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Takeaways from Middle Atlantic BOMA Conference and Rochester Market Outlook

What was a takeaway from the 2018 Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) Middle Atlantic conference?

The biggest take-away we saw from the conference and the Upstate New York market as a whole is the adaptive repurposing of the historic buildings in each city. Being a part of the Rust Belt, there are several factories that have been vacant for years in cities that are seeing a demand for apartments. We are seeing developers use the strong bones of these properties to create mixed-use retail/office/apartments. The high demand for creative office space has been a driver for developers to keep the historic look and feel of these buildings.

Over the past several years in Upstate New York, longer winters have started to drive up utilities and maintenance costs. Developers and property managers are now having to adjust for these increased expenses in their projections with existing properties as well as deciding the feasibility for future projects.

Describe the refurbished property you visited during the Middle Atlantic BOMA conference

We toured the New Era Capital World Headquarters, which is now located in the old Federal Reserve Building in Downtown Buffalo. The most interesting part of the tour was seeing how they turned the old vaults into creative office space and fitting/show rooms for the hats and apparel they sell.  Like many repurposed projects/historic tax credit projects, the cost to rehab them is usually more expensive than other rehab projects.

For example, they had budgeted $85,000 to cut an opening into the wall for a server room and it turned out it cost them $85,000 to cut through only an inch of cement. The building was developed to not be tampered with for security reasons, which created a lot of obstacles during the conversion. We see this a lot of times with the rules and regulations of keeping the historical preservation of buildings with HTC.

What affect has a lower unemployment and higher graduating millennial retention had on your market? 

According to Ana Liss, president of the Rochester Greater Enterprise, “Our workforce figures are down and, by and large, our unemployment rate is much lower than it has been in recent years, owing most likely to a combination of frictional and structural unemployment (more jobs than there are available, skilled workers; workers searching for a “just right” opportunity; and some industrial automation).” Most recently, we have seen several tech companies move to Rochester from larger cities and other countries. Between LiveTiles, Datto, and CloudCheckr, there will be more than 800 jobs added to the area over the next two to three years. All of this portends positive future signs for the Rochester MSA /Upstate New York market.

What opportunities/challenges arise from this trend?

Millennials have a strong desire to know the story behind what they are purchasing/spending their money on.  Repurposing these tired, vacant buildings allows them to tell a story and brings life back to the properties. It’s driving people back to downtown areas from suburbia. In Buffalo and Rochester, we are seeing the people coming to downtown but still lacking the retail to keep them downtown.

What is making Rochester more appealing for millennials?

Upstate New York as a whole provides millennials with a lower cost of living than major cities. The combination of lower cost of living with the unique features that are traditionally seen in big cities starting to pop up in Upstate New York are main drivers for compelling college students and recent grads to choose these cities. Upstate New York cities are now providing millennials the social aspects seen in major cities. From live music to micro-breweries to a vast array of festivals, these social draws are paramount to millennials. As mentioned above, there is a desire to have a creative office with a work-life balance. Upstate New York cities provide a generation that is changing the industry norm the work-life balance that they desire.

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Local Office Overview

Click image to download PDF

Click image to download PDF

Download this two-page flyer to learn more about the Rochester office.

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NorthMarq Capital’s Amanda Macikowski rappels down Rochester skyscraper for Boy Scouts of America

Amanda_croptROCHESTER (June 7, 2017) Amanda Macikowski, vice president of NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester regional office, recently found herself experiencing a whole new side to commercial real estate. As part of the Boy Scouts of America’s 21 Stories for Scouts fundraising efforts, Amanda rappelled down the outside of First Federal Plaza. The building stands at a vertigo-inducing 21 stories and is the fifth tallest building in Rochester.

With an initial deposit of $100 followed by $1,435 of pledges and personal fundraising, Amanda committed herself to this wholesome adventure.  Thanks to sponsorship of the event and associated costs from RG&E/Avangrid and Kodak, all proceeds will flow directly to support low income at-risk youth in the Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America program.

“Last year I saw other rappellers on the news for this event and I said I’m going to do that next year! I was a First Generation Scholar at St. John Fisher College where I did over 30 hours of community service a semester in the City of Rochester, mostly as a mentor and tutor to help those in need get a college education. Being able to give back to my community doing something I love was a really awesome and rewarding experience. I look forward to doing it again next year,” said Macikowski.

“Our office is proud of Amanda’s achievement and her dedication to giving back to our community,” said Sam Berns, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester regional office.


About Seneca Waterways Council (Boy Scouts of America)
The Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America serves the youth of the Counties of Ontario, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, and Monroe and the City of Rochester, New York. Seneca Waterways Council provides an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness. The program is implemented by community organizations which are chartered by the National Scout Council. These groups use the Scouting program as a part of their own youth work. The community organizations, which have goals compatible with those of the BSA, include: religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business, and labor organizations; governmental bodies; corporations; professional associations; and citizens’ groups. For more information please visit www.senecawaterways.org.

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Sam Berns discusses state of the market in Rochester

Sam Berns joined four other NorthMarq Capital producers to discuss and answer questions regarding tertiary and secondary markets. In his responses he pointed out a shift towards adaptive re-use projects. “These include vacant building conversions to apartments, parking lot conversions, office to hotel, class “C” office to class “A,” and a resurgence in CBD retail. We believe this is a result of millennials desiring an urban lifestyle and needing the amenities required.” Read Sam’s responses below.

1.  What property type/niche are seeing/hearing about in your market? What conditions make this possible?
We are seeing many adaptive re-use projects located in city centers of Upstate New York. These include vacant building conversions to apartments, parking lot conversions, office to hotel, class “C” office to class “A,” and a resurgence in CBD retail. We believe this is a result of millennials desiring an urban lifestyle and needing the amenities required. This coupled with alternative forms of transportation such as Uber and Lyft will make car ownership a non-necessity.

2. What type of borrowers/lenders are in your market? For example; is it primarily agency or are bank and life companies also part of the mix? Why?
We are seeing smaller regional banks and credit unions taking the lead on the construction phase of CBD conversions. Agencies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are available for the take-out financing for these multi-family projects as they stabilize. Life companies remain interested in lower loan-to-value transactions with solid leasing to established credits. They like the lower loans per square foot that many of these conversions demonstrate.

3.  What are the unique challenges facing your market?
Many of the Upstate New York markets are stable and not exhibiting the growth being experienced in other cities. In some ways this helps as lending institutions prefer stable economies as opposed to others which may exhibit steeply shaped growth and contraction patterns.

4. What are the unique opportunities present in your market?
Our regions resilience in recessionary economic cycle’s couple with slow growth that provide lenders with a consistent and stable market to do business in.

Read the full story here.

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NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester office promotes Amanda Macikowski to vice president

The Rochester-based regional office of NorthMarq Capital is proud to announce the promotion of Amanda Macikowski to vice president. In her new role, Amanda’s principal focus will be sourcing debt for insurance companies, agency lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, CMBS lenders, equity investors and other financing sources represented by NorthMarq.

Amanda joined the Rochester office in 2013 as an investment analyst, where she has assisted in closing over $300,000,000 in loans with agency lenders, CMBS and life insurance companies and private equity. In 2015, Amanda earned the NorthMarq Capital’s, “Freddie Mac Analyst of the Year Award.”

“Amanda will bring a high level of service and competence to her clients in Upstate New York,” said Sam Berns, managing director of NorthMarq’s Rochester-based regional office.

Prior to joining NorthMarq Capital, Amanda honed her accounting skills working in public accounting doing HUD audits and small business tax returns.

She holds a dual degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from St. John Fisher College.

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