Post Construction Controls Ordinance (PCCO) Mitigation Fee EXTENDED

On Monday evening, the Charlotte City Council approved a THREE-year extension of the citywide PCCO Mitigation Fee (until December 31, 2017), and directed the city manager to launch a stakeholder process to review the program with the goal of determining a permanent status for the program within 6 – 9 months.

Thanks again for all your help in getting this important program extended. BIG thanks due to Council members Kenny Smith, Ed Driggs, David Howard, and Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes for negotiating the compromise agreement.  The dissenting votes were John Autry, Al Austin, Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield.

Healthy Buildings = Healthy, Productive Workers

A new report from the World Green Building Council, “Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building,” presents overwhelming evidence that office design significantly impacts the health, well-being and productivity of employees. The report explores the relationship between office design and office users, and explains how a range of factors — from air quality, thermal comfort and lighting to views of nature and interior layout — can affect the health, satisfaction and job performance of those users.

“One of the key barriers to incorporating health, wellbeing and productivity considerations into business decisions,” the report notes, “has been confusion around what to measure and how. This report proposes a simple, high level framework for measuring organisational or financial outcomes (such as absence rates, staff turnover and medical complaints) and relating those back to the physical features of buildings and employee perceptions. Many organisations are already sitting on a treasure trove of information that, with a little sifting, could yield immediate improvement strategies for their two biggest expenses – people and places, and the relationship between the two.”

Sponsored by JLL, Lend Lease and Skanska, the report also offers a simple toolkit that businesses can use to measure the health, well-being and productivity of their buildings and to help inform financial decision-making.

Investor Appetite for Real Estate Continues

Fifty-five percent of active real estate investors plan to commit $100 million or more to private real estate funds in the next 12 months, and 29 percent will commit more capital in the next 12 months than they did over the previous year. Which types of investments are attracting their interest? “Preqin Investor Outlook: Real Estate, H2 2014” answers that question and more, based on extensive interviews with institutional investors.

The report examines investor appetite for real estate over the coming year and the strategies and geographies that investors are targeting in the next 12 months, as well as key issues investors face and their level of satisfaction with returns.

“Private real estate investor appetite for core investments has seen a surge in the last six months, increasing from 43% of institutions targeting the strategy in December 2013 to 60% in August 2014,” the report notes. “Appetite for value added funds has also increased over this time period, from 49% to 60% respectively, demonstrating that investors are targeting a wide range of strategies across the risk spectrum. Appetite for core-plus and debt funds has also increased in the last six months, standing at 26% and 18% respectively as of August 2014, although appetite for opportunistic funds has declined from 45% in December 2013 to 38% in August 2014.” The report adds that “when looking at the regional investment preferences of investors, the vast majority continue to target domestic real estate opportunities.”

“Investors also are becoming more proactive in sourcing new opportunities,” the report continues, “with many investment teams actively searching for attractive funds rather than waiting for fund managers to come to them, often through networking and peer recommendations, as well as through their investment consultants.”

The Future of Freight, Part II: Mercedes Designs a Self-Driving Truck

While self-driving cars have been in the news a lot lately, Mercedes-Benz has designed a self-driving truck that could revolutionize the trucking industry. According to a recent article by Alex Davies in Wired magazine, Mercedes’ prototype “Future Truck 2025″ “combines several established technologies that will maintain lane position and following distance using cameras and radar. The sensors have been fitted to provide full coverage of the truck’s surroundings, and the assistance systems are linked.”

Revealed at a commercial vehicle conference last month, the Future Truck’s cab will have a seat for a “transport manager,” who will maneuver the truck onto the highway and merge into traffic. “At 50 mph,” the article reports, “he’s prompted to activate the ‘Highway Pilot’ and relax. He can pivot his seat 45 degrees away from the wheel, and doesn’t even need to check Google Maps, since the truck has a navigation system to independently find the best route. If the truck approaches construction, or it’s time to get off the highway, it flashes a visual alert to tell the driver to get his hands back on the wheel. If he doesn’t comply (maybe he’s asleep?), the truck sounds an alarm, and if necessary can bring itself to ‘a controlled emergency stop.’”

While the truck won’t be ready for production for at least a decade (hence the name), it offers a glimpse into the (potential) future of trucking. Mercedes still “has to sort out questions like how to ensure data from the vehicles is secure, how liability will work in the event of an (inevitable) crash, and if rules regulating how much rest truck drivers get will still apply.”

Senate Republican Leader McConnell to Push For Tax Extenders In Lame Duck

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has indicated that he will try to get must-pass legislation passed shortly after the mid-term elections, during the lame-duck session of Congress. Among the must-pass bills are a funding measure to keep the government operating, and an extension of expiring or expired tax provisions which Congress usually passes in a year-end “tax extenders” bill. Among these are tax provisions important to the commercial real estate industry that are an important part of NAIOP’s legislative agenda, including 15-year qualified leasehold improvement depreciation, new markets tax credits, and bonus depreciation provisions.

NAIOP has been advocating for extension of these provisions before the end of the year, prior to their expiration. However, with Senate Republicans possibly assuming control of the chamber as a result of the midterm elections, passage of a tax extenders bill in the lame duck is being questioned by many conservatives. These members in the Senate and the House of Representatives would prefer to delay legislative action until the members of the next Congress are seated next year. McConnell, who would become Majority Leader upon Republicans picking up six Senate seats, would rather clear some of this legislation in the lame-duck to allow more time for House and Senate leadership to focus on additional matters in the new Congress.

Law Firm Gets Creative, Overrules Traditional Office Layout

Electronic filing systems and leaner staffs are creating more space for law firms. International law firm Kirkpatrick Townsend experienced both and set about to redesign 337,000 square feet of interior office space in Altanta, New York and Washington, D.C.

Fixed-wall offices, file rooms and support spaces that once made up law firms are no longer part of today’s trendy interior design concepts. Instead, they are replaced with modular spaces that can be adapted to serve multiple purposes.

Discover what’s in and out of style when it comes to law firm layout by reading “No Objections: Kilpatrick Townsend Reimagines the Law Office” in the fall issue of Development magazine.

2014 SPPACE Election Guide – Mecklenburg County

sppace

Click here or on the image above to download a PDF of the guide.