Commercial Real Estate News Brief: August 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.  

CRE Gets Techy with Hightower 

JLL CRE News BriefIt’s no secret that the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has generally taken a more traditional approach to day-to-day business operations. According to a recent Forbes article, that’s about to change: “It’s time for commercial real estate to get the tech startup treatment, ready or not.”

Enter, Hightower—a tool used by brokers and owners to “manage almost all of the aspects of leasing their buildings,” says TechCrunch.  The Hightower command center makes it easy to track all activity around current negotiations or deals. Plus, there’s an app for on-the-go brokers too.

JLL currently uses Hightower with its clients, among other tech tools.

Transparency Drives Foreign Investment in U.S. CRE 

Fox Business reported that the U.S. CRE industry reached “record numbers” in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year. Chinese investors alone spent about $14 billion in 2013. Also from Fox:

“Despite the focus on foreign investment and the splashy headlines, the media have only managed to report on the tip of the iceberg – the actual amount of foreign capital pouring into U. S. real estate is vastly underreported.”

Plus, experts are seeing renewed interest in secondary markets, including Seattle, Portland and Pittsburgh. These markets offer a sense of financial security that the bigger markets can’t guarantee. According to JLL, the preference for secondary markets is largely based on transparency, or “Open-data policies, increased clarity, predictability, and reliable measurement.”

For more information about the transparency of markets across the world, download JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index. 

Columbus Nonprofit Leads By Example

Back in 2001, Columbus faced serious economic obstacles, along with the rest of the nation, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. This prompted a handful of local CEOs to take a stand and find a solution that would bring positive development back into the city.

In 2010, a group called the Columbus Partnership founded an umbrella group known as Columbus2020. This nonprofit entity was designed to promote and cultivate all 11 counties in the Columbus region.

Also according to the Sacramento Business Journal, since Columbus2020’s inception, “Columbus has created over 92,000 jobs and added over $4.3 billion in capital investment.” This success has subsequently put Columbus on the forefront of inspiration for other cities currently struggling from the recession.

News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • Bridgewater Falls, a 630,000-square-foot shopping center in Fairfield Township, was purchased by Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust for $85.5 million.
  • IDI Gazeley has plans for an industrial building that will span more than 786,000 square feet. The project, Building A in Park South at Richwood, does not have a signed tenant yet.


  • KeyBank is in the process of moving 4,000 of its 5,000 corporate employees in Cleveland in an effort to “save money and encourage collaboration.” The bank is planning to get rid of unused space to help save on unnecessary costs.
  • Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. is opening a new distribution center in Glenwillow. The warehouse, located at 30300 Emerald Parkway, will add 150 jobs once open.


  • Northwestern Mutual is the newest tenant at Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd.’s speculative Grandview Yard office building. The company will occupy 19,000 square feet on the top floor of the building.
  • Liqui-Box Corp. is moving its headquarters to Virginia; however, the Worthington office will keep 45 employees.


  • The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $61 million mixed-use development near the Detroit River. The plan includes construction of 20 buildings.
  • The Display Group Ltd. is expanding to 255,000-square-feet at the former Packard Plant. The company currently utilizes 200,000 square feet of space at 1700 W. Fort St.


  • Continental Office Environments is the premier office tenant announced for the new 120,000-square-foot mixed-use project, North Shore Place II.
  • Siemens Rail Automation will create 129 jobs in Pittsburgh when it expands its manufacturing and engineering operations in Munhall. 

Newspaper image via NS Newsflash.