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Real Estate Bisnow
   
January 3, 2013 
 
 
Hotel Fever!

 
The hospitality industry has nearly completed its recovery, so the search is on nationwide for new locations. (Maybe this is the cycle when Gary, Indiana, becomes a huge tourist magnet.) Keep in mind: investors also want properties that might do well under another flag.
 
MIG Real Estate CEO Greg Merage tells us finding a conversion candidate is often more cost-effective than a building site, particularly in more mature areas with few development sites and high barriers to entry. (Let's turn all the old Borders and BestBuy sites into B&Bs. Save on signage costs.) Competition is strong, but done right, a conversion will benefit from the fact that most US hotel markets are experiencing healthy increases in revenue per available room (RevPAR, but you knew that). “Hotel forecasts expect 2012 results to be at the same level as before the economic downturn,” Greg notes.
 
Bisnow (PropManage)
Newport Beach-based MIG recently completed a $1.8M conversion of the Hotel Highland in Phoenix to a 126-unit Hampton Inn (above), which included major renovations to the lobby, breakfast lounge, and guest rooms. (Tell us more about this "breakfast lounge," like, how can we live there?) Earlier this year, MIG converted the 87-room Point Inn & Suites located in Jackson, Wyo., also into a Hampton Inn.

Tear Down That (Workstation) Wall
 
Breaking a wall is a great way to de-stress during the work day, but breaking them all down can be considered savvy building. H Hendy Associates principal Heidi Hendy, who spoke at the Bisnow Orange County Office of the Future event, tells us about a recent project that reflects the growing trend: the redesign of space for Network Capital, an OC mortgage specialist who’s seeing significant growth because of the surge in refi volume. The company expanded from 20k SF to 40k SF, and decided to “break down walls, both literally and figuratively, between management and associates,” Heidi says.
H Hendy Associates reduced visual obstructions and employee isolation by using low-height workstations topped with glass panels. (Productivity should go up as quiet games of Angry Birds go down.) "The new space creates a business environment where everyone from intern to CEO has a direct line of sight and communication," Heidi notes. Private offices have been eliminated along the perimeter, enabling more natural light. For areas that require separation, the firm used expanses of interior glass walls that diminish sound while maintaining transparency.

Gen Y Goes Apartment Hunting
 
What does Gen Y want from their apartments (now that they’re finally moving out of their parents’ homes)? Small is OK, for one thing. “According to our national Gen Y survey, 62% of respondents said they’d rather live alone in a smaller space paying up to $300 a month more,” AMF Development chief development officer Alan Dibartolomeo tells us. Provided, of course, the property doesn’t skimp on amenities, including connectivity everywhere and green features. Huntington Beach-based AMF’s first Young Urban Community development, the 208-unit Elevé Lofts & Skydeck in Glendale, is being built specifically to appeal to that demographic (20-34 years old). Some units will be “micro-one bedrooms” integrating a full kitchen, bath, living room, and bedroom with closet in under 400 SF.

Wanted: Development Pros
 
West Coast developers are gearing up to do more development in 2013, according to RETS Associates’ Kent Elliot (pictured with his staff, when they were feeling particularly flush). His Newport Beach firm specializes in CRE recruitment, and he tells us it saw a spike in West Coast executive search assignments for development professionals last year; he expects the trend to accelerate in ’13.

Upcoming Bisnow Events!
 
Thursday, Jan. 24, 7:30am-10:30am. Bisnow's LA State of the Market. This is the Bisnow event of the year, reviewing the state of the market and key trends and issues for the next year. Register here.
 
Resolution for the New Year: Read more Bisnow. And send ideas and suggestions to dees.stribling@bisnow.com.
 
 
 
 
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