What is so magical about the Abandoned Building Revitalization Act?

(Reprinted from Charleston City Paper)MAGCottages

On June 11, 2013, Gov. Nikki Haley handed owners of abandoned buildings a magic wand when she signed into law the most powerful incentive for neighborhood revitalization that South Carolina has ever seen. It’s called the Abandoned Building Revitalization Act (ABRA), and its passage was an initiative of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The act was supported by a coalition of preservationists, community activists, fire and police departments, and elected officials, including Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

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Frozen Properties?

winter buildingAre you learning of frozen properties in your portfolio? Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP) has received many calls this week to send its contractor resources to new locations to quickly address freeze damage, including damage found in operating buildings. This has been an unusual winter in which freeze damage is occurring even in “warmer” states, such as Alabama, Louisiana, and others. With record cold temperatures this week, an expected warm up occurring later in the week and more cold temperatures planned for next week, your pipes may go on a roller coaster ride that causes them to burst.

If the number of problem properties is too overwhelming, let CAP help. Please contact me to assist with properties which need any of the following services:

  • Freeze Damage Repair Estimates
  • Thawing
  • Water Shut Off
  • Heating Solutions
  • Repairs
  • Winterization 
  • Winterization check
  • Fire Sprinkler System Check

Marc Insul

President & COO

Commercial Asset Preservation, LLC                                                                                                                                      

Phone (216) 765-1220

Mobile (216) 470-9035

insulm@commercialpreservation.com                                                                                

 www.commercialpreservation.com

3 Basic Tips to Prepare for a CRE Emergency

firemicshotIts 2 am….the captain from the local fire department is on the phone with an emergency at your property. Are you prepared? Emergencies of all types can and do happen every day. From weather and natural disasters to vandalism and equipment failure, the best defense will be a good offense (accompanied of course by prepared, accessible and well-thought out response plans).

1. Know your property and its environment.

Do you have a detailed list of all tenants, what they do in your buildings, and what potentially flammable materials they retain? What are the most common hazards you might encounter at this property: frequent storms, nearby hazardous industries, high-crime? Are there unique features of your property that make emergency mitigation delayed or difficult? (e.g. access, frequent flooding, limited parking for emergency vehicles).

See the entire article here

 

1. Know your property and its environment.

Do you have a detailed list of all tenants, what they do in your buildings, and what potentially flammable materials they retain? What are the most common hazards you might encounter at this property: frequent storms, nearby hazardous industries, high-crime? Are there unique features of your property that make emergency mitigation delayed or difficult? (e.g. access, frequent flooding, limited parking for emergency vehicles).

– See more at: http://blog.thebrokerlist.com/3-basic-tips-to-prepare-for-a-cre-emergency/#sthash.pCC65sI8.dpuf

RPT-Struggling U.S. cities hope small projects yield big results

Reprinted from Reuters

By Mary Wisniewski

Nov 9 (Reuters) – Struggling U.S. Rust Belt cities for years have tried to counter the loss of manufacturing jobs with big, expensive projects like casinos and stadiums.

For cities such as Gary, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Youngstown, Ohio, these projects brought hope and headlines. Some delivered new revenue, but others brought new costs and mixed results.

Gary’s underused Genesis Convention Center, for example, cost the city $3.6 million in repairs and operations in the past year alone.

Now, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and civic leaders of some other blighted cities are going small with strategic, narrowly focused ideas such as selling vacant homes for $1, demolishing derelict buildings and neighborhood clean-up projects that produce immediate results.

To view the full article, please click here

 

RPT-Struggling U.S. cities hope small projects yield big results

Reprinted from Reuters

By Mary Wisniewski

Nov 9 (Reuters) – Struggling U.S. Rust Belt cities for years have tried to counter the loss of manufacturing jobs with big, expensive projects like casinos and stadiums.

For cities such as Gary, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Youngstown, Ohio, these projects brought hope and headlines. Some delivered new revenue, but others brought new costs and mixed results.

Gary’s underused Genesis Convention Center, for example, cost the city $3.6 million in repairs and operations in the past year alone.

Now, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and civic leaders of some other blighted cities are going small with strategic, narrowly focused ideas such as selling vacant homes for $1, demolishing derelict buildings and neighborhood clean-up projects that produce immediate results.

To view the full article, please click here

 

Blighted Cities Prefer Razing to Rebuilding

Reprinted from New Your Times Online

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BALTIMORE — Shivihah Smith’s East Baltimore neighborhood, where he lives with his mother and grandmother, is disappearing. The block one over is gone. A dozen rowhouses on an adjacent block were removed one afternoon last year. And on the corner a few weeks ago, a pair of houses that were damaged by fire collapsed. The city bulldozed those and two others, leaving scavengers to pick through the debris for bits of metal and copper wire.

To see the full article, click here.

Efficiency of one-stop maintenance shopping

 

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You’re in New York and your portfolio of properties spans both U.S. coastlines. How can you possibly manage property maintenance and day porter services remotely? The answer is a national maintenance service provider. Follow these three guidelines and managing nationwide property maintenance will become easier.

First, take detailed stock of your property’s goals.

As Kenny Rogers’s said in The Gambler, “you need to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.” What do you intend for your property? Are you holding and collecting income, refurbishing, selling, or demolishing? The tactics you choose for maintenance will be directly related to what you want to achieve in the end. Investing in major equipment for the long haul or simply protecting the property with secure fencing and perimeter lighting are very different approaches. Are you renovating the exterior and using day porter services to make the property attractive to potential buyers and/or tenants? In the end, bluffing your way through can prove costly. Take a look at the hand you were dealt and in this case, count your chips while at the table.

Second, obtain a partner that has resources in all locales, but can manage from one location.  Do you need snow removal in Boise and window boarding in Miami? A national provider utilizes a network of skilled local contractors and can manage multiple providers, dramatically reducing the time you would spend finding qualified professional contractors, following up, and confirming the completion of your project. Furthermore, a national provider eliminates the need to track down insurance certificates, licenses and other documentation from local providers. Select a company that is familiar with your industry sector (mortgage, REITs, Receivership, etc.). Your service provider should know more than just plumbing. They should understand the financial and trend data that impacts your business daily.

 Lastly, simplify your communication and billing with just one, national resource. Insist on detailed reports and photographs before/after each assignment. There is time and cost saving advantages to having invoices in a single format with only one W-9 to concern yourself with. Accessible online reports, invoices and photos available in real time are one hallmark of a national operation. Review their portfolio of experience and make sure they have expertise in all aspects of maintenance, inspection and repair. National maintenance managers and customer service professionals should have a broad range of experiences in countless property situations and will more than likely have dealt with your concern countless times through their career.

What you may now have discovered is that a national provider offering commercial property maintenance, preservation and day porter services is the answer to managing multiple properties in remote geographic locations. Simplify your life by having a single go to source to provide services anywhere in the U.S. vs. searching for unfamiliar, untested, and often unreliable, resources in each individual locale. Don’t gamble with your distantly located properties, the risk is too high. For more information visit www.commercialpreservation.com or call (800) 445-0640.

A BROKER’S PERSPECTIVE ON MAINTAINING OCCUPIED AND VACANT PROPERTY

cleveland-skylineBrokers often find CAP’s network a valuable resource

Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP) recently sat down with longtime commercial real estate broker Michael Guggenheim, president of Guggenheim Commercial Real Estate (GRCE), a company founded in 1961 by Michael’s father, Armin Guggenheim.  The firm, located in Cleveland, Ohio, focuses on brokerage, property management, investment sales and valuations throughout the state. Michael shared his experience on issues that arise with properties in their portfolio.

GRCE manages property, but does not self-perform maintenance. “We often contract out maintenance services to various vendors,” comments Michael.  GRCE recognizes that maintenance contractors, like CAP, can work in partnership with property managers so that each brings its service specialty to the property without conflict. The specialized services of a maintenance contractor augment a broker and ultimately make them a more valuable business partner. Through the national service provided, CAP also has become a resource to brokers and property managers by finding brokerage and property management opportunities for its business partners. Maintenance companies, like CAP, are not licensed brokers or property managers.

“The challenges we face include vacant and partially occupied properties with security, vandalism and limited ‘client’ resources (cash) making it difficult to stay on top of property conditions.” Michael reports also that occupied, older facilities, with often outdated operating and mechanical systems present even more challenges. GRCE clients readying a property for sale often clean up the property twice year, typically spring and fall. We asked Michael about what prompts owners to action with maintaining and securing their properties. “GRCE upon possession often engages the city to determine what, if any, code and/ or health & safety violations exist. We try to be proactive so as to maintain the integrity and value of the building.” GRCE has had good experience with clients of vacant buildings preemptively winterizing properties, a must in the harsh Northeast Ohio winter climate. What problems do you face with your portfolio of properties? Send your questions to Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation insulm@commercialpreservation.com.

Keep Vandals and Vermin out of Vacant Facilities

B_0913_Vandals1CAP’s Marc Insul contributes to this feature article in Buildings Magazine. Click to read full article.

Chances are you’re familiar with old, abandoned buildings – hopefully not because one is in your portfolio, but perhaps there’s one in your neighborhood. The roof is caving. It’s infested with rodents. Debris litters the lot. You probably wonder how the property came to be in its present state and why the owner isn’t keeping it in better shape. It’s at this point that onlookers may call the city and make a formal complaint.

When a property of yours becomes unoccupied, keep your eye on it or risk it becoming an eyesore or worse. Maintenance and preservation techniques prevent vandalism, physical deterioration, and citation from local authorities.

However, the troubling truth is that owners aren’t familiar with best practices for maintaining vacant properties. From whom to notify and which inspections to perform, owners feel as hopeless and abandoned as the building itself.

“Maintaining a vacant property can be an unpleasant full-time job,” says Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP), a firm that maintains and oversees vacant properties. “But doing so is a necessary task any owner or lender of commercial property needs to consider if they want to preserve equity while preparing the property for its next use.”