Posts Tagged ‘ commercial real estate ’

Frederick Commercial Sales Jump 66% during 1st Quarter

The sale of Overlook Manor Apartments and Lafarge North America’s quarry holdings boost 1st quarter commercial real estate sales.

Frederick’s commercial real estate market came out of the gate in 2014 with a strong first quarter.  On a dollar volume basis, commercial real estate sales for the first quarter of 2014 increased over 65% from the same time period of 2013.  The total number of transactions, which is a better measure of overall activity in the market, continues to increase at a slow but steady pace.  The total number of commercial real estate sales transactions increased about 10% over the first quarter of 2013.

There were two large transactions–the sale of Overlook Manor Apartments ($23, 050,000) and Lafarge North America‘s quarry operations ($17,205,000)–that contributed to the large dollar volume increase during the quarter.  Watch for an upcoming MacRo Report post on the top five deals of Q1 2014 to learn more.

Following are some statistics tracking the first quarter performance of Frederick’s commercial real estate market for the past several years.  Given that the number of quarterly transactions occur in the dozens rather than the hundreds, sales per square foot for each different market segment have a pretty wide range between high and low prices.  This small sample size renders a price per square foot average statistically meaningless, so we are reporting median prices per square foot instead.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.

MacRo Assists Tenant in Leasing Office/Warehouse Space on Bailes Lane

MacRo is pleased to announce the lease of 19,500 SF office/warehouse space at 295 Bailes Lane, Unit C, Frederick.

This unit is a combination of 1,500 SF of office space and 18,000 SF of high-bay warehouse space, which includes 3 docks and 2 drive-ins.

The tenant, Showtime Sound, is expanding from its current facility in Frederick.  Showtime Sound is a full service event production company providing audio, lighting, video and staging for any size event or venue.

Rocky Mackintosh represented the tenant in this transaction.  Tony Checchia of Frederick Land Company represented the landlord.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com.

MacRo Brokers Sale of Residential Office Building and Commercial Lot

MacRo is pleased to announce the sale of 611 and 613 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701 for $450,000.

The property included a 2.4 acre commercial lot with a 2,200 square foot residential office on the Golden Mile corridor.  The sale closed on April 1, 2014.

Rocky Mackintosh and Kathy Krach represented the seller in this transaction.  Tom Poss of  Long and Foster represented the buyer.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com.

MacRo’s Commercial Real Estate Field Guide

What does the legalization of marijuana have to do with a commercial real estate glossary?  Just ask the State of Colorado!

MacRo Commercial Real Estate Glossary

A glossary of terms seemed to make sense as a follow up to Property Virgins–Commercial Real Estate Version.  Familiarity with the lingo makes navigating a search for commercial property far more effective and a lot less hazardous, particularly in commercial leasing.

A good glossary should be a living document.  It’s fascinating to watch the English language morph in response to societal zeitgeist.

Take for example the swelling social pressure to legalize marijuana.   Pot, ganja, weed, toke, blunt–there are numerous slang terms for marijuana.  But I recently read a new one directly related to the cultural shift of legalizing pot:  trimmigrants.

The graphic to the left is a screenshot of a definition of the word on Urban Dictionary.

Quick, before you click on Urban Dictionary–teenagers write many of the definitions, so if you click on the link prepare to be extremely offended and/or mildly amused.

(Teens of course are fluent in slang, but since Al Gore handed them the internet they are practically reinventing the English language. Urban Dictionary has posted 7,500,000 new English slang words in just 15 years, receiving an average 2,000 new submissions every day.  Compare this to the 20-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, which currently lists about 175,000 words.  Urban Dictionary is an etymologist’s dream.  And every parent’s friend, as it makes an EXCELLENT resource for decoding teen text messages.  Have fun dropping those terms around the house and ruining them forever for your teen.)

Fun fact:  since Colorado legalized marijuana use, premium warehouse spaces are leasing at as much as $1,000 per square foot!  For those of you who don’t shop regularly for warehouse space, that’s about $993 per square foot MORE than a warehouse in Frederick typically leases for.

But what does any of this have to do with a commercial real estate glossary?  Bear with me…

Every industry regardless of size has its own set of ever-morphing colloquialisms and acronyms, and commercial real estate is no different.  A new business owner seeking commercial space should know the difference between a NNN lease and a modified gross lease.  A gymnastics school or auto repair shop searching for new space needs a clear-span warehouse.

And a marijuana distribution facility needs…well I don’t know much about the warehouse spaces coveted by hemp harvesters…but if Maryland goes the way of Colorado, no doubt a commercial cannabis cottage industry will spring up overnight.  And with it, a whole new vocabulary weaving into Frederick’s CRE lexicon.

High bay, core factor, CAM, flex space, sandwich lease, sunk costs, TI–all of these terms and more are defined in MacRo’s Commercial Real Field Guide, handily downloadable here.

And rest assured…at MacRo, we won’t let the grass grow under our feet…the MacRo Field Guide will be frequently updated to reflect any tectonic cultural shifts that color the language of Frederick’s commercial real estate world.

‘Cause we got your back, bae.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo, when she is not otherwise occupied trying to figure out what her teens are saying on multiple social media platforms.  

MacRo Bokers Sale of Multifamily Portfolio in Hagerstown, MD

MacRo is pleased to announce the sale of a multifamily portfolio in Hagerstown, Maryland.

This three building, multifamily portfolio consisted of 16 apartments with parking along with a detached 4-car garage; located in downtown Hagerstown.

Steve Cranford, Vice President of Commercial Sales & Leasing at MacRo, Ltd., was the agent who coordinated the transaction between the Seller, Ridenour, LLC, and the Buyer, Dimitrov, LLC.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of commercial properties, contact Steve Cranford at 301-788-4373 or steve@macroltd.com.


Time is Money: The Cost of Doing Nothing with Commercial Real Estate

Like us humans, nothing is static … not even a solid building that appeared it would last forever. 

As a property owner approaches retirement, many issues should be considered as to what to do with his improved piece of commercial real estate. If you are at that point in your life, have you got it all figured out?

I am often called upon to assist people in assessing the options that lay ahead as they face the next stage of their lives.

Sometimes such a change is part of a well thought out plan, while others come about due to unforeseen circumstances.

Take for instance the case of a wonderful individual I had the pleasure of working with not too long ago.  He dutifully ran a second generation family business on a substantial piece of commercial real estate he inherited nearly 50 years ago.

In its heyday, the business with a strong following of loyal customers was the envy of many nearby retailers.

As the years passed and times changed, the business could  live on its reputation only so long without finding that the new and creative competition that entered the market eroded his sales.

Maybe it was his sense of loyalty to the old family tradition of the way things had always been done, or maybe it was an unwillingness to try new things.

Whatever it was, my client slowly came to realize that while he was real estate rich, he was becoming cash poor.

At the point I was called upon for some advice, I found a property that looked tired.  The business had suffered such that my new client had deferred the maintenance of his commercial real estate so much that many would be customers chose to drive by instead of stop in for a look.

Of course the Tanti giocatori alle prime armi non sanno esattamente di che cosa si tratti quando si parla di casinos Italia AAMS, ma e molto semplice comprendere di che cosa si parla quando si sente questa sigla. appearance of the property now only added to the decline in the business, which had shifted to operating in the red.

Sometimes when one can be so close to a situation that the obvious is not apparent … and that can go on for decades.

In my client”s case, while he grew very attached to the legacy that he wanted to continue for as long as he was physically able, he was now really feeling it in his bank account.

His primary asset was fatigued yet unencumbered real estate.  None of his children were interested in carrying on a loosing enterprise.

Several options were considered:

1.         Refinance the property and reinvest in giving the property a face-lift in hopes it will bring business back to those heyday years.

2.         Sell the assets of the business and lease the property to an energetic entrepreneur.

3.         Sell the real estate and lease the commercial real estate back from the new owner, who will commit to invest in making major improvements … the face-lift that is needed.

4.         Sell the entire package of real estate and business and reinvest the proceeds into another investment that generates passive income … stocks, bonds, mutual funds, investment real estate or any combination thereof.

As we walked down the path of each scenario with my client”s financial adviser and attorney, it was determined that a refinance was too much of a risk at his age.

Option two offered my client the ability to step away from the business while continuing to own the real estate; however the question arose as to how to deal with the tremendous amount of deferred maintenance.  While MacRo could find a tenant who was willing to pay rent that would provide my client with a reasonable income to live on, did my client really want to be a landlord?  Answer: No!

Option three was not appealing, as it meant my elderly client had to find the energy to start fresh in a property he no longer owned … not easy when the property has been in the family for nearly 100 years.

As hard as it was for my client to make the decision, he knew that if he just stayed with the status-quo and made no decision, the suffering business and the depreciating real estate would only eat away at his retirement nest egg.

In this particular case the second generation retailer came to the conclusion that the risks outweighed the possible rewards in choosing any path other than selling the business assets and the commercial real estate that housed it.

Within a period of just eight months an enthusiastic young business minded couple found the opportunity just too hard to pass up.

Today the old commercial building has been restored and given an exciting new look, and with the original business name incorporated into a new retail enterprise, my client could not be more proud that his family name lives on in a thriving new Frederick County, Maryland business … and he is living comfortably on a very low risk investment portfolio and enjoying a life with freedom to travel and enjoy his grandchildren.

Have you thought about your options as you approach a time of change in your life?  Maybe the team at MacRo can help.

Please contact us for a confidential meeting.

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been active in the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades, having served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012 to name a few.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

 

3 Signs Your Commercial Real Estate is in Trouble

It’s always interesting to tour properties of prospective clients…be it a flex warehouse to lease, an office building for sale, a retail center or a tract of agricultural land.

Property owners, like commercial real estate, come in all shapes and sizes … and for the former all sorts of mindsets.

Most property owners consider their real estate holding as assets, which, of course, is the way it should be. And like all assets, they do require attention. Just like an investor in the stock market keeps an eye on his/her holdings, the owner of any kind of real estate should do the same.

While many pay close attention to their property, others may not as much as they should.

While the title of this post is “3 Signs Your Commercial Real Estate is in Trouble,” most problems that arise are not from the asset, but from the owner.

Consider the following:

1. Neglect.

Consider the investor who bought a stock decades ago and threw the certificate in the drawer and later discovers later that it peaked at double its value a few years back and now it has no value at all.

Property owners must pay attention to their real estate investments … some properties require much more than others, but in these days of volatile economic conditions, it’s not a safe bet that the targeted value will be there in the future.

As I have written in earlier blog posts, problems with real estate are usually not the fault of the property, but the one who owns it.

Yes, there are those acts of God that happen — earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. And yes, in today’s world one should be aware of crime and sudden economic shifts, but in most cases external factors that negatively impact value can be anticipated. Consider the case of highway relocation and changing traffic patterns, or the exiting of a major retailer in the area. These are circumstances where with proper attention, there is plenty of advance notice.

We always recommend that certain maintenance issues be tended to, such as addressing a serious tenant issue, adding a fresh coat of paint, applying for a zoning change, or taking a bush-hog to a field of thorny brambles.

That rundown property usually traces back to the ownership.

2. No “Staying Power.”

Growing up in a real estate family (father and grandfather brokered and invested in DC area in the middle of the last century!), the phrase I used to hear over and over was “If you’re going to make it in real estate, you have to have Staying Power!” Well, not much has changed over the last 75 years in that category.

Commercial real estate can be purchased with the best laid plans, but whatever a real estate investor may think is a worst case scenario … it can always be worse. Of course the opposite is also true … and HOORAY! when that happens, but what if it doesn’t?  After what we have seen in the overall real estate market since 2007 with short sales and foreclosures in the news all the time, you’d think that today’s investors would have learned something … not always the case.

So, have a plan and a back up plan and a back up plan for the back up plan … not only to cover the service the debt, the real estate taxes and insurance, but also the regular maintenance and improvements as needed. If you don’t … well, one way or the other you’ll more than likely pay the price.

3. Reality Bites.

I can usually tell when things are not going well for a client, and my job is to do the best I can to either assist in turning things around or developing an action plan to make the problem go away.

It doesn’t really matter how or why things went bad, it’s all about what is going on now — the market conditions. The challenge is to find the target market for that particular piece of real estate and plan out the best way to position it compared to the competition from other properties that are on the market.

In some cases, the best plan of action is not feasible, because the owner may not be able/willing to comply — either for financial reasons or irreconcilable differences within the ownership to name a couple.

Sometimes the plan is simple … set a price and put it on the market … or if there is not a sense of urgency, my staff and I may recommend that we wait out the market, knowing that certain conditions will be changing for the positive in the specific area that the property is located.

We may also recommend that certain maintenance issues be tended to, as outlined in “Neglect” above.

All this stated, some property owners are either naive to market realities and unable to accept market conditions or have become so fixated on what they want to believe is the market value, that they can’t face the true picture. My experience has shown that anxiety over a difficult personal or business financial dilemma or a sentimental attachment to the property most typically stand in the way of accepting the real world situation.

A “perfect storm” of poor commercial property stewardship–one that continues to make the headlines in downtown Frederick–is the now infamous Asiana building.  In this case, it seems that the owners really just don’t care what anyone thinks. They apparently have the just enough staying power to cover the minimum requirements of ownership by paying the property taxes, yet have neglected the property and probably have no concept of reality.

That bites!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

 

MacRo Leases Office Space with Carroll Creek Views

MacRo is pleased to announce the lease of 5,585 square feet of office space at 45 East All Saints Street.

MacRo leased 45 East All Saints on March 1st, 2014.  This historic office building is located in downtown Frederick and has a lot of architectural character including stone walls, exposed beams, large winding staircase, stained glass window, and rooftop deck overlooking Carroll Creek.

The tenant is Mosaic Power, a growing Frederick County start-up that harnesses surplus electricity from water heaters in residences to sell for storage and use by local utility companies.

Rocky Mackintosh and Kathy Krach represented the landlord in this transaction.  David Kaye of Tyler-Donegan represented the tenant.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or rocky@macroltd.com.

Property Virgins – Commercial Real Estate Edition

Got a brilliant start-up idea? Avoid 5 common mistakes new businesses make when leasing commercial space.

Macro Commercial Real Estate Virgins

One of the best things about practicing commercial real estate in Frederick County is the entrepreneurial culture.

It”s a rare week that MacRo doesn”t get a call from prospective clients launching new businesses or medical practices, or moving start-ups from dining rooms and garages.

A structure of bricks and mortar is a significant investment for any business, but particularly for one in its infancy.  Costly mistakes in real estate acquisition can often be the difference between start-ups that make it and those that don”t.

Following are just a handful of the missteps that commercial property virgins commonly make:

1)  No business plan.  

It”s not unusual for would-be entrepreneurs to show up at the MacRo offices with a great idea for a new business having no clue as to how much it will cost to manifest what the cash flows and revenues will be.  That”s okay–we actually prefer to begin advising on real estate acquisitions early in the process.

What we do find cringe-worthy are clients who decide to push forward and lease space before they develop that fleshed-out business plan.  Here”s why:

  • It puts the client in a terribly weak negotiating position.  This often means paying higher-than-market lease rates and tying up personal assets to guarantee a lease.
  • The client doesn”t have a clear sense of how much real estate the business can afford — potentially putting the business in jeopardy if cash flows ultimately can”t sustain lease payments.

2) Hire a commercial real estate virgin to represent them.

Unfortunately, a real estate license is a real estate license – pokies online agents can legally broker commercial or residential deals with it.  That doesn”t mean they SHOULD, however.  The world of commercial real estate operates very differently than residential real estate, which is a blog post in and of itself.

Here are just a few of those differences:

  • Residential real estate has in place an enormous amount of protection for buyers and tenants, which largely do NOT exist in the commercial world.
  • Price is only ONE of many negotiating factors in a commercial deal.  In leasing for example, every commercial market, including Frederick, has a selection of concessions routinely used to sweeten deals and lure tenants — these can be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more — and concessions differ for each segment of the commercial market.  (Get yourself a good commercial broker if you want to know the goodies you may be entitled to when you lease commercial space!)
  • There are a host of complexities in the commercial real estate world including zoning, building codes and change of use permits that need to be factored into the decision making process when a business is leasing property.  Failure to do so can result in unforeseen and sometimes catastrophic expenses down the road.
  • Seasoned commercial brokers KNOW THE COMMERCIAL MARKET.  The last thing a new business needs is a 10-year lease in a turning market.

Don”t get us wrong–Frederick has many real estate professionals who successfully straddle the residential and commercial real estate worlds, and they are competent professionals in both.  Just be sure you don”t hire one who is a commercial real estate virgin.

3) Underestimate the costs of rehabbing commercial space. 

In the Frederick market, the small-business tenant can often eat the lion”s share of tenant improvement costs to make space usable for its intended purpose –whether retail, office, restaurant or medical.  It’s a big investment, and as they say, you can”t take it with you.  When the lease expires on the dress shop, that gorgeous wide-plank wood floor now belongs to the landlord.

As a means of getting an accurate picture of the required improvements, take the time to get solid estimates from reputable contractors for costs of planned improvements BEFORE negotiating lease rates and concessions.

4)  Forget about parking.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it”s surprisingly easy to get so caught up in the location and the interior of a property that prospective tenants forget to check whether available parking is adequate to their business needs.  Lack of parking can be a business killer!  Check lots and garages at various times of day to monitor the ebb and flow of parking usage BEFORE a lease is signed.

5) Fail to have an attorney review the lease. 

As mentioned earlier, there is little in the way of protection for tenants built into commercial leases, which are largely written in such a way as to protect the property owners.  A competent real estate attorney who knows Maryland real estate laws can ensure the tenant”s rights and best interests are represented as much as possible within the framework of the negotiated deal.

Planning to lease space for your new or expanding business?  MacRo can help you avoid the landmines that commercial real estate virgins often step into.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.  Finding homes for new and expanding businesses is her favorite.

 

The 3 Key Qualifying Questions in Selecting a Commercial Real Estate Listing Broker

What should a property owner know before a listing commitment is executed with a land and commercial broker?

Let’s say you own a piece of land with some potential, or have a commercial building that you want to sell or lease.

How does one go about finding the right commercial real estate broker to make the “earth move” for you … so to speak?

All too often a property owner has a friend, a friend of a friend or met someone at a cocktail party.  Before you know it this broker has placed a sign up in front of the property and the waiting game begins.

Now, everything is under control and you are on your way to finding the perfect buyer and/or tenant, right?

For those you have had some experience in the legal side of business, the phrase “caveat emptor” is probably not an unfamiliar one.  Translated from Latin as “Let the Buyer Beware,” it is not that often thought of when a property owner (as a seller or a landlord) is seeking commercial real estate services.

In fact real estate sellers and landlords are actually buyers when it comes to contracting for the services of a land and commercial real estate broker.

Business owners and investors who hold a small to medium size real estate portfolio may have had experience in working with and selecting residential Realtors, but when selecting a land and commercial brokers, the qualifying process can take a bit more work.

Consider the following three key questions to ask the next time you are faced with such a choice:

1.         What experience does the broker have with moving real estate like yours?

Ask for very specific examples of similar property transactions – the successes and the failures.  Find out the specific technicalities of zoning, changes in use, and other governmental regulations that may or may not have impeded a smooth closing for other such transactions.  What lessons from those experiences will benefit the marketing of your property?

Does the broker have market and business knowledge of the type of property you own?  For example if the property is a multi-tenanted property, does the broker know how to read financials (familiarity of market rents, vacancy rates, realistic expense ratios, etc.) so he/she can speak the same language as the likely buyers for the property?

Will the sale or leasing of the property trigger a “change in use” in such that the local government will require a site plan modification or change in use permit, among many other avenues of red tape?

2.         What is the broker’s communication style with his/her clients?

This one cuts both ways and is probably one of the most important.

The hardest question that a property owner has to ask him or herself is can he/she build a relationship with the commercial real estate broker to where both can freely and confidentially share the truth about the real estate market conditions, the value of the real estate and real reason why the property is being placed on the market.

Does the broker have a consultative style, where he/she can appreciate the clients needs … sometimes a good broker can assist the client in finding methods that do not require a sale, when the client thought it was the only way out of a difficult financial situation.

How often will the broker and client communicate each week, month, etc., throughout the term of the commitment?  What are the expectations?

Does the broker have a strong support staff that will play a role in keeping the communications channels open?

The land and commercial real estate broker that you select must be someone you can trust (and visa versa).  As in the case of lawyer/client and financial adviser/client relationships, real estate transactions often involve a significant portion of one’s assets.

Are you, as a client of the broker, capable of accepting marketing advice that may not align with your hopes and dreams with regard to the anticipated property value, owner improvement requirements, etc?

 3.        What is the broker’s strategy find the right buyer/tenant within the shortest period of time?

Individual land and commercial real estate properties are very often considered very unique in and of themselves in type and category.

Clearly there are different pools of prospects to fish in when looking for a buyer of a 15 acre tract of general industrial land verses finding a tenant for a 2,000 square foot boutique shop in downtown Frederick.

Some commercial brokers specialize in a very specific class of real estate: mineral mining, big box retail, high rise apartments, etc. Others, as in the case of MacRo, Ltd., provide broader and more varied services to a specific geographic market.

In the case of the latter the advantage should be that the broker is an established member of the community at large and/or knows the ins and outs of all the local government agencies, as well as the mood of the political climate.

Once the path of deciding upon a specific class or at large broker is made, then it is time to consider the core principles of the firm’s approach to marketing as well as what specific market strategies can be merged into that program for the yielding the best results of the subject property.

~~~

There is any number of other qualifying questions that a property owner should ask, but if you’re in the market for land and commercial brokerage listing services, and you dig deep enough in to the depths of these core questions, you will select a very good match!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.  Many of his articles also appear in  TheTentacle.com 

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