Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Providing Construction, Development and Real Estate Brokerage Services in Gaston County's Wait and See Economy

With full credit to the NFIB Problems and Priorities Survey for 2012 I can gain an insight into my market here in Gaston County for construction, development and leasing services.

The problems facing my clients has been re-prioritized since 2008 as shown:

  1. The number one problem in 2008 and 2012 was cost of health insurance
  2. Second in 2008 was uncertainty over the economy in 2012 Cost of Oil and Oil Products
  3. In 2008 third was Cost of Oil and Oil Products in 2012 Federal Taxes on business income.
  4. Fourth in 2008 was uncertainty over government actions in 2012 Property taxes, real, inventory and personal property.
  5. Number 5 in 2008 was unreasonable government regulation and in 2012 Tax Complexity
  6. In 2008 sixth was Federal Taxes on Business Income and in 2012 Unreasonable government regulation.

The same Survey shows five areas with the largest increase in difficulty as demonstrated by the positions they rose from 2008 to 2012.

Environmental Regulations up 20 spots in the Survey.
Obtaining Long Term Loans up 17 places and Short Term Loans up 14.
Finding out about regulatory requirements is up 13.
Cost of government required equipment/procedures up 11 positions.

I think this quote from Dr. Bill Dunkelburg NFIB's Chief Economist captures the mood, "With employment still 5 million jobs below 2008 levels after 4 years of recovery Owners and Consumers have lost confidence in the governments ability to help."

In my own personal case I think current government actions and plans are hurting my business and so like so many other small business Owners I am in a wait and see economy.

Friday, December 14, 2012



As of December 14th, 2012

Rates are per month and include water/sewer/ storm water/common area maintenance & Site Property Taxes


These Units Can Be Combined Into One 10,500 SF Space
4465-100 1,750 SF $1,095.00 Available
4465-110/120 3,500 SF $2,190.00 Available
4465-130/140 3,500 SF $2,190.00 Available
4465-150 1,750 SF $1,095.00 Available

4471 3,000 SF $1,875.00 Available


4474-4476 3000 SF $1,800.00 Available


These Units Can be Combined Into One 6,000 SF Space
4479-4481 3,000 SF $1,900.00 Available
4475 1,500 SF $1,200.00 Available
4477 1,500 SF $1,000.00 Available

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Gaston County Main St. Business Wants From Politicians

Dear Professional Politician

I am an American Business Owner. My size makes me Main St. and not Wall St.  Corporate America is organized by public funding and lately government bail-out funds as safety nets. They try and squeeze the last penny out of every product and service they offer. They are in many communities and sometimes act as if they are not part of any community.

I use creativity, innovation and private funding. I have the courage and determination to take risks. I am local and I live in the community. I am not likely to pollute my own air, water or land. My employees live here also. That means they wouldn’t do those things if I asked. Also because they are local I live with them, shop with them, worship with them ie.. they are my neighbors. How could I mistreat my neighbors and live in the community?

Democrat, Republican or Independent you give lip service to our being the solution to economic problems but your actions don’t ring true. They convince us you do not know what we need. We have lost value on our balance sheets, we have been forced into lay-offs and generally we are or feel poorer today than yesterday. Yet you expect us to create jobs or invest in our business when almost every government action shakes our confidence in the future to the core.

So while no one elected or selected me as spokesman I am still going to tell you what we need. Start by taking the time to listen to us. Listening to my clients is the only way I can do business with them. Further, we don’t want a bail-out, the impact of regulation makes doing business more costly every day, and Government actions currently cause our profit margins to be squeezed. We need a full scale review and rework of the maze of well intentioned but wrongly executed Regulations enforced by Regulators without the experience or background to understand the unintended consequences of ignoring the Value Equation of Business, Value =Price + Quality. Price has been removed. We have only Value = Quality. Frankly it is beyond most budgets, including the Governments, to always use this concept. At some point the benefit is diminishing in regards to its cost.

Start here. I am sure more will come up when you talk to us.

Samuel J. Fleeman, Jr.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gaston County Median Income Falls

Gaston County households earned less money last year than they did 30 years ago, based on median household income adjusted for inflation. Gaston Gazette Sunday September 29th, 2012.

Now a lot of people want to do a postmortem and try and pin blame of people or parties or institutions. The President, Congress, Obama, Clinton, Bush, Liberals, Conservatives, Free Traders, Outsourcers or take your pick are all thrown into the Blame Pot.

Looking backwards rarely gets you where you want to go. We know where we have been what we want is something better! So let’s look forward to January 1st, 2013 and see if these new five new or higher taxes of the twenty new or higher taxes from Washington on Health Care are going to help or hurt businesses and families.

Medical Device Tax – a $20 billion tax increase: Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Healthcare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year. In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

 “Special Needs Kids Tax” – a $13 billion tax increase: The 30-35 million Americans who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap).

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Healthcare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

 Surtax on Investment Income – a $123 billion tax increase: This is a new, 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income:

Capital Gains
2013+ (current law)

The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

 Medical Itemized Deductions – a $15.2 billion tax increase: Currently, Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction,  the net widens to capture taxable income for the sickest Americans. This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

 Medicare Payroll Tax Hike -- an $86.8 billion tax increase: The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits. Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:

First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
All Remaining Wages
Current Law
2.9% self-employed
2.9% self-employed
 Tax Hike
2.9% self-employed
3.8% self-employed


These do not seem to be taxes only on the rich. Higher taxes at a time of lower median income will hurt families. Business taxes are a cost of doing business and passed onto consumers. Money paid directly or indirectly in taxes cannot go to food, clothes, housing, education, medical, etc… The less purchases made the less is made and the less made means fewer jobs and the cycle repeats.

These taxes come from Washington and no one from the President, to the House to the Senate is working to help! These numbers do not reflect any State, County or City level taxes such as rising Property Taxes on lower Property Values.

We cannot tax ourselves to prosperity and regardless of the social value of government programs. They are not sustainable “as is”. Change is coming and the question is whether we control those changes to create sustainable value in tax funded programs or like lemmings follow others off the cliff. Red, Blue, Liberal, Progressive, Conservative, Democrat or Republican is anybody listening or frankly anybody care?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Commercial Lending Back in Gaston County For Certain Types of Projects

There is no doubt that financing has been a major hurdle for many projects. Through our long time association with VP Buildings we can now provide an additional advantage to our customers on entertainment, education and public infrastructure projects. VP has formed an agreement with EPR Financial Services ( a subsidiary of Entertainment Properties Trust with an investment portfolio of approximately $3 Billion)   which allows builders to offer a build-to-suit for lease program directly with the developer and funding source.  Once the project is completed, EPR will become the long-term owner/ landlord for the project.

This program was just announced yesterday and if it is of interest we can explore it together.



Thursday, September 20, 2012


Unit 4475 is available. This unit has 1,000 sf of office and 500 sf of storage. All with a/c.


Front View
 Office 2 of 2
 Rear View

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flex Space Gastonia NC - Why our spaces are open design?

The workplace is about bringing people together: to interact and share information; to inspire and inform each other; to provide guidance and feedback. Relatively little work requires deep, individual concentration for hours at a time." There do need to be times and places for such work but whether such places need to be assigned to one person for exclusive use, or requires complete physical separation from others is debatable. Better to have workers be interconnected and part of a vital team? Communication is abundant--and more frequent--when you can see your team members. The rapid flow of information actually reduces the inter-office email, phone calls, sticky notes and the traditional scheduled meeting. Visual contact actually contributes to fewer unwanted interactions. When you can glance and see co-workers engaged in a problem or irritated by a phone call, you're more likely to ask your question later than if you couldn't see them and poked your head into their office. A well designed open layout includes places for private phone calls, private meetings and private work. The use of such spaces is required only for a few minutes, hours, or a day and employees can select an appropriate environment to accomplish the task at hand: meeting in a group, participating in a conference call, or working alone on employment records, payroll or financial accounts. The traditional assumption is employees would work in their own offices or cubicles during regular work hours and would need assigned work spaces with their own desks, PCs, and phones. Studies actually show meeting rooms are often in short supply, while offices and cubicles remained vacant 65 percent of the time on average. Nobody would consider building a manufacturing facility that they intended to use just one-third of the time. The needs of today's mobile and multi-tasking workers are different from stationary employees. Most, if not all workplaces need power outlets to compensate for the battery life of laptops. Create "charging stations" allowing employees to swap out dying batteries or recharge. Utilize wireless and hardwired phone technologies to give workers the ability to check voicemail and make phone calls from almost anywhere. That is why we provide a "blank slate" of open space in the units. Open design fosters a team working together. Private spaces are easily created by mobile wall dividers, furniture such as book cases or shelving units. More space can be utilized more often for cost savings.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Listing Office Space I-85 Exit 22 Lowell NC

Available after September 15th is 1,000 Sf of Office at 820 S Main St. Lowell NC. This is Exit 22 of I-85. Traffice count is Franklin Square Shoppers and Dailey I-85 Commuters. All Office and total new A/C. Rent is $1,000.00 per month.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Taxaggedon Means For Small Gaston County Businesses

Economists at the National Association of Home Builders analyzed the end of the tax cuts on home builders. Home builders are typically small businesses, 80% are “pass through” entities such as Subchapter S Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships or Sole Proprietorship, meaning business income is applied to personal tax returns.

These economists stated that if the 2001 -2003 Tax Cuts, as well as recent payroll tax cuts are allowed to expire then there are “large consequences”. Specifically the “pass through” entities above will see tax rates rise from the bottom 10% to 15% and onward to top rates of 35% and 39.6%.

Capital Gains would rise from 15% to 20% while dividends go from 15% to ordinary income rates topping out at the above 39.6%.

To have a multi-generational business a top estate tax rate of 55% and an exemption falling to $1 million dollars would have to be overcome.

For the country at large the Congressional Budget Office estimates the “drag” on the economy on 2013 will be $560 billion resulting in the CBO growth forecast falling from 4.4% to 0.5%.

Returning is the marriage tax penalty and child tax credits fall from $1000 to $500 per child.

The mortgage interest deduction will be adjusted for income levels mostly against $250,000.

James Carville Democratic Political Strategist – It’s the economy stupid!

Anybody in government listening? Caring?

Monday, July 9, 2012


We can offer Real Estate Project Consulting and Construction Management based on 30 years of construction and real estate experience. Our services include:

  • Budget Creation
  • Site Selection
  • Help obtain financing
  • Cost consulting with Architects and Engineers
  • Acquire permits for zoning, soil and erosion, storm water
  • Install infrastructure
  • Permit facilities
  • Construct facilities

What are our qualifications?

·         Site Selection

§  Real Estate Broker North Carolina

§  South Carolina

§  Georgia

·         Zoning Knowledge

§  Local Zoning Board Member over 20 Years

§  Past Zoning Board of Adjustment Member

§  Member of City of Gastonia 2010 Plan Committee

§  Member City of Gastonia 2020 Plan Committee

§  Member Unified Development Ordinance Development Committee - County & City

·         Construction Management

§  North Carolina Unlimited License

§  Building Classification

§  Highway Classification

§  Water/Sewer Utility Line Classification

§  Reciprocal with South Carolina

·         Soil Erosion and Storm Water

§  Member of Steering Committee on Soil Erosion and Control Local Ordinance

§  Member of Steering Committee on Local Storm Water Ordinance

·         Lead Based Paint - Renovation, Repair and Painting Certified


I found a great article by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on the Health Care Investment Income Tax Issue

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Obamacare Costs On Gaston County Real Estate

This is a non-political posting about Obamacare and how it will directly affect the real estate and construction industry, the workers in those industries, their families and all families with “investment income”.

  • A 3.8% surtax on "investment income" when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint-filers). What is "investment income?" Dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc. Taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to 18.8%--if Congress extends the Bush tax cuts. If Congress does not extend the Bush tax cuts, taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to a shocking 43.8%. (WSJ)

Please note that “house sales” are included as “investment income” as well as multi -family and commercial properties. Think you can’t reach the $200,000 or $250,000 threshold?

City Data says the Median Price of a single detached home in Gaston County in 2009 was $174,426. Median Household Income was $40,334. Added together that is $214,760 annual income if the Median Gaston Family sold their home.  The question then becomes how much of the home sale was equity. At retirement time when planning to use a large home equity the tax could be 43.8%.

Frankly I question the $40,334 Income because according to the Schools Wed Site, Gaston County Teachers for elementary through high school earn $40,000 to $45,000. Two teachers at say $85,000 joint salary selling the median home of $174,426 equals $259,426. Again dependent on equity the tax could be 43.8%.

Who is going to sell their home? Further, looking at commercial property and multi-family who is going to sell those properties? Those missing sales provide the catalyst for new homes and new commercial properties.

Real Estate and construction will die.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Leasing Simplified - Out of State Technical Training Facility Operational In 48 Hours.

Moving, relocating or setting up a new facility comes with many challenges. Gaston Commercial clients get help. We are ICM, a contractor, so we know the procedures for getting utilities turned on and accounts set-up. We are on site at the Flex Buildings so we can let cable, internet, phone and alarm installers into the unit. We can even open for deliveries of fixtures and equipment.

Our services allowed us to recently help an out of state  client open a technical training facility in one of our units in just 48 hours. Lease executed on Monday and first training class was Wednesday with internet wi-fi and training samples.

See if we have a space meeting your needs. Phone: 704-824-5635 or Info

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Gaston County Natural Resources held their 8th annual Erosion/Sedimentation and Storm Water Training Workshop yesterday. As usual Danon Lawson did a fine job in assembling a rooster of speakers to address an audience that included some Municipal Storm Water Staff, County Staff, Developers, Surveyors, Engineers and Architects.

Some of the highlights included

·         New accelerated seeding/coverage rules for your NPDES Permits. Those requirements now exceed the Soil and Erosion requirements.

·         Reinforcing the 6 months from permitting to breaking ground period.

·         Reinforcing the Bonding requirements of a Storm Water permit.

·         Reinforcing of Deed restrictions and Covenants  required of Storm Water

·         Clarification of 1 acre OR 10,000 sf of new impervious surface requiring a Storm Water permit.

One of the most interesting speakers was Mike Randall of the State DENR Office who is in charge of Storm Water Permits. Highlights of his speech included:

·         Avoiding Storm Water with Low Density Development. No more than two residential dwelling units per acre or 24% impervious surface to total area. Please note how the less than 24% Rule is coordinated with the 10,000 sf of new impervious surface Rule. 43,560 x 24% = 10,454 sf

·         High Density Development is anything exceeding the two dwelling units per acre, 24% or more impervious surface to total area ratio and the 10,000 sf new impervious surface. This requires Storm Water control that handles the first 1” of rain, will be more in Gastonia due to detention requirements, and removes 85% of the total suspended solids.

·         Either Density choice requires a 30’ stream buffer.

·         High Density also requires PE design, PE as built drawings and certification of proper construction, Maintenance Manual, Annual Inspections, Deed Restrictions and Covenants plus Bonding of Construction and potential depending on project location Bonding of Maintenance.

Speaking to the future Mike says the EPA is looking to:

·         Increase enforcement (fines) for non-compliance

·         Promote LID , Low Impact Development and Green Initiative, GI. More LID info. More GI info.

·         Expand the Scope of Storm Water Rules specifically construction and post construction requirements.

·         Require retrofits on properties developed before Storm Water Rules

·         Greater level of specificity on NPDES Permits for States, Counties and Municipalities.

The Real Estate, Development and Construction Industry doesn’t need more EPA socially benefit driven environmental regulation on top of tight to impossible credit conditions (regulation), future Health Care Tax in of 3% in January of 2013, rising property taxes and generally poor economic conditions. We have met our economic enemy and he is US!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Clicks or Bricks in Gaston County Commercial Real Estate

I was reading in an MIT Open University Graduate Level Course in Real Estate about what the Professor said was “Clicks vs. Bricks”, web based sales vs. physical local spaces. His strong point was even web sales must be fulfilled somewhere and that local spaces still made economic sense based on the following measurements of a business.

Office and Service Companies need to pay attention to Rent/SF - SF/Employee – Billings or Sales/Employee

Warehousing and Distribution needs to look at SF/Worker – SF/$ of Inventory – Inventory/Worker

With Taranis and Sucellus Flex Space in 2T Park renting for approximately $7.50 per sf per year with all of the included costs, we believe leasing from us makes quantifiable sense for large and small businesses.

Thursday, May 3, 2012



This question is being asked all over the state of North Carolina with the New North Carolina Energy Conservation Code (NCECC) taking effect March 1st, 2012.
The background is by Executive Order embraced by the DOE, US Conference of Mayors, ASHRAE, and AIA established THE2030 CHALLENGE which is designed to change the energy codes every three years with 10% improvement in efficiency each cycle until 2030 a structure will have NET ZERO net energy use.
The 2012 NCECC is a six year jump in this process. The NCECC is currently more stringent than Energy Codes in Oregon and Washington and is in the top five most stringent in the US. This sweeping change in the way Development and Construction is probably more impactful than Phase II Storm Water.

I won’t bore you with technical details. Suffice it to say this Code looks at the total structure when calculating compliance. The key concept here is Old School was Prescriptive Compliance and the New is Performance Compliance. No more my roof insulation material is R-19 and my wall insulation material is R-14 and I pass. Plus this Code moved the compliance target. For example the roof goes from R-19 to R-30CI and it dictates how to achieve thermal value and other goals such as air infiltration  (CI).  Compliance would not be complete until the walls and slab are included in a total calculation that includes doors, windows, vents, etc…

Well because from the Financial end as a Lender replacement costs just took a substantial leap up and because some material suppliers such as Metal Building Brokers are located outside North Carolina your clients could purchase substantial materials that could not the used to construct. Example: the old r-panel screw down (direct attachment to purlins) is out due to the gap required for the insulation and the disallowing of the pinch down at the purlins. Simply stated a pre-engineered package with the fasteners, trim, and panel for this type roof cannot be constructed in NC anymore, a whole roof system thrown away.
As an Insurance Provider or Appraiser in addition to substantial upward adjustment of replacement costs, pricing information from valuation services located outside of NC may not have adjusted for these sweeping changes. I am thinking of RS Means and Marshall Swift among others.
For my Clients and Design Professionals I can only say we have to start over at square one in planning any projects whether new construction or remodel and both Residential or Commercial

For my Friends in the business who have survived since 2007. This is game changing sweeping transformation to how we design, construct and think. Failing to compensate for this Code is a path to failure.

My goal has been to raise questions for you on what this means to you based on how you relate to the construction industry. From that point I have I have provided some links to guide you to research to become knowledgeable on the issue. Construction has now become highly complex with interwoven sometimes conflicting regulations and requirements. My job is to guide my clients to sucessful outcomes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gaston Commercial Real Estate - What WIllis Would Talk About

Has been sometime since I did a LISTING  blog. So rather than take a lot of space here just click and go.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Little If Any Meaningful New Commercial Construction Gaston County NC

Article From Co-Star with all credit given. Links Are For Localized Information.

Balancing Act: Lack of New Commercial Space Overcomes Softening Demand
By Mark Heschmeyer
April 11, 2012
      Commercial real estate demand softened during the first quarter of 2012, but not enough to throw absorption off its pace of eight straight quarters of gains. The numbers were aided by little if any meaningful new construction coming online, resulting in declining vacancy rates.

Although rising energy prices and fiscal debt issues for both domestic and foreign governments remain as clouds on the horizon, the U.S. commercial real estate market remained firmly in recovery mode, led by the
office and warehousesectors, according to Walter Page, director of research for CoStar's Property and Portfolio Research division.
CoStar's national market research for the first quarter of 2012 showed that, while net absorption slowed slightly compared to the last half of 2011, rent trends generally improved from prior quarters, with the supply-demand balance supported by a lack of new space being added to the market.

"We may not be out of the woods just yet, but the data we've compiled for the first quarter certainly demonstrates an ongoing recovery and points towards future growth," Page said. "While the retail recovery was less pronounced than in the
office and warehouse sectors, we're witnessing positive net absorption across the board."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How Commercial Construction Is Like A Trip To Vegas

Construction is a seemingly straight forward business; I bring together men, material and equipment to create what the Project requires. For that management I earn a small fee.Until people get involved.

A Client sometimes with or without an Architect defines the Project Scope of needs and wishes. I  estimate the Costs required to achieve the Client’s desired end. Along the way Cost clashes with dreams and expectations. Hopefully a new Value based reality is created.

Now assuming the Client can get financing required for the revised Project I finalize the Estimate of Cost hoping that I have included all the variables and likely contingencies of actual construction. Knowing there is little I, the General Contractor, can do if we have 30 more rain days than forecast or a supplier or sub goes broke or makes a costly error along the way. Murphy says "Things just happen."

Further assuming I am selected for the Project I then face the job buyout risk associated with the sometimes year delay between the last Estimate and Notice to Proceed after Financing, Zoning and Plan approvals.  Increases in material cost can be weekly. Add issues like changing code requirements, increases in rental cost for equipment, and availability and cost of qualified field staff to man the project and yes it is a gamble but at least I save the costs of traveling to Vegas. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Viewed a wonderful TED talk by Peter Diamandis about our abundant future. The highlight was how the rise of communications brings about pessimism. People are wired to pay attention to negative things because of our survival instincts. So we miss how in a short period of time world wide lifespans have doubled, incomes tripled, food is ten times more available, transportation has improved one hundred fold and most of all communication has improved ONE THOUSAND FOLD.

Improvements in the world have cause us to redefine poverty because in America of those living under the Poverty Line 99% have electricty, running water, toilets and refrigeration, 95% have TV, 88% have a mobile phone and 70% have a car and/or home air conditioning.

Focus on the smartphone because you can hold in your hand more computing power than the fastest supercomputer available to President Reagan and coupled with Google it provides more information than was available to President Clinton.

What does this mean. Diamandis says by 2020 there will be 3 BILLION more people with smartphones worldwide. What do they want to see? What do they want to buy? or sell? What a market for those who know how to reach it and sell or provide goods and services for it. Buy and resell their goods and services to markets you know and they don't.

The question is will Gastonia/Gaston County have businesses prepared for this boom? Where will they locate? They certainly do not have to be large companies. Is your small business ready?

We hope that by offering flexibile space in regards to zoning and open design we can be part of growing Gastonia/Gaston County into being part of this market.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Visual Information Display Technique -

Leasing Flex Space @ 2T Park - Gastonia, NC

Click Center of Image To Enlarge

or Click Link To Map

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I received my CoStar Newsletter this morning and saw an article of interest which I repost some of here with all credit given to CoStar and Randyl Drummer.

Retail Outlook: Cautious Optimism

By Randyl Drummer

February 8, 2012

Retail property rents are expected to begin to rise later this year as demand for store space in shopping centers and malls slowly soaks up available space and, combined with the dearth of new space under development, finally tips the supply and demand balance.

Improvements in market fundamentals are starting to spread into secondary markets and smaller shopping centers typically occupied by Mom-and-Pop businesses, according to CoStar’s 2011 Retail Review & Outlook, presented by Senior Real Estate Strategist Suzanne Mulvee and Real Estate Economist Ryan McCullough.

Mulvee: "Because of the lack of new construction, we’re encouraged by the trend continuing a slow, steady recovery of fundamentals. What’s different is that we expect this will be the year that rents come back. .And as rents start to come back, the (leasing) volume will come back and all of a sudden, it’s going to start to feel better across the sector and across the industry.

McCullough: “Fundamentals should continue to tighten regardless of potentially economic landmines like a financial meltdown in Europe or rising energy prices because there’s virtually no growth in supply.  The level of sales per occupied square foot of retail space, an important leading indicator of demand, shows that consumer dollars are flowing through shopping centers that survived the recession at a rate exceeding the peak of the last cycle -- numbers which should encourage aggressive expansion by retailers, driving up demand this year.”

As has been the trend for several quarters, power centers and malls occupied by national retailers with better access to capital and credit are seeing the strongest demand. However, CoStar has also noticed an uptick in the leasing of spaces 5,000 square feet and under by the smaller tenants that fill strip centers and community shopping centers.
Mulvee: “Improvements in these retail centers should accelerate in 2012, another indication that Mom-and-Pop stores as well as national franchise retailers are seeing improved business conditions.”

Without any new construction, and Gaston County has been slow (see Building Permit Post Below)  almost any demand shrinks the available supply. Right now action would be proactive but the article suggests waiting may reduce selection and see increasing rents.

See my available rental units at www.showcase.com (CoStar) or www.gastoncommercial.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

There Is An Industrial Contractor in Gastonia

I was taking inventory of our businesses the other day and I was struck by how cylindrical things are. In the early 80’s when I came to work fresh out of Georgia Tech we were in process chemical equipment sales. During the recession of the early 80’s we started to install the equipment which led to building mezzanines for tanks and equipment which became tank farms, control rooms and specialty process rooms. All growing into a full time construction company as the chemical companies left the area because the textile companies had left and there was no one in the market for their coatings, sizings, detergents, dyes, etc…

The recession which started in 2008 and the credit/lending crunch have devastated new building development work. Slowly rising up is a return to specialty and niche construction. Plants and facilities are reworking themselves to be leaner and to produce more or varied products. This requires work by a contractor versed in the industrial environment, sensitive and knowledgeable to the needs of these clients.

We are that company, ICM. Industrial Construction and Maintenance, Inc. We have that experience. We have that knowledge base. Maintenance in our name refers to machinery relocations and installations not broom pushing. Call us and so we can prove ourselves as your problem solver.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

True Costs Leasing Gastonia Flex Space

Everyone is watching expenses right now. One area you can save some substantial money is to examine your rent agreement on commercial space. My space on Posterity Court in Gastonia does not utilize the the triple net lease agreement. In fact the following costs are included in our rent quotes.

  • City & County Property Tax on Building and Land     $80.40 per month
  • City of Gastonia Storm Water Fee                                $  2.10 per month
  • Water/Sewer                                                                  $20.00 per month
  • Dumpster/Trash                                                             $21.25 per month
  • Lawn Care                                                                     $12.00 per month
That is a total of $135.75 in taxes, fees, services and utilities included in the rent of a 1,500 SF Unit. Greater savings occur as the unit gets larger.

Note: Our Gaston County Commercial For Lease and For Sale Listings Can Be Found Using the Loopnet App & Costargo App

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Decoding Gaston County Building Permit Data

Building Permit Data From The Gaston County Building Standards Department

 Year     Permits   % Prev Yr Permits   % Prev Yr  Total      %Prev Year
              Gastonia                    County                       Permits
2007     533                               973                            1506 
2008     256               48%         559          58%            815             54%
2009     128               50%         436          78%            564             78%
2010     111               87%         332          76%            443             76%
2011       99               89%         256          77%            355             80%

2007 vs. 2011          19%                          26%                                24%     

Our rate of decline seems to be slowing and perhaps stabilizing but in real terms of pre-recession vs. current levels we are down catastrophically.

The Economic Impact of Construction can be represented as throwing a stone in a pond. After the initial splash ripples (jobs) radiate out in all directions and while time and distance reduce the size of the ripple it ripples just the same. Look at all the accouterments of home interiors, i.e. draperies, paints, wall decor, rugs, furnishings, etc., an entire network of supporting industries. On the exterior as well homes require lawn equipment and tools, landscaping materials. The Scope is well beyond the actual suppliers and manufacturers of construction materials. These ripples have a tax benefit as well.  Property Tax Values and consequently revenues increase on developed or improved vs undeveloped or unimproved property. Sales Tax applies to direct construction materials and then all the associated items outlined above. Payroll taxes apply to  the direct construction labor and yet again the ripples pay salaries, wages and payroll taxes of sales people, assembly line workers, truck drivers and warehouse employees, etc…

Whether from lack of credit in the banking system or increasing governmental regulation from all levels the Construction Crash has caused many to suffer. No clients mean a declining construction industry which causes suppliers and manufacturers to go away leading to unemployment directly and indirectly related to Construction Projects. What a vicious circle.