March 28, 2012

The Wednesday Wrap: March 28, 2012

Each Wednesday, The Wrap presents a compilation of recent noteworthy commercial real estate stories from a variety of publications. Here are five stories that caught our eyes in recent days:

Hartman simons commercial real estate blog trepp“Trepp: $362 Billion of Commercial Real Estate Debt Matures in 2012” – from A total of $362 billion in commercial real estate debt will come due this year, according to a new estimate from Trepp. The figure is an increase from the $346 billion that matured last year.

Approximately $1.73 trillion worth of commercial real estate debt is set to mature from 2012 to 2016, Trepp calculates. Ominously, the firm estimates “that as much as 56 percent of the 2016 maturities are underwater by 10 percent or more, reflecting the large volume of 10-year mortgages that were originated at the market peak in 2006,” said Matt Anderson of Trepp’s research team in a statement.

“Tech Firms Go Far and Wide for Space” – by Eliot Brown and Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal. Almost every industry has decreased its office space in recent years. There is, however, at least one notable exception: the technology sector. According to Brown and Kusisto, “landlords in multiple cities throughout the country – including some that didn’t have a big tech sector in the past – are enjoying the benefits from expanding Internet-focused firms, software companies and other technology employers.”

“Companies in the tech sector accounted for 29 percent of all growth in the U.S. office market in 2011, adding an estimated 10.2 million square feet of space – nearly the size of four Empire State Buildings,” Brown and Kusisto write.

Austin, Texas; Cambridge, Mass.; New York; and Washington D.C. are just a few of the non-Northern California markets to benefit from tech firms’ need for more space.

“CRE Starting to Embrace the Tweet” – by Miriam Lamey of A new poll shows LinkedIn is the preferred social-media network of commercial real estate professionals but also indicates that Twitter is gaining popularity in the sector.

Twitter has something to offer virtually all of the segments of the commercial real estate industry, Robert Krueger, manager of social media outreach and communications for the Urban Land Institute, told Lamey. “If you are in the hotel and hospitality sector, [Twitter] can be used as a way to drive online traffic to your review websites and alert [users] to limited time specials,” he said. “If you are a developer, Twitter can be used to build public support for your project. Building owners and architects can also use it to raise awareness for a project, build their industry reputation and brand themselves as ‘green.’”

“Don’t Look Now but Investor Interest Reviving in Warehouses” – by Randyl Drummer of A slowly but steadily improving labor market has increased investor interest in U.S. warehouse properties, says this article by Drummer, based in large part on a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Nearly all of the major U.S. industrial markets experienced positive net absorption last year and a few, such as the Inland Empire in Southern California, are in a full-fledged recovery, according to Drummer.

“Combined with limited construction over the past few years, the potential for rent growth in most markets is now a key driver for acquiring industrial assets,” he writes.

“Six Tips for Leasing a Retail Center Profitably” – by Ben McLeish for When leasing a shopping center, the first thing a landlord should look for are tenants whose customers are likely to visit those stores more than once a week. That’s one of six leasing tips offered by McLeish, the director of retail services for Colliers International Tampa Bay.

Another tip: make sure your rental rates remain competitive. “Don’t give space away, but realize that thriving retailers have plenty of choices for space in this market,” McLeish writes. “If you aren’t competitive with retail centers down the street, you won’t get the tenant. It’s that simple.”

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