Design the right time for building technology

By Matt Eaton, IT Service Consultant, WGTECH

Commercial building developers need to consider all of the factors that make a building attractive to potential tenants, and one of the most overlooked areas is the infrastructure required to support today’s technologies. From Internet connectivity, to cloud computing, to wireless printing, technology is crucial to running a business. Just about every company that we help move into a new office space complains about the cost and expense of installing the infrastructure they need to run their business. It’s a shame, because much of this infrastructure is so easy to install and costs so much less when done during construction. Tenants definitely favor sites that are move-in ready, and may even pay a premium for those with the right infrastructure in place.

Despite the advances made in wireless technologies, the biggest issue today is the same that it has been since the advent of desktop computing: cabling. The good news is that every device – computers, printers, security cameras, etc. — no longer needs a specialized cable. Almost all of today’s networked devices have standardized on the Internet Protocol (IP) for connectivity, which means they all can use the same cabling infrastructure to support the wireless network. However, there are a lot more network-enabled devices now than ever before: mobile phones, multifunction printers/copiers/scanners, ID badges and door key fobs, audio equipment, and tablets have joined laptops in their need for wireless connectivity, with more announced every day. This means that office suites need lots of overhead “runs” for wireless access points. And they need to be on CAT 6 cabling to support the latest equipment.

Installing that cable after a space has been built-out or renovated is a lot more expensive than doing it during construction – up to three times more expensive, in our work with companies throughout Maine. The old rule of thumb was to put one “drop” into each defined space or office suite; today it’s much safer to triple or even quadruple that. It is easy for the construction crew to lay them in place while they’re building, and eliminate much of the hassle and expense for the tenant.

For offices that plan to build out a data center, HVAC is another issue to consider. Most buildings have a central air conditioning unit, and the developer usually adds a vent into the room designated for the data center. The problem is, these vents rarely provide enough cooling capacity, and most tenants need to install an additional, dedicated air conditioning unit. Planning for that during the design phase by adding the right power and venting is a huge help for tenants, and can save them significant expense.

Another overlooked area is Internet connectivity – most customers prefer to have options for Internet service providers (ISPs), and offering them a choice of vendors is very attractive. Even if tenants don’t necessarily have a preference, they can choose services from multiple vendors to support business continuity. If one vendor’s service goes down, the tenant has protection from the alternate, and can continue operating. Some building owners establish a referral program with the ISP to aid the relationship on both sides.

When should all of these decisions be made? In our experience, the best time to call in a technology provider to discuss power points, cabling, cooling, and network options is during the design phase. That’s when the technology provider can give insight into overall building issues as well as options that can make the move-in ready offices and suites that attract customers. It’s a cost-effective way to make your building stand out from other choices, and to get off on the right foot with your new tenants.

Matt Eaton is IT Service Consultant for WGTECH, a Westbrook-based provider of advanced information technology solutions and services. WGTECH has served Maine and Northern New England businesses for more than 15 years with custom-tailored solutions and flexible support services, and focuses on finding the right technologies to help each customer succeed. Reach Matt at MEaton@WGTECH.com, or visit the company online at www.WGTECH.com

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MEREDA Announces Additions to its Board of Directors

Eben Adams, Amy Booth

Eben Adams, Amy Booth

Eben Adams of South Portland and Amy Booth of Cumberland have been elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

Eben Adams is a partner at Pierce Atwood LLP, whose practice includes all aspects of real estate law with a focus on commercial and residential development, acquisitions, sales and leasing. Eben has extensive experience representing developers of condominium projects including residential, commercial and mixed-use condominiums. Eben regularly assists energy companies with real estate matters including wind power leases and transmission corridors.

Prior to joining Pierce Atwood in 2000, Eben served as a law clerk to the United States District Court Judge Gene Carter. Previously, Eben served for four years as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator William S. Cohen in Washington, D.C.

Eben is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA for Real Estate Law, with bar admissions in both Maine and Massachusetts. Eben served on the Board of Directors of the Casco Bay Hockey Association from 2008-2012. Eben is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the University of Maine School of Law.

Amy Booth joined CBRE | The Boulos Company’s Property Management Group in 1994 as Senior Property Manager and is currently Senior Vice President. Her years of experience include zero-based budgeting; coordination of capital improvement programs; and negotiating maintenance contracts. Ms. Booth’s responsibilities include overseeing the property management division encompassing the management of over 40 properties totaling in excess of 4M square feet of commercial space. Amy works directly with clients to achieve their real estate goals and has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating leases and renewals, creating and executing tenant relation programs and assisting tenants with current and future space needs. She supervises the property management team and reviews maintenance-related contracts and programs for cost effectiveness and efficiency.

Amy holds an Associate Broker’s License in the State of Maine, and serves on The Board of Directors for the Center for Grieving Children, and participates on their golf and business development committees. She also serves on the MEREDA Conference Committee. Ms. Booth was formerly with MB Management, a residential and commercial asset management and real estate development company.

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801.

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Downtown vs the suburbs: How office markets need to change with the times

By Cameron Woodford, Commercial Properties Inc.

Office property fundamentals have steadily improved during the economic recovery. However, the office market will face some very unique challenges in the coming decade as workforce demographics affect corporate real estate decisions. Each office subtype, even in the same geographic market will face unique challenges. The differences are, perhaps, most easily summed up in comparing downtown and suburban markets.  Absorption rates of Portland’s downtown office space continue to outpace those of suburban office. Landlords should take note, as this does not appear to be a short term trend, but reflective of the shift in workforce demographics as one generation steps into retirement and another takes their place.

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Six things to consider when purchasing investment real estate

By Chris Paszyc, CCIM, Broker, Partner, CBRE | The Boulos Company

So, you’re sitting on a pile of cash like Warren Buffett because nobody won the March Madness Bracket Challenge, trying to decide where to invest next. You like the idea of owning an income-producing piece of commercial real estate where you collect a rent check each month, receive a pre-determined return on your initial investment and don’t have much responsibility. Simple, right? However, there are a number of variables to consider when you’re evaluating a commercial real estate investment offering. 

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MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event – “Real Estate Development 101”: What You Need to Know

BreakfastLogoThis is the third installment in our “Real Estate Development 101” series, this time being held in Biddeford! We hope you will join us in York County for what is sure to be a very interactive session.  Please come to the event prepared to ask questions!

The development process brings together a number of diverse professionals: bankers, brokers, architects, engineers, etc. Developers themselves come from a number of different disciplines, and also work with a number of these same professionals along the way. But, how does one actually get started?

Make plans to join the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) on November 18 at the North Dam Mill in Biddeford for breakfast as we host this third in our “Real Estate Development 101” series, where a developer, a banker, and an architect walk through the typical process of a development timetable.

Panelists include Doug Sanford, Pepperell Mill Campus, Rob Tillotson of Oak Point Architects, and Bill Kany of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

Program: 8:00- 9:00 AM
Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:00 AM

North Dam Mill, 2 Main Street, Biddeford, ME

Registering for this Event:
Your RSVP is requested by November 13, 2014. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after November 13.

Registration Fees:
Members: $45pp | Non-Members: $55pp
-After November 13, prices increase by $10 pp

For more information and to register, visit www.mereda.org.

This MEREDA “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

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MEREDA’s Morning Menu – Environmental Issues in Business Transactions: Practical Problem Solving, including the Maine Voluntary Response Action Program

Make Your Deal Work – Avoid Environmental Pitfalls and Delays

BreakfastLogoAfter several decades of living with environmental liabilities, most developers and brokers understand the road map through environmental issues, and the value of an environmental site assessment. But what are the new and developing issues and how can you avoid them? What useful tools and steps are now available in 2014 to keep the deal on track? And is the DEP really here to help?

Join MEREDA for breakfast on November 13, 2014 from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at DoubleTree by Hilton in South Portland as our panelists focus on practical problem-solving strategies to keep deals on track and resolve environmental issues. And the DEP VRAP is here to help – really.

Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after November 6, 2014

Ticket Prices: MEREDA Member: $45 each | Non – Member: $55 each
Register After November 6: Prices increase $10 each

For more information and to register, visit www.mereda.org

This “MEREDA Morning Event” is sponsored by Norway Savings Bank & Pierce Atwood.

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Shoreland Zoning Rule Changes Coming Soon

By Avery Day, Lawyer / Lobbyist, Pierce Atwood LLP

Shoreland zoning rule changes at the state level are on the regulatory agenda over the coming months.  Through Maine’s shoreland zoning statute, municipalities are required to adopt and enforce local land use ordinances regulating development in the shoreland zone.  These ordinances, however, are reviewed by the Department of Environmental Protection (“the Department”) before they become effective.  The review criteria are found in the Department’s Chapter 1000: Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances.  The Department is now pursuing a comprehensive set of proposed revisions to these review criteria via the rulemaking process.

On August 27th, the Department published its proposed revisions of Chapter 1000.  These revisions can be found …

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MEREDA’s “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event: ” Protecting Your Property – Hot Topics in Estate and Retirement Planning for Real Estate Investors”

BreakfastLogoJoin the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) for breakfast on October 28 from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at the Clarion Hotel, 1230 Congress Street in Portland as two top financial experts discuss ways to protect your property through estate & retirement planning.

Did you know….. In 1974 the IRA was designed to be a self-directed retirement plan that provides tax deferred growth and was intended to provide the freedom to invest in an abundance of assets.  But somewhere along the way, one of the most important concepts of owning an IRA was lost, the concept of self direction and investing in assets that best suit the individual investor.  Assets such as real estate, promissory notes, businesses, live stock, assets that the investor knows and understands.

Many investors have been falsely misled to believe that the stock market is not only the best place but the only place to invest retirement money. There are many different permissible investments, investments beyond the traditional stock market which may suit different investors.  Laurie Bachelder of Freedom Wealth Advisors will provide an overview that will  include plan investments, prohibited transactions, types of retirement accounts, disqualified persons, leverage and more.

Separately, real estate investors face particular challenges in employing common estate planning techniques.  Income tax planning obstacles such as loss carryovers, phantom income, and negative capital provide significant traps for the unwary.  Many estate planning techniques fail to take into consideration such income tax concerns, which are not prevalent for other types of business and investment interests.

Baker Newman Noyes’ Jean McDevitt’s presentation will focus on avoiding pitfalls at the intersection of income and estate tax, and highlight ideas for planning with real estate holdings.  Jean will discuss these estate planning hazards as well as introduce a planning opportunity for those with an appetite for the complex.

Registering for this Event:
Your RSVP is requested by October 22, 2014. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after October 22.

Ticket Prices:
Members: $45.00 per person | Non-Members: $55.00 per person.
Prices increase by $10 after October 22.

Visit www.mereda.org for more information and to register.

This MEREDA “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank and Baker Newman Noyes.

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Hiring a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser

So you find yourself needing to have a real estate appraisal performed by a certified appraiser in order to obtain a loan for a purchase transaction. Here are a few things you should know:

As defined by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the Client is

The party or parties who engage, by employment or contract, an appraiser in a specific assignment. “1″

Federal banking regulations require that a “financial institution” actually order the appraisal and thus be the Clientof the appraiser.  This is an important distinction to note.  Yes, you are paying (the bank) for the appraisal, however you are not the Client – the bank is. An appraisal for a federally related transaction (basically a real estate loan at/above $250,000) must be prepared directly for a financial institution. The Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines state:

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“1″ The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, 2014-2015, published by the Appraisal Foundation, Page U2

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Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Hosts Annual Fall Social on October 23 on Portland’s Waterfront

Sponsored by:  Bangor Savings Bank, Preti Flaherty, and Libby Hill

When:  October 23, 2014 | Time:  5:00 – 7:00 PM

Where: Hilton Garden Inn, Portland Downtown Waterfront, 65 Commercial St., Portland, ME

About the Event:
Join MEREDA for Hors d’oeuvres, Spirits, and Lively Conversation with Colleagues, Friends and other Industry Professionals on Portland’s Waterfront.  This must-attend event sells out every year, so be sure to register early!  MEREDA’s networking events are not only fun — they are an extremely valuable business development tool.

Registering for this Event:
Your RSVP is requested by October 17, 2014. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after October 17.

Ticket Prices:
Members: $45.00 per person
Non-Members: $60.00 per person
Prices increase by $10 after October 17.

Visit www.mereda.org to register online.

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