Wegmans to Open First DC Store

Rochester-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc. plans to open its first DC store at 3900 Wisconsin NW, the 10-acre site where Fannie Mae’s headquarters is currently located, according to Washington Business Journal. The 80,000sf Wegmans will be the retail anchor for a mixed-use development by Roadside Development, LLC and North America Sekisui House, LLC. In addition to the grocery store, Wegmans will also operate a standalone restaurant – concept to be determined.

Women’s Labor Force Participation and the Changing Economy

Single, childless women in their prime earning years are driving most of the downturn in female workforce population, according to the Los Angeles Times (citing research from Johns Hopkins University). The labor force participation rate for this segment of the population dropped from 68 percent in 2000 to 61.4 percent in 2016 whereas among married and unmarried mothers, the rate dropped by only 1.8 percent from 72.3 in 2000 to 70.5 in 2016.

The same economic factors that are causing declines in the male labor force population (i.e. stagnant wages, depressed upward mobility and reductions in low-skill jobs) are also leading to lower female labor force participation rates.

Office Tenant Build-out Costs – 2017

Construction and development costs in the U.S. increased by 2.7 percent in 2016 and are expected to increase along similar lines during 2017, according to JLL’s U.S. Fit Out Guide. The guide, which looks at Class A office build-out in 51 national markets, indicates the national average for tenant out-of-pocket costs to be $152.88/sf with DC having the lowest rate ($103.88/sf) and Silicon Valley having the highest ($199.22/sf). The national average for landlord-provided TI allowance is $43.61/sf.

Lowest build-out costs – Graph: JLL Research

Highest build-out costs – Graph: JLL Research

Industrial Sector Update – May 2017

The U.S. industrial sector is experiencing its longest expansion on record. The vacancy rate in this sector dropped to 5.3 percent in Q1-2017 which is 300 basis points lower than the ten-year historical average of 8.3 percent, according to Cushman and Wakefield. Net absorption since 2010 is over 1.3 billion square feet.

To accommodate the requirements of the fast-growing e-commerce industry, American warehouses, which in 1960 averaged 24 feet high now average 33 feet high, according to Bisnow (citing CBRE).

Coach to Acquire Kate Spade

As part of its evolution toward a multi-brand organization, Coach will acquire Kate Spade for $2.4 billion ($18.50/share in cash, which includes a premium of nine percent on the Friday closing price), according to The New York Times.

As of July 2016, Coach operated 228 retail stores, 204 outlets and 552 Coach-operated shop-in-shops, according to the report (citing the company’s annual report). Coach handbags range from $285 to $3,000. Kate Spade handbags retail from $100 to $500.

India’s Vacant Housing Supply

Out of the 90 million residential units recorded during India’s 2011 census, 11 million units (about 12 percent of the total urban housing stock) were vacant. The vacancy rate for government sponsored housing units is 17.22 percent (as of Mach 2017), according to research by Sahil Gandhi and Meenaz Munshi. The high vacancy rate is not due to an oversupply of housing as India’s urban slums are teeming with residents. Rent control, tenant protection laws and cumbersome eviction procedures lead some landlords to prefer vacancy. Furthermore, in the case of state-sponsored housing, quality of services provided, location and access to public transportation and to the labor market are factors that contribute to the high vacancy rate.

India’s Vacant Housing by State – Graph: Ajay Shah’s Blog

A Room with a View

The average rent rate for DC office space with views of the city’s monuments is $70.50/sf – up 19 percent from 2010, according to Washington Business Journal (citing research from JLL). The average rent rate for office space with water views is $64/sf (a 25 percent increase from 2010) and office properties that overlook the city’s squares and parks command around $56/sf, a five percent increase from 2010.

The Wharf DC – Image: PN Hoffman

Advice vs. Choice

According to research from Yale University, published in Current Opinion in Psychology, advisers often advise others to act with greater caution than they would choose for themselves. A few of the study’s observations:

1. Biases such as loss aversion and status quo bias are exacerbated by accountability and a desire to maintain a good adviser/advisee relationship;

2. Undue caution in advising others is exercised because people are generally blamed more for losses than they are credited for gains. Moreover, the capacity for symhedonia (positive emotion associated with observing others’ success) is limited particularly when compared to sympathy for others’ losses;

3. High-quality, unbiased advice is discounted if it appears to align with the adviser’s self-interest (i.e. pecuniary benefit) which can lead the adviser to engage in “strategic exaggeration” to compensate, at times beyond what is necessary, to countervail any discounting by the advisee. Furthermore, advisers who disclose pecuniary conflict may then consider it morally acceptable to give biased advice on the basis that the advisee has been “warned.”

Tehran Housing Market – April 2017

As of March 21, the average home price in Tehran was around $108/sf with regional variation ranging from $201/sf (District 3) to $49/sf (District 18), according to Financial Tribune (citing data from the Central Bank of Iran). Home prices registered a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent while rents in the city of Tehran rose by 11.1 percent, year-on-year. Residential units smaller than 860sf made up 55 percent of the total sales

Tehran – Photo: Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences

Fairfax County’s Lee District Leads the County in CRE Assessed Value Gains

Commercial property assessed values in the Lee District of Fairfax County increased by 25 percent over the past five years from $3.98 billion in 2012 to $4.97 billion in 2016.  Lee had the highest rate of increase among the county’s nine districts, according to Washington Business Journal (citing county data). The assessed value of shopping centers, convenience centers, big box and malls in the district rose from $1.1 billion 2014 to $1.66 billion in 2017 with Springfield Mall appreciating to $405 million in 2016 after its renovation.

Real estate taxes make up 64.6 percent of Fairfax County’s general fund revenue with commercial properties comprising about 19 percent of county’s total assessment base, according to the report.

Image: Fairfax Democrats