November Luncheon Panelist predict more jobs, sales, development and business in 2014

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor, Financial News and Daily Record

Five panelists provided brief updates about specific real estate areas:

• Development — Alex Coley, NAI Hallmark Partners: The St. Johns Town Center area, East San Marco and Brooklyn are sites for retail development; multifamily projects are underway at the Town Center and in Brooklyn; but “don’t expect a lot of speculative office” development.

• Office sales and leasing — Victor Hughes, Parkway Properties Inc.: Financial services, health care and technology companies are the strongest office users; Parkway’s 1.46 million square feet of office space among five Southbank, Riverside and Deerwood Park properties are 94 percent occupied. “Parkway is really bullish on Jacksonville,” he said, adding the organization is “talking to different owners about expanding our footprint.”

• Workspace trends –– Rich Isphording, Steelcase: Outlined “macro trends” in workspaces, in general, involve the efficient use of space that allows employees and associates to work together, effectively uses technology and offers a comfortable environment. Among those trends is what he called “varieties of posture,” as in 90 minutes is the limit before a person has to “change gears” and refocus.

• Industrial sales/leasing –– John Richardson of Newmark Grubb Phoenix Realty Group: Investors are buying buildings to lease out and businesses are buying properties to use. He sees local companies expanding and he also says there are more distribution deals. He predicts a good first half of 2014.

• Investment sales — Bob Selton, Colliers International Northeast Florida: Jacksonville is a “tertiary market,” not a “Tier 1” market, for real estate investors. However, with quality investment properties becoming more difficult to find in the top tier markets, Jacksonville is attracting more investors. Selton said Jacksonville properties are being sold or are for sale, including the Liberty Property Trust holdings, the Aetna Building, Wells Fargo Center and “there’s more to be announced.” For 2014, he said “if you have a good product, you can sell it.”
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