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March 26, 2020

Even The Toughest Development Sites May Yield To Patience

An abandoned quarry site next to the Des Plaines River in Joliet attracted the eyeballs of industrial developers for more than a decade, but was left empty once they saw its old gravel piles and difficult topography. Potential uses didn't pencil out, and as the Chicago region’s industrial market boomed, sleek distribution buildings rose all around while the 270 acres remained vacant.

Today the same site near the interchange of I-55 and I-80 hums with activity, with hundreds of trucks each day moving in and out of the Rock Creek Logistics Center, a 1.2M SF facility at 3300 Channahon Road fully occupied by Target Corp. after it signed the region’s largest-ever industrial lease in 2019. Other spec buildings, maintenance and headquarters facilities recently popped up, and where the site touches the Des Plaines River, a marine terminal is under construction, where barges will eventually dock and ship out raw materials for builders in other markets.

Getting to that point meant finding a developer ready to look at the site with fresh eyes, according to NAI Hiffman Executive Vice President Eric Tresslar, who marketed it for years.

Even The Toughest Development Sites May Yield To Patience

In 2016, Tresslar and his partner, Steve Connolly, helped complete a sale to Kyle Schuhmacher’s Ketone Partners, an Arlington Heights, Illinois-based firm, which began making plans to transform it into an active hub.“There were definitely some risks to doing that,” Tresslar said.But after years of booming demand, developers have gobbled up…

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‘It’s Pretty Apocalyptic’: Construction Sites Shutting Down Even As Most Cities Deem Them Essential

A single comma added to a shelter-in-place order made a whole city’s construction industry breathe a sigh of relief.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a shelter-in-place executive order Monday evening, making Atlanta just one of many cities and states to tell their residents to stay at home. Like most other orders around the country, Atlanta's exempted essential businesses, originally including “public works construction.”

By the next day, the city clarified its position and added a comma between public works and construction, giving the green light for more than 2.6M SF of office projects underway in the city and the thousands of apartment units to continue on despite the pandemic.

Comma or no comma, the construction industry across the country is experiencing mounting work stoppages that have little to do with government edicts. The delays are threatening to upend an industry that accounted for more than $700B of spending in 2017 alone.

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Before You Break That Lease Over COVID-19, Negotiate First, Brokers Say

The temporary shutdown of businesses nationwide due to COVID-19 prompted commercial real estate tenants to search their leases and insurance contracts, looking for ways to break up with their landlords in the event of financial hardship.

When the rent comes due April 1, either side of the deal may be tempted to play hardball to shore up its company's financial position. But experts who survived the last recession say a lease modification strategy — while never a sure thing — is better than running a scorched earth campaign between tenants and landlords.

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Requiring Women On Boards Seems Like A Good Idea. But Is It Constitutional?

 

In 2013, Tere Blanca became a board member for BankUnited, a publicly traded bank based out of Miami.

Blanca, who established and continues to run Blanca Commercial Real Estate in the same city, was the bank's latest female board member.

It is Blanca's first public board appointment and came about because of her two-year friendship with BankUnited CEO Rajinder Singh. She said she wasn't expecting to be asked nor was she seeking to join the board, but now that she is on it, the experience is enriching her career.

"It's a wonderful opportunity as you look to your next 20 years," she said.

Her appointment was also not mandated by law, as might have been the case in California, where state legislators in 2018 passed the country's first law requiring public companies based there to have women on their boards. Propelled in part by the nonprofit organization 2020 Women on Boards, the law has made an impact, taking female representation on public company boards from just 4% at the start of 2020 to two-thirds of all California-based public companies today.

The movement is not without its detractors: California's mandate is being challenged on both the state and federal levels. 

“We don't think women need the government's help,” Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Attorney Anastasia Boden said. “With quotas, you perpetuate the disempowering narrative of women. If there's one woman in the boardroom, all the other members are going to look at her as the quota hire.”

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Senate Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus Bill That Includes Relief For Retail, Hotels, Multifamily

 

The Senate passed an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package Wednesday in response to the damage to the U.S. economy caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate, voting unanimously just before midnight, passed the economic aid package. The bill had been expected to pass that afternoon, but it was delayed after a group of Republican senators aired objections about its unemployment insurance provisions. The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday before sending the bill to the White House. 

Parts of the measure are aimed at providing relief in the form of loans to real estate sectors particularly hard hit by the emergency, especially hotels and restaurants, and the law will also allow many multifamily mortgage borrowers to receive temporary forbearance of payments. It also would direct payments to individuals, expanded small-business loans and provide a wide expansion of unemployment insurance benefits.

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Cash-Strapped? Maybe This 25-Year-Old Lender Can Help

 

A. Yoni Miller never went to college, but he always had an entrepreneurial streak. As a kid at swim camp, he'd take unopened snacks from lunch and sell them in the afternoon. In the early days of Facebook, he promised to legally change his name to McLovin' if a million people joined his group — he got to 300,000 and sold the group to a digital marketer for about $800.

Fresh out of high school during the Great Recession, he used his savings to front commissions to cash-strapped Realtors who had properties that were under contract but hadn't yet closed.

"I'd buy $6K of commission for $5K purchase price," Miller said. When the deal closed, "I would collect the $6K from the title company or the real estate broker."

Now, he specializes in loans to people who have minority positions in real estate businesses or other unusual situations. Banks usually won't accept minority positions as collateral, so he has virtually no competition, he said. 

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