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June 18, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on Bad for Business…

Bad for Business…

By: Justin Lamontagne, CCIM, SIOR, Partner | Designated Broker, The Dunham Group

The year was 2011, and a young, ambitious broker received a lead on a 30,000 SF industrial tenant in search of a simple warehouse with a few overhead doors and a loading dock. The broker swiftly compiled an inventory of 7-8 attractive options in the Greater Portland area and scheduled a property tour. Three months later, after some healthy negotiations and back-and-forth, a new lease was executed, leaving everyone satisfied with the experience and end-result.

Fast forward to today, the same broker with an identical requirement, cautiously explains to their tenant-client that the overall vacancy rate in Greater Portland is an unthinkable 0.66%. The inventory list and tour schedule are so limited that it now includes raw land, office buildings, and properties 30 miles from the preferred location. The tenant can’t believe there are no options for them to grow in Southern Maine, leading them to ask the broker for referrals out of state.

This dramatic anecdote is becoming all too common in today’s industrial sector. In simple terms, the lack of industrial supply in Southern Maine is detrimental to our economy. Analyzing this year’s Southern Maine Industrial Market Survey results, it’s shocking to note that of the 19 million SF in Greater Portland, a mere 125,000 SF is vacant. Even with sublet opportunities adding another 112,000 SF, the total available rate is a paltry 1.25%.

Expanding the geography of this year’s report to other parts of Southern Maine revealed that the supply/demand imbalance permeates throughout the region from York County to Androscoggin. Only Lewiston, among the 15 towns and cities, has what could be considered a “healthy” industrial market, where tenants might have some leverage. However, even there, the numbers are somewhat misleading, with virtually all inventory accounted for by 5-6 very large empty buildings. Indeed, a recent survey in Lewiston for a 7k SF industrial client uncovered exactly one suitable option, proving their reported 10%+- vacancy rate is deceivingly high.

So, what’s an industrial business to do? While new construction and land development remain options, they are costly and time-consuming endeavors. Therefore, I predict we’ll see more creative repurposing of office and retail spaces. This trend has already begun with some small success stories. And in 2024 we will have no choice but to consider if the interiors of empty office buildings or retail buildings can be gutted and otherwise retrofitted to accommodate industrial end-users. This concept’s success will depend on several factors falling into place, not the least of which is zoning. But for lower-impact tenants not requiring traditional taller ceilings and multiple loading docks, a single-story office building could serve as a decent warehouse with the right modifications.

Not surprisingly, industrial values, both for sale and lease, continue to appreciate dramatically. For the first time, average sale prices have surpassed $100/sf, reaching $104 based on over 25 industrial sales in the Greater Portland area. Smaller buildings under 10k SF regularly see prices at or above $150/sf, equaling replacement value. This proves that the often complicated and slow process of new construction is deterring end-users. And it further indicates that “shovel-ready” industrial land sites like the Innovation District at Scarborough Downs are the most successful model.

Lease prices are also on the rise, though not as dramatically as sale values. A 3% increase was calculated in 2023, but I anticipate a more significant increase in 2024. Most listed spaces on the market are now asking well above $10/sf NNN, reaching as high as $13-14/sf for smaller units, surpassing rates for Class B and low-A office spaces in many cases. This has led to sticker shock for industrial tenants, especially those new to the market or accustomed to years of rates near $5-6/sf. This push-back from tenants is partially accounting for the slower pace in lease rate increases. Unfortunately for them, basic supply and demand economic principles will usurp any heartburn tenants have looking at their real estate budgets.

My crystal ball isn’t insightful enough to project how to fix this problem. All I can do is identify the critical issue and hope that conditions improve for our local industrial businesses. And I can always fondly reminisce about the good ‘ole days of long inventory lists and property tours.

Original article located at https://www.dunham-group.com/uploads/2024-southern-maine-industrial-market-survey_digital_.pdf

May 28, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association Recognizes Top 7 Notable Projects of 2023

Maine Real Estate & Development Association Recognizes Top 7 Notable Projects of 2023

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), the state’s leading organization promoting responsible real estate development, honored projects from Portland to Bangor to Presque Isle, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2024 Spring Conference on May 15th.

Each year, MEREDA recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2023, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

Each of the seven projects was selected in part based upon criteria including: noteworthy and significant project completed* in 2023 (*Building Occupancy Permit issued by 12 31 23), environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact, uniqueness, difficulty of development and job creation.

The recipients of MEREDA’s Top 7 Most Notable Projects of 2023 include:

• University of Southern Maine Portland Commons Residence Hall and McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Success in Portland. These two facilities represent a massive transformation of USM’s Portland campus. The first-ever Portland residence hall will provide affordable housing for students in a market where inventory is low and expensive. The new student center incorporates cross-laminated timber columns to create a signature visual expression across the front facade. These new campus facilities represent the pinnacle of sustainability and embrace renewable low-carbon building technologies. Portland Commons is the second largest Passive House residence hall in the United States and is projected to use 50% less energy than a standard modern building. The McGoldrick Center, with its large-scale 33.3-kW rooftop photovoltaic array and passive solar heating, is pursuing LEED Gold certification. The construction project is the largest in the school’s history.

• Waterfront Concerts, LLC of Old Town enlisted Ervin Architecture and completed their long-standing vision of developing a best-in-class amphitheater, with the Maine Savings Amphitheater being the largest and most modern music venue north of Boston. Bangor is now a premier concert destination for world class talent and amazing community events. Additions include ten corporate suites, five premium clubs, several ADA improvements, improved and expanded concessions, terraced Hussey Fusion seating with wider seats and aisles, two hundred and fifty-two new bathrooms, and a dedicated video screens and audio system for the lawn. The team used Maine-made products, contractors, and environmentally sustainable materials wherever they could to maximize the impact locally and to minimize its impact on the community and environment.

• Phoenix Flats in Portland is the first building in Maine to be constructed with the use of the newly created State Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The project is the result of a unique partnership between the City of Portland, MaineHousing, Portland Housing Authority, WNC, Bangor Savings Bank, and Community Housing of Maine, Inc. (CHOM), and was made possible by a long-term land lease from the City, and an additional land donation from Donald Sussman. Designed by CWS Architects, Thornton-Tomasetti, Bennet Engineering, Terradyn Consultants, and built by AlliedCook Construction, Phoenix Flats is Passive House Certified, and its design is the embodiment of all CHOM has learned about good design, energy efficiency, and thermal comfort. This development combines both affordable residential apartments and first-class commercial space into one building in downtown Portland. Beyond adding critical affordable housing, it is a blended Housing First development, discreetly housing people who are chronically homeless. What was once a city owned parking lot is now a beautiful building contributing to the social and economic goals of the City of Portland and the State of Maine.

• The City of Portland’s Homeless Services Center in Portland, also known as the “HSC” is Maine’s largest homeless shelter and is unparalleled in its provision of dignified living spaces and on-site wraparound support services. The HSC was thoughtfully designed and constructed specifically to serve the unhoused based on input from those experiencing homelessness. It includes 208 beds between separate men’s and women’s dormitories, a commercial kitchen and dining area, bathrooms with private showers, offices for service providers, an on-site health clinic run by Greater Portland Health, and an outdoor recreation area with garden beds. A result of many years of visioning and planning, the City of Portland selected Developers Collaborative to develop the shelter and lease it back to the City. Winton Scott Architects designed the building and Cianbro served as construction manager. The HSC utilized a pre-engineered Murox building system, concrete floors, and minimal finishes. The result is a LEED Gold-certified building that is durable, functional, comfortable, and humane. HSC operations are free of fossil fuels, powered instead by a solar array installed on the building’s roof. Heating, cooling, and hot water are entirely electric, and the building features a highly efficient variable refrigerant flow system.

• The Northeastland Hotel project in Presque Isle is noteworthy for its groundbreaking approach to community development, where a nonprofit partnered with the private sector to drive economic growth and create new opportunities in Presque Isle. Ignite PI reimagined the Northeastland Hotel as a dynamic hub for innovation and economic growth. Haley Ward, served as the Lead Designer and Architect of Record, and played a pivotal role in this endeavor, collaborating with Bowerbird Design Collective as the Interior Designer and Nickerson & O’Day, Inc. as the Construction Manager. The completion of Phase I in March 2023 marked a significant milestone for the renovation of over 8,900 square feet of space within the hotel. The repurposed Northeastland Hotel houses a coworking Innovation Center and revitalized common areas, including the restaurant, lobby, and staff rooms. This multifaceted approach not only modernizes the hotel but also transforms it into a vibrant space that fosters collaboration, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. The project highlights how a collaborative, forward-thinking approach can transform a community and its historical landmarks.

• Johnson Hall Redevelopment, LLC, redeveloped Maine’s oldest Opera Theater. Johnson Hall Opera House in Gardiner, the three-story brick Italianate building is a significant feature of Gardiner’s Historic District with a fascinating history spanning over 150 years. The building received both interior and exterior renovations to all three floors with an installation of a new balcony. It was constructed in conformance with historic standards as set forth by the National Park Service, Maine Historical Preservation Commission standards and Gardiner Historical Society requirements. Today the building features a 400-seat theater with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and projection equipment; a gracious lobby and concession area; and a green room for performers on the second floor; an expanded foyer and full-service box office on the ground floor; a renovated 100-seat theater on the lower level; and ADA compliant access throughout all floors with ramps, an elevator and a stage lift. During pre-construction and construction, over 37 consultants and businesses combined were engaged in the project. Johnson Hall Opera House is now an anchor to downtown hospitality businesses and an engine of economic opportunity. It will promote, create, and inspire artistic excellence through the presentation of world class entertainment and professional performing arts education to the Kennebec Valley.

• Reveler Development’s The Armature at Hanover Works in Portland is Portland’s first and only lifestyle apartment complex. The mixed-use property opened for occupancy in November 2023 and is located in Portland’s rapidly emerging West Bayside neighborhood, featuring 171 residential units, 10% of which is workforce housing, with integrated parking and 6,400 SF of commercial space. The Armature provides much-needed housing while also transforming the building’s ground floor into a retail and dining hub within West Bayside. Once a mechanical garage and surface parking lot for Portland’s fleet of public works vehicles, the industrial history of the site inspired The Armature’s name and branding. A ground-up construction project, The Armature required an intensive construction timeline and was made possible by a collaborative effort with its project partners, including Penobscot General Contractors, Acorn Engineering, and Reveler’s in-house construction team. The space was designed by Boston-based architecture firm Cube3. On the ground floor, The Armature’s four commercial spaces will connect with local businesses along 82 Hanover Street, forming Hanover Works and fostering an indoor-outdoor neighborhood hub.

MEREDA congratulates its 2023 Notable Project Award Recipients and thanks its Membership for their continued commitment to responsible development in Maine. Each project will be recognized in the Maine Real Estate Insider e-newsletter published by Mainebiz, running Summer of 2024.

For more information on these impressive projects, please click here.

May 14, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on The Greater Portland Retail Forecast for 2024

The Greater Portland Retail Forecast for 2024

On February 29th, 2024, Peter Harrington of Malone Commercial Brokers presented “The Greater Portland retail forecast for 2024” at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA’s) 2024 Annual Forecast Conference. The following is an overview of what Harrington presented.

Looking back at 2023, the retail scene in the greater Portland area remained resilient though we did see a slight uptick in the overall vacancy rate from 4.23% to 4.33%. A large portion of the vacancies in the market can be attributed to a few spaces. In Portland, where the vacancy rate stood at 3.9%, lease rates displayed quite a range, spanning from $8 to $40 per s/f for triple net spaces and $25 to $35 per s/f for modified gross spaces. Notably, the Old Port, which can be difficult to track due to the number of retail spaces, showed a vacancy rate of around 2%, with lease rates ranging from $40 to $75 per s/f on a modified gross basis.

There weren’t as many retail buildings sold in 2023, but one notable transaction was the sale of the West Elm building on Middle St. for $5.2 million, which included approximately 3,700 s/f of unfinished space on the lower level.

Scarborough stood out with an impressively low vacancy rate of 0.9%. Scarborough also saw the opening of the first Costco in Maine. Additionally, the ongoing development of the town center at the Downs project promises an enticing blend of retail, dining options, and recreational facilities.

In South Portland, a 5.1% vacancy rate persisted, primarily attributed to the former Sears space. However, the Maine Mall managed to achieve pre-pandemic sales levels despite operating with reduced hours. New tenants such as Box Lunch, Peapod Jewelry, Carters, and Miniso added vibrancy to their retail landscape.

Westbrook had seemingly high vacancy rates at 14.7%, which is mostly due to the former Shaw’s vacancy. The Rock Row development has continued to captivate interest, buoyed by attractions like REI, Market Basket, Chick-fil-A, and Cowbell Rock Row. On the downtown front, Westbrook exhibited strong occupancy and ongoing residential expansions.

Meanwhile, Falmouth maintained a steady vacancy rate of approximately 2%, with ongoing construction at the shops at Falmouth Sq. — a 20,980 s/f retail space that has already secured substantial interest, alongside plans for upper-floor condos ranging from $550,000 to $1 million.

Southern Maine is still a strong destination for tourists as well as locals. We’re seeing tremendous demand for space on the peninsula in Portland. Madewell opened at 75 Market St. a little over a year ago, it’s one of the top stores they have. Construction is underway to convert former retail banking and office space at One Canal Plaza to high-end retail offerings.

There are two ongoing historic rehabilitation projects by East Brown Cow, which will help contribute to the vibrancy of retail offerings in the area. One is on the corner of Middle St. and Exchange St.; all retail spaces at this location have been leased. The other rehab is at 121 Middle St. Both will be stunning properties when completed. A few weeks ago, we orchestrated a lease with Free People at 121 Middle St., which will be their first store in Maine. A 2,470± s/f retail space still remains next to this exciting new tenant. We are continuing to see the best-of-breed retailers realizing the value of Portland and continuing to expand here, complementing the locally-owned, award-winning restaurants, shops, and breweries.

One potentially adverse factor that could impact retail in 2024 is that interest rates are still high. This could lead to a slowdown in some of the retail that’s directly related to housing in the U.S. Weather has been another factor. There have been major weather events coast to coast which have affected retail a little bit since the beginning of the year.

Despite these factors, we think 2024 will be another good year for retail. It’s, as always, based on the U.S. consumer. Due to the strong wage growth, and additional jobs being added, the U.S. economy continues to expand. Without new retail space being added, overall vacancy rates will remain low.

Retail is a sector that everyone thought would no longer be as viable with the onslaught of online shopping. This has proven to be incorrect. People are still going out and shopping in physical stores. I don’t see that trend ending in the U.S. anytime soon. Frankly, it’s what a lot of people like to do, it’s about the experience.

Original article published March 1, 2024, https://www.malonecb.com/news-feed/2024/4/3/the-greater-portland-retail-forecast-for-2024

April 23, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on RECAP OF FEBRUARY 29, 2024 MEREDA REGIONAL FORECAST

RECAP OF FEBRUARY 29, 2024 MEREDA REGIONAL FORECAST

By Chris Paszyc, CCIM, SIOR | The Boulos Company – Partner, Broker

On February 29th Chris Paszyc participated on the “Regional Outlook” Panel at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA’s) 2024 Annual Forecast Conference. Below is a recap from his presentation.

AUGUSTA

The office market in Augusta has proved to be resilient and often surprising, bucking regional and national trends.  Office leasing and sales have held up well despite the work-from-home movement.  Furthermore, rents have seen an uptick in the past 12-18 months.  Augusta also had one of the largest investment sales to occur in Maine at Central Maine Commerce Center, which sold for $18.5 million in 2023.

On the residential front, Augusta’s City Council has a stated goal to encourage new and varied types of housing development.  This has led to a variety of single-and-multifamily project to be permitted.  However, many of them have yet to be constructed.  Given the difficulty and costs associated with debt, equity and construction pricing juxtaposed with market rents, it may be a while before we see shovels in the ground.  The leadership at Augusta also want to see industrial development, as their vacancy rate is practically zero.  Again, given the high costs of new development versus market rents, it will be difficult to move new developments forward.

WATERVILLE

Waterville continues to excite!  According to a recent tally by the Central Maine Growth Council, downtown initiatives investment now total over $100 million.  Some exciting projects on the slate for 2024-2025 include the Head of Falls Village on Front Street, spearheaded by a partnership of Todd Alexander at Renewal Housing and Josh Benthien at Northland.  This is the new 63 units planned, with a project budget of $36 million.  Demo and site remediation to start Spring 2024.  In addition, North River has 145 new units planned at Lockwood Mills – 65 units of workforce and market rate in Phase 1, with 80 more planned in Phase 2.  There’s also 120,000 sf of new industrial planned for the new Trafton Rd exit, a new Reny’s and a new $60 million performing arts center at Colby.

LEWISTON/AUBURN

In Lewiston/Auburn, there’s demand for housing – a market study states there is demand for 2,600 new market rate units, with downtown capturing 560 of those units.  There are numerous housing projects in various stages of development:

  • Jason Levesque and Joe Mannisto have 320 units with approvals near Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston
  • The Residences at Great Falls on the Androscoggin have 244 units approved
  • Dave Gendron has site plan approval for over 200 units in Lewiston, and John Gendron has 96 now permitted, with plans for over 1,100 in Auburn
  • In all, Auburn as 475 new units in the pipeline for since 2020

However, the office market outlook for L/A is uncertain.  There are a number large office buildings currently not utilized.  In all, we estimate over 700,000 sf currently sitting idle or underutilized.  The alternatives are industrial conversion, housing or retail.  Or smaller subdivided office, just not likely with the existing tenants.

Industrial continues to dominate with very little functional vacancy.  Dave Gendron has started construction on another spec multi-tenanted flex industrial building in Auburn and permitting another in Lewiston after recently filling the last remaining vacancy.

In conclusion, Auburn is vying to become one of Maine’s federally designated Tech Hubs for advancement of innovative forest bioproducts with a large industrial project in the works around Exit 75.  That will be making headlines in 2024.

THE “DARK HORSE”

My “dark horse” bet for 2024 is the Jay Paper Mill redevelopment.  Developers are going thru SLODA to subdivide the land and buildings to make available for lease and purchase opportunities.  They’re also going thru with a gas turbine and solar facility taking advantage of the 150MW interconnect.  Recently, they announced a deal to sell a 60-acre parcel to construct a 300,000 sf plant that will manufacture oriented stand board (OSB).  However, it’s just the start for this 1,000 acre site with 900,000 sf of existing high-bay industrial space.

In summary, Central Maine remains an integral component of Maine’s commercial real estate landscape.

February 20, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on Factors Affecting the Value of a Company

Factors Affecting the Value of a Company

By: BerryDunn Professionals, Casey Karlsen, Senior Manager | CFA, ASA and Seth Webber, Principal | CFA, ASA, CEPA

Consider the value of the following two hypothetical companies. Anita owns A+ Manufacturing, a car parts manufacturer that employs 100 people. Roger owns a very similar company, D- Manufacturing, which also manufactures car parts and employs 100 people. These companies are both almost identical, and last year, they generated the same amount of revenue and income. A key difference, however, is in the management styles of the owners. Roger is extremely disorganized and has difficulty with record retention, locating information, and tracking and analyzing data. He is relatively inexperienced as a manager. Anita, meanwhile, is very punctual and organized and has 15 years of management experience. She relies heavily on tracking operational and financial data and makes this information readily available to managers and their teams. She believes in an organized, clean workplace, and her strong leadership and carefully maintained culture have resulted in employee tenure that is much higher than industry standards. Which company is more valuable?

Despite being identical in terms of service offering and size, most people would identify A+ Manufacturing as being more valuable. Alarm bells start to ring in a valuation analyst’s head when learning about the sloppy management style, lack of experience, and poor use of data at D- Manufacturing. The difference in value should be substantial. Despite generating the same amount of profit last year, A+ Manufacturing could be worth twice as much as D- Manufacturing because these risk factors may jeopardize future profits.

In addition to the risk factors from the above example, there are many other drivers of business value.

Valuation formula
In its simplest form, the valuation of a business can be reduced to the following formula based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Factors that affect value do so by affecting the valuation multiple. Companies such as D- Manufacturing would be worth a lower multiple of EBITDA, and a higher multiple would be justified for less risky companies such as A+ Manufacturing.

Estimating an EBITDA multiple
A generic multiple often thrown around is 5x EBITDA. EBITDA multiples from the DealStats database have historically been in this range, but have come down in the last few years, as shown in the accompanying chart.1

Median Selling Price/EBITDA with Trailing Three-Quarter Average

EBITDA multiples vary widely by industry. For example, in the DealStats database, the median EBITDA multiple for retail trade was 3.7x compared to 6.1x for manufacturing companies.2 The chart below presents EBITDA multiples by industry from the DealStats database.

Selling Price/EBITDA Interquartile Range by Industry Sector (Private Targets)

Even within a specific industry, multiples can vary dramatically. For example, from the chart above, the median wholesale trade multiple was slightly above 5.0x, but the 75th percentile multiple for this industry was nearly 10.0x.

Factors affecting EBITDA multiples
Differences in valuation multiples from company to company reflect differences in risk profiles. High-risk companies command lower multiples than safe investments. The following chart illustrates how certain operational risk factors may affect the valuation multiple.

Other factors that affect valuation multiples include the following:

Access to capital
Supplier concentration
Supplier pricing advantage
Product or service diversification
Life cycle of current products or services
Geographical distribution
Currency risk
Internal controls
Business owner reliance
Legal/litigation issues
Years in operation
Location
Demographics
Availability of labor
Employee stability
Internal and external culture
Economic factors
Industry and government regulations
Political factors
Fixed asset age and condition
Strength of intangible assets
Distribution system
IT systems
Technology life cycle

One model to assess risk and select an appropriate multiple is the exit and succession planning software prepared by MAUS Business Systems (“MAUS”). The MAUS Business Attractiveness model assists analysts in assessing and diagramming the risk profile of a company. This model was developed to assess business attractiveness to potential acquirers based on common risk factors. Analysts can use this software as part of their assessment of an appropriate valuation multiple. This model is also a helpful communication tool because it provides a visual representation of a company’s risk profile and highlights the areas in which a company can improve.

Using this model, analysts assess a company’s risk profile regarding several key factors. MAUS then generates a report that includes a series of diagrams like the one below. Business attractiveness factors are positioned around the outside of a polygon. If a company performs well regarding a particular factor, a point is plotted toward the outside of the polygon. If the company performs poorly, a point is plotted toward the center of the shape. The points are then connected to visualize a company’s risk profile.

Business Risk & Value Factors

The larger the colored shape is in the MAUS diagram, the higher the valuation multiple should be. However, these factors do not all affect the multiple equally. The valuation multiple may be highly responsive to some factors and less responsive to others. Additionally, each factor may not have a linear effect on the valuation multiple. For these reasons, formula-based estimates of valuation multiples are often inaccurate, although a great place to start for a ballpark indication of value. For matters of importance where accuracy is paramount, we strongly recommend consulting with a valuation professional. In addition to valuation expertise, an outside party provides an independent, unbiased assessment of value.

Conclusion
The value of a business can be affected dramatically by its risk profile. Analysts value businesses based on a number of different factors that affect value.

Learn what risk factors your company may have and how those affect your business value by downloading our value driver matrix.

1,2 DealStats Value Index 4Q 2023, Business Valuation Resources, LLC (www.bvresources.com).

Original article published on 01.24.24, and reprinted with permission by BerryDunn, https://www.berrydunn.com/business-value

January 23, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting – Post Form 300A by February 1

Brought to you by the Safety & Risk Consulting Team at Clark Insurance & Marsh McLennan Agency

Many employers having more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of work-related injuries and illnesses, (OSHA Logs). All establishments subject to this requirement must complete and post the OSHA Annual Summary Form 300A, even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the calendar year.

Are you partially exempt from the recordkeeping and reporting requirements?

Employers in certain low risk industries are exempt from these requirements unless OSHA, the BLS, or the Division of Occupational Safety and Health asks them to do so. Follow these steps to determine if you qualify for the partial exemption:

Determine your NAICS, and identify the first 4 numbers.
Review the Exception Table – If your first 4 numbers appear on the table, your company is exempt unless otherwise required.

Posting Requirement – By February 1 of each year you must:

• Review the 300 Log to verify the entries are complete and accurate.
• Complete the Summary Form 300A utilizing the information recorded on the 300 Log.
• A company executive must certify and date the 300A Summary Form.
• Post the Annual Summary from February 1 to April 30 of the year following the year covered.
o You must post a copy in each establishment in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted.
o You must ensure the posted 300A is not altered, defaced, or covered by other material.

Electronic Submission Requirements (if applicable):

The electronic filing requirement applies to the below listed establishments:

• Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in specific industries with higher instances of injuries or illnesses must submit the information from the Form 300A electronically. Review a Full List of these industries.
• Establishments with 250 or more employees required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must submit the information from the Form 300A electronically.
• Upon notification, you must electronically submit the requested information from your OSHA injury and illness records to OSHA or OSHA’s designee.

Note: Employers can find instructions for registering and recording the 300A data on OSHA’s ITA webpage. Establishments have to submit the required information by March 2 of the year after the calendar year covered.

***NEW Additional Requirements for Employers with over 100 Employees

On July 17, 2023, OSHA announced a final rule that will require certain employers in designated high-hazard industries to electronically submit additional injury and illness information than what is currently requires but employers are already required to keep. This rule became effective on January 1, 2024, and applies to your 2023 submission.

The final rule includes the following submission requirements:

• Establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries must electronically submit information from their Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report, to OSHA once a year. These submissions are in addition to the submission of Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses; and
• Establishments are required to include their legal company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA from their injury and illness records to improve data quality.

The final rule retains the current requirements for electronic submission of Form 300A information from establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-hazard industries and establishments with 250 or more employees in industries that must routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records.

Resources

OSHA Recordkeeping – Overview | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Cal/OSHA – Brief Guide to Recordkeeping Requirements
________________________________________

*If you have 10 employees or less, you are exempt, unless requested by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to maintain these logs.

If you have any questions or need assistance email us at RiskControl@MarshMMA.com

Article originally published on January 9, 2024 c8974405-c063-4824-8e0a-1c5ac8462903.pdf (constantcontact.com)

January 16, 2024 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on Construction Technology Trends

Construction Technology Trends

By David V. Jean, CPA, CCIFP, CExP |Principal, Albin Randall & Bennett

Contractors have always had to keep a close watch on technology trends to stay on the leading edge of the industry. But, historically, they have had more time for strategic planning ahead of adopting new technology. Since the pandemic, taking part in the digital transformation is a high-stakes, high-velocity endeavor. Leveraging the latest technology has become a necessary part of driving growth, increasing efficiency, boosting production, mitigating risks, and evolving with the changing needs of the industry and market. Here’s a look at some of the top technology trends in the construction industry.

Enterprise Integration
In today’s remote atmosphere, enterprise integration helps contractors access pertinent data and connect via user-friendly applications across various devices. In an era of 5G wireless connectivity, contractors can connect the office to the field. Project meetings can take place virtually to move forward without the need to gather in person.

When contractors use automated and cloud-based solutions, such as job costing, risk assessment, asset management, project management, or customer relationship management software, they can access the information they need anywhere, anytime. By automating the request for information (RFI) process, construction firms can reduce bottlenecks, paperwork, and travel while accelerating decision-making and progress.

Internet of Things (IoT)
Equipment loss and safety issues are significant liabilities in construction. Through IoT, contractors can install network-connected sensors to their equipment to perform real-time inspections and performance assessments, ensure on-site accountability, and take accurate measurements using smart devices.

These sensors may also be used in wearable safety equipment. Contractors often use drones for aerial imaging, but AI-powered image recognition can help contractors identify at-risk materials or high-risk trends in worker behavior.

Data Analytics
Data analytics is a game-changer in the construction industry. Access to data goes hand-in-hand with enterprise integration and IoT. By employing automated solutions, contractors can improve transparency significantly, which provides advantages now and in the future. For example, job costing software allows contractors to track projects in real-time to make adjustments before taking a loss. Because it compiles historical data on actual costs over time, this software also allows contractors to analyze future job profitability and make estimates with greater accuracy and less risk.

Through IoT, they can gather valuable insights on worker safety and accountability, job site and material risks, and equipment performance. Predictive analysis technology uses AI, statistics, forecasting analytics, performance management, trend analysis, and simulation modeling. In combination with IoT sensor data, this technology can help contractors with predictive maintenance.

Augmented Reality (AR)
Contractors can use AR applications for training purposes or to detect errors before breaking ground. AR applications can show machine operators fuel levels or alert them of maintenance issues in real-time. AR applications for wearable smart devices, such as smart glasses and smart helmets, allow users to superimpose safety warnings or data points (such as temperature or pressure), and assembly and repair instructions directly onto the job site.

3D-modeling applications help contractors transform plans into three-dimensional holograms. Using a smartphone or tablet, contractors can use building site monitoring applications to overlay 3D buildings in the planning process to avoid errors, unexpected costs, and rework.

Robotics
Robots are often used to perform repetitive tasks, such as bricklaying or painting. They can also help contractors complete work during labor shortages and perform work in dangerous environments to reduce injuries.

Cobots, which are AI-enabled robots designed to work alongside workers, are less costly, easier to program, and more versatile. Cobots can improve quality and consistency by applying pressure, welding, fastening, or making cuts in the exact same way across every run, which means they can improve your products and processes. According to Interact Analysis, by 2028, annual cobot revenues will reach nearly $2 billion.

Modular & Industrialized Construction
Labor shortages and the increase in cost and demand for resources have shifted the industry toward an innovative manufacturing approach. In modular construction, project components are produced offsite on a large scale and shipped to the job site for assembly. Because of its effectiveness and efficiency, modular construction is an increasingly popular option. According to MarketsandMarkets, the modular construction market will reach over $100 billion by 2025.

Industrialized construction (IC) is an expansion of modular construction movement. In IC, contractors use digital twins, which are exact replicas of physical assets, processes and systems, to support building maintenance and operations. Digital twins work as prototypes, collecting real-world information to prevent costly rework and mistakes. Contractors also use 5D Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to create digital representations of physical buildings. These technologies limit downtown and accelerate and automate traditional design, production, and operational processes.

Contractors are also turning to IC to reduce costs associated with waste. The price of plastic products, steel mill and other metal products, and number two diesel has increased significantly, and the price of lumber is back on the rise. By using innovative materials in their IC processes, contractors can align themselves with industry trends that employ sustainable and green construction methods, use fewer resources, and result in a lower carbon footprint.

Contact ARB
ARB’s Construction Advisory Services Team is dedicated to helping contractors maximize both the financial and operational aspects of their businesses, so we stay up-to-date on construction technology trends and other issues affecting your industry. We provide industry-specialized accounting, tax, and advisory services for construction start-ups, established firms, and the contractors that own them.

I help contractors with software selection and implementation, profitability analyses, forecasts, projections, job costing, and more. Contact me today if you have any questions or would like to discuss your company’s tax, accounting, and business advisory needs.

Article originally published on March 7, 2022  Construction Technology Trends | What’s Ahead for 2022? (arbcpa.com)

November 28, 2023 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on Coworking in Modern Business: Evolving Trend or Here to Stay

Coworking in Modern Business: Evolving Trend or Here to Stay

By Cameron Foster, Associate Broker, The Boulos Company

Merriam-Webster defines coworking as the practice of working within a shared building, where multiple tenants rent working spaces such as desks or offices and enjoy access to communal facilities. According to Google, the first coworking space started in 1995 in Berlin, Germany. It was called “C Base” and was primarily used by hackers. The goal was to share space and knowledge to work on coding projects. In the United States coworking first started in August of 2005 when Brad Neuberg set up the first-ever coworking space in San Francisco, known as the “Spiral Muse.”

Since then, the trend has grown, along with the internet boom, cellular communication, and the connectedness of modern global businesses. The ability to increase staff, revenue, and global presence without purchasing real estate or committing to a long-term lease has been a huge win for some businesses. This, coupled with 21st-century technological advancements, the ever-inventive entrepreneurial spirit, and customers demanding more, has led to an interesting industry story.

The business idea came from a problem. The founders of these companies saw a need in the marketplace for “shared space” as small companies grew, launched their businesses, and started to hire. The goal was to create an option between working out of an entrepreneur’s basement and signing a multi-year commercial lease with a landlord. The use of coworking is also beneficial for businesses that are slowing down their operations. As a sole proprietor, you can rent a desk or an office to maintain a professional address at a coworking space, keep your business running, and maintain flexibility. Coworking can offer limitless advantages for early-stage and end-stage companies. Coexisting with other businesses can create an incubator of ideas and can also be a great networking opportunity, growing the professional and personal relationships of the business owner.

When it comes to catching the wave— or seismic shift—in how people work, this is a developing story. The Pandemic caught everyone off guard and spurred more companies to adopt work-from-home or hybrid models. Naturally, this creates a tougher road ahead for coworking businesses. WeWork was hit the hardest. Post-pandemic the company has shut down forty (40) locations.

In 2022, the Real Deal named the top ten coworking operators in the United States. All ten companies were established within the last thirty years, and they all share the same model: providing shared office space services for workers and companies looking for ready-to-operate space with low commitments in prominent locations.

https://therealdeal.com/new-york/2022/12/30/the-10-largest-co-working-operators-of-2022/

The office market is currently caught between companies that would like to return to the workplace and a tight labor market. If employees would rather work from home, and small businesses can continue to effectively scale, hire, train, and grow in revenue remotely, this will exacerbate the issue for coworking companies.

So, fad or future? I think coworking is here to stay as it serves a vital need for growing businesses and folks at the end of their business cycles looking for space to slow down operations. Much of the story is yet to be told.

If you are a tenant or a landlord and you have a question about whether coworking makes sense for your strategic real estate plan, please contact us at The Boulos Company.

Article originally published on October 31, 2023, https://boulos.com/coworking-space-in-modern-business-from-hackers-hub-to-business-necessity-is-it-a-fad-or-the-future/?mc_cid=ef0a973a8e&mc_eid=87a9b15008

November 14, 2023 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on 4 ways to plan for a better 1031 exchange process

4 ways to plan for a better 1031 exchange process

By: Dannielle Lewis, Teri Samples | Partners at Wipfli

1031 exchanges are common in the real estate world. However, they are often wrought with hidden complexity that can quickly send a straightforward project into chaos.

Here are four common mistakes to avoid when planning and executing your 1031 exchange:

1. Comingling personal property

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), taxpayers were allowed to do 1031 exchanges on both personal and real property. However, personal property can no longer be part of a tax-deferred exchange post TCJA.

Initially, this led to complicated questions regarding how real property is defined. Much of this was answered by regulations that became final in 2020.

The regulations are fairly taxpayer friendly but are not without their own complexities. Many still comingle their 1031 exchanges with personal property and end up recognizing gain as a result. In the worst scenarios, this can ruin the exchange.

If you are selling any real property that has personal property in it, connect with your certified public accountant (CPA). They can help you determine the best way to break out personal property from the rest of the property so that it doesn’t affect your exchange.

2. Missing the 1031 timeline

Missing the prescribed timelines is another commonly seen mistake in 1031 exchanges.

A 1031 exchange must generally adhere to the following timeline from the date of the sale of the relinquished property:

  • 45 days to identify a property
  • 180 days to complete the exchange

The best advice is to know your replacement property prior to selling the relinquished property.

Since this can be challenging, people often try to close deals too quickly. They miss the important step of identifying the properties in time, or they schedule the closing too late.

3. Confusing different roles

For some 1031 exchanges, tax issues aren’t discovered until the return is being completed.

The taxpayer may be relying on their qualified intermediary (QI) to identify any issues with the 1031 exchange itself. However, that is not necessarily their role.

It is important to understand what advice your QI is giving you and what their role is in the exchange. While they may have all the information that pertains to your exchange, they generally never provide any tax advice. To ensure you have a valid 1031 prior to closing, you need to meet with your CPA. Finding out a tax issue too late can make it unfixable.

On the other hand, if errors are discovered early on, you can either restructure the deal or even invest your gain dollar in an opportunity zone fund instead.

4. Overlooking partnerships

Another common mistake to avoid is with partnerships.

Often, issues with partnerships involve two partners who want to roll proceeds from a property that has been held for several years into another property, while the third partner wants to cash out.

Depending on when this situation comes up, it could create a lot of issues for the exchange, especially when an alternative structure is rushed too close to closing.

It’s important to look at your real estate holdings and ownership each year to determine if your partnership is still on good terms or if you think one of the partners will want to exit.

Planning allows for more time to work through an ownership structure that will facilitate a 1031 exchange, while ensuring each partner is able to achieve their end goal.

How Wipfli can help

At Wipfli, our team is here to help you navigate the complex regulations surrounding 1031 exchanges. We’ll help you understand your eligibility and tax consequences so that you can plan with confidence.

Contact us today to get started with your exchange.

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Original article posted on January 17, 2023: https://www.wipfli.com/insights/articles/re-4-mistakes-to-avoid-in-the-1031-exchange-process

September 26, 2023 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on Downtown Portland Class A Office 2023 Mid-Year Update

Downtown Portland Class A Office 2023 Mid-Year Update

By Samantha Marinko | Associate, The Boulos Company

This time last year, I made reference to “the current stalemate in the market,” referring to the minuscule variance in the vacancy rate for downtown, Class A office buildings in the six months prior.

This year, I have a similar report.

In January of each year, The Boulos Company compiles data in order to develop a comprehensive analysis of the vacancy rates of office buildings. In particular, we focus on the 25 Class A office buildings in downtown Portland, which include over 2.4 million square feet of space.

At the time that report was published, the vacancy rate for space on the market for direct lease was 3.75% or 90,527+/- SF. That square footage was derived from five 10,000+ SF spaces and a handful of smaller vacancies.

Currently, the vacancy rate is 3.45% or 83,391+/- SF, and still, that is attributed largely to five 10,000+ SF vacancies.

Though at only 0.3% there hasn’t been a change of much significance with the direct vacancy, the sublease rate reflects a bigger shift, and likely a greater trend that we will continue to see in the coming months and years. The sublease vacancy rate in January was 4.59%; the current rate is 6.37%. Although that’s still relatively low and could be considered healthy, the 1.78% increase in just six months is suggestive of a trend we are likely to see more of.

The lack of a shift in the direct rate is a relatively clearcut story – no absorption of much significance, no new vacancies of much significance.

However, there is even more to the sublease story than the number alone can reflect, because there was in fact some absorption of the sublease vacancy reported in January. 100 Fore Street, for example, had 15,458+/- SF available for sublease as reported six months ago. That space has been leased by a new tenant, therefore removing that SF from the updated total, and yet, the number has still increased quite significantly. That means that the new sublease availabilities are even more substantial than the increased rate reflects.

This will be something to keep an eye on. As the dust from the pandemic continues to settle and leases begin to roll, tenants will be forced to make a decision as to how they consider their space needs and we will see those decisions reflected in the vacancy rates moving forward.

Original article posted July 28, 2023, https://boulos.com/downtown-portland-class-a-office-2023-mid-year-update/?mc_cid=e91f4d71a2&mc_eid=87a9b15008