Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The coming apartment bust?

A lot of press releases cross my desk each day. Too many to write something about on each. But sometimes you'll get one where a sentence jumps out at you. That was the case with a release I received recently from Integra Realty Resources, which just released its mid-year report on Charlotte's commercial real estate market.

In discussing the apartment market, Integra says to expect "significant growth" to continue this year, but it will start slowing down at the end of 2014. The company "suspects it to flatten in 2015-2016 and start declining into the hypersupply market cycle," according to the release.

What would that mean for renters? Integra explains:

"It appears it will be a challenge for the Charlotte market to provide the necessary demand to absorb the amount of supply that has been added to the market. Because of the oversupply, vacancy rates will likely increase over the next few years, which in turn will keep rent growth most likely flat."

So, if Integra is correct, we could expect to see a lot more rent discounts and deals of the "one-month-free-with-one-year-lease" variety. Or, if the apartment developers are right, population growth among young single workers will keep spiraling upward so quickly that it will absorb the record-breaking pace of apartment-building we've been on.

Either way, time will tell. What do you think?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hitachi opens new ink research facility in north Charlotte

Hitachi America Ltd. on Thursday announced the opening of a new ink research and development center in North Charlotte. Initially employing five people, the new facility, located at 5900 Northwoods Parkway, will help the company develop and manufacture new custom ink products faster. Food and beverage firms, as well as the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, serve as major markets for Hitachi's ink products.

"We've seen a very significant increase in the number of requests for specialized inks during the last several years," said John Malette, a sales manager for Hitachi. "This enables our sales channel to satisfy customer demands sooner, and packaging engineers are able to address unique product and package coding needs faster."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where will Bubble Wrap maker's offices go?

Now that the big news is out about Sealed Air Corp. relocating its headquarters to Charlotte, the biggest unanswered question seems to be: Where exactly in the city will the Bubble Wrap manufacturer's offices go?

At yesterday's press conference at the Charlotte Chamber, CEO Jerome Peribere said only that the firm will build a new office campus somewhere in the city, likely in its southern section. The Observer late Wednesday obtained a PowerPoint presentation on the project that City Council reviewed last month. It contains some clues.

It says the company plans to built a 250,000-square-foot office building for its nearly 1,300 employees, with room for future expansion. Sealed Air at that time was considering LakePointe Corporate Center, Whitehall Corporate Center, Ballantyne -- presumably Ballantyne Corporate Park -- and University Research Park.

Peribere said the company hopes to be done with the move by 2016. It's unclear (at least to me anyway) whether some of those possible landing spots mentioned in the PowerPoint might be temporary locations, to be used while the company's permanent offices are built.