Round Three: Commercial Tenant Lease Options During COVID – Save Money By Terminating Your Lease Early

Are you currently a tenant leasing space in a commercial (retail, office, industrial usually) property with your business suffering significant losses?  If so, do you want to know what your options are and what you should be doing about it now and in the future?  

This is the third part of a series of articles I will be writing on this subject so make sure to tune in for the rest in the future.  The first article covered the pros and cons of subleasing and assignment.  The second had to do with not paying rent.  The next article will cover what to do if you are in a lawsuit with your landlord and in particular, the “frustration of purpose” defense.  This third article in the series deals with how to terminate your lease early and save a lot of money doing so.

I have written on the subject of terminating your lease early but would like to point out some notable updates. Click here to view this original, relevant blog. 

Normally when you terminate a lease early, you restore legal possession of the premises to your landlord, and thereafter, your landlord has an obligation to mitigate your damages.  In my experience and opinion, “mitigating your damages” usually equals 6-12 months of your then-current rent.  This is the amount of time normally awarded by a court to a prevailing legal party.  It doesn’t matter if you have a 10 year or longer lease, the award is the same.  So, usually, a tenant can simply reduce what they owe dramatically by restoring legal possession of the premises to their landlord.  Although it’s unclear how COVID is going to affect this 6-12 month rent period and if the courts are going to extend it because it’s probably going to take longer to find a new tenant to take your place.  However, most of the time these types of cases settle and never make it to court as that saves both landlord and tenant time and money.

Most of the time the landlord doesn’t even sue the tenant for terminating its lease early and the tenant walks away paying nothing.  Why?  There are many good reasons: If the tenant doesn’t have enough assets worth pursuing; even if the tenant has enough assets but they are legally protected (in a trust, retirement account, principal residence tenant owns, etc.); because the landlord doesn’t blame the tenant for the government shutdown and/or COVID; because the landlord thinks it might cost more in time, money and energy to sue you than it’s worth; because the landlord might not win in court (if the courts decide that a “frustration of purpose” or other types of legal argument favors the tenant); or because it will make the landlord look bad if other tenants and brokers find out and then don’t want to do business with this landlord (because this wasn’t the tenant’s fault and/or they like the tenant).

Each situation is unique and needs to be figured out carefully if you want help making the right decision on how to handle what you should do regarding your commercial lease.   I have settled these types of matters both as a landlord and tenant hundreds of times so I can assist you for a reasonable cost if you need help so please contact me if so as follows:  

David Massie

DJM Commercial Real Estate

david@djmcre.com

805-217-0791

Commercial Landlords In California Facing Potential Large Property Tax Increases

California commercial landlords, owners of office, medical, retail, warehouse/industrial spaces and more, are in for a shock if the current proposition on the ballot passes in November.

In a recent Bisnow article, Rex Hime states: 

“If this comes into effect, they [small businesses] are gone,” Hime said to Bisnow after his presentation during the ICSC Southern California Idea Exchange event Thursday at the Long Beach Convention Center. “The second issue is, you have these large corporate property owners with many, many tenants, and since most are under triple net leases, they are going to pass that tax along to their tenants, and some of them will not be able to survive.”

But what Hime doesn’t state is that this will not just adversely affect retail landlords but all commercial landlords who own commercial properties of any type.  It’s not just retail leases that pass through the cost of property tax increases.  Office and industrial leases usually do it also even though they are modified gross leases and not triple net.

Also, how will these potential tax increases affect commercial real estate prices?  I think it will cause sales prices to drop.

The commercial real estate market in California, and also nationwide across the US, has been doing very well for the past decade with prices at all-time highs with no real end in sight as of now. But if this initiative passes in CA and it causes prices to drop and vacancies to increase as predicted, California is in for some serious financial pain.

And those owners/landlords who bought at high prices in the past decade won’t like it much if this initiative causes prices to fall and vacancies to increase. This will probably also lead to more bankruptcies and foreclosures because of loan defaults.

If you want help with leasing, buying or selling your commercial real estate, whether office, medical, dental, retail or warehouse/industrial space, contact David Massie of DJM Commercial Real Estate at david@djmcre.com or 805-217-0791.  

More Medical Tenants Leasing At Retail Locations.

In 2017, I had written a blog predicting that medical leasing in a retail center would be beneficial, and more prevalent in the future. This prediction has recently come true, as there is, in fact, a shortage of medical space available.

Bisnow article on the matter states:

“In the last three years, we [retail brokers] have done more medical deals in retail spaces than I have ever done previously in my career,” Franks said. “Additionally, we have done more specialty retail uses in traditional retail space than we ever have done before.”

From my previous blog on the topic, I stated that it would not only be good for a landlord to capture medical tenants and bring in potential new business for the other retail tenants in the center but also that it may bring in new patients for the medical tenants as well.

However, the main problem for medical tenants leasing at retail centers, particularly nice ones where they probably want to be most, is that the rent is usually higher than a nice medical building. Retail landlords don’t typically pay for the medical improvements needed for leased space as a medical building landlord would. Because of this, the medical tenant usually takes the cheaper way out and leases at a medical building. But what if leasing at the more expensive retail center brought in more income because of the retail exposure? If it more than covered the extra costs for rent and improvements, it should make it worth doing.

If you want help with leasing, buying or selling your commercial real estate, whether office, medical, dental, retail or warehouse/industrial space, contact David Massie of DJM Commercial Real Estate at david@djmcre.com or 805-217-0791.

Exclusive Unlisted Off-Market Commercial Property for Sale in Conejo Valley

David Massie of DJM Commercial Real Estate has an exclusive unlisted off market income property for sale in Conejo Valley in Rock River Plaza that is an amazing opportunity. The address is: 28118 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301.

Property details for this sale listing: 

  • 100% occupied with quality long term leases and credit tenants in place
  • 2018 net income projected to be about $248,000
  • About 13,000 RSF
  • Owner only occupies a 600 sf space and can stay and lease out or move out
  • One tenant’s lease expires in Feb. 2019 of about 3,500 RSf – owner can move into this space or can move into owner’s unit mentioned above. Another option is to keep the tenant in place.  All other leases expire in 2020 and 2021
  • The property is about 15 years old.  Very quality “A” type build
  • There is enough parking at between 4-5 per 1,000 to do some medical/dental uses
  • Exterior building with signage potential has good exposure
  • 28118 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301
The current owners are asking for about a 5% cap, which is about $5 million, but they are also open to reasonable offers. This is an incredible opportunity to move quickly on as it’s currently unlisted and off-market for the time being!
If you have someone interested in buying this off market listing, or if you have any additional questions, please contact David Massie at david@djmcre.com or call him at 805-217-0791.

Conejo Valley Retail Real Estate Updates

Agoura Hills: Valley Bakery at 5879 Kanan (in the retail center called Agoura Hills City Mall where Agoura’s Famous Deli is also located) is set to open very soon sometime in September, 2016. It is a bakery/dessert/coffee and tea type of cafe. Café Bizou opened up another location at 30315 Canwood St., #14, by replacing the previously existing Café 14 in the Reyes Adobe Center. Café Bizou has two other locations in Sherman Oaks and Pasadena and their website is http://www.cafebizou.com/. David Massie of DJM Commercial Real Estate represented Café Bizou in both the purchase of Café 14 and the lease for this new location.

Westlake Village: Cici’s Café, a family-friendly breakfast and lunch café known for its massive breakfast selection, including decadent pancakes, should be opening its doors in late 2016 at 30990 Russell Ranch Road near Lure in between Barone’s Pizza and Aroha New Zealand Restaurants. Cici’s has another location in Tarzana and a large following.

Oxnard: Bottle & Pint, currently located in Newbury Park, is opening up their second location at The Collection where Whole Foods and many other retailers are located in the Riverpark area. David Massie represented Bottle & Pint this lease transaction.

DJM CRE Announces Sale of $2.3 Million Building in Oxnard

DJMCRE is announcing the sale of a 2.3 million dollar building in Oxnard located at 1031 Factory Lane.  The property sold on April 1, 2016.  It’s a 25,810 square foot building and, with the selling price of $2,322,900, it comes out to about $90 per square foot.

DJMCRE also completed the following leases and sales so far in 2016:

Bensamochan Law Firm: 2,455 square foot 62 month new office lease in Agoura Hills

Ameriprise Financial: 3,254 square foot 60 month office lease renewal and expansion in Woodland Hills

National Research Institute (NRI): Completed a medical lease renewal and expansion of a 11,628 square foot property in Los Angeles

Completed a medical lease renewal and expansion in Huntington Park of a property at about 9,000 square feet

Express Employment Professionals: new retail lease for 63 months in Oxnard DJMCRE bought the following restaurant location for a client who we represented as the buyer: Aaronius Food Company at 8532 W Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles

Interested in leasing, buying, or selling a property?  Contact us!

DJM CRE services cost tenants nothing, because landlords pay the fee. All it takes to get started is a conversation. Contact David Massie now: 805-217-0791 or .

WHY NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME TO BUY COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Now is probably not a good time to buy commercial real estate (“CRE”).  And I don’t say this lightly because I own a commercial real estate company and I don’t make sales commissions if I don’t sell CRE.  But, in my opinion, it’s the truth and it’s rarely spoken by brokers/agents to their clients.

Doubtful? Check out this article regarding the matter.  If there are 254 billion dollars with experienced CRE investors looking to buy CRE but they can’t find anything to buy and aren’t accepting any more money from investors, this confirms it’s probably not the time to buy CRE.

In my primary CRE market in southern California, it is particularly difficult to find any CRE purchase that makes sense.  Demand way exceeds supply here, inventory is very low, and prices are hitting new records.  There are better options out of state than in California, but many of my buyers don’t want to buy out of state because they want to manage what they own and want it as close to them geographically as possible.

However, it is a great time to sell CRE even if it means having to pay the capital gains tax.  Many of my sellers want to do a 1031 exchange, but it simply doesn’t make sense to buy another CRE property. Prices are so high for new CRE properties and a buyer will probably lose all of the gains made on the sale of their CRE property, especially when the CRE prices drop like they always do.

And here is another article regarding restaurant owners with multiple locations taking advantage of the high sale prices and selling the CRE that they own: HERE.

How you sell and market your property in this hot market will really make a difference on the sales price you receive. So, keeping that in mind, hire a broker that knows what buyers are hungry to buy in your market and who will overpay for your property. Find one that won’t just post your CRE property online and put up a sign on it.  The right broker is one that knows how to negotiate and has a proven track record of doing so with many years of experience.  The key is to find a broker that doesn’t put his desire for a quick commission above your interests, especially since selling a property for top dollar takes a lot of effort and time when done correctly.

Conejo Valley Restaurant Updates March 24, 2015

The restaurant activity in the Conejo Valley continues to move at a very fast pace with high demand for restaurant spaces and not much supply as compared to previous years.

Here is the latest movement in the restaurant world of Conjeo Valley:

The Counter in Westlake Village near Lure Fish House just closed its doors for good at this location.  No new restaurant has been slated yet to replace them so stay tuned.  But Barone’s Pizzeria is slated to open soon in the location just to the left of the old Counter location and I hear good things about Barone’s.

Coco’s in Calabasas off Las Virgenes Road has also shut its doors and this space is now available for lease.  Rumor has it that Buffalo Wild Wings might be leasing the space.

Wolf Creek also closed its doors in Calabasas so this doesn’t bode well for that center which already lost The Village Fish Market which has been closed since 2013.

In Oak Park, Nicos has closed down and will be replaced by Charhouse Barbecue Restaurant.  In the same center, Margaritas Mexican Grill just opened recently and replaced Cigale Cafe and the former Starbucks location is now becoming a smoothie/coffee/juice type business.  The Fresh & Easy market just shut its doors in the shopping center across the street where Starbucks relocated to and the Fresh & Easy space is a big hole to fill which won’t be easy to do.

Plata Mexican food at the Whizins Market Square in Agoura Hills is now open in the former Latigo Kid location so they join Hugos, Tifa Gelato and Chocolate, and Wood Ranch at this center.

Gippinos  restaurant, with an existing location in Moorpark,  is going to replace Vittelo’s Restaurant in Westlake Village this summer.

Stay tuned for the next restaurant update soon!

 

 

WESTLAKE PROMENADE RESTAURANT UPDATE FOR PREVIOUS MACARONI GRILL LOCATION

Here is latest update as of March 31, 2015:

The previous Macaroni Grill location at the Westlake Promenade at the corner of Thousand Oaks and Westlake Boulevards is being split into two different spaces.

One space will be smaller and for a nonfood tenant (Sophora, a cosmetic/hair retailer) and that lease has already been completed and construction is underway.

The remaining approximately 4,200 square foot is being marketed as a restaurant space but there is not pending deal for this space so it’s yet to be seen what it will become.

Latest Conejo Valley Restaurant News

Here are some new updates as of February 19, 2015 related to new restaurant locations available in the Conejo Valley:

Famous Daves (BBQ) in Westlake Village has closed and the landlord has received multiple offers for lease this location.  It may remain as one large restaurant or become two or three.  Stay tuned for who the new tenant(s) will be.

Vitello’s Italian Restaurant in Westlake Village is on the market for lease.  Stay tuned for who the new tenant will be (DJM Commercial (me) has some interested clients so I hope it’s one of mine!).

Hunan Chinese Food in Westlake Village (3825 E. TO Blvd) is for sale so stayed tuned for a new tenant in this retail center (North Ranch Mall where Trader Joes is located).

Veggiemore (Kosher Israeli vegetarian and fish only) in the Agoura Hills City Mall at 5905 Kanan Road in the retail center where Agoura’s Famous Deli is located is for sale so stay tuned for who the new tenant is there.  DJM Commercial is representing Veggiemore.

Leila’s in Oak Park is for sale and the owner of Leila’s just opened a new restaurant in the Regency owned retail center where Sprouts and Gelsons  markets are in Westlake Village where Fins Seafood used to be.

A new Indian restaurant called Anarbagh (they have multiple locations) is opening around March, 2015 at 30853 Thousand Oaks Blvd in the North Ranch Gateway Center where China Garden currently occupies.  DJM Commercial represented the tenant here.