Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vacant Land in Metairie? It's a needle in a haystack scenario

Anyone looking for vacant land in Metairie to build a commercial building knows that it is a needle in a haystack challenge.

A quick drive down any major thoroughfare in the area will NOT result in a list of vacant sites that you can easily select from.  And of the available sites, many permitting and zoning challenges exist that create even more road blocks to development. 

Vacant land is also hidden or disguised, usually with older obsolete buildings that need to come down in order to uncover the vacant land.  Given the fact that most owners of these properties know the value of their "land", and that it currently provides income to them, it makes it all the more difficult to reach a price that is acceptable to both parties.

So what is a developer to do?

First, in any development project, there needs to be a driver.  Fortunately, many retailers and companies see the New Orleans and south shore market as a very attractive place to locate.  The population, traffic and demographic numbers create the perfect mix of business elements to make money.

In retail specifically, this means a visible, well traveled, major thoroughfare location that will provide convenience and accessibility to the customer they are trying to reach.  Finding that perfect site is the needle in the haystack scenario.  Although in the case of the south shore, its a very small haystack.  There are only a handful of major thoroughfares that meet the retailers criteria. 

Consider that in East Jefferson there is only one interstate(I-10), only one major east/west State Highway(Hwy 61-Airline Drive) and only one major east/west retail or commercially zoned corridor(Veterans Mem. Blvd.).  And north/south roadways are even more limited with only one major thoroughfare connecting I-10 to the westbank(Clearview Parkway).

So finding a 28,420 sf site, located across from a major grocery store, at a traffic light, with 90k cars per day is a rare find. But it does exist.  You can find it here.

The Truth About Office Leasing

Office Leasing:  Now there's a sexy topic.  However, if you are in business, it is the essence of your daily environment. 

The truth about office leasing first depends upon your company’s individual need. The truth is most companies, large or small; do not know HOW to assess their needs.

The first step is to know what business you are in. Are attorneys in the "legal" business or are they in the problem solving business? If so, what type of problems are they solving, and what type of people have those problems, and where are they located?

Are your customers downtown, uptown, suburbs, east bank, west bank?

Another assessment is the need for visibility and accessibility. Are your clients better served navigating a parking garage, then an elevator bank, just to see the incredible view from your office? Or is the view just for you.

Do you need visibility or image space?

One consideration that many companies never consider is the type of lease they are entering into. If an owner provides money for tenant improvements, they are in essence lending you money to improve your space. And with a loan comes repayment terms and provisions that WILL end up in legal proceedings to collect a debt in event there is a default. 

Which type of lease is right for your operations?  A gross lease may be the route to go.  It may be more expensive, but it is the least cumbersome on your operations since you pay one rent payment which covers all utilities, maintenance, janitorial, etc.  Having a maintenance staff is better than wasting your time trying to get stains out of a carpet. 

And size does matter.  The days of wasted office space are over.  The average 5,000sf office can be reduced down to 1,500 sf.  There is no longer the need for mail rooms, copy rooms, larger server rooms, etc.  Collaboration functionality and efficiency is built in to most office furniture and systems reducing the need for multiple conference rooms.  And of course technology has reduced the need for many office functions, such as filing systems and has increased the remote capabilities of most businesses.  All of these advances continue to reduce the square footage needed to operate most businesses.

So the truth is.....with an honest analysis of your operations coupled with the insight of a commercial real estate professional, you can significantly improve your effectiveness and reduce hard cost  in one move, putting your business on firm ground for the future.  If you would like that insight and analysis, please contact us today to discuss your situation. 

If you need space in east jefferson, go to