MORTGAGE AND LENDING
First Street Foundation | May 16, 2022
First Street Foundation released the First Street Foundation Wildfire Model, the only nationwide, probabilistic, climate adjusted, peer reviewed, property specific wildfire risk model for properties in the contiguous United States. Detailed in the 5th National Risk Assessment: Fueling the Flames, the model provides a first of its kind analysis of the risk individual properties face from damaging wildfires, and up to 30 years in the future as a result of climate changes.
Nationwide, the report finds nearly 20 million properties face "Moderate" risk, (up to a 6% chance of experiencing a wildfire over 30 years); 6 million properties face "Major" risk (up to 14% risk over 30 years); nearly 3 million face "Severe" risk (up to 26% over 30 years); and approximately 1.5 million face "Extreme" risk (greater than 26% risk over 30 years). Over 49 million properties face less than 1% chance of experiencing a wildfire over a 30-year period, or "Minor" risk in the model.
Wildfire has become one of the most common and dangerous climate perils, increasingly spreading from heavily forested areas to more populous urban and suburban environments. According to NOAA, damage associated with wildfires has grown substantially, with $81.7 billion, or 66% of all direct losses since 1980, occurring in the last five years. Yet today, neither the public nor private sector have developed a simple methodology or tool to help homeowners, buyers or renters understand a property's wildfire risk, and make informed decisions to protect them.
Existing tools like USDA Forest Service's wildfire risk assessment are designed to help fire officials understand how risk varies across a state, region, or county; it is explicitly not meant to help homeowners understand their personal risk. To address this gap, First Street Foundation will make this critical wildfire risk information available to users for free through Risk FactorTM, where Fire FactorTM data will be presented alongside Flood Factor and other future perils, giving users a comprehensive understanding of their homes from physical climate risk today and 30 years into the future. Like Flood Factor, Fire Factor data will be integrated into Realtor.com, providing visitors to the site a property-level wildfire risk assessment in the form of a risk ranking from 1 (Minimal) to 10 (Extreme) for each property on the site. Users interested in commercial real estate can also find this data integrated with Crexi.
"The lack of a property specific, climate adjusted wildfire risk for individual properties has severely hindered everyone from the federal government to your average American," said Matthew Eby, Founder and Executive Director of First Street Foundation. "As a changing climate drives more frequent and severe wildfire events, Fire Factor will prove critical in ensuring everyone has the insights they need to understand their personal risk to avoid and protect against the devastating impact of a wildfire."
According to a recent Realtor.com survey, seven out of ten recent homebuyers considered the risk of natural disasters when deciding where to live. Realtor.com is adding Fire Factor to maps and properties to help home shoppers and homeowners make informed decisions. Wildfire risk information empowers consumers to protect their homes against the increasing threat of wildfire damage."
Sara Brinton, Lead Product Manager, Realtor.com
Building the model brought together top climate and data scientists, technologists, and modelers from other leading organizations; the Spatial Informatics Group, Reax Engineering, and Eagle Rock Analytics who are members of the Pyregrence Consortium as well as the USGS, and architectural design & engineering consulting group Arup. This group combined decades of peer reviewed research and expertise in next-generation modeling techniques to create an open source, freely available wildfire model that accounts for current and future climate conditions.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Barings | March 04, 2022
Barings, one of the world's leading investment managers, announced that it has partnered with Ocean West Capital Partners to acquire the Smoky Hollow Flex Industrial Campus, an approximately 136,610 square foot flex industrial campus located in the desirable and supply constrained Smoky Hollow submarket of El Segundo, California, in an off market transaction.
The Smoky Hollow district is a historic industrial district that has evolved as a unique, amenity-rich neighborhood dominated by small brick-and-timber creative office and flex product, attracting a wide range of dynamic users. The Smoky Hollow campus is currently comprised of three separate industrial flex buildings and surface parking lots on 5.1 acres. Barings' industrial strategy is to create value through leasing and by executing at meaningful spreads over core acquisition yields. Barings and Ocean West intend to implement an extensive repositioning, including the construction of a new flex industrial building and 266-stall parking structure, and performing enhancing renovations to the three existing buildings including upgrades to the exterior, building systems, and constructing outdoor recreation spaces.
The joint venture repositioning of the Smoky Hollow Flex Industrial Campus represents a new partnership between Barings and Ocean West, This investment is a prime example of Barings' value-add real estate investment strategy which focuses on creating uniquely competitive real estate that attracts innovative tenants."
Chris Black, Barings Head of Real Estate Acquisitions, Western U.S.
Given the prevalence of smaller sized properties and almost complete lack of large development sites throughout Smoky Hollow, the site represents an extremely rare acquisition. The project will provide tenants with distinctive, high demand features including ceiling heights up to 31 feet, brick-and-timber architecture, low-rise building layouts, ample parking, and multiple tenant access points. Smoky Hollow's distinct charm and walkable footprint has attracted an increasing number of entertainment, tech, media and aerospace firms, and has emerged as one of the most desirable creative hubs in the South Bay and Lower Westside markets. This project is conveniently located in close proximity to dining, shopping and entertainment. Additionally, the site has convenient access to LAX, the Metrorail Green Line, and 405 and 105 Freeways.
We are looking for opportunities where we can apply active management – whether it be through development, renovations, or re-leasing that allow us to create additional value in an asset. This project provides us the opportunity to renovate a large-scale, creative flex industrial campus in one of the region's most desirable areas."
Chris Berry, Portfolio Manager on the Barings Real Estate Equity platform.
Barings is a $391+ billion* global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities and employees, and is committed to sustainable practices and responsible investment.
Rubicon Point Partners | January 25, 2022
Rubicon Point Partners ("Rubicon"), a woman and minority-owned real estate company specializing in transformative investments, announced its recent acquisition of the iconic Rotunda Building in downtown Oakland from Rotunda Partners II, who have owned the building since 1999 and will continue as a minority owner. Featuring some of the Bay Area's best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, the building also features a four-story parking garage.
Rubicon plans to roll out its "Work From Here" program and put in place a sustainability plan to reduce the building's carbon footprint.
The "Work From Here" program focuses on creating workspaces that are amenitized in ways not available at home, emphasizing employee health and wellness while enabling employers to better accommodate a hybrid workforce. Rubicon plans to introduce a state-of-the-art fitness facility, upgraded common areas, hybrid digital conferencing and collaboration infrastructure.
We are honored and humbled to be the caretakers of the historic and beautiful Rotunda. We look forward to implementing an improvement plan that will honor its history but also modernize it to allow for a new generation of companies to thrive, We are especially excited to work with key stakeholders to activate Frank Ogawa Plaza and integrate it with the building's indoor space. This indoor-outdoor environment is rare in urban settings like downtown Oakland."
Ani Vartanian, Rubicon's co-managing partner.
Situated at Frank Ogawa Plaza across from City Hall in Downtown Oakland, the property was built in 1912 and originally designed by Bay Area architect Charles Dickey, who fitted a dramatic elliptical glass dome in the interior atrium. At the time, the dome was said to be the largest of its kind. He was also known for developing a diverse architectural style, fusing elements of Hawaiian and Beaux-Arts design. Dickey's most recognizable California creations, the Oakland Rotunda Building and Claremont Hotel, proudly sit on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the early 2000s, prior ownership of the Rotunda reinforced its structure with a full seismic retrofit following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, transforming it into one of the safest historic spaces in Downtown Oakland.
We selected Rubicon because of their track record in transforming historic assets and are confident that they will be great custodians of this Oakland jewel."
Phil Tagami, one of the managing partners at Rotunda Partners II.
Rubicon purchased the eight-story property through the Rubicon First Ascent Fund, seeing an opportunity to simultaneously preserve an Oakland treasure while reducing its environmental impact. The firm has been busily transforming similar historic spaces from California to Washington for the past decade such as 450 Shotwell, the Storek building, 1125 Mission Street and Masin Block.
Rubicon plans to continue offering the building to be used as an event space for galas and events that benefit the City and are essential to the success of the people of Oakland.
Being good environmental stewards is important to us at Rubicon. In addition to modernizing the Rotunda, we plan to reduce the building's carbon footprint in the process. We hope the Rotunda Building will serve as a blueprint for how historic spaces can remain sustainable for future generations, Our playbook at the Rotunda Building involves investments in the building systems and the deployment of our technology stack, including machine learning utility management systems. All of these serve to increase efficiency while reducing the building's carbon footprint."
Razmig Boladian, Rubicon's co-managing partner.
About Rubicon Point Partners
When workspaces call for out-of-the-box innovations, Rubicon delivers creative, environmentally driven, and socially responsible solutions. Since its inception, the San Francisco-based woman and minority-owned investment firm has transformed over 2 million square feet of space to sustainably house companies of all sizes, making way for future generations of talented leaders, thinkers, and creators.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
UL | May 12, 2022
UL, a global safety science leader, announced a new partnership with InSite, a provider of building intelligence solutions that enable organizations to optimize performance of real estate assets, achieve sustainability goals and fulfill environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting requirements.
With this partnership, InSite will provide building owners and property managers with actionable building intelligence data to complement UL's ESG advisory, sustainability and energy advisory, indoor environmental quality and field services. UL's advisory services include services such as energy and water audits, commissioning advisory services, sustainability certifications, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Fitwel and the WELL Building Standard.
Per the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction by GlobalABC, buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions including 28% from building operations. As part of the UL and InSite combined offering, InSite's building intelligence platform will support robust reporting and disclosure of ESG and sustainability data to key stakeholders such as GRESB. UL will leverage InSite's extensive data integration capabilities and operational insights to provide relevant advisory expertise, such as carbon accounting and net zero carbon emissions.
ESG reporting for a building encompasses a variety of environmental metrics. According to the 2020 United Nations Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, the operations of buildings contribute to 28% of total global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other environmental factors should be considered for ESG reporting, including energy use, water consumption, solid waste and biodiversity.
The commercial real estate industry has prioritized formulating building performance and ESG data as well as related reporting standards as part of overall property management operations. UL's new partnership with InSite will allow us to serve customers with an end-to-end technology and advisory solution to help inform these critical business decisions, including asset allocation, property management company selection and overall investment strategies."
Sean McCrady, global director of UL's Asset and Sustainability Performance group
"We are extremely excited about our new partnership with UL and the positive impact it will have on our customers. This partnership allows us to continue monitoring and reporting building performance, sustainability and ESG data while enriching and elevating our clients' sustainability journeys with UL's industry-leading advisory," said Francis Gangemi, InSite's president.
InSite is a premier business intelligence solution for real estate owners and operators. InSite's software as a service (SaaS) platform and managed services provide innovative, data-driven insights enabling clients to achieve ESG and sustainability goals and improve building performance while reducing operating costs. InSite's cloud-based platform seamlessly integrates data from a multitude of sources and systems. Leveraging a combination of machine learning and human analytics, InSite delivers actionable intelligence for optimization of real estate operations in support of strategic objectives and regulatory compliance.
UL is a global safety science leader. We deliver testing, inspection and certification (TIC), training and advisory services, risk management solutions and essential business insights to help our customers, based in more than 100 countries, achieve their safety, security and sustainability goals. We believe our deep knowledge of products and intelligence across supply chains make us the partner of choice for customers with complex challenges.