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 says millennials may change commercial real estate industry

Millennials will impact commercial real estate

Brian Fielding says millennials will have impact on commercial real estate.

Little by little, commercial real estate practices may be changing and it’s all thanks to the millennials.

The millennial generation, currently 20 to 30 somethings, are attached to technology – cell phones, tablets, social media and more. According to Brian Fielding, a commercial real estate industry veteran, says that because of this attachment to technology, ease and efficiency are their top priorities and they’re bringing that with them into the real estate industry as the next generation of agents and investors.

The commercial real estate side of the business will see the biggest impact, Brian Fielding says. While there have been advances in this part of the industry – most notably, more online listings and mobile apps – there are still improvements that millennials will most likely demand.

For example, online listings in many cases still include just one exterior photo and a few stats on the price and size. If job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are any example, millennials will want more information as quickly as possible before committing. This would mean more photos or even virtual tours may become the norm, Brian Fielding believes. There are already companies out there that can help make video tours of properties as easy as possible, such as Matterport, that will allow realtors to forgo hiring professional videographers.

Millennials reliance on technology also allows for more time-saving techniques. This includes things as simple as texting with listing brokers to the use of mobile apps to schedule property tours, such as Showing Suite. And Brian Fielding says the industry may also see more and more listing and industry articles shared via social media

The consumer side is also going to have to change for millennials. While referrals will certainly be a part of the business as usual, millennials who don’t know who to trust are going to turn to the Internet as their first source. Just as they do with apps and sites like Yelp or Trip Adviser, they will be looking to compare brokers via online reviews, specialties, locations served and price ranges. According to Brian Fielding, already has a “Find a Realtor” search, but someone has yet to establish a large database for commercial agents with more complete profiles.

“All of these activities are already taking place in the residential real estate industry,” Brian Fielding said. “The smart bet is that the commercial industry will follow … at least in part.”

He went on to say that while commercial transactions are driven almost exclusively by financial modeling, it is hard to imagine that commercial real estate brokers will not avail themselves of some of the online capabilities. It might include some ability to tour the property and the general market, including local demographics, traffic patterns, adjacent stores, malls, etc.

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Brian Fielding Offers Property Management Tips for Commercial Real Estate Investors

Commercial Real Estate Investors

Brian Fielding, an expert mind in the world of commercial real estate, has long supported investors in their considerations of commercial real estate purchases. Whether an individual is investing in a commercial space for their own company, to rent out to tenants, or to fit both purposes, there are a number of advantages to owning such a property. However, there are also many responsibilities, especially in situations where there are tenants involved. For those who have made a real estate purchase, or who are looking at a possible property to invest in, Mr. Fielding would like to offer some advice on steps that every real estate investor must consider after making a purchase.

  1. Make time to meet with tenants: Brian Fielding knows that when an owner takes the time to visit with his or her tenants, he or she will experience a number of advantages. Staying in contact with these clients will allow the owner to stay up to date on what kinds of changes the company plans to make.  A company’s business plans may very well change what they need in their space. An owner should speak with these tenants on a regular basis to be certain they can find ways to meet new needs such as a smaller or larger space for a tenant’s operations.
  2. Look for zoning changes: In some cases, a zoning change will extend the allowable uses for a piece of commercial property, but in other cases, it will limit it. These zoning laws may become a problem for those who are trying to fill a vacant space, as a zoning law chance may change the pool possible clients. Whenever a property owner is trying to lease a space, they must make sure there have been no changes to the zoning laws of their property.
  3. Conduct annual repairs and maintenance: Each and every building will need regular repairs, and systems such as the sprinklers and air conditioning units need to be regularly managed. Brian Fielding reminds investors that when they are making commercial real estate purchases, they must keep the cost of these in mind. As owners, they must additionally take the time to make sure that these repairs and updates are done. While it is still early in the year, owners should make their plans and consider when annual fixes will be performed.

Brian Fielding believes that those who make commercial real estate purchases should also be sure that they are maintaining their properties correctly. This advice will help owners take the reins and manage their properties well this coming year to make sure that they can continue to see their investment be prosperous. For more information on commercial real estate investing visit

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Fielding Investments Reveals 3 Tips to Finding the Best Commercial Real Estate Investment

Young Lady Entrepreneur at her shop entrance

Fielding Investments, a leading commercial real estate investment firm, shares insider information as to what makes a great investment deal.

Property investment advisor Brian Fielding has over 40 years of experience in the field. With that experience, he understands what factors go into a great commercial real estate investment. Aware of the fact that others do not have the wealth of knowledge that he does, Brian Fielding of Fielding Investments is sharing three of the ways that people can get more informed and land a better deal on their next investment.

Be aware and have a way out.

The first thing that seasoned commercial real estate investors will look for is a way out of the deal – something that can give them the option to walk away if need be. In addition, when surveying any property that an individual is interested in investing it, it is prudent to pay attention to every detail.

“Make sure that you check for any existing damage to the property, note any repairs that will need to be made, and assess whether the property needs to undergo any renovations,” shares commercial real estate advisor Brian Fielding. “It is helpful to bring along a calculator in order to determine and ballpark the amount it will cost to get everything fixed. Only then can you determine whether the investment is smart taking your budget into consideration.”

Know the area.

Time and time again, commercial real estate advisor Brian Fielding has shared that those who invest in properties in their area of residence are often the most successful. The reason for this is simple: they have insider information.

“That street corner that dozens of businesses have opened and closed their doors on and that strip mall where so many people frequent every day – this is all information that algorithms and calculations cannot compute,” Fielding shares. “Information like that is something that you gain from living and being in the area. This is the information that will give you an advantage over someone who is investing in a piece of real estate out of the city, state or even country.”

Get some help.

For those looking to invest in commercial real estate for the first time, it is in their best interest to do their homework. Searching for properties online, in the classifieds, on the street and other methods can help inventors be more aware of what is available in their market. In addition, hiring an investment firm like that of Fielding Investments, can help first-time investors to stay on the right track.

For more information about commercial real estate investment and to see some questions that others have posed to Fielding Investments, visit

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