‘Excited to Go Back’: How the Office Environment Became a Recruiting Tool

In today’s job market, some employers are leaning into a new recruiting tool, something that has historically simply been a mundane and overlooked factor when trying to lure new talent: the office.

“Let’s say a job seeker gets two similar offers when it comes to compensation and benefits, but one company provides a flexible hybrid work environment in a really nice building with amenities, and the other doesn’t,” says James Stein, Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield’s Dallas office. “Which job would you chose?”

The competitive recruiting in some fields has generated a flight to quality in the office market.

“That concept is pretty straightforward: make going to the office an experience, something that is worthy of an employee’s commute,” Stein says. “Make sure the building and the space are something that, when the employee gets home, they say, ‘“I’m excited to go back.’” Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

Fairfield Expands Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies in Austin

Fairfield University is expanding its nationally ranked Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies to Austin, pending review and approval by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Professional services firm JLL successfully secured a 10-year — 23,040-square-foot lease located at 7951 Shoal Creek Blvd.

Currently, Fairfield University’s main campus is located in Fairfield, Connecticut, a coastal suburb of New York City. This lease marks Fairfield University’s expansion beyond the northeast into an additional market, nationally. Internationally, Fairfield also offers an MBA program through its nationally ranked Dolan School of Business in Shanghai, China, and sends students around the world through its study abroad programs.

Ellen Herman, Rhett Kruger and Russell Young at JLL represented the tenant. Jay Legg and Jessie Contreras at MFB Real Estate Services LLC represented the landlord, West Austin Holdings.

National Industrial Service Facility Portfolio Acquisition Financed with $61 Million Loan

JLL Capital Markets has arranged $61 million in acquisition financing for an industrial portfolio comprising nearly two-dozen last-mile, cross-dock truck terminals and transload properties across 17 key markets in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Central U.S.

JLL worked on behalf of the borrower, Biynah Industrial Partners, to source the acquisition loan.

The portfolio is 93% leased to 18 tenants with an average tenure of nearly 17 years and substantial investment-grade in-place tenancy. The portfolio crosses various regions with assets in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Central U.S.

The portfolio provides end-to-end logistics solutions for today’s supply chain demands. These facilities represent mission-critical freight distribution transfer points, facilitating the flow of goods at the last stage of the supply chain. Each site offers optimal solutions for facility location, facility size, proximity to major infrastructure, truck court sizing, auto parking and other special use considerations.

This portfolio highlights the growing demand for Industrial Service Facilities (“ISF”), a rapidly growing multi-billion asset class that is suddenly on the radar of institutional investors. Such last-mile, cross-dock truck terminals and transload properties are increasingly driving investor attention due to their critical role in the movement of goods amidst supply chain backlogs.

The JLL Capital Markets team that represented the borrower was led by Managing Director Matthew Schoenfeldt and Director Lucas Borges.

Sky-High Rental Prices Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels by More Than 25%

The pandemic fueled a meteoric rise in rental prices, and a severe shortage of supply isn’t helping. The nation’s median rental price hit its latest new high of $1,849 per month in May, representing a 26.6% increase since 2019 before the pandemic began, according to the Realtor.com monthly rental report released today.

A key factor driving the ongoing rent surge is a lack of supply, as rental vacancy rates, which were already trending lower, have taken a sharp dive during the pandemic. These trends are magnified in the biggest cities that tend to attract younger residents, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers and looking for the flexibility in their living situations.

“We do not have enough housing, and increased costs are a concern for all, including the 40 million Americans who choose to rent,” said Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association. “The white-hot housing market has further fueled existing supply shortages and increased housing costs as renters stay in apartments longer and expenses tied directly to property values — like taxes and insurance — skyrocket.” Click to read more at www.forbes.com.

Self Storage Continues to Flourish After Pandemic-Induced Surge

Self-storage has long exemplified its resilience and right now is no different. The industry is considered by experts a solid investment, and one that retains its value, even when faced with economic variability.

The industry is doing better than ever. But like the rest of the industrial market, there aren’t enough existing facilities in Illinois to satisfy the steadily increasing demand, though with the number of projects under construction in both in and outside of larger metros like Chicago, the imbalance should be remedied soon.

What makes it so highly demanded? It comes down to a few things, according to Steven Weinstock, First Vice President / Regional Manager / National Director, Self-Storage Division and Land and Redevelopment Division at Marcus & Millichap.

It is first important to separate self-storage facilities into two categories: nonclimate controlled and climate-controlled. Nonclimate controlled are traditional, single-story buildings, only separated from outside by the units’ garage-like doors. Climate-controlled facilities, by opposition, are enclosed and preferable in that users don’t have to worry about goods being ruined from exposure to excessive heat or rain fluctuations.

Individuals are the primary users of self-storage, utilizing space to not only preserve items they don’t use, but to store seasonal items, like kayaks and skis, that must remain accessible without occupying space in the home. In settings where living space is extra tight (Chicago, for example) people also utilize a climate-controlled space as an extended closet, swapping out clothing every few months.

Businesses, like Amazon and FedEx, also rent space as general extended storage, as well as storage for inventory on a case-by-case basis.

Because storage units are rented on a month-to-month basis, rents can be adjusted quickly, as is the case with hotels and multifamily buildings — just one of the reasons for their gradual, but steady recovery. And users? Weinstock said they prefer the comparatively low monthly price to the costly alternative of renting a bigger home, especially in today’s inflationary market.

“The ongoing increases in the cost of housing makes the decision to externally store an easier one,” Weinstock said. “Most users would rather pay $60 per month for a 5×10 unit, as opposed to $250 per square foot for additional space in a condo or apartment. The choice can be rationalized from both a financial perspective and one of convenience, with the number of facilities both urban and suburban.”

Self-storage has also advanced in terms of technology, and most newly constructed facilities include perks like online signup, contactless/keyless entry and advanced security.

The industry continues to display its resiliency throughout uncertain times and it has proven somewhat recession-proof given today’s market rates. Despite the low supply caused by the pause in development the last few years, developers have hit the ground running and there are many facilities scheduled for and currently being constructed throughout Illinois and the rest of the U.S., though this will impact prices.

“The pandemic changed the nature of self storage,” Weinstock explained. “More people are seeing it as a favorable alternative and the new technology makes it easy to use.”

Houston Ranks Among Leading Life Sciences Markets: CBRE Report

Aided by a high percentage of PhDs and a low cost of living, Houston ranks No. 13 in a new analysis of the nation’s top 25 life sciences markets from real estate firm CBRE.

The report sheds light on the growth of life sciences hubs beyond the traditional coastal markets such as Boston and San Diego. Houston is getting a boost from the growing Texas Medical Center and an influx of venture capital earmarked for life sciences research.

Job growth in life sciences professions – from bioengineers and biochemists to microbiologists and data scientists – expanded by 79% over the last two decades to roughly 500,000. In comparison, the overall U.S. job growth rate in that span was 8%, according to CBRE. That surge in life sciences jobs boosted mainstay markets such as Boston and San Francisco as well as emerging hubs including Nashville, Salt Lake City and Houston.

The report suggests that Houston’s life sciences labor market offers an attractive combination of affordability and a particularly strong PhD talent pool. Major research universities and medical institutions such as the UT School of Public Health and Baylor College of Medicine boosted the city’s ranking ahead of other Texas markets in CBRE’s analysis. Click to read more at www.houston.org.