(Columbus, Ohio, February 24, 2017)
While working for a multinational company in Columbus, I was asked to find a location for a new facility. I had no commercial real estate experience, but quickly fell in love with the business of real estate and realized it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my career. I got my license and started working in the real estate field and haven’t look back since.
The most frequent issue I run into is zoning restrictions and limitations. It is an issue that has become more prevalent over the last 15 years with eminent domain laws. Since land-use and zoning regulations restrict the rights of property owners to use their property as they otherwise could (and often want to), they are at times controversial. Additionally, the scope and limits of governments’ ability to regulate land use is hard to define with specificity. Courts have ruled a zoning regulation is permissible if it is reasonable and not arbitrary; if it bears a reasonable and substantial relation to the public health, safety, comfort, morals and general welfare; and if the means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of its purpose. In many instances it can be argued the reasons for not allowing uses or zoning is more a matter of “preference” and not for the above reasons.
While we continue to see a contraction in department stores and enclosed malls, I believe there will always be a demand for some form of brick-and-mortar retail stores. Online sales continue to grow, but brick-and-mortar stores will continue to evolve with the demand of society. There was a time people said lifestyle centers would never work and they were a dying fad, yet they continue to flourish and evolve into entertainment and shopping districts where people go for much more than shopping. Likewise, malls and department stores will reinvent themselves, and the ones that can will continue to be prosperous well into the future.
Equity continues to build on the fantastic year we had in 2016. We continue to open more offices, with 10 in Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Tampa, Naples, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Austin and most recently Charleston, South Carolina. In addition, we introduced a private equity fund company, Equity Velocity Funds, that has increased our ability to execute on real estate transactions and created a great way for investors to get involved in our projects