2015 NAIOP Board of Directors

The 2015 NAIOP Board of Directors was announced at NAIOP’s Annual Meeting on December 15, 2014 at the Levine Museum of the New South. Below is a list of the 2015 Slate for the Board of Directors.

Photo (L-R): 2015 NAIOP President Clifton Coble, 2014 NAIOP President Chris Thomas

Photo (L-R): 2015 NAIOP President Clifton Coble, 2014 NAIOP President Chris Thomas


President – Clifton Coble, Bissell Development
President Elect – Jim Gamble, Bohler Engineering
Secretary – Brendan Pierce, The Keith Corporation
Treasurer – Sherrie Chaffin, Trinity Capital Advisors
Immediate Past President – Chris Thomas, Childress Klein Properties
Past President – Charles Jonas, CNL Commercial Real Estate

Directors (expiring December 2016)

Barry Leasure, GreerWalker
Scott Wilson, Childress Klein Properties
Scott Harris, Choate Construction
Cheryl Steele, Horack Talley
Chris Urquhart, InterCon Building Corporation

Directors (expiring December 2015)

Tim Robertson, Beacon Partners
John O. Harris, Lincoln Harris

Remaining Directors (expiring December 2015)

Massie Flippin, Liberty Property Trust
Mark Thigpen, King & Spalding
Dan Warren, Elliott Davis


UNCC Liaison – Alyson Metcalfe, UNC Charlotte Center for Real Estate
REBIC Liaison – Joe Padilla, REBIC
Advisory Council Liaison – Trey Dempsey, SilverCap Partners
National Board Member Liaison – Jim Merrifield, Merrifield Patrick Vermillion


NAIOP Elects 2015 Board of Directors and Award of Excellence Winner at 2014 Annual Meeting

NAIOP Charlotte, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, held its annual meeting on Monday, December 15, 2014 at the Levine Museum of the New South, where we elected the 2015 Board of Directors and announced the winner of our Award of Excellence. This award recognizes an individual who positively influences our community and industry. ­­­­

Award of Excellence

The Award of Excellence was given in memory of David Allen, a dedicated NAIOP member, past Board member, and member of the Advisory Council.

David began his commercial real estate career in 1985 with CB Commercial and was known for his remarkable business acumen and leadership skills, often serving as mentor to others while developing deeply-rooted relationships with commercial real estate colleagues across the country.

Photo (L-R): Blake Allen, William Allen, Mari Ann Allen, receiving Award of Excellence in memory of David Allen from 2014 NAIOP President Chris Thomas

Demand for Underground Industrial Space Increases

“It’s easy to underestimate the size of the Kansas City, Mo., industrial real-estate market,” reports a Max Taves in a Nov. 25 Wall Street Journal article. “That’s because a big chunk of it is hidden from sight — underground.”

“In Kansas City, It’s the Rise of the Underground” describes how demand for Kansas City’s underground industrial space is growing. The space, located 80 to 150 feet below the surface in former limestone mines, “is the largest in the U.S., comprising more than 7% of the metropolitan area’s total industrial area.” It includes SubTropolis, the largest underground industrial space in the nation. Owned by Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development, SubTropolis features “8.2 miles of paved roads, 2.1 miles of railroad tracks, more than 500 truck docks, 1,600 parking spaces and 50 million square feet of leasable space” that is fully occupied by 55 companies with 1,600 employees.

One selling point is the underground space’s near-constant temperature of 65 degrees year round, a big plus in an area that experiences as much as 100-degree fluctuations between summer and winter. Little need for heating or air conditioning — as well as lower tax rates — means lower operating costs. Tenants include government agencies, agricultural and pharmaceutical firms that use the space for storage, as well as automotive and equipment supply companies, light manufacturers and even e-commerce firms.

Demand has been strong; both SubTropolis and competitor Meritex Enterprises Inc. are building out additional space. SubTropolis added 1 million square feet in the past year and plans to build another 750,000 next year. Meritex, which has 2.4 million square feet of underground space, expects to add another 80,000 square feet of speculative space by early 2015.

House Passes Tax Extenders, TRIA Deal Possible

The House of Representatives passed a bill last Wednesday extending approximately 50 expired tax provisions retroactively for 2014. The Tax Increase Prevention Act (H.R. 5771) passed the House by a 378-46 vote, and is expected to be passed by the Senate this week.

NAIOP lobbied all year for passage of tax extender legislation, including provisions for 15-year qualified leasehold improvement depreciation, bonus depreciation, New Markets Tax Credits and other provisions important to the commercial real estate industry.

The Senate had earlier passed legislation extending these provisions for two years, and House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership were close to finalizing a two-year extension that would also make certain tax provisions permanent, but a White House veto threat and limited time left in a lame-duck Congress resulted in a shorter, limited bill. While the legislation protects 2014 tax filers from a tax increase, Congress must immediately begin work upon their return on another tax extender bill.

Congress also made progress on reauthorizing the expiring Terrorism Risk Insurance Act program (TRIA), with House and Senate negotiators close to finalizing a deal that would renew the program with some changes for an additional six years. Renewing TRIA has been a top priority for NAIOP and a number of other organizations representing business and real estate, since expiration of the program would likely cause widespread disruption in the commercial real estate industry. House Republicans want to pass TRIA legislation this week with enough time for the Senate to act, but disagreements over unrelated provisions amending Dodd-Frank legislation have delayed bringing the bill to a vote.

NAIOP Comments on Tax, Terrorism Risk Insurance and the Importance of Bipartisanship in Congress

NAIOP’s advocacy efforts toward our priority legislative issues have been featured in two recent publications, demonstrating that our team is working hard to advance commercial real estate by advocating for effective legislation and encouraging bipartisan work in Congress. The issues — federal tax policy and terrorism risk insurance — are critical to the long-term health of the commercial real estate industry.

Tax Extenders and TRIA Reauthorization Should be a Top Priority for Lame-Duck Congress | Commentary
Roll Call, December 2
As the election spin cycle starts winding down, one conclusion has been eminently clear: Voters want Washington to produce. NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino penned an opinion editorial, reinforcing the importance of Congress renewing tax extenders and terrorism risk insurance.

Dawn of a New Age?
Commercial Property Executive, December 2014
Commercial real estate is looking at the GOP’s majority in the House and Senate, and the 2016 presidential election, as signs that legislation on energy, tax code and infrastructure will make their way into law during the next two years. NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino shares his thoughts on the outcome of the midterm election and what it means to real estate.

For both issues, Bisacquino notes the importance of strong bipartisan support, stating: “Given all that is at stake — both in tax policy as well as TRIA — we are encouraged by statements of support from House and Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle. While there are inevitable differences of opinion, we believe there is significant bipartisan consensus that these policies have worked well and need to be renewed before Congress concludes its legislative business at the end of this year.”

Technology to Power the World: Smart Solar Roadways

Imagine solar panels as surfaces of parking lots, driveways, roads, bike trails and, eventually, even highways. Then imagine integrating those solar panels with microprocessors and LED lights that can be programmed to delineate driving lanes, parking spaces and crosswalks.

Idaho-based Solar Roadways Inc., is on a mission to manufacture technology to power the world by replacing petroleum-based asphalt roads with pressure-sensitive solar panels manufactured from tempered glass that has been designed and tested to meet all impact loads — including 250,000-pound trucks. The panels generate and use energy they collect from sunlight, which powers elements that can heat the surface of the panels to melt snow and ice. Every panel incorporates a series of LED lights connected to the circuit boards that can be programmed to produce lane lines and other markings for roads and parking lots.

The Solar Roadways prototype parking lot now under construction is being funded in part by a two-year $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research contract with the Federal Highway Administration to build two prototypes of solar panels to be tested under all weather and sunlight conditions.

Read more in the fall issue of Development magazine.

Consultant Recommends Structural Overhaul of City/County Development Review & Building Permit Process

A report released this week on the development review and construction permitting by Gartner Consulting is recommending substantive changes in the governance structure, which is currently split between the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

The report’s recommendations were presented yesterday to the City’s Transportation and Planning Committee, with Mayor Dan Clodfelter, City Manager Ron Carlee, and most of the City Council in attendance. A second presentation will be made today to the County Board of Commissioners during an afternoon Policy Briefing.

The report, which you can download HERE, is the result of more than six months of stakeholder interviews and independent assessments of processes in both the City and County that oversee development plan review, construction permitting and building inspections. It stems from a series of letters delivered early this year to the City Council and Board of Commissioners from REBIC, the Apartment Association and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, which called for improvements in the timeliness and effectiveness of the overall permitting process.

Currently there is a lack of coordination and collaboration between the City and County and governance does not effectively span City and County resulting in efforts that should be coordinated being performed unilaterally, from execution of daily tactical operations to strategic initiatives.”

– Gartner Report

The most significant recommendation in the Gartner report calls for the creation of a “unified development services governance structure” to improve city/county collaboration on plan review, permitting and inspections. The report suggests the creation of a ‘Unified Development Services Committee’, comprised of senior managers from both the City and County, along with representatives from the six Towns and the development industry. The goal of the new committee would be to achieve a “seamless City/County/Town land development and building construction services partnership, organized, governed and incentivized to provide high-quality service delivery that consistently exceeds customer expectations.”

Lack of a joint City/County philosophy and the current approach to customer service activities with a finite staff compound the disconnect with customer base seeking responsiveness, simplicity and human interaction.”

– Gartner Report

The report also makes a number of other recommendations to improve the permitting process, including:

  • Redesign Unified Customer Service Model and Tailor to Different Customer Segments
  • Evaluate Demand and Current Workload to Ensure Adequate Staffing Levels
  • Provide Improved Access to Development Services Information and Educational Tools
  • Conduct Analysis of Co-location Options for City and County Staff
  • Review the role of the County’s Building/Development Commission
  • Plan and Manage Technology Collaboratively to Address Gaps, Redundancy, and Inefficiency
  • Integrate or Consolidate City and County Permitting Systems and Plan Review Systems
  • Improve Consistency of Code Interpretation and Application, and Drive Accountability of Both Staff and Customers
  • Establish Quality Control and Accountability Metrics
  • Establish Customer Satisfaction Metrics

REBIC will continue to work with both Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte in the coming months to evaluate and implement the recommendations in the Gartner Report, with the goal of achieving lasting improvements in the permitting and inspections process.