• Established in 1972 · CBPA has over four decades of service to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry
  • Archive for May, 2011

    May 27

    FEDERAL BUILDING CODE PROPOSED FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    And in an effort that is following the lead of the Great State of California, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced legislation that would greatly increase federal influence over state and local building codes concerning energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings.  The bill, “S. 1000: The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011,” would establish aggressive annual efficiency goals and targets (overseen by the federal Department of Energy) on the path to so-called “zero-net-energy” for all new construction.  At this point, we don’t know exactly how the state and federal mandates would work with one another.

    Although every building owner and tenant wants to be energy efficient, there is tremendous diversity in the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate sector in terms of business models, customer base, and goods and services provided.  Not to mention the myriad of climate zones and variant levels of sunshine.  To assume that all tenants and all landlords should – or even could – achieve zero-net-energy requires a leap of faith that some technological breakthrough will happen in the near future.  If this becomes mandated as part of each state’s building code, property owners and tenants will find it extremely difficult to meet such standards without incurring excessive costs or making difficult compromises on a wide range of designs and services (lots of flat, one-story buildings; forget about high density!) – not to mention the need to generate on-site electricity. 

    We call on Congress to work closely with the commercial real estate industry to learn more about the realities of managing such properties and setting more realistic goals and providing incentives to move this issue forward.

    May 27

    ***ACTION ALERT*** BILL TO BAN BIG RETAIL PROJECTS UP ON MONDAY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    As we have reported on several time in the past, there is proposed legislation in Sacramento that will require additional economic and community impact analyses for retail developments that are 90,000 feet or larger and sell groceries.  The commercial real estate industry is opposed to this measure because it adds more bureaucratic red tape to an already cumbersome regulatory process and will stifle business investment by discouraging major retailers from building new stores in California.  Additionally, because the bill applies to tenant improvements, we believe this law can easily be misused to go after a variety of other project in existing facilities.

    Simply, SB 469 will 1) Hurt job growth and harm California’s economy, 2) Make California less competitive by making it more expensive for companies that want to do business and invest in our state, 3) Force additional regulation that is routinely rejected at the local level into a state mandate, and 4) Slow new retail development thereby limiting Californian’s choices about where to shop.

    SB 469 would hurt the economy when California can least afford it.  Stopping this measure is critical to ensuring more bureaucratic red tape doesn’t kill development and further stall California’s economic recovery.

    We need your help!  Please take a moment to write or call your State Senator to oppose SB 469 and ask them to vote NO.  Your efforts could make a significant difference in whether or not SB 469 becomes law.

    For more information click here.

    May 27

    ***ACTION ALERT*** OPPOSE MEASURE TO MANDATE HIRING

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Please help us oppose a bill, identified by the CalChamber as a 2011 JOB KILLER, carried on behalf of SEIU that poses a major threat to your business.  AB 350 (Jose Solorio; D-Santa Ana), which creates a protected class of building services employees – employed with private sector companies. 

    Should this bill become law, tenants and property managers will not see a change in the staff responsible for day-today services when they hire a new company.  And new companies – union or non-union – will be forced to take on employees that they have not screened and who may not be up to the required tasks.

    AB 350 is extremely unfair to productive workers as it would displace employees who work for a service provider that has successfully competed for a new contract with employees from the previous company that lost the job — even if the reason for losing the contract was poor performance of the now protected employees. 

    Please contact your local Assemblymembers and ask them to oppose this measure based on the following arguments:

    1. The state should not make individual employment decisions for our industry.
    2.  It ties management’s hands forcing it to retain workers from a previous employer, and undermining California’s at-will employment presumption.
    3. It ensures that the incumbent union will remain the bargaining representative under the “successor employer” doctrine – regardless of whether the successor employer has a collective bargaining agreement or not.
    4. The decision to unionize a business should be made following the procedures outlined in the National Labor Relations Act, and not forced on either party, employer or employee, through such legislation.

    This is bad policy that is targeting you and your properties.  Help say “no” to this policy that will take away your rights as an employer and force hiring decisions upon you.

    The bill must be heard and voted on in the Assembly prior to Friday, June 3.  MAKE YOUR VOICE BE HEARD AND SEND A LETTER OPPOSING THIS BILL.

    Click here for talking points and more background information.

    Click here for an example Letter of Opposition.

    Click here to read an editorial about this bill written by BOMA Orange County Leadership.

    May 27

    JOB KILLER BILLS 2011

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friends at the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) have released this year’s list of “job killers.”   The list includes 28 proposed laws that threaten California employers with new costly workplace and employee benefit mandates, economic development barriers, regulatory burdens and inflated liability costs. We are happy to report that several bills we are fighting, including the split roll property tax bill, the bill to authorize local increases in taxation, the greenhouse gas tax, and the paid sick leave for all employees bill, all are on the list.

    Click here to see the CalChamber 2011 Job Killers list.

    May 27

    FIRST HOUSE DEADLINE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Next week we face a major Constitutional Deadline of the legislative process, known as “First House Deadline.”  All bills must be out of the house they were introduced in, or they are dead for the year.  This is one of the busiest times of the year in the Legislature, and below you will see several opportunities for advocacy that we hope you engage in to kill bad bills that will impact your bottom line.

    May 27

    BILLS MOVE FROM SUSPENSE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    This week, both Houses of the California State Legislature dealt with hundreds of bills on their fiscal committee’s “Suspense File.”  Any bill that has a significant cost to the state’s General Fund, generally $150K or more, go to Suspense.  This ostensibly allows the committee members to get a full picture of new costs to the state, prioritize requests, and limit the impact on public funds for new legislative initiatives.  However, the business community has long complained that this process does not also consider costs to private sector companies or impact on jobs – both of which have an indirect impact on the state budget.

    May 20

    BILL MANDATING HIRES MOVES FORWARD

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A bill carried on behalf of SEIU by Assemblymember Jose Solario (D-Santa Ana) that forces employers to hire certain employees when the ownership or management of a building changes hands, was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on a party-line vote 5 to 1 vote (all Democrats in favor, one Republican in opposition).

    AB 350 (Solorio) expands the “Displaced Janitor Opportunity Act” from the current 60 to 90 days, and expands the covered job types to security guards, landscapers, cafeteria workers, window washers, and other “building service employees.”  The bill forces employers to hire certain individuals and purposefully seeks to undermine the at-will employment presumption in California to enable/ensure union representation, despite any change in employers.

    The bill next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

    May 20

    REDEVELOPMENT REFORM UPDATE – STILL ELIMINATED UNDER MAY REVISE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The battle for elimination of California Redevelopment continues, even after release of the Governor’s “May Revise.”  The Governor’s proposal for complete elimination of this funding remains as part of the plan, even though it has been met with stiff resistance by a broad coalition of local agencies, labor, business, affordable housing advocates, and even some environmentalists.

    We strongly support the Redevelopment program in California and are actively working with the California Redevelopment Association to push for reform – and continuation – of the program.  If you want to express your support for this measure click here to contact legislators directly by using the CAPWIZ tool on the CRA website.

    May 20

    FEDERAL BUILDING CODE PROPOSED FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced legislation that would greatly increase federal influence over state and local building codes concerning energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings.  The bill, “S. 1000: The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011,” would establish aggressive annual efficiency goals and targets (overseen by the federal Department of Energy) on the path to so-called “zero-net-energy” for all new construction.  Zero-net-energy buildings are required to generate carbon-free energy on site as well as achieve particularly stringent efficiency levels.

    Politically predetermined levels of efficiency would be a radical departure from the traditional method for developing model energy codes through consensus-driven processes.  For example, each version of the ASHRAE 90.1 standards for commercial buildings is developed over a three-year period by a large group of technical experts drawn from the full spectrum of real estate practitioners.  In contrast, the zero-net-energy goal was concocted by an insular group of environmentalists and has been strongly promoted on Capitol Hill for several years.  Although this aggressive target has been rejected by Congress for the past six years in a row, Senators Shaheen and Portman have revived the effort with the introduction of their bill.

    Although every building owner and tenant wants to be energy efficient, there is tremendous diversity in the retail real estate sector in terms of business models, customer base, and goods and services provided.  To assume that all tenants and all landlords should achieve zero-net-energy requires a questionable leap of faith.  Yet if it becomes part of each state’s building code, property owners and tenants may find it extremely difficult to meet such standards without incurring excessive costs or making difficult compromises on a wide range of designs and services – not to mention the need to generate on-site electricity. 

    ICSC will continue to follow this issue and provide input to policy makers on the unique issues confronting multi-tenant retail and mixed-use developments.  For more information contact Kent Jeffreys.

    May 20

    ZERO NET ENERGY WORKSHOP SCHEDULED AT PUC

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Public Utilities Commission will conduct a public workshop on June 15 to discuss California’s policy goals relative to achieving “zero net energy” (ZNE) in all new commercial buildings by 2030.  While there is still debate over the definition of “zero net energy,” at a minimum this policy goal will require almost all of a building’s energy supply to come from on-site sources. In addition to cost concerns, there are also serious physical design constraints which must be addressed, as was shown by a recent technical report commissioned by BOMA California. 

    That report analysis showed that a very energy-efficient 15-story commercial building in Oakland would still need nine acres of solar panels to cover its annual energy needs under such a policy. If that building were to use every inch of rooftop space for solar, that energy system would only generate enough power to cover 4% of the needed power supply. 

    We support the state working towards the goal of ZNE, but caution against adopting “stretch goal” mandates that knowingly cannot be reached.  We are working with the state to consider other strategies in addition to ZNE, such as carbon-neutral buildings and neighborhoods, and increasing the overall supply of renewable energy at the source.

    The workshop is scheduled for June 15 in San Francisco.  Click here to read the state ZNE Action Plan, designed to identify the key actions required to achieve plan milestones, secure leaders for the steps to achieve these actions, and track and report on progress against the plan.

    May 20

    BILL ELIMINATES INDEMNITY ELIMINATION FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 474 (Evans; D-Santa Rosa) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-2 vote and now heads for a Senate Floor Vote.  The measure would eliminate a general contractor’s and property owner’s ability to seek indemnity and defense from subcontractors in non-residential construction. 

    The bill applies to all public and private construction other than residential construction subject to SB 800. It would apply to individual homeowners seeking to remodel their home and to state and local governments.  In addition to property damage claims, it would apply to personal injury claims and the violation of any law.

    We are part of a large coalition opposed to this measure, which would be a boon for lawsuits but would stymie projects of all types and further damage the commercial real estate industry in the worst downturn we have suffered.

    May 20

    BILL TO BAN BIG RETAIL PROJECTS UP ON MONDAY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Senate Bill 469 (Vargas; D-San Diego), a bill pushed by some unions to make it more difficult to build “big box” retail stores in California, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday.  The bill earlier passed a Senate committee on a strict party line vote with five Democrats supporting the measure and two Republicans opposing.

    Under the guise of “assuring better planning decisions by local governments,” the bill inappropriately uses the state’s environmental laws to make it more difficult for certain retailers to complete projects.  Because of the terrible precedent it would set for anyone that is concerned about developing real estate, the bill is opposed by a wide range of groups including the League of California Cities.

    On the surface, Senate Bill 469 mandates projects 90,000 square feet and larger to conduct so-called “economic and community” impact reports that include a long list of complicated statutory “assessments” that must be made and submitted to the local agency.  However, the practical impact of the bill will be to make it more expensive to develop such properties, and more difficult by providing lawsuit “hooks” to unions and other groups that oppose such development.

    By allowing land-use planning to be used in a broader union fight, SB 469 is designed to hurt an employer, which in turn hurts employees and the economy, further damages state tax revenues, and has the unintended consequence of killing green-collar jobs by stopping the development of the most energy and water efficient, sustainable, retail stores in the nation and limiting access to fresh groceries in underserved communities. 

    Because the provisions of the bill are selectively applied, SB 469 will also make people who are already concerned about the impact California’s environmental laws are having on the economy cynical about other legitimate land-use policies.

    We will let you know what happens at the hearing.