Lucro Announces Key Appointments

Cornell PhD Physicist and former J.P. Morgan and Textura Corporation professionals to lead company’s development and growth of its suite of financial-modeling tools

(CHICAGO – June 21, 2017) – Lucro, a provider of modern financial modeling solutions for commercial real estate investing, announces the appointments of Colin Jermain as Data Scientist, T.K. MacKay as VP of Sales, and William Haeger as Analyst. The new Lucro additions will be responsible for product development, new client acquisition and revenue growth.

“Colin and William bring great data analysis and technical expertise; T.K. brings a wealth of sales experience; and all three bring proven track records of results that make them great assets to the Lucro team,” said Brian Axline, founder and CEO, Lucro. “Their valuable combination of Fortune 50 experience and hands-on leadership will certainly position Lucro for growth and success as we soon publicly launch our suite of financial-modeling tools.”

Colin Jermain officially joins Lucro after being a technical advisor and consultant for the company since its inception. He brings over ten years of experience in application development, infrastructure design, and data science. Prior to Lucro, Jermain was a Graduate Research Assistant at Cornell University, where he built machine learning models and data acquisition software to push the state of the art in spintronics physics research. Jermain holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Minor in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics from Cornell University.

Prior to joining Lucro, T.K. MacKay served as Senior Manager of Global Client Services for Textura Corporation for over ten years, where he helped grow sales from $800,000 to $90 million before being acquired by Oracle. Before Textura, he worked as an Equities Analyst for Morningstar, Inc. and a Floor/Filling Clerk and CME Group. MacKay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Trinity College-Hartford and Masters Business Administration in Finance, Entrepreneurship from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

William Haeger joins Lucro after holding multiple product and operations positions at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in New York. Haeger was responsible for performing market research to determine competitive fees and product offerings for the Private Bank’s mutual fund business. He also collaborated with technology teams to automate the aggregation of the data used in the Private Bank’s annual Dodd-Frank certification. Haeger holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Tufts University.

Lucro is currently seeking a VP of Engineering to manage its core products and acquire additional software development talent. To learn more about Lucro, please visit www.getlucro.com.

About Lucro

Lucro provides modern financial modeling collaboration solutions for commercial real estate investing that enable real estate professionals to spend less time crunching the numbers and more time getting deals done. Because Lucro is a complete solution, users can model any asset class (office, retail, industrial, apartments/multi-family, hospitality, etc.), under any investment hypothesis (core, value add, development, etc.), and analyze income, expenses and capital structure all on one platform. Built with the level of quality and sophistication that Wall Street expects, Lucro automates a once arduous task, standardizes the presentation of financials, and provides rich data visualization. For more information, visit www.getlucro.com and follow us on Twitter at @LucroApp.

Innovation & Entertainment- The Future of Malls in America

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The American mall is on life support, or so it seems. Since 2016 more than 1,500 stores have been slated to close by JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, American Apparel, The Limited, and Abercrombie & Fitch. The trend is nothing new, customer traffic started to slow more than a decade ago,  leading to many large department stores abandoning their leases. As the malls lost their largest revenue generators, they began to fail.

Some department stores are going out of business altogether, like The Limited which recently shut down all 250 of its stores.Others, like Sears and JCPenney, are aggressively reducing their store counts to unload unprofitable locations and stem the bleeding. Sears is shutting down about 10% of its Sears and Kmart locations, or 150 stores, and JCPenney is shutting down about 14% of its locations, or 138 stores.

What’s particularly alarming is that these chains are considered anchor stores- they’re the major shopping attractions the bring  shoppers to a particular mall, and once they close the rest of the mall quickly follows.

The closures are mostly occurring at what have been labeled as C and D rated malls which represent about 30%, or 310,  of all the malls in the United States.  While top A and B rated malls are still doing well, it’s the C and D rated shopping centers that are leading the closure trend, and making headlines.  Green Street Advisors recently reported that “the top 300-400 malls by quality should fare well for the next several years, but it is reasonable to assume that several hundred lower quality malls will either close or become irrelevant retail destinations over the next 10 years.”

Many malls continue to thrive, especially in rural areas where they serve as hubs for not only shopping but socializing, accessing quality healthcare, and jobs. So the question is what’s in store for new malls slated to be built, and what’s in store for those slated to close. Do they present a great opportunity for investment?

The Alternative future of malls- centers of  innovation & necessity for communities?

Former malls as transportation hubs

Downtown Seattle turned a crumbling mall parking lot into a hub for it’s growing light rail system.  The station is part of the $1.9 billion Northgate Link project, which extends light rail 4.3 miles from the University of Washington station at Husky Stadium to Northgate Mall. When the extension opens in 2021, rides from U District Station to downtown Seattle will take just eight minutes. Currently the journey from U District Station to Downtown Seattle takes 14-16 minutes by car, bus or Link rail.

Former malls as micro-apartments

The Westminster Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island — America’s oldest shopping mall — opened in 1828. Over time, the building fell into disrepair, and closed in 2008 for a $10 million renovation.In 2013, it re-opened as a micro-apartment complex. Today, there are 48 units (which average 300 square feet) as well as restaurants, a coffee shop, and a hair salon.

Former malls as medical clinics

Some malls have undergone far less drastic changes and  filled space with walk-in medical centers. The amount of walk-in clinics in malls has risen 15 percent since 2011, according to data from the Urgent Care Association of America. In fact, a third of all urgent care is now located inside shopping centers, the group says.

Tom McGee, CEO and president of the International Council of Shopping Centers  “Folks get a little too caught up in the stereotype of what a mall is,” McGee said. “Malls were built for people to do things that they have an interest in doing.” For some that’s getting

 

A new model for malls- longer visits & longer leases

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While some malls are undergoing dramatic changes, others a simply adapting to changing American lifestyles with surviving malls becoming entertainment destinations. The goal for these mall is simple: bring in more foot traffic with things like rock climbing walls,  luxury movie theaters and great fast casual restaurants, or become the shopping and entertainment arm of large casinos.

“The emergence of entertainment as part of the shopping mall is becoming very important,” says David Smiley, the assistant director of Columbia University’s Urban Design graduate program . “It keeps people in the center longer. And even if they weren’t going to shop for something, they get lured in.” In 2012 and 2013, the Carousel Center in Syracuse, New York re-branded as Destiny USA, and added higher-end restaurants, IMAX screens, an arcade, and indoor go-karting and obstacle courses. According to the mall, the 2.4-million-square-foot complex draws around 29 million people (both from the US and Canada) every year.

The move toward experience activities in malls is bringing in more customers, but it comes at a cost. Tenants have to invest more in construction and are encouraged to sign longer-term leases by property owners. Jeff Pedersen, CEO of Momentum Indoor Climbing, said his company put $2 million into tenant improvements to raise the roof of a former grocery store in Salt Lake City, allowing for higher walls. Momentum spent an additional $1.5 million on the necessary safety and workout equipment, he said.

This model is likely what will prevail for malls going forward. As ecommerce continues to swallow up portions of brick and mortar retailer’s market share, malls will be forced to innovate, and redefine what it means to be a mall. It’s not so much just about shopping but the idea of social experiences popularized, ironically, by the internet.

For many leading malls, and new commercial retail projects, their sucess will hinge on a balancing act between legacy retail and new entertainment and fast casual dining brands. The notion being, that by providing the right attractions to help boost foot traffic to their largest leaseholders will ensure people will continue to come to the mall.

However, by passing the cost of that innovation to the younger entertainment companies, they can offset the large costs associated with the reshaping of their locations, and remain profitable. For local communities it’s a win-win where zombie malls won’t be an eye-sore driving down land values, but they’ll also be able to hold on a little while longer to the notion of malls as center’s of American culture. Albeit one more focused on entertainment and health, rather than purely on consumption.

How Rising Sea Levels are Impacting Miami’s Commercial Real Estate Market

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The inconvenient truths of climate change are no longer a minor inconvenience for south Floridians. Sea levels have risen an average of one inch per year in the Miami area– causing a dramatic shift in the local political and real estate climates. Estimates vary greatly on how much sea levels in southeast Florida will rise in the upcoming years. Conservative predictions project as little as two feet, with more comprehensive models projecting as much as six feet by 2060. The Florida Keys, for example, sit just six inches above sea level in some areas, while most of Miami’s prime South Beach real estate sits just four feet above the sea.

Comprehensive models, which were explored in a 2015 study by Princeton and Potsdam University professors, take into consideration established relationships between greenhouse gas emissions and previously unexplored connections between sea warming and sea level increases. The study 2015 effectively illustrates the compounding effect of rising sea levels, a notion prevalent in the science community.

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South Side Chicago’s Hottest Commercial Real Estate Deal Uses Historic Tax Credits To Reduce Capital Costs

Chicago Development

Trained as an architect and armed with an MBA from Cornell’s S.C. Johnson School of Management, Ryan Folger cut his teeth in Chicago on a project called The Roosevelt Collection. Working as the Director of Construction, he oversaw the development of the 1,200 space three level parking structure, 400,000 square feet of retail space, 342 condos, and the largest cinema in Chicago featuring a cocktail lounge, VIP section, and 16 screens.

When the financial crisis slowed development in Chicago, Mr. Folger took a position as VP of Operations for Altisource Asset Management Corporation which during his tenure acquired a portfolio worth more than $1 billion. In 2016. Folger returned to Chicago and formed Anexis Development to specialize in identifying unique opportunities in underutilized locations while providing increased returns to investors. His latest project, the Federal Street Lofts, is a 64,000 sq ft. loft conversion on the South Side of Chicago a short walk from  McCormick Place. With 12,000 square feet of office space and 24 residential units, the new development presents a tremendous opportunity for Anexis.

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