First Principles

Today I was thinking about first principals and what first principals exist in my business as an industrial real estate resource and representative. A first principal is basically a concept which cannot be divided further. In other words, it is a foundational concept and leads to other concepts which are based upon something that cannot be further deduced.

I think one first principal for my business is the notion of service to individuals not organizations. When I represent XYZ Company, I am really representing and furthering the interests of the individual stakeholders at XYZ Company. This way of thinking helps me focus on building a personal relationship with the client where I understand their particular ideas, needs, and wants-not just the company’s objectives.

While it is great to have a reference board of the companies I represent, I really should have one that has just names of the people I work with at those companies. To me, they are a first principal for my business.

Blend and Extend in a Landlord’s Market

via Blend and Extend in a Landlord’s Market

Move to Cushman & Wakefield

In order to better serve my clients, I have moved from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to Cushman & Wakefield as of May 27th.  Cushman & Wakefield is the world’s largest private commercial real estate brokerage company and I am excited about the opportunity to leverage its resources in my business.  I will be working in the Long Beach and Torrance offices.  Please contact me anytime if I can be of assistance.

T +1 (562) 276-1405

H +1 (714) 771-2063

M +1 (310) 874-7934

E Chuck.Berger@cushwake.com

Site and Efficiency

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, efficiency is defined as “the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy” 1.  Efficiency has an obvious importance to industry.  However, its level of importance to corporations can vary in respect to growth and other corporate priorities.   Recent studies have indicated that U.S. corporations are planning on investing capital to improve efficiency in their home countries and services to their current customers 2.

In employing such investments, industrial firms should strongly consider the role of its real estate site selection and improved performance.  In considering a specific site, the following categories and answers to key questions can have a significant impact on the operational efficiency of an industrial firm:

  • Location-How is the site’s access to highways, airports, incentive zones, customers, and suppliers?
  • Labor-Is there available labor? How favorable are the wages, organized labor rates?  What is the average education level?
  • Building and site layout-Does the building configuration and bay spacing meet standards for flow or manufacturing processes?  Does the site allow for present and future distribution and parking requirements?  Is there a potential to expand the building on the site?
  • Amenities-Does the clearance height and sprinkler system allow product to be stored in an efficient manner?  Is the electrical infrastructure currently sufficient and expandable to meet future requirements?  Does the building have fiber installed or available to the building?
  • Building tenancy-Single tenant versus multi-tenant?  Does the security of a single tenant building outweigh the flexibility of a multi-tenant building?
  • Number of Building(s)-Is it important to have a single building with no labor competitors nearby?  Would a campus/park environment be preferred for expansion options in the future?
  • Utility-How reliable is the energy supply to the building?  How do the energy rates compare to other sites?  Can the utility supply to the building be increased to meet future demand?  At what cost?
  • Tax and Incentives-What are the insurance rates?  Are the any employee training programs nearby?  What is the workers compensation insurance structure?  Are there any relocation incentives offered?  What is the municipal and state tax structure?

These categories and questions are by no means exhaustive and each individual firm will have its own priorities when it selects a site.  What is universal is the promise of increased efficiency when industrial firms make rational site selection decisions.


  1.  “Efficiency”.  Merriam-Webster.  Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2014 
  2.  “HBR Blog Network.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014;  CFO SignalsTM: 2014 Q1 Results.” Deloitte. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014 

On Leases

A client, who is a large private landlord, and I were discussing one of his tenants recently who was singing the blues about their lease and how they did not think it was fair that the landlord was enforcing certain provisions of the lease because “they had not read it”.  You would think that this is rare.  After all, it is hard to imagine something more dangerous for a business than not examining the contracts to which they are a party.  In my experience, however, this is not a unprecedented occurrence.  Business leaders whose firms lease space (tenants) seemingly have less and less time to understand a lease’s impact on their business.  Even if tenant’s hire a real estate representative and attorney to negotiate the lease, they still can be surprised by a problem during the lease term.  Yet, tenants can mitigate their risk for surprises by following a few best practices which are essential for avoiding most problems down the road.

First, tenants should fully understand their intended use in the building, both at the time their lease is negotiated and during the lease term, and make sure their present and future use is allowable under the lease and any other entitlement (i.e. zoning, code, CC&Rs, etc.).  In addition, tenants should confirm that the amenities within the premises are sufficient for its operations.  There are horror stories of industrial tenants signing long-term leases only to find out the sprinkler system required for their product is insufficient and will substantial capital to upgrade.  Problems such as these can cause significant and, sometimes, terminal disruptions to an operation.  The key is for tenants to properly convey their present and intended use to their real estate representative and attorney, and be certain their use is amenable in all respects.

Second, tenants should understand their obligations under a lease.  Leases are typically unique, and just because a lease is referred to as a net, triple net, gross, full service gross, percentage or other lease type does not mean that the actual tenant obligations in the lease will be consistent with the aforementioned descriptions.  Of particular concern are maintenance provisions, i.e. who takes care of what and when, and when rent is due and considered late.  Tenants should review all of their obligations under a lease with their real estate representative and attorney prior to signing the lease.

Third, tenants should review their leases periodically over the lease term.  Things change and even the most thorough lease at signing can be in need of amendment after a few years to reflect changes in a tenant’s business or other external factors.  Also, tenants should consider a lease audit or review of its financial obligations under its lease(s) to determine if it has overpaid for any charges levied by the landlord.

Finally, tenants should hire a qualified real estate representative and attorney to negotiate business and legal terms with the landlord and serve as a resource throughout the term of the lease.  Both can serve as insurance against entering into a lease that will prove problematic in the future.  In addition, tenants should look for a real estate representative and attorney who will be a resource in the future and, if possible, help focus the tenant’s attention on future lease obligations when necessary.