Monday, November 26, 2007

Homebuilders DownFall Hurts Commercial Real Estate Too - WCI, Divosta Empty Offices

Woes touch commercial real estate (From Palm Beach Post Staff Writer By Jeff Ostrowski)

The commercial real estate market largely has shrugged off the housing market's woes, but that happy trend might not last forever.
With builders and mortgage companies downsizing and in some cases going broke, there's suddenly a lot of empty office and industrial space coming on the market.

For instance, DiVosta Building Corp.'s former industrial complex in Palm Beach Gardens now is available for lease. The downsizing company last week sold five buildings totaling nearly 100,000 square feet, and Asset Specialists Inc. of West Palm Beach is marketing the space.

DiVosta isn't the only builder adding space to the market. Bonita Springs-based WCI Communities has announced layoffs, and Grubb & Ellis is subleasing about 26,000 square feet of offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties that WCI no longer needs. That includes 3,800 square feet in Palm Beach County, said Owen Sagar, senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis in Boca Raton.

And Mercedes Homes is selling a 5-acre truss-manufacturing plant in Delray Beach. Sagar sees such sales as evidence that the residential downturn is hurting the commercial market.

"We're definitely starting to see the slowdown," Sagar says.
It's not just the builders that are adding space to the market. HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. went broke this year, and First NLC Financial Services announced layoffs soon after moving from Deerfield Beach to Boca Raton - and before it found a taker for its Deerfield offices.
With the dollar marked down to fire-sale prices, foreign investors should be swooping in to buy Palm Beach County's commercial properties on the cheap, right? Not exactly.
Foreign investors have been selling more than they've been buying, even as the greenback has plummeted in value against the pound, the euro and the Canadian loonie.

True, GLL Real Estate Partners of Munich, Germany, in September paid $180.2 million for the Legacy Place shopping center in Palm Beach Gardens, and a German group in August paid $37.25 million for Wellington Green Square on Forest Hill Boulevard.
But GLL in May sold the office building at 3601 PGA Blvd. for $21 million to an American investor.

Other foreign sellers: Hans Vogler, a German who in June sold 537 acres at Florida Research Park for $162 million; Siemens AG, the German telecom giant that in July sold land and offices in Boca Raton for $37 million; and Canadian investor Murray Dalfen, who got $37.7 million for the Boynton Commerce Center last month.

All three sales were to American investors. But Manuel de Zárraga, executive managing director at Holliday Fenoglio Fowler in Coral Gables, reads nothing more into those sales than simple profit-taking.

"They're harvesting some pretty big gains," he said.
While foreign investors have been flocking to Florida to buy vacation homes and iPods, buyers of commercial real estate tend to focus on a property's income stream, not on the discount provided by a weak yield, said Bob Sullivan of RJS Realty in West Palm Beach.

"Real estate is a very different commodity," Sullivan said. "You're buying a yield."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on the Down Fall of Commercial Real Estate Too...

'And Mercedes Homes is selling a 5-acre truss-manufacturing plant in Delray Beach. Sagar sees such sales as evidence that the residential downturn is hurting the commercial market.'

It is too bad the State of Texas didn't know about the above statement or at least, we Texans should hope, they didn't know.

Why should Texans care?

Mercedes Homes has now moved into Texas big time having left a huge mess in Florida.