter the MSRE program a great one and makes me very excited as I look forward to my future career.

Real Estate Matters would like to thank Lane Thor for taking the time to share his insight and experience in the MSRE program. We would also like to congratulate him on his graduation and look forward to keeping track of his promising career. To find out more information about the UST MSRE program, please visit our website.

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized

Executive Insight Series: Bob Lux and the 14 Million Dollar Question About Block E

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

“So, what is the plan for Block E?”

A simple question that was definitely on every attendee’s mind at the most recent Real Estate Executive Insight Series. However, the answer isn’t so simple, and if it were not for Bob Lux’s (principal at Alatus LLC) charisma, intelligence, and experience in leading major, press-worthy development projects the answer might not have been as well received. As any gifted public figure would, Mr. Lux skirted the question, but in his sidestep, alluded to several important things concerning the future of Block E, as well as the kind of person Mr. Lux is. Before his answer can be assessed properly, it is important to understand Mr. Lux’s history, professional accomplishments, and his philosophy on development (and life).

Mr. Lux grew up in a Long Prairie, a small community in central Minnesota, a town that most likely does not have a building higher than the many crop silos that dot the agrarian landscape. Like many young men from small towns, Mr. Lux left home in search of success and the experience that can only be found in the “big city”. After earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Lux returned to Long Prairie with the intention of starting a home building business in the area. He purchased a lumber yard with his father and began building farmers homesteads in the immediate area. Although this was quite different than the projects he would eventually oversee, Mr. Lux quickly learned the importance of adding value to differentiate his product, otherwise it would simply be a commodity.

After a short time at home the urge to return to city life became to great to resist, and once again, Mr. Lux left Long Prairie for the Twin Cities. His first employer, The Dominium Group, was developing high-density suburban real estate, which faced major issues surrounding obtaining approval from the community and local government for the rezoning of  land for this use. Suburban homeowners are very protective of their communities, and the amount of space that each homesite has was a reflection of the owners desire for privacy and quiet living. Mr. Lux’s first assignment was in Eagan, MN, where he faced opposition form the mayor as well as landowners surrounding the proposed site. To change the attitudes of the landowners surrounding the site, who were a critical stakeholder in the success of the project, Mr. Lux used a mixture of logic, emotional appeal, and financial acumen to reach out to each of the parties and work with them to develop a compromised plan that met the needs of everyone. In the end this project was approved, and through it, Mr. Lux learned one of the key lessons that has helped him throughout his career. During the lecture, he repeatedly cited the ability to listen to, and connect with people as the most important skill he has, and the main reason why projects fail or succeed.

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Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized, Upcoming Industry Events, Upcoming UST Events

Block E: A Deal Alatus Could Not Refuse

blocke7The short history of the building currently occupying the 600 block of Hennepin, know commonly as Block E,  in downtown Minneapolis is a staggeringly accurate metaphor paralleling the last decade of the greater real estate market. According to Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, the original cost of developing the site in 2001 (less the $36.25 million spent on the Graves Hotel which did not change ownership) was $105.75 million. When Alatus Development purchased the development in July, 2010 they paid a paltry $14 million, or roughly 13.23% of the original price. At the risk free rate of return (based on the 10 year T-bill which average 4.42% over the period) the investment in Block E would be worth $162.973 million, resulting in a savings of $148.973 million for Alatus in todays value. This investment appears to be a no brainer, but it is not without risk. Since opening, Block E has lost most of the anchor businesses that originally signed leases in the space including: Borders Books, Game Works, The Hard Rock Cafe, Applebees, and Hooters. The space which Game Works and Borders occupied is still vacant, presenting Alatus and Bob Lux, the lead developer on the project, with significant challenges in their attempt to turn the site into a successful retail operation. That said, the final price tag for the site was too attractive to pass on.

One significant factor that helped persuade Mr. Lux to move forward with the deal is the 550 heated underground parking spaces beneath Block E, at $25,455 per spot is inline with other parking structures around the city. Looking at the deal from this perspective, Alatus paid market rate for the parking, and got a deal sweetener that is quite impressive, approximately 213,000 sq/ft of retail space. Pricing it the other way, at $66 sq/ft, the retail space was purchased at a price that is almost inconceivable given Block E’s location at the heart of the downtown district and within walking distance of Target Field, The Target Center, and many of Minneapolis’s theaters and restaurants. Despite the obvious advantages in location, the previous owners at Block E have had serious difficulty maintaining profitable levels of business. Trying to figure out what to do with this space will certainly keep Mr. Lux up at night, until a solution that provides long term tenants can be derived. Continue Reading

Development, Industry News, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized

Real Estate Executive Insights: An Insider’s View of Commercial RE Investing

speaker_AndyDeckas “Never waste a crisis, they all have opportunity.”

 

It is a common occurrence during difficult times, and there is something very human about perceiving the current situation and lamenting that it is the worst or most extreme crisis in history. Although most of the time this can be chalked up to theatrics or over reaction after hearing Mr. Andy Deckas, President of Founders Properties,

Moody's CPPI -- Pre and Post Bubble

Moody's CPPI -- Pre and Post Bubble

speak about what happened in commercial real estate (CRE) over the past seven years, one can only hope that he is correct in his analysis that, at least for CRE, the market is moving forward and recovering from the difficulties of the last few years. Mr. Deckas gave a superb analysis of the root causes of CRE bubble, using a combination of personal narrative and hard data to support his claim, while being very specific in the way he defined the crisis in the context of the greater economy, and the world in general. His labeling of the fluctuations in CRE market, as the worst in history, based on the criteria of loss of equity, disruption of the industry, and systemic implications on the greater economy quantifies his claim, and despite the pitfalls of making such sweeping assertions, seems to be reasonable. Despite Mr. Deckas’s sober analysis of the recent state of the CRE market, his presentation had a positive tone that included optimism about current opportunities, as well as providing a recap of his fascinating career in the industry.

Resume | Mr. Deckas’s credentials as a commercial investor date back to beginning of the industry, when financial professionals were just realizing the value of securitizing CRE. Mr. Deckas earned his BA from Northwestern University, and planned on continuing his education by earning an MBA until he received an offer that he could not refuse. A personal connection encouraged Mr. Deckas to contact Tom Crawley, who was an executive at Heitman Financial. Mr. Crawley’s pitch was simple, come work for me, and in two years I promise you will learn more than you ever could about CRE in academia. Mr. Deckas agreed, and part of his initial responsibilities included working on raising the capital needed to construct the Mall of America. After nine years moving up through the ranks at Heitman, Mr. Deckas left the firm and moved to OPUS, which at the time  was one of the nations largest real estate developers. His first role at OPUS was creating and growing OPUS financing operation. At OPUS, Mr. Deckas moved the focus of there customer targeting from institutional investors, which were flush with capital but also with a highly bureaucratic structure that impeded flexibility, to high net worth, private equity. It was here that Mr. Deckas found an untapped niche of the market, linking investors eager to increase returns, with securities that offered high upside, with (at the time) minimal risk. Mr. Deckas’s final move brought him to Founders Properties, were he serves as the President of Operations.

The resume that Mr. Deckas possesses, especially the quick ascension to the c-suite in every firm he worked for, provides credibility for his opinions and the analysis of the situation on a macro level. Raising capital for funds in the $100M-$200M dollar range places Mr. Deckas in a unique echelon of individuals who were present in the board rooms and at the job sites of developments that represented the center of the looming decline of the industry

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