Commercial Real Estate News Brief: April 2014

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Commercial real estate is a dynamic industry. Keep up with Spaces’ monthly recaps of the most valuable industry articles we’ve recently come across, focused on news in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Suburbs See Increased Office Build-To-Suits 

JLL Mar-NBA number of suburban office sectors are experiencing historically high vacancy rates, according to But, because many of these properties are outdated, businesses are looking to invest in new, more modern spaces. Plus, build-to-suit opportunities in suburban zones are much more affordable than downtown areas. reported, “ …a new wave of office build-to-suits has begun flooding the suburbs.”

JLL experts predict that eventually building owners will need to renovate and remodel to remain competitive.

Smart Buildings Create More Intelligent Work Environments recently highlighted innovations in smart building technologies, like solar power panels, LED lighting, energy-efficiency controls and wireless sensors. These technologies can result in benefits for both our atmosphere, as well as operational cost savings.

As JLL reports in The Changing Face of Smart Buildings: The Op-Ex Advantage, smart building advancements can increase employee satisfaction, as well as productivity within the workplace. “Smart building systems enhance the ability of landlords to engage with tenants and to tap into their growing desire to have less of an impact on the environment,” according to the report.

Impact of the Evolving Workplace

Bernice Boucher, lead of JLL’s workplace strategy practice, recently listed the top 14 ways in which the workplace is evolving on Boucher is seeing an evident shift in workplace strategy, with moves toward membership models that are driven by internal collaboration. Keeping up with workplace changes has an incredible impact on the way employers are able to recruit and retain key players.

A few other trends mentioned:

  • Flexible workspace
  • Increased sustainability
  • Smaller spaces per worker

Boucher noted that the top workplace trends, “are not only affecting workplace culture, they are also impacting the ability to attract and retain top talent, drive innovation, enable worker productivity and reduce corporate real estate costs.”

News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • Cincinnati’s largest private company, AdvancePierre Foods Inc., will move its headquarters—and more than 100 employees—to the Landings of Blue Ash II on Carver Road. The relocation to the 25,000-square-foot space is expected to occur in May.
  • Nearly 1,600 jobs will move from Northern Kentucky to Texas when Toyota closes its Erlanger facility. Roughly 8,200 Toyota employees will remain in Kentucky.


  • Following 30+ years at One Cleveland Center on East Ninth Street, Vorys law firm announced its plans to move 40 attorneys and 20 staff members to a new office located at 200 Public Square.
  • Keene Building Products is relocating and expanding its manufacturing space from 15,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet. The company spent $1.1 million on its purchase in Euclid. 


  • American Electric Power Company has plans to move its headquarters and more than 450 jobs from Gahanna to New Albany. The new 195,000-square-foot location will take two years to complete.
  • Kimball Midwest, a distributor of maintenance and repair products, is planning a $7.8 million expansion of its Columbus distribution center. The project may add up to 50 jobs at the company.


  • In Q3, Molina Healthcare of Michigan is relocating the Troy Corporate Center on West Long Lake Road. Although the Medicaid business has a purchased 197,000-square-foot building, it initially plans to only occupy 90,000 square feet.
  • Fuyao Automotive North America Inc., a Chinese auto supplier, may invest $15.3 million to expand its Orion Township facility. The project is forecasted to create 102 jobs.


  • UPMC Health Plan will relocate to a 140,000-square-foot property located in the Heinz 57 Center. The move will also bring 450 employees of the UPMC division to the new location.
  • Inc. may tap into the Pittsburgh market for a new distribution center. The company is currently in the market for a 200,000-square-foot space, and has reportedly scouted the western Pennsylvania region for a new space.