Louise Bendix is a commercial real estate associate at Miami-based ComReal specializing in the office market. She also recently received her LEED-AP credential from the U.S. Green Building Council, meaning she has been certified by the council as a green associate with a certain level of green building expertise. She spoke to The Real Deal about recent trends in the commercial market and how green building is changing the industry.
What do you see in the South Florida commercial market?
I am seeing that the deals are increasing. [But] there are fewer new clients coming into our marketplace. The business that I see in the office leasing area is really Miami-Dade tenants that are just moving or relocating. In that instance, there is a 50-50 chance that they’re going to move or stay where they are. So there is a whole lot of looking and doing the work that doesn’t always result in a signed lease. That’s part of the increase in traffic, but it isn’t necessarily going to commissionable work.
How has the downturn changed the game for commercial brokers?
I see that there are some brokers that weren’t very established, and they kind of hung up their hats and maybe went into a different field. But those professionals that have really stuck with their business and strengthened their relationships, their networking, they recognize that’s really the only way to survive, because clients today are going to turn to the professionals they know — and the only way they will is if you’re out there networking.
How is green building changing the commercial industry?
I see that landlords and homeowners are recognizing the benefit to greening their buildings. Landlords and owners are stepping up and spending some money to make their buildings more energy efficient… What I do not see is on the tenant side, any education that shows them that there is a real added value to that in a building.
How has green building expanded?
Years ago there weren’t any LEED office towers on the market. Now, all of a sudden, we not only have new LEED towers, but LEED Existing Building, which is the latest revision of LEED. It now includes EB-OM, which is existing building operations and maintenance — when you take an existing building and you add energy-efficient changes, like lighting, new roofing or adding film and shading to the windows.