Heartland Feature Archive

By Timothy Rye, Larkin Hoffman A recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling requires tax assessors to exclude an airport’s concession fees from rent-based valuations for property tax purposes. The case offers a flight plan to lower taxes at many of the nation’s transportation hubs and underscores the importance for all taxpayers to exclude business value from taxable property value. Every major airfield collects fees from food-and-beverage providers, retailers, banks and other businesses that provide goods or services on airport property. Concessionaires, or those who pay the concession fees to the property owner, commonly pay these charges in addition to rent owed for the real estate where they operate. Many of these businesses are also responsible for property tax that passes through to tenants in a commercial lease. The cases leading up to the March 29 state Supreme Court decision involved two car rental companies that challenged their 2019 tax assessments, claiming the assessor’s office had overstated their property values by including concession fees in its income-based valuation. High-Flying Fees Both Enterprise Leasing Co. of Minnesota and Avis Budget Car Rental pay a concession fee equal to 10 percent of gross revenues in addition to real estate rent for their operations at …

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The future of retail has been questioned many times in the last few years, but the sector continues to evolve and overcome any obstacles that arise. Today’s consumers want a gathering place to dine, drink and be entertained, especially after the isolation and stay-at-home mandates they endured throughout the pandemic. With that in mind, owners are redeveloping many underutilized retail properties into new concepts that invigorate the towns in which they reside. Take ROECO, for example, a project that aims to transform a former Sears Roebuck location in Lansing, Michigan, into a retail and entertainment destination. Owner Gillespie Group purchased the property about 10 years ago when Sears was still operating. Sears opened the property in 1953 and vacated it about four years ago. Most recently, a local hospital utilized the site for COVID-19 testing. Pat Gillespie, CEO of Lansing-based Gillespie Group, says his firm is actively marketing the project and has about seven to eight letters of intent with retailers. Gillespie’s main focus is retail and entertainment, but the firm is having conversations about hospitality or housing for the far northeast corner of the 14-acre property. Gillespie says the design of ROECO will have a retro feel to play …

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Multifamily transaction activity slowed in the second half of 2022 and continues to remain muted due to pricing uncertainty. U.S. multifamily sales totaled $187 billion in 2022, down 16.1 percent from $222.9 billion in 2021, according to Yardi Matrix.  The Federal Reserve has raised its key short-term rate, the federal funds rate, nine times over the past year for a total of 475 basis points in an aggressive move to fight inflation. The Fed’s actions have led to a sharp rise in commercial mortgage rates, which have a significant impact on pricing, states Yardi Matrix. The 10-year Treasury yield, the benchmark for permanent, long-term financing, is now hovering around 3.5 percent, up from 2.3 percent one year ago. “In the current climate with inflation and rising interest rates, we’re a bit more cautious, but no less active in scouring the market for great investments,” says Tim Donovan, director of investments for Midloch Investment Partners. “Investment sales are happening in this market, including by us, but it’s generally taking longer for buyers and sellers to agree on a price, and for buyers to raise the equity required to meet lender terms for permanent financing.”  In January, the Consumer Price Index rose …

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By Steven Schneider, Honigman LLP While taxpayers typically pay property taxes based upon their property’s market value, assessors frequently misapply evidence or even redefine market value to rake in excessive taxes. The recently resolved Michigan Tax Tribunal case of Menard Inc. vs. City of Escanaba illustrates several of these efforts to collect excessive taxes and suggests arguments a property owner can use to challenge them. What is market value? Market value is the price that willing, knowledgeable buyers and sellers in an arm’s-length transaction would agree the property is worth. Market value differs from insurance value or replacement value because it reflects what a typical buyer would pay for a property as it is. Market value also differs from value to the owner, which reflects how a particular property contributes to the owner’s business operation. Appraisers typically determine market value using one or more of three valuation techniques. The sales comparison approach adjusts sales of similar property to indicate the likely selling price of the subject property. The income approach values property by considering the present value of the income it would likely earn if rented, whether or not it actually is rented. The cost approach values property by considering …

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The editors of REBusinessOnline.com are conducting a brief online survey to gauge market conditions in 2023, and we welcome your participation. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete. Questions range from property sectors that you are most bullish on heading into 2023 to trends in deal volume to your outlook for interest rates. The results of our 12th annual survey will be collated and published in the January issues of our regional magazines. Conducting these surveys is part of our mission at France Media to provide readers with indispensable information, and we couldn’t do it without your help. To participate in our broker/agent survey, click here. To participate in our developer/owner/manager survey, click here. To participate in our lender/financial intermediary survey, click here. (Note: Please remember to click on “done” to properly submit the survey.)

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CHICAGO — As shovel-ready projects get put on hold, seniors housing developers are looking 24 months ahead, hoping that by then the economic outlook will have improved. For now, they worry about a possible recession and rising costs for everything from debt financing to building materials as they turn their immediate focus to repositioning opportunities. “The industry has been hit with macro-economic shocks,” said Adam Heavenrich, managing director at Heavenrich & Co., a Chicago-based investment brokerage firm. “What you hear is that if you’re developing now, you’re crazy.” Heavenrich gave these opening remarks as moderator of a panel discussion on development at France Media’s sixth annual InterFace Seniors Housing Midwest conference, held Oct. 20 in Chicago. The day-long event featured six panel discussions on topics relevant to industry stakeholders, along with networking opportunities. The development panel included experts who analyzed the smartest plays for the upcoming year. They recounted a growing list of barriers to new construction. The industry is still clawing its way back from the occupancy declines due to the pandemic. Seniors housing occupancy stood at 82.2 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2022, according to data analytics firm NIC MAP Vision. Inflation, last pegged …

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By Kristin Hiller The combination of a spike in material costs, disruptions in the supply chain and a lack of available workers has created a difficult building environment for general contractors.  “It’s no secret that there are pressure points on our industry right now,” says Kinjal Patel, general manager and senior vice president for Lendlease Construction in Chicago. “The challenges we’ve faced the last couple years around supply chain disruption and rising materials and labor costs have only escalated, making planning and budgeting for projects incredibly unpredictable. In some cases, increases are as high as 10 percent in a span of just six months.”  Despite these challenges, general contractors maintain robust pipelines and anticipate that this year’s revenues will exceed last year’s totals.  “Last year, there was a lot of uncertainty as we were still in the process of rebounding from COVID, and construction deals were just finding their legs,” says Michael Meagher, president of Chicago-based McHugh Construction. “Our backlog today is better than the corresponding time a year ago as deals have continued to push forward. We forecast 2022 to be a better year for us than 2021.” Meagher anticipates that McHugh’s revenues will be more than 30 percent …

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By Kristin Hiller As the nation emerges on the other side of the pandemic, the retail and restaurant industries are tasked with adapting their store designs and business models to match consumer behavioral shifts. Shoppers and diners alike want to make purchases easily with multiple options for ordering and pickup.    Border Foods, one of the largest privately held Taco Bell franchisees in America, enlisted the services of Minneapolis-based design consultancy Vertical Works Inc. in 2020 to create a new restaurant design. The result was Defy, a two-story concept with four drive-thru lanes situated below the restaurant kitchen. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant, which is located in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, recently opened. Josh Hanson, founder and CEO at Vertical Works and WORKSHOP, says his team set out to reimagine the drive-thru experience and create a concept that would solve many of the issues related to traditional drive-thrus.  “By elevating kitchens and operations and adding multiple drive-thru lanes underneath, the Defy concept is able to increase efficiency and profitability within the same footprint and at the same cost as a traditional drive-thru,” he states.  Defy customers will be able to place orders online via the Taco Bell app or traditionally …

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While 2021 was a record year for multifamily investment sales, brokers see no sign of a slowdown. Some dealmakers anticipate that 2022 could be an even bigger year. In 2021, U.S. multifamily property and portfolio sales nationally totaled $335.3 billion, up 128 percent over the prior year, according to Real Capital Analytics. In 2021, Chicago-based Interra Realty sold or put under contract more than $527 million of apartment properties on behalf of clients, representing just under 3,000 units. Brad Feldman, senior managing partner, says that while some of those transactions carried into 2022, the total amount sold or under contract so far this year is more than 83 percent of the 2021 sales total.  In one particular deal in 2021, Feldman represented a family trust in its sale of a Chicago multifamily property for the first time in 50 years. Situated in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood, the building features 21 apartment units and two commercial spaces. A private buyer paid $5.2 million for the asset and plans to renovate the units, hallways and common areas. Feldman completed about 30 showings and received more than six written offers. While today’s market tends to favor sellers, both sides of the transaction are …

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The editors of REBusinessOnline.com are conducting a brief online survey to gauge market conditions in 2022, and we welcome your participation. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete. Questions range from property sectors that you are most bullish on heading into 2022 to trends in deal volume to your outlook for interest rates. The results of our 11th annual survey will be collated and published in the January issues of our regional magazines. Conducting these surveys is part of our mission at France Media to provide readers with indispensable information, and we couldn’t do it without your help. To participate in our broker/agent survey, click here. To participate in our developer/owner/manager survey, click here. To participate in our lender/financial intermediary survey, click here. (Note: Please remember to click on “done” to properly submit the survey.)

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