Real Estate Repositioning
The good news from his half-day conference on real estate was that repositioning of existing space is a typical first step in a recovering market. Tom Vechionne of Gensler and others showed the audience where it’s taking place in NYC. There were many such gems from three panels organized by the Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College and the Greater NY Construction User Council. Mark Nyman, the Institute’s director and his team brought together an excellent cross-section of smart and articulate practitioners to give their opinions and implementation techniques.
The recurring theme revolved around sustainability and bringing real estate to higher green standards. Dana Robbins Schneider of Jones Lang LaSalle, described the desire for LEED as the new normal. Many properties were seeking upgrades in their LEED certification as demand from tenants grows.
Some of the takeaways were:
- Sukanya Paciorek from Vornado: What to do with product that doesn’t get repositioned? There are new drivers pushing owners: tenant demand for ‘green’ space, requirements of international investors and regulations (NYC requires energy benchmarking.)
- Dana Robbins Schneider: Created a ‘green’ office toolkit for tenants. Made a business case for ‘green’ measures through case studies. Made non-proprietary tools available on-line.
- Tom Vecchione: Think of the product not in square feet but as an item for differentiation and a means to meet clients needs. The nature of office work is changing. Personnel are much more mobile and will use the office as a place to “touch base” and learn from one another. The challenge will be to connect people with the space that enables collaboration.
- Joe Romano from Langan: Use BIM for understanding a space, especially remotely.
- Scott O’Sullivan from MWE: There are lots of incentives to implement energy conservation methods. Be sure to work with an accountant to take full advantage of the many programs.
- Nick D’Allessandro: The RE business is a cash flow business. Saving energy is cheaper the buying it. You will have to attend the next conference to discover how to get your own golden toilet.
Mary Brennan from the Community Preservation Corp ended the morning with an overview of the CPC, its mission and the funding that it makes available.
The theme of ‘green’ initiatives in real estate will continue with the next program that Newman Institute has organized on December 9th — Greening Modernism. It’s right here at Baruch, it’s free and you’re invited.