Category Archives: Ashby Real Estate Group News

Commercial, Industrial Building Planning Highest In Over A Decade

Planning for commercial and industrial buildings reached 13-year and 14-year highs, respectively in the Dodge Momentum Index.

Throughout the year, the overall Momentum Index increased 23%, the strongest annual gain since 2005 despite the lingering risks of COVID-19 and low demand for some types of nonresidential buildings, said the Dodge Construction Network, which prepares the index.

“The signals provided by the Dodge Momentum Index continue to suggest that construction activity will improve in 2022—and, more importantly, that this growth will be more balanced than what was seen in 2021. However, the ever-present risks of the pandemic and tight labor force will work to counter these trends, leading to moderate growth over the new year,” DCN forecasted.

December, though, saw some backsliding.

The Index fell 3% in the last month of the year to 166.4 (2000=100), down from the revised November reading of 170.7 with commercial planning down 4%, and institutional planning slipping 1%.

In December, a total of 21 projects with a value of $100 million or more entered planning, according to DCN.

The firm said the leading commercial projects were the $300 million OKANA Resort in Oklahoma City, OK, and the $200 million Project Tarpon Amazon distribution center in Daytona Beach, FL with the leading institutional projects being the $250 million University of Michigan Detroit Center for Innovation in Detroit, MI, and a $150 million laboratory in Lexington, MA.

The December decline followed a falloff in November, the company’s research showed.

Total construction starts fell 14% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $867.8 billion.

The short-term outlook remains cloudy due to continued escalation in material prices and labor shortages, said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network.

He added that while construction should see some reprieve in 2022, these challenges will restrain the industry’s ability to fully capitalize on both the large number of projects in planning and funding resulting from the infrastructure package. The result will be moderate growth in construction starts over the near-term, according to the report.

Nonbuilding and nonresidential building starts bore the brunt of November’s decline, falling 30% and 21%, respectively, after seeing sharp increases in October as three large projects broke ground. Residential starts gained a modest 3%. Without October’s large projects, total construction starts in November would have increased by 5%.”

What Levi’s New Retail Stores Mean for the Sector


Retail apocalypse, who? CRE’s retail sector is undoubtedly reinventing itself, but that doesn’t mean brick and mortar retail is going extinct. On the contrary, more and more brands are announcing big plans to open up physical store locations.

The latest is Levi’s, who plans to open hundreds of stores by the time 2019 comes to a close.

Let’s explore what this means to retail as a whole.

Why turn to physical retail?

If you’re listening to CRE retail news, you know that the value of brick and mortar stores is a hot debate. So why in the world world would Levi’s choose this as their next big move?

It’s all apart of the popular clothing brand’s strategy to reconfigure the way they’re doing business. Recently, their wholesale profits are on the decline as the department store concept is struggling to keep above water.

However, the company is thriving in other areas. Direct-to-consumer performance is up 7% as Levi’s remains a popular household brand for US patrons. Levi’s reports that their e-commerce sector is thriving and their sales at full-price stores are also strong.

Experimenting with small footprint stores

As the entire industry is struggling to find the solution to the issues plaguing contemporary retail, Levi’s might be on to something.

The company has plans for its 100 new stores. Levi’s is looking to test out the small footprint store and see how it competes with their other outlets. CEO Chip Bergh states:

“Growing our U.S. direct-to-consumer business allows us to move toward premiumizing the marketplace, and remains one of our important strategies to offset headwinds in the U.S. wholesale by continuing to reduce our concentration in that channel.”

By testing out the waters as with brand-centric storefronts, Levi’s is establishing themselves as an independent luxury clothier. Stepping away from discount stores and department stores, the company wants to see if consumers will be open to paying full price at a small Levi’s locations.

They are switching up their target audience from the discount shopper to the boutique browser, hoping to capitalize on the in-store experience that can only be achieved in physical retail.

How will this impact other areas of business?

After looking at the factors motivating Levi’s to open up physical locations, what about their online presence?

By opening up new stores that their consumers can visit in person, Levi’s is adding a whole new layer of consumer experience to their business. These stores will help boost brand awareness and can strengthen their online presence through engagements, events, and promotions.

Levi’s will also be able to jump on the BOPIS train, which has been boosting both physical and online sales for the past year. Giving consumers the option to integrate their online and in-person shopping experiences inevitably drives traffic to their sites and store locations. This convenience-based strategy benefits both platforms – it’s a double win.

Making Connections

Using Levi’s as a module to gauge the retail industry, we can see that today’s business is all about playing it smart. Ultimately, the companies who are actively responding to their data metrics and aligning their strategies with what consumers want are the ones who will survive retail’s changing tides.

What’s your take on today’s retail scene?


4 Things to Think About Before Your Office Lease Renews

Is it that time of year, again?

Office lease renewal periods are a great time to reconsider your current terms as it provides tenants with the opportunity to think about some important points. In any commercial deal, lease renewals should be handled with winning strategies.

If you’re ready to renew your office lease, make sure to consider these 4 points first:

Always Read Between the Lines

Tenants should never get too comfortable.  Carefully reviewing the exact terms of each lease will help office tenants avoid big problems down the line. Even if you’ve been in the same office space for years, don’t think you can skim through the paperwork at renewal time.

First things first, the most basic rule should be to get clear on the details. It’s a good idea to assume that each lease is completely different – helping you to pay closer attention.

Always look out for rent increases, coverage of operational costs, tax rates, and maintenance. Consider how these slight adjustments will impact the deal as a whole. If something seems unclear, don’t hesitate to request clarification from your landlord.

Re-structure Your Finances

Before resigning that lease, it’s a good idea to take a fresh look at your finances. To make a wise decision, tenants need to have a full understanding of how the lease will affect your business moving forward.

Creating a current financial wellness plan will enable tenants to assess both the benefits and drawbacks that come along with resigning an office lease. Consider the outcomes of remaining in the same place versus relocating to a new office to make sure it’s your business’s best move.

Explore Other Market Options

It’s never a bad idea to explore the current real estate market. Not only will this provide key insights into the deal, but it will also help improve your negotiation skills. It shows your current landlord that you’re serious about relocating.

Once you’ve seen what kinds of properties are currently available, price points for comparable properties, and commonly-featured amenities; your position as a tenant gets stronger.

Knowledge truly is power – especially when it comes to commercial real estate. Don’t neglect to perform a market analysis once the renewal period rolls around.

Negotiation is Everything

As state above, a tenant’s ability to negotiate with their landlords is essential during lease renewals. Strong negotiation skills are needed for office lease renewal strategies since they secure the tenant’s position.

When beginning to negotiate lease terms with your landlord, make sure you have a game-plan in mind. Inciting the conversation with key elements helps in building credibility and taking a dominant position in negotiations. One of the best ways that business owners can optimize their company’s financial position is by strategically navigating through the lease renewal period. Approaching office lease renewals with tact will help lower the risks of resigning, improve your company’s position as a tenant, and improving the contract terms.

When it’s time to resign, make sure you’re taking proactive steps to achieve your ideal lease terms.

6 Must-Read Books on Real Estate Investing

Investors, need to restock your CRE library? Whether you’re looking to get expert advice, learn something from the pros, or pick up a few new strategies; investors can’t go wrong with a great read.

Here’s a list of the 6 best books on real estate investing:

1. Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate: How to Successfully Build Wealth and Grow Passive Income from Your Rental Properties by Doug Marshall

In his popular book, Doug Marshall masterfully outlines the commercial investment process.

Marshall shows readers the ropes and even shares his six best tips on maintaining profitable assets. Reading this book will give you insight into when its best to move forward with a deal — and also when it’s a good idea to pass.

We love this book because it’s direct, straightforward, and incredibly insightful.

2. More than Cashflow: The Risks and Rewards of Profitable Real Estate Investing by Julie Broad

Don’t think that investment is all fun and games – it’s an industry that comes with its fair share of risks.

Julie Broad is reminding us all of the honest realities of commercial real estate investment and what it means to make it your full-time gig. Both novice and professional investors alike can gain a lot from Broad’s shared stories and advice.

We love how accessible and easy to digest the information is.

3. Long-Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene

Remote investing poses a large challenge for commercial investors.

Dealing with assets in another state or country is a completely different ball game – but its ability to expand your portfolio can make it worth it. Greene is giving readers strategies and tips to navigate through long-distance deals and also pave the way for long term success.

We love how this book addresses a common pain point felt by commercial investors across the board.

4. Real Estate Investing Gone Bad by Phil Pustejovsky

If you’re wondering what not to do during an investment deal, check out Doug Marshall’s book. Real Estate Investing Gone Bad covers 21 true stories about when commercial property deals took a turn for the worst. By learning from others’ mistakes readers can avoid potential troubles and losses.

We love this book because it portrays real-life examples of the dark side of property investing.

5. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller

Investors who are looking to maximize profits and establish high returns on your commercial investments will appreciate Gary Keller’s book.

Keller spent years compiling the stories of hundreds of property investors, and the results lie in The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. It’s a must read for anyone looking for a crash-course on commercial investments.

We love this book for its authenticity and pro-tips to optimize every transaction.

6. The ABCs of Real Estate Investing by Ken Mcelroy

Ken Mcelroy is taking all new investors under his wing in his popular book.

The ABCs provides a basic outline of what you can expect out of real estate investments and how you can set yourself up for success. Readers will get deal-boosting advice that helps to build a strong and stable portfolio.

We love how understandable yet sophisticated this read is.

Happy reading! Which real estate books are on your list?

4 Trends in the Medical Office Space We’re Watching in Q3 2019

2019 has been a busy year for the medical industry. As CRE continues to evolve, the medical office space is also going through its own transformation.

In efforts to enhance availability and boost efficiency, the healthcare sector is transitioning into a new area of the commercial scene. Contemporary tenants, landlords, and developers are all racing to keep up with today’s changing consumer needs; and as a result, the medical space is being revamped.

Let’s take a look at where the medical office market is today, and what trends to look out for during 2019’s third quarter.

Energy Efficient Buildings

It’s no secret that medical buildings are huge consumers of energy. Due to the sprawling size of the properties, intense lighting needs, air and temperature control, and high-powered machinery; medical office spaces have traditionally been lacking in eco-efficiency.

However, that’s all beginning to change. As the world around us shifts to favor all things environmentally-friendly, CRE is also playing its role. Technological advancements are making it possible to build, run, and power medical office spaces without wasting resources.

Amongst other sustainable options, LED lighting, solar energy, living walls, architectural glass, and smart HVAC systems are key contributors to the medical industry’s green efforts.

Designs that Feel like Home

Traditionally, medical buildings have felt cold, sterile, and unbearably institutional. This stereotype is being torn down during 2019, and we’re expecting to begin observing the development in Q3. The antiseptic atmosphere of the healthcare spaces doesn’t satisfy the needs of contemporary patients, so the medical office space needed to change up the approach.

Instead of being unwelcoming, today’s medical care areas are becoming more comfortable. Healthcare designs are shifting towards home-like spaces that make patients feel at ease, accepted, and welcomed.

Today’s office waiting rooms are furnished with large plush couches, entertainment systems, recliners, and living plants. Hospital rooms have opened windows, casual spaces are meeting patients’ mental, emotional, and physical needs.

Tech-Driven Appointments

If you’ve visited a doctor’s office lately, you may have been surprised to be greeted by a largely tech-based check-in process. Q3 will be full of innovative applications of technology, geared towards enhancing the patient experience, streamlining tasks, and increasing organization.

Check-in/Check-out computer kiosks will be the new norm, helping to alleviate waiting room congestion and reduce waiting time. Staff will be using more tablets and personal computers, delivering greater accessibility and a seamless platform-to-platform connection. Offices will use intuitive AI software to streamline everyday tasks, analyze data, and deliver more personalized patient experiences. The future of medical offices is all about tech-driven efficiency and productivity.

Outpatient Care on the Rise

Outpatient care centers are set to be a big part of Q3. According to a study from Deloitte Insights, inpatient stays are declining while outpatient care is growing in popularity. As stated in the report, hospital inpatient stays have declined 6.6% over the past decade.

In order to meet the needs of today’s patients, small-scale specialized care centers are moving to commercial retail spaces. This brings them closer to patients, enhances accessibility, and helps out-of-facility patients conveniently receive the care and services they need.

What other medical office trends are you looking out for?

5 Forward Thinking Tech Cities From Around the World

As technology continues to expand, the possibilities seem endless. What used to be thought of as mere science fiction is now a tangible reality, allowing us to live in ways we never though were possible.

The world around us is slowly shifting into this new age, but there are a few places were the changes are happening fast. Smart Cities are popping up across the globe and they’re standing as amazing examples of what’s available to today’s population. These destinations are using the latest innovative technology to create harmonious eco-friendly communities that cater to contemporary needs.

Here’s a look at 5 forward-thinking cities that are totally changing the game.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is a global leader for smart living as it seamlessly interweaves technology into the city’s scheme. The area already goes far beyond the average smart city with their tech-fueled public transportation system and the government’s incredibly effective emergency warning system – but there’s more.

One of Seoul’s most impressive features is the self-charging roads, made possible by their advanced online electric vehicle technology (OLEV). There’s virtual stores, highly advanced smart-towns, and more. Seoul marks the apex for contemporary smart cities.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Being Iceland’s smallest city doesn’t impede on Reykjavik’s popularity. This city is the country’s most populated area – and for good reason. Reykjavik is leading the way for environmental responsibility empowered by technological expansion.

All the buildings in this region are green by design since 99% of the city’s electricity is fueled by hydroelectric and geothermal power. While this is already an amazing feat, Reykjavik has hopes for the future. The area plans to become a fully-functioning city with zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Tokyo, Japan

As one of the globe’s largest urban communities, Tokyo isn’t falling behind in terms of smart technology. The city reigns supreme in the realms of urban planning, mobility, and applied technology.

Tokyo takes high-tech to a completely new level with its groundbreaking exploration of 3D and robotics. The area introduced advanced facial recognition technology, and also heavily invests in AI resources for hospitality, vehicles, and mobility, healthcare, and financial services.

Paris, France

Paris is one of Europe’s top leaders in both technological and environmental initiatives. This popular global destination promotes clean transportation and mobility for both residents and tourists by providing bikes and electric vehicles.

Paris also uses IoT to optimize the traffic flows of people and traffic to help accommodate their average 40 million tourists per year. As a further improvement, The Grand Paris Express project will completely redesign the city’s transportation system and features a completely automated metro train.

Singapore, Southeast Asia

No place blends technology into daily life quite like Singapore. The island is fully encompassed in a line of fiber optics that spans the entire length and breadth of Singapore, factoring in up to three mobiles for every two citizens. Singapore has robotic hospitals, autonomous taxi drivers, and high-tech vertical gardens that self-water and regulate temperature.

After exploring these tech cities, you’ll want to call them home. Which smart city is your favorite? To keep up with the latest CRE trends, check out our blog!

Location Data: Helping CRE Find it’s Way in 2019

Data is today’s most powerful tool. Two years ago, The Economist made a seemingly bold statement, saying that the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. It’s 2019 and the truth of this is statement is more real that ever before. Data’s influence is nothing to take lightly. Not only does it greatly enhance technology’s possibilities, but it’s also helping major industries find creative solutions to common problems.

One such example would be location data used within commercial real estate. This valuable asset is helping to bring the industry out of the dark ages by harnessing the power of information. Let’s explore how this ocean of data is transforming the world of CRE.

Insight, Not Intuition

In the past, finding success in the CRE industry was mainly based off of pure intuition. That gut-feeling was the major drive for new building projects and investments. The industry’s talent laid in a professional’s ability to predict the newest trends and come up with a probably forecast. However, these predictions were a huge gamble – and in some cases, even a billion-dollar wager.

With loses so intense, the industry was in dire need for hard data. CRE needed real facts, evidence, and probabilities that tipped into absolutism. Location data is serving as the contemporary antidote to CRE’s most common issue – a lack of insight. By collecting, organizing, and analyzing this large web of data, the industry has been able to transcend guesses and make solid predictions.

Understanding Today’s Consumers

The world around us changes at an incredible rate, and modern consumers change right along with it. Data provides an amazing clarity when it comes to predicting consumer behavior. Location data provides accurate insights into client relationships and experience, and it’s allowing CRE to zero-in on their business approach. By knowing how clients commonly respond, what they’re expecting, and what can break a deal: it’s easier to create successful strategies.

Advance Marking Accuracy

Advertising is hard for any industry, and CRE is no different. When it comes to commercial marketing, accuracy means everything. The pool of prospective clients is incredibly diverse, and this presents a great challenge for professionals in the field.

Location data helps CRE execute marketing strategies with unmatched finesse. The data can predict the best method, timing, and area to launch a specific marketing plan. On top of this, it zooms in on specifics of different advertising campaigns and can tweak them to better connect with a target audience.

Planning the Next Move

With location data, planning for the future is clear and simple. Data tracking can build a reliable map for the future of an industry, helping investors and developers plan for the next big trends. With such a solid insight into what’s coming next, CRE professionals avoid major losses and can always stay ahead of the game. This proves that knowledge really is power – especially when it comes to business.

Location data serves as a savior for the CRE industry. What’s your favorite way to use data? For more CRE trends, check out our blog.

5 Things Boomers Want From Multifamily

Multifamily managers are always looking to attract the right tenants. While all the mainstream attention is focusing on Millennials, it’s time to look towards another generation – Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation  is expected to dominate the multifamily market. Studies predict that 2020 will see a wave of over 5 million Boomers renting homes within the multifamily sector.

With stakes this high, multifamily managers need to start preparing. Here are the top 5 features that Baby Boomers are looking for in CRE’s multifamily market.

Comfortable Amenities

Appealing to this generation is all about providing them with their needs and wants. A great way to do this is through comfort-based amenities. One of the greatest perks associated with apartment living all all of the high-class features. As these new renters say goodbye to being homeowners, they’re ready to enjoy all the luxuries of a multifamily complex.

According to J Turner Research’s multifamily market study, the most desired amenities for those 55+ are swimming pools and fitness centers. If you’re looking to attract Boomers, make sure to heavily advertise these key features. Utilize high definition photography of these amenities and you’re sure to catch their attention.

The Latest Tech

It isn’t just the up and coming generations that value technology. According to National Real Estate Investor’s studies, the number one item renter’s of all ages are looking for is tech. Integrating the latest technology into your multifamily asset is a must if you’re looking to attract Baby Boomers.

Make sure to provide fast, secure and reliable WiFi connection for your tenants. Another great marketing tactic is to create an online community for residents to connect, discuss news or issues, and strengthen their bonds.

Hassle-Free Living

Since many members of this group have previously been homeowners, they haven’t been able to enjoy the perks of multifamily living. Entering into the multifamily game finally allows them to kick back, relax, and live in luxury. Boomers love the low-maintenance, hands-free style of apartment buildings. As a multifamily manager, always assure your prospective buyers that they’ll always be taken care of.

Enhanced Security Systems

The biggest motivator for people to integrate smart home technology to their living spaces is security – and this is especially true for Baby Boomers. This generation places an incredibly high value on safety, and they’re looking to rent apartments that have got them covered.

A study from the National Apartments Association reveals that both Boomer and Gen Z prefer multifamily buildings with video security monitoring coupled with other high tech security features. This provides peace of mind, and that’s what Boomers are looking for.

Pedestrian-Friendly Living

One thing Millennials and Boomers have in common is their love for convenience. Boomers are looking for walkable communities that provide easy access to cafes, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. AARP states that these communities should include safe recreation areas as well as well-kept streets and sidewalks.

These 5 features will help multifamily managers attract the new wave of Baby Boomer renters. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! For more CRE insights, check out our blog.

Experience is everything: 4 CRE sectors keeping up

It’s 2019 and experience is everything. The focus on experience has been steadily growing, and it’s become a full-blown obsession in nearly every major industry. CRE is no stranger to the concept of created experiences, and some sectors are totally dominating the game.

Let’s look at how these 4 rockstar CRE industries are utilizing created experiences to stay current and attract business.


Out of all of CRE’s sectors, the most avid participant in the wave of experience is retail. Due to the ever-changing market and the new age of consumerism, retail has been forced to undergo major reconfigurations. As we move into an increasingly digitized society, consumers are now able to easily order whatever they desire in one click or less.

As a result, the entire industry needed to step it up to meet the era’s expectations. In order to do so, consumer experience became the driving force fueling modern retail efforts. A A REIT analyst talking to the Wall Street Journal states, “Mall tendency has changed. What hasn’t changed is the human desire to socialize”. Cultivating an experience with the shopping framework has become retailers #1 priority for 2019 and beyond.


Experience is also big in CRE’s multifamily realm. This is seen in amenities, special features, and other key components that accentuate the overall living experience for residents. Elements such as spas, gyms, pools, game and recreation rooms, and sports areas are all being expertly designed into multifamily plans.

Technology is playing a large role in creating these areas of experience. What you see are high tech features which make these areas interactive, responsive, and intuitive to the user. This establishes a unique and valuable experience – able to set brands apart from competitors.


As the world around us continues to provide exceptional experiences, it’s popping up as an important concern in some unexpected CRE sectors. As Millennials continue dominating the workforce, the office sector has changed its values to resonate with this confident and innovative generation.

Across the board, more and more companies are working to improve their brand culture. When 78% of the workforce strongly values a positive employee experience, it’s hard to ignore. By enhancing the professional experience, they seek to create a workplace where staff members feel happy, work productively, and feel valued. Companies are specially designing office spaces to create these experience areas and better accommodate the new era of work culture.


The influence of experience is slowly seeping into the industrial market. It’s common to see interactive opportunities popping up within industrial properties that coincide to the company’s focus.

This means on-site activities, such as tours or tastings, also extends into companion business-beer gardens within breweries our coffee shops inside of roasteries. This provides a whole new realm of business that is focused on providing an extraordinary and unique experience for our clients.

Cultivating experiences is essential in our contemporary world. While humanity’s values and preferences change, industries need to adapt and find new ways to appeal to the public. What experienced-based trends are you most interested in?

What do landlords need to know about rent control?

Over the past few months, many states have implemented new rent control policies. Rent control laws work to regulate how much landlords can charge for rent, and also how much rent can be raised within a certain period of time. These laws are designated by individual cities and their goal is to help ensure that housing remains an affordable commodity.

As a landlord, it’s imperative to remain informed on all the ins and outs of local rent control policies. Besides pricing concerns, these laws also outline the responsibilities expected of landlords – including repairs, evictions, lease renewals, and more.

The effects posed by these up and coming rent control policies speak volumes on the future of CRE’s multifamily market. Here are 3 points that all landlords should know.

Multifamily Assets Remain Strong

One of the main concerns surrounding rent control policies is the anticipated profit reduction. However, experts explain that even amidst the current wave of widespread control policies, the multifamily market is still standing strong.

The real estate market has been able to withstand the external fluctuations and upkeep a healthy status in spite of any disruptions. According to Barclays PLC Report, market analysts are confident about the near future, as quarter on of 2019 has produced strong profits. All in all, a very positive turnover is expected from the multifamily sector this year.

Unknown Effects Looming on the Horizon

In spite of current positive growth rates, the future holds much more uncertainty. The effects posed by numerous states adopting rent control policies all at once pose unknown results. Long-term results stemming from the apartment sector’s new policies are hard to determine as of yet, and it’s keeping all of us on our toes.

Threats to Commercial Stocks

The main area of concern is commercial multifamily stocks. All else aside, the apartment sector’s performance levels have been outstanding. However, the implementation of local rent control bills can pose severe effects for even the hottest domestic markets. New York and California are amongst the country’s major cities working to pass deeper rent control policies, which are being vehemently objected by the CRE industry.

Economic advisors have been urging the holders of apartment stocks to ‘hold’ rather than ‘buy’. This slowdown has the potential to disrupt the commercial market by taking a toll on the multifamily sector in affected regions.

Moving Forward

Landlords need to be ready to adapt as states continue to enforce rent control policies. Although the future still remains unclear, there is still a large potential to prosper and taste success.

Investors from around the globe highly favor US military assets, and the demand isn’t expected to falter anytime soon. In fact, CRE’s apartment sector is rated the most attractive to investors who value it’s stability and resilience – even in the face of policy changes and economic disruptions. As influential investors continue to pour money into the commercial market, the industry is only expected to grow.

In order to weather out the storm, landlords need to stay vigilant. Keeping up with the latest policy updates and expert-anticipated results is the best way to ensure that you’re strategically cultivating success – even in the face of uncertainty.