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Category Archive for: ‘Futurecasting’

  • Real Estate Thoughts From a Stock Market Guy

    Financially, the next 18 months are the best time to buy a house that any of us will see in our lifetimes. Price to rent ratios are back to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990’s, and that’s before factoring in record-low mortgage rates.

    Inline image 1
    But that doesn’t mean it’s the best place for your money. Let me explain. 

    I don’t have a real estate background. I’ve never bought a piece of property in my life. My experience is in the financial markets, where there are no bad assets, only bad prices, and every asset is just a different piece of the global capital structure, and it’s my job to figure out where the best place to be is.

     

    Sometimes that means US treasuries. Sometimes it’s investment grade or corporate bonds. Sometimes foreign bonds. Sometimes US stocks. Sometimes foreign stocks. You get the idea. The relative attractiveness of all of them depends on the safety of cash flows, their growth prospects, how much you’ll have to pay for them, and in the case of foreign assets, your view on currency movements and political stability (sorry, Europeans).

     

    Right now, with core inflation in the US running at 2.3%, and 10-year treasury notes yielding less than 2%, that means if I buy treasuries I’m locking in a negative real return. And that’s something I’d rather not do. Corporate bonds, with low risk free rates and plenty of liquidity sloshing around, aren’t a whole lot better. Equities, on the other hand, are interesting.

     

    Baby Boomers have had their nest eggs rocked over the past 15 years between the dot com bust and the 2008 financial crisis, and despite the 100% rally in the markets since early 2009 we continue to see net selling of US equities on the part of ordinary investors nearly every week. That’s created opportunity for those with a stomach for volatility and a long-term time horizon.

     

    Take a stock like Wal-Mart. Yeah, it’s boring. But despite the bear market we’ve been in for a decade or so, Wal-Mart earnings per share have risen from $1.47 in 2001 to $4.52 last year, an increase of over 200%. That’s not so boring. Will a company with revenues of nearly half a trillion (with a T) dollars a year in revenue grow as quickly going forward as it has in the past? Unlikely. But the company should continue to grow at around the same rate as the US economy, plus they’re expanding overseas. And the price for those cash flows is compelling — as of May 1st it was trading at $59.07 per share, for a price to earnings ratio of 13, or, if you’re a real estate guy, think of it as a cap rate of 7.65%. Okay, so not all the earnings are paid out to shareholders, but a large chunk of them go towards the dividend and buying back the stock, and in theory the rest is going towards growing the business so that cash flows will be even higher down the road.

     

    In the past 5 years, which hasn’t been the greatest of times for anyone, Wal-Mart earnings per share have risen over 10% per year. Let’s say growth slows going forward, and over the next 10 years averages more like 7% per annum. That means that 10 years from now Wal-Mart would be earning around $9/share. And along the way as an investor I’d be collecting dividend checks, currently $1.60/share per year for a yield of 2.7%, and probably growing at a rate of 5-10% per year if not more.

     

    So by buying today and holding for 10 years I’m collecting 2.7% per year at today’s prices and 10 years from now own an asset making $9/share per year. And who knows, maybe a decade from now people are feeling good about stocks again and Wal-Mart gets a P/E multiple of more like 15, for a price per share of $135, or a pre-tax return of 130%. Can your property put up that kind of return over the next decade? And remember, in the stock market there are no closing costs, no contracts to sign, no open houses, no leaky roofs to fix, and you can sell tomorrow if you change your mind.

     

    As a property owner looking to sell, you’re not just competing with other owners or developers, you’re competing with Wal-Mart for my hard-earned capital. You’re competing with General Motors bonds, Greek bonds, and even Facebook stock. The residential side is a bit of a different story because we all need a roof over our heads, but on the commercial side I don’t care if you’re talking about the Empire State Building or Bank of America Plaza — if I don’t think I can make as much money buying your building as I think I can owning a little slice of Bentonville, then either your asking price is too high, or you’re out of luck.

     

  • The Internet is Commercial Real Estate

    Your turn for the limelight . .

    Lightning struck my brain this morning (figuratively) and I had an epiphany. It’s not really all that rare since I do some of my best thinking on my morning jog. But this one has stuck with me so I thought I would share it.

    The Internet is commercial real estate and commercial property deal-makers are uniquely suited to succeed in creating a web presence.

    I’ll start with the first half of the idea. At its most basic level, the internet is just a collections of places where you can see, do, and buy stuff. It is a collection of places for commerce, learning, working, and interacting. Sound familiar? Define commercial real estate . . .

    Through online collaboration (i.e. Basecamp) and video-chat ( a la Skype), the internet is now a place to work.

    The internet has become the ideal place to store and manage documents. Sounds a bit like self storage or warehouses, eh?

    Do I really need to draw a comparison between a shopping mall and Amazon.com?

    The point is: The entire theme of the internet is placemaking. You want to create a space where people want to be. It’s the exact same concept as commercial property.

    We, as CRE geeks, ask questions like:

    • How can I get traffic to my property?
    • How can I make visitors want to stay on my property?
    • What can I do to the layout of the property to optimize the visitor/tenant experience?
    • How can I entice shoppers to spend more money in my mall?
    • How can I give tenants easy access to my building from their commute?

    The web geek version would be:

    • How do I get traffic to my site?
    • How can I make visitors stay on my page?
    • What can I do to the layout of the site to optimize user experience?
    • How can I get visitors to spend more money on my site?
    • How can I get visitors into my site easily from their natural web-surfing patterns?

    Do you see that these are the EXACT same questions that require the EXACT same mentality and need the EXACT same skill set?

    We spend our entire careers figuring out how people interact with places and that is exactly what web traffic is about.

    I would even go so far as to contend that there is no group of people on the planet better suited to innovate on web traffic patterns and user experience than commercial real estate professionals. It’s our entire career. It is how we have made our living for every year of our professional life.

    Need further convincing? Ok.

    Web addresses. Do you know why every site builder and designer wants a “.com” address? Of course you do. Same reason all of the office buildings in Atlanta want “Peachtree St” addresses. Everyone knows it and everyone goes by it.

    Why is blinds.com a better web domain than woodblindsofatlanta.com? For the same reason that “Atlantic Station” is a better label than “that brownfield development on the old Atlantic Steel site off the connector.” It’s short, pithy, and people remember it.

    Why do web designers spend so much time on their tags and categories? For the same reason you spend so much time studying the demographics around your retail center. You want to know what your target customer is looking for.

    Is this exciting to anyone else?

    I'm told it's my oyster

    Hopefully, those three examples didn’t teach you anything. You already knew the concepts because you’re a CRE pro who understands a customer or tenant’s interaction with property.

     

    So, what I’m telling you is very simple:

     

    If you are in Commercial Real Estate, you are ALREADY very well equipped to succeed in creating a web presence.

    It’s all the more exciting because deals and properties are finite. As the saying goes “They aren’t making any more land.” Well, apparently there’s a fresh supply of internet. We may be hindered by geography, financing, capital markets, or something else in commercial property. On the web, you are limited only as far as the human mind is limited. If you can imagine it, someone can probably create it.

    So, here is the real question:

    What are you going to do about it?

    I’ve just told you that you have an unparalleled skill set that makes you uniquely suited to succeed in a limitless environment. You have a chance to be utterly dominant at building a corporate brand, expanding your influence, growing your skill set, and yes, even making money through the web.

    What are you going to do about it?

    Hit me up in the comments.

    – Duke

     

  • Why You Should Write About CRE

    A peaceful spot to write something . . .

    I find that I get a little push-back on writing (see: blogging) about commercial real estate. I hear excuses about “not enough time”, “nothing to write about”, “preserving intellectual property”, blah blah blah.

    Ok. Maybe those are true, but I doubt it.

    I won’t say that every other industry has embraced the blog as a viable form of information delivery, but several very mature industries have not only embraced but even openly encouraged blogs centered around the industry’s trends, challenges, and news.

    Take MotleyFool as an example. Or The Street. Both are content-rich, blog-centered sites that report and opine on the high-finance industry. It doesn’t get much more white-collar than that.

    And I would argue that the industry is the better for it. The constant flow of information and ideas from these two sites alone can change the way a person or firm operates and interacts with the financial industry.

    So, let’s bring it back home.

    Writing is wonderful and beneficial. Neato. But why should you write about CRE?

    Here are five (not-so-obvious) reasons why (and I am going to assume that you are a commercial real estate professional):

     

    1. Connectivity

    This may be obvious to you, but when I first started writing online I didn’t realize how much I would need to connect with the online CRE community. Through research for articles and building my social media profiles, I ran across some tremendous resources. Learning from people like Coy Davidson, Duke Long, The CRE-Apps Team, and the 42 Floors guys has VASTLY increased my knowledge base on the fundamentals of global CRE. I can’t imagine any other way that I would have been able to grow my tool kit as quickly or thoroughly as I have through gaining connections with the online CRE community.

     

    2. Knowledge

    This plays heavily into Connectivity, but I want to point out that through my direct research for articles I have been forced to understand concepts that I may have glossed over in business. Just taking the time to research bankruptcy has made me decently knowledgeable on the differences between Chapters 7, 11, and 13 in US bankruptcy court. It has been both fascinating and rewarding and I’m not sure I would have taken the time to study it if I hadn’t wanted to present it clearly and concisely on my site. Maybe the best way to say it is that directed research for an article is the best way I know to gain depth (as opposed to width) of knowledge in a subject.

     

    Tempted? I am.

    3. Retention

    One concept I have come to understand is that true thought leaders on the web don’t repackage information. They aren’t just regurgitating news from the local paper. Thought leaders create new, original, and interesting content in a palatable, concise format. To do so, they have to read, interpret, and understand the news and information that crosses in front of them. They need to gain an applicable understanding of the subject in order to present it well. I think that leads to retention (it has for me). It’s very similar to school. Remember, those advanced statistical questions you had to memorize for calculus? Yeah, me neither. What I do remember is the papers I wrote and studies I did that forced me to take the info, interpret it, and bend it to my thesis. I retained that knowledge and could discuss it today. Memorization is intellectual junk food. You don’t retain knowledge that you memorize or redeliver. You retain knowledge that you interpret and apply. So I have found that creating original content will make unique concepts stick with me for substantially longer than news stories that I retweet.

     

    4. Clarity

    This one goes hand-in-hand with brevity. Web-based articles shouldn’t be novels. They are brief, fact-filled, and to-the-point. The web isn’t a friendly place for rambling. So to create good content, you need to develop the ability to present ideas clearly in as few words as possible. That forces you to think clearly about the concept and find a creative way to present it with brevity. What you will find is that you will start forming opinions and thoughts through this process that are clear and concise. Think of the brightest people you know. Do they drone on and on about subjects they discuss with you? Probably not. They have clear, pithy truisms that they dispense quickly and sharply. I aspire to that. I want to present quick sharp thoughts eloquently and I find that the more I wrote and opine on my site, the clearer and sharper my opinions become. I want you to have that as well.

     

    5. Control

    This is an open forum. Write about what you want to write about. As long as you aren’t bad-mouthing anyone or being overly profane, spread your wings. I’m not your momma. Do what you want. As long as it pertains to CRE, rock on. How many other forums in your career allow that type of freedom and creativity? Not many, I’m betting. I find it very satisfying to know that there is a forum with very few rules where I can create new ideas, projects, or concepts for my industry. It’s a lot of fun.

     

    So, there it is. My 5 not-so-obvious reasons why you should write about CRE. Can you think of any others? Think I am off my rocker? Let me know in the comments!

    – Duke

    photo Courtesy SXC user Ydiot

  • Millenial Manifesto: Working Environment

     

    I was raised to work on multiple, varied projects quickly.

    I had an epiphany about myself and (potentially) my generation this week and I want to share it with you briefly.

    When I turned 8 years old, the pace of my life started picking up. That’s when I started playing football, basketball, baseball, and any other “ball” sport.

    Being the son of two hard-core Christians, I also went to church at least every Sunday and Wednesday and usually had some type of youth group event every week.

    I also begin reading books more regularly and began to get into a routine of nightly homework.

    The point is, I did several different things in one day. On a typical day, I might get up, go to school, have an afternoon practice, have an evening church event, do my nightly homework, and then read or watch TV until bed. That’s 6 different events in 6 different environments.

    High school was even more involved. Morning lifting for football, 6 periods of school, afternoon football/baseball/basketball practice, evening church or worship/FCA event, nightly homework, and then bed. Again, 6 different activities in 6 different places.

    Moving on to college, the schedule looked something like this:

    • Get up, fool
    • Run or lift
    • Class until early afternoon
    • 3 hours of baseball practice
    • Evening Worship Service
    • Homework
    • Family Guy with the Roommates
    • Bed

    So, by my count, that’s 7 or 8 things in 7 or 8 places.

    Something else I would like to point out is that I went to a Liberal Arts college. So I was studying a diverse array of subjects for each of my four years. I was an Econ Major, Spanish Minor, and had a pretty serious concentration in New Testament Studies and History. That’s 4 different subjects I studied heavily almost every day and that doesn’t even include the courses I took on Galileo, Chemistry of Art, Beginners Japanese, etc. The point is, my studies in school were widely varied and diverse.

    If your elementary, middle, and high schools were anything like mine, you know what this is like. First period is biology, followed by anthropology, followed by calculus, followed by English, and on and on and on. In school I jumped from subject to subject in short one hour or 90 minute bursts (and I bet you did, too). The above line-item of “Go to class” included very different experiences every hour or so.

    Ok. So what’s the point?

    The point is: I spent 15 of the first 22 years of my life learning how to accomplish great things through short bursts of intense focus. Since I only had 50 minutes every day to learn AP Calculus, I had to learn to adjust my temperament to an extreme and intense focus for a short period of time, then move on and do it in the next class/practice/event.

    Yeah. So?

    So, then I graduate from college and I am looking for a job (because that’s what you are supposed to do, right?). And guess what these employers are selling?

    It goes something like this:

    Duke, we want you to sit at your desk for 10 hours every day and do the same thing all day! Doesn’t that sound great?

    Come again?

    You are basically asking me to do the exact opposite of what I have been trained to do for 15 years. That’s like telling me to 1) take the only way you know to accomplish diverse tasks,  2) forget it, 3) do it OUR way, and then 4) be grateful for this generous offer.

    What?

    Let me out of this conference room!

    I’m not here to turn the business world on its ear, but can you see the lunacy is this? I understand that there are certain pre-existing constructs in every work environment, but asking someone to be productive in a manner that they have never been productive before is a little silly.

    I will get into ways an employer can configure the work day to play to Gen Y’s strength and productivity, but for now I just wanted to point out the fundamental conflict between the way I was raised to accomplish and the way I am asked to accomplish at work.

    Think about it this way:

    What do admissions officers at universities look for in prospective students? It’s not just about the highest test scores or grades. They (allegedly) look for the proverbial “well-rounded” student, right?

    How about employers? When McKinsey is scouring Ivy League campuses are they looking for the smartest nerd in the business school with the highest grade? Nope. They want a young man or woman who has demonstrated excellence in several areas at the same time. They want someone who is “well-rounded“, too.

    So, Mr. Employer, let me see if I have this straight. You want me to demonstrate that I have achieved excellence in multiple areas at the same time so that I can come and do one thing for you, in the same place, all day?

    Middle school was structured to get me ready for high school where a high value is placed on being well-rounded. High school gets me into a college where the admissions office heavily favors well-rounded students. College gets me ready to enter the workforce where the best employers want the most excellent students that are well-rounded. But once I enter the workforce I’m supposed to specialize at one single task all day every day and be the best at that.

    Hmmm . . .

    Am I the only one confused by this? Is anyone else struggling in this battle? Let me know in the comments and I’ll comment back.

    – Duke

     

  • Millenial Manifesto: Money

     

    MONEY!

    Don't do it! Don't do it!

    I may be overestimating my own uniqueness here, but money really isn’t THAT big of a deal to me.

    It’s not that I don’t appreciate the value of money and I’m not trying to imply that I am somehow above the desire for money. I just try to use money as what it is: a medium.

    I don’t love money. I love travel. I love space to sprawl out in my house. I’d love to pay for my kid’s college and private high school. Money can get me those things. So I work to increase the amount of money I earn every year.

    I know that distinction may seems obvious, but I am afraid I have met too many people chasing money for the sake of having more money to believe that everyone shares my perspective.

    Along those lines, I wanted to share a bit of an insight into my thoughts on money. I’m not sure I have the exact same perspective as fellow Millenials, but I have heard enough to know that I’m not far off. So, I call this part of the Millenial Manifesto, but, as always, I don’t claim universality for my views.

    My money isn’t mine – The first thing you should know about my relationship with my money is that I don’t believe it belongs to me. As a Christian, I believe that everything that I have been given belongs to God. I’m not trying to tell you what you should believe or where you should go to church. But, I do derive my views on money from the Biblical perspective and therefore think of myself as the money’s steward rather than its owner. I have found that thinking of myself as a steward of God’s money helps me maintain perspective on the importance of “my stuff.”

    With that in mind, let me share with you my basic goals for money:

    1. Provide for my wife. My wife is the (second) greatest thing that ever happened to me and I want to be able to show my affection through trips, jewelry, and any other nice things that might show her how much I cherish her. That isn’t to say I buy every pair of jeans that catch her eye or that we need to hop on a jet to Bhutan every 30 days, but I like to show her that part of the reason I work for my money is to provide for her comfort.

    2. Provide for the brood. I don’t have any kids yet, but I plan to. If I am blessed enough to have little Dukes, I want to be able to send them to private school, keep them clothed and fed, and give them some life experiences before college that will shape them into great young men or women. Senior year at Westminster costs about $20k per year right now and in 20 years, with 3% inflation, that will be $35,070 per year. So, I need $35k in extra income, per child, to simply pay for a private education in Atlanta. Then . . .they go to college. Sigh.

    3. Give generously. I believe in tithing. 10% of every dollar I make goes to some charitable organization or my church. I’m told that 10% of $1,000,000 is more than 10% of $50,000. Gifts can change our city for the better. I want to be in a position to change someone or some organization through focused charitable giving.

    4. Save for a rainy day. My wife and I currently have 6 months of paychecks saved up in an Emergency Fund in case the worst happens. I had to bite into that a little last year when I was working for myself and we have almost completely rebuilt it. My wife and I both sleep better at night knowing that no matter what happens tomorrow (excluding Armageddon or Dec 12, 2012), we will be covered financially for a little while.

    5. See some of God’s green earth. Some of the greatest memories of my life have been hiking up a trail in the Swiss Alps, strolling the shorelines of the Oregon Coast, and gazing in wonder over the edge of the Grand Canyon. To paraphrase Meet Joe Black, I want to have some nice pictures from my life when my time is up.

    6. Live in the city. Fact: Living in Atlanta is more expensive than living outside Atlanta. I know that it costs more, but I will gladly pay the premium to live here instead of Cumming, Grayson, Kennesaw, or McDonough. If I had to sit in that traffic every day of my working career, I would go insane and assault defenseless kittens. I gotta live in town. If you care about kittens at all, don’t make me live in the suburbs.

    You did it. I saw you.

    7. Do what I WANT to do, not what I have to do. I want to get to a point in my career where I am doing what I love to do because I love to do it. Not because I need the money or because there are no other ways to pay the bills. I want to get paid to do what I would gladly do for free. Another off-shoot of this would be controlling my time. I want to get to a point where I can work when, where, and how I want so I have plenty of time to spend with family or coaching baseball.

    8. Elbow room. You probably wouldn’t call me petite. I am 6’7″ tall and about 235 lbs. Ceiling fans and doorways are my enemies. I would love to have a point in my life where I can come home to a house where I don’t have to duck under doorways, bend down to get in the water in the shower, strain my back to bend down to the sink/counter, turn sideways to get into my bed, etc. I’d just like a little more head and elbow room in my home. That probably means I need to build my own home in town (see point 6), but so be it. I don’t think that’s an outlandish request, but we’ll see.

    9. Own land. This one is pretty far down on the list because it isn’t a huge priority, but this seems to be an inherent desire of mine. I just love open space and raw land in GA. Maybe it’s because I grew up running around the pastures of my grandparents’ farm, but I love having room to roam. This is pretty similar to point 8 and may be another way of saying how I like elbow room.

    BONUS*** (This one is just in case I re-invent the toilet and become a gajillionaire)

    10. A Plane. This is my pie-in-the-sky, best case scenario. If I strike it rich and become wealthy beyond my dreams . . . I’m buyin’ a plane. Keep your mansions. Keep your Aston Martin. Keep your private island. I want a plane. After reading points 5, 8, and 9, you can probably guess why. I love traveling. I hate flying. I have never slept on a plane in my life and cross-continent trips are torture. In addition to being outrageously tall, I have broad shoulders. So, I am constantly touching the dude next to me. He usually smells. The whole experience is just terrible and I want to be able to control the entire experience for myself. So, you heard it here first. When Duke becomes a billionaire, he’s buying a plane. (Wakes up from dream. Looks around confused and smelling fat men on planes)

    There you have it. Those are my sometimes reasonable goals for my financial future. Notice that none of them compared my wealth or status to my peers. That doesn’t matter to me. What I care about is my family and our lifestyle.

    What did I miss? Do you have any of your own to add? Leave them in the comments I will comment back!

    – Duke

  • Random Thoughts

    fatal-pics

    Crunched for time early this week, so I will stay random.

    1. I realized this weekend that CRE pros are like actors. Just because you can make some money on a deal doesn’t mean you should take it. You want to be Daniel Day-Lewis, not Eddie Murphy. (Sorry Eddie! We cool?)

    2. I still need to be convinced that there is demand for a BILLION DOLLAR gambling complex in Norcross. It’s a cool idea, but Norcross? I’m from Gwinnett County, but Norcross? We’ll see.

    3. Shout out to DDR for the SetUpShop concept they have been experimenting with here in Atlanta! Basically it’s like co-working space for retailers (kinda), and apparently they are killing it with those favorable lease terms.

    4. Who’s jacked up about the Brookhaven cityhood vote? I’m ashamed to say that I have no opinion since I don’t know enough about the pros and cons. What a terrible resident I am. maybe I should write a post about both sides . . . .

    pseudo-thoughts

    5. Decatur might as well be Macon. There is no direct way for me to get there from my home in Brookhaven or my office in North Buckhead. I know they have tons of tasty treats and may be the most walkable part of Atlanta, but I could get to the airport in 20 minutes and get on a plane to Dubai before I arrived in downtown Decatur.

    6. There has been some speculation that I am Duke Long‘s son. It is a fabrication. “The Duke” is my pseudonym that is used to preserve the liability of any of my employers or clients who disagree with my posts. My real name is Ron Mexico (and if you don’t get that joke then you ain’t from ’round here).

    7. By the way, if you haven’t checked out www.CRE-Apps.com yet, do it. If you are under 40, it will get you jacked up about the future of tech in our industry. If you are over 40, you will probably be unimpressed and mutter something about face-to-face interaction blah blah blah.

    8. I’m only half kidding about the over 40 thing. I have found many boomers and older Gen X-ers embracing and encouraging technology as a medium to transform and streamline our industry. But I find still more in that age bracket who like to talk about walking to work in the snow, life before the internet, and reading proformas by candlelight. Personally, I love when people refuse to embrace tech changes. That clears the path for me to have an obvious advantage over them.

    9. I’m reading The Power of Habit and it’s pretty good. Look for a review in the next week or so, but after reading most of it I still submit that “He with the best habits, wins.”

    10. I just hired a virtual assistant to help manage my schedule and research tasks and she has already saved me a tremendous amount of time over the last few weeks. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish when I don’t have to focus on the stuff I hate (research, data entry, paperwork, etc.). She is selectively looking to add clients. So, if you are interested, post in the comments and I will hook you up.

    That’s your weekly dose of random, kids. Now leave Daddy alone and let me get back to causing trouble.

    – Duke

  • CRE Resource – CRE-Apps.com

    Atlanta W Rooftop 04

    Just ran across this site last night and I love it. Check it and and let me know what you think.

    www.CRE-Apps.com

    CRE Apps is a site dedicated to commercial real estate technology and software applications.

    Some of my favorite articles are:

    5 Must Have iPhone Apps for CRE Investment Brokers

    Rent Post: Property Management the Way it Should Be

    Ten Eight: Yelp for Office Buildings

    DropBox vs iCloud

    Need Comps? Get $5 Trillion on your iPhone

    No Siri? No Problem

    TourWrist: This App is All in the Wrist

    Photosynth for iPhone: Virtual Tours Galore

    GeoMeasure: Become a Surveyor Overnight

    PDF Expert on the iPad

    Real Estate Back of the Envelope App

    Hands on with  LinkedIn CardMunch Biz Card Scanner

    ProspectNow Mobile App

    Augmented Reality for Commercial Real Estate

    LinkedIn Real Estate Pro by Rofo

    Google Maps Floor Plans

    DocScanner App

    CoStarGo iPad App

    Loopnet Mobile App

    BatchGeo Mapping App

    360 Panorama by Occipital

     

    Keep up the great work and we will add CRE-Apps to the RSS feed on the right!

    – Duke

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • NAIOP 2012 Gov’t Affairs

    Just got around to reading the initiatives from NAIOP with our federal government and thought I would share them.

    (*Note* – I am a member of NAIOP and have access to this information. I assume this is public info that is worth sharing.)

    TI depreciation – A bill just expired that allowed landlords to depreciate TI expenses over 15 years instead of 39. NAIOP wants to reinstate the bill in order to save costs for building owners.

    Brownfield Remediation Expensing – Allows for expenses incurred by a developer in the cleanup of a brownfield site to be expensed immediately, allowing for advantageous taxes when income may be years off.

    Carried Interest Taxation – NAIOP opposes changes to tax treatment of carried interest that would change Capital Gains Tax from 15% to as much as 35%.

    Internet Sales Tax – States are losing billions each year in uncollected sales taxes from internet sales. NAIOP is supporting enforcement of tax law on online transactions.

    NAIOP opposes arbitrary energy efficiency requirements for buildings.

    New public-private partnerships should expand and new revenue sources should be explored to address congestion issues.

    NAIOP supports increased federal funding of port expansion to relieve congestion.

    For regulations and coding on wetland and environmentally-sensitive land, NAIOP supports a balanced approach to simplify the process for landowners and not bog down the system with over-regulation.

     

    Why this is Interesting –

    Seems to me like regulation and law-making have a crucial role in the future of our business. If general partners get taxed out of a deal and TIs depreciate about half as quickly, investors and owners and going to suffer. I may even go so far as to say that staying abreast of current legislative issues is a crucial tool for the aspiring commercial property professional.

    Food for thought.

    – Duke

  • 42 Floors

    42floors.com

    Check these guys out. They are taking the San Fran office market by storm using the right integration of technology and aesthetics in the website.

    I will give some more input on their model and site later, but for now I wanted to pass along some press and praise for the guys in SF:

    Washington Post Article

    SF Gate Article

    TechCrunch Article

    VentureBeat Article

    More to come.

    – Duke

     

  • Clean Slate Project – Tools

    flickr-user-derrick

    Image Courtesy Flickr user Derrick

    I have been brainstorming on the whole “Clean Slate” business and I have found that one of the major stumbling blocks is presenting our findings/analysis/voodoo. If I can’t find an interesting and aesthetic way of presenting it, then there isn’t much point in traveling down this long path.

    So, the question becomes: How can I build a cool 3D model of Atlanta Prime that will show Atlanta’s current topography and can host the new (and existing) structures we have to build this city?

    Auto-CAD may be an option, but it is expensive, and frankly I don’t have the time to learn it.

    Enter Google.

    The King of Interwebs, has a free tool called Google SketchUp. It’s just a basic 3D modeling tool for anything from a toaster to a skyscraper. The basic version is free and will allow you to create moderately detailed images or models of buildings and landscapes.

    Seems like a logical place to start when building a virtual city.

    Anywho, I downloaded it to my desktop and will be tinkering with it over the next few weeks so I can get accustomed to the interface. I will try to learn a few tricks and basic functionality before it’s time to start modeling.

    In the mean time, check out the gallery at Google and be sure to check out the Skyscraper Page. Both sites have some cool examples of what building models can look like.

    Hasta,

    – Duke

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