Enterprise data center users can potentially save up to $140.9 million with thorough due diligence in identifying markets that meet their business requirements and provide lower net tax burdens after incentives, relatively affordable power rates, favorable weather conditions, and greenfield space to build in a less expensive manner, according to a new report from CBRE Group, Inc. These potential savings represent up to 52.1 percent of the $270.1 million average project cost for a typical 5-megawatt (MW) enterprise project in the U.S. over a 10-year period.
“The ever-increasing need for data exchange, storage and security is broadening demand for data centers in the U.S., but one solution does not fit all,” said Pat Lynch, managing director, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “Capital and operating costs vary considerably by market, and non-monetary factors such as proximity to a headquarters location, fiber density and environmental and other risk factors can also drive enterprise site selection decisions.”
The CBRE study modeled the cost of constructing, commissioning, and operating a 5 MW data center for 10 years across 30 U.S. markets, and categorized markets into three cost bands (low, moderate and high) according to analysis of specific cost components including tax incentives, power, construction, land and labor.
- Tax Incentives: Data centers are capital intensive and generate significant sales and property tax revenues for state and local jurisdictions. Increasingly, markets that seek to attract data centers are offering significant tax incentives to help reduce the total cost of operations for data centers. Only four of the 30 enterprise markets in CBRE’s study – Philadelphia, Southern California, Silicon Valley and Northern New Jersey – do not offer tax incentives to enterprise data centers. These markets also rank in the high-cost segment.
- Power: Power costs average 13.2 percent of the total project cost over the life of the project, but vary from 6.5 percent in Quincy, Washington, to 21.3 percent in Boston. Quincy, Des Moines and Tulsa had the lowest power rates among the markets in the study. The most expensive power rates were in Boston, Southern California and Silicon Valley.
- Construction Costs: Facility construction costs represent about 35 percent of the total project cost over the 10-year period, averaging $94.0 million and ranging from $77.5 million to $116.3 million. The most expensive markets in which to build a Tier III facility include Boston, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey. Facility construction was least expensive in Tulsa, Charlotte, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Dallas.
- Land Costs: Land acquisition for greenfield development represents the smallest expense component in the analysis at just 2.5 percent of the total project cost on average, but also varies the most among all the cost factors. Across the 30 markets the average price per sq. ft. was $7.65, but ranged from less than $1.00 per sq. ft. in Kansas City, Missouri, to $38.72 per sq. ft. in Southern California.
- Labor: With a need for critical environment engineers that provide round-the-clock coverage, labor costs average $13.2 million over a 10 year-period and account for an average of 4.9 percent of the total project cost. Market-rate labor costs were lowest in the majority of Central region markets, highest in Northern New Jersey and Boston, and above-average in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Cheyenne, Quincy, Silicon Valley and Southern California.
“The large price differential between high- and low-cost markets suggests that prudent site selection efforts should not overlook the land acquisition component,” said Jessica Ostermick, director of research and analysis, CBRE. “In addition, while labor costs rank relatively low among our factors, it is important to also consider the availability of engineering staff and construction labor—particularly in less-developed and low-cost markets where the available talent pool is limited.”
“Our study also revealed a positive relationship between the size of a market’s population and its cost segment: the more populous markets tend to fall in the moderate- or high-cost segments,” said Jeff West, director of data center research, CBRE. “In fact, all of the moderate- and high-cost markets have populations greater than 1 million.”
For the full report, click here.
Colorado’s New Energy Improvement District has launched a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program – providing commercial property owners a unique mechanism to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water-conservation improvements. The C-PACE program offers commercial property owners the opportunity to spread energy and water project costs over a term of up to 20 years, and repay them through an assessment on their property tax bill, with no upfront capital outlay.
“Commercial buildings currently account for about 20% of Colorado’s energy use. Colorado’s commercial PACE program offers a financial tool to help spur energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in our state’s building infrastructure, providing long-term utility savings, while stimulating the economy,” said Paul Scharfenberger, chairman of the New Energy Improvement District board.
The program provides financing for a variety of improvements, including new heating or cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, insulation, solar panels and other renewable energy projects. Typical long term C-PACE financing covers 100% of a project’s cost and is repaid, for up to 20 years, in semi-annual payments that are structured as a regular line item on the property tax bill. When a property is sold the PACE assessment stays with the property and transfers to the new owner who, in turn, enjoys the ongoing utility cost-savings associated with the project.
Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) was competitively selected as the Colorado C-PACE administrator and will oversee an open, competitive lending model that makes it possible for a wide variety of capital providers to participate. All projects will be financed entirely with private funds, allowing local lenders, national banks, and PACE capital providers an opportunity to finance projects.
“C-PACE provides commercial and industrial building owners with an attractive way to finance capital intensive building modernization projects. The resulting energy savings typically outweigh the annual assessment payment thereby enabling cash flow positive projects,” said Brian J. McCarter, CEO of SRS, administrator for the Colorado C-PACE program.
Eligible properties include office buildings, hotels, retail, agricultural, non-profits, industrial buildings and multi-family properties – with five or more units. Projects must be located in counties that have opted to participate in the program. Boulder County has opted-in, and several other counties around the state already have indicated that they plan to participate.
For more information, visit the Colorado C-PACE website.
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“Orchestra,” a proposed system of coordinating the many facets of corporate real estate (CRE) developed by a team of students from China’s Tsinghua University, has won the first-ever Academic Challenge presented by CoreNet Global. The student team and the university will each receive $10,000 for winning the challenge.
The goal of Orchestra is to close the gap between the speed of real estate and the speed of business, according to the team’s entry. “We are trying to reduce the days, weeks or months between the realization of the existing need of more space (office space, manufacturing space, storage space, and other types) and its final delivery in form of usable area,” according to the team’s application.
“The gap between the speed of business and the speed of corporate real estate is a persistent challenge in our profession,” said Dean Jordan, Senior Director of Business Development, University & External Relations. “These students took on that challenge and developed an innovative solution that not only impressed the judges, but also demonstrated the potential to be further developed and applied in real world settings.”
Orchestra is a conceptual project extranet software, which would be managed by the CRE department, and operate in real time through the cloud in PC and mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) with several objectives:
- Store standardized information of the various functions of corporate real estate — to compare their compatibility for any specific project
- Control the transfer of information among the stakeholders
- Process the information generated during transactions to provide for more transparent and efficient decisions made by the CRE department
- Integrate the CRE management of the corporation in any city or region around the world into one central control data base that provides real time information as required by the head managers or shareholders
In its entry, the student team said that Orchestra closes the gap by reducing the time required to deliver information and share feedback, storing and providing access to project history, allowing global integration with instant access to worldwide corporate portfolios and creating open spaces where managers, consultants and contractors can see each other and make decisions in a more transparent environment.
CoreNet Global launched the Academic Challenge, which is sponsored by Cushman & Wakefield, earlier this year. Real estate, human resources and technology typically rank among the top three expenditures of most corporations, and corporate real estate executives manage millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars of assets across the globe. The academic challenge is part of CoreNet Global’s strategic priority of strengthening its relationship with academic institutions around the world in order to grow the pipeline of talent into the challenging, rewarding, and often overlooked career of corporate real estate.
In its first year, the competition attracted 78 registered teams from 190 students at 65 universities in 26 countries. CoreNet Global plans to conduct the Academic Challenge yearly. It is open to students interested in creating corporate real estate solutions around the globe.
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Five new trends are shaping commercial real estate development in the United States, according to new research from Prologis, Inc. The latest paper from Prologis Research — “A New Supply Paradigm: Five Trends Shaping Real Estate Development” — identifies the factors that are leading to a more disciplined development cycle compared to past cycles.
These factors include:
- Consolidation and institutionalization: Movement toward larger-scale institutions as key players.
- Greater aversion to and a measured appetite for risk: Changing attitudes by institutions–both on the equity side and the debt side.
- New lending constraints: Expanded banking regulations and a preference for relationship lending and institutional borrowers.
- Tighter talent pool: A shortage of real estate professionals with relevant development expertise.
- Better access to industry information: The ability to approach opportunities and risks proactively and in real time.
“The great recession laid the groundwork for more conservatism on new commercial development in the U.S.,” said Chris Caton, senior vice president, Prologis Research. “Today, key players are more disciplined and are in a better position to respond to shifting market dynamics.”
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Smaller tenants looking for less than 5,000 square feet represent 80% of the office market, generally take the same amount of a rep’s time, but generate less revenue per deal than larger tenants. To make these tenants more attractive to tenant and landlord reps, Crelow has introduced three new services —Crebates™, Rep Matcher™, and Bid Requests™ — that will help smaller businesses find their perfect space.
The services add to the capabilities of the Crelow Deal Board™, announced earlier this year, the first service in the commercial real estate industry that allows tenants to send out bid requests and have the market come to them.
“Crelow has only been in business for about 10 months but we’re excited to introduce three new services we believe will revolutionize the way commercial real estate is done. All three of these new services are available right now in both of our current markets, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver,” Jim Simpson, Founder and CEO of Crelow, wrote in his blog.
“Though much of what we do and how we do it has been enhanced with the release of these new services, the inspiration behind Crelow itself is unchanged,” he continued. “From the very first whiteboard session more than two years ago, Crelow has been designed from scratch with just one goal in mind: Put tenants in control and help them find the perfect fit in their next office.”
Crelow’s new marketplace has changed the way bids are created with a product called the Crebate™. Commissions paid by landlords to tenant reps can add significant cost to a lease deal. Instead, the Crebate helps landlords submit more attractive bids with a flexible tenant cash incentive. This incentive, paid directly to the tenant after lease signing, is created from the commission savings they derive by dealing directly with tenants who have submitted Bid Requests without tenant representation.
Rep Matcher solves a problem for both tenant and rep. It gives reps access to prequalified tenants coming to them, and broadens the tenants’ opportunity to find a rep they feel comfortable with. Once they have filled out basic information about the size, style and move-in date of the office space they are seeking, the technology presents the tenant with a “gallery” of reps who specialize in what they are looking for and, with the click of a button, they can request an introduction.
The Bid Requester™
The Bid Requester™ web-app assists tenants in specifying the size, style, location, price and special requirements for office space that can help them attract and retain the right people. Bid requests are posted to the Deal Board and Crelow alerts landlord reps of bid requests in their area, so they can respond with competitive bids.
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Clients and tenants worldwide are increasingly demanding sustainability – for both energy efficiency and occupant benefit — and green building continues to double every three years, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 report by Dodge Data & Analytics.
The findings of the report, which received funding from United Technologies, were presented by Bob McDonough, President, UTC Climate, Controls & Security at the recent 2015 Greenbuild International Summit in Washington, DC.
“It’s critical that building industry professionals have the latest data and trends to inform designs and decisions,” said McDonough. “This information is valuable as we look to accelerate buildings that will foster sustainable, healthy environments.”
The new report surveyed more than 1,000 architects, engineers, contractors, owners, specialists and consultants in 69 countries to understand their current green building project involvement and expectations for 2018. In addition to expanding the sample size by more than 25 percent over the 2012 study, the new report also has a higher percentage of architect and contractor participation across a larger number of countries.
“The greater engagement by practitioners reflects the current green building environment,” said Stephen A. Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights, Dodge Data & Analytics. “Their responses demonstrate that sustainability continues to have a transformative effect on design and construction professionals globally.”
Green Building Trends
Across all regions studied, respondents increasingly projected that more than 60 percent of their projects would be green projects by 2018, with a doubling from current projects across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The largest percentage of green building activity continues to be in the commercial building segment, comprising 46 percent of respondents’ future green building projects.
Activity in institutional buildings – schools, hospitals and public buildings – is expected to surpass green building projects in existing buildings (38 and 37 percent respectively) by 2018.
Green Building Drivers
Client demands are a driver for green building activity according to 40 percent of respondents, followed by environmental regulations (35 percent). Both categories increased over 2008 and 2012 responses.
An enhanced awareness of the occupant and tenant benefits of green buildings emerged in the 2016 report, with healthier neighborhoods (15 percent), higher return on investment (11 percent) and employee recruitment (5 percent) increasing as drivers.
Regarding social motivators, respondents ranked encouraging sustainable business practices as the most important benefit of green building (68 percent), followed by its ability to support the domestic economy, create a sense of community, and increase worker productivity (all 50 percent or higher).
From an environmental perspective, reducing energy consumption (84 percent) and reducing water consumption (76 percent) topped the list as important.
“These results reinforce what those in the green building industry already know – green buildings are better for the environment, better for business, and better for the people within them,” said John Mandyck, UTC Chief Sustainability Officer. “Green building activity continues to accelerate, with growing awareness of occupant and tenant benefits, speaking to the fact that the real, tangible benefits of green buildings are becoming more widely recognized.”