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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.

March 12, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA Recognizes Contributions to Real Estate Development and Policy in Maine in Award Ceremony

MEREDA Recognizes Contributions to Real Estate Development and Policy in Maine in Award Ceremony

On February 29, 2024, the Maine Real Estate and Development Association (MEREDA) recognized three remarkable individuals and a Joint Select Committee for their significant and lasting contributions to real estate development in the state of Maine. The awards were presented at this year’s Forecast Conference at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, which was attended by over 800 real estate professionals.

Left to Right:  Shelly R. Clark, MEREDA Executive Director, Craig Young, MEREDA President, Kevin Bunker, Matt Pitzer, Gary Vogel, and Senator Matt Pouliot on behalf of the Joint Select Committee on Housing. 

Watch the Awards Ceremony!

Gary Vogel was selected for this year’s Robert B. Patterson Jr. Founder’s Award, for his extraordinary commitment and dedication to MEREDA over the years.

Vogel has been practicing law in Portland for over 30 years and is a shareholder at the law firm of Drummond Woodsum. His practice is concentrated in real estate, real estate development, finance transactions, commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial law. Vogel’s work often involves developments utilizing the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Federal and State Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits.

Since joining the MEREDA Board in 2004, Vogel has been an integral part of MEREDA, serving as chair of the legislative committee for over a decade, as well as serving two years as President. MEREDA is grateful for his unwavering dedication to these voluntary leadership roles. Under his leadership, MEREDA achieved many legislative accomplishments that have greatly benefited both Maine and real estate development in the state. Vogel was selected to receive MEREDA’s Public Policy Award in both 2006 and 2011, as well as the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010, and the President’s Award in 2014. Over the years, Vogel has generously offered his valuable time and expertise, playing a pivotal role in helping MEREDA thrive. His deep understanding of developmental challenges in Maine, along with his extensive institutional knowledge and experience with MEREDA’s legislative history, have made Vogel’s contributions invaluable to all MEREDA members.

The MEREDA Public Policy Award is presented each year to an individual or group whose efforts have made a significant impact on public policy changes that benefit responsible real estate development and ownership in Maine. This year we recognize the Joint Select Committee on Housing for their leadership around creating housing in Maine.

The Joint Select Committee on Housing, or the Housing Committee, comes out of the Second Regular Session of the 131st Legislature. Led by its chairs, Senator Theresa Pierce and Representative Traci Gere, the Housing Committee, has been tasked with prioritizing housing creation in Maine. The group has undertaken its mission with determination and demonstrated exceptional leadership in policy making. The Housing Committee has taken testimony from all sectors of Maine’s housing economy, and has shown repeated bipartisanship support for pragmatic and sensible solutions. They have worked to tackle emergency and subsidized housing assistance, and are turning their attention to land use and its role in housing creation.

MEREDA believes that the concentrated and pragmatic approach to problem-solving demonstrated by the Housing Committee is a model for lawmaking. Their work has made a practical impact in Mainers’ lives and encouraged the development of affordable housing. MEREDA is eager to continue to work with the Housing Committee and its exceptionally committed members.

The Volunteer of the Year Award is awarded to those who generously share their time, talents, and energy with MEREDA. This year we honor the contributions of Matt Pitzer.

Pitzer is an Architect and Senior Project Manager at Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger. He has a background as a designer specializing in preservation and envelope restoration of prominent historic structures and is committed to design that confers broad social benefits.
At MEREDA, Pitzer has been an active and engaged participant, serving on MEREDA’s Board of Directors since 2019. More recently, he has taken on the role of DevelopME Committee Co-Chair. Pitzer’s leadership has made a difference in creating professional development opportunities within MEREDA for the next generation of industry professionals. MEREDA’s DevelopME Committee encourages Maine’s real estate emerging leaders to become more engaged in the State’s commercial real estate industry. The committee meets on a monthly basis and provides educational “Lunch & Learn” seminars, networking opportunities with peers, and access to MEREDA’s Board of Directors, as well as the opportunity to participate in MEREDA’s advocacy efforts. Pitzer’s dedication to his Co-Chair role has been instrumental in the success of the committee, and MEREDA is grateful for his contributions.

The President’s Award is given by MEREDA’s current President, Craig Young of The Boulos Company, in recognition of someone who has made significant contributions on MEREDA’s behalf. This year’s President’s Award goes to Kevin Bunker for his leadership in building affordable housing and for his support of MEREDA’s efforts.

Bunker is founding principal of Developers Collaborative with projects that run the gamut from residential to industrial, and is known as one of the preeminent builders of affordable housing in southern Maine. His experience in complex financing models, including tax increment financing, the use of tax credits, and other public-private partnerships, have led to creative projects that build community and strengthen the Maine economy in innovative ways. His recent projects include the new homeless shelter and a home dedicated for asylum seekers, both in Portland. Bunker is also an activist promoting the causes of smart growth and downtowns at the state and local levels.

MEREDA is honored to recognize Bunker’s contributions to our state; his commitment to building affordable housing is an example of responsible development in action. As a guest on the MEREDA Matters podcast, as well as a panelist for a Morning Menu discussion on the complexities involved with providing housing and social services for asylum seekers and the unhoused, Bunker has deepened the conversation around financing the development of affordable housing in Maine. We are grateful that he is willing to share his expertise with MEREDA members and is dedicated to doing this important work in our state.

MEREDA congratulates these award winners, and thanks every volunteer whose contributions of time and talent make the association’s continued success possible.

March 5, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Forecast Conference Highlights a Robust Real Estate Industry Full of Collaboration & Innovation

MEREDA’s Forecast Conference Highlights a Robust Real Estate Industry Full of Collaboration & Innovation

On Thursday, February 29th, over 800 of Maine’s real estate and development professionals gathered at the Holiday Inn By the Bay to learn about the latest trends and predictions for the real estate economy at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA’s) Forecast Conference and Member Showcase. “The Forecast Conference is an opportunity for us real estate professionals to learn from each other and discuss the important issues in our industry and our state,” shares MEREDA President Craig Young. “With thought-provoking speakers like Dr. Habib Dagher and in-depth analysis from industry experts, it’s an energizing day full of important conversations!”

The Forecast Conference featured a robust lineup of industry experts presenting on topics that delved into both the opportunities and challenges for Maine’s real estate economy. The day began with a presentation on innovation in Maine from Dr. Habib Dagher, Executive Director at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Presenting on his research work that ranges from green building materials and floating off-shore wind turbines to inflatable technology for NASA, Dr. Dagher’s work highlights the possibilities that can exist when we innovate. For a room full of real estate professionals, perhaps the most exciting aspect of his work is BioHome 3D, a 3D printed house prototype that his lab is perfecting to scale up affordable housing production in a dramatic way. “This is an opportunity to build more housing stock [and] get more roofs over people’s heads. Think of this as one solution to move things along.” Dr. Dagher and his team are currently working with the City of Bangor to develop a neighborhood of 3D printed homes for people who are currently homeless.

The morning continued with an overview of MEREDA’s legislative agenda with Elizabeth Frazier of Pierce Atwood. Frazier highlighted one bill currently being considered, LD 772, which focuses on permitting predictability and protecting developments from retroactive ordinances. “It’s a very small amount of language that will hopefully have a big impact,” commented Frazier. Next, James Marple, a Senior Economist from TD Bank provided an economic outlook on both a national and state level, sharing that the U.S. economy has outperformed expectations and, at 3.5%, is currently experiencing a 15-year-low in the unemployment rate. For the housing market, Marple highlighted that the limited supply is keeping pressure on home prices, underscoring the dire need for more affordable housing in Maine. Additionally, Marple noted that the economy will be impacted by the upcoming Presidential election.

This was the first year the Conference featured an afternoon format with multiple sessions each hour. In the first group of sessions, the Office & Industrial Outlook featured Justin Lamontagne of The Dunham Group on the industrial market, Nate Stevens of The Boulos Company on the office market, and Charles Day of Porta & Co. on the markets outside of Portland. With continued low vacancy rates in the industrial sector, Lamontagne predicted that there will be some new construction for the industrial sector but not enough, particularly because land is difficult to find. Speaking on the trend of office space conversions to industrial space, Lamontagne noted that while it is easier said than done, “There are no bad ideas in a market this competitive.” Meanwhile, Stevens outlined how the 7% vacancy rate in the Greater Portland office market differs from the national trends, which are at about a 20-30% vacancy rate in larger cities. Stevens also discussed the impact conversions have had on the office market, particularly the Class B office space sector. He noted that some 15 buildings in downtown Portland have added residential space, which has removed over 20% of Class B office space. Day then shared an overview of what’s happening in markets outside of Portland, highlighting the spectacular transformation of Waterville’s downtown, as well as two major redevelopments in Northern Maine, including the One North Building in Millinocket and The Green 4 Maine Program in Limestone. Continuing the conversation on office conversions, Day also highlighted four office buildings in downtown Bangor that had been converted to residential spaces.

The first session also included Construction Outlook and Regional Outlook panels. The Construction Outlook featured three general contractors – Kendrick Ballantyne of Optimum Construction, Nick Cormier of PM Construction, and Shannon Richards of Hay Runner – who discussed the challenges and opportunities for residential and commercial construction in Maine. The Regional Outlook featured Andre Rossignol of Maine Realty Advisors, Chris Paszyc of The Boulos Company, Brandon Mitchell of Malone Commercial Brokers, and Bev Uhlenhake of Maine Commercial Realty, who discussed some of the significant developments planned for the coming year across the state.

The second afternoon session featured a Retail & Hospitality Outlook with Peter Harrington of Malone Commercial Brokers and Matt Arrants of The Arrants Company. They provided an insider’s look at the world of retail leasing and the growth opportunities in Maine’s hotel market. Also in the second session was a Development 101 panel with Josh Soley of Maine Realty Advisors, David Packard of PK Realty, and Marieke Thormann of Fathom Companies. The group of developers discussed how they analyze the risk and rewards of the development process. Lastly, the second session also included a Financing Trends panel with Kim Twitchell of NBT Bank, Matt Early of Gorham Savings Bank, and David Hulit of Ready Capital. With a recap of last year’s numbers and a look at the emerging trends in the financial landscape, the group discussed where they see caution and optimism in the market. As part of the conversation, Twitchell commented on current interest rates. While she expects they will go down some, she cautioned, “Today’s rates are more normal. Folks need to get used to that. When penciling out deals, think about where rates are today.”

The final group of afternoon sessions included a Residential & Multifamily Outlook with Brit Vitalius of Vitalius Real Estate Group, Aaron Bolster of Allied Realty, and Elise Kiely of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. The group shared their thoughts on the fast moving and competitive world of residential and multifamily real estate throughout Maine. Another panel was on Upcoming Projects & Developments with three of Maine’s biggest developers who are working to bring a blend of housing to Maine’s marketplace – Dan Bacon of M&R Holdings, John Laliberte of Reveler Development, and Rebecca Hatfield of Avesta Housing. The third panel in the session was a Technology & Innovation Outlook with Tim Hebert of Hebert Construction, Stephanie Brock of Red Thread, and Dr. Habib Dagher. The group looked at how technology is changing real estate. Dr. Dagher provided a more in-depth look at the Biohome 3D, which his team is hoping can one day be printed in as little as two days and is 100% recyclable. Brock outlined a few of the ways AI can be used in the workplace, discussing products such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, and Qbiq. Hebert discussed the many ways technology has already come into the construction industry and improved things, but also saw reason for caution. “Sometimes it’s good to slow down and understand what we’re doing. We can do things faster, but we still have to do them right.” That said, Hebert agrees that innovation is the future and the way to answer the question: how do we make the built environment better? This query led him to develop STARC Systems, innovative temporary containment solutions that eliminate the disruption of renovation. The group went on to discuss the cost of new technologies and its accessibility. Dr. Dagher stated that his team is confident the Biohome 3D can one day be produced at competitive pricing, but acknowledged the incredible amount of investment required to produce this new possibility for housing.

At the end of the day it’s clear that Maine’s real estate markets continue to be a driving force in the economy. The challenges and opportunities our state faces will require collaboration and innovation, and MEREDA members will be working together to ensure that solutions are centered on responsible development. Sponsors of the event include TD Bank, Landry/French Construction, Perkins Thompson, The Downs managed by Maine Properties LLC, Mainebiz, Ready Capital, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Sebago Technics, The City of Bangor, St. Germain, Belfor Property Restoration, Pierce Atwood, and United Insurance.

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

February 13, 2024 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA Leaps into 2024 with an Updated Forecast Conference

MEREDA Leaps into 2024 with an Updated Forecast Conference

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, leaders from across Maine’s real estate industry will gather for the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA’s) Forecast Conference and Member Showcase. This annual event will take place at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland. This year, the conference has a new afternoon format to go beyond just reporting the numbers and instead provide a forum for dynamic discussions on Maine’s economy and the responsible development opportunities in the state. As always, MEREDA’s Forecast Conference brings together some of the best minds in the state to talk about trends, predictions, and solutions for some of our most pressing problems.

“MEREDA’s Forecast Conference provides an opportunity to connect with people and ideas,” says MEREDA President Craig Young. “It’s a day where we get to see colleagues from around the state and across various industries and also learn about the innovative ways people are pursuing responsible development. I’m looking forward to our new afternoon format which I think will help facilitate deeper conversations among our members.”

MEREDA’s Annual Forecast Conference is geared towards builders, developers, brokers, attorneys, architects, engineers, municipal leaders, bankers, and accountants, to name a few. Continuing Education credits will be available. Along with presentations from real estate leaders across various sectors and remarks on Innovating Maine’s Future with Dr. Habib Dagher, Executive Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine, the conference will also include a member showcase with exhibitions from over 60 local businesses. MEREDA’s mission is to promote responsible development in the state of Maine and is committed to providing opportunities for people to learn and connect with other industry professionals.

MEREDA’s Forecast Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn By the Bay on February 29 from 8am to 5pm, with the program beginning at 10am. Registration is available at MEREDA.org. Event sponsors include, TD Bank, Landry/French Construction, Mainebiz, The Downs managed by Maine Properties LLC, Ready Capital, Perkins Thompson, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Belfor Property Restoration, City of Bangor, Pierce Atwood, Sebago Technics, St.Germain, and United Insurance.

February 6, 2024 at 10:00 am · · Comments Off on Listen Up! The February 2024 Episode of the “MEREDA Matters” Podcast is Now Available!

Listen Up! The February 2024 Episode of the “MEREDA Matters” Podcast is Now Available!

A Thoughtful Conversation with Rebecca Hatfield, President & CEO of Avesta Housing, and Ed Gardner, Broker/Owner of Gardner Real Estate Group

Rebecca Hatfield, President & CEO of Avesta Housing, and Ed Gardner Broker/Owner of Gardner Real Estate Group, sit down with MEREDA President Craig Young and MEREDA Vice President Shannon Richards for the fourteenth episode of MEREDA Matters – the podcast that puts you in the room with the people who are driving responsible development in Maine.

The group delves into an important topic: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and discusses what it means to them personally and professionally. Hatfield talks about her goal to lead by example and her efforts to make DEI a fundamental part of the culture at Avesta by meeting people where they are at. She also shares some of the challenges in the affordable housing world, such as Avesta receiving 9,000 applications for 350 available apartments. Gardner discusses his work with the Equality Community Center (ECC) and plans to create 54 affordable housing units for the 55+ community in the same building as ECC, an $18 million project they hope to break ground on this summer. The group goes on to discuss the complexities around financing affordable housing and what diversity looks like in Maine, both in the Greater Portland region and in rural areas. Gardner talks about what it was like for him to come out at age 15 as well as how he bought his first building in Portland at the age of 17. Hatfield also shares some of her personal experiences with discrimination, including when she was called names on the playground at five years old, and how she received hate letters recently after Avesta provided housing for new immigrants. The group goes on to look at some recent positive changes in Maine and what resources exist for people who would like to learn more about DEI.

Where is Rebecca Hatfield and Ed Gardner’s favorite place to grab a bite to eat? Listen to the episode to find out!

https://mereda-matters.simplecast.com/

Catch up on past episodes while you’re there!

 

The MEREDA Matters podcast is sponsored by NBT Bank and Landry French Construction. Additional sponsors include Bangor Savings Bank, Clark Insurance, A Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, and The Boulos Company. A new episode will be released each month and each will feature new voices from the real estate and development industry.

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)

January 9, 2024 at 10:00 am · · Comments Off on Listen Up! The January 2024 Episode of the “MEREDA Matters” Podcast is Now Available!

Listen Up! The January 2024 Episode of the “MEREDA Matters” Podcast is Now Available!

A Conversation with Jeanne Hulit of Maine Community Bank and Steve deCastro of Gorham Savings Bank

Jeanne Hulit, President and CEO of Maine Community Bank, and Steve deCastro, President and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank, sit down with MEREDA Board Member Josh Soley for the thirteenth episode of MEREDA Matters – the podcast that puts you in the room with the people who are driving responsible development in Maine.

Hulit and deCastro share how the recent merger of Gorham Savings Bank and Maine Community Bank came together – an 18 month process that has resulted in a win-win for both banks. The group discusses some of the barriers to the merger process, the succession planning they have in place for bank leadership, and their focus on communication as a key strategy. Zooming in and sharing more details, Hulit and deCatstro review some of the opportunities for pricing synergies in the merger, such as how much the bank will need to spend on technology investments. The group goes on to talk about the difference between mutual savings banks and stock banks, as well as some of their predictions for the economy in 2024.

Hulit and deCastro also share a bit about their backgrounds and the paths that led both of them to the role of CEO.

https://mereda-matters.simplecast.com/

Catch up on past episodes while you’re there!

 

The MEREDA Matters podcast is sponsored by NBT Bank and Landry French Construction. Additional sponsors include Bangor Savings Bank, Clark Insurance, A Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, and The Boulos Company. A new episode will be released each month and each will feature new voices from the real estate and development industry.

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