Holding companies help reduce a commercial real estate investor’s risk profile and the potential liabilities they could incur as a result of owning an investment property. In order to minimize risk, a holding company isolates one or more properties from an investor’s other assets, making it harder for a creditor or a plaintiff to repossess (or be awarded) their property. In addition, the separation that a holding company provides often makes things easier from a financial reporting and taxation standpoint.
Many sizable commercial real estate projects are not simply purchased and developed by one firm; instead, they are structured as joint ventures (JVs), in which one party provides commercial real estate expertise and the other party provides capital. In essence, a joint venture is very much like a commercial real syndication, except it generally between 2 or more large individuals or firms rather than one sponsor and a larger group of investors.
In an arm’s length transaction, the buyer of a product does not have a preexisting familial or business relationship with the seller. For instance, if an investor were to sell their sibling an apartment building, the transaction would not be arm’s length, while if they sold a stranger the building, it would be an arm’s length transaction. This has important consequences when it comes to buying and selling commercial real estate.
In many cases, commercial real estate investments are structured as real estate limited partnerships (RELPs). A RELP will generally consist of a general partner (GP) and multiple limited partners (LPs). The GP, who is financially responsible for the investment, is often a real estate developer or property manager, while the LPs are typically passive investors who only contribute capital to the project.
If you’re interested in demolishing a commercial building in order to make way for new development, it’s essential to understand the costs of commercial demolition. Right now, commercial demolition costs between $4 to $8 per sq. ft., with the average per building demolition cost in the U.S. currently sitting at $30,500. This makes perfect sense, as the median size of commercial buildings in the U.S. is about 5,000 sq. ft. (5,000 *6 = 30,000). However, it’s also important to note that for especially large buildings, demolition costs per square foot may fall slightly.
In commercial leasing, a blend and extend amendment is allows a tenant to extend their lease and negotiate a new rate, merging, or “blending” the new and old rents. During periods of particularly high vacancy, commercial landlords will often offer agree to a blend and extend amendment that lowers a tenant’s rent, in order to keep their property occupied for an extended period of time.
For commercial real estate borrowers, debt funds often offer loans that banks can’t-- or won’t offer, including commercial construction loans, bridge loans/lease-up financing, and certain property rehabilitation and redevelopment loans. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), debt funds originated nearly $70 in billion commercial real estate loans in 2018, around 10% of all CRE loans originated in that year.
If a commercial real estate borrower seeks out a mezzanine loan, but does not want to pay an extremely high interest rate, the lender may agree to reduce the interest rate in exchange for a piece of equity in the project, referred to as an equity kicker.
When a commercial real estate investment is solicited to investors, they must typically be accredited investors. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), accredited investors have an annual income of at least $200,000 (or $300,000 if married) and a net worth of at least $1 million. This does not include the value of the investor’s primary residence.
In commercial real estate, adaptive reuse occurs when an older building is adapted for a different use than it was originally designed for. Adaptive reuse can have a variety of advantages for commercial real estate investors and developers. Primarily, this comes in the form of significant savings; demolition and new building construction can be extremely expensive, and adaptive reuse can lead to substantially lower construction costs.
In commercial real estate, an intercreditor agreement is an agreement between two lenders that stipulates the rights and responsibilities of each party. Intercreditor agreements are most commonly used when mezzanine debt is layered on top of a senior commercial real estate loan. Typically, the agreement creates a variety of safeguards that protect that senior lender’s interest in the property should the borrower default on their loan.
In commercial real estate, infill is defined as the development of unused land in urban areas. This commonly takes the form of developing an empty lot of land between two buildings, but can also involve the demolition of older or underused properties. Supporters of infill development believe that it makes efficient use of existing land and reduces burdens on municipal services, due to the fact the area is already being served by water, power, and communications infrastructure.
In commercial leasing, a recapture clause permits a landlord to terminate a lease early, and may also allow them to demand all or part of the remaining lease payments immediately. Recapture clauses can be triggered by a variety of events, but are are most often activated when a tenant closes their business and attempts to sublease the property.
In commercial real estate finance, the capital stack is the legal organization of all the layers of debt that are used to purchase, build, or renovate a piece of real estate. The position of a piece of debt in a property’s capital stack determines what the order that lender will repaid in the case of a borrower default or bankruptcy.
In commercial real estate finance, unpaid principal balance, or UPB, is the amount of a loan’s principal balance that has not yet been paid back to a lender. To calculate the UPB, a borrower cannot simply subtract their current mortgage payments from the initial loan amount; since they have also been paying interest, they will have to add this into their calculations.
BOMA, or the Building Owners and Managers Association, is an international trade association for commercial real estate professionals. The organization, which was founded in 1907, sets many of the standards for how commercial structures are measured. BOMA standards particularly focus on office, industrial, multifamily and retail properties
Real estate syndication is the process in which multiple investors pool their money together to purchase a commercial property. Syndication is similar to crowdfunding, and many real estate syndication deals are now crowdfunded on the internet, through platforms such as Fundrise, Realty Mogul, and a variety of others. Investors in a real estate syndication deal benefit by getting access to deals they would not be able to create on their own, as well as not having to worry about the day-to-day hassles of personally owning investment property (i.e. property management).