Commercial Real Estate News Brief: November 2016

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In the latest edition of our monthly news brief, JLL’s regional team curates the top commercial real estate industry articles to keep you in-the-know. In this month’s edition, JLL spotlights CRM solutions for brokers, the future of digital workspaces and the 2017 construction forecast.

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CRE Brokers Turn to CRM Solutions

JLL CRE News Brief

Newspaper image via NS Newsflash.

Every dollar spent on a customer relationship management (CRM) system results in $8.71 back for businesses, according to Nucleus Research. That’s why more commercial real estate brokers are looking to implement CRM solutions. But how does the software actually help brokers?

CRM software helps businesses manage interactions with current and future customers via digital tracking and analytics. An enormous amount of data helps brokers foster relationships with clients—including lead and listing specifics. With a CRM, brokers can easily access customer information, determine appropriate follow-ups, and guide clients through the transaction pipeline.

As more sales teams adopt the software, the global CRM market continues its rapid growth. It is expected to reach $36.5 billion by 2017, with key real estate players including Pipedrive, Propertybase and more.

Digital Disruption Means a Stronger Workplace

While corporate headquarters and office spaces are fundamental for operational workflows, productivity and culture, the latest tech disruptions have paved the way for a digital workplace with just as many advantages. Benefits of which include remote and flexible work schedules, access to cloud storage, and faster communication channels.

As more industries thrive with the latest techs—including commercial real estate—businesses are forced to rethink their workplace strategies for a more modern approach.

Top trends include letting employees work from home or in a remote setting, and using cloud-based technology to access and share files. Similarly, faster collaboration channels like Slack, Basecamp and more eliminate the need for time-consuming phone calls and face-to-face interruptions in the office. And, employee’s digital work footprints are transparently accounted for with project management systems and time-tracking software.

Recent studies show that productivity actually increased among those that worked from home. These tools meet the demand of millennial workplace expectations, while also contributing to better workforce productivity and greater accountability—a win-win for employees and management.

How does your office work remote? Accommodate the digital workplace with the necessary infrastructure and tech solutions to cash in on business benefits.

Related Read: Tech-Enablement: The New Driver of Office Design

2017 Construction Forecasts Raise Expectations

Following a slight shortfall in 2016, Dodge’s annual Construction Outlook estimates positive growth of nearly 5% in the commercial building sector. Upcoming gains in the office and the warehouse industry contribute to the overall increases.

The office sector is identified as one of the strongest segments in 2017, with estimated starting gains of more than 10% and 110 million square feet. The report cites corporate headquarters consolidations and a rise in suburban market construction to fill the pipeline this coming year, as more businesses seek out a central location.

Other commercial sectors, like hotels and shopping centers, are also expected to see positive growth in 2017. While the U.S. economy anticipates moderate job growth and continued stable energy prices, starting construction projections are expected to reach $713 billion in 2017.

CRE News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • The newly renovated Columbia Plaza is available for lease and is garnering interest with its modern updates. JLL was selected as the leasing agent for the 537,200-square-foot Class A office tower.
  • Foreign investment continues to spread to regional markets as Kuwait-based KAMCO Investment Co. recently finalized its purchase of a new Cincinnati office building.


  • A $130 million mixed-use development is coming to Seven Hills. The development will include 600,000 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of office space, located south of Rockside Road.
  • A delivery of new medical buildings has reshaped the commercial real estate business in Northeast Ohio. Woodside Health LLC, for example, has acquired 21 properties in the hopes of selling to physician groups.


  • A recent panel hosted by the Etna Township Zoning Commission recommended rezoning 155 acres for the development of a new commerce park. The park would be constructed just south of Interstate 70.
  • Construction of Grandview Crossing is expected to begin this spring, with the first tenants slated to open fall of 2018. Tenants include a major grocery store retailer, as well as a number of other retail stores to fill the shopping center.


  • Low rental rates and an influx of high caliber tech companies have positioned Detroit as the next up-and-coming high-tech hub. Detroit is home to the country’s lowest average rent per-square-foot at $18.32, making it an ideal market for startups looking to grow.
  • The Fisher and Albert Kahn buildings have started their $100 million restoration Both buildings are undergoing renovations to accommodate mixed-use environments, including office, retail, entertainment and residential space.

Grand Rapids

  • Third Coast Development is planning the construction of a new apartment building dedicated to middle-class tenants making between $30,000 and $50,000 per year. The building will be located just east of the Medical Mile.
  • Development plans for a 42-story downtown skyscraper have received final approval from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. The tower is slated as a mixed-use residential and hotel development. 


  • With upcoming highway and bridge construction completions, and an influx of downtown investors, Louisville’s upcoming 2017 market is thriving. Insurance company Humana added to the downtown growth with its announcement of adding nearly 1,200 employees to the Clocktower Building and Humana Waterside Building.
  • Hogan Real Estate bought the 5 acres of land near Clarksville Town Hall for $4.9 million in the hopes of creating Veterans Crossing—a retail and restaurant development.


  • Station Square is expected to begin development of a 316-unit apartment complex this summer. The site will also include a parking garage and nearly 5,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Rec333 at Penn Center East has been converted into a conference and meeting hub for tenants. Updates to the former restaurant building include new technologies, an outdoor patio and fitness center.