Commercial Real Estate News Brief: December 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.  

New Features Make Smart Buildings Even Smarter 

JLL CRE News BriefUnfortunately the U.S. currently ranks second globally for CO2 emissions, right behind China, according to a recent article in TechCrunch from JLL’s Parker White (@jParkerWhite).

What’s more shocking, CRE is accountable for about 40 percent of all emissions in the U.S. Luckily, change is already in the works. To combat commercial real estate emissions, we’re seeing a few technologies enter the scene, including:

  • Air-cleaning paint, made with titanium dioxide, which reduces emissions in the air by breaking down harmful chemicals.
  • Smart lighting, or a wireless, connected lighting system that responds to sunlight and occupancy so it can adjust according to need.
  • Renewable energy technologies that replace the traditional centralized power model. In this concept, connected buildings can sustain an independent “microgrid.”

From White’s article: “Buildings designed with sustainability-supporting materials, big-data-crunching automated systems and onsite clean energy are expected to represent 55 percent of all U.S. commercial and institutional construction by 2015, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook.”

JLL is committed to more sustainable living. Read more about JLL’s efforts in social and environmental responsibility on our website.

Open Versus Closed Office Space: The Conversation Continues

Last year, Inc. deemed open offices “better after all,” and Mark Zuckerberg recently built (in his words), “the largest open floor plan in the world.”

On the flip side, a recent article from The Washington Post made a case for private workspaces, claiming that, “the open-office trend is destroying the workplace.” The author criticizes open workspaces for being “oppressive,” and a root cause of poor work performance. Solutions to improve efficiency include creating private areas (without glass windows) and allowing employees to work from home.

JLL recently surveyed 100 businesses in the Midwest to see which option local businesses prefer. Results revealed that professionals prefer to have the, “autonomy to choose throughout the day where they sit and work.” Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to developing the perfect work environment. Determine what works best for your company and adjust your strategy accordingly—whether that’s an open and creative floorplan, or a space that fosters private work.

Cleveland Development Reaches New Heights in 2014

Northeast Ohio’s real estate saw exciting new leasing and development in 2014.

Among speculative development, a $200 million downtown “nuCLEus” project was proposed, which will include a hotel, 400 apartments, offices and retail. In other CRE news, the Cuyahoga County administration building and a luxury hotel and apartment building, the 9, reached completion this year. Also, Forest City Enterprises sold the iconic Halle Building for $20 million. Cleveland is expected to remain on the map in 2015 with high tech and large-scale projects underway.

Visit Crain’s Cleveland Business for the complete, Cleveland CRE recap.

News Wrap-Up in Our Region  


  • Gwynne Partners LLC bought the Gwynne Building, the former location of Procter & Gamble Co., from a group of building tenants, Gwynne Building LLC, for $4.3 million.
  • Italian manufacturer Bonfiglioli USA opened its premier U.S. production line, an 80,000-square-foot property, in the Queen City. The facility now stands as the manufacturer’s U.S. headquarters.


  • Canadian investment group, SNR Group, purchased the Charter One Bank Building downtown, and has plans to rebuild the lobby, hallway floors and bathrooms. Sixty percent of the building, totaling more than 90,000 square feet, is vacant.
  • Initially listed to close in 2010, The Hugo Boss plant on Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn announced that it will close this spring. The closure will impact approximately 170 employees.


  • Garrison Investment Group, a joint venture of Chambers Street Properties and Duke Realty Corp., purchased the 1 and 2 Easton Oval office buildings located in the Easton development.
  • Pier 1 Imports signed a long-term lease in CenterPoint Business Park for a 464,000-square-foot property. The furniture and household retailer already operates a distribution center in Grove City.


  • Detroit-based Little Caesars Pizza announced that it will build a new 205,000-square-foot, eight-story headquarters beside the Fox Theatre. Construction is slated to complete in 2016, bringing with it an estimated 600 jobs to the city.
  • Ashley Capital LLC has plans to purchase former General Motors operations property in Livonia. The price is currently undisclosed.


  • The Walnut Capital Partners Bakery Square 2.0 commercial building, which already houses a Google office, signed on a new tenant this past month. Autodesk is a California-based tech firm; it signed a lease for 15,000-square-feet to relocate from its current location in O’Hara Township.
  • Leedsworld Inc. announced plans to build a 240,000-square-foot warehouse. The new facility will be located in Westmoreland Business & Research Park.

What do you think were the greatest CRE highlights in the Midwest in 2014? Share articles and your thoughts below.

Newspaper image via NS Newsflash.