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The Pandemic is Changing Life Sciences Real Estate –



As other segments of the economy have suffered in 2020, life sciences are emerging as a bright spot. 

Private investors have put more than $16 billion to work in life sciences in the first half of 2020, while the National Institutes of Health continues to up its grant volume. In 1994, NIH gave out $11 billion in grants. By 2019, that number jumped to $39.1 billion, JLL’s Life Sciences practice Global Leader Roger Humphrey wrote for NAIOP

The pursuit of COVID-19-related therapeutics, antibody tests and a vaccine contributed to this increase in funding. But it wasn’t the entire story, according to Humphrey. An aging US population needing life-sustaining and life-extending care, wellness-conscious millennials and a prescription drug market on track to reach $1 trillion by 2022 also drove this market. 

To secure funding, Humphrey writes that life sciences companies must create a work environment that encourages innovation and productivity while remaining flexible to meet new and evolving demands. 

As these firms need to remain flexible, they’re adopting more technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

“That means a growing portion of today’s lab looks more like a traditional office, even if its operational systems are far more sophisticated,” Humphrey writes.

While computers and the internet have allowed many office workers to work remotely, Humphrey writes that life sciences companies still brought workers into labs. They are incorporating staggered shifts and social distancing to keep their work on track. Many administrative staffers at these companies are working from home.

“Flexible lab space that can adjust to a variety of work tasks with limited downtime will be critical, along with ‘free’ space that can be called on to meet changing industry conditions,” Humphrey writes.

The locations of this space could be changing, though. Boston, San Francisco and San Diego secured up to 70% of venture capital investments in 2019. While these locales offer proximity to a highly educated workforce and ties to leading research institutions, Humphrey reports some companies are starting to look to secondary markets to cut costs. He writes that these secondary markets include Maryland, North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles.

Others agree that high costs are creating new life science hubs. “Major metropolitan cities like Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego that have been long-established life science hubs are expensive to operate in,” Mark Hefner, CEO and shareholder of MGO Realty Advisors told GlobeSt. in an earlier interview

 “Everything from real estate to cost of living in these cities is expensive. Now, with the Covid-19 crisis, companies are facing tremendous budget constraints and increasing pressures on their bottom line, forcing them to reconsider where they are located.”

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Hudson's Bay Company Launches Division to Redevelop Real Estate Assets – Toronto Storeys



Following months of uncertainty in the retail sector brought on by COVID-19, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) is looking to capitalize on its assets with the launch of a real estate and investment arm.

The 350-year-old retailer announced the new venture on Monday, called HBC Properties and Investments (HBCPI), which will look to convert some of Hudson’s Bay’s real estate into mixed-use developments.

The company currently owns or controls — either entirely or with joint venture partners — about 40 million square feet of gross leasable area across North America.

Among its portfolio of companies are three distinguished retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue, a premier luxury retailer, Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s preeminent multi-category retailer, and Saks OFF 5TH, a leading off-price retailer.

As part of the HBCPI initiative, the company is utilizing the 40-year-old large-scale US-based property development company Streetworks Development, which HBC acquired last year, to create “transformative multi-use environments” that marks the latest milestone in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s shift to a holding company structure with distinct portfolio businesses that operate “at the intersection of retail and real estate.”

READ: Amazon Opening Two New Fulfillment Centres, Creating 2,500 Jobs in GTHA

“This is an exciting phase of our company’s transformation and provides us with a significant opportunity to unleash the full potential of our real estate and investments business,” Richard Baker, HBC’s Executive Chairman and CEO said in a statement.

“Under this new organization, we will build upon our strong foundation of valuable real estate assets in key demographic areas. We will also continue our strong track record of maximizing our portfolio and generating value from these assets, as we did through the sales of the Lord + Taylor flagship building and our interest in European real estate assets. With the team’s deep expertise and forward-thinking approach to capitalizing on the intersection of retail and real estate, HBCPI is well-equipped to further elevate and increase the value of our portfolio.”

Ian Putnam has been appointed as President and CEO of HBC Properties and Investments — he previously served as President, Real Estate and Chief Corporate Development Officer of HBC. Putnam will lead the real estate portfolio and investments including Streetworks Developments.

Real estate veteran, Kenneth Narva, Chairman and Chief Development Officer at HBC, will direct the Streetworks Development team in the planning and execution of projects that modernize properties to “unlock value-enhancing opportunities across the company’s real estate assets”.

The new real estate division will focus on creating multi-use spaces that feature a range of services and experiences across the workplace, retail, residential and entertainment categories.

Putnam said, “With HBC’s valuable portfolio of real estate and investments, including marquee flagship properties in prime metropolitan markets, coupled with Streetworks Development expertise, HBC Properties and Investments is well-positioned to succeed in today’s landscape.”

“As consumers continue to change the way they live, shop, and work, we are committed to capitalizing on these shifts while maximizing the productivity of our properties, including the physical locations of HBC’s retail operating companies,” added Putnam.

This comes at a time when the retail sector has been facing unprecedented losses due to COVID-19, with Hudson’s Bay as no exception. The coronavirus pandemic contributed to HBC’s decisions earlier this year to close their stores in downtown Edmonton and in downtown Winnipeg.

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E-commerce drives demand for warehouse real estate in Edmonton –



The rise in online shopping during the pandemic, coupled with consumers who want to get purchases in their hands quickly, is giving a bump to warehousing real estate in Edmonton.

Commercial Realtors are seeing an increased demand for the buildings required to store and distribute online purchases, and that demand is only predicted to increase, Zeshan Qureshi, associate partner at Cushman and Wakefield, told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“Consumer trends have been shifting for the last number of years to more online, and we’re seeing that COVID may have sped up some of those processes,” Qureshi said.

A Statistics Canada report found that overall retail sales declined by 17.9 per cent between February and May, while online shopping doubled during that same time period.

The pandemic created a new demand for products people would not normally have purchased online, said Qureshi.

Examples include tools to tackle home renovation projects, gym equipment when fitness facilities closed, and boxed meal delivery when restaurant dining is off the table.

Edmonton AM5:35Edmonton’s booming demand for warehouse space

The rise of Amazon hasn’t helped most businesses, except for one industry. We’ll talk about Edmonton’s growing demand for warehouse space. 5:35

There’s also been a boost in more direct pandemic supplies, which require warehousing, he said.

“There was a huge rush for producers to make cleaning supplies and PPE, COVID testing, future vaccines, all those things need to get housed somewhere and, eventually, make their way to consumers,” said Qureshi.

Part of the increased demand for warehouse space in Edmonton is fuelled by the promise of quick delivery. You need a warehouse nearby to do that, Qureshi said.

“The consumer expectation is not only is it going to get delivered to me, but we know how it is, a week or two weeks seems like a long time. I’d prefer to have it in two days,” Qureshi said.

Filling the energy gap

Amazon’s fulfillment centre in Leduc County. (Nate Gross/CBC)

The demand for warehousing in Edmonton and area comes as demand from other commercial tenants, such as restaurants, offices and retail, drops off.

Office vacancy remains high in Edmonton, hovering around 19 per cent, according to a recent report from commercial real estate company CBRE Canada.

Kris Augustson, vice-president of leasing and land sales for Remington Development Corporation, said the increased demand for warehouse space related to e-commerce could help to fill some of the light industrial real estate vacancies left by shuttered energy companies.  

“Our traditional energy sector users are starting to scale back. We’re seeing a decline in demand in that market,” Augustson said. “However, we’ve been able to fill that with users who might not have been in the market over the last three years, by going to the e-commerce side of things.”

Remington Development Corporation’s biggest project is Discovery Business Park, on Highway 2 just north of the Edmonton International Airport. It offers a mix of light industrial, commercial and business park space.

Amazon is one of the biggest tenants in Discovery Business Park, with a 115,000 square-foot building on 21 acres, said Augustson. While the Amazon deal was finalized before the pandemic, in February 2020, Amazon started operations there in August.

Amazon also opened its fulfilment centre in Nisku in August, a massive one-million-square-foot facility, where staff pick and ship orders.

Lots of companies are circling the market, looking at available real estate, but lacking confidence to do deals, Augustson said.

However, he thinks industrial real estate, buoyed in part by the growing e-commerce sector, might be in a better position than other sectors in the years to come.

“It will be an interesting couple years,” he said. “No one has a crystal ball, for sure, but I do think industrial, long term, will weather the storm fairly well.” 

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Real Estate Token Contracoin to List on ProBit Exchange – The Tokenizer



Global real estate token project Contracoin has announced that it will be listing its native token CTCN on popular global digital asset trading platform ProBit.

“We are happy to onboard the Contracoin token (CTCN) to the ProBit trading platform,” says Ronald Chan, CEO of ProBit Exchange. “It is exciting to see blockchain technology being used in real estate and we are happy to support Contracoin in an emerging industry for which we see huge upside potential.”


Disrupting a USD 228 Trillion Global Real Estate Market

Real estate is one of the largest alternative asset classes with the total global real estate market estimated to be about USD 228 trillion. The past couple of years has seen the concept of real estate token is gaining momentum in many regions around the world.

“Raising capital by utilizing blockchain technology to issue tokens democratizes the whole process of buying and selling real estate,” states Barry Lipscombe, CEO of Contracoin. “Removing traditionally high barriers to entry as well as intermediary fees for real estate, tokenization is an extremely attractive concept. We are happy that ProBit, a fast-growing crypto exchange that garners a Top 10 ranking in Korea, is supporting Contracoin and look forward to a successful listing partnership!”

Designed to Streamline Overseas Property Transactions

Contracoin is a global real estate blockchain platform which allows property investors anywhere in the world to invest and benefit from the international real estate market.

The ERC-20 Contracoin token (CTCN) is designed to streamline overseas property transactions and overcome challenges in cross-border remittances. Eliminating complicated banking processes and excessive fees, CTCN transactions will speed up fund transfers, reduce costs and remove restrictions associated with cross border transfers. The ultimate aim is to empower Contracoin investors by enabling them to purchase real estate globally using CTCN for up to 100% of the selling price.

Leveraging blockchain technology and smart contracts to get rid of manual errors, Contracoin ensures that transactions will be secure, transparent and immutable.

Backed by a Global Barter Network and a Team of World-Class Professionals

The strength of the Contracoin marketplace lies in its extensive database of more than 200,000 global merchants through Contracoin’s parent company, Contracard and its Virtual Barter network. 65% of Fortune 500 companies are included in Contracard’s global trade exchange network, which will aid in the drive to mass adoption of the Contracoin tokens.

Furthermore, the team of Contracoin consists of world-class professionals who specialize in real estate, blockchain technology, finance, legal, marketing and IT development.

Trading on ProBit Exchange Soon

Currently trading on crypto exchanges CoinBene and P2PB2B, CTCN will soon be available on ProBit.

Launched in 2018, the ProBit platform presently provides four hundred tokens for trading in seven hundred markets with 800,000 monthly active users. ProBit has 50 million combined monthly visitors on Coingecko and Coinmarketcap, a testament to why the exchange features amongst the most popular global digital trading platforms in terms of real website traffic and volume.

The details for the CTCN token listing on ProBit Exchange are as follows:

Deposits: 13:00 (KST), October 21, 2020
Trading: 13:00 (KST), October 22, 2020
Withdrawal: 13:00 (KST), October 21, 2020
Trading Pair: CTCN/USDT

With more trading promos and other details on the way, the community should stay tuned to Contracoin’s official social channels for the latest announcements of the CTCN token listing on ProBit.

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