National and foreign investors alike are focusing their attention on Denver, thanks to the city's booming energy economy. According to the National Real Estate Investor (NREI), as the Rocky Mountains is the regional operations hub for the oil and gas industry, Denver’s recent boom is being largely driven by the Niobrara Play—a shale formation considered the engine behind the metro area’s surging economy. Given its proximity to the Niobrara, energy employers increasingly aim to locate close to Denver to take advantage of the significant future growth opportunities. Rising production and profitability are encouraging businesses to expand their presence, be it office or industrial.
While commercial real estate values overall have recovered to pre-crash heights, the rebounding market isn’t treating all property owners equally. Some property types, such as apartment buildings and downtown office buildings, are experiencing values higher than they were even before the real estate bust. Other property types, like suburban office buildings, are experiencing the opposite, with property values far below their pre-crash levels. It's easy to only focus on the overall improvement in the index, but it's important to note that some markets are lagging far behind.
In response to the 1o31 exchange being threatened on three fronts, the commercial real estate industry is making their opposition known to Congress. Last week, lobbyists from Washington joined San Diego-area brokers and companies that depend on the 1031 exchange to discuss the major effect it would have on the real estate industry if Internal Revenue Code 1031, which allows an investor to exchange a business or investment asset for another and to defer all capital gains taxes, were eliminated. While Republicans focused on reforming the tax code and some Democrats view the 1031 as an unfair perk, supporters argue that the 1031 is misunderstood as a "tax loophole," when it is actually not a tax-free exchange, but tax-deferred.
Newly-elected legislators, the newly-elected Lieutenant Governor, local officials, and public policy organizations in Texas have proposed a wide-range of proposals for property tax reform, from modest reforms such as hiring experts at the county levels, to the complete elimination of property taxes with replacement revenue from an increased sales tax. Several proposals were discussed this week at an Austin mayoral candidates forum. While there are major discrepancies among the reform options, is all the noise surrounding property taxes going to lead to action in Texas?
Energy benchmarking for large commercial buildings is fast becoming U.S. law. According to The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), ten cities — Austin, Texas; Boston; Cambridge, Mass.; Chicago; Minneapolis; New York City; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. — have enacted energy-benchmarking requirements, as have the states of California and Washington. This year Montgomery County, Md., became the first county to pass such a law, mandating a benchmark deadline of Dec. 1, 2016, for private buildings measuring at least 250,000 square feet and a deadline one year later for those measuring at least 50,000 square feet.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is supporting a plan to give the controversial downtown Milwaukee streetcar an additional $49.3 million through two tax incremental financing districts the city will consider next month. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the proposal would raise more money for the proposed downtown streetcar using property tax increases generated by downtown properties along the line and new developments, including the Couture and 833 East office buildings. The new proposal increases the budget from $64.6 million to $113.9 million for 4.6 miles of track, adding money for the lakefront spur, and to potentially cover the cost of relocating underground utilities for the streetcar. If approved by the Common Council, construction could begin in late 2015 with the downtown loop and lakefront spur in full service by mid-2018.
Today, a city board will review the early designs of two concepts that Amazon.com is proposing for the fourth block of its downtown Seattle high-rise campus. Both concepts, located on the block between Seventh and Eighth avenues, would include a 24-story tower and a six-story building. For the larger option, a third, single-story building is planned and Amazon is requesting that the city "vacates" an existing alley, which would allow the three-building project and a mid-block pedestrian connection open to the public. It would total 835,200 square feet of office, 35,000 square feet of retail and 835 stalls of underground parking.
Although Nevada's Question 3, which proposed a two-percent (2%) margin tax on business entities in Nevada with total revenue in excess of $1,000,000 to fund the operation of the public schools, was shot down by voters in the Nov. 4 election, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce told members it’s time to step up and help raise more revenue for education. While business leaders rejected Question 3, they do support tax and education reform, as long as it's long-term, stable and doesn't just target one industry.
The performance gap between strong class-B malls and struggling ones continues to grow by the day. According to the National Real Estate Investor, while malls with little competition are experiencing increasing market rents, class-B malls in larger markets that are competing against other properties are losing tenants and struggling to stay afloat. Weak performance of anchor tenants such as Sears and J.C. Penney has already challenged occupancies and rental rates at many class-B malls, especially. Another challenge facing the sector is that in addition to competing with other malls to retain tenants, mall owners are also competing against open-air centers, who have been receiving greater interest in their properties over traditional mall tenants. Lastly, investor interest is low for class-B properties, as many traditional investors are shying away from the sector.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo announced today he will be introducing legislation to create jobs, spark economic development and provide vital property tax relief by creating an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) for Atlantic City. The proposed legislation would add Atlantic City to the UEZ for 10 years, and enable it to charge half the state sales tax and qualify for other economic incentives. Businesses in the zones can charge 3.5 percent sales tax, and qualify for tax credits of $1,500 for each new full-time worker they hire.
Despite the recent election, there is already talk of a push for several tax increases on California's 2016 ballot, in addition to potential initiatives on legalizing recreational marijuana, public pension reform and minimum wage increases. According to The Sacramento Bee, the initial focus is on the Proposition 30 taxes that are expiring soon. A number of state officials, including newly re-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, have argued that the Proposition 30 taxes – a quarter-cent sales tax and a personal income tax increase on the wealthy – be extended or made permanent. In addition, a coalition of public employee unions and groups that want to see more state spending are trying to figure out how to persuade voters to support a property tax increase on commercial property, a tax on oil extracted from the ground and a cigarette tax increase. Because Democrats lost the two-thirds majority in the Legislature necessary to put taxes on the ballot without Republican votes in last week's election, interest groups supporting taxes understand they probably have to go the initiative route. That means they will have to determine what strategy might work given all the tax proposals on the table and write their measure no later than a year from now so they can begin the initiative qualifying process.
While not expecting major legislative action by the new Republican-controlled Senate, hotel leaders believe that the elections provide an ‘opportunity for a reset.' According to Hotel News Now, hotel industry leaders have a long list of legislative items they hope the United States Congress will tackle following last week’s election in which Republicans gained control of the Senate. Although the gridlock in Congress could still be an issue, their attitude is that generally optimistic progress can be made, which will be favorable to the industry.
Today, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto introduced a half-billion dollar proposed budget, which calls for $507 million in spending on revenue of $516 million and included an increase in property taxes. Peduto also called for an increase in parking meter revenue and announced plans for a new alliance meant to foster economic development.
A recent ruling from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will allow Atlantic City, NJ to collect up to $30 million in unpaid property taxes from the former Revel Casino Hotel. According to The Wall Street Journal, Judge Gloria Burns lifted the bankruptcy code's shield on protecting Revel from litigation and creditor collections, with the caveat that the city wont be able to tack on penalties.
In its biggest effort yet to make government tax subsides more transparent, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) proposed rules that would require state and local governments for the first time to disclose information about property and other tax abatement agreements. According to Governing.com, the disclosure requirements would include: the tax being abated; criteria that must be met for the taxpayer to be eligible for the abatement; provisions for recapturing abated taxes; the types of commitments made by tax abatement recipients; number of tax abatement agreements; dollar amount of taxes abated; and other commitments made by a government, such as to build infrastructure assets.
Categories: Real Property
Yesterday, nearly 59 percent of voters in Denton, a town in North Texas which sits on the edge of gas-rich Barnett Shale, approved a measure banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — the method of oil and gas extraction that has led to a domestic energy boom. Denton, a city of 123,000 with more than 270 gas wells, is the first in Texas to ban fracking, but the decision will very likely result in a high-profile property rights clash to be fought in courtrooms and the Legislature.
South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. is eyeing a large expansion, looking for up to 1 million square feet of Manhattan office space in a new or existing tower. It would be one of the largest corporate expansions in New York City in years, even rivaling Conde Nast's new headquarters that opened in One World Trade Center on Monday, according to the Washington Street Journal. Offices of that size generally hold between 5,000 and 7,000 employees. Samsung'a current US headquarters is in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey and has offices in Silicon Valley, among other locations in the U.S.
For the second year in a row, Georgia took the top spot in Site Selection magazine's Top US Business Climates: 2014. The magazine releases its annual rankings each November. The Peach State had been a strong performer in this contest for several years, rising in the ranking steadily thanks to its Quick Start workforce training program, logistics infrastructure and economic development leadership, among other factors, according to Site Selection. The magazine's ranking methodology is as follows: 50 percent of the overall Business Climate Ranking is based on a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience of locating businesses in them. The other 50 percent is based on an index of seven criteria: performance in Site Selection's annual Competitiveness ranking; total New Plant Database-compliant facilities in 2013; total new facilities in 2013 per capita; total 2014 new projects year to date; total 2014 projects year to date per capita; state tax burdens on mature firms and new firms according to the Tax Foundation and KPMG Location Matters analysis.