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Black Diamond Realty Will Quarterback your Deal Across the Goal Line
Every successful football team is led by a quarterback. Quarterbacks think on their feet, capitalize on the strengths of their team, call audibles when necessary and read and anticipate the defensive strategies of the opposing side, all with one goal in mind: getting into the end zone. Commercial Real Estate (CRE) transactions, both simple and complicated, need a strong quarterback to get deals across the goal line.
Much like a defense on a football team, some ‘defenders’ are both working directly against you while others are working to protect their own interests.
Defensive Team in CRE
Safeties – Time and Regulations
Line Backers – Zoning, Inspections and Utilities
Cornerbacks – Financing and Legal Issues
Defensive Ends – NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and Surveys
Defensive Line – Sellers and Buyers
A good quarterback will assist you with the challenges that arise during a touchdown drive. Reading the safeties before the play, calling an audible when the line backers are lined up staring you down, checking down to your 2nd and 3rd wide out when the corners are in position to shut you down, nimble enough to escape the defensive ends when they blow past your lineman, and most important keeping the defensive line from blowing up your play or drive with a sack or tackle for loss.
With over eight years of experience and wisdom, I have quarterbacked dozens and dozens of deals across the goal line. I have seen that you not only need a winning quarterback to consistently lead a championship team, but the team he plays for needs to have a winning culture like Black Diamond Realty. Very few deals have lined up like ‘the perfect play’ where everyone maintains their assignment, the perfect pass is thrown and caught for a 65 yard TD. Reading the challenges that lay ahead, thinking on my feet, directing receivers where to go is what separates a championship quarterback from one who is just good enough to be there.
Black Diamond Realty has the experience and expertise to help navigate your commercial real estate deal, play-by-play, first down after first down, to get across the goal line. We offer a championship caliber lineup of top-notch quarterbacks that design winning game plans and ensure successful transactions while leading with a winning attitude. As another exciting season of college football is upon us, Team BDR is suited up and ready to lead you and your team to a win on the field of commercial real estate.
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What’s the Difference Between Commercial Real Estate and Residential Real Estate?
Contrary to popular belief, there are quite a few differences that ultimately affect the outcome of your real estate journey. David Lorenze, Principal at Black Diamond Realty, and Melissa Hornbeck, Broker of White Diamond Realty, sit down to answer some important questions that help differentiate the two.
While anyone in the state of West Virginia who takes the real estate exam can practice both commercial and residential real estate, we believe there are a number of large differences between the two and that it takes specialized expertise to navigate the two fields
Having Black Diamond Realty to specialize in commercial real estate, and White Diamond Realty to specialize in residential real estate, means that each of our teams can focus on honing their skills to give our clients the best possible service no matter what side of the table they’re on.
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Love all, serve all.
I started playing tennis with my parents at a very young age. It was a way my family and I spent time together as well as with other friends and neighbors in our community. In the game of tennis, both players begin with a score of ‘love.’ To start a game, one player serves the ball to the other player, then the volley back and forth begins. Negotiating a commercial real estate transaction has similarities to a tennis match. One party must ‘serve’ an offer to the other, then the volley back and forth begins. Also like in the game of tennis, a good commercial real estate professional seeks information to learn about their opponent and their strengths and weaknesses. This informs the delivery of the initial serve (or offer) and the anticipated reaction. This helps when ‘serving’ an offer on a property.
I recently played the negotiation game for a new business in Morgantown. This retailer has over 29 locations nationwide where they provide the ultimate shopping experience and a unique selection of clothing and merchandise for the entire family. They have now grown to become the hometown college store for some of the greatest fan bases in the country. I knew they would be perfect for one of our most popular shopping centers here in Morgantown. My client and I worked together to come up with the perfect initial ‘serve’ to start the negotiation game. We went back and forth with the landlord several times before we landed on terms that worked for all parties involved. My client is set to open their doors the first weekend in September so they can ‘serve’ WVU football fans for the first home game.
‘Love all, serve all’ is actually the Hard Rock Café slogan, but it has always reminded me of tennis and how all players begin their match on equal ground. To the Hard Rock Café, the slogan represents their commitment to embracing diverse communities and to promote health, wellness, and environmental sustainability throughout their regions of operation. Similarly, Black Diamond Realty works to embrace and understand our community to serve all of our clients with love.
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Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
In the daily race of my life, I often think about the famous idiom; Life is a marathon, not a sprint. As an active runner, I appreciate the connection to the various cadences it describes. As a commercial real estate professional, I appreciate the reassuring motivation it brings to ‘staying the course.’ Regardless of whether you associate the adage with mental or physical navigation and speed, being reminded of the importance and payoff of patience and persistence is always reassuring.
Navigating a successful commercial real estate closing or sale often brings twists and turns, complicated scenarios, and unexpected lane changes. These hurdles and the obstacle course of the deal are an exciting challenge for me, as I maintain patience in pursuit of the goal on the horizon. As with any race that I begin training for, I study the course, understand the terrain, and build a roadmap of my training schedule, all with the end in mind. I do the same with my work in commercial real estate closings. As a committed commercial real estate professional, part of my job is to assess the course, to learn, understand, and anticipate the hurdles, and to persevere under pressure. This commitment to time, talent, and patience is what sets me and our BDR team apart from others running the race.
Recently, we successfully negotiated the sale of a property that was near and dear to my heart. This client was my first client upon joining Black Diamond Realty over three years ago. The client and I became very close, so much that my week didn’t feel complete if I hadn’t spoken to her. The property she wanted to sell was a very specialized asset and was going to take a buyer that was ‘just right.’ We actively marketed this property for nearly three years. We utilized letter campaigns, targeted marketing, postcard campaigns, cold calling, carrier pigeons (just kidding)— you name it, we did it! When we finally found the perfect buyer, the fun really began. Getting the purchase agreement signed was the first hurdle of the deal and getting to the finish line was a true test of patience and endurance.
After ten months of perseverance, the property changed hands. Time has shown me that when things pop up on appraisals or inspections, it is important to be patient, to stay the course, and to continue to push forward to find a successful resolution. When the dust finally settled and we closed on this sale, we achieved our clients’ goals AND the buyers’ goals as well. This is what we strive for with all of our transactions.
Every property is different. Every transaction is different. Every race is different. However, there is always a path that ends at the finish line and Black Diamond is the commercial real estate team that knows the way. Have our team join you on your next commercial real estate journey, your next race. No matter the distance, we know how to stay the course and get you to the finish line.
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Building a Winning Strategy: Black Diamond Realty’s “HIT” Approach to Commercial Real Estate Success
As one of the newest Black Diamond Realty (BDR) members, I am proud to step up to the plate and be part of a team that embodies the core values of Honesty, Integrity, and Teamwork. In the game of commercial real estate, these values are the foundation of our success. And in the game of baseball, where every “HIT” counts, Black Diamond Realty delivers exceptional results for our clients. Our commitment to “HIT” positions us as the finest choice for commercial real estate services in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. Allow me to share a few personal experiences that illustrate how the power of “HIT” has boosted us to consistently achieve success for our clients.
Stepping Up to the Plate with Honesty
In my journey as an agent at Black Diamond Realty, I quickly learned that honesty, with my team, our clients, and myself, is the first base of trust. It is stepping up to the plate and facing the pitcher with unwavering confidence. Early in my career with BDR, I recall a situation where I was representing a buyer who had recently sold his businesses and wanted to 1031 exchange into a relatively passive multitenant retail investment property occupied by a strong national tenant that seemed promising on the surface. However, after conducting thorough research and analysis, I discovered potential pitfalls that the client was unaware of, including a broad restrictive covenant in the national tenant’s lease that could have severely impacted the ability to lease other vacancies in the future. Just like a batter recognizing a curveball, I quickly adjusted my approach. I was upfront with the client and explained my findings, even though it meant advising against the investment and the potential for a substantial commission. This transparent approach solidified the trust between us and set the groundwork for our next ‘at bat’ together.
Covering the Bases with Integrity
I represented a client in the sale of his mobile home park recently. He relied on me to deliver on multiple tasks that were outside of my position as an agent but vital for the deal to progress. Just like a pitcher covers first base on an outside ground ball, I committed to upholding the integrity of my role and our team with my reach of strategic planning, transparent communication, and dedication. I maintained professional integrity and the integrity of the deal by building trust, fostering positive outcomes, and nurturing long-lasting relationships. At Black Diamond Realty, we embrace integrity as our winning strategy, ensuring that we pitch a perfect game by upholding our commitments and going the extra mile for our clients.
Hitting a Grand Slam with Teamwork
By collaborating with a diverse group of professionals, we unite unique talents and perspectives to establish a culture of success, a culture of hitting grand slams for our clients. In a recent project, our team resembled a well-coordinated infield, smoothly offloading a complex investment portfolio. We covered every angle and anticipated every opportunity. By knowing each team member’s strengths, we were able to quickly divide roles and strategically adjust our playbook for this opportunity. Through consistent communication and scheduled scoreboard reviews, our team was able to track the progression of the deal, troubleshoot challenges, and hold each other accountable. Everyone proactively took charge of their role and played their position flawlessly, from prospecting to due diligence and closing. Together, we hit a grand slam for our client, surpassing their expectations and showing the power of teamwork in achieving real estate victories.
In baseball, every hit has the potential to change the game; and although HIT carries a different meaning with Black Diamond Realty, it also reflects our team’s winning strategy. As an associate at Black Diamond Realty, I have witnessed the power of “HIT” in action. It is evident that through our commitment to these core values, we consistently deliver exceptional results for our clients. Step up to the plate with Black Diamond Realty and together as a team, we will swing for the fence.
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Black Diamond Realty is like a seasoned golfer who consistently hits the fairway and sinks putts. And, like in the game of golf, our team’s unique approach and execution ensures successful commercial real estate transactions. This experience ‘swinging’ has delivered nearly 600 ‘holes in one’ as we approach a decade of service to the industry.
Do you think a course record could be secured using only a nine-iron and an old ball while wearing a tuxedo? Of course it couldn’t! Even if the tuxedo got a few good laughs, the golf pro probably would not invite you back to play anytime soon. Seasoned golfers typically use 14 different clubs, shoes with spikes, tees, a golf glove, high quality balls and proper attire that facilitates effective movement in given weather conditions. This level of detail and preparedness is like BDR’s approach to real estate deals. Our equipment includes seven dedicated associates, three fulltime graphic designers and a partnership with Glenmark Holding that combines decades of experience, leadership and service.
A first-time a golfer meets unexpected challenges navigating unknown courses, like a pesky oak tree with a low hanging branch on hole 11 or a water hazard at the edge of a sloping green on hole 17. An experienced golfer calls on previous games having navigated these hazards and can predict and adjust their game accordingly. The BDR professionals draw on their past experiences just as an experienced golfer does, while recognizing that every course, every project and every client is unique. Tiger Woods is one of golf’s most elite players because he practiced golf consistently from a very young age. He didn’t dedicate his mornings to tennis and afternoons to golf. He was committed and all in to his one sport. The same holds true for Black Diamond Realty. We are 100% focused on commercial real estate transactions.
The best golfers in the world are reflective and always finding ways to improve their game, saying things like, “I’m working on my grip, my posture, my tempo.” Similarly, you will find the best commercial real estate associates saying, “I’m networking and building relationships, writing my notes, making calls and setting goals”. In both cases, working on the fundamentals is a key to successful outcomes. BDR is your dedicated team for commercial real estate that brings the proper tools, experience, and drive to achieve your next ‘hole in one.’
Over a decade ago I started working in the commercial real estate profession. Starting something new was exciting and intimidating all at the same time. The same sentiment held true when I adopted golf as a new hobby two years ago. While I wanted to be an expert on my first day playing a round, it became painfully evident that success on the course would take practice to perfect my skills.
Knowledge and experience are very important for both business and golf. In business, it’s important to have a deep understanding of your industry and customers, as well as experience in managing expectations and making strategic decisions. In golf, knowledge of the game and experience with training and practice can help develop skills and improve performance. Another area of focus is relationships.
Several years ago I worked with a church that was new to town and looking to establish a presence. We identified a relatively small office space for their administrative needs and they proceeded to lease temporary space on Sunday mornings for their services. Fast forward three years later and we collaborated again to secure a 15,325-sf facility with an associated 10-year lease. Fostering positive relationships support success for everyone involved.
During my 12 years of experience as a commercial real estate professional, I have developed a deep understanding of the industry, market trends, and customer needs. This has allowed me to build strong relationships with clients and provide them with personalized and effective solutions for their commercial real estate needs. Additionally, my experience has helped me develop exceptional negotiation and communication skills, which are vital in closing deals and ensuring client satisfaction. And while my golf game is still developing, I am confident that my developed skills and strategies in commercial real estate can help you score a ‘hole in one.’
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Could you imagine going to the top of a 10,000-foot mountain in shorts and a t-shirt to attempt your very first ski run? That experience would be chilling and potentially dangerous to your health without the proper equipment and experience. Navigating a challenging commercial real estate deal can have similar consequences to your long-term financial health. Just like a mogul on the slopes, real estate deal challenges require swift problem solving and action to successfully navigate the course.
Full-time commercial real estate agents have market knowledge, deal mechanic experience and essential specialty contacts to avoid and navigate the moguls of the commercial real estate world. Attempting to “save a few bucks” on real estate fees may be tempting for some, but often results in a more costly and frustrating end. Traversing the path without experience and proper equipment is risky, so make sure one of your success strategies is teaming up with the right commercial real estate firm to help you navigate a successful deal.
Two recent examples of deals, filled with moguls and challenges, are highlighted below. Spoiler alert: the deal that secured a west coast, 1031 buyer for a second-generation industrial building navigated their moguls with a commercial real estate team of experts.
Black Diamond Realty received a call from an owner who bought a multifamily property roughly 18 months prior to the conversation. Black Diamond had no involvement in that decision/deal. The investor leveraged most of their personal home’s equity to purchase the multifamily property. The assets were located in a strong submarket but the history and ongoing operations were challenging. Since purchasing, the property owner explained they had battled rent delinquency, criminal activity and property damage. Performance was weak. Deferred maintenance was abundant. The tenant situation was challenging.
BDR was asked if they could sell the asset for around the same value that the current owner paid. As part of its due diligence practices, BDR prefers to review three years of profit and loss statements and a current rent roll. Utilizing the income approach to valuing assets, the BDR team can relatively quickly determine a value range they feel is achievable based on current market and property-specific dynamics. After receiving financials, BDR respectfully explained they overpaid and that the current market could not bear their valuation. Black Diamond Realty declined marketing this property.
A long-time client charged Black Diamond Realty with finding a tenant for their recently vacated industrial building. BDR designed a comprehensive professional marketing flyer then maximized exposure via all commercial real estate digital platforms, including its company newsletter (current audience ~6,200). The BDR team proactively reached out to companies who previously expressed interest in similar-size assets and brainstormed end users then pursued them. After entertaining about a dozen tours, the team found the right fit – a company with over 100 locations willing to sign a 5-year lease.
BDR team members led conversations and negotiations on tenant build-out, including amortizing cost over the initial term of the lease. The seller had a long-standing CRE attorney relationship in this case, but BDR typically supports that step as well. BDR reviewed the draft lease and corresponding tenant comments with their client and after several months, secured a 5-year lease with a well-respected company.
Due to other projects and the desire to redeploy capital, the client mobilized BDR immediately to sell the 5-year lease to an investor. Following the same marketing process, the asset was presented as an investment opportunity. BDR secured a 1031, west coast buyer and worked with their broker to navigate questions and concerns throughout the due diligence process. In the end, all parties achieved their goals.
Don’t navigate the slopes alone. Trust the experts. Reach out to Black Diamond today to equip yourself with professional experience, tools, and service for your next deal. The BDR team will provide the advice, contacts, and market knowledge to successfully navigate your next black diamond (ad)venture. Cheers to continued economic growth in a changing investment landscape!
On February 6th, the BDR crew departed for their 2023 Reward Trip to One Happy Island, Aruba! The team spent six amazing days in the sun together making memories and reenergizing for the busy year ahead.
Black Diamond Realty has created a family-like, teamwork-oriented culture in which our team is vested in each other’s success. Our process is detailed and diligent but it surrounds core values and beliefs that are summarized by the acronym, HIT. “ H ” stands for honesty, hard work and humility. “ I ” stands for integrity, intelligence and innovation. “ T ” stands for teamwork, tenacity and technology. Maintaining a consistent focus on honoring our HIT value system, BDR’s team works tirelessly to achieve our clients’ goals. Recharging the battery is paramount to providing a high level of service.
Each year, Black Diamond Realty provides an incentive trip intended to reward team members who meet individual and company goals. 2023’s destination was the island of Aruba. The team soaked up some much needed sun at the ocean front Riu Resort. The six days included lots of sun, exploring of the island via Jeep tour, endless beverages, late night live entertainment on the pier and so much more. Our team returned to Morgantown recharged and excited for another successful year.
Thank you to all our clients, customers and reliable referral sources for trusting us with your projects. Check out some of our favorite moments below.
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Congratulations! You just rode one of the wildest rollercoasters the modern economy has ever experienced. Roughly one year ago, experts predicted interest rates would begin ticking up twenty-five to fifty basis points, with a target of 4.5 to 5% interest rates. The goal was, and still is, to fight record high inflation (9.1% in June 2022; a 40-year high). Many projections were far off, including ours. In today’s market, a 4.5 to 5.0% interest rate on a deal is unheard of and would make investors drool. As we enter a new year, we are looking at the prime rate hovering in the mid sevens; that’s 7.5%! This marks a 400-basis point increase in the past nine months.[i] Last year experienced the most aggressive economic tightening campaign in over three decades. So, how does that affect commercial real estate?
Rising interest rates put downward pressure on valuations. Financial institutions, including regional and national banks, typically want to achieve a 1.20 to 1.25 debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR), meaning 20%-25% of a project’s cash flow is available to pay current debt obligations. When the cost of borrowing funds increases, meeting required DSCR ratios is more difficult, and a buyer cannot afford to pay as much value to a seller while still maximizing leverage (borrowing power). A buyer either has to come up with more capital to lower the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio or lower the offer price. Here is an example:
ABC Investment LLC has renovated an asset and wants to cash out to redeploy capital into the next project. You like the asset a lot. You offer full asking price – $1,250,000. A bank that requires an 80% LTV ratio (some banks will offer lower, say – 70-75% LTV) will result in you needing to borrow $1,000,000. Nine months ago (Q2 2022), you could have hypothetically achieved an interest rate of 3.65% (Black Diamond often saw rates between 3.25% to 4.00%). Amortizing $1,000,000 over 20 years at 3.65% interest results in a monthly payment of $5,876.97. Fast forward nine months (Q1 2023), and that same loan structure has changed drastically.
As of December 15, 2022, the current prime rate is 7.5% in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal’s Money Rates table, which lists the most common prime rates charged throughout the U.S. and in other countries by averaging out the prime rate from the ten largest banks in each country. The federal funds rate is currently 4.25% to 4.50%. With that in mind, you can see how the “fed funds plus 3.00” rule of thumb plays out: 3.00% + 4.50% = 7.50%.[ii] At Black Diamond Realty, we would argue this rate is very conservative, as our experience has resulted in many regional banks willing to entertain deals at lower interest rates – with a 250 to 300 basis point spread in play.
Getting back to our example, your investment company’s new interest rate (7.25%; 275 basis point higher than federal rate) results in a monthly expense of $7,903.76. The difference between a 3.65% interest rate and a 7.25% interest rate is $2,026.79/month. The yearly difference is $24,321.48. In today’s market, let’s assume a regional multi-family asset comps out and sells at a 7% capitalization rate. Utilizing a 7% capitalization rate, the $24,321.48 yearly interest rate difference results in a downward value adjustment of $347,449.71 ($24,321.48 / 0.07). This ~$350K difference results in a seller/buyer “value gap.” Buyers are forced to react quickly because the capital markets respond within weeks, often days. Some buyers are struggling to find deals while sellers reassess their motivations to liquidate. Sellers are realizing they missed the market peak. Buyers are coming to the table with greater liquidity to meet DSCR (healthy, “bankable” deal) and bridge the seller gap.
The current market reflects the seller-buyer gap. On its own, this would be bad news for sellers everywhere. Fortunately for the market, supply and demand also comes into play. Like many things in our economy, construction materials (think Lowe’s, Menards, Home Depot) have experienced significant inflation in 2022. Construction expenses rose 13.7% since September 2021.[iii] Higher construction expenses, including excavation work, have resulted in lower nationwide new housing construction starts. Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,427,000. This is a 0.5 percent below the revised October estimate of 1,434,000 housing starts and is 16.4 percent below the November 2021 rate of 1,706,000.[iv]
The same trend is true across most sectors of commercial real estate. Higher material costs combined with higher costs of borrowing funds (interest rates) has resulted in a slowdown of new construction activity. We anticipate this trend to continue. Sticking with the multifamily sector, lower housing starts have resulted in increased rents and corresponding increased valuations. The same data shows a downward trend in construction costs during Q4, 2022 which is something to watch in 2023. So, what else can we expect in 2023?
Deals happen in all cycles of commercial real estate. Rising interest rates create downward pressure but, on the flip side, rising rents/income result in higher valuation. Do these two opposite effects counterbalance each other? The answer is specific to each commercial real estate sector (supply/demand) and the specific market. Depending upon the market, rising income is outpacing inflation which continues to push rents higher. The risk lies in the job market. Job loss and higher unemployment will eventually reduce consumer purchasing power and result in less demand for materials, goods and real estate. When unemployment rises, rent growth will be at risk for most sectors of commercial real estate. Our team is keeping a close eye on unemployment in 2023.
The ‘R’ word has been tossed around many dinner tables and watering holes across America. An economic recession occurs when GDP, which measures trade and industrial activity, declines in two successive quarters. Are we amid a recession? US Government courses reported that Quarter 3 of 2022 saw a 3.2% increase in GDP over the previous quarter.[v] This increase is welcoming news after two quarters of declining GDP. Some fear the data is artificially inflated due to the government’s easing of energy costs. The biggest challenge in reviewing federal government data is the lag. Most data lags at least three months, sometimes six, which means the Fed is making decisions based upon outdated information. What does the real estate market cycle forecast look like knowing this? Keep reading.
Real estate market cycles vary by sector and location, amongst other factors. Mueller’s[vi] forecasting model breaks down the real estate market cycle into four phases:
There are 16 total points along the horizontal axis. Points 1-11 are in phases 1 and 2 which represent a period of growth. Points 12-16 are in phases 3 and 4 which represent a period of decline. The four market cycle quadrants have varying characteristics. Phase 1, Recovery, is characterized by declining vacancy with little to no new construction. Negative rental growth to below inflation rental growth is expected during this part of the cycle. Phase 2, Expansion, is characterized by declining vacancy with greater new construction. High rent growth is common. Phase 3, Hypersupply, is characterized by increasing construction with continued and/or increasing construction. Rent growth remains positive but begins to decline. Phase 4, Recession, experiences increasing vacancy with more completions. Below inflation and negative rent growth is experienced during this part of the cycle. The Mueller report’s primary objective is to enhance investment decision analysis – to make investors aware of national trends.[vii]
Sector breakdowns are provided in the bullet points below with quick comments about the regional market. Keep in mind what is happening in New York City, NY is not necessarily a direct correlation to what is happening in Bridgeport, WV; hence several anecdotal comments from Black Diamond Realty’s perspective which are focused on the two core areas we serve: North Central WV and WV’s Eastern Panhandle. We recommend referencing the chart as you review the points below. Mueller’s data is the black bullet points. Black Diamond’s points are white sub-bullet points. In addition to this distinction (national trend – Mueller vs. Black Diamond), bear in mind Mueller’s chart lags by two quarters. The cycle has progressed along the bell curve over the past three to six months.
Point 11: Peak of Phase 2 – Expansion Cycle
Industrial – Warehouse
Remains strong throughout north central WV and WV’s Eastern Panhandle. For north central WV, keep an eye on oil and gas volatility/strength in 2023. For WV’s Eastern Panhandle, we are watching consumer confidence and retail strength.
Remains strong in both markets due, in part, to the ability to push rental rates to counteract rising interest rates.
Retail – Neighborhood/Community
Still demand albeit at a slowing pace in both markets. Headwinds are forming which we believe will negatively affect all subsectors of retail.
Point 12: Beginning of Phase 3 – Hypersupply
Industrial – R&D Flex
Flex space has remained strong in both markets. North central WV has an undersupply of quality, newer flex space with docking capability. The Eastern Panhandle has consistently filled any new supply but it appears some headwinds could be forming (Hypersupply phase) where new product is taking longer to secure tenancy.
Office – Suburban
Demand still exists albeit at a slower clip compared to pre-Covid.
Retail – Factory Outlet
Point 13: Middle of Phase 3 – Hypersupply
Office – Downtown
Major metro markets have struggled post-Covid. In smaller/tertiary markets, he jury is still out on whether long-term leases will restructure plans as
Predicting future trends is nearly impossible. Market dynamics are complex and can shift quickly. Our team of experts has made some observations and anticipations for 2023. In no way, shape or form are we suggesting these “educated guesses” to be fact. Mere predictions are not indicative of actual future results. Please consult with your professional legal and financial advisors, complete your own due diligence and draw your own conclusions pertaining to the best financial moves for you.
Black Diamond Realty Predictions:
Real estate is considered by many as a great hedge against high inflation and a strong diversification play. Income producing assets are still warm, not hot, as an investment diversification play. Activity has cooled due to higher interest rates putting downward pressure on valuations. Ranking the sectors is difficult because there are so many factors (location, age, tenant, traffic patterns, surrounding amenities, etc.) but anticipated trends can be projected. In addition, there are several macroeconomic and microeconomic items we anticipate playing out in 2023.
Multifamily and industrial are anticipated to remain strong in the markets we serve. However, look for headwinds beginning to form within 12 to 24 months. Office is the weakest sector as evidenced by higher-than-average historical vacancy rates caused by lower demand created, in part, by work-from-home trends.
Tertiary markets with a core employment base of eds, meds and government jobs (considered recession resistant) will become more attractive to outside investors who are seeking a “safe place” to park capital. West Virginia has significant positive momentum as evidenced by the numerous basic employment announcements throughout 2022. Tertiary markets, similar to several growing areas in West Virginia (North Central, Eastern Panhandle), offer higher cap rates which are attractive to investors. Review Black Diamond Realty’s October newsletter article which compiles numerous statewide job announcements. Click Here.
One to two additional rate hikes in the first half of 2023. We anticipate a reversal, declining rates, starting as early as Q3 or Q4, 2023.
Can the government continue to service its debt at high interest rates? An economist who follows monetary policy, politics and global business much closer than our team will need to answer that question. What we know about monetary policy and our government’s current debt obligations is concerning, at best – downright frightening to others.
Black Diamond Realty anticipates seeing debt options with lower LTV ratios in 2023. Banks will adjust from offering 75-85% LTV to a range of 70-80% LTV.
Construction starts will continue to slow in most sectors. Multifamily and industrial may continue to expand in 2023 but high interest rates are putting downward pressure on construction starts.
Consumer confidence will slip. Challenging retail financial reports will follow. There will be heightened volatility in the stock market.
Our belief is that we are in the midst of a recession. It is either already here or quickly approaching. Government data lags by several months. Consumer confidence has declined during 2022.[viii]Inflation reached record highs in 2022 although it has been declining in recent months. Some believe the inflation decline is, in part, artificially enhanced by the government’s proactive action in releasing 1 million barrels per day of oil reserves. Energy prices will remain volatile especially if/when this strategy is lifted.
Black Diamond Realty is keeping a close eye on unemployment. When unemployment rates increase, consumer purchasing power will decline which will have a trickle up effect to GDP, negatively influencing most sectors in commercial real estate (most notably, retail).
For Black Diamond Realty, sales volume is forecasted to decrease while leasing volume will increase which should lead to leasing price increases in the high demand sectors (industrial and multifamily).
We recommend each party consults with its professional accountant, tax, and legal advisors to better understand the effects of market conditions and real estate transactions. Primary keys to successful investments are knowing the market, the numbers and market trends. Our professional team at Black Diamond Realty is an industry leader. Our company mission is to add value to the communities we serve. We look forward to consulting with you in 2023. Make it a successful investment year.
 It should be noted that interest rates can change drastically depending upon many factors, including the deal’s strength, the borrower’s financial strength (including investment and business experience), debt-to-liquidity ratios, and LTV.
Comments Off on Commercial Office Buildings | Sale or Lease | I-79 Technology Park Fairmont, WV
5000 NASA Blvd, Fairmont, WV
Located within the I-79 Technology Park, 5000 NASA Blvd is a 114,055 (+/-) square foot building with multiple office suites available ranging in size from 1,622 (+/-) to 14,740 (+/-) square feet. This building is separated and identified as North Tower and South Tower. There are two elevators within each tower. The I-79 Technology Park houses multiple office buildings and is HUB Zone Certified. The property offers signage availability, and ample courtesy parking for visitors and employees.
The High Technology Park is located within the heart of the I-79 High Technology Corridor just south of Fairmont, West Virginia. The location of the I-79 Technology Park places it within one day’s drive of 60% of the U.S. population and some of the Nation’s largest cities including New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Access to I-79, Exit 132 can be achieved by traveling 0.8 mile southeast. The building and park are highly visible from traffic traveling in both directions along I-79.
Located within the I-79 High Technology Park, 1000 Technology Drive (Innovation Center) is a 102,723 (+/-) square foot building with multiple office suites available ranging in size from 779 (+/-) to 6,337 (+/-) square feet. The I-79 Technology Park houses multiple office buildings and is HUB Zone Certified. The property offers high security, high end finishes, reception desk attended during office hours, free parking, conference/training room with WIFI, projector, fitness center, group fitness classes, large outdoor courtyard.
The High Technology Park is located within the heart of the I-79 High Technology Corridor just south of Fairmont, West Virginia. The location of the I-79 Technology Park places it within one day’s drive of 60% of the U.S. population and some of the Nation’s largest cities including New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Access to I-79, Exit 132 can be achieved by traveling 0.5 mile southeast. The building and park are highly visible from traffic traveling in both directions along I-79.
Comments Off on Our Second Location is Finally Official!
Our Second Location is Finally Official!
Black Diamond Realty is proud to announce that we have officially closed on an office building along N Queen St in Martinsburg WV. Our talented Graphic Designer/Office Manager, Andrea Icenhower is permanently servicing this office along with David Lorenze and Kim Licciardi who travel from our headquarters in Morgantown WV. We are excited about the expansion of our business and will continue to uphold our commitment of ensuring the success of our clients and community. Stay tuned for more updates on the renovations of our office space and official address.
In the meantime, our Black Diamond Realty team is available and ready to help serve you. Please call Black Diamond Realty’s Martinsburg (304.901.7788) office to speak to Andrea and set up a consultation to discuss your commercial real estate needs.
Why the Eastern Panhandle?
Our team sees a growing need in the Eastern Panhandle for a specialized commercial brokerage firm. The Eastern Panhandle community is rich in history. Serviced by I-81, WV’s Berkeley and Jefferson Counties represent an abundance of growth, serving as the main connection between the Washington, DC / northern Virginia area and the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. We are excited to expand our team and our approach to the area.
Andrea’s Big Move to Jefferson County
In the beginning of August, our Graphic Designed/Office Manager Andrea and her husband Michael Icenhower packed up a Uhaul and moved to the eastern panhandle where Andrea will head the new office. Andrea recently joined the Leadership Jefferson program which is sponsored by theJeffersonCounty Chamber ofCommerce –Jefferson Co Chamber Facebook – The Primary goal of Leadership Jefferson program is to educate current and future community leaders about JeffersonCounty’s assets, opportunities, and hurdles, to strengthen the sense of community and ensure a prosperous future.
Andrea and her other classmates will continue to meet through June 2023 to learn more about the community and to meet businesses in the area! The class of 16 will continue to work together on a class service project! We can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Comments Off on Officials Celebrate Completion of Site Development for West Virginia AeroTech Park
Stakeholders of North Central West Virginia Airport recently celebrated the culmination of nearly 20 years of hoping and planning.
Gov. Jim Justice — along with a host of local leaders and officials — participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of site development for the West Virginia AeroTech Park.
“Without any question, always, the airports are the heart; they’re the lifeblood of the engine that makes everything go,” Justice said. “You think of what you’ve got going on here. It is off the chart; it is un-flat-believable what’s going on.”
The AeroTech Park will house the airport’s new terminal building, an expanded taxiway, an enlarged parking lot and will provide ample build-ready land for the continued growth and development of the region’s aerospace industry.
The park’s future site is now flat and level, but just a year ago, the stretch of land adjacent to W.Va. 279 was buried under approximately 3 million square feet of earth that officials called “the mountain.”
Ron Watson, former Harrison County commissioner and former president of the Benedum Airport Authority, which governs the airport, said officials had long hoped to “move the mountain” to clear space for a new terminal building.
“The mountain has always been something that we wanted to get rid of, but we never had the means, and we really didn’t have a good plan,” he said.
“Before we could do the terminal, we had to get rid of the mountain. That was a long time in the making, and I am delighted to see the progress.”
Airport Director Rick Rock, looking out over the crowd assembled for the ribbon cutting ceremony, thanked the public for always supporting the airport.
“One of the finest lessons I learned when I started this job was to get the community to take ownership of it,” he said. “Right here is an example of a community taking ownership of it. I appreciate it — without you none of this is possible.”
The site development project, handled by Wolfe’s Excavating, was seeded by a state-backed investment announced by Justice in August 2019 — a $10 million grant from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council and a $10 million loan from the state Economic Development Authority.
On July 8, the Federal Aviation Administration announced the airport would receive a $15 million grant, the final element needed to greenlight the terminal’s construction.
Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang, who sits on the Airport’s Special Projects Committee, said numerous individuals and agencies deserve credit for helping make the project a reality.
“It was a matter of just getting everybody to the table one-by-one — whether that was the (Federal Aviation Administration), the (West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection), the state, the governor’s office, the Development office, just on and on — to realize what this project could do for North Central West Virginia,” he said.
Construction of the terminal building is expected to begin next year, Lang said.
“We should be started on the terminal, digging footers, in the spring,” he said.
The expansion project is estimated to lead to direct contributions of more than $587 million to the state’s economy each year, according to economists at West Virginia University.
The total economic impact of construction expenditures for the airport’s terminal expansion project is estimated to be $88 million, of which more than $55 million will be spent directly, and another $33 will be generated in secondary industries, according to analysis from the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
The terminal expansion project is estimated to employ about 356 construction workers directly, and another 199 in supplier industries, for a total employment impact of 555 jobs.
Growth at the airport is estimated to add an additional $16.7 million in expenditures in the local economy over 10 years. Counting secondary impacts, it’s estimated this spending will result in more than $28.5 million in total economic impact over the same 10-year period.
Expansion on the airport’s campus is expected to allow for the addition of seven to 11 small-to-medium-sized businesses that will either expand or locate in the area, for a total of more than 1,300 new jobs.
The airport is one of the main reasons North Central West Virginia is one of the state’s two primary centers for economic activity, according to WVU’s John Deskins.
“This airport and this aerospace sector in Harrison County is one of the key, foundational pieces that is enabling North Central to be a standout region,” he said. “I think that’s pretty important.”
Original Article by Charles Young on August 22, 2022 on wvnews.com
Comments Off on US Natural Gas Prices Spike To 14-Year High. Here’s Why:
New York(CNN Business)US natural gas prices have skyrocketed to levels unseen since 2008, a spike that threatens to offset the benefits of falling prices at the gas pump.
Natural gas futures surged 7% on Tuesday to close at $9.33 per million British thermal unit (BTU), the highest closing price since August 1, 2008.
Although natural gas futures cooled off a touch on Wednesday, they remain up about 70% just since the end of June. And natural gas is up a staggering 525% since closing at $1.48 in June 2020 when Covid-19 had shut much of the US economy down.
The summer spike is being driven in part by high demand as scorching temperatures through much of the country force Americans to crank up the air conditioning. That in turn has chipped away at relatively low inventory levels.
“We’ve had this perma-heat wave cooking the United States,” said Robert Yawger, vice president of energy futures at Mizuho Securities.
As temperatures drop this fall and winter, the natural gas spike signals sticker shock for families. Not only is natural gas a leading fuel source for the electric grid, it’s the most popular way to heat homes in America.
“Depending on the weather, it could be a challenging winter,” said Rob Thummel, senior portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors. “But not as challenging as in Europe. They are at risk of running out of natural gas. We aren’t.”
Europe’s natural gas prices are seven times higher
Europe’s natural gas crisis is being driven by its reliance on energy from Russia, which has slashed natural gas flows to Europe in response to Western sanctions.
The European Union has been forced to lay plans to ration natural gas, a drastic step that will hurt families and businesses. Natural gas prices have skyrocketed so high in Europe that it threatens to send the continent’s economy into recession.
For context, Europe’s natural gas prices are trading at levels equivalent to about $70 per million BTUs, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates. That is roughly seven times higher than prices in the United States.
But that is little consolation to Americans grappling with high prices at the grocery store, clothing stores and at restaurants.
Even as natural gas prices surge, oil prices have tumbled, helping to drive gasoline prices sharply lower. The national average for regular gasoline has dropped 64 days in a row, according to AAA.
Exports pick-up to Europe
Analysts say Europe’s natural gas crisis is contributing to the higher natural gas prices in America, although it’s not the main driver.
“Higher global prices are trickling down to the US. Natural gas has become a global commodity with the emergency of LNG,” said Thummel.
The United States has stepped up its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe in an effort to mitigate the impact of the loss of Russian gas.
“Every spare molecule we can find, we are shipping to the eurozone,” said Yawger.
US natural gas production is lagging behind
But the bigger issue for US natural gas is the fact that inventory levels are below historical averages, leaving the market with less of a buffer and driving up prices.
“We entered this year at beaten-down levels and we never caught up,” Yawger said.
Supply has failed to keep up with strong demand for gas. Thummel pointed to how US oil and gas producers are under pressure from Wall Street to spend less on expensive drilling projects and more on dividends and buybacks to shareholders.
“We need more US natural gas production. The production levels are too low,” Thummel said.
The good news is that higher prices should, eventually, incentivize more production. And investors are not betting today’s high prices will continue. The futures market indicates natural gas prices should be almost 50% lower at this point next year.
Then again, very few people thought a year ago natural gas prices would be at 2008 levels. And yet here we are.
Original Article by Matt Egan, CNN Business on August 17, 2022.
Comments Off on Fear. Uncertainty. Challenging Economic Times.
Fear. Uncertainty. Challenging Economic Times.
For many Americans, these feelings and beliefs have embedded themselves into our cultural fabric. Reminders of uncertain, and for many, challenging times are plentiful. Gas pump prices have soared over the past 12 months. A gallon of milk is 11.2% higher in the same time period. Your favorite morning coffee tastes a little less fulfilling with the higher price tag. Our society has shifted from one cultural extreme to another – enduring a long stay-at-home mandate that stressed the core of human interaction needs to an economy flooded with out-of-control inflation. Why is this happening? What comes next? Our team of experts has thoughts and ideas. Before reading further, please know these thoughts, beliefs and predictions may make you uncomfortable. They are observations and beliefs; not a crystal ball reading. Time will tell how things play out.
Inflation is the new frowned-upon visitor knocking on doors around the country.
Most of our nation’s current inflation can be pinned to two primary factors. The first factor is stimulus money. The federal government injected over $5 trillion into America’s money supply over a 24 month period via Covid relief funds. This amount represents roughly 27% of the current money supply in circulation. More money in citizen pockets led to increased spending. The higher velocity of spending creates inflation. To combat this velocity, the federal government utilizes one of its key control levers, interest rate fluctuation, to control spending habits. The goal of increasing interest rates is to decrease spending in an effort to slow down the economy. The Feds recent rate increases illustrate the government’s concern that inflation is running too hot. The impending challenge is the Fed’s interest rate hikes are only geared toward addressing the demand (spending habits) side of the equation. It does not address the supply side. The Fed faces an unprecedented task of reining in high inflation with 40% additional money in play.
Simply put, our dollars today are significantly less valuable (lower purchasing power) than they were 12 months ago. Stimulus money aims to help those most in need; those individuals most vulnerable and lowest on the earning potential food chain. The irony is disheartening… Our government over-injected for short-term benefit, thereby creating a long-term inflation challenge. The band aid (government stimulus checks) has been pulled while the wound has intensified. Printing money and more government spending is it the answer to stop the bleeding.
The second factor is energy costs.
Under President Biden, an extreme focus on sustainable, clean energy has resulted in an under supply of oil and gas. In the long run, most agree this will be better for our planet and the sustainability of our nation. Others will point out this goal is a multi-decade process to reach a level of production and reliability to avoid power shortages and blackouts. In the short term, President Biden’s regime eliminated the ability to drill on most federal lands. The recent stay-at-home mandate also resulted in lower power consumption which led drilling companies to halt operations. Sanctions placed on Russia are also in play. The following article goes into great detail about how high energy costs greatly affect inflation: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/14/business/gas-prices.html
Where are we heading? How will commercial real estate valuations be affected?
It is impossible for any individual to look into their crystal ball to decipher the outlook 1, 3 or 5 years out. Nonetheless, our team has put together a list of educated guesses.
Our team believes the federal government will continue to push interest rates higher. The government’s goal is to decrease inflation by slowing our economy. Black Diamond Realty projects a 1.5-2.5% increase over current rates within the next 9-12 months. If you are facing a refinance event within the next 2-3 years, lock in rates now. Most likely, they will not be lower 2-3 years from now.
As interest rates continue to rise, CRE valuations will experience downward pressure. The following two sub-bullet points explain why.
Cost of borrowing funds, a buyer’s expense, directly ties into debt service coverage ratios. Many banks seek a minimum 1.2-1.25 DSCR while amortizing loans over 15, 20 or 25 years. We anticipate banks will quickly enter a period of greater scrutiny in which “stress testing loans” will become more laborious similar to policies and procedures observed following 2008-09’s Great Recession.
Cap rates will go up. As the cost to borrow funds increase, a similar rise can be expected to cap rates. Institutional grade deals should retain value while more mom/pop tenants and shorter lease terms will pose greater risk and a corresponding heightened cap rate.
A transition from “cash is trash” back to “cash is king” in the CRE marketplace. Cash has been trash for the past dozen years. Bank and government loans could be achieved at rates slightly above historical inflation figures. This provided tremendous purchasing power to less sophisticated and lower capitalized individuals. Black Diamond Realty observed many deals 90-95% leveraged with creative financing and bank loans leveraging the asset. It is anticipated some investors will still highly leverage assets but we predict at a much lower frequency. Greater cash down will become a returning norm. Cash offers with quick closes will carry greater weight. In summary, rising interest rates will make cash more powerful in the months and years ahead.
Real estate will remain one of the greatest wealth building tools known to mankind. The deal structure and valuations are changing but the fundamentals behind real estate investing’s power remain intact. Real estate is a tangible asset. Historically, real estate has been a tremendous investment tool to hedge against inflation. This centuries long truth will remain strong albeit with changing deal structures and valuations compared to the past half decade.
Please note that statements based on forward-looking estimates may not materialize; there are no guarantees of future economic performance.
Warren Buffet has profited billions with a simple, straightforward investment strategy. Fear creates irrational decisions which lead to opportunities. “Buy when there is fear in the market.” The world’s current fear, uncertainty and challenges will result in tremendous buying opportunities.
The fundamentals of successful commercial real estate investing is changing. Our team of experts recommends keeping the following tips in mind.
Create a 12 month rainy day fund. Calculate your monthly expenses and multiply by 12. Make sure you have this money “set aside” in the event you need to draw from it.
Have some of your liquidity positioned in relatively low risk investments which will allow you to access cash any moment an investment opportunity presents itself.
Take advantage of one of the greatest wealth building tools offered by the federal government – IRS Code 1031. Lever up into larger, higher cash flow and appreciating assets.
Know the asset class you are investing in. Understand the current fundamental strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for each sector of commercial real estate that you are considering.
Look for stabilized, cash flowing opportunities while not shying away from value add plays if the ROI and time/effort required make sense for your personal situation.
We live in a world of challenges. Fear and anxiety are at all time highs for some. We survived the 1973-81 recession and will certainly overcome the present day’s hurdles. The United States has proven, many times over, to be a dynamic and resilient culture with the ability to overcome adversity. Proceed with caution, be prepared to pounce and consistently monitor opportunities. Buckle up. Remember rainbows only show after periods of rain. Challenging times present wealth building opportunities.
Our Black Diamond Realty team can help guide you. Please call Black Diamond Realty’s Morgantown (304.413.4350) or Martinsburg (304.901.7788) office to set up a consultation with one of our experts.
Comments Off on West Virginia Aerospace Industry Set to Take Off With Launch of WVU Small Satellite Center
West Virginia is now on its way toward launching the state’s second small satellite. A team from West Virginia University and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium is poised to turn that achievement into a massive boost for the aerospace industry statewide by taking the first steps toward opening the West Virginia Small Satellite Center of Excellence.
The SmallSat Center will work with businesses and other organizations to develop West Virginia’s second small satellite and to help those partners offer services and products to clients who want to fly experiments out to low orbit. As Melanie Page, director of the Space Grant Consortium, put it, “It’s like a ‘Field of Dreams’ for small satellites.”
With the announcement of $911,708 in U.S. Economic Development Administration funding, that mission is a go.
West Virginia’s first small satellite, STF-1, launched from New Zealand in 2018 and vastly exceeded the usual three-month lifespan for a SmallSat – it’s still up there, transmitting from outer space, more than 1,300 days later. When it came time to capitalize on STF-1’s success, Candy Cordwell, assistant director of the Space Grant Consortium, and Majid Jaridi, former director, envisioned the next SmallSat kickstarting and sustaining an entire industry for aerospace research, products and services in West Virginia.
The EDA’s Assistance to Coal Communities grant goes to projects that advance economic diversification, aerospace manufacturing and STEM training opportunities in areas severely affected by the declining use of coal. In the case of WVU’s initiative, Page said the money will not only support the Innovative Orbital Test Array mission, or IOTA, in which a second SmallSat will be produced and launched as STF-1’s proof of concept, but it will also enable the opening of the SmallSat Center of Excellence.
The Center will be a hub for small satellite research, development, testing, production and commercialization, and “truly an innovation incubator that meets the needs of an industry that meets the needs of customers,” according to David Martinelli, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, who has joined forces with Cordwell and Page to launch the SmallSat Center.
“We’re going to be building satellites in West Virginia,” he said. “As soon as STF-1 was up there for 300 days, people started saying seriously that this is something we should be very proud of and try to capitalize on, and Candy Cordwell and Majid Jaridi came up with the concept of positioning space as an industry for West Virginia. STF-1 was built with West Virginia talent and West Virginia capability. I think that speaks to the likelihood of our success for step two.”
Cordwell said she was thrilled about the project’s potential to kickstart an industry that will have Mountain State residents designing and building satellites destined for the stars.
“This could enable West Virginia to participate in the rapidly growing commercial sector associated with the launch and operation of small satellites,” she said. “The very unique and exciting aspect of this project is that it brings academic, industrial and government partners together to initiate and foster a research center that will bring jobs and economic activities to North Central West Virginia.”
Demand for small satellites is very much on the rise, Page added, with the global market expected to hit more than $3 billion a year and with a robust client base that include governments, companies and research institutions. The SmallSat Center will support West Virginia businesses in serving customers that could range from a telecommunications company to a national cybersecurity program or a research institute monitoring climate change. It will be those clients’ needs that help drive the design of the second-generation IOTA satellite.
Like STF-1, the second SmallSat will be fitted with a flight computer, radio, solar panels and cells, a camera and other instruments for data detection and collection, as well as slots for the satellite’s payload — computer cards that carry the clients’ instructions to the satellite, whether they’re looking to use it to monitor space weather or enable in-car navigation systems.
The IOTA SmallSat may be a three-unit cube satellite, like STF-1, with a form based around three 10-centimeter cubes, or it could be scaled up to a six-unit CubeSat. Or it might take a different form altogether, according to the feedback the SmallSat Center will hear from potential clients and partners.
“Let’s say that a client came to the Center and said, ‘We’re really interested in a satellite that serves a certain need,’” Martinelli said. “What we may do first and foremost is put them in touch with one of our private partners in the state and say, ‘OK, here’s the company that’s ultimately going to build this satellite for you.’ Then we would work with that company to find out what needs to be done, to help them deliver whatever that commercial need is. Our role is to use our talents and facilities and opportunities to fill the innovation gaps to help a West Virginia company serve a client for a small satellite.”
Martinelli relishes the fact that this project is equal parts science and industry, theory and practice.
“What makes this special is that, although West Virginia currently has significant space-related activities, I believe this is the first one that’s truly commercial. West Virginia has research contracts with NASA and related agencies, but the idea of space commercialization and industry in West Virginia is new,” he said.
“We’ve demonstrated we can produce space products in West Virginia. We now have to demonstrate that we can produce space products that have market value, so I want to make sure that from day one the innovation is very intentional in terms of bringing value to as many different industries as possible.”
Cordwell said the SmallSat Center will create 15 new jobs immediately: five at WVU and 10 through the consultant company that will initially be contracted to offer small satellite simulation, design, manufacturing, deployment and management services to the team. Within three to five years, as the center becomes financially self-sustaining, she predicted that the high-wage staff positions will increase to more than 30 jobs in administration, business development, education and advanced aerospace manufacturing.
Martinelli said he believes it won’t be long before West Virginia has a significant need for “computer scientists and engineers of all types – electrical and computer engineers, chemical and aerospace engineers, even structural engineers – as well as analysts, people who know how to work with data. That’s going to be a big part of it because ultimately the value of the satellite is usually data driven. Data is the ultimate product and many emergent companies here will need somebody who knows how to work with data, statisticians and analysts and modelers and mathematicians.”
Page pointed out that, considering West Virginia lost 1,800 technology and science jobs between February and May 2020, making sure those aerospace positions are filled by skilled, trained West Virginians is part of the vision, too.
“If you talk to anyone that’s in engineering or a STEM field, they say two things matter in terms of someone’s decision to follow that career path,” Martinelli said. “No. 1 is that you get to them early. No. 2 is that there’s somebody, maybe a family member or maybe someone else in their life, who works in STEM.”
Martinelli acknowledged that too many youth in West Virginia lack one or both of those opportunities but said he’s passionate about engineering education and growth in STEM.
“We’re going to use the SmallSat Center as an opportunity to hit that aggressively. I certainly will look at all possibilities to showcase what we’re doing to K-12 students,” he said.
“This is the advantage of working with the University, the fact that it gives us not just our research capabilities, but the educational mission as well. We have our clean room and labs where the satellite will be assembled and components tested and so forth. I want to see a parade of students in there on elementary school field trips. I want to see young students going through the facility where they talk to engineers and foster interest in STEM careers.”
Original Article by WVU Today on wvutoday.wvu.edu, July 20, 2022.
Comments Off on Leveraging Real Estate Gains: The Power of a 1031 Exchange
Nine out of 10 US millionaires have found tremendous financial success in real estate investment. Read the seven reasons why 90% of millionaires choose to invest in real estate and why you should too in this article.
The federal government’s rules and regulations offer favorable incentives including annual depreciation and interest expense deductions. These tax deductions encourage investors to deploy money into real estate. The most favorable, generational wealth building tool can be found in Section 1031 of the IRS code. According to IRS.gov,
Whenever you sell a business or investment property and you have a gain, you generally have to pay tax on the gain at the time of sale. IRC Section 1031 provides an exception and allows you to postpone paying tax on the gain if you reinvest the proceeds in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange.
A 1031 exchange allows a real estate seller to defer paying taxes so he or she can leverage capital gains into a larger asset with presumably greater cash flow. The IRS essentially allows an investor to ‘kick the can down the road’ and reinvest the government’s money via a 0% interest loan. The taxes do not disappear, but an investor has the opportunity to leverage the government’s money into larger assets. The 1031 program rewards investors while encouraging further investment in real estate.
This is one of the greatest wealth building tools that exists, because there is no limit on the number of times an investor can utilize a 1031 tax exchange. The federal government is also flexible on the definition of a like kind property. For example, you can sell an apartment building and purchase an office building, land, industrial building, or an asset in a different sector of real estate. To qualify for a 1031 like-kind tax exchange, there are important rules and regulations that must be met. Identification timeframe and the process are two key items to understand.
The government offers two primary identification methods for a 1031 exchange. Both methods require the seller to utilize an intermediary to quarterback the process. Some intermediaries specialize in only 1031 transactions. Other investors choose to utilize their preferred real estate attorney, whose firm is capable of handling a 1031 transaction. To execute a 1031, it is imperative the exchanger (seller of relinquished property) hire an intermediary who handles the 1031 transaction, before the relinquished property closes. A 1031 is considered null and void if the seller (of the relinquished property) takes position of the funds from the relinquished asset sale. More information about the top ten identification rules for a 1031 exchange can be found here.
The traditional 1031 method allows for a 45-day requirement to identify and designate property to purchase, once the relinquished property has sold. There are two “identifying” rules that govern how many properties can be identified. The first rule allows an exchanger to identify up to three properties to purchase. The second method allows an exchanger to identify as many properties as desired, up to 200 percent of the value of the relinquished asset. The second timeframe rule pertains to total days to purchase the replacement asset(s). From the sale of the relinquished asset (property sold), you have 180 days to finalize a transaction to purchase a replacement property or properties.
The second method to execute a 1031 occurs when the exchanger buys “replacement assets” before the relinquished property is sold. A reverse 1031, as implied, is effectively the reverse order of a traditional 1031. This option takes more time and is more cumbersome from a paperwork/process standpoint. The replacement asset(s) are purchased first and held by an intermediary. Then, the 1031 applicant has 180 days to close on the asset. Why would anyone utilize a reverse 1031? Black Diamond Realty recently experienced a situation, whereby a client secured a purchaser for a parcel of land and the client wished to defer capital gains tax payment. So, the client secured two replacement properties via a purchase and sale agreement. The land contract needed to be extended multiple times. After six months, the seller of the replacement assets (our client was the buyer) applied pressure for the multifamily properties to sell immediately. In addition, our client wanted to close on those assets, because we were in a rising-interest-rate environment. Our client closed on the two multifamily “replacement assets” before finalizing the sale of his land (cause for the capital gain to be in play), resulting in a reverse 1031 being executed.
Black Diamond Realty recommends you consult with your accountant or tax advisor and a real estate attorney before finalizing your like-kind exchange strategy. BDR has many on-market and off-market replacement opportunities. So, please utilize our team as a resource. Wealth building tools have been created to incentivize folks to invest in real estate. Be aware of their availability and utilize them to meet your investment goals.
Comments Off on BDR Reward Trip 2022: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Black Diamond Team Heads To Mexico
Reward Trip 2022 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
On February 24th, the BDR crew departed for their 2022 Reward Trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The team spent five unforgettable days in the sun together making memories and reenergizing for the busy year ahead.
Black Diamond Realty has created a family-like, teamwork-oriented culture in which our team is vested in each other’s success. Our process is detailed and diligent but it surrounds core values and beliefs that are summarized by the acronym, HIT. “ H ” stands for honesty, hard work and humility. “ I ” stands for integrity, intelligence and innovation. “ T ” stands for teamwork, tenacity and technology. Maintaining a consistent focus on honoring our HIT value system, BDR’s team works tirelessly to achieve our clients’ goals. Recharging the battery is paramount to providing a high level of service.
Each year, Black Diamond Realty provides an incentive trip intended to reward team members who meet individual and company goals. 2022’s destination was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The team soaked up some much needed sun at the ocean front Riu Palace Resort. The five days included lots of sun, amazing tacos, beverages, entertainment and a boat tour to the arch of Cabo San Lucas, lover’s beach and divorce beach. Our team returned to Morgantown recharged and excited for another successful year.
Thank you to all our clients, customers and reliable referral sources for trusting us with your projects. Check out some of our favorite moments below.
Comments Off on BDR’s Second Location Grand Opening Announcement!
As our post-pandemic world continues to innovate and evolve, so too does Black Diamond Realty. Over the last year, we have seen an increase in demand for our expertise and services across all sectors and locations in West Virginia and Southwestern PA. We work hard to understand the markets we serve. Our team sees a growing need in the Eastern Panhandle for a specialized commercial brokerage firm. We are thrilled to announce our official presence and intent to open an office in 2022 to serve the Eastern Panhandle.
The Eastern Panhandle community is rich in history. Serviced by I-81, WV’s Berkeley and Jefferson Counties represent an abundance of growth, serving as the main connection between the Washington, DC / northern Virginia area and the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Despite the pandemic-created economic challenges, the Eastern Panhandle persevered as an economic engine for the state and is in the midst of an economic boom across all commercial real estate sectors. For these reasons, we believe the time is now to make an impact and to begin serving these communities.
At Black Diamond Realty we pride ourselves in providing clients with the highest quality service. Our motto is, “Real Service. Real Value. Real Results.” Black Diamond Realty opened its doors on October 1, 2013. As of 2022, the team has a total of 106 years combined experience, which includes three graphic designers who ensure our team’s presentation and process exceeds expectations. In 2021, Black Diamond’s team closed 88 transactions equal to $66,766,420. For each project, the Black Diamond team accepts the challenge, diligently and aggressively executes its process, and navigates the nuances associated with completing a successful commercial real estate transaction.
We are excited to be bringing our team and our approach to the Eastern Panhandle. Black Diamond Realty embraces community engagement and collaborating with industry leaders.
The Eastern Panhandle office will be spearheaded by David Lorenze (Principal), Kim Licciardi (Senior Associate), and Andrea Cooper (Jr. Graphic Designer/Office Manager). These individuals are all integral parts of the Morgantown team and bring years of experience and expertise to this new location. Black Diamond Realty will be actively recruiting new commercial sales associates in the area over the coming months. Have questions about our new Eastern Panhandle office? Give us a call at 304.901.7788.
Comments Off on Reflecting and Projecting, BDR’s Outlook on 2022
Macroeconomics (think interest rates and national productivity) greatly impact the commercial real estate markets we serve. Three major macro topics of 2021 were inflation, interest rates and labor participation. The most recent data released by the federal government indicates year-over-year inflation is at 6.2%, which is a rise from the previous quarter’s 5.4% and a multi-decade high. From higher price tags at the gas pumps to greater expense at the grocery store, inflation causes the dollars we have in our possession to have lower purchasing power.
The current rate of inflation has initiated discussion about interest rate increases to combat inflationary concerns. Historically, the federal government has utilized one of its key monetary policy levers, interest rate control, in high inflationary periods. The Federal Chairman, Jerome Powell, and his team anticipates three interest rate hikes in 2022 and another three in 2023. BDR projects interest rates to rise 75 to 125 basis points in 2022. On average, BDR has seen commercial real estate interest rates hover around 3.5% (3.25% – 3.75%) in 2021. If BDR’s projected 2022 increase is accurate (utilizing 1% interest rate increase), a $1MM loan will be $6,322.68 more per year when amortized over 20 years.
In 2021, BDR saw a significant increase in demand for investment commercial real estate. Investors are looking to diversify. Low interest rates is one key reason. Other contributing factors include high inflation, speculation the stock market is due for a correction and investors desire to move into tertiary/rural markets. Black Diamond Realty’s thoughts behind these contributing factors include:
Low Interest Rates: The low cost of borrowing funds allows purchasers to pay more which helps meet seller valuation expectations.
High Inflation: Commercial real estate has historically been an excellent hedge against high inflationary environments. Income producing assets (investment properties) are in highest demand. In some markets, rising rents can keep up with, or ideally exceed, the rate of inflation. Some commercial leases have automatic CPI adjustments. In other growing markets, demand outpaces supply which allows rents to be pushed beyond inflation.
Speculation of a Forthcoming Stock Market Correction: Markets react in unique and complex ways to variables. History tells us the average bull run lasts ~8 years. Excluding the ~6 month pandemic-initiated recession, the stock market has been on a bull run since 2009. History tells us a correction could be coming. Some believe it. Others do not. Nobody knows when but the fear surrounding this variable encourages investors to make diversification decisions.
Increased Demand for Tertiary Market Investments: The pandemic has created a shift in mindset, beliefs and practices that has hurt many metro markets but has also created positive momentum for some tertiary markets that boast high quality of life. Eds, meds and government are seen as recession-resistant sectors. Morgantown, WV and Bridgeport, WV are excellent examples of cities that are thriving in the midst of the pandemic. Demand for these areas has increased as remote working concepts have gained popularity and individuals are transitioning out of densely populated areas.
The factors above have resulted in compressed cap rates and corresponding higher valuations. It is a great time for a seller to exit an asset while a difficult time for purchasers to find deals. Black Diamond Realty has experienced a significant increase in off-market deal activity and we anticipate this trend to continue.
North central WV and southwestern PA are enjoying many economic highlights as our nation moves further beyond the Covid pandemic. Some of the north central WV highlights are captured below.
WVU Medicine continues to expand with the forthcoming opening of its 10-story Children’s Hospital on WVU’s main campus.
WestRidge Development continues to expand its footprint as new uses are introduced to the Morgantown, WV market. Most notably, Bass Pro Shop and Menards opened its door in 2021. Many more uses and buildings are in the works.
Morgantown Industrial Park is expanding to create additional, large pads in Phase II of the development which are anticipated to have more direct access to I-79. A 47-acre sale sparked Phase II’s development.
David and Rick Biafora are investing significantly into the revitalization of Middletown Mall, now called Middletown Commons. The total projected investment is ~$40-50 million which should have a significant positive effect on South Fairmont and White Hall’s local economy.
Mitsubishi hires 400-500 additional workers at North Central West Virginia Airport location in Bridgeport, WV.
Charles Point continues to expand which will soon include 50-60 acres of retail including anchor retailer, Menards.
Bridgeport introduced a state-of-the-art, 156,000 square foot multi-purpose facility to its community. The Bridge Sports Complex brings tremendous recreational and quality of life opportunities to Harrison County and beyond.
Ascend WV is receiving positive national highlight reel exposure and has helped reverse a decades old trend of individuals migrating out of WV. According to WAJR, “Between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, West Virginia had a net migration of 2,343. More people moved into the state than out of it.”
West Virginia’s Grant and Tucker Counties won big in securing Virgin’s Hyperloop. This multi-state, competitive process was successfully secured on an 800 acre site in central WV.
New River Gorge National Park System was introduced as West Virginia’s first federal national park.
BDR worked hard to achieve its clients’ goals in 2021. The BDR team closed 87 deals in 2021 with 61% leases versus 39% sales. BDR added a new colleague, Caleb Wooldridge, to our growing team. Caleb joins BDR as a recent WVU graduate who majored in Economics and interned with David as an undergraduate. We are excited to watch Caleb flourish in the years ahead.
In his fourth year, Jeff Stenger continues his climb by surpassing production year after year. Jeff’s empathetic, hard-working and detailed-oriented demeanor adds tremendous value to the clients he serves.
Chris Waters has been dubbed the medical marijuana and industrial guru in BDR’s office. Last year was a breakout year for Chris and 2022 looks to continue that growth.
In her first full year with the team, Kim Licciardi set a BDR record for Year 1 production. Kim’s underwriting knowledge, business acumen and confidence have quickly propelled her onto a path as a top producer.
BDR’s sales team would not be where it is today without the skillset, support and moral fabric that Janelle Zeoli and Andrea Cooper provide daily. These two women are invaluable to the BDR team and continue to support our growth and development.
As we close the 2021 chapter, we are pleased to announce BDR is aggressively and actively working toward opening a second office in Martinsburg, WV. We will be recruiting and hiring key team members in the market with a specific focus on fostering client relationships and fortifying vendor contacts. We are optimistic our presentation, process and people will be well received in this new market. There will be more to come in a future announcement.
Our team promises to continue to strive to raise the standard while exceeding expectations in this new year and beyond. Thank you for your trust and confidence and we look forward to making 2022 a great year, together.
Comments Off on Inflation Uptick, What You Need to Know and Should Expect
The recent pandemic has caused significant construction supply chain challenges. Material costs have increased drastically; lumber futures are up 280%, steel mill product costs are up 55.6%, and gypsum product costs (plaster, drywall) have increased 12.5%. On top of the cost increase, lead times for construction materials have doubled or tripled, in many cases.
One example to offer…a BDR client recently called a contractor for a 6,000 square foot build-to-suit retail structure. Upon giving the bid, the contractor stated, “We will hold this pricing for two days.” This is in stark contrast to the typical pricing hold of 30 days. The urgency on both sides is a result of supply chain challenges.
Tensions like these extend beyond material cost increases. The Federal government recently injected an estimated $6 trillion dollars into our economy. Many businesses, communities, and families depended on this money to sustain their livelihood during the government shutdown. While the government took this step to rescue our economy in the short-term, the long-term impact should not be overlooked.
Inflation is a reality we will face in the years to come. Dating back to 1914, the yearly inflation rate in the United States has averaged 3.23%. The highest single month of inflation was in June 1920 when it skyrocketed to 23.70%. Since 2009, inflation has averaged 1.5-2% per year. According to tradingeconomics.com, April 2021’s inflation (most recent data point) is 4.2%. Each month in 2021 has seen an upward inflation trend.
There are several reasons inflation can uptick. Some of the causes include:
Injecting money into an economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government injected around $6 trillion in the economy, which has ballooned our national debt to an astonishing $25 trillion. Since February 2020, the monetary supply in the United States has increased 26%. This is the largest one-year jump since 1946. According to USA Today Money, “Creating too much money that chases too few goods leads to price inflation, decreasing the purchase power of the dollar.” To note, there is more US currency in circulation today than ever before.
Demand-pull effect in an economy. Staying at home has led many folks to save up money (fuel cost, eating out for lunch) while consistently living hours in a single space (home). The reality many have lived for the past 12+ months provides an abundance of opportunity to find things to upgrade within a home. This COVID-sparked phenomenon has led to a surge in demand for goods and services. Look at the current residential housing market. Virtually any residential real estate agent will emphatically tell you it is currently a seller’s market. This extends well beyond our home base in Morgantown, WV, to the entire country.
Cost-push effect in an economy. In addition to increased demand, suppliers have been unable to maintain pace due to labor and raw material shortages. For an extended period of time, factories were shut down or stalled due to the pandemic. The effect is large gaps in the supply chain across many sectors – from chicken wings to construction materials. Increased and/or consistent demand with a decrease in supply results in higher prices.
These signs and more point to high rates of inflation. The volume of currency (USD) circulating in our system, pent-up demand for product and current supply chain issues are key indicators of increased inflation, which means tomorrow’s dollar will be worth less than today’s dollar.
One way to invest smartly given this circumstance is an inflation hedge. An inflation hedge typically involves investing in an asset expected to maintain or increase its value over a specified period of time. The investment goal is to secure assets close to, at, or greater than the rate of inflation. Investors should weigh their options across all investment opportunities.
Real estate is considered a strong hedge against inflation because property values and rents typically increase during times of inflation. Real estate has intrinsic value, is in limited supply, and is a yielding asset. People need to have shelter regardless of the value of their currency. Real estate investing also allows investors to utilize other people’s money, include the banks’, to make money.
Interest rates are still hovering around all-time lows which makes real estate a particularly attractive option in the current investment environment. When the rate of inflation goes up, fixed-interest rate financing costs less than when the loan was taken out since the dollar has lost some of its value. The borrower is essentially paying the lender back money that’s worth less than when the borrower took out the loan. This allows investors/borrowers to pay back loans using cheaper dollars.
“A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.”
At Black Diamond Realty, we have seen an uptick in demand for multifamily assets and other investment properties, income producing assets, across all sectors. We anticipate this trend to continue due to many of the reasons highlighted in this article. West Virginia has received tremendous positive economic momentum. From the Hyperloop announcement to the Smith’s Ascend WV program, momentum is building in WV. North Central WV remains an economic shining star in the state.
Call Black Diamond Realty today to explore your investment options. We have a team of professionals who understand complicated dynamics driving the various markets we serve. Let us underwrite your next investment project. Hedge against inflation wisely.
Article by: Article by: David Lorenze, Caleb Wooldridge Edited by: Dr. Stephanie Lorenze
Comments Off on MIP ‘strategically located’ to Attract businesses
The Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) is preparing for expansion, and with expansion, owners hope to bring jobs into the area.
“We think we’re strategically located and will be an attractive place for someone looking to build and to come into north-central West Virginia,” said Glenn Adrian co-owner of Enrout Properties, which owns MIP.
MIP is more than 500 acres in total. Currently, most of the development is concentrated on the east-ern part of the park. During the past year, MIP has worked with the Monongalia County Commission, Morgantown Area Partnership and the City of Westover in hopes of expanding the western side of the park.
“The proposed development at the industrial park will have a positive impact on not only Westover, it will impact our entire county,” said Dave Johnson, mayor of Westover.
To fuel this expansion, the park has been working to establish an interchange in what is now known as the Harmony Grove TIF District. The goal of the interchange is to spur additional development within the park by giving better access to the interstate.
Adrian said the recent approval of the establishment of a new TIF district, or tax increment financing district, by the Monongalia County Commission has been a big step for MIP. He said this will allow MIP to move forward with West Virginia development offices in terms of getting approval for expansion of infrastructure and roads.
As MIP looks to create direct access to the inter-state, it also continues to bring new business to the area. Adrian said MIP will announce plans to add a manufacturing facility to the area within the next 30 days in conjunction with local and state officials.
He said because of COVID-19 as well as job loss following the announcement to close down Mylan Pharmaceuticals, bringing jobs to the area is vital.
“I think this is some-thing that has been a wake-up call for not only Mon County, but north-central West Virginia,” he said. “Jobs are important and these are blue-collar type manufacturing jobs —well paying jobs — with benefits and things of that nature.”
Currently, businesses located in MIP are mainly located along the Monongahela River. This includes the SI group, WVU commercial laundry facility, Central Supply Co. and a Republic Services transfer station. Garrick Electric Co., Black Diamond Equipment Rental and others also have locations on site.
Part of what draws businesses to MIP is that it is equipped to barge products in and out, as well as rail products in and out. These two abilities, along with looking toward access to the interstate, will make MIP a desirable location for manufacturing and distribution companies.
Adrian said significant studies are required before establishing an inter-change becomes possible. These include looking at the interchange’s geometric design, studying traffic in the area and looking at environmental impact, including anything from noise pollution to impact on waterways.
MIP is in the midst of conducting these studies with Thrasher Engineer-ing. Once complete, the studies will help determine the feasibility of an inter-change with the West Vir-ginia Department of High-ways and the Federal High-way Administration.
“Really what we’re hop-ing to generate is the avail-ability of industrial sites that, with the new inter-change, would attract other types of manufactur-ing, distribution centers, things of that nature,” Adrian said.
Comments Off on BDR Reward Trip 2021: Key Largo, Florida
The Black Diamond Team Heads To The Keys
Reward Trip 2021 – Key Largo, Florida
Black Diamond Realty has created a family-like, teamwork-oriented culture in which our team is vested in each other’s success. Our process is detailed and diligent but it surrounds core values and beliefs that are summarized by the acronym, HIT. “ H ” stands for honesty, hard work and humility. “ I ” stands for integrity, intelligence and innovation. “ T ” stands for teamwork, tenacity and technology. Maintaining a consistent focus on honoring our HIT value system, BDR’s team works tirelessly to achieve our clients’ goals. Recharging the battery is paramount to providing a high level of service.
Each year, Black Diamond Realty provides an incentive trip intended to reward team members who meet individual and company goals. 2021’s destination was Key Largo, Florida. The team soaked up some much needed sun at the Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort. The five days included lots of sun, amazing food, beverages, entertainment and a jet ski tour through the local mangroves. Our team returned to Morgantown recharged and excited for another successful year.
Thank you to all our clients, customers and reliable referral sources for trusting us with your projects. Check out some of our favorite moments below.
Comments Off on West Virginia Gov. Justice makes income tax elimination plan top priority
CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice hopes to make West Virginia the eighth state in the nation without a personal income tax.
Justice outlined a strategy to phase out and eventually eliminate the state’s income tax during his 2021 State of the State Address, marking the effort as one of his major priorities for the current session of the West Virginia Legislature.
As of 2021, seven states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — do not have a state income tax. Two other states, New Hampshire and Tennessee, don’t tax earned wages.
Justice’s plan would initially see personal income taxes cut in half for most West Virginians, while imposing a series of new taxes and tax hikes.
Personal income taxes eventually would be eliminated for all residents, with the hope that the predicted economic development activity and influx of new residents that will occur as a result will make up for the lost revenues.
In order to replace the $2.1 billion received annually from the personal income tax, Justice said the state should raise its consumer sales tax by 1.5%, impose taxes on the purchase of tobacco products and soda, create a “tiered” system for severance tax collections, impose taxes on some professional services, impose a wealth tax and make $25 million in budget cuts.
Richard Auxier, senior policy associate for the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said politicians like to bring up eliminating income taxes because, on the surface, it seems like an idea that can be easily sold to the public.
“If you ask someone, ‘Would you rather pay higher or lower taxes?’ they are going to say lower taxes,” he said.
However, this overlooks the importance of the essential services — such as infrastructure, education and health care — typically funded by income tax revenues and ignores the actual needs of businesses and families, Auxier said.
“That’s the other side of the ledger. That’s why we have taxes,” he said. “It’s critical to make sure that anytime you discuss this, you can’t make the question, ‘Do you want to pay higher or lower tax?’ I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that. The question for West Virginia is what do businesses in West Virginia need to thrive and what do families, to stay or draw them to West Virginia, need to thrive?”
Those who earn less will be most impacted by raising the consumer sales tax, Auxier said.
“Lower income people tend to buy more goods which are taxable than higher income earners, but it’s just math,” he said. “If you only have $25,000 in income, you’re spending pretty much every dollar that comes in and it’s being taxed at the same time. If you’re higher income, well you’re pocketing money, you’re saving money and you’re investing money. Your purchases simply aren’t as large a share of your income, so the tax bill for you overall goes down as a percentage of your income.”
Kansas tried a similar strategy in 2012 that had disastrous results, Auxier said.
“The governor at the time, Gov. [Sam] Brownback, put forth a very similar proposal. He literally said at the time, ‘I want Kansas to be an experiment.’ And his experiment failed spectacularly,” Auxier said. “The income tax cuts did not generate any economic growth. Not only that, Kansas fell behind its neighboring states when it cut its taxes. It didn’t just fail to reach its very high goals of booming economic growth, it fell back on its butt.”
The experiment resulted in deep deficits in Kansas’s budget, Auxier said.
“Therefore that exacerbated its ability to fund its schools, fund its roads and it fell into this terrible problem,” he said.
States that have managed to successfully eliminate income tax — states like Texas and Florida — have a substantially higher population then West Virginia and have very different economies, Auxier said.
“You have to think about what is right for West Virginia — given its economic mix, given its major businesses, given the challenges that families face, given the size of its cities, the size of its local governments,” he said. “Simply pointing at a state that you think is a success and saying that it must be the income tax, that’s myopic at the least.”
West Virginia lawmakers are waiting for more details of the governor’s tax plan to be released, but many members of the GOP caucus have already signaled their support for the proposal.
Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said West Virginia must “take bold steps to secure our future.”
“We have been committed over the last four years to improving our state’s business climate, reforming our education system and promoting all of the benefits our state has to offer,” he said. “We now must take the next step, and that step is removing our state’s personal income tax.”
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said he looks forward to working with lawmakers to come up with a more concrete plan to accomplish Justice’s goal.
“The task will be putting the right plan together,” he said. “There is significant support in the House to eliminate the income tax, but it will of course depend on what the plan looks like. We’re not there yet on a plan, but we’re working toward it every day.”
Del. Clay Riley, R-Harrison, said he would support a plan that results in net tax relief for state residents.
“I am always in favor of putting money back in West Virginians’ pockets. It’s not the government’s money; it’s the people who are out there earning it,” he said. “I think it’s time that we have a good, honest debate about how we can do that successfully.”
Justice’s plan is a “good starting point” for lawmakers, Riley said.
“You always have someplace to start to have the discussion,” he said. “So I expect you’re going to see some good healthy discussion over the next 60 days. I think there’s a lot of great of ideas. And I think that as we work through the committee process, we’ll see something come out that’s good for the state of West Virginia.”
Del. Ben Queen, R-Harrison, said it’s typical for the governor to drop “bomb”-like ideas during his State of the State address.
“But not normally a billion dollar bomb. That’s hard to get used to here in the Legislature, especially when our general budget is only $4.5 billion,” he said. “But I think we’re all in favor of removing the personal income tax; it’s just how do we get there? Can we afford it? And in what manner do we do so?”
He also expects the tax package to change and evolve as it works itself through the committee process, Queen said.
“What I think we’re trying to weigh the options of is, how do we offset it?” he said. “We were cutting the budget $450 million just four years ago. Now, we do have surpluses, don’t get me wrong, but can we afford a $1 billion plan in a time where we’re kind of uncertain about what the future looks like?”
There have been numerous previous attempts to remove the state’s personal income tax, Queen said.
“We’ve all seen many different forms and plans to remove the personal income tax, and I think that’s the best one we’ve seen so far,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think you’re going to see a lot of discussion about the personal income tax. … If we can afford it, I think we’re all in. But making sure we can afford it is the uphill battle right now.”
Del. Joey Garcia, D-Marion, said he fears the tax plan will overshadow other important issues during this year’s session.
“A number of things that are being put on the table to try and pay for even a half repeal of the income tax, a lot of things have been discussed before and a lot of them have failed before with Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “So for me, there’s a lot of concern about that proposal and that it leaves a lot of the priorities that we should be looking at without the adequate funding that they need.”
Although Republicans are in the majority in both chambers and, in theory, have the numbers to pass just about any legislation, some GOP members have expressed doubts about the tax plan, Garcia said.
“I’m not so certain that they have the numbers to pass that, when it comes to their caucus and how they are split,” he said. “I don’t know that for sure and I haven’t talked to all the Republicans, but I’ve talked to a number of them that have reservations.”
“The announcements kind of speak for themselves,” said Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch. “I would say that we’re really on a record pace. From my standpoint, I think you’ll see more of this going forward.”
Mike Graney, deputy commerce secretary and former executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, also believes the best is yet to come.
“We’re just getting started,” he said. “This diversification effort, this intentional effort are really moving the needle forward.”
Other notable recent victories include the expansion of the workforce at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries location in Bridgeport; supply company Klöckner Pentaplast has chosen its production facility in Beaver for its production expansion; and Gruppo Fanti, an Italian metal packaging manufacturing company, has announced plans to open a plant in Weirton.
The staff of the Commerce Department and the Development Office are due much of the credit for the recent successes, Gaunch said.
“We’ve been very intentional, we’ve been strategic, and we’ve been very results-oriented in what we’ve asked our people to do,” he said.
The two agencies have forged meaningful working partnerships with other state agencies, Gaunch said.
“K though 12 education, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection and even to some degree the Department of Heath and Human Resources,” he said. “We’ve learned to work together.”
The Commerce Department and the Development Office also adopted a “regionalized” approach to economic development, one that highlights the existing strengths and resources available in the different parts of the state, Gaunch said.
“When people learn that they can do much more together as a region than they can as an individual city or town or county, then much better things happen,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously changed the way the business of economic development is conducted, but it has also presented unique opportunities, Graney said.
“Traditionally we had attended trade shows and been on missions and visited companies at their headquarters, but we haven’t been able to do that in 10 months and probably won’t be able to do so for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Focus has shifted online, and efforts have been thrown behind an aggressive digital marketing strategy, Graney said.
“It’s curious that we were able to stand up this effort in the face of … totally changing our direction and, frankly, in many ways making us that much more attractive,” he said.
There are several initiatives the two agencies would like to see lawmakers and the governor support in order to further promote economic development efforts in the state, Graney said.
“Because every one of our existing businesses and every one of our prospective acquisition candidates is concerned about workforce, we would like to restore the funding to the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce effort that was taken away several administrations ago during some lean years,” Graney said.
The program provided new or expanding companies training funds and technical assistance to support effective employee training strategies.
“When we’re making an offer to a new business, they are definitely very interested in that, in particular, if they are represented by a site consultant,” Graney said. “Frankly, every state that we compete against, every state in the union has something very similar to this.”
Another item on the two agencies’ economic development wish list is the creation of a “closing fund,” which would give the state funds to provide final incentives to close a deal, Graney said.
“Many of the states we compete against have a closing fund that allows for that last-minute offer that potentially lures you into locating in West Virginia,” he said. “It may be that another state has a bigger checkbook than we do, and our current methodology for doing that is complicated and very legal fee intensive. We’d like to see a little bit more flexibility there.”
The state also needs to pursue strategies focused on developing build-ready sites, Graney said.
“We still have some challenges with having shovel-ready, buildable sites in the state of West Virginia,” he said. “Often, unfortunately we’re just passed over because we don’t have a site that’s ready to build on.”
Although he agreed that most states tend to have deeper pockets than West Virginia, no one can match its citizens’ work ethic, Gaunch said.
“Nobody out-hustles us, and nobody out-works us,” he said. “We think that we have the advantage there.”
Comments Off on Buyer-Tenant Representation: How Black Diamond Can Assist You
Choosing the commercial real estate that is the best fit for you and your success can be tricky. Does the location align with the business’ demographic focus? How will visibility and accessibility positively or negatively influence the business’ performance? What deal structure preserves capital while minimizing long-term risks? These are a few examples of many challenging and complex questions that should be thoroughly analyzed when striking a commercial real estate deal.
Black Diamond can be your commercial real estate parachute. Our team of experts adds value to a buyer and/or tenant representation relationship by providing sound market and experience-driven advice, utilizing resources to thoroughly canvass the market for all assets which potentially service your needs, advocating for your best interests during the negotiation process, connecting you with helpful professionals, and taking a comprehensive, team-oriented approach focused on looking out for your best interests. Our team works hard to service and protect our clients’ interests.
Commercial real estate transactions are complex with many potential hurdles. The information below is intended to expand upon reasons you should consider securing buyer and/or tenant representation when searching for your next commercial real estate asset.
Expertise/Market Knowledge. We all have areas of expertise in life. One individual’s strength is another’s weakness. Day in and day out, our team of experts are discussing, assessing, experiencing and closing complex deals in the commercial real estate markets we serve. This experience creates market knowledge that is unique to working in the commercial real estate trenches on a daily basis. Market knowledge can help minimize the risk associated with choosing an asset that becomes a profitable venture versus a financially challenged and stressful endeavor.
Greater Options. Our team has access to off-market opportunities which are properties with no public advertising. A prospective tenant or buyer receives a greater range of opportunity when working with a real estate professional. The contacts we have developed in the region allow us to ensure our clients have a comprehensive understanding of the available assets that could service their company’s needs.
Connections. Successfully navigating commercial real estate transactions requires knowledge in a number of specialty fields. Some of those fields include, but are not limited to, real estate law, construction, accounting, banking and marketing. Our team of experts works with regional professionals on a daily basis. Through our exposure to thousands of deals, we have developed a referral network of professionals that we feel confident can properly service the various needs of your organization.
Lease vs. Buy. Our team has a strong understanding of underwriting, preservation of capital and resources needed to continue to grow. Having an open dialogue about the decision to buy or lease is healthy to ensure the correct long-term decision is executed.
Experienced Negotiators. Navigating a commercial real estate negotiation is a dance. Many unknowns can arise. Exposed to thousands of deals over a collective career, BDR’s team has seen myriad circumstances. We utilize that experience and exposure to help our clients successfully navigate the negotiation to finalize a deal.
Save Time & Money. Hiring a team of experts allows you to focus your time on your business while knowing a professional is working in your best interest. We handle most items needed in the process. For the items we do not handle, we have referrals to specialty services (see Connections above). There is typically no cost to a buyer/tenant representation except in unique scenarios. Traditionally, the seller/landlord pays the brokerage fees.
Whether you are in the market for investment assets, office, industrial, land or retail space, we will assist you with finding the right location and property. Clients benefit from our market knowledge, putting them on the inside track to evaluate locations, rental rates and purchase prices, negotiate lease and purchase agreements, and assess other pros/cons. We specialize in finding properties that are off market or not advertised as available, and we can recommend knowledgeable attorneys, architects, engineers, contractors, accountants, and other professionals to assist any purchase or lease transaction.
We understand that every situation is unique, ranging from large corporations to small local businesses, which is why we tailor our approach to meet the needs of each industry. When you choose Black Diamond as your buyer-tenant representative, you will gain support from a brokerage firm that will help you achieve you short or long-term goals.
If your business’s lease is near expiration or you’re looking to relocate or expand, call us today at 304.413.4350 and we will assist you in evaluating a new location for success!
Comments Off on Reflecting on 2020 and Projecting on 2021
The page has turned on one of the most complicated, volatile and disheartening years in recent history. Families worked hard to maintain their values and moral fabric. Remote learning, hand sanitizer and Zoom calls became societal norms. Businesses diligently pursued creative means to keep their team members employed. Accessorizing with a mask is now commonplace and yet so many unknowns remain. Will businesses survive the continued stress of the pandemic? How will the new president affect the commercial real estate world?
Closer to home, Mylan recently closed its doors and other businesses could not survive the pandemic. Will we see more businesses closing their doors in our community? The Black Diamond team does not have all the answers but we can provide perspective on what we witnessed in 2020 and what we anticipate in 2021. Take it at face value, considering our regional sample size.
In February 2020 (pre-pandemic), we were able to enjoy our annual company reward trip to Aruba. Our work family added a key team member, Kim Licciardi, this summer. We took proactive steps to begin the journey of upgrading our process via new CRM (customer relationship management) system. To top it off, we reached many of our 2020 company goals. In 2020, we served a key role in consummating 64 sale and lease transactions. Of the 64 deals, 23 were sales which represents 36% of our business. We continue to gain positive traction in securing and successfully selling investment (income producing) assets.
We were also successful in other sectors with sale and lease volume in descending order: Office – Investment – Land – Retail – Industrial. 2020 was a challenging but productive year. Certainly 2021 will bring additional challenges, but many positive market opportunities exist. Below is a list of our top 5 commercial real estate predictions for 2021.
Interest in purchasing assets will remain high. Low interest rates, combined with stock market fears created by an 11 year bull run and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will continue to encourage folks to invest capital into commercial real estate. For some, parking money into an income producing commercial real estate asset is less risky than riding the wave of a stock market that has been on a bull run since the financial crisis of 2009.
More businesses will close their doors permanently. We have not seen the end of the COVID fallout. Many entrepreneurs continue to struggle as government mandated shutdowns have created unprecedented challenges for business owners. Cash will be king in some scenarios as companies look to divest quickly to avoid bankruptcy and negative credit effects.
Growth in government and high tech jobs in the region. Under a new presidential administration, increased government and continued focus on high tech will likely be in play. This will lead to opportunity in many CRE sectors, most notably office, throughout the region.
Flexible lease terms will be more prevalent. COVID-19 has created many challenges including top line and bottom line challenges for many tenants. This will lead to a willingness of landlords to be more flexible with lease terms and conditions in an effort to secure tenancy.
Industrial sector demand will shift. Oil & gas is anticipated to face heightened scrutiny and additional challenges in 2021. Low commodity pricing, combined with anticipated stringent environmental policy (aimed at creating clean energy), will be challenging for some O&G companies while creating opportunity for others. A shift in market demand will predominantly be seen via a focus on distribution warehouse space and industrial space utilized for logistical centers. Some heavy and light manufacturing opportunities will also present themselves in 2021 as our country attempts to bring jobs home. The traditional, average O&G facility, 10,000sf industrial building with ~1,000sf of office on a 2 acre yard, will face lower demand.
A new year provides the opportunity, even if only mentally, for a fresh start, a renewed sense of optimism. Knowing there are only certain things in life we can control, our team is choosing to move forward with a positive, growth mindset. We hope you will enter 2021 in the same way. Make it a great 2021!
Click HERE to view our 2020 Q4 Closed Transactions.
Comments Off on Mylan plant in Morgantown Shutdown planned for July 31
According to MetroNews, Mylan, the pharmaceutical giant that was founded in Morgantown, is closing its plant there next July 31, employees learned this morning on a call.
Full Article Written Below:
A major manufacturer will shut down next summer as Mylan, a pharmaceutical giant founded in West Virginia, folds in with Pfizer’s Upjohn unit.
“We’re quite disturbed and concerned,” Mon0ngalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom said this morning on WAJR Radio. “Our concern is for the workers, the families and the rippling effect it’s going to have on other families, communities and businesses.”
The announcement was made to employees this morning by Peter McCormick, one of the corporate executives. The head of global human resources was on the call as well.
The closure by the generic drug maker means elimination of 1,500 jobs. The layoffs would not take place until the closure date.
“The first thing I thought about were all of our neighbors and their families who will be affected,” Morgantown Mayor Ron Delaney said on WAJR.
The move is part of a 20 percent reduction by the company, which just completed a merger last month with Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn unit.
“This announcement in no way reflects upon the company’s genuine appreciation for the commitment and work ethic of the employees at Chestnut Ridge. The phasing out of manufacturing operations at this facility was a decision Viatris did not take lightly,” stated Viatris CEO Michael Goettler.
“The site has been producing medicine in Morgantown since 1965 and paved the way for Mylan’s early growth. We are sharing the details of this announcement now in order to provide as much time as possible prior to the closing date to work with federal, state and local leaders to try to identify alternatives for the site outside of the Viatris network that could potentially preserve as many jobs as possible. In the meantime, we remain committed to treating those impacted fairly and with respect.”
The Collins Ferry research and development lab will remain open. “The team at this facility has played a critical role in some of the company’s most important scientific achievements and will continue to do so as Viatris expands its pipeline of complex medicines,” according to the corporate statement.
But the Chestnut Ridge oral solid dose manufacturing facility will be shut down by mid-summer 2021.
On the call this morning, employees learned there will be severance offers available for those who stay until July 31. Offers are to be made on individual basis.
The plant was idled Thursday with employees told to leave any company items such as cell phones or laptops. Late shifts were told not to report. Weekend shifts were also told to stand down.
The idling was to last until this coming Tuesday.
Mylan was co-founded in West Virginia in 1961 by the late Mike Puskar as a small vitamin company that grew into a global generic drug powerhouse.
“The news that Viatris will be closing its manufacturing facility in Morgantown next year is extremely disappointing, all the more so given the company’s long history in West Virginia,” stated Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., whose district covers the area.
“Mike Puskar started Mylan from nothing and grew it to be a global leader. The Morgantown facility has been part of that heritage from nearly the beginning. At a time when we should be focusing on bringing manufacturing to America and securing our domestic pharmaceutical supply chain, this decision is a reminder of the challenges we face. Our thoughts are with the families of the 1500 workers who will be impacted. We will do everything we can to help them through this difficult time.”
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., described her reaction as “incredibly disappointed.”
“This is devastating news for the hundreds of hardworking individuals who worked at Mylan that make up the plant’s workforce and the entire community — especially during the holiday season,” Capito stated.
“I will continue to do whatever I can to help the community—whether it’s working with partners at the federal, state, and local levels, to attract new investment to the area or assisting those who have been impacted by the closure.”
Mylan just completed a merger Nov. 16 with Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn unit to form a new company called Viatris. Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch, daughter of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, retired at the closing. Upjohn group’s president Goettler assumed the chief executive’s post at Viatris.
Viatris, headquartered in Delaware, retained Mylan’s operations center in Cecil, Washington County, Pa., and the plant in Morgantown along with operations centers in Hyderabad, India, and in Shanghai, where Upjohn was based.
At the time, the new company said it was targeting about $1 billion in cost cuts, but hadn’t provided details right away. The combined company has about 45,000 employees.
Viatris in November said it was “currently in the process of defining the specific parameters of the program, including workforce actions and other restructuring activities.”
At the time the company said it would disclose specifics by the end of the year.
Viatris, broadly addressing its downsizing activities, indicated that it would cooperate when possible to soften the blow for communities.
“Wherever feasible, Viatris will seek to find potential buyers for its facilities in order to preserve as many jobs as possible and will work with impacted communities to identify appropriate potential alternatives,” the company stated.
Gov. Jim Justice said he would be on a phone call with Viatris officials this afternoon “in the hopes of coming up with some option or some level of something to try to save these jobs.”
During a broad-ranging briefing, Justice said his administration started getting word of the plant’s peril late Thursday.
“This is a shame beyond belief,” the governor said.
Bloom, the county commissioner speaking on WAJR, expressed hope for a job fair and other attempts to help families. One of his worries was taking the economic blow while there is already a downturn related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is more than a double. It’s a quadruple whammy,” Bloom said.
This is part of ongoing efforts by the company to cut costs. Viatris also announced today it would shut down similar plants in Ireland and Puerto Rico. More cost-cutting efforts are ahead, the company stated.
“Wherever feasible,” the company stated, “Viatris will seek to find potential buyers for its facilities in order to preserve as many jobs as possible and will work with impacted communities to identify appropriate potential alternatives.”
J.D. Wilson, the United Steel Workers International representative, representing 875 members who work at the plant, said the union would continue efforts to try to help workers, even attempting to preserve the jobs if at all possible.
“They’ve been very good jobs held by very hard-working people,” Wilson said on “Talkline.”
Right now, he said, workers are “just trying to get a grasp.”
Mike Caputo, elected last month to represent the area in the state Senate, described the loss of jobs as devastating for employees, their families and surrounding communities.
He said he would work “to convince company officials that closing this facility is the wrong choice.”
“I will urge Senators Manchin and Capito to bring us together as a SWAT team to quickly address this,” stated Caputo, D-Marion.
Comments Off on Black Diamond Realty’s response to COVID-19, a note from our Principal
At Black Diamond Realty, our team has shifted to a work-from-home setup filled with screen sharing, remote server access and unique daily distractions, like children dodging in and out of video calls. We certainly are living in challenging and unprecedented times. Several weeks ago, the movie Contagion felt more like a sci-fi thriller, but has now become the reality for many Americans. We main strong as West Virginians and Pennsylvanians, and we know that we are in this together.
For some, the devastation is far greater than others. Some businesses survive and thrive on people, check that – lots of people, traversing through their doors on a daily basis. Some industries, like hospitality, require people to travel from different states to spend time in a city outside of where they call home. How do these types of businesses survive? For some, resiliency will keep the lights on and doors open. For others, despite their strongest efforts and desires to stay open, the task at hand is insurmountable. The margins and cash reserves are simply not there for some businesses who operate on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis. However, for most, hope remains and modifications to our previous routines can turn that hope into a positive outcome.
At Black Diamond Realty, we want to do our part to help support those struggling. We encourage our readers to do the same. Here are some tips of how you can support a local business.
Order take-out as much as you can afford it. Choose restaurants you love, especially locally-owned, ones you patronized prior to the introduction of COVID-19. Your support may help keep their doors open after this is all over.
Give to your local food bank, food pantries and non-profits battling hunger/food insecurity. Many of our neighbors are food insecure and do not know where their next meal will come from.
Pre-book parties and gatherings at your favorite establishments that are many months out. This could serve as a boost for business owners who greatly need it.
Buy gifts, wine and household needs from local establishments rather than big box retailers.
Share your positive stories on social media. Tell the world about your funny quarantine experiences. Share photos of things you and your family are doing.
Connect with one individual per week who you have not spoken to in a long time. Physical distancing does not mean social distancing. Today’s technology allows many to remain connected.
Write a letter to some of your favorite businesses in town letting them know you are thinking about them. The psychological boost will mean the world to many business owners.
Additionally, the federal government has come to the aid with various programs aimed at maintaining jobs and aiding our economy during these challenging times. Last week, Black Diamond Realty posted some valuable information on our website and social media outlets identifying helpful federal loan and grant programs aimed at aiding business owners, independent contractors and individuals. Applications for business owners were accepted, beginning Friday, April 3. Independent contractors can submit their applications starting Friday, April 10. Please spend a few minutes reviewing your options.
A reoccurring question has emerged over the past few weeks. How has the commercial real estate market been affected? Before answering, please keep in mind our experiences and observations are only a small sample size of real estate activity. With that in mind, Black Diamond Realty has experienced two sale deals that have been derailed due to buyer uncertainty associated with the economy. In addition, a handful of leases have been put on hold, hopefully temporary in nature, for the prospective tenant to “wait and see” how things shake out. On the positive side, numerous deals continue to press forward as many still believe in the long-term vitality of investing and establishing in this region. Several new deals have surfaced in the past three weeks since Corona made its unwelcomed introduction to America. Investors are looking for stability and economic opportunity. Interest rates are at a historic low while stock market volatility is extremely high after an 11 year bull run. For many, a shaky stock market mixed with low cost of funds results in a great time to diversify portfolios into commercial real estate.
At Black Diamond, we work hard to initiate positive change in all the communities we serve. Please reach out if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions on how we can help our neighbors overcome this challenging situation.
In an unprecedented way, COVID-19 and the corresponding challenge has the potential to make our nation and moral fabric stronger. Let’s do our part to help turn a negative into a positive. Be kind. Be grateful. Share your love, time, talent and treasures with others in need. We will emerge stronger.
Comments Off on Dominion Post: Black Diamond Realty LLC opens new residential arm, White Diamond Realty
Melissa Berube, formerly of Howard Hanna, tapped to head company.
For David Lorenze and Mark Nesselroad, principals of commercial real estate company Black Diamond Realty LLC, starting a residential brokerage was a no-brainer for the pair. “We grew to be the commercial bridge with national [commercial real estate] firms and had formed a great team,” Nesselroad said. “We saw an opportunity to serve the residential market.” “Our outreach makes us different.” Lorenze agreed. “We are excited to utilize Black Diamond Realty’s presentation, process and people to develop a new organization focused on residential brokerage services,” Lorenze said. “Securing a well-respected, strong leader was a critical first step.”
The result of that opportunity is the recent formation of White Diamond Realty LLC, Black Diamond’s new real estate arm. And to lead their new residential venture as its broker, the principals tapped Melissa Berube, a veteran Morgantown area realtor who was the 2019 president of the Morgantown Board of Realtors.
“Melissa brings to the table a strong reputation, a charming demeanor and an unwavering work ethic, which we are confident will lead to tremendous results. … We are excited to see what the future holds and appreciate the community’s support,” Lorenze said.
At White Diamond, Berube, who has been selling homes for nearly two decades, is being tasked with recruiting and building a team of seasoned agents who know the local real estate market and are tech savvy. The White Diamond agents will be based at Black Diamond’s Stewartstown Road headquarters.
“I am excited to be building something new,” said Berube, who was previously with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Cheat Lake office. “I am working on the foundations now,” she said. “Our goal is to become a boutique agency that emphasizes quality over quantity.”
Berube said she is looking at recruiting more than a dozen agents at White Diamond, a goal she hopes to accomplish by spring. She sees White Diamond’s niche mostly as second-time home buyers, or transition buyers who are new to the area. “Experience is always good, but I would consider a newbie,” said Berube, when asked about the kind of residential agent she hopes to recruit. The agents who join White Diamond will be incentivized and encouraged to work together as a team — a concept important to Black Diamond, she added.
“For us, it’s all about team building,” said Nesselroad, who also serves as the chief operating and legal officer of developer Glenmark Holding LLC. “Starting a residential company has been in the backs of our minds for a while.” It also helps to have Berube as its residential broker, he said. “We have full faith and confidence in Melissa Berube to lead our team.”
Comments Off on Investing Your Way to Financial Freedom
Quarter 4 marks a fun and exciting time for many. We are experiencing changing seasons, ratcheting up anticipation for forthcoming holidays and enjoying the excitement of football season. It is a time to be thankful, push hard to the finish and plan for the future.
In the coming months, many will begin setting new yearly goals which may include traveling with family and friends, pursuing new business ventures, giving to charity or sculpting your body. Many things in life, goals included, require time and/or money. In our professional careers, each of us is consistently trading time for money. What if the opposite could be true?
Money is an empowering tool that, if utilized properly, can enact positive change and help facilitate positive outcomes. Money is necessary to live your life and allow you to enjoy adventures, conquer goals and achieve dreams. Is there a way to trade money for time? How do you get out of the rat race while making enough money to live your life on your terms? There is no easy answer but diversifying your investments to include real estate could offer passive income. Passive income can help you achieve financial freedom (more money coming in each month than your expenses) and “buy” more time.
According to The College Investor, “Over the last two centuries, about 90 percent of the world’s millionaires have been created by investing in real estate.” This is a staggering statistic: 9 out of every 10 millionaires created their wealth through real estate investing. Real estate investing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Real estate investing utilizes leverage, compounded over time, to an investors’ advantage resulting in long-term wealth. If purchased and managed correctly, an income producing asset should be working for you every second of every day.
With the above in mind, it is imperative to fully understand there is risk associated with real estate investing. Commercial real estate investing is a complex process with many potential pitfalls. We recommend consulting with trusted advisors before solidifying your next investment. Black Diamond Realty’s tips are meant to guide your real estate investments toward positive cash flow, wealth creation and passive income. The tips below provide some general guidelines to consider as you expand your portfolio or kick things off in a successful real estate investment venture.
Know the market. Macro-economic factors, such as interest rates, environmental policy and federal investment programs (1031, Opportunity Zones), and micro-economic factors, such as local employment trends, infrastructure and school districts, can positively or negatively impact your real estate investment. Unless you are actively involved in a real estate market, it is impossible for you to fully understand the intangibles and intricacies of any given market.
Create a rainy-day fund. It is preferable to have it in place from the start but, at a minimum, build up via cash flow before taking a dime of distribution. A minimum of six months is recommended with a preferred 12 months of cash reserves in place. Cash reserves should cover “what if” scenarios and anticipated future capital improvements. Everyone loves to dream about and plan for the “rosy days.” That’s easy. Within your proforma and underwriting, it is also important to look at challenging circumstances that could negatively affect your investment position and overall return. Plan for the negative “what ifs” even if the chance of happening is relatively small. The good news: If you pursue bank financing, the credit department at ABC Bank will, at least in part, serve as a backstop to filter out some of the negative what ifs.
Plan for capital improvements. They will happen: A hot water tank goes down. A roof goes bad. Flooring needs replaced. The parking lot needs paved. These examples only touch the surface. Capital improvements are not a matter of if, but when; so, plan on them. On your proforma, plan for 2-5% (of gross income) in capital improvement money. Very few individuals want to endear the title of “slumlord.” “Milking” a property is risky business and reflects negatively on the community you are serving.
Maximize your strengths. Develop a strong team. All of us are gifted in certain areas and bring value to any given deal. For some, they are gifted communicators and can help a tenant feel comfortable moving forward. Others are gifted in real estate law, accounting, marketing, or construction. Many specializations are required to help ensure a successful real estate venture. You cannot climb to the top of the real estate mountain by yourself. Finding strategic, trusted relationships and vendors is critical. Build relationships. Focus on building people up within your team.
Do not marry your property. You are only married to your husband/wife and your family. Do not hold your real estate investments on the same pedestal. Real estate investments are meant to make money while providing a service to the tenants it serves. Treat it that way. Run it like a business while maintaining a high level of integrity, honesty and diligence.
Following the guidelines outlined in this article should help avoid investment pitfalls during ownership. Knowing when to buy, hold and divest is another critical element of real estate investing. We highly recommend consulting with a real estate professional, with strong expertise in the investment field of your choosing, before pulling the trigger. At Black Diamond Realty, we have sold tens of millions of dollars in real estate investments. Our firm is building a market niche in this space. Our Black Diamond Realty team invites the opportunity to meet with you and your partners to discuss your goals with the purpose of helping you achieve financial freedom.
To view all of our available investment opportunities, Click Here.
Comments Off on It’s a wash: Don Stenger selling longtime car wash businesses
Two longtime Morgantown car washes are for sale after their owner decided it was time to retire and enjoy the next chapter of his life. “I don’t fish, hunt or play golf,” said Don Stenger, owner of the shuttered Stenger’s on Chestnut Ridge Road and South High Turbo-Matic on High Street. “It’s going to be a hard transition.”
Stenger, 69, said he decided to close Stenger’s in April after it became too hard for him to find help to staff the business he has owned since 1982. “That was the deciding factor,” he said. “The help I did have was always short-handed.” Stenger has owned South High Turbo-Matic since 1952. It was the site of his family’s store — Stenger’s Inc. — and was converted to an automated car wash after Stenger said his father showed him one in Huntington, where the line was three blocks long.
“He said to me ‘Donnie if I open one, will you give me a hand?’ ” said Stenger, who was 16 at the time. “I said sure.” The South High Street location will remain open until bad weather hits the area later this year, he said. “For the past seven years, business has dwindled,” Stenger said. “Students today don’t wash their cars. A clean car is a happy car, but I don’t think that is the case today.”
Both the Chestnut Ridge and South High properties have been listed for sale with Black Diamond Realty LLC. The asking price for the 767 Chestnut Ridge property is $1.95 million. According to the marketing brochure, the total available space is 7,805 square feet and 32,493 vehicles pass the site daily. The ground level of the main building is 6,623 square feet that was used mostly as cashier space and a waiting area. The second floor is 1,049 square feet of storage space. The building also includes five 14-foot-by-nine-foot overhead doors and a large tunnel with an automatic car wash bay. A detached, 133-square-foot building is also on the property. It was previously used as a pet grooming station.
The asking price for the automatic car wash located at 132 S. High St. is $1.225 million, Black Diamond said. Even though the business dates back to 1952, the current 5,883-square-foot building was constructed in 1980. The car wash, which sits on .67-acre parcel, has nine car wash stalls and 10 vacuum stalls. The additional parking space is available for interior cleaning and detailing. The interior of the building has office and laundry space.
“I don’t think I could have held on without my wife, Jackie,” Stenger said. “I also want to thank Morgantown for its business over the years.”
Comments Off on Cautious optimism in Monongalia County over Mylan Merger
Over the course of the next year, executives with the new company that will be formed from the merger between Mylan and Upjohn, a division of Pfizer, will be tasked with trying to reposition the company in a dynamic market that is facing a number of pressures.
Meanwhile, at least one elected official in Monongalia County does not want to just sit and wait for a decision on the future of Mylan’s current manufacturing plant near Morgantown.
“We are going to go on the assertive, be aggressive, promote West Virginia and promote how Mylan is so important to our community,” Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom said on WAJR’s Talk of the Town with Dave & Sarah on Tuesday.
The newly formed company — now being referred to as Newco — that results from the merger is expected to generate about $19 billion to $20 billion in revenue, with $1 billion in cost savings by pooling resources and trimming redundancies by 2023. Those synergies have some in the area anxious about the future of the Mylan plant and the jobs of about 900 union and 200 non-union employees.
United Steelworkers Local 8-957 represents about 900 employees at Mylan’s Morgantown plant. The Dominion Post aked what effects the Mylan-Upjohn merger might have in Morgantown, and President Joe Gouzd reiterated Tuesday morning what the union said on Monday: They don’t have enough information to comment at this point and they’re waiting to learn more.
But, Bloom is optimistic about the future. “They want to stay in the county and the CEO will be housed out of Pittsburgh, so that is a great sign for us,” Bloom said.
The new company will be led by current Mylan Chairman Robert Coury, who will serve as the executive chairman, and Michael Goettler, current group president of Upjohn, will serve as the CEO. The board of directors will include eight members designated by Mylan and three members by Pfizer, plus an executive chairman and CEO for a total of 13.
With the majority of the board having Mylan ties and the possibility of a growing generic drug market in Asia, Jared Hopkins, with the Wall Street Journal, believes Bloom’s optimism about the future of the Morgantown plant is not misplaced.
“What it [Mylan] gains with Pfizer is a commercial foothold in Asia as well as with their research and development,” Hopkins said on Metronews Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval. “That’s significant because China and Asia represent a huge opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry.”
According to Hopkins, business analysts have mixed feelings about the merger and the success of the future company.
“It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag. There have been analysts that have come out and said it makes strategic sense for Pfizer but potentially the math and numbers might not make it a successful deal,” he said.
“With Mylan, in talking with some analysts who have covered Mylan for a number of years, they’re saying this might make strategic sense but they’re a little skeptical given the history of Mylan over the last decade or so.” The generic drug industry is facing a number of pressures from manufacturers in India, which have entered the U.S. market, as well as companies aimed at connecting patients to medications causing new pricing pressures, according to Hopkins.
This has left companies such as Mylan and Pfizer trying to reposition themselves in the market and news of the merger put Monongalia County in a spot to reposition itself as well.
“We’re going to organize the delegates, the state senators, the city council members, let’s get everyone on board immediately to write a letter to Pfizer to welcome them to our community and explain how synonymous Mylan was to this community and how we’re looking forward to Pfizer being part of our community,” Bloom said.
Completion of the merger is expected sometime in mid-2020.
Comments Off on Opportunity Zones – What You Need to Know…
New federal government tax program benefits investors who place their money into Qualified Opportunity Zones. But what is a Qualified Opportunity Zone (aka QOZs, O-Zones or OZs)?
Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) were created by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in order to spur investment into distressed communities around the country. Investors are allowed to place capital gains from the sale of stocks, real estate or businesses into OZ funds without having to pay taxes on those capital gains. This investment strategy is similar to 1031 exchanges except OZs allow the elimination of tax obligation whereas 1031s only defer tax obligations.
If the investment is held for five years, a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain is realized; after 7 years that exclusion increases to 15%. After holding the investment in the fund for 10 or more years, the investor can realize a benefit of paying no taxes on the investment.
To invest in an OZ, the investor must either:
Create a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund or
Invest directly into a QOZ fund where at least 90% of the holdings are invested into businesses located within a QOZ.
OZ funds can invest in either real estate development or start-up/spin-off businesses whose primary office/place of business is located inside the boundaries of the OZ. In this article, we will focus on the real estate side of OZ investing. But imagine the tax savings if you invested into the next Amazon or Microsoft (located in an OZ) then cashed out after 10 years with no taxes due to the federal government.
In West Virginia, 55 areas have been designated as Opportunity Zones over 30 counties. Regionally, parts of Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Buckhannon, Elkins and a large portion of Taylor County have been designated as OZs. Click here for a map of OZs.
In commercial real estate, there are a couple ways to invest into a QOZ. The goal of the program is to spur development into distressed communities; therefore one cannot purchase land under the QOZ program and just sit and hold the property. A developer can purchase raw land and make improvements to the land by developing a site where a working business entity is to be located. A developer can also purchase property with existing structures but must make investment into the property to ‘significantly’ increase the value of the property; significant is defined as at least doubling the value of the property.
The details of the OZ fund program are fairly extensive. Please contact us at Black Diamond Realty or call your accountant or financial planner/advisor to further discuss the benefits of the OZ program.
The properties below are Black Diamond Realty offerings that are available and located with an Opportunity Zone. Click on VIEW to learn more about each offering.
Comments Off on Harrison County Chamber of Commerce – 100th Anniversary Dinner
On May 21st, a couple of the Black Diamond team members attended Harrison County Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary dinner which was held at the Village Square in Clarksburg. Harrison County Chamber of Commerce presented its annual awards and recognized the Leadership Harrison 2019 graduates. Native to Harrison County, Clarksburg’s own Jimbo Fisher was the keynote speaker. David Lorenze and Jeff Stenger were delighted to attend the event and, as an added bonus, got to meet Jimbo Fisher personally.
As evidenced in the autograph they secured, Jimbo Fisher’s key to success is “grit”. Jimbo Fisher and all of the accomplished men and women throughout this region embody the hard working, never quit spirit of West Virginia’s Appalachian culture.
Comments Off on Congratulations, Mark J. Nesselroad – Generation Next 40 Under 40
The State Journal has been recognizing and honoring young professionals throughout West Virginia as part of Generation Next: 40 under 40 for the past 14 years. Each year, the award reminds us that success and happiness can be found and made within the Mountain State’s borders. Whether native to sons and daughters or those who choose to live here, all our recipients are Mountaineer Proud!
Generation Next: 40 Under 40 was created to celebrate the state’s outstanding professional people who are making a difference at work and in their communities. We’re proud of this year’s very special class of 40 under 40. They come from all corners of the Mountain State; from the southern fields to the Northern Panhandle and across the high-tech roads of North Central to the Eastern Panhandle and down along the Mid-Ohio Valley to Huntington and through the Metro Valley.
They come from an array of careers, while finding high levels of success in their chosen endeavor, they haven’t allowed their jobs to define who they are or what they’ll accomplish. Some hold prominent positions, but find the time to operate one or even two additional business on the side. Others have achieved great career success but have made even greater impact through their community service. Some left for a while but were beckoned home by the call of the mountains. Others have long made West Virginia home.
Generation Next: 40 Under 40 is a shining light each year that clears out the darkness that shrouds the state with negative rankings and stereotypes. It is a reminder that there is a greatness among the hills and valleys of the Mountain State. As West Virginia emerges from past hard times, it will be the energy and leadership from Generation Next that carries the state to a heightened level of prosperity and paves a pathway to greatness to come. We Salute this year’s class of Generation Next!
Congratulations, Mark J. on this outstanding accomplishment!
Article by The State Journal. Click HERE to see the full Generation Next 40 Under 40 list.
Black Diamond Realty has created a family-like, teamwork-oriented culture in which our team is vested in each other’s success. Our process is detailed and diligent but it surrounds core values and beliefs that are summarized by the acronym, HIT. “H” stands for honesty, hard work and humility. “I” stands for integrity, intelligence and innovation. “T” stands for teamwork, tenacity and technology. Maintaining a consistent focus on honoring our HIT value system, BDR’s team works tirelessly to achieve our clients’ goals. Recharging the battery is paramount to providing a high level of service.
Each year, Black Diamond Realty provides an incentive trip intended to reward team members who meet individual and company goals. 2019’s destination was Montego Bay, Jamaica. The team soaked up paradise at Secrets St. James. The five days included plenty of sun, food, beverages, entertainment and pool/beach time. Jeff Stenger wins the networking award as he was dubbed “Mayor of Montego” by the end of the trip. Our team returned to Morgantown recharged and excited for another successful year.
Thank you to all our clients, customers and reliable referral sources for trusting us with your projects. Check out some of our favorite moments below.
Mon Health EMS officials were at The Gateway on Sept. 20 to show off their new digs — a two-story, 15,780 square-foot facility that serves dual roles as doctor’s office and EMS substation.
While the majority of the building houses Wedgewood Family Practice, roughly 1,000 square feet of the building contains a drive-through vehicle bay large enough for two ambulances and the needed accommodations — a day room with a kitchenette, seating and television, office space with multiple work stations, storage and restroom facilities.
Mon Health EMS Director Dave Custer saidEMS operations began rolling out of the new facility earlier this month. “This is replacing and upgrading our station we had in Osage,” he said. “It’s a better location for us to respond, not only to the interstate quickly, but to Star City, Westover and the Blacksville area.” Custer said one ambulance is operating out of the new building, but a second could be added permanently or temporarily in the event of anticipated traffic disruptions or other circumstances. He went on to say that Mon Health EMS is looking at the Grafton Road area and the Pierpont/Cheat Lake area for additional ambulance staging locations.
The agency already has an agreement with the Blacksville Volunteer Fire Department that allows an ambulance to be staged at the fire station. “By having stations out in all four quadrants of the county, we really can cover this county pretty well,” Custer said. Mon Health invested $5 million to build and equip the entire facility.
In many ways, WVU President Gordon Gee said, the land-grant university he leads is the heart of West Virginia. The university, in turn, put its recent focus on the hearts of West Virginia.
WVU reinforced that commitment Wednesday with the announcement of the state’s first heart transplant program, to be part of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute. Gee was joined by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright, among others during a press conference held in the institute’s first-floor conference room.
According to a WVU Medicine press release, a letter of intent was filed with the West Virginia Health Care Authority on Aug. 10. A certificate of need was filed Aug. 20. Wright said he anticipates the program will be up and running in 2019. He explained that WVU invested hundreds of millions in heart and vascular care over the last three years, including the construction of a 10-story, $200 million tower attached to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and the recruitment of Dr. Vinay Badhwar to lead the institute.
“What we’ve found is when we put people, programs and the physical plant together, we can really do magical things here,” Wright said. “The results we’ve seen in these last 24 to 36 months are nothing short of amazing.” Badhwar said those results include the creation of the state’s first advanced heart failure program and the implementation of emerging artificial heart technology. There are currently 22 West Virginians awaiting a new heart. Being on a heart transplant list requires the patient live within four hours of a transplant center.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure people have the best possible health care in West Virginia. We should not have people going away to other places,” Gee said. “There’s no reason people should not come to this beautiful state and get the best possible health care, and that’s what we’re celebrating today. I want all of you to know you’ve made possible something very special.” Justice said the strides both West Virginia and WVU have made would be unbelievable as recently as 20 years ago. “Think about John Doe in West Virginia, how much he needs you. How much he needs the ability to not have to travel all over the place for decent health care, how much he needs you to be a star,” Justice said, later adding, “I mean it. There’s no way to be more proud of our state university than I am.”
Gee noted that heart disease is the state’s leading cause of death. He said WVU and WVU Medicine has the talent and determination to tackle it head-on. “If we have the will and courage to be great, we will be,” he said.
Doctors and administrators gathered at WVU Medicine Children’s newest facility – a Neurodevelopmental Center on Baker’s Ridge Road – to celebrate its opening Thursday.
“It’s unbelievable,” Dr. Jodi Lindsey, center director, said of the 9,000 square foot space on Baker’s Ridge Road. Lindsey said there’s always been a need for this type of service in West Virginia and her dream, even before medical school, was to build a center like this. The center brings all levels of child neurodevelopmental disability treatment under one roof including diagnosis and evaluation, medical workup and treatment and therapy services she said.
Albert Wright,president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said the center was designed for a very specific purpose – helping pediatric patients with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Those disabilities include Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delay, cerebral palsy, and Tourette Syndrome. The best treatment is “intensive and early behavioral intervention,” Nikki Shriver, an applied behavior analyst (ABA), said.
There are 10 individual rooms where ABA’s can work with their patients one-on-one and help build skills. Shriver said helping improve communication skills is a big focus because the ability to ask for what one wants and needs is important. The early part of “intensive and early” refers to the age patients start treatment. Shriver said the best time to work with kids is between the ages of 2 and 6 when their minds are still growing. She said anyone can learn, but the younger treatment starts the better. Intensive refers to the amount of time patients spend at the center. Some patients spend the equivalent of a school day in treatment – five days a week, Joseph Shane, ABA, said.
The goal of treatment is to prepare patients for the next environment they will be in and for most that means getting them ready for school he said. The center also has a large play area where kids can work on group skills such as sharing and taking turns, Shane said. Kids will also eat lunch in the play area during their treatment and lunch is another opportunity to work on skills. If treating patients is the primary goal, one that’s almost as important is training the next generation of care providers.
There are two assessment rooms used by pediatric psychologists connected by an observation room. Jenna Wallace, pediatric psychologist, said the observation space is about double the size of the previous space. Lindsey said she hopes that this center becomes a model used across the state where a team based approach is used in treatment.
The warmer months are filled with heavy commercial real estate activity. Prospects are looking for market opportunities and deals are getting done at a rapid clip.
On the personal front, summer is also filled with travel, family time and fun adventures. Click on the button below to see a sneak peak of what our team has been up to this summer.
Mark Nesselroad: Mark J. Nesselroad: “Mark and his family are holding onto summer as long as they can. Some of their favorite parts include spending time outdoors, enjoying extra garden vegetables from Mark’s father’s garden, family birthdays, and splashing at the pool. Mark and his son enjoyed WVU baseball’s unique father/son camp at which they camped overnight in a tent at Monongalia County Ballpark. His family also adopted a new family member – a 1.5 year old black and tan coonhound named Lucy!
David Lorenze: Armed with a small computer in his pocket, David was able to enjoy several trips while staying on top of deal activity. David enjoyed a relaxing trip to Sandbridge, VA with his in-laws, explored the growing area of North Myrtle Beach with his parents, sister and three small kids, plus adored some quality time with his wife while attending a wedding in Las Vegas. David’s favorite memory from the summer was seeing his two young daughters work together to capture sand crabs. Their expressions were priceless!
Murphy Holloway: Murphy has made great progress towards earning his CCIM designation. In June he attend the User Decision Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate course in Denver, Colorado and just got back from Dallas, Texas for the Investment Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate course. He has completed all of the required courses and is excited to take the final cumulative test to earn his designation. Murphy is deeply rooted in Wheeling, WV and has enjoyed multiple trips “back home” to visit with family and friends.
Jeff Stenger: While Jeff’s primary focus this summer was establishing and maintaining client relations at Black Diamond Realty, he was able to get away for a long weekend at a cabin with friends at Deep Creek Lake. Jeff is looking forward to seeing his sister and her family in Charlotte, NC next month when WVU plays Tennessee at the Belk College Kickoff Classic.
Janelle Zeoli: As a native of eastern Pennsylvania, Janelle made the decision, along with her husband, to move back to their hometown in Morgantown, PA. It was a tough decision but they have deep roots in this area. They hope to soon find their permanent location and purchase their first home. In her free time, Janelle enjoys creative crafts and spending time with her husband and their German Shepherd dog, family and friends. She looks forward to making the trip out to West Virginia each month to reconnect with the Black Diamond team.
At Black Diamond, we work hard to maintain a positive and healthy work-life balance. Our substantial growth over the past two years can be credited to our team approach and family atmosphere. In an effort to continue providing top-shelf, quality performance/results to our clients, Black Diamond recently expanded its human capital with the additions of Chris Waters and Jeff Wise. They both bring diverse, extensive and credible experience to our team.
In addition to North Central WV (Bridgeport/Clarksburg to Morgantown), our expanded, strong team of 7 allows Black Diamond to broaden its focus to other areas of our great state and throughout southwestern PA. We look forward to becoming more heavily involved in the Uniontown, Waynesburg, Washington, and Wheeling market areas. Black Diamond is a chamber of commerce member of the three counties that collectively constitute its “back yard,” and we look forward to being more heavily involved in additional communities.
From our family to yours, we wish you a summer filled with many more great memories. Cheers to exciting times that lie ahead!
Comments Off on What to Expect When Selling Commercial Real Estate
Have you been thinking about selling your commercial real estate asset?
To some, it can be an overwhelming process. At Black Diamond Realty, we educate our clients about what to expect while working diligently to prevent “deal potholes,” such as transactional surprises. When selling your commercial property, it is important to be prepared for the process and informed about the fees associated with the deal.
Selling a parcel for $1,000 does not mean you get to deposit $1,000 into your bank account. Below is a list of some of the standard commercial real estate transaction fees you can expect in West Virginia (other states have additional nuances – for example, PA has school taxes that run on a 7/1 – 6/30 basis) with a notation indicating which party is typically responsible. A common saying in commercial real estate also applies to this list…everything is negotiable.
Generally speaking, all due diligence expenses are the buyer’s responsibility. On the seller side, transfer taxes/stamps and the real estate brokerage commission are the primary line items in closing a commercial transaction. Real estate transfer taxes (aka stamps) are taxes imposed by states, counties and municipalities on the transfer of the title of real property within the jurisdiction. Real estate transfer taxes (aka stamps) are taxes imposed by states, counties and municipalities on the transfer of the title of real property within the jurisdiction. Each state has varying regulations which affects the responsible party. In addition, the rate can vary from county to county within any given state. In WV, the transfer tax is the seller’s responsibility. The rate is $1.65/$500 ($1.10 state, $0.55 county). A county may levy an optional excise tax up to $1.65. On the brokerage side, you get what you pay for. Black Diamond Realty adds value via presentation, process (aggressive/teamwork approach), and our people (knowledge, skills, abilities). Black Diamond’s clients are happy to pay the transactional fee. Brokerage commission rates can be fairly standard but some percentage adjustment can be expected based upon the value and scope of the project.
Comments Off on Retirement Community To Open In Fall
A new, state-of-the-art retirement community is slated to open during this fall, at 2996 Point Marion Road, Morgantown.
The Crossings at Morgantown is managed by Harmony Senior Services. Harmony is a fully integrated management service company led by proven senior care professionals with a record of providing great care and service at numerous senior living communities across the mid-Atlantic.
The Crossings at Morgantown will provide independent living, assisted living and memory care on a private campus located within 4 miles of the area’s three main hospitals. The facility has not yet obtained a license from the state of West Virginia. Pursuant to WV Code § 16-5D-6(a), no assisted living – including memory care – can be occupied until such license is obtained.
Employees are actively taking tours at the welcome center, located below the construction site. This is a 79-unit senior living community with 84 suites for independent living 59 suites of assisted living 36 secured memory care suites. The independent living suites have 32 floor plans to choose from and are either one bedroom one bathroom, or two bedroom and two bathrooms.
“With affordable monthly costs and no large buy-in, all it takes is a one-time deposit to secure your suite in our independent living community,” said Kelly Drayer, director of Sales and Marketing. She added the apartments are the region’s largest. The Crossings at Morgantown prides itself on the many resort-like amenities included in month-to-month leasing. The community extends the living space with common areas, outdoor courtyards and access to popular amenities, such as a movie theater, pup, salon, billiards, library and bistro. “March-Westin is our construction company on this project, between their reputation for solid workmanship and consistently staying within our timelines, we are on schedule to open this fall,” Drayer said.
Comments Off on White Oaks continues development in 3-phase build-out
White Oaks continues development in 3-phase build-out. The White Oaks planned business community comprises 470 acres that are home to offices, FBI support services, medical support services, oil ad gas businesses, national retailers, restaurants and vital amenities.
Located at the intersection of Interstate 79 and W.Va. 279, the busy corridor sees an estimated average of 48,500 vehicles per day. It is adjacent to the $350 million United Hospital Center, at the doorstep of the FBI’s CJIS Division and the Biometric Center of Excellence. White Oaks is also located in the heart of Marcellus Shale play.
Retail Village Building 2 is under construction, with the first tenant to be Starbucks, Bridgeport Community Development Director Andrea Kerr said.
Starbucks occupies 2,200 square feet of the 8,749-square-foot building located directly across from Building 1, she said.
“Starbucks is estimated to cost about $175,000, while the entire Retail 2 shell is $884,320. The second building will be similar in size to the first one, with room for additional tenants,” Kerr said.
Thrasher said Starbucks will be located in the far right end of Retail Village 2 and feature a drive-through.
“We are looking to turn over that portion of the building to the company by June 1,” Thrasher said. “It will also have a 550-square-foot patio. I anticipate it opening late this year.”
Cove Run Construction is doing the site work on Retail 2. Lee Reger Builds is the building construction contractor.
“There are four more bays available, with interested parties in discussion. We have no final contracts at this time,” Thrasher said.
Clear Mountain Bank will be located directly behind Retail Village 2. Cove Run is doing the site work.
“They are about ready to bid the architectural work,” Thrasher said. “Regional Eye Associates will be located near Friday’s, with Cove Run preparing the site and Elite Custom Builders doing the construction.”
Phase II and Phase III are being marketed now, with Elite Custom Builders to be located across from the W.Va. 131 entrance to White Oaks near Bear Express and the Shell fuel station in an area referred to as The Wedge, Thrasher said.
A large vehicle dealership, Freedom Kia, opened in 2017 in Phase III of White Oaks, located off W.Va. 131.
Hermasilla’s Deli Market, a longtime staple of the Fairmont community, recently opened the doors to a 32-seat second location at White Oaks.
Along with its signature sandwiches — which feature hand-sliced meats, a wide selection of cheeses and an array of toppings, condiments and vegetables — the establishment also offers salads and sells meats and cheeses in bulk.
“White Oaks has been very aggressive in developing their property. They don’t stop in the winter. It is a year-round operation,” Kerr said. “It is good for them and great for us. It is a fantastic partnership that we hope to see continue for many more years.”
Craig Baker, Architecture Division manager for the Thrasher Group, agreed with that sentiment.
“White Oaks should be commended for their steadfast commitment to the architectural design covenants of the park. They had a vision of what they wanted the park to be and stuck with it,” Baker said. “One thing that makes White Oaks special is how they continually strive to maintain their identity as one of West Virginia’s premier business locations. With the addition of the park and trail system, White Oaks has maintained its identity as a great place to work and play.”
White Oaks Phase II does not currently have any lots sold. It is located just past the Manchin Clinic Assisted Living Facility that opened late last year.
Thrasher explained that while Phase I and II are primarily billed as a high-end business park, Phase II will also be for industrial use. Freedom Kia is the first business to locate in that area.
Freedom Kia was previously located on Emily Drive. However, it began to outgrow its space and decided to move in October.
“It came to a point where the volume of sales, our service department could not support. It was a situation where to continue to grow and provide our customers the support and service we want them to continue to have, we needed to give them a facility to be able to do that,” General Manager Jadd Buchanan said.
The dealership facility cost around $5 million, an investment that allowed the company to stay local.
“This became our home. We built a business here, and we didn’t want to abandon the customers we had sold to or serviced over the years,” Buchanan said. “We wanted to provide a location that was much more user-friendly as far as access — now it’s right off I-79, Exit 125 on Saltwell Road. It’s easier to get to for our employees who live in the area, and our residents in this direct area, so I think that was an easy decision.”
In its new location, Freedom Kia has tripled the size of its service department, having gone from four lifts to 12, and added a substantial amount of inventory. The space also includes a car wash, which is complimentary when a car is brought in for servicing, and it’s generally more accessible.
General Sales Manager Dorsey Larew said the larger facility has several perks.
“We can house more mechanics, and therefore get you in and out faster. Sales display was a little tough when you’re parking in a parking lot versus an actual dealership that was built for that, so that’s been good,” Larew said. “With the lot, you can drive around and be able to look at all of our cars without having to get out of yours.”
Located at 97 Joy Lane near Bridgeport, accessibility is a prime feature of the new location.
“We’re a lot more convenient to get in and out of,” Larew said. “Going down Emily Drive, it was tough to get in and out.”
In addition to offering online credit applications and service appointments, a two-year maintenance plan and a lifetime of state inspections on every car purchased at the location, Freedom Kia also has people who truly enjoy their work, said Jeannie Boyles, who has been the receptionist for six years.
“We have great people who work here. They’re dedicated, friendly, and are happy to be here,” Boyles said. “That’s important for the company — to be able to come to work and know what you’re doing. It brings a lot of customers in from around the area, and the customers appreciate that, knowing we care about them that much.”
For the future, Buchanan is looking forward to continued growth and being able to enhance customer service even more, staying focused on giving every individual personal help. At the new location, Freedom Kia offers several complimentary amenities, including local transportation, a kids entertainment room, and more.
Baker-Hughes owns a parcel in Phase III, but there has been no word on the future plans of the company for the site, Thrasher said.
“We work with other developers, but own main developer is White Oaks Business Park and we work with Black Diamond Realty, Morgantown.
Comments Off on An Increase In Leads Generates Closed Deals
Historically, the commercial real estate market tends to slow during the winter season. At Black Diamond, we can confidently report the trend is quite the opposite this year. The new year has brought a vibrant market filled with deal making attitudes. For example, Black Diamond Realty has gained nearly 100 unique leads between industrial, investment, office, land and retail. These statistics are from folks who specifically reached out to us. There are countless others our team has targeted for product specific offerings.
Leads translate into deals. Deal velocity is trending up. In quarter 1, Black Diamond Realty closed five deals in 2016 versus eight deals in 2017. With several weeks to go, Black Diamond Realty has already closed (leases and sales) 12 deals with a strong pipeline. Check out next month’s newsletter to get a snapshot of our Quarter 1 deals.
Leads and deals have picked up across all sectors of commercial real estate, but there are shining stars setting the pace. Black Diamond Realty’s Top 5 Performers are revealed below. These statistics are provided by LoopNet and represent a 90 day period from December 1, 2017 through the end of February.
A “search display” means a property was displayed as a potential fit based upon the criteria input by a specific buyer/tenant. A “listing view” means that an individual clicked specifically on the property. All of Black Diamond Realty’s Loopnet listings are directly linked to its website (www.blackdiamondrealty.net) which generates even greater exposure.
At Black Diamond, we feel the regional market is heading in a positive direction on many different fronts. Momentum is quickly building with tremendous economic excitement to come in the months and years ahead. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Comments Off on Happy 2018! Another Year Is In The Record Books
We hope you and your family had an enjoyable holiday season. The new year is a time to reflect and project. This monthly Black Diamond Realty newsletter reflects on 2017 while providing our projections pertaining to north central West Virginia’s economic activity in 2018.
It was a record breaking year for Black Diamond and many other companies in north central WV. While north central WV remains consistently vibrant, the tides are slowly turning for the state as a whole, and WV’s entire economic fleet appears to be heading toward brighter days. Several critical sectors led the charge with positive economic announcements in 2017.
Energy was the cream that rose to the top. Several large pipeline projects are at various stages of construction with the finish line inching closer. Pipelines open up regional, metropolitan markets to WV’s gas production. A cracker plant is under construction in Beaver County, PA with rumors of potentially two additional crackers being built in OH and WV (Parkersburg area). Crackers dissect elements of natural gas into various chemicals which should result in a manufacturing expansion for companies who want to be near critical elements of their production process. Pipelines and crackers are creating a newfound buzz for the energy sector. Black Diamond can testify to the energy sector’s expansion in 2017: Industrial sector leads paced other sectors with a total of 133 unique leads. Black Diamond closed 13 deals with energy related entities.
The buzz does not stop at our state or even national borders. China Energy Investment Corp signed a memorandum of understanding with WV leadership to invest $83.7 billion over 20 years in various energy related ventures. Power plants are one potential investment angle. Two gas fired power plants are at varying phases of approval to be constructed in the region. One is in Harrison County. Click here to learn more: http://harrisoncountypower.com/ Oil and gas activity is energizing our regional economy by bringing high paying jobs to our market. The money from these jobs is spent on housing (hotels, apartments), food (grocery stores, restaurants) and entertainment.
Infrastructure has been a hot topic in West Virginia for many decades. Band-aids have been our state’s application of choice. However, 2017 brought a different style of leadership aimed at changing WV’s story. Governor Justice and his team formulated a plan to use future promised tax dollars to secure ~$3 billion worth of funds to complete road infrastructure improvement projects. Our roads have already benefitted from the Roads to Prosperity Amendment and should improve further over the next decade. Infrastructure is a critical variable for many sectors considering economic expansion.
Since accepting his role as WVU’s 24th President, Dr. E. Gordon Gee has been focused on expanding the university’s outreach while maintaining its mission of supporting prosperity for the mountain state. WVU Medicine has been aggressively expanding with 2017 announcements that include a $150 million, 10-story children’s and women’s tower on WVU Medicine’s main campus, a $12 million inpatient residential drug treatment facility near Mylan Park (Morgantown), plus it opened a $13.9 million, 25,000 square foot new outpatient facility in Fairmont, WV. Mon General Hospital is also in expansion mode. North central WV should welcome this “medical arms race” as it directly results in a higher quality of life via greater healthcare access, plus economic benefits, including high paying jobs.
So, what do we have to look forward to in 2018? The energy sector will carry 2017’s momentum into the new year and we will begin to see the fruits of the road bond’s labor as construction projects start. with the additional expansion by WVU Medicine and two prominent interstate developments (White Oaks Business Park in Bridgeport and West Ridge in Morgantown), north central WV will see significant growth with many positive announcements. As the aforementioned economic drivers come to fruition, other areas in the state are also poised for growth. Also, since businesses will have greater discretionary capital to put to work under Trump’s new tax plan, look for businesses to be more aggressive with expansion efforts and hiring practices.
Comments Off on The Retail Apocalypse Is Not Among Us All
“The Retail Apocalypse” is a great catch phrase that grabs attention. News outlets make sensational claims that Amazon is destroying the retail sector and that, across the board, retail real estate is in big trouble. These claims are overstated and misguided. The retail industry isn’t dying, but rather evolving. The following article will explore three topics: retail real estate that is in trouble, retail real estate that is well positioned and the perceived 400-pound gorilla in the room, Amazon.
Enclosed malls are facing the most trouble right now. While foot traffic in enclosed malls continues to decline1, the significant operating expenses from expansive common areas remain. Assets in secondary and tertiary markets are particularly at risk. Businesses most affected by the retail apocalypse are retail clothing and electronic stores in enclosed malls. We will see malls close soon. However, many malls will be reinvented with new and innovative uses. Across the country we are already seeing “dead malls” get new life with unique uses such as: satellite college campuses, sports complexes, multifamily, etc. The Google Glass headquarters occupies a 500,000-square foot office that was previously an abandoned mall in Mountain View, California. Locally, Mylan Pharmaceuticals was recently approved for a 24,000-square foot lab in the former JC Penny at the Mountaineer Mall. Enclosed malls are in the most trouble, but have significant opportunity for reinvention.
Retail sectors that remain healthy include: single tenant properties (free standing businesses such as banks, fast food, convenience store, etc), neighborhood retail (including grocery stores), power centers (developments with home improvement/ Walmart as anchors), and strip centers. Think about some of your local retail strip centers. How many of the tenants are truly threatened by Amazon? Many, if not all, of the tenants are service providers: medical, financial, insurance, restaurant, cell phone store, hair salon, etc. Even if the few retail users within a strip center leave, conversion to the next use is fairly easy.
Amazon and the growth of online shopping have certainly affected the retail landscape and hurt some sectors. However, only 8.5% of retail sales take place online. Amazon only accounts for 1.5% of the retail sales in the US2. In fact, most retail sales still occur in brick and mortar stores. A bigger factor than Amazon is changing consumer preferences. In 2016, for the first time ever Americans spent more eating out and at bars than on groceries. Americans’, especially millennials, crave experiences over material goods. Millennials spend less on clothing and more on dining, concerts, and travel. Naturally, clothing retailers are going to feel the pain of these changing consumer demands.
Creative destruction is a perpetual force. Just as Netflix destroyed Blockbuster, we are seeing some retail industries being destroyed. However, the decline in one industry creates opportunity and space for new businesses concepts to satisfy new consumer needs. Visionary developers will find solutions based on what the market demands.
Comments Off on WVU Medicine Children’s Announces $152-Million Project
WVU Medicine Children’s growing into new tower to be added onto J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
Three-year, $152-million project to add 150 beds
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Hospitals announced today (Nov. 16) plans to construct a 10-story tower dedicated to WVU Medicine Children’s to address capacity issues and better serve the healthcare needs of all of West Virginia’s women and children. As a result of the project, 150 beds will be added to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.
“As West Virginia’s leading academic medical center, we have a responsibility to the children of our state and their parents to provide the highest level of care close to home,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “The demand for our services has increased so that we must grow in order to meet their needs.”
The $152-million tower will take three years to complete. It will include:
Entry, registration, administration, outpatient clinics, and building services
Loading dock, dietary services, diagnostic imaging, and connection to the Southeast Tower (the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute tower)
Operating rooms, cardiac catheterization, and endoscopy facilities
A 20-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and 10-bed procedure/sedation unit
A 50-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
A 40-bed pediatric acute care unit
A 30-bed obstetrical unit with potential for expansion
Pediatric subspecialty and maternal-fetal medicine clinics
All of the inpatient rooms will be private. The tower will also include a satellite pharmacy, laboratory, respiratory therapy, and a cafeteria.
“This new building will allow us to match our expanded programs for the women and children of West Virginia with a state-of-the-art facility,” J. Philip Saul, M.D., executive vice president of WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “The goal is for no child who needs us to leave the state for care.”
PHOTO CAPTION:(From left to right) Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System; Gordon Gee, WVU president and chair of the West Virginia University Health System Board of Directors; J. Philip Saul, M.D., executive vice president of WVU Medicine Children’s, and Natalie Jefferis, former WVU Medicine Children’s patient and member of the WVU Medicine Children’s Leadership Council
The new Children’s tower will be attached to the southeast tower (WVU Heart and Vascular Institute). The building will extend southward to Medical Center Drive.
The construction of the tower will be subject to Certificate of Need approval by the West Virginia Health Care Authority. Construction costs are estimated to be $105.8 million with the remaining $46.2 million for financing and other related costs. A capital campaign will be launched to raise $60 million for the project. WVU Hospitals will finance the remainder of the cost. No state funds will be sought, and no extraordinary rate increase is anticipated as a result of the construction.
“This is a necessity, not a nicety,” Gordon Gee, WVU president and chairman of the West Virginia University Health System Board of Directors, said. “The children and families we serve will be relying on our friends and alumni, our businesses, the people of West Virginia, and the Mountaineer Nation – wherever they may be – to pitch in and to make this project a reality. We’re launching this campaign right now, right here.”
The tower is anticipated to be open to its first patient in late fall/early winter 2020.
Comments Off on Crossings Construction Continues – The Dominion Post
Construction continues on a new senior living community on Point Marion Road.
Scheduled to open in fall 2018 near The Pines Country Club, the 8.9-acre Crossings at Morgantown will include 175 senior living units — 84 of them independent, 59 units of assisted living and 32 secured units of memory care. The Crossings at Morgantown will be operated by Harmony Senior Services, a management services company with experience in senior living based in Roanoke, Va.
The Dominion Post reached out to the company to find out if anyone has yet expressed interest in the community, but representatives from Harmony Senior Services declined to comment, noting that advertising for the Crossings hasn’t begun yet.
According to the Crossings’ website, the community’s amenities will include an on site fitness center, a pub, beauty/barber shop, library, and a computer lab. According to Black Diamond Realty, this $35 million development will create about 45 full-time-equivalent jobs initially. The Crossings at Morgantown is expected to generate 100-130 part-time and full-time jobs over time.
Comments Off on Black Diamond Prepares Dinner for the Rosenbaum Family House – 9/11
On September 11th Black Diamond Realty prepared dinner for the guests of Rosenbaum Family House, a place for adult patients and their families to stay while receiving medical care at WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital. The team served hot meatball subs with a fresh garden salad and warm cookies for dessert. As always, the overwhelming joy and gratitude was a wonderful gift in itself.
Comments Off on Infrastructure paves way for Morgantown’s retail growth – The State Journal
When David Lorenze was growing up in Morgantown, there were roughly a dozen restaurants to choose from in the whole town.
“Now, you have a dozen restaurants within a half-mile radius,” said Lorenze, principal at Black Diamond Realty. “The same holds true for retail.”
Growing almost as fast as shopping centers is the excitement as residents speculate on what new business may be opening soon.
Eldon Callen, vice president of Governmental Affairs, Community/Economic Development at the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, said he has recently celebrated a number of grand openings, including Fusion JapaneseSteakhouse, which has locations in Parkersburg and Wheeling, plus, Washington and Grove City, Pa.; and WV Box and Ship in Sabraton.
“There’s a whole new strip mall up there across from Suncrest Towne Centre that has MVB Bank, a new Starbucks and Penn Station East Coast Subs,” Callen said. “There are a number of things coming.”
Callen is always hesitant to say that a business is coming for sure.
“It’s up to the companies to release their plans,” Callen said. “They may just have shown an interest or given a letter of intent. Amazon was looking here and ended up going to Berkeley County. That’s why I’m hesitant to give credence to rumors. Some are true, and some are not.”
Callen did confirm that Dave & Buster’s, a nationwide chain of restaurant-arcades, looked at WestRidge Business and Retail Park at the new Interstate 79 Exit 153. As far as Callen knows, the company hasn’t done more than look. Calls to Dave & Buster’s corporate office were not returned.
The North Central West Virginia Economic Outlook 2017-2021, compiled by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, says the build-out of major developments, such as University Town Centre, Suncrest Towne Centre and Fort Pierpont off Interstate 68 Exit 7 will drive growth in new retail, dining, lodging and entertainment businesses.
“To put it in perspective, in 2013, at University Town Centre, the road ended at Walmart on the east side and at Ashley Furniture next to Dick’sSporting on the west side. Now it’s developed almost all the way down to the new interchange on the other side,” Callen said.
“That whole area is possible, really, because of the interchange (Interstate 79 Exit 153). That is the first interchange in the country that was a collaboration and cooperation between the state and county government. It was funded half by county and half by the federal government and designed by the local, state and federal people. That shows the importance of infrastructure.”
In that area, one of the newest developments under construction is WestRidge, a 1,000-acre mixed-use development that will have five neighborhoods, two medical office buildings, a shopping center and a corporate office park.
Holly Childs, WestRidge’s director of business development and external relations, said despite road and utility construction just getting underway, there is substantial pre-leasing interest in the development.
“There are currently 149 acres under construction, 90 of which have letters of interest, signed purchase agreements or have already been sold,” Childs said. “WestRidge is currently negotiating with many new and exciting retail offerings for the market, while also planning close to 100 acres of a Class A Business Park that is currently being marketed on a national level to attract and recruit businesses to Morgantown.”
That area on Morgantown’s north side is not the only development that’s growing.
Lorenze said Black Diamond Realty expects to announce 14-15 deals it has closed this quarter in October.
“Quarter 3 has been Black Diamond Realty’s strongest quarter in its short four-year history,” Lorenze said.
Backdoor Bargains, which sells merchandise at up to a 70 percent markdown, opened this summer in the former Fastenal store in Sabraton. In June, BDR announced a developer will build an 8,300-square-foot Family Dollar Store on 1.14 acres near Mountainview Elementary on Green Bag Road.
“A lot of announcements will happen in the coming months,” Lorenze said.
One might be about a restaurant on the upper level of the new Par Mar Retail Store/Restaurant on Oakland Street near WVU’s Evansdale Campus.
Callen said when a business is looking to locate in a community it evaluates the local schools and what entertainment and other things there are for workers and their families to do.
“Jobs are only part of the equation attracting folks to Morgantown,” Lorenze agreed. “Monongalia County is flush with amenities that support a strong quality of life. From beautiful public parks to quality schools to world-class sports’ facilities, Morgantown is blessed with a well-rounded offering of amenities. And, the beautiful thing is, the momentum appears to only be increasing.”
Comments Off on Opening Day – WV Box & Ship – The Dominion Post
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday for WV Box & Ship, a new business at 1405 Earl. L Core Road. WV Box & Ship is a center for packaging, shipping, printing, and business service needs. Its goal is to save people and businesses money with quality products and customer service.
Hours are from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday. Find out more info at wvboxandship.com or call 304.322.2192.
Our team is often asked, “How is the market?” Some brokers may respond with a generic, “good”. If you are interested in a general response, we are happy to report the market is currently “great.” Black Diamond Realty’s pipeline is the busiest it has been in its four-year history. That said, we suspect you are more interested in a sophisticated, detailed response. Look no further; we have your answers.
At Black Diamond Realty, one of our competitive advantages is our thorough and detailed process. We track every single lead. This allows us to present you with accurate statistics that serve as a reflection of market demand across all sectors. Keep in mind our statistics are influenced by Black Diamond Realty’s current inventory of assets. The following statistics provide the number of sector leads since January 1, 2017:
Do you believe in the mantra that tells you to focus on what you can control? We do, too. However, we also believe it is not wise to bury your head in the sand. It is critical to think about how macroeconomic factors influence regional market demand. Two positive influencers are currently in play.
Historically speaking, interest rates remain near all-time lows. This bodes well for investors looking to get into investment opportunities. Although cash is king, we are seeing a lot of companies and individuals levering up to take advantage of favorable bank rates. Refinances have flocked through banks’ doors. Sellers also like low interest rates because funds are cheaper to secure which results in higher valuations while still clearing bank debt-coverage ratios.
The second macroeconomic factor relates to the reenergization (pun intended) of Marcellus Shale activity. Oil and gas pricing is fluid, literally and figuratively. Pricing has seen nominal rises over the past 12 months. However, recent industrial space demand leads us to believe many companies on the front lines sense prices moving north in the coming years. We suspect their goal is to get established in this area while industrial real estate values are still relatively inexpensive. This will heighten their ability to capture the market and capitalize on contracts as things ramp up. Many articles reference cracker plants and pipelines as the saving grace to lowering the current supply glut. These two variables are currently progressing in a very big way. The O&G industry has potential to replace job losses from coal. Time will tell if this is a long-term regional industrial revolution.
Where?… Concentrated Areas of Development
Jobs drive economic growth, and there are plenty of jobs coming to two booming exits along the I-79 corridor. University Town Center/West Ridge and White Oaks Business Parks are the two distinct front runners when considering development hubs in north central WV. University Town Center and WestRidge, both located at I-79, Exit 153, lead the charge as driving forces behind retail and office development in Monongalia County. Simply put, this new exit has created significant buzz in Monongalia County which is expected to remain in play for the next three to five years. A lot of announcements will happen in the coming months. 2018 is slated to be a heavy construction year for this development.
Thirty miles south of Morgantown, White Oaks Business Park is leading the development charge for Harrison County. Numerous Class A office buildings, spanning a plethora of services, hotels, retail space and several restaurants round out the line-up for this state-of-the-art development. White Oaks is an upscale development, which includes sidewalks throughout and pristine landscaping, while serving as “the talk” of Harrison County as it capitalizes on close proximity to the interstate, UHC and FBI’s Campus. Growth and positive economic announcements are projected to continue in the coming years.
Comments Off on First Look: The Crossings at Morgantown
We shared the breaking news with you in our April newsletter; now you can watch the The Crossings at Morgantown come to life! CLICK HERE to watch a video will take you on a visual tour of Morgantown’s newest senior housing project and give you a taste of the luxurious community that is to come. This $35 million, state-of-the-art facility will service an increasing need in this region. Spread the word if you would live here or know someone who would!
Comments Off on White Oaks Continues to Expand, Attract Variety of Industries – The State Journal WV
Nearly a decade after construction first began to develop White Oaks off Jerry Dove Drive, the Bridgeport business park continues to live up to the expectations of Woody Thrasher and Jack Keeley.
“When I started to work with high tech, there were no buildings here,” said Ron Stanley, manager of the White Oaks development. “Steptoe & Johnson had just closed on their parcel, and shortly thereafter, Premier Bank did. It has really, I think, for our area, exploded.”
Comments Off on Businesses Anticipate Next Oil, Gas Boom with Projects on Horizon
Multiple projects and more drilling rigs are sure signs that the oil and gas industry is going to have a very big presence in West Virginia for years to come, according to officials. Click here to read more, or continue reading below.
Are you putting all of your eggs in one basket? What is the first rule of thumb your financial advisor will work hard to instill into your investing DNA? Diversify your assets! Parents often gloat when they feel their kids are well-rounded; the same holds true for your investments. In theory, a portfolio with stocks in multiple sectors can better withstand one industry tanking, if another sector rises.
Investors encouraged to pick investments that are a comfortably balanced between risk and reward. Have you considered real estate investments? Do you currently own some assets and want to expand your portfolio?
Income-producing assets can offer a nice diversification play to your portfolio. The bullet points below highlight the key perks to real estate investing.
Appreciation:Similar to other investments, you are aiming to buy low and sell high. Real estate is the same. It is important to complete proper research and due diligence on any investment asset to understand the risks. We are proponents of buying across stable, diversified (there’s that word again) markets. We also like value-add opportunities.
Cash Flow: As is the case with a blue chip stock that pays a dividend, your goal in purchasing an investment property should be to have a monthly surplus of cash after all expenses are paid. Value-add opportunities offer room for cash flow growth.
Tax Benefits: Nobody likes paying taxes. Real estate offers effective, legal ways to lower your yearly tax exposure. Two of the most prominent tools include depreciation and interest. These are paper write-offs allowable by the IRS. When you receive “an offer you cannot refuse,” remember/consider four important numbers: 18.104.22.168. Under Section 1031 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, a taxpayer may defer recognition of capital gains and related federal income tax liability on the exchange of certain types of property. This allows you to effectively kick the can down the road and leverage into larger assets over time.
Building Equity: As an owner of leveraged real estate, every month, you will write the largest expense check (in most cases) for your LLC in the way of a mortgage payment. This is a positive thing; you are building equity in yourself. That’s right; think of your mortgage payment differently. You are leveraging other people’s money (banks, alternative forms of financing, etc.) to make money. Each monthly payment results in a slightly lower overall balance, which means you are building your net worth.
At any given moment, Black Diamond Realty has on and off market investment opportunities. Call us to explore the concepts above further and/or to discuss our current inventory of income-producing assets.
Disclaimer: Black Diamond Realty LLC and its agents do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Prospective investors/purchasers should consult their own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. We will work with your independent tax/legal/accounting advisors to help tailor a real estate transaction specific to your needs.
Comments Off on Black Diamond Volunteers to Support Empty Bowls Monongalia
Are you feeling hungry? Is your stomach growling? No problem. There are, most likely, plenty of food options in your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. Running low on food? Morgantown has hundreds of restaurant options. A quick drive will satisfy your need. It seems simple. For 16,000+ Monongalia County residents, the equation is much more complicated. That’s right, Monongalia County’s food insecure population would fill WVU’s Coliseum with a line of 2,000 standing outside.
Empty Bowls Monongalia is celebrating its 11th year. Empty Bowls’ mission is to raise food, money and resources to support local food pantries and back pack programs in Monongalia County. Every year, Empty Bowls has multiple fundraisers. Its biggest event, Soup and Bread Luncheon, was held at Mylan Park on February 25th. Over 1,700 people attended. As a 100% volunteer-run organization, 92% of the funds raised are given to support non-profit organizations focused on helping Monongalia County’s food insecure population. In addition to Black Diamond Realty’s annual donation at the Emerald Level, Murphy Holloway and Dave Lorenze volunteered their time at the annual luncheon. For more information, please visit www.ebmon.org
Comments Off on Black Diamond Realty Attends the 2017 WVU Children’s Gala
On Saturday, February 11, 2017, the Black Diamond Realty team attended WVU Medicine Children’s 14th Annual Gala. The night consisted of live music, silent auctions, dinner, raffles, and for the second year in a row, the talented Hines Ward! The event was a tremendous success. The event had a wait list of 200 which resulted in the event committee reorganizing the seating to accommodate approximately 1,200 people. Although the final numbers are not yet in, the amount raised is expected to exceed last year’s contributions. The funds generated for WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital will help to support patient services, research and various pediatric programs.
Comments Off on A Strong Outlook for Industrial Demand
As real estate professionals, the BDR team is often asked these two questions: How are things going in our market and what are you seeing? Here’s what we have to say in response to these popular questions:
BDR has experienced unseasonable demand during what is traditionally the slowest time of year in commercial real estate. Although demand has increased in all sectors, the industrial sector is leading the charge in 2017. There are so many factors that affect a market. Most of these factors are outside of our regional control. Each sector under the commercial real estate umbrella is different and driven by varying economic forces which can also be directly affected by macroeconomic factors stemming from federal policy and regulation.
Many believed Trump’s surprising presidential election would result in pro-business policies. Time will tell on that one. Many also thought Trump’s election would result in pro-energy policies. In less than two weeks in office, we are already seeing this bear some truth. Within his first week of office, President Trump signed an executive order to encourage federal review folks to pass Trans Canada’s resubmittal of the Keystone Pipeline project in the Dakotas. According to Marcellus Drilling News, “On January 19, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted to approve and issue a certificate to Columbia Pipeline’s Leach Xpress and Rayne Xpress pipeline projects. This is fantastic news for the Marcellus/Utica region.” While traveling in Morgantown, have you looked over at the acres upon acres of green pipe being stored in Morgantown Industrial Park? We are not getting the world’s longest water slide, but we will begin to hear about progress relating to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile interstate natural gas transmission line. The project will begin in 2017 and stretch from Harrison County, WV to Chesapeake County, VA and Robeson County, NC.
What does all of this mean for the region? Commodity pricing has been suppressed due to an oversupply of natural gas in the market. Two factors will increase demand: Pipelines and cracker plants. We have already touched on pipelines. There are currently three cracker plants being consider in the region. One is moving forward in Monaca, PA with two additional cracker plants still in the planning stages. Cracker plants effectively isolate the molecular components (think chemistry class) in natural gas which are then used in other manufacturing processes such as the development of various plastics. Due to high usage needs and the expense of transportation, many believe manufacturing will follow and locate within close proximity of the cracker plants. This results in more jobs for the region and will undoubtedly have a trickle-down economics effect on various sectors. When looking to open a location, many energy companies have a need for industrial space.
How can you tell demand has increased in the industrial sector? Black Diamond Realty records and tracks every lead that comes into our office via phone and internet. Since Election Day (November 8, 2016), there have been 27 unique leads that have come into our office. This number is in line with the number of industrial leads we typically see in an entire year. Things are looking bright for the industrial sector. Act now before pricing increases.
There were some economic positives in 2016. Interest rates remained low while capital slowly became more attainable, resulting in a demand for investment/income-producing assets. Education and health care remained strong in Morgantown and other parts of north central WV. Respectively, the West Virginia University Board of Governors unanimously approved a $1.04 billion budget for the fiscal year which began on July 1, 2016. (WVUToday) Ruby Memorial Hospital built a 10-story tower, totaling $220 million, that will be home to 750 new jobs, and Mon General Hospital opened a three building, 150,000 square foot, office campus.
These recession-resistant sectors make Morgantown, and other communities in north central WV, such as Bridgeport, attractive investment options that garner attention from out-of-state money. This is evidenced in several large deals in 2016. We would be remiss without mentioning the new I-79 interchange in Morgantown. Metro News states, “A study of the entire development on both sides of the interstate predicted a $1 billion economic impact on the region annually. The impact study indicated the TIF district and incoming developers could support 9,900 jobs by 2025.”
Jobs lead to disposal income which ultimately drives an economy. Although there were economic spotlights to be proud of, 2016 was a challenging year for many commercial real estate sectors. Much of the sluggish business climate in WV and southwestern PA can be attributed to the energy sector slowdown. The rapid decline of coal, coupled with the oversupply of natural gas/oil, negatively affected this region’s economy. Decreased energy-sector demand for office and industrial space led to increased vacancy. As a direct result of this climate, restaurant receipts, retail sales and hotel occupancy all followed suit. Energy sector downturn hurt. In our home base of Morgantown and much of north central WV, there was enough positive economic activity to downplay these challenges.
What is on the horizon for 2017? Well, for many, the presidential election was seen as a pro-energy and pro-business election. Time will tell on both. However, in the last two months, BDR saw an uptick in office and industrial demand via phone call leads. We feel this trend will continue as we move into what we believe will be a healthier economic year with less regulation and greater consumer confidence. OPEC’s announcement to reduce oil supply is a major win for our region. Rising oil and gas prices result in greater drilling activity which leads to more jobs. Average consumers dislike paying more at the pump, but for WV and the Marcellus/Utica Shale territory, paying a little more in gas results in hundreds of high-paying jobs that support regional economic growth.
Looking to the new year, BDR is poised to capitalize on north central WV’s growth potential, including the energy, education, medical, and government sectors.
As you sit down to set your 2017 personal and company goals, remember this important quote: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” From our team to yours, we wish you a healthy, prosperous and joyful 2017.
Comments Off on Black Diamond Prepares Dinner For The Rosenbaum Family House – 2016
One of Black Diamond’s annual traditions is to cook dinner for the guests of Rosenbaum Family House, a place for adult patients and their families to stay while receiving medical care at WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital. Last Monday, each BDR team member cooked a delicious pot roast that accompanied fresh baked rolls. For the roughly 40 people we served, the overwhelming joy and gratitude was a wonderful gift. This experience exemplifies one of our favorite quotes: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
For information about the Rosenbaum Family House, and how you can help, click the link below.
Comments Off on Defense In Depth, D.I.D. You Shoot Today?
Range. Simulators. Training. Firearms.
Two years ago, Marstiller’s Gun Shop and Range sold their property on Collins Ferry Road to Monongalia County’s Board of Education. Today, Suncrest Elementary is under construction. For many gun enthusiasts, a positive development for Monongalia County’s school system has left a significant market void. Black Diamond Realty is pleased to announce that void will be filled in 2017.
The facility will truly be a 360 degree approach to self-defense catering to all types of people (women, beginners, firearm enthusiasts, young, elderly, students, hunters, law enforcement, military, etc.). The facility will be upscale, safe, attractive, secure, and inviting.
D.I.D. will include classes and training (concealed carry, firearm selection & safety, NRA classes, self-defense, hand-to-hand, hunting license, marksmanship, etc.), home/office/building safety & defense assessments, interactive simulators (live and non-live fire) with hundreds of customizable scenarios (emergency situations, law enforcement, self-defense, zombies, wild west, Call of Duty, target practice, etc.), a ten 25-yard pistol lanes and six 50-yard rifle lanes, member lounge with lockers, retail sales, etc.
The facility will be open to the public and also include memberships with perks and discounts. The ranges will be available for group bookings, team building events, date nights, competitions, private training sessions, etc.
The scope of the project is grand, including a major building façade, lighting, and signage upgrade. The staff will be comprised of personable instructors with top-flight credentials. The facility will meet or exceed all applicable NIOSH and EPA regulations, City of Morgantown and State Fire Marshal building codes, and ATF requirements. D.I.D. has conducted extensive due diligence with industry-leading experts within the gun range building, HVAC, and acoustical professions. They also attended the 2016 NRA Range Development & Operating Conference. There will be no compromises when it comes to developing and operating a safe, clean, and professional facility.
Could your business benefit from cohabitating with a destination-oriented use that drives traffic? If so, we encourage you to consider leasing space at Sabraton Plaza. For more information, check out the following link: Sabraton Plaza – Marketing Flyer
D.I.D. Mission Statement:
Defense In Depth is a 360 degree approach to self-defense. Personal security is maximized by layering a series of complementary defensive tactics that increase security as a whole. Our team focuses on customizing diverse defensive strategies for individuals, families, businesses, and institutions designed to create an effective system of independent protection strategies intended to work together to increase their dependability as a whole.
Comments Off on The Internal Rate of Return and Measuring Real Estate Investments
When looking to invest in real estate, it is a good idea to establish a “hurdle rate” or minimum rate of return expected from a real estate investment. Thus, opportunities that do not meet this hurdle are immediately discarded as not worth the time or investment. When it comes to establishing a hurdle, many investors like to use an investment’s Internal Rate of Return or “IRR” when analyzing potential investments.
The IRR is the Discount Rate that makes the Net Present Value (NPV) of an investment equal to $0.00 (discount rate and NPV are explained in an earlier blog post titled: The Importance of the Time Value of Money in Real Estate). To accurately measure an investment property’s IRR, the investor needs to factor in the initial cash outlay and a series of projected cash flows over a specific period of time. Furthermore, these cash flows should include the cash proceeds from the sale of the investment property (equity reversion) to accurately gauge the IRR. Once these figures are deduced, an investor can weigh the worthiness of the investment.
For example, let’s say the investor is looking at two single family investment properties in which to invest. The investor plans to hold on to the investment property for five years. Both properties would require a 20% cash down payment (outlay) with the remainder financed by the bank with an the assumed terminal capitalization rate of 8.50%. The investor’s hurdle rate is 12%. Given these assumptions, we can begin to compare the investments using the following information:
Investment Property A
Total Acquisition Cost (including all closing costs): $208,973
Total Yearly Rental Income: $22,410
Yearly Operational Expenses: $6,750
Net Operating Income (before debt): $15,660
Knowing the initial cash outlay, projected income and projected before-tax equity reversion, the investor is able to determine the investment’s projected IRR, which is 14.01%. This also creates a positive NPV of $3,114, providing further indication that the investment’s return meets the investor’s hurdle of 12%. How does a comparable investment stack up?
Investment Property B
Total Acquisition Cost: $229,259
Total Yearly Rental Income: $23,760
Yearly Operational Expenses: $7,000
Net Operating Income: $16,760
Property B, while having a higher net operating income, requires a greater initial cash outlay and thus doesn’t have quite as high an IRR as Property A at equity reversion. The property also does not meet the investor’s 12% hurdle with an IRR of 11.73%, which results in a negative NPV of $450. Investment Property A is the better investment based on these assumptions.
While IRR is a great tool to measure the worthiness of an investment property, there are some pitfalls to consider when using IRR.
IRR cannot measure the reinvestment of cash flows. The reinvestment of cash flows gained from an investment during the hold period would have to be measured using an alternative method.
IRR does not measure the magnitude of an investment. It looks at $50,000 and $5,000,000 investments the same. Thus, the amount of cash flow is not taken into consideration.
Investments cannot have different hold periods when running a comparison. Comparing an investment property with a 5 year hold period to an investment property with a 10 year hold period is not a financially accurate way to gauge the investments.
An investment’s IRR is a helpful tool to determine its worthiness, but shouldn’t be the only figure to rely on when looking to invest in real estate. When looking to invest, it is prudent to discuss your financial goals with your account or financial advisor. Whether you’re a new investor ready to dive into the real estate investing world or a seasoned investor looking to expand your portfolio, the team here at Black Diamond Realty has multiple investment properties that could be a fit. Call us today at 304-413-4350.
Comments Off on Morgantown Board of Realtors Holiday Luncheon
The Black Diamond Realty team had a great time celebrating the holiday season at the Morgantown Board of Realtors Holiday Luncheon on December 10, 2015. The BDR team spent the afternoon mingling with fellow realtors, enjoying a fabulous meal, and congratulating their peers who were recognized by MBOR. Proceeds of the event benefited Christian Help. In the photo, Mark J. Nesselroad is sporting the elf hat, David Lorenze is rocking the guitar, and Ryan Smyth fashionably appears in the large blue sunglasses. In the other photo, Ryan was chosen to dress up like a present. Murphy Holloway does not appear in these photos due to an Aspen ski trip.
Black Diamond Team Serves Dinner to the Guests of Rosenbaum Family House
On October 15, 2015, the Black Diamond Realty team was honored to once again be able to visit the Rosenbaum Family House to prepare and serve dinner for approximately 30 house guests. The menu included two types of chili, cornbread, apples with caramel, pumpkin bars, pumpkin tarts, and numerous drinks.
Rosenbaum House plays such a vital role in our community. Rosenbaum Family House is a member of the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses (NAHHH). Facilities such as Family House are able to provide affordable family lodging, meals, support groups and other services and activities to families and their loved ones who are receiving medical care at least 50 miles away from their home. Rosenbaum House is able to provide the service through support received from businesses, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and the local communities.
If you would like more information on the Rosenbaum Family House or would like to lend your support, you can get more information at the following:
Black Diamond proudly welcomes Ryan Smyth as the newest member of their team. A Morgantown native, Ryan began his career in the residential real estate industry where he rose to be one of the top grossing agents in North-Central West Virginia as a Sales Manager for Dan Ryan Builders. Mr. Smyth also opened and operated multiple small businesses in the Morgantown, WV and Columbus, OH areas.
Mr. Smyth is a graduate of WVU with a B.S. in Advertising. He also holds a Master’s from the University of Maryland in Real Estate Development. Smyth was a recipient of the school’s Academic Achievement Award. While at Maryland, Mr. Smyth gained valuable work experience with Lock 7 Development, specializing in condominium conversion and construction in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Smyth understands the development, sales, and marketing of commercial and residential real estate. With his background and education in urban design and development, leasing, negotiation, and asset management, Mr. Smyth is a great addition to the Black Diamond team.
Black Diamond proudly welcomes Murphy Holloway as the newest member of their team. Originally from Wheeling, West Virginia, Holloway has a clear understanding of the region’s real estate market. Mr. Holloway is a recent graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, where he earned dual degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Holloway served as a summer intern under Black Diamond’s Principal Agent, David Lorenze, during Lorenze’s tenure at Petroplus Lane, LLC. Further, Holloway is well-versed in public policy’s effects on West Virginia’s business climate through his internship with the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia.