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Luncheon Summary

“District 6: Sub √¢‚Ǩ≈ìUrban√¢‚Ǩ¬ù The Evolution of a Dynamic Market Place with Councilman Kenny Smith

The March CREW meeting featured Council Member Kenny Smith.   Councilman Smith’s topic “District 6: Sub “Urban” The Evolution of a Dynamic Market Place” provided an update on one of the busiest districts in the City – the SouthPark area.  He told us there is close to a billion dollars’ worth of development in SouthPark and along the Park Road corridor and discussed the recent and active rezoning petitions, trends, city vision, demographic trends, infrastructure and how Charlotte is impacted.  The SouthPark area is clearly one of the faster growing areas in both the state and the country as Charlotte continues to be a leader in job growth.  Councilman Smith’s knowledge as a commercial broker gives him a unique understanding and appreciation for his district’s direction.  

“District 6: Sub √¢‚Ǩ≈ìUrban√¢‚Ǩ¬ù The Evolution of a Dynamic Market Place with Councilman Kenny Smith

The March CREW meeting featured Council Member Kenny Smith.   Councilman Smith’s topic “District 6: Sub “Urban” The Evolution of a Dynamic Market Place” provided an update on one of the busiest districts in the City – the SouthPark area.  He told us there is close to a billion dollars’ worth of development in SouthPark and along the Park Road corridor and discussed the recent and active rezoning petitions, trends, city vision, demographic trends, infrastructure and how Charlotte is impacted.  The SouthPark area is clearly one of the faster growing areas in both the state and the country as Charlotte continues to be a leader in job growth.  Councilman Smith’s knowledge as a commercial broker gives him a unique understanding and appreciation for his district’s direction.  

CREW February 2016 Luncheon – Eye on the Economy: An Economic Update with Spencer Levy of CBRE

Who You Missed: Spencer Levy is Americas Head of Research for CBRE and serves as principal external spokesperson on real estate issues in the Americas region. He oversees the analytical activities of the CBRE research community within the Americas region and is responsible for the management of hundreds of professionals who are focused on producing market-leading insight and interpretative analysis on the latest real estate trends. As a senior member of the company’s global research team, he plays an integral role in the development and implementation of the global research strategy and business plan and is a frequent speaker before industry groups, including NAIOP, ICSC and CREW.

He is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.

What You Missed: Come on down……..Spencer Levy discussed the global economy and its impact on commercial real estate in the United States with a focus on the “Unusual Suspects,” those factors that move beyond the standard analysis that can help you and your clients better understand (and be successful) in today’s volatile markets, including China’s impact on the world economy.

Mr. Levy accentuated a top concern across industries relates to talent – finding talent, keeping talent and developing talent….so much so that in a recent survey, six of the top eight issues listed related to talent.

CREW January Luncheon – Overcoming Transportation Infrastructure Challenges in NC

Overcoming Transportation Infrastructure Challenges in NC submitted by Sarah Hopfer

Who You Missed:

  • Warren Cooksey – NCDOT Director of Outreach and Community Affairs/Division 10
  • Ned Curran – Board of Transportation – Chairman
  • Tracy Dodson – Board of Transportation – Member/Division 10

What You Missed:

Charlotte is expected to grow by 400,000 people by 2040 and keeping up with the city’s infrastructure needs is critical.  Maintaining and improving our level of mobility is key for continued economic and land development success and competitiveness. “Optional toll lanes work by changing price per mile every five minutes,” said Ned Curran, Board of Transportation Chairman.  “The toll rate is going to be what people are willing to pay – it’s that simple,” he stated. 

Curran also discussed the legislation that was passed modernizing the way NC’s transportation network is built, maintained and funded and how this will impact commercial real estate and the future of our city.

To see the full presentation, please click here.

CREW Charlotte December Luncheon – CREW Excellence Awards

CREW Charlotte Excellence Awards submitted by Emily Buehrer

CREW Charlotte celebrated an exciting and accomplished 25th Anniversary year at the final luncheon of 2015. We spent the afternoon recapping the successes and honoring our members and sponsors. Six members were presented awards for their outstanding contributions. The awards spanned from “Member of the Year” to “Networker of the Year” to highlighting two new CREW Charlotte members being inducted in the CREW Network Foundation’s Women of Vision program. The afternoon’s highlights are as follows:

  • Rising Star Award : Jenn Stuart with Holder Construction received the Rising Star award for her extraordinary contributions through her involvement in the Programs Committee and taking on the challenge of planning the 25th Anniversary Event, as well as attending the annual CREW Convention in Seattle this year.

  • Member of the Year : Nichole Kelley with Wells Fargo was awarded the Member of the Year Award. Nichole embodies the underlying spirit of our Chapter and made multiple significant contributions this year. She led the efforts to bring in the first ever Diamond Sponsor, as well as multiple new sponsors, while also recruiting several new members. She was also instrumental in furthering our Queen City in Pink event and leading the efforts of teaming up with Wells Fargo for the Women’s Habitat Build in the spring and fall this year.

  • Networker of the Year Award : This award was presented to Jean Russell with Interface, for her demonstrated efforts as a master networker actively sending referrals and business to other CREW members on top of offering her own networking class she offers to clients and connections.

  • Outreach Award: Sallie Jarosz with Home Trust Banking received the Outreach award due to her dedication of taking on co-chairing the Leadership Development committee and restructuring it to be much more successful in 2015. She has also taken time to serve as an informal mentor to two different CREW members and has agreed to become a formal mentor in 2016.

  • President’s Choice Award : This CREW member or company made contributions throughout the year that were vital to the ongoing success of the chapter. It was presented to Past President Holly Alexander with New South Properties for her work spearheading the new Mentor Program, along with her continued dedication to serving on the board and multiple committees throughout her membership over the last ten years.

  • Women of Vision : The CREW Network Foundation Women of Vision program was established in 2007 to recognize donors for their cumulative giving to CREW Network Foundation. Participation in the program acknowledges an individual’s commitment to support CREW Network Foundation’s mission – to advance women in the commercial real estate industry through scholarships, industry research, and career outreach. Our chapter is very proud to say we have two members who have been inducted into the Women of Vision program – Nancy Olah with Nancy Olah Law and Angie Dugick, with Dugick Consulting.

November Luncheon Summary: The Evolving Story of Center City Retail with Chris Hemans of Charlotte Center City Partners

Center City Charlotte has experienced significant growth over the past five years. Yet, retail has continued to lag behind the office and residential development. Chris Hemans, Director of Retail of Charlotte Center City Partners, discussed the past, present and future of retail in Charlotte Center City.

Chris Hemans, Director of Retail

As Director of Retail, Christopher Hemans is responsible for collaborating with local and state partners to attract new retail to Uptown and South End. He brings over a decade of experience working in economic development, public policy, and community development. Hemans has extensive experience in working closely with public officials, private sector leaders, commercial real estate brokers and community stakeholders.

Most recently, Hemans led business recruitment efforts within the City of Charlotte’s business corridor geography. Before moving to Charlotte, Hemans was an Assistant Commissioner with the City of Chicago where he managed the Retail Chicago program.

A native of Evanston, Illinois, Chris holds an M.S. degree from the Newhouse School of Broadcast Journalism at Syracuse University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Chris is a member of ULI, ICSC, IEDC and 100 Black Men of Charlotte and recently served on the board of the Stratford Richardson YMCA. Chris also is the newest member of CREW!

Charlotte Center City Partners

Our vision is for Charlotte’s Center City to be viable, livable, memorable, and sustainable, with modern infrastructure, a tapestry of unique neighborhoods, and a diversity of thriving businesses. We envision and implement strategies and actions to drive the economic, social and cultural development of Charlotte’s Center City.

The vision is the continuation of the growth of our city as pedestrian-friendly and walkable, with comfortable and interesting neighborhoods. It must have mixed growth, with balanced initiatives that are leveraged by public and private investment.

Retail: The Past

The corner of Trade and Tryon was a busy marketplace in the early part of the 20th Century with Belk opening in 1910 and Ivey’s following in 1924, growing to a total of five department stores by the 1950s.

With Independence Boulevard’s opening in 1947 Charlotte became a vehicle dominant city with housing moving out into the suburbs and shopping soon followed. Park Road Shopping Center opened in 1955, followed by South Park and Eastland in the early 1970s. Downtown lost retail during this period and street parking in the downtown area became a thing of the past.

Retail: The Present

Retail is thriving in Charlotte with strong expansion in SouthEnd, but remains limited uptown. While there is just over two million square feet of retail space, half of that is made up of bars and restaurants.

Drivers of retail are:

  • Location (with ground floor space being the predominant requirement)

    • Which is lacking in the uptown market

  • Income

    • $75,000 is the average household income in the uptown market

  • Density

    • 13,500 residents in the uptown market

    • 100,000 employees within the I-277 loop

    • 12 million visitors annual

  • Co-Tenancy

    • There is a need for pioneers in the market

  • Retail-Oriented Parking

    • Seen or perceived as lacking in the uptown market
    • Adding SouthEnd into the numbers brings another 1.4 million square feet, an additional 12,800 employees, and an additional 6,300 residents with a slightly higher average income of $78,000.

Retail: The Future

There is a push to celebrate our existing retailers – those in Overstreet Mall, Latta Arcade and sprinkled throughout uptown

Additional pop up shopping programs are underway including “werkinprogress” November 30th through December 6th at Epicenter and “Tinsel Box” December 2nd through the 4th. A third event is in the planning stages for Latta Arcade (CREW Member Jackie Sherard mentioned her retail store, Canvas, located in Latta Arcade.)

Vintage Charlotte, a marketplace for retailers operates twice per year in uptown as well.

Atherton Mills has announced a $100 million project and Whole Foods on Stonewall will be a reality in coming months. Independence Center is in talks regarding expanded retail area and the Levine project in First Ward is expected to drive more development in the area.

Chris closed letting everyone know that Charlotte Center City Partners will continue its efforts to provide proof of concepts for retail, assist in creating space, identify and recruit retailers to uptown and undertake the research necessary to grow the retail presence.

CREW Charlotte October Luncheon: A Detailed Look at the New 615 South College Street Project

Who you missed:  The panel was moderated by Chad Martin Vice President of Holder Construction Company.  The Panel members were:

Norris Hunt – Vice President, Senior Project Manager, John Portman & Associates
Eric Hampton – Engineer, Kimley Horn
John Ball – Senior Leasing Agent, Trinity Partners
Travis Garland – Director of Leasing, John Portman & Associates  

What you missed:  This speculative office tower has broken ground and will encompass 375,000 square feet with a 1600 space parking garage.  The completion date is slated for the first quarter of 2017.  The conversation began with a video overview that you can watch here:

The vision for this project began differently than the final plan for office space adjacent to the Westin Hotel.  When John Portman & Associates developed the Westin they had always planned a mixed use project next to Westin.  As the market turned south the plans were put on the back burner.  In 2012 (vacancy at 12%) they began dusting off the plans, switching gears towards office space only and a 1600 car garage (3/1000).

This project, and surrounding construction projects, can help shape the future of  Charlotte by creating an entry area into Uptown from Southend where people can get to work easily by rail or drive and park with the plentiful parking.  There is a purposeful strategy in staying away from retail as Stonewall Street will become a shopping hub over the next few years.

The growth in this Southern sector means that small, medium and large companies can have Class A office space with a fresh, yet consistent look and feel, open or “collision zones” for staff interaction, balcony space (if desired), convenience of light rail or traditional commuting all at the Southern Gateway of Uptown.

There were many challenges from start to present in bringing this project to the table.  The market justified the project in 2012.  The equity was there, but the debt to take on a speculative project was a big risk.  The use of non-traditional lenders enabled the project to move forward in that climate without having to prelease a large amount of space. 

The physical project is hemmed in by the light rail and a parking deck.  Looking at these two encumbrances as an asset has allowed for creativity in making the destination desirable for commuting by car or public transport.   

The suburban South Charlotte Market has been a challenging competitor for the Uptown market over the last few years.  This location will attract those that normally would have not considered the Uptown market.  Additionally, the cost per foot will compare favorably and will continue to highlight Charlotte as a less expensive urban office destination for relocating companies than other markets like Atlanta and Denver.

The Charlotte market is healthy, with a more diverse ownership of portfolios created by recent movement of properties.  This project can help set the stage to draw a fresh clientele to the Uptown while helping spur growth in the Southern sector for office, retail and help continue to draw South End towards Uptown. 

The Impact of Technology and Social Media on the Commercial Real Estate Industry with Brenda Dohring Hicks

Submitted by: Mary Wilken

Who you missed: Brenda Dohring Hicks is CEO of The Dohring Group, a commercial real estate appraisal, brokerage, & technology company with a focus on urban office and retail properties.

Brenda founded The Dohring Group in 1992 to specialize in appraisal services and consulting. The firm expanded services to include brokerage with an urban focus and development of office and retail projects for personal/corporate use. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, the company’s efforts are focused on financial institutions and investors who demand high touch, high-quality services. The Dohring Group’s consulting services cover feasibility, highest and best use studies, ad valorum tax representation and litigation support and comprehensive due diligence services for individual properties and portfolios. In recent years, the firm has been instrumental in assisting its long term banking clients work through their real estate loan portfolios.

Brenda is also the founder and CEO of RealWired!, a consulting and software company, including YouConnect, a web-based appraisal and vendor management solution; DataComp, the #1 in-house commercial comparable management software on the market today; EDGE, a powerful report writing tool; and Manager, a cloud-based commercial appraisal workflow application that can be accessed from any browser. Brenda’s mission is to “streamline the commercial real estate process” by focusing on process and collaboration.

Brenda is a frequent speaker focusing on the value of building “eco-systems” of cooperation and examining processes and technology’s role in enhancing communication to expedite growth. As a former speaker with CREW, we were pleased to have Brenda back to talk to us about social media and what we need to know.

What you missed:  If you’re not “doing” social media, it is okay – neither are most of your competitors!  Commercial real estate practitioners are one of the largest laggers in using technology. Brenda also shared that social media is evolving into its own industry and that in our individual roles, it is typically not part of our industry – thus our excuse not to be fully engaged.

As with most things, Brenda shared that to make it effective, it MUST be done with a plan.   If you don’t have a plan, your social media becomes a significant waste of time.

It has been estimated that 70% of all adults in the United States are using some form of social media, however most of this use is considered to be personal.  To transfer this to effective business use, social media options should be seen as a means of communication.  As millennials continue their entry and expansion into the business-world, use of social media applications will be a platform that can be used to bridge the communications gap.  Technology is needed for growth, but Brenda is fond of saying, “it’s about the people, stupid”…meaning that technology exists for the people and should be utilized as a tool.

Technology can and should be  used for market research through such applications as crowd sourcing.  Crowd sourcing can be looked at for data gathering as well as for lending options.  Brenda believes that lending opportunities though crowd sourcing will become much more utilized in coming years.

A question was raised relating to LinkedIn and the number of connections individuals have.  Brenda shared that in connections, more is not necessarily better.  She equated it to flying – the difference between thrust (the power, or number of connections) versus vector (direction/scope, or the quality of the connections that  you have).

Brenda shared statistics related to CREW Charlotte’s social media applications.  While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reach is limited, we are doing well through LinkedIn and Brenda felt that that is positive for CREW Charlotte and for our members.  She implied that we would be well served to focus our social media efforts in that direction.

The Riverwalk Vision with David Williams of GRH Development Resources

Submitted by: David Rushing

Who you missed: David Williams, Managing Director of GRH Development Resources. David is a 25-year real estate and construction professional who oversees all aspects of the company’s development and construction projects. Dave has completed over $300,000,000 in residential, mixed-use, industrial and office projects throughout the Midwest, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Additionally, he is responsible for managing community relations, permitting and design, and overseeing the company’s project managers. He is also active in business development, property management, working with various agencies to attract additional users to the Riverwalk development, and shared responsibilities for financial institution relationships.

David holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University and a M.S. in Environmental Science & Engineering from Ohio University.

What you missed: "Creating a Vibrant Development Through A Public Private Partnership" was an overview of the Riverwalk development located near the I-77 corridor at the N. Cherry Road interchange on the Catawba River in Rock Hill, SC. David told us about the entire project from start to finish. The property was previously owned by Celanese Corporation of America and operated as a cellulose acetate plant until 2005. In addition to cellulose acetate (a synthetic fiber widely used in the textile industry), Celanese also manufactured bulk chemicals including methanol and formaldehyde, and used large amounts of acetone and benzene to reuse the acetic acid used in the manufacturing process. The facility was self-sufficient and included a power plant, water filtration plant, raw water intake, wastewater treatment plant and landfills, and, at one point, the 2.5 million square-foot facility employed over 2,500 employees. The project included the search and closing on the property(1000 acres zoned for industrial), 2-year demolition and remediation, rezoning, a private/public partnership (detailing scope scale, cost & density needs), filtering through site environmental and physical restraints, utility needs, traffic and access, market studies and a charrette (an intense period of designing or planning) with local politicians, companies and citizens. Riverwalk is now home to several subdivisions with homes by residential developers including Saussy Burbank, Evans Coghill, and Chesmar Homes. Also in development are 300 high-end apartments along the Catawba River. The Giordana Velodrome which hosted the 2012 US Cycling Championships and a BMX Supercross Track are on the property. A YMCA is being constructed to overlook the Giordana Velodrome. In addition, ground breakings are planned for a 1,000,000 square-foot distribution center and a 100,000 square-foot facility providing 360 high-paying jobs. An events center provides wedding receptions and other communal events along the Catawba River and the Riverwalk Trail, a 2.5-mile corridor along the Catawba River, provides hiking and biking opportunities for residents and connects to numerous mountain bike trails within the development. The former TSD post closure units are being developed into baseball and soccer fields that adjoin the residential developments.

Why: The overall goal of the project was to transform a former industrial complex and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) facility into a new mixed use, residential, commercial, and industrial complex. The new Riverwalk development would help catalyze economic redevelopment opportunities in the entire region, while incorporating the natural beauty and surroundings of the adjoining Catawba River. Furthermore, each project stakeholder had individual goals within that overarching goal:

  • Private goals were to address an estimated $45,000,000 environmental legacy and develop a community distinguished by over three miles of river waterfront and a planned mixed use development consisting of authentic housing, shopping, entertainment, office, and schools.

  • Public goals for City of Rock Hill were to cause redevelopment of the former industrial site, replacing the loss of high-wage manufacturing jobs and loss of tax base; and

  • Public goals for the State of South Carolina regulatory agency and U.S. EPA, to successfully support the redevelopment by providing a cooperative and open dialogue to address the environmental legacy economically and quickly, in order to support the successful (job creation, economic activity and taxes) and protective (mitigation of human health and environmental risks) redevelopment of the site.

How: The project was funded without access to commercial financing and had to rely solely on investor equity, salvage recovery, tax incremental financing, and by the use of bond generated funds to install the infrastructure. These funds were needed to cover the $9,000,000 demolition, $3,000,000 remediation, and $50,000,000 infrastructure costs.

Securing the necessary financing for the project required over two years of creative planning, as well as extensive negotiations with multiple local and state entities.

For more information please visit: where excerpts of this summary were used.

Sky’s the Limit for Higher Education in the Center City

Who you missed: A panel discussion led by Moira Quinn, Senior Vice President of Communications and Chief Operating Officer for Charlotte Center City Partners. The Panel was Dr. Cheryl Richards, CEO and Dean of Northeastern University Charlotte, Jerry Coughter Executive Director of UNC Charlotte Center City and Joanne Beam, Director of Wake Forest University Charlotte.

Dr. Cheryl Richards began her career in higher education 25 years ago at Colorado State University and has since held leadership posts with the University of Denver, Regis University, EDUCAUSE and Central Piedmont Community College. Dr. Richards has twice been recognized by the Mecklenburg Times as one of Charlotte’s “50 Most Influential Women” and was honored in 2014 as “Woman of the Year.” The Charlotte Business Journal recognized her as a “40 Under Forty” leader as well as one of the “Top 25 Women in Business.” A frequent presenter and speaker, she has also served as guest host for Carolina Business Review.

Dr. Richards holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication, master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education and Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education. She and her husband of 20 years are proud parents of two children.

Jerry Coughter climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2013, helping raise $60,000 through the Rotary Club for Polio victims. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Haven and is an alumnus of Leadership Charlotte (Class 33). In that capacity Jerry serves as a member of the Alumni Group’s Education Committee, helping to bring informative programing to the community on topics including healthcare and civil discourse. Jerry holds a BS in Molecular Biology from Clemson University, an MS in Microbiology & Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MBA from the Byrd School of Business at Shenandoah University. He is a doctoral candidate in Science & Technology Policy at the George Mason School of Public Policy. Jerry is a Grade 8 level referee with the United States Soccer Federation and officiates youth soccer matches in North and South Carolina and Virginia. He is the father of two teenage daughters.

Joanne Beam is an active volunteer who currently serves on the board of Good Friends (in Charlotte) Board of Trustees of the Charlotte Latin School, and the Executive Committee of the Association of Philanthropic Council. Beam is well connected within civic and University circles. Recently The Mecklenburg Times named Beam one of “The 50 Most Influential Women.” In 2013, she was named one of the Charlotte Business Journals “25 Women in Business.” In 1998 she was named one of the “Forty Leaders Under Forty” in the Piedmont Triad. Beam grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and moved to North Carolina to earn a degree in business from Wake Forest University.

Moira Quinn’s background revolves primarily around media and management. Moira started at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, as a college intern. She became a studio cameraman and was the first woman in Charlotte to work as a full-time TV news photographer. During the ‘80’s Moira co-hosted, produced stories for and served as interim producer on the TV show PM Magazine. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte where she is Trustee Emeritus and on the Board of Advisors for the Knight School of Communication. Moira has also served on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association where she was President during the University’s Sesquicentennial. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

What you missed: The Growth of Higher Education in Center City and why UNC Charlotte, Wake Forest and Northeastern chose Uptown Charlotte. The discussion centered around 1) how and why these institutions chose Charlotte, 2) how and/or why they chose new or existing facilities, 3) the type of student that is attracted in an urban setting, and 4) how these students impact Charlotte’s growing population post graduation.

Why: Having campuses in Uptown Charlotte has created a dynamic educational outlet for today’s working professional. Being in the middle of the Charlotte metro area enables institutions of Higher Learning to offer advanced degrees with a high level of convenience for these professionals. They can work and provide the wage to their families and further advance their careers by attaining these advanced degrees. Uptown Charlotte, while initially skeptical of their new neighbors, has embraced the Universities and the students by getting involved in community service programs and working together to keep uptown vibrant and desirable. Jerry Coughter remarked, “we would not be successful if only the school was getting into Charlotte, we also needed Charlotte to get into UNCC.”