Miami beach

Miami beach

Sandor Scher knows something about spectacular historic renovations. Over the last decade, the Miami company he founded, Claro Development, has rejuvenated many of Miami Beach’s icons: the Raleigh, Standard, Thompson, Shelbourne, Essex, and SoHo Beach House, with the Greystone, Peter Miller, and a Lincoln Road development underway.

All winning the firm great acclaim. Now he’s got his sights set on Ocean Terrace, a two-block-long oasis along the beach off Collins between 73rd and 75th. In today’s condition, it might charitably be described as rundown. With severe height and FAR restrictions, no developer has wanted to touch it, and so it’s sat half abandoned. But in December, Sandor (with his venture Ocean Terrace Holdings) bought the 93-key Days Inn for $29M and in March a combined three smaller adjacent 1940’s era hotels for about the same. Sandor’s vision is for a dramatic transformation of the stretch into high-quality retail, hotel and residential. He believes it will bring with it the emerging neighborhood energy of a Sunset Harbor or Surfside and trigger a much broader revitalization around it.

After 10 months of planning and zoning hearings, Ocean Terrace Holdings agreed to a comprehensive restrictive covenant that would limit residential to no more than 70 residential units and 220 hotel rooms, though Sandor expects to build 10% to 20% fewer. It also agreed to how late an hour they can feature outdoor entertainment, and to using FAR for only residential or hotel purposes, i.e., not less popular uses like big-box retail. The cornerstone of the zoning change is a decrease in density from 100 units per acre to 50 units per acre, protections that Collins Avenue will always be retail, an independently verified decrease in traffic and other neighborhood and resident-friendly protections.

Sandor says at least some basic scale is required for financial viability, and he feels it’s now been trimmed to the bone. Only one hurdle remains. Although the Commission and the Planning Board have been very supportive and voted in favor of the changes, the city charter requires that any increase in FAR (in this case from 2.0 to 3.0) shall be approved by the public. In an historic vote, the Commission agreed to place the increase on the ballot for approval. Sandor tells us that community support has been “overwhelming and inspirational.” He adds: “So many of the important longtime community leaders in North Beach are behind this plan, in full support. They are the best spokespeople for the change because they are the ones who have waited so long for positive change on this scale in North Beach.”

So Sandor is asking everyone to vote Yes on #54. (We’re not sure how it got that high number: There is only one other measure on the Nov. 3 Miami Beach ballot besides the election of three commissioners and the mayor.) Approval requires more than 50% of votes cast. Sandor says the vote is only about the FAR, not about height, setbacks or historic preservation, and argues that none of the current historic preservation protections that currently exist for any of the buildings are weakened. So he’s out spreading the word and has set up a website. Based on his long experience reviving other areas of Miami Beach, he believes a favorable vote could make Ocean Terrace and all of the Collins area in the 70s one of the most exciting destinations in the region.

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Commercial Real Estate News Brief: September 2015

The Rise of Green Commercial Real Estate

Sustainability is a non-negotiable for businesses of the future, and it’s having a major impact on the American CRE and job market.

According to a recent article from JLL Real Views, the green building industry will likely account for more than one-third of all jobs in the U.S. construction sector in just four years. And, closer to home, the Midwest is no exception from the green building movement.

In Pittsburgh, the former LTV Coke Works site, “that once gobbled up massive amounts of fossil fuels,” will soon be carbon neutral, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The owners of the riverfront parcel are looking to develop a building that consumes no fossil fuels, planning to utilize solar, hydro and wind energy for the site.

Demand for eco-friendly buildings is projected to grow as organizations and business leaders prioritize sustainability into every aspect of the construction process.

Detroit Free Press Building Ready for New Life

The Detroit Free Press building is back on the market, and is priced 280.95% higher than its last purchase price in 2013.

The 302,000-square-foot building, located at 321 W. Lafayette, is listed at $16 million under JLL management. This is a significant increase from the property’s previous sale at $4.2 million to Chinese investment group DongDu International.

Detroit Free Press

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Built in 1925, the Art-Deco-style building was designed by the legendary Albert Kahn, and was once home to the newspaper’s printing facilities. The building has been vacant since the office moved in 1998.

The property, located near the heart of downtown Detroit, is equipped to accommodate retail, office, multi-family or mixed-use development. 

CRE News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • Cincinnati-based estate sale and auction startup, Everything but the House, is moving its headquarters downtown. The company plans to move into 18,000-square-foot office to “attract and retain better talent.
  • Specialty textile company, Legend Athletic Wear LLC, plans to open its first U.S. location in Cincinnati after receiving a 45%, five-year job creation tax credit valued at an estimated $78,000. The company plans to invest $1.4 million in the new to-be-determined facility, and to create 80 full-time jobs.


  • Columbus-born ad agency Resource/Ammirati combined its three former locations into a 54,000-square-foot office in downtown Columbus. Located at 250 S. High, the agency committed to the urban, business-centric location more than two years ago.
  • Exxcel Project Management has begun its 478,190-square-foot industrial project near the Rickenbacker International Airport. The warehouse will be built on 23 acres in the CenterPoint Business Park.


  • Stark Enterprises is planning to build a 100,000-square-foot multitenant office-retail property in Westlake’s Crocker Park. This major addition will come on the heels of American Greeting’s headquarters and creative studios project at the site.
  • French building materials company Saint-Gobain sold its U.S. distribution business, Norandex Building Materials, in Hudson, Ohio to Wisconsin roofing and siding distributor, ABC Supply Co. The transaction is expected to finalize before 2016.


  • A Dan Gilbert-affiliated entity used the First National Building to get a $70 million loan from an unidentified national lender. The building is being used as security on a loan worth approximately nine times what was paid for the building in 2011.
  • Cleveland’s Industrial Commercial Properties LLC and L.A.-based Industrial Realty Group LLC purchased Northline Industrial Center in a joint venture. The price for the 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse, located at 38481 W. Huron River Drive, is undisclosed. 


  • Faros Properties is launching “the largest collaborative workspace in western Pennsylvania,” in Nova Place as part of the firm’s redevelopment of the Allegheny Center. The new facility, Alloy 26, will offer space for more than 300 occupant start-ups and flexible space.
  • Developer Ashley Capital plans to build a new 316,000-square-foot industrial project on a 24-acre property in Findlay Industrial Park. The company expects to begin pursuing the speculative development soon.

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Brian Fielding Highlights Top Environmental Charities

Top Environmental Charities

Top Environmental Charities

Brian Fielding knows that many people in life need help in certain ways, and that’s why others who offer help and assistance can truly make a difference in another person’s life. By helping people find their next home, his dedication through expert real estate advice and services is a way of assisting those who need him. But truthfully, finding an environmental cause to support that can help others enjoy the world we live in even more is something everyone should do, and here are a few of Brian Fielding’s top environmental charity recommendations.

  • Alliance For The Great Lakes: Brian Fielding shares that this organization is focused on protecting a living resource that will benefit all generations. This foundation was formed in Chicago, but works all around. For more than 40 years, members of this group have worked tirelessly to conserve and restore freshwater surfaces by involving citizens about how to preserve this vital natural resource. Brian Fielding shares this cause is a great one to give to for those who want to help out the water supply cause.
  • Amazon Conservation Association: This group is geared towards protecting biodiversity in Peru and Bolivia, where the Andes Mountains cross paths with the Amazon rainforest. This group is employed with staff that are experienced ecologists and conservationists that hope to protect one of the Earth’s most diverse landscapes. There are a lot of unique animals and plants in the area that help sustain the livelihood of the local communities, so consider donating to support their mission.

Brian Fielding knows these charities are non-profit organizations that truly care about changing the world. Dollars and cents sent to these organizations are applied directly to programs, instead of paying off big-wig CEOs or higher-ups. Donate today to help their causes make all the difference.

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Brian Fielding Reveals New Information on How Retirement Planning Can Include Diversification through the Ownership of Commercial Real Estate

 When planning for retirement, Brain Fielding of Fielding Investments suggests investing in commercial real estate.

When planning for retirement, Brain Fielding of Fielding Investments suggests investing in commercial real estate.

Now, more than ever before, people are looking for the best ways to save for retirement. With Social Security payments uncertain for the future, individuals are taking a much more proactive approach to how they want to handle their money and investments. Commercial real estate advisor, Brian Fielding, offered his insights into how investors can diversify the risk of their portfolios.

“While few persons are willing to do the diligence necessary to directly own commercial real estate, there are some retirement plans and REITs that make such investment available to passive investors,” Brian Fielding shares. “However, we don’t believe that all investors should invest in that manner, since a variety of fees charged can often reduce returns so substantially as to discourage such investors.”

Commercial real estate advisor Brian Fielding maintains that investment in commercial real estate should not be viewed as accessible through such funds and entities, feeling that there is significant opportunity for individuals or partnerships to invest in local assets. Noting that workers had invested over $20,000,000 dollars in commercial properties in just the past six months [credit to Real Estate Research in Des Moines, Iowa] in funds alone, and that commercial real estate had returned an average of 8.6% in income and appreciation over the past decade [credit to the National Council of Real Estate Fiduciaries]. This nationally recognized advisor suggests that like and better returns can await those who take the time and make the effort to become experts on their local economy.

“We find it remarkable that many sophisticated persons take great pains to study hundreds of companies to find the best stock and fund investment, but few take the steps necessary to fully understand their local business and real estate economy in a manner that would allow them to be sophisticated investors in the region’s commercial real estate,” commercial real estate advisor Brian Fielding shared. “Many wonderful opportunities exist in every hometown, but it does take an investor’s commitment to track pricing, monitor new developments in planning, zoning and infrastructure, and networking with brokers, businesspersons and politicians.”

Brian Fielding believes that anyone with some time and effort can be a direct owner of quality commercial real estate, either individually or in partnership with other similarly motivated persons.

“While individuals may not have the resources to employ professionals to perform the studies and analysis used regularly by nationally based developers and investors, with a bit of effort, they will know more about their community than most consultants can hope to derive from demographic studies and broker referrals,” he added. “Just think about how much data went into that national chain’s selection of a site in your town, yet perhaps only you and your friends know that a site across town (or even across the street) would have been a smarter choice.”

Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments suggests that many have enjoyed success in commercial real estate investing by combining their skills and knowledge about the local communities while taking advantage of the demographic analyses of the national concerns who chose the sites for their stores and offices. He believes that is a matter of will and effort for any reasonably intelligent person to become an expert in their community and suggests that everyone should have, as part of their retirement portfolio, a direct interest in one or more commercial real estate holdings.

“While we all have plans as to how we wish to live our retiring years, we all lack that one critical bit of data on making a good plan for the golden years … our life expectancy is nothing but an actuarial guess and that nest egg which we hoped would provide us with certainty, rarely fully considers the ravages that inflation and low returns can do to that plan,” he adds. “I think we all know persons who thought that their pension plan or IRA would insure a retirement in comfort, only to find that banks are paying less than 1% on deposits and returns sufficient to insure that lifestyle come only with the assumption of unacceptable risk.”

“We are not suggesting that it is prudent for anyone to put all of their proverbial eggs into one commercial real estate basket, but we do believe that it is an important part of any investment portfolio. The real question is whether that investor feels comfortable with having others make all of the decisions on what to buy and what to charge for their expertise.”

For more information and advice about how to start investing in commercial real estate today, visit

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Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments Provides Insight About a Recent Wall Street Journal Story

Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments shares some insight about a recent article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments shares some insight about a recent article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal about the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (“CalPERS”) caught the attention of real estate adviser Brian Fielding, who feels that individual investors should follow the “smart money” choices of public entities. In the past CalPERS purchased positions in funds that owned office developments and shopping malls whose more speculative nature resulted in huge losses [about ½ of the investment] in the recession. Their interest now is in fully leased office and multi-housing developments through separate accounts that give CalPERS greater control over where the investments are placed.

To Brian Fielding, this move away from Treasuries and into net-leased assets is indicative of the value of the inherent strength of commercial real estate investment and a strong indicator of where prudent investors should be allocating a portion of their investment portfolio. He believes that the individuals have an edge in the selection of their real estate purchases that can be realized by simply tapping into knowledge of the community that they enjoy over outside parties.

“It takes a change of thought process in the sense that we all see the successes and failures in our hometowns, but we may fail to take into account that our insight puts the savvy investor into a ‘catbird’ seat from which to make investment decisions,” Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments shares. “Like anything else in life, success is bred of effort. One who may be looking to invest needs to take that which they already know and combine that with an effort to know where roads are being built (or widened), what zoning issues are in place, which businesses flourish and which languish in your community. This is all information that, as an ‘insider,’ the local investor can discern more successfully than firms and individuals who must hire professionals in an effort to discern those factors that are readily known to local residents.”

CalPERS has enjoyed an annual return of 14 percent since 2011, while banks have been paying less than one percent on deposits. Brian Fielding believes that while the large pension funds have the advantage of large stores of money, those funds also have greater limitations on the types of investments they can make, have greater competition from like funds and must pay significant management fees that may not be borne by the individual.

“It is our position that private citizens sometimes fail to realize the unique knowledge that they enjoy and may unnecessarily worry that understanding and become competent in the world of commercial real estate investment is beyond their capability,” Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments shares. “We believe that commercial real estate holdings should be a part of all investors’ portfolios, and that any person who is willing to take the time and make a reasonable effort can enjoy an excellent return and long term appreciation that they have historically provided.”

For more information about the commercial real estate industry and how local investors can take advantage of their inside knowledge, contact Brian Fielding by visiting

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