Welcome to the official blog of Block Real Estate Services, LLC (BRES). BRES seeks to offer insight and news concerning commercial real estate, financial investments, construction and development of the 212 communities we serve locally and nationally.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Multifamily Remains Ripe For Investment

Leaders at the National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC) discuss the year to come.  Block Funds makes first apartment purchase; seeks to acquire 1,500 units in 2013.

Leaders in the apartment business from across the United States and Canada met last week in Palm Springs, California to discuss the state of the industry and economy as well as trends in apartment operations, development and investment. The meeting included a conversation with Earvin “Magic” Johnson about his experience as an entrepreneur in many urban communities. When asked about his approach, Johnson said, “You prepare so much when you are an athlete. I took preparation from basketball into the board room.”

Another highlight of the meeting included a discussion between NMHC Chairman Tom Bozzuto, Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The pair pointed to five major causes of the US debt crisis, including healthcare, defense, social security, an inefficient tax code and compounding interest on existing debt. Bowles called the issue “the most avoidable economic crisis in history,” but pointed out that, “the problem is real and the solutions are painful.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Retail Market Overview

Kansas City-area retail is picking up after years of economic turmoil and stalled projects throughout the metro area, according to the 2013 retail forecast from Block Real Estate Services (BRES).

Kansas City’s retail environment is well on the mend. We are still a long way from needing additional speculative retail developments, but with the increase in retailers committing to the metro and the increased number of leases being completed, this activity is sure to reduce the overall vacancy rate and help to improve rental rates in 2013.

Development has been specific to single-tenant users or small multi-tenant buildings with a few tenants lined-up in advance in redevelopment or infill locations.  With the exception of Prairiefire in Overland Park, and the redevelopment of Truman Corners in Grandview, Missouri and Wyandotte Plaza in Kansas City, Kansas, this is anticipated to continue over the next couple of years. We can continue to expect to see more infill and redevelopment, mostly on a smaller scale as larger, new developments continue to seek economic incentives to help with development costs.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Factors Contributing to the Real Estate Market in 2013

Block Real Estate recently had the pleasure of hearing Andrew Busch, top financial analyst, speak at the Kansas City at the Integra Realty Resources 11th Annual Real Estate Trends Conference. Busch highlighted the big factors contributing to the state of the economy and what you need to know for business in 2013.

According to Busch, it's all about growth for:

  • Europe 
  • China 
  • And The Federal Government
In this post, we examine these three factors and Bush's key takeaway on what affect this will have in 2013:

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 KC Industrial Outlook


Landlocked from oceans and far away from mountain scenery, Kansas City may not be everyone’s ideal place to settle. But for those involved in shipping, transportation, or logistics, Kansas City is becoming king... especially for retailers.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 KC Office Report

 B.E Smith's New Office in Lenexa, Kansas
One positive aspect of the economic downturn and slow recovery of these past three years is the supply of new office product has fortunately been held at historically low rates.        

Vacancy rates as well have slowly descended from their peak levels despite and market fundamentals have gradually improved as a result. However, tenants continue to exhibit a “wait and see” cautious approach, and remain exceptionally cost and risk adverse in every market due to the uncertainty resulting from the weak economic environment.

Locally, Kansas City has not performed as well as the national market, but the vacancy rate in KC is closely following the national average and decreasing. These market improvements have yielded several significant deals over the year:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 KC Downtown Development

Fixed-rail streetcar line approval for Downtown Kansas City makes impact leading the new year!

The most significant news for the Downtown Submarket came in mid-December 2012, when Kansas City voters approved a $.01 sales tax increase and a property tax increase to fund a fixed rail streetcar line. The property tax sunsets in 25 years and impacts only those properties within the defined Downtown Streetcar District.

The approval will result in residential property taxes increasing by 8.7% while commercial taxes will increase by 5%. The two-mile line will run from Union Station to the River Market principally along Main Street. This initial spine is considered a starting point only, with the hope of extending service to UMKC to the south and with east/west lines along major connective corridors. Funding will come from multiple sources including federal grants of $18 million, an annual contribution from the city of Kansas City, Missouri, the sales tax increase and property taxes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

KC Real Estate Overview

Photo courtesy of the White House.

As 2012 drew to a close, our country faced one of the largest economic challenges in our history as Congress and President Obama haggled over our revenue, spending and taxing issues. So...

How does this all play out for the KC Market?

The key is that the real estate market will continue to slowly improve because there is both a great deal of liquidity as well as financing available compared to three years ago when both were absent. In Emerging Trends, it was noted that the key drivers and predictions for real estate activity in 2013 include the following:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Responding in a Challenging Economic Environment

 Block Real Estate Services (BRES) has continued to discover solid real estate opportunities amid the economic turmoil of our present economy. Guided by a commitment to maximize financial outcomes for our clients, BRES is excited to share three new divisions that has helped us respond to challenging times.

  • Block Healthcare Development
  • Block Multifamily Group
  • Block Project Solutions

Thursday, January 3, 2013

KC is E-commerce Heaven: A Report from KC SmartPort

With the holiday season over, online retailers are still ramping up post-holiday promotions.  Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes? How did that J.Crew sweater get from your computer screen to your niece’s front doorstep in time for Christmas?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Harry Drake Inducated Into The Midwest Real Estate News Hall of Fame

One of our very own at Block Real Estate Services, Harry Drake, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer was selected as an inductee into the 3rd annual "Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame."

The Midwest Real Estate News has selected 73 Inductees out of over 300 applicants from the 11 Midwest States in the following categories: Developer/ Owner, Brokerage, Property Management and Law. The "Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame" honors and recognizes individuals from each Midwest state who have made the industry what it is today. Harry was highlighted in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Midwest Real Estate News.