by Adam Moskowitz January 31st, 2019 0 comments

2019 Urban Land Institute Trends Conference Points to Sustainable Development

Devesh Nirmul (R), Vice President, Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate with Taylor Ralph (L), President of REAL Building Consultants at the 2019 ULI Trends Conference in Tampa on January 30, 2019

Urban Land Institute’s Trends Conference on January 30, 2019 highlighted the growth and positive trajectory of the Tampa region.  

Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn welcomed the commercial real estate audience and lauded the city’s transformation from a region that previously “donated intellectual capital and talent to other regions” to one that is now supporting retention of talent and employment growth across industries. 

That very growth triggers commercial real estate development. As developers strive to support a growing population, the ability for property owners to integrate efficiency, renewables and resiliency measures into their capital improvements becomes an important land use and sustainability consideration.  

Taylor Ralph, Founder and President of REAL Building Consultants attended the conference to hear the results of ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2019 Trends in Real Estate Report®.  

“It was great to hear the industry’s regional and national experts affirm what we have been seeing in the market—developers, building owners and tenants are demanding sustainable and healthy real estate,” stated Ralph. “Energy services and platforms such as commercial PACE financing are critical tools that can assist the real estate community in avoiding short-sighted value engineering decisions, and instead allow owners and developers to invest in high-performance building features that bring a solid, measurable return on investment.”

Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate’s Devesh Nirmul observed the conference from a similar lens, but also noted the importance of resiliency measures when considering development in the region.   

“The PwC/ULI report highlighted Climate Change as one of 10 disruptors within the commercial real estate space,” noted Nirmul.  “For coastal Florida communities like Tampa, St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, which are some of the most climate and windstorm-vulnerable populations, this particularly rings true.  While ULI’s prioritization of sustainability and resiliency motivates membership to turn this challenge into a business and community redevelopment opportunity, our PACE financing can be a critical catalyst for realizing a more resilient Tampa Bay.”

Nirmul estimated that in the last two years Tampa Bay has seen project demand for PACE in the $50MM+ range. Projects that can access PACE are better positioned to meet demand for “green” facilities and inherently benefit from reduced operating costs, greater resilience and even decreased property insurance premiums resulting from building envelope wind-hardening measures.

“We urge the leadership in Tampa, St Petersburg, surrounding cities and Pinellas County to enable Commercial PACE now and join the 60% of the state that has already taken this prudent step on behalf of its businesses and residents,” concluded Nirmul. 

about the author: Adam Moskowitz