King of Prussia Mall to Become the Suburban Hudson Yards?

Michael Tanenbaum has an interesting article, Could King of Prussia Mall become a place to call home?, which looks at some of the development ideas being considered by Simon Property Group Inc for the old JC Penney department store.

Simon is the largest mall landlord in the country and owner of the King of Prussia Mall. Currently, they are working on ideas for the

The article mentions that Simon has a vision that the King of Prussia mall could grow into something like Hudson Yards.

Eather than replace JCPenney with another distressed retailer, Simon president and COO Rick Sokolov told Bloomberg believes the property can be utilized as a suburban version of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards:

Sokolov declined to divulge details of the proposed plan for the mall. On a conference call with analysts in October, CEO Simon said the project could include a hotel, apartments and office space, and had the potential to increase the property’s value from $2 billion to more than $3 billion.

Located on Manhattan’s West Side, Hudson Yards is a sprawling complex of high-end apartments, restaurants, offices, parklets and retail shops. It is the largest private real estate development in American history and the largest in New York City since Rockefeller Center. has an interesting look at the King of Prussia mall redevelopment plans as well, Mall-owner Simon looking beyond retail.

King of Prussia Mall, a 2.8 million-square-foot shopping wonderland northwest of Philadelphia, is the type of destination center that mall defenders say can defy the rise of online shopping. It’s a sprawling complex that houses stores from all corners of the retail universe, more than 50 food venues and a concierge lounge. Yet it still has to grapple with today’s reality, such as a J.C. Penney that shut down in July and left a hole in a key anchor spot.

It’s a sign of the times that even King of Prussia — which ranks in the top 3 percent of malls in the country, according to Green Street Advisors — is turning what was once retail space into other uses. With the rise of e-commerce imposing a rapid reckoning on retailers and their landlords, mall owners are turning to everything from restaurants and bowling alleys to apartment buildings and hotels to internet-proof their properties. Retail landlords have spent $8 billion in the past three years on updates that focus on experiences that can’t be found online, according to brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.


One thing is for certain. There will be tremendous opportunity in the retail to redevelopment area as e-commerce continues to change how people shop and live.

Investing In the Changes to Retail Properties in the Philadelphia Area has an article, Wills Eye foresees more retail stores as more medical providers invade the malls, highlighting the continued changes to the retail sector and it is something that commercial real estate investors need to take note of.

As more changes happen to the types of stores that are found in malls, shopping centers, and even strip malls, smart investors will be able to find excellent opportunities to invest and rehab, to meet the change in tenants.

Landlords and brokers say it’s part of a bigger trend of the wellness sector invading malls and shopping centers, as traditional anchors close amid the rise of internet shopping.

“What you’re seeing is traditional retail properties going through a detoxing, a sort of cleansing – where underperforming, homogeneous retailers are vacating and in their place enters a new breed,” said Joseph Coradino, chief executive officer at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust

The article went on to highlight a recent report from commercial real estate firm CBRE.

The report noted how the wellness sector is moving into malls, driven by aging baby boomers. Since the first quarter of 2016, 35 percent of all leased square footage in the Philadelphia metro area was signed in the categories of “Tech, Health, and Food and Beverage,” the report said.

Broker Andrew Shpigel at MSC Retail mentioned landlords like wellness tenants, such as hospital branches and eye-care shops, because they typically come with strong financial backing.

“They’re a stable use and almost considered online-proof,” he said. “The landlord’s ultimate goal is to drive traffic to their property and promote cross shopping with the other tenants, and health/wellness/medical operators do exactly that,” enabling patients to take care of multiple needs in one stop.

Interesting Real Estate Finance & Investing Strategy for LifeTime

It seemed like pretty big news that Life Time Fitness, , was putting its brand-new club in Ft. Washington, Montgomery County, up for sale but it seems like the deal is part of a broader overall corporate real estate strategy according to The Ambler Gazette,

Natalie Bushaw, PR director for Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness, said in an email June 14 that a Philadelphia Business Journal story published online that morning titled “Life Time Fitness puts Fort Washington club up for sale” was “somewhat misleading.”

“As part of our normal course of business, we are always exploring financing options that are to our advantage,” Bushaw said. “This includes working with REITs on sale-leasebacks of some of our buildings as a way to be asset light and more capital efficient. It is a common financing practice that we and many others utilize.”


Will Philadelphia Real Estate See A Big Year in 2018?

Curbed Philly has an interesting statistic showing a snapshot of how much development is expected in Philadelphia during 2018. According to their numbers, we could potentially see over double the new construction that we saw in 2017!

But while Philly saw 3.3 million square feet of new construction deliver this year, apparently we haven’t seen nothing yet. A staggering 8 million square feet of construction is on the way in 2018. Still, 2017 did have some winning projects leave their marks on Philly’s skyline in more ways that one.

How this will affect the local real estate markets, is yet to be seen but if you’re an investor interested in investing in Philadelphia or the suburbs, 2018 could be a great year!


Do You Need Insurance When Rehabbing Your Investment Property?

Having the correct insurance coverage is an often-overlooked aspect of starting a rehabbing project, after investing in a new rental property.

Building an addition or making renovations may leave you without adequate insurance coverage or could expose you to unexpected liabilities. Before you start your project, take a moment and consult with your insurance professional, it could save you a lot of money. 

Homeowners Insurance Adjustments

Depending on the size and scope of your remodel, your insurance professional may recommend changing some of the limits on your homeowners’ insurance policy. Depending on how you purchased the property, it may not be a homeowner’s policy.

For example, it may be a good idea to increase the building and liability protection on your home during the course of the project.


Your Contractor’s Insurance

After reviewing your own insurance coverage, it is also important to check the insurance of your contractor or home remodeling company. Ensuring the general contractor has the proper insurance is very important. By hiring an improperly insured contractor, you can be vulnerable to a lawsuit should someone be injured during your remodel.

The amount of liability insurance your contractor needs will vary. It is dependent on a number of factors including amount and type of work being completed. You will want to ensure the contractor has at least general liability and workers comp insurance.

If the general contractor is planning to use any subcontractors during the project, you will need to check the coverage of those subcontractors. If an employee of the subcontractor is not a full-time employee and is injured, he may not be covered by anyone’s workers compensation insurance.

General Contracting Yourself

If you are planning to act as your own general contractor, be sure to mention this to your insurance person. Depending on your state, acting as a general contractor on a home improvement project could subject you to additional liabilities. If you do act as a general contractor, you may want to consider purchasing a builder’s risk policy for the duration of the project.

Will 2018 Mark A Big Change In Real Estate?

There is an interesting article trending on LinkedIn about 50 Big Things that will happen in 2018. One of the items, specifically mentions a possibility the CEO of Redfin seeing happening.

The 50 big ideas for 2018

By Chip Cutter and Laura Lorenzetti Soper

If 2017 left you breathless, exhausted by unexpected headlines, then brace yourself. The coming year may bring even more turbulent change, according to the CEOs, academics, economists and other bold thinkers we consulted for our annual peek at the year ahead.

17. The U.S. becomes landlord nation.

By Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin

The last decade has seen the most expansionary fiscal policy in American history. What has historically stopped governments from printing money willy-nilly is inflation, when the price of groceries, gas, gadgets, books, bicycles and everything else under the sun shoots through the roof.

But that hasn’t happened in this century because other forces keep making stuff cheaper: Amazon has made it easy for consumers to see when one product does the same thing as another but for a lower price. Globalization has shifted manufacturing to wherever wages are lowest. And robots are doing most of the work for free.

The only asset that is still made locally, by hand, with utterly unique characteristics, is a house. And there, inflation is roaring: the price of that one asset has increased 35 percent in five years.

The Federal Reserve sets aside the cost of houses when deciding whether inflation is a problem even though that cost is, for most Americans, the primary determinant of where we can afford to live, and how much money we have left over to spend on everything else. The result has been that printing presses run day and night, creating money much faster than we can create houses.

And because we made money cheap at the same time that we cut off credit to half of America, one group of people has been able to buy houses, and the other group has had to rent them, creating a landlord nation where the divide in assets is much wider even than the divide in income.

Cheap money, unevenly distributed, has resulted in expensive houses, unevenly distributed. It’ll be a seller’s market for years to come.

Will Real Estate Become A Better Investment Under the New Tax Plan?

According to a recent article from Bloomberg, commercial real estate owners could potentially some exciting tax advantages under the new plan. The article laid out some specific provisions for investing in commercial real estate.

Owners and developers of commercial real estate stand to gain from a new tax break for “pass-through” entities, which don’t pay corporate tax but instead pass income through to their owners’ individual tax returns, according to the report, by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

The House and Senate have reached a tentative agreement to create a 20 percent deduction for pass-throughs, which the report notes are responsible for 61 percent of investment in U.S. commercial real estate.


Do You Need A Real Estate Assistant To Grow Your Business?

Anyone looking to scale their real estate business knows they need to be able to offload many of the administrative duties in order to sell more properties. As the Keller Williams blog points out,

You get all the results you can get, and when you can’t go any further, you look for help. This person should come in the form of a talented assistant. They are the first hire you should make because you have reached a point when it’s time to implement systems in your real estate business.

Growing A Real Estate Business in 2017

So if you are looking to take your real estate business to the next level it’s important to consider your options for growing your business. Hiring an assistant can be a great way to grow your business and according to data from the average salary of a real estate assistant is $47,000.

Do You Need A Real Estate Assistant To Grow Your Business? 1
Via Indeed

For many real estate agents, it would seem to make sense to find a cheaper alternative using an offshore virtual real estate assistant. A quick look at Upwork one of the largest freelance sites shows virtual real estate assistants from $3 to $12 an hour but you usually get what you pay for and by looking for the lowest rate possible, you set yourself up for having to spend more time managing your assistant than increasing your sales.

the challenges of hiring A Real Estate Assistant

One of the greatest difficulties in scaling your business as ensuring you are now generating enough business to cover the expense of your new hire and to make the situation even more difficult this one person must be an expert in many areas for you to see a comparable growth in your business.

The benefit of digital advertising is that you can track all the ROI on every dollar spent, the downside is that if the money is poorly spent then you can spend you a considerable amount of money with little to no results.

2015 article by Inman mentioned that on average 75 cents out of every advertising dollar is spent on digital. With the large majority of ad spend being on digital it is imperative you maximize how that money is spent.

A recent Realtor Magazine article mentioned at least 6 ways real estate agents and brokers should be managing their online identity and lead generation. Those looking to take their real estate marketing to the next level may appreciate WordStream’s list of 35 Easy & Effective Real Estate Marketing Ideas.

In order for you to maximize your assistants effectiveness they must be an expert in at least a few of the skills that matter to generating leads online.

3 Skills Every Real Estate Assistant Needs

  1. Social Media & Social Advertising
  2. Local SEO & Content Marketing
  3. Email Marketing

Professional Social Media Skills

It used to be that a real estate assistant needed to have basic social media skills, but that is a minimum in today’s market. The more applicable skill is whether or not they have experience with creating and running social ad campaigns.

Just having a Facebook page for your real estate business is useless as Facebook has cut the organic reach to anywhere from 2.7% to 4%. In order to successfully generate leads from Facebook your assistant must be an expert in ad creation, optimization, and bid management.

To effectively run real estate ad campaigns on Facebook you need to understand how things as small as the amount of text in the ad image can affect the cost and thus overall ROI of your campaign.

Local SEO & Content Marketing

Perhaps the most competitive aspect of long-term lead generation is having a comprehensive content marketing program that is designed to support your website’s overall search engine optimization. As Conductor pointed out in a recent article, SEO Jobs are Up 18%, and the Average SEO Salary Is Soaring.

Content marketing is booming; SEO, naturally, grows alongside it. After all, SEO is the craft of getting that content found on organic channels. You need both for a successful content strategy.
SEO jobs themselves have become more complex. You’re not just paying your SEO for his or her technical skills anymore, the SEO role has evolved. They are business leaders, strategists, and an internal evangelists. They must master more robust SEO technology and manage bigger budgets. They’re also responsible for bringing in more revenue.

The upward pressure of quality SEO and content marketing jobs has made it even more important to find a person with the right skill set that can take your website to the next level .The demand for SEO jobs means the salaries have increased alongside.

In today’s competitive real estate markets not having part of your budget dedicated to content marketing and SEO, means you will most likely fail to consistently earn a larger share of keywords in your local market.

Email Marketing for Real Estate

The importance of email marketing to successfully growing a real estate business can’t be understated. According to Benchmark Email,

While the majority of subscribers being derived from internet contact constitutes one of the highest percentages to be found in any industry sector. This statistic vividly demonstrates how reliant real estate companies are on obtaining both buying and selling leads directly from online sources….
The statistics show that 9% of lists are less than 500; 11% 500–1,000; 16% 1,000–3,000; 44% 3,000–5,000; and 20% are over 5,000.

Being able to successfully market to an email list is of paramount importance to the real estate professional. The ability to maximize your email marketing efforts becomes especially important when you consider this data from MailChimp that the average open rate on a real estate email is 21.42% with a click-through rate of 1.97%.

So if you are doing an average job only 1 out of every 5 emails you send are going to get opened.

The State of Real Estate Marketing in 2016

If you are looking to grow your real estate business in 2016, it’s important to optimally spend your marketing dollars. As digital marketing makes up the lion share of your spend it begs to ask the question, what can you do to best grow your business?

I think the best way to spend your marketing budget and grow your real estate business, is by working with a team that understands the real estate business inside and out.

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