ABC’s of CCE ( Clark County Economy )


home_hoodHere are a few themes and stories that have been the fabric of our economic and political scene in Clark County during 2015. As always it is never dull here in Southwest Washington.



Angelo’s buy Riverview Tower
Blue Bird closes after 32 years – thank you Wade
Coffee / Coffee / Coffee on every corner in the County
Dueling Water Front Developers ?
Election Day….. Please get here ! Monica and Alishia already gearing up for 2016 ??
Fee Waivers still producing results
Growth Management Plan / Alt 4… 5… 6 ???? Can we have a final answer ?
Hazel Dell home to a retail revival – Panera / Sports Authority / 2 Dutch Brothers
Innovative Partnership Zone ( IPZ) is working
Joe’s Place continues to survive city life
Kassab builds and Sells 94 apartments in downtown – Leads the way
Local Labor market continues expansion by 6300 jobs in last 12 months
Marijauna revenues finally realized
New fire station at Main and Fourth Plain
Oil Terminal dominates all discussions
Pac Trust driving Eastside Growth
Quay to close October 31. Dramatic changes in store
RiverCruise business poised for growth?
Sun Modo finds a home as Solar Industry continues to expand
Transportation Budget from Washington State Legislature sucks for Clark County
Uptown Village on the upswing
Value Village – a new face soon
Walmart is now in Orchards – seven stores total
X – Motorola Moto X – is this phone really good?
Yes ! traffic is worse everywhere you drive in Clark County .
Zenith properties continues steady growth – leading Clark Property management firm

As the Fed turns…. what happens next?


CP101_nThere have a been an increasing number of articles and blogs posts  written , and discussions being had about what effects rising interest rates will have on commercial real estate.   The Federal Reserve has certainly remained steadfast in their policy of keeping rates low to promote economic activity.

It has paid dividends as the economy continues to keep a moderate pace (not strong, or accelerating) of growth.  What happens next?   Will it have a major impact on the CRE industry?

The industry has certainly thrived the past four or five years.  Here is a link to the National Real Estate Investment Trust page.    I’ve selected  the Western region so you can see how this section of the country has been faring.  Totaled  between income and appreciation holders of REITs  have done  well.

Keep in mind there are always time lags before we see reults of changes in policies.   In the early stages of Fed tightening, the momentum of a stronger economy dominates, and we’ll still see vacancy rates in office, retail and industrial sectors continue to fall, and rents will increase, boosting earnings.  This will bode well for building owners.

Economists Alan Beauleau who runs ITR says to look for a rate increase of close to 400 basis points or slightly under one half a per cent.

Ted Jones who is the corporate economist for Stewart Title sees a similar scenario, in his recent post September 12th, although he has concerns that job growth has slowed, and the Fed may have to delay their planned increases.

William Conerly in his article in Forbes magazine this past June makes the case  that longer term commercial lending rates are more tied to bond yields and thus may get pushed up in spite of Fed actions.

Either way Commercial investors should be fine for the first and second year of Fed tightening, with the caveat that if the Fed rate increases put a drag on the economy, there could definitely be more sluggish returns on the horizon within a two year window.


Trap Door gets closer to Opening

IMG_2121 Bryan Schull has been hard at work up at 2315 Main Street the past few months.  We featured Bryan as one of our signed leases this past spring.  Bryan founder of Trap Door Brewing, had a vision to add another great local brewery to Clark  County’s growing inventory.

Feeling that Main Street was the ideal location , he and his Landlord have completely remodeled the building, new restrooms, windows, doors, outdoor siding, and a tasting area situated near the street front windows.  Driving by you can see a food cart in place, and room for more.  He’ll provide great beer, and let the food carts, Blue Door bakery , Dulins and other Main Street food merchants provide the eats.

Keep an eye on their website, as it may be only days until they have brews ready to quaff your thirst.



SunModo eyes room to grow at proposed new headquarters

We are honored to be a part of the SunModo’s team in selecting this site.

(The Columbian – July 20, 2015:

SunModo structures support solar panels behind Clark Public Utilities. The74.8-kilowatt solar array is Clark Public Utilities' first community solar panel system. Seattle-based A&R Solar is building the facility, which is made up of 272 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. (Ariane Kunze/The Columbian)

SunModo structures support solar panels behind Clark Public Utilities. The 74.8-kilowatt solar array is Clark Public Utilities’ first community solar panel system. Seattle-based A&R Solar is building the facility, which is made up of 272 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. (Ariane Kunze/The Columbian)

Having outgrown its current space, SunModo, the Vancouver-based producer of mounting hardware for solar systems, is seeking to relocate its headquarters to a place with room for additional expansion.

To that end, the company has submitted a preliminary application to the city to build 9,000 square feet of space on about 2.4 acres at the Birtcher Business Center on Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard in Orchards. The new facility, to be located at Northeast 147th Avenue and 65th Street, would harbor 3,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to Rick Campfield, CEO of SunModo.

“We’d love to start moving dirt before winter comes,” he said.

The company now operates out of less than roughly 5,000 square feet on East Fifth Street near Pearson Field. More than a year ago, SunModo employed about nine people. The company now employs 12, Campfield said, and there’s little room for additional personnel. “We’re shoehorned,” he said.

By the time the company moves into its new headquarters, which could happen in April or May, it expects to have 15 or 16 people on staff, Campfield said.

Meanwhile, it’s a good time to be in the business of supporting solar power.

“Demand for solar power is expected to grow by an average of 47 gigawatts per year from 2014 through 2020,” according to an analysis issued in January by the research division of Morgan Stanley, the New York-based bank.

“The lion’s share of that — 39 GW a year — is attributable to six markets: the U.S., Europe, China, Japan, India and Brazil. This same group saw demand grow by 36 GW in 2013, while globally, demand grew by 40 GW.”

The solar sector “naturally favors sun-drenched regions with less volatile weather,” according to the Morgan Stanley report, “but over the years, the biggest key to growth has been regulatory and financial incentives, such as favorable tax policies.”

For its part, SunModo makes and sells solar panel racking and mounting systems to residential contractors, commercial installers and other solar providers. The company recently supplied the racking equipment used for Clark Public Utilities’ solar array at Padden Parkway and 117th Avenue in Orchards, just outside the utility’s operations center.

Campfield said the solar industry has only just started to rev up. “There’s a lot of room for growth,” he said. “It’s a very immature market.”

The site at the Birtcher property not only will house the company’s new headquarters, including more space for office and warehouse activities, but it will also provide more room for future expansion. With 2.4 acres, Campfield said, “there’s plenty of space” to add buildings in the years ahead.

Construction of SunModo’s new facility is expected to incorporate elements of the Living Building Challenge, an international certification program that promotes sustainable design and building practices. The program includes rigorous testing of the performance of buildings in certain areas, including water, energy, health and materials.

The Living Building elements of SunModo’s planned new headquarters may include parking for bikes, rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, open space that goes beyond what’s required by code and “other environmentally friendly development practices,” according to the company’s pre-application filing with the city.