Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer Gov. Kathy Hochul and Albany lawmakers are closing in on greenhouse gas emissions, creating a new policy for shifting historic buildings away from antiquated energy and appliance systems. Gathering with legislators at Newlab HQ in Brooklyn Navy Yard Tuesday, Hochul signed the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022 into law,

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Albany lawmakers are closing in on greenhouse gas emissions, creating a new policy for shifting historic buildings away from antiquated energy and appliance systems.

Gathering with legislators at Newlab HQ in Brooklyn Navy Yard Tuesday, Hochul signed the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022 into law, which gives state officials the authority to decide which buildings should be exempt from new energy codes and which should not.

Under the State Energy Conservation Construction Code, buildings that would qualify for entry in the National Register of Historic Places would be automatically exempt from meeting new energy code standards. Under the new law, a decision whether a refit would be required at a property would be based on a life-cycle cost analysis, meaning fewer buildings will filter through regulations without any upgrades.

The law also establishes higher standards for appliances, equipment or fixtures that consume energy, including televisions, computers and lighting.

The signing of the bill comes days after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to restrict carbon emissions from power plants.

“We are not letting the Supreme Court block our goals or our bold ambition for our state,” Hochul said, adding the state hopes to generate 70 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and reduce emissions by 85 percent by 2050. “At a time when our citizens are getting slammed with inflation, the high cost of living and any way we can reduce their costs is so important to them. So it will help them with their energy costs and rising bills.”

Hochul expects the switch to renewable energy can save New York residents up to $15 billion per year, with about $6 billion of that being for low- and middle-income households, according to the governor.

But 11 states have already passed higher standards than New York in terms of climate protection, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

It’s unclear where New York stacks up when taking into account New York City’s Local Law 97 and the New York City Council’s December 2021 vote to ban the use of natural gas in all new buildings. Local Law 97, set to take effect in 2024, will require that buildings spanning 25,000 square feet or more reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and by 80 percent by 2050.

A month ago, Mayor Eric Adams announced that his administration would remove barriers to sustainable development by relaxing zoning laws when it comes to energy efficiency.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Albany lawmakers are closing in on greenhouse gas emissions, creating a new policy for shifting historic buildings away from antiquated energy and appliance systems. Gathering with legislators at Newlab HQ in Brooklyn Navy Yard Tuesday, Hochul signed the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022 into law,Read MoreChannel, Construction, Design + Construction, Policy, Politics & Real Estate, Brooklyn Navy Yard, EPA, Kathy Hochul, Local Law 97, Natural Resources Defense Council, Newlab HQ, U.S. Supreme Court

Robert Khodadadian, skyline properties, ground leases

For more information please visit http://www.skylineprp.com

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer Freedmen’s Health, a health care company serving vulnerable populations, has inked a 1,800-square-foot retail lease at 811 L Street SE in Washington, D.C.,’s Navy Yard. The company leased the entire two-story Ward 6 building and will move from a smaller space at 220 I Street NE. Freedmen’s Health has operated in the District since its

Freedmen’s Health, a health care company serving vulnerable populations, has inked a 1,800-square-foot retail lease at 811 L Street SE in Washington, D.C.,’s Navy Yard.

The company leased the entire two-story Ward 6 building and will move from a smaller space at 220 I Street NE. Freedmen’s Health has operated in the District since its founding in 2019.

Northeast Management Consulting acquired the building in 2020, according to property records.

Divaris Real Estate represented the landlord in the deal.

“The building is convenient to main highways I-695 and The Anacostia Freeway and is walkable to the Eastern Market Metro,” Rob Gray, vice president of Divaris Real Estate, told Commercial Observer.

The building was originally constructed in 1900 and had its last renovation in 2006, when a kitchenette was added to the second floor.

Recent Divaris data revealed that more than 29,000 people live within a mile of the building, with an average household income of $113,120.

Requests for comment from the landlord and tenant were not immediately returned. It was not clear who represented the tenant in lease negotiations. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.

Freedmen’s Health, a health care company serving vulnerable populations, has inked a 1,800-square-foot retail lease at 811 L Street SE in Washington, D.C.,’s Navy Yard. The company leased the entire two-story Ward 6 building and will move from a smaller space at 220 I Street NE. Freedmen’s Health has operated in the District since itsRead MoreChannel, Leases, Office, 220 I Street NE, 811 L Street SE, Divaris Real Estate, Freedmen’s Health, Northeast Management Consulting, Rob Gray

Robert Khodadadian, skyline properties, ground leases

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Aby Rosen puts Church Missions House on market – Robert Khodadadian

RFR Realty’s Aby Rosen has put the Church Missions House back on the market. Rosen is looking to get $135 million for the six-story, 45,000-square-foot office property at 281 Park Avenue South, Curbed reported. The listing price for the landmarked building — which is familiar to Netflix watchers — comes to a staggering $3,000 per …

West Village townhouse with $6M price cut snags priciest contract – Robert Khodadadian

An Italianate-style townhouse in the West Village traded atop Manhattan’s luxury market last week, despite a $6 million cut to its asking price. The townhouse at 17 West 9th Street asked nearly $14 million, down from $20 million when it was listed a year ago, according to Olshan Realty’s weekly report on residential properties in …

Editor’s note: In real estate’s rags-to-riches legends, uniquely American tales – Robert Khodadadian

It’s a tale of not-quite-rags to riches, followed by real estate rumbles.   In our cover story this month, we recount how billionaire Ben Ashkenazy got his precocious start in the business at the age of 17, when he reputedly did a $2 million deal for a shopping center in the Bronx.   As a …

Why Walker & Dunlop Sees Bright Times Ahead for the BFR Sector

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer Walker & Dunlop is one of the nation’s top commercial real estate finance companies, with $68 billion in transactions under its belt in 2021. One of the company’s areas of expertise is the emerging single-family rental (SFR) and build-for-rent (BFR) space. To date, Walker & Dunlop, an early adopter, has completed over 100 deals in

Walker & Dunlop is one of the nation’s top commercial real estate finance companies, with $68 billion in transactions under its belt in 2021. One of the company’s areas of expertise is the emerging single-family rental (SFR) and build-for-rent (BFR) space. To date, Walker & Dunlop, an early adopter, has completed over 100 deals in these sectors totaling $1.8 billion, with another $3.75 billion in the pipeline. Partner Insights sat down with Jim Pierson, Keaton Merrell and Shannon Hersker — managing director, managing director and director, respectively —  from the company’s Phoenix-based, West Coast-focused Capital Markets team to discuss this trend and more.

Commercial Observer: Build-for-Rent (BFR) has proven to be more popular out west. Why is BFR growing in popularity there?

Keaton Merrell: I don’t think it’s just out west, it’s the smile states in general. It includes the Southwest and Southeast, due to the weather, and the relative ease of acquiring land compared to states up north. Our colleagues at Zelman & Associates found that $68 billion has been committed to future communities with high concentrations of BFR in Texas, Florida, the Southeast and Phoenix, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of the pipeline.

Zelman & Associates Analysis

CO: Why is BFR such a hot asset class right now?

Jim Pierson: Simply put, buying a house in America has become unaffordable. Fewer people are able to qualify for a mortgage, especially with the recent rate hike to well over 5 percent. Mortgage rates on a 30-year-fixed are up almost 300 basis points from the beginning of the year, when they were around 3 percent, so a mortgage to buy a house just got 40 percent more expensive. This has forced hopeful homebuyers into the rental market. The average BFR renter is 40 years old, and 60 to 70 percent of BFR tenants have children. They don’t want to live in a walk-up apartment, they want to live in a house, with a yard, garage and neighborhood experience. So renting a house versus an apartment has become very appealing to young families.

Shannon Hersker: BFR also has great stability and operational advantages when compared to multifamily. Almost all BFR markets are achieving substantial rent growth, have occupancy rates over 97 percent, and have retention rates of 82.7 percent versus 53.5 percent for multifamily.

CO: What product types are you seeing most commonly that would qualify as BFR? 

KM: BFR, by definition, is a contiguous, purpose-built, for-rent community. It has four subsets: horizontal multifamily, single-family-detached, townhouse, and luxury BFR. The product types typically vary by region, as do the unit mixes.

Sophia | Commercial Observer

Horizontal multifamily, which looks and feels like an apartment complex, is prevalent in Phoenix. Anything under that category generally has a pool and a clubhouse, and a maintenance staffer on site. It’s generally gated, but they’re just single-story — cottage style. They operate very much like apartment complexes.

The Bungalows on Pine Cliff
Multiple Locations
Bridge & Equity Financing: $51,286,000
Units 155The Clublands of Antioch by Moda Homes
Antioch, IL
Construction Financing: $30,388,000
Units: 110

SH: In the Southeast, you’re more likely to see single-family-detached or townhomes. These might or might not have an amenity, and they generally don’t have anyone on-site, so payroll is much lower. Then you’ve got luxury BFR such as the $26 million, nonrecourse construction financing we did in in Las Vegas which will feature a private gated entry, walking trails, an elevated common area with a community garden, and a private dog park.

 

Seneca at Southern Highlands
Las Vegas, NV
Bridge & Equity Financing: $26,298,388
Units: 50

CO: Tell us some more about Walker & Dunlop’s involvement with BFR.

JP: We’ve been in this space since the beginning, long before the industry took notice. We started in 2018, and migration patterns related to the pandemic have only accelerated the popularity of SFR and BFR the past couple of years.  Early on, we formed a dedicated team of experts across Walker & Dunlop that perfectly positions us to capitalize and sell SFR and BFR communities. Our team provides expert guidance on construction, bridge lending, permanent financing, structuring equity and property sales to generate optimal returns and strategic relationships for our clients.

CO: What impacts have you seen on this sector from the pandemic?

KM: The pandemic actually improved the asset class due to the fact that it’s usually suburban — less dense, with no elevators or no shared hallways. Pre-pandemic, 6 percent of people worked from home. Now, 15 percent of people are working exclusively from home, and that number is higher if you include people working hybrid schedules. All this makes living in the suburbs much easier and more desirable than it used to be.

CO: How would you differentiate Walker & Dunlop’s work in this space from your competitors? 

JP: Phoenix was one of the earlier entrants into the BFR space, and our team was one of the first to spot its potential. We’ve closed $1.8 billion in BFR deals with another $3.75 billion in the pipeline. We are experts in the asset class, hosting webinars, speaking at industry conferences and authoring white papers. We continue to be ahead of the curve in experience in this nuanced space.

CO: Outside of BFR, you’ve noticed a change in the fate of the hospitality sector of late. Tell us about this.

SH: Hospitality is coming back after a pandemic slowdown. One of our hospitality clients recently shared how he’s killing it on his occupancy and his ADR, even above pre-COVID numbers. In the Phoenix market, there are about five or six hotels under construction or just completed. Also, new brands are popping up to compete with the big names, and they’re doing well. The Crystal Lagoons in Glendale is one, with all the amenities families desire without ever needing to leave the property which supports the “staycation” trend we’re seeing. It’s going to be the largest hotel in Arizona at 1,200 rooms.

CO: What are some deals Walker & Dunlop is directly involved with in this sector right now?

KM: In February of 2020, we were getting ready to fund the first nongaming Caesar’s hotel in the U.S., a 265-room hotel called Caesar’s Republic. It was going to be built at the market-dominant Scottsdale Fashion Square. But with COVID hitting in March of 2020, the project was put on hold, as were most hospitality projects nationwide. With the hospitality market strengthening this year, though, our team was able to procure construction financing this past March, a $76 million loan. The developer plans to expand the Caesar’s Republic brand nationally.

View more articles on capital markets from coast to coast here.

Walker & Dunlop is one of the nation’s top commercial real estate finance companies, with $68 billion in transactions under its belt in 2021. One of the company’s areas of expertise is the emerging single-family rental (SFR) and build-for-rent (BFR) space. To date, Walker & Dunlop, an early adopter, has completed over 100 deals inRead MoreChannel, Design + Construction, BFR, Built For Rent, Jim Pierson, Keaton Merrell, Multifamily, Shannon Hersker, Walker & Dunlop, Zelman & Associates

Robert Khodadadian, skyline properties, ground leases

For more information please visit http://www.skylineprp.com

Office index plummeting as recession fears grow – Robert Khodadadian

Office landlords are struggling under the rise of interest rates and remote work. Things could soon get worse. It’s already been a tough year for owners in the office market. An index tracking shares of publicly traded office owners has dropped 29 percent in the first two quarters of the year, the Wall Street Journal …

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer Yoann Hispa has set a pretty high bar for himself and his company, LandGate: finding the best and highest use for landowners’ properties, as well as for the energy companies and investors looking to lease or buy their land, while aspiring to create a greener environment. Founded in 2016, the Denver-based LandGate provides data comparing

Yoann Hispa has set a pretty high bar for himself and his company, LandGate: finding the best and highest use for landowners’ properties, as well as for the energy companies and investors looking to lease or buy their land, while aspiring to create a greener environment.

Founded in 2016, the Denver-based LandGate provides data comparing the long-term value of solar, wind, and oil and gas carbon offsets, as well as other resources, for every parcel of land in the United States, according to the company. In doing so, LandGate is “at the intersection of proptech and cleantech,” said Hispa, its CEO, and maybe climate tech, too.

Hispa spoke to PropTech Insider in late June about how his startup’s technology and data are making the land business more efficient, and possibly greener. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Commercial Observer: Do you consider LandGate a proptech company?

Yoann Hispa: I consider it at the intersection of proptech and cleantech. What we’ve done is brought the entire energy and carbon market to where it belongs: commercial real estate. We’ve automated the data and digitized it to make it much more digestible for commercial real estate.

How does LandGate do that?

I like to compare us to a Navy SEAL team. We have 25 employees. They are highly efficient and we work extremely well as a team. Our coders and developers are ex-DOD [Department of Defense], and ex-three letters I cannot say. They told me if I say it they will slap my hand. [Laughing].

We have over 200 sources of data, all of them public. All the states’ ISOs, RTOs, utility companies; USDA on the federal level; and more local levels of these agencies. We collect 2.5 terabytes of data and we generate an additional nine terabytes of analytics from those 2.5 terabytes. We’ve completely automated pulling the data from the sites and automated the analytics that we create from those.

Who are your clients?

I compare LandGate to Zillow for land resources. The difference is the buyers are you and I on Zillow, but on LandGate the buyers and our clients are corporations in energy, developers, operators, and private equity investors. On the other side we have landowners. Everything they get from us is free. The landowners need to access the data, and we need them to generate the leads. So we’re not making money off landowners.

Then we have specialized land real estate agents. There are only about 4,000 to 5,000 in the U.S. These are the guys that we use as a springboard to bring the information to landowners and they are also our clients: National Land Realty, Peoples Company, Keller Williams Land. The energy, carbon and resource markets in the U.S. is a $4 trillion to $5 trillion annual market.

The landowners and real estate agents are on one side. Then we have all the buyers and users of our data. These are the individual traders and investors. We sell them licenses to our data, to our economic SaaS [software as a service] tools, licenses to access the leads that we generate. We are climate tech that’s linking to the real estate business.

Prior to co-founding LandGate, you spent 17 years in private equity, focused on the energy and carbon industry. What led you to being a proptech CEO and how did you fund your startup?

When I started the company in 2016, I had done very well working for energy operators. I did even better working with private equity. I reinvested all of that money into creating LandGate and you know how it goes: You want to invest X and you end up having to put five times more in to make the business work, and it takes you twice as long. But it took a lot more money. I didn’t pay myself for four years. I had to dig deeper and deeper and deeper every time. So the first four years were pretty rough in terms of work and pay. My wife is a saint.

We had $6.5 million seed money, including chunks from me. Our Series A was with the Rice Investment Group, and we raised $10 million in a Series B led by NextEra Energy.

How do you value land for the highest and best use of its resources?

For example, what is the potential value of a 100-acre piece of land in the U.S. for a solar farm? Or for a potential wind farm, or for common credits? Normally it takes weeks of data collection and engineering work to determine. We’ve completely digitized that for 172 million parcels in the U.S. We have the potential value for a solar farm, a wind farm, a common credit potential value, water rights, land, agricultural value, every resource on the land. 

We digitize the data and the economics to get an estimated potential value for that resource. So a lot of work went into that. That’s the cleantech part of our business, which we’ve translated into a proptech value for every parcel in the U.S. for every resource.

Is LandGate agnostic as to who uses your data? If Big Oil wants to use your data to drill and use fossil fuels more, is that an issue? Or do you lean toward cleaner energy resources that counter climate change?

We are agnostic, which leads us into a much more repeatable and trustable presentation of the data. And the data we present leads to cleaner climate investments. This is how we help work toward climate goals. I’ll give you an example. I’m a European and I’m an American. I’ve worked in nine countries. I’ve seen it all from communist to very capitalist because I’ve worked in all those places. We have liberal California developers and we have very conservative guys working with landowners. Our company’s policy is we need to respect everyone’s opinion because we need everyone, and everyone is part of the solution. So that’s how we present as a company. We want everyone to work together.

I don’t think I’m going to upset anyone by saying landowners are typically very conservative. By presenting them an agnostic view of the land, with all the values, increasing the mineral values of their lands, it gives them confidence in what we’re presenting. But over 95 percent of our business is coming from renewable income.

So, even with oil prices high, your clients mostly don’t see a future in leasing or buying land for fossil fuel drilling?

There’s no money, no investment for that. The LPs, the very rich people in private equity, say “I want ESG criteria attached to my cash. I’m putting that money into renewable energy.” Three years ago 95 percent of our revenues were coming from oil and gas. Right now it’s completely flipped: 95 percent renewables.

In recent years, European countries like Germany have been criticized for closing their nuclear power plants, particularly in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Do you think there’s a future for nuclear energy as a safe carbon-zero resource for the U.S.?

I grew up between Spain and France. In France, for the last 40 to 50 years, 85 percent of the electricity has been produced by nuclear power. There’s never been an accident, knock on wood. But that’s where I’m coming from. 

Every generation you have new energy sources popping up. I do think at some point fusion is going to come into play. But, as a parent, the radioactive byproducts of fission nuclear energy worry me. I do think we’re going to head toward nuclear. I don’t think renewables can help us enough. There will undoubtedly be another energy source coming up.

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com.

Yoann Hispa has set a pretty high bar for himself and his company, LandGate: finding the best and highest use for landowners’ properties, as well as for the energy companies and investors looking to lease or buy their land, while aspiring to create a greener environment. Founded in 2016, the Denver-based LandGate provides data comparingRead MoreChannel, Industry, Land, More, Players, Sales, Technology, cleantech, climate tech, keller williams land, national land realty, peoples company, proptech, proptech insider, yoann hispa

Robert Khodadadian, skyline properties, ground leases

For more information please visit http://www.skylineprp.com