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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.
Comments Off on What’s the Difference Between Commercial Real Estate and Residential Real Estate?
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.
Comments Off on Why Choose Black Diamond Realty? Our Negotiation Skills
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.
Comments Off on Mountain Valley Pipeline Receives FERC Approval to Resume Construction
Federal regulators have given the Mountain Valley Pipeline the green light to restart construction.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Wednesday allowing developers to “proceed with all construction activities.”
Work on the project is expected to resume “shortly,” said Natalie Cox, director of communications and corporate affairs for project developers Equitrans Midstream Corp., in an email to WV News.
“We expect the first of several forward-construction crews to begin work on the right of way shortly, and Mountain Valley continues to target project completion by year-end 2023,” she said.
US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., celebrated the news on Twitter.
“I just received confirmation that the Mountain Valley Pipeline has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to resume all construction activities,” she said in a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon. “This was the final step needed for the MVP to be completed. Great news for WV and American energy!”
On Friday, Capito announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had issued the final federal permit needed to restart construction.
“The Mountain Valley Pipeline is set to receive its final Sec. 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers!” she said in a tweet. “This critical step forward is because of a provision I helped include in the Fiscal Responsibility Act that will expedite the MVP’s completion.”
On June 16, Gov. Jim Justice said the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection had issued the MVP’s final state-level permit.
“To the best of my ability, I’m not aware of anything else that is another step that people are waiting on,” he said. “If there be another step, we’ll be on it. I believe that construction has the possibility of starting real, real, real soon.”
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the package passed by Congress earlier this month following an impasse over raising the nation’s borrowing limit, mandated all federal permits required for the stalled pipeline to resume construction be issued by last Saturday.
The MVP project was initially started in 2014. Equitrans Midstream said at the time, the pipeline was expected to be completed by the end of 2018 at an overall cost of around $3.5 billion.
The company recently said the current estimated total cost is approximately $6.6 billion.
In West Virginia, the MVP’s route runs through Braxton, Doddridge, Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Lewis, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, Webster and Wetzel counties.
Comments Off on Why Choose Black Diamond Realty? We are Committed
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.
Comments Off on Why Choose Black Diamond Realty? Honesty Integrity Teamwork
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.
Comments Off on Martinsburg, WV – BLACK DIAMOND REALTY OPENS EASTERN PANHANDLE OFFICE
When: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Where: 1209 N. Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV
About: Black Diamond Realty is pleased to announce the opening and ribbon cutting for its Eastern Panhandle office at 1209 N Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV. Our team’s expertise serves all real estate sectors across West Virginia and Southwestern PA. The Eastern Panhandle office is spearheaded by David Lorenze (Principal), Kim Licciardi (Sr. Associate), Mark J. Nesselroad (Broker), and Andrea Icenhower (Graphic Designer/Office Manager). The firm is actively recruiting new commercial associates to join the Eastern Panhandle expansion.
Since purchasing the property in September 2022, this office has been transformed for Black Diamond’s use, while the adjacent building was successfully leased by our brokerage and is under renovation for a martial arts studio. You are invited to join the ribbon cutting, visit our office, enjoy light refreshments, and talk with some of our real estate experts.
Andrea Icenhower states, “We are excited to open our doors, welcome guests, and contribute to the community and economic growth of the Eastern Panhandle.”
For more information, call 304-901-7788 or visit www.blackdiamondrealty.net.
Comments Off on Why Choose Black Diamond Realty? Our Experience
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.’
Comments Off on Why Choose Black Diamond Realty? We are The Experts
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!
Comments Off on Exceptional Development Opportunity within the Eastern Panhandle of WV
Black Diamond Realty is pleased to present this exceptional development opportunity within the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. This property offers 54 (+/-) acres of undeveloped flat land and is conveniently located to both I-81 and U.S. Highway 11. The subject property is highly visible from I-81 and is situated less than 0.3 mile away from Exit 5. The undeveloped land is in a great location. It is ideal for commercial users looking for a development opportunity while being surrounded by a plethora of residential communities. Within this article you will learn more information about the Eastern Panhandle, specifically Berkeley County, the top employers in the area and demographics for the subject property. Please also invest a few minutes to review Black Diamond Realty’s detailed marketing flyer and video.
Since moving into the Eastern Panhandle, our graphic designer / office manager for the Martinsburg office, Andrea Icenhower, has attended several events for both the Berkeley Co. and Jefferson Co. She has had the opportunity to tour spaces like the Macy’s fulfillment center, Quad Graphics Facility, the Clorox Campus, the Rockwool Facility and so much more. Andrea was also able to attend the Annual Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook Luncheon led by John Deskins and his team to learn more about the economic growth in the Eastern Panhandle. The research in this article is supported by those educational meetings and tours.
Located at the gateway to the Shenandoah Valley in the heart of the Eastern Panhandle, Berkeley County is known for its unique history, beautiful scenery, robust industry, and more. Major population centers and business markets within a five-hundred-mile radius of Berkeley County include Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Virginia, and New York City, New York. All these major markets are readily accessible from this County via Interstate 81. Berkeley County’s geographic location makes it unique for business and leisure while enriching quality of life with its “small town” character and sense of community. Berkeley County has a total population of 126,534 and a median household income of $65,826. Total number of businesses is 2,635.
Berkeley County is regarded as the Eastern Panhandle’s economic center. In addition, Berkeley County has established itself as the leading county in the state in terms of absolute job growth. Over the past decade, employment has increased by 8,300. Most of the county’s job growth can be linked to major new openings such as the Macy’s fulfillment center and Procter & Gamble. In the last year, the employment rate in West Virginia has increased by 3.8%, giving businesses 26,000 new employees. With an unemployment rate of 2.7%, Berkeley County’s workforce continues to stay well above the national and state averages, providing businesses an excellent opportunity to acquire and retain qualified talent. Even more skilled workers will be able to serve businesses across the county as more people locate to Berkeley County.
The top 10 Employers in Berkeley County
The top 10 Employers in Berkeley County include; Berkeley County Board of Education, Macy’s, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Quad Graphics, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Or-gill, Berkeley County Commission, FedEx, Aker Solutions. Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing plant added nearly 1,400 jobs and fostered the co-location of several hundred new jobs in packaging, logistics and other supporting businesses at the Tabler Station campus. More recently, the region received an additional boost in payrolls following the mid-2021 and fall-2022 openings of Rockwool and Clorox manufacturing facilities in Jefferson and Berkeley counties, respectively. Procter & Gamble’s production facility has represented a major transformative shift in the Eastern Panhandle’s industrial base. The $500 million facility along the 1-81 corridor in Berkeley County produces a range of consumer cleaning and personal products, including Swiffer, Tide, and various soaps and deodorants. Overall, the facility now employs more than 1,600 workers and has spawned the addition of several hundred jobs at packaging and logistics operations in the area.
The infographics below contain data provided by Esri, Esri and Bureau of Labor Statistics Esri and Data Axle. The vintage of the data is 2022, 2027. Spending facts are average annual dollar per household. The statistics provided, which includes a 3-5-10 mile radius, are based upon our 54 (+/-) acres at the Inwood exit.
The Eastern Panhandle has consistently ranked as West Virginia’s fastest-growing region for the past two decades. Between 2001 and 2021, Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties combined to add nearly 64,000 residents. It is expected for employment to grow at an average annual rate of between 0.7 to 0.8 percent per year in the EPH through 2027.
The Eastern Panhandle has been and projects to remain an economic bright spot for West Virginia. West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle is a premier location for a new business or a development project. Our Inwood offering has public infrastructure (new roundabouts), all public utilities, no zoning restrictions, easy accessibility, and is close to many amenities.
Don’t miss this prime piece of commercial real estate!
Call our Eastern Panhandle office today at 304.901.7788.
Comments Off on Reflecting and Projecting 2022 – 2023
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.
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and Commercial Metals Company (CMC) today announced that Berkeley County will be the home of the company’s fourth micro mill. The facility, projected to cost approximately $450 million, will produce rebar and is projected to begin operations in late 2025.
“I am thrilled to welcome Commercial Metals Company to West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re honored that CMC selected our great state as the home for this state-of-the-art facility, set to be one of the most environmentally friendly steelmaking operations in the world. The Mountain State has a proud history in the steel industry and this investment is yet another example of West Virginia welcoming this industry into our state.”
CMC turns scrap into new, sustainable steel products by recycling more than 19 billion pounds of metal each year. CMC steel is featured in our nation’s highways, bridges and industrial structures. The new facility in the Eastern Panhandle is expected to have the capacity to produce 500,000 tons of straight-length rebar and a premium spooled rebar. Spooled rebar boasts less waste, increased productivity and improved safety.
“We would like to thank Governor Jim Justice, the entire West Virginia economic development team, and Berkeley County staff for the support provided during CMC’s site selection process and for the welcome given to this important project,” Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of CMC said. “We look forward to becoming a vital part of the Berkeley County community and growing our presence in the Mountain State.”
CMC provides customers with the lowest emissions steel in the market as every CMC mill uses electric energy and 100% recycled scrap to produce products. Building on its foundation as a metals recycling company, CMC created the world’s first successfully operating micro mill – a plant with a smaller footprint that uses energy more efficiently than traditional mills.
“CMC will be a tremendous asset to West Virginia and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Mountain State,” West Virginia Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael said. “There’s no doubt that West Virginia is the best place for this micro mill.”
Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and fabricate steel and metal products and provide related materials and services through a network of facilities that includes seven electric arc furnace (“EAF”) mini mills, two EAF micro mills, one rerolling mill, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, and metal recycling facilities in the United States and Poland. Through its Tensar division, CMC is a leading global provider of innovative ground and soil stabilization solutions selling into more than 80 national markets through two major product lines: Tensar® geogrids and Geopier® foundation systems.
Written by: Jordan Damron, email@example.com; CJ Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Clorox opens cat litter plant in Martinsburg
The first bag of cat litter to come off the production line at the new Clorox production plant in Martinsburg was cut open during a Friday morning ceremony.
The 97,000 square foot plant, which will produce the company’s Fresh Step and Scoop Away products, starts out with more than 100 workers, more than 80 of them from West Virginia.
“We’ve found there’s really a great number of skills and readily available to come work at the plant,” Clorox Vice President of Product Supply Services Michael Holly said during a Friday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
The company has a partnership with nearby Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to help train the workers. Clorox presented Blue Ridge with a $10,000 check Friday to express the company’s thanks for the ongoing partnership.
Holly said the Martinsburg site at Tabler Station meets the company’s needs to get its products closer to the east coast.
“We already have a great operation in Kansas but we have found we need to expand and with a lot of consumers over here on the east coast and towards the northeast it has been a great project for us to expand to be able to meet business needs,” Holly said.
He also noted that having the plant along the north-south I-81 corridor and being close to railroad operations in Winchester, Va., as keys in the site selection.
Holly said West Virginia has been a good business partner.
“It’s really been an amazing reception here where we’ve really been met with an attitude of finding solutions for those challenges and working together on those and that’s been an amazing part of bringing this project to light,” Holly said.
Clorox plans to be in full production by early next year. The company has also built a 450,000-square-foot warehouse down the road from the plant.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito along with Gov. Jim Justice all put out statements welcoming Clorox to West Virginia.
Clorox also has charcoal operations in West Virginia through its Kingsford brand located in Beryl (Mineral County) and Parsons (Tucker County).
Clorox also announced Friday that it’s giving a year supply of cat litter to the Berkeley County Humane Society along with a $5,000 donation.
Original Article by Jeff Jenkins on WVMetroNews.com
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!