Announcements

 
 

“I have been impressed at the level of technical competence and caring service provided to me by both the firm and by Mr. Gooch. Gilchrist & Rutter is a law firm that has somehow managed to master the delicate art of highly competent legal representation, delivered with compassionate client service.”

Edward Tabash
Attorney at Law

 
Media

Richard Close Featured In Los Angeles Magazine

Gilchrist & Rutter attorney, Richard Close was featured in an article on the grassroots activism of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association in the February 2017 issue of the Los Angeles Magazine.  Read the full article here.

Paul S. Rutter Featured in GlobeSt.com Discussing the Real Estate Cycle

In the article, “Where Are We in This Cycle” published by GlobeSt.com, Partner Paul S. Rutter discusses his views on the real estate and capital markets, and gives his predictions for the upcoming year. Taking into account the hard lessons learned from the Great Recession, Mr. Rutter says, “Today, investors know that there is real risk in all aspects of the economy, both in the U.S. and abroad”. He reminds investors to remember the lessons learned over the past few years as they are forced to stretch to make deals in today’s competitive environment.

Mr. Rutter advises investors to ensure that they can hold their assets through the next cycle and to have a capital structure in place that assures they can service the debt on a project in an environment of lower occupancies and/or lower rents. He adds, “Investors need to stress test their proformas using assumptions that reflect the last downturn.”

Looking into 2015, Mr. Rutter foresees interest rates increasing towards the end of the year, while real estate prices should grow at a more moderate rate compared to the last couple of years.

Read full article.

Paul Rutter Weighs in on Lessons Learned During the Past Economic Downturn in Western Real Estate Business

Although many experts see a rise in valuations and predict a strong outlook for 2015, Attorney Paul Rutter suggests that investors look to the lessons learned from the previous economic downturn. In his article, “2015: Year of the ‘Big Picture’ in Commercial Real Estate” published by Western Real Estate Business, Mr. Rutter gives advice to investors as they underwrite their next investment.

“Most real estate investors realize another downturn in the commercial real estate market is coming—it’s just a question of when and how severe,” comments Mr. Rutter. Factors to consider include taking a closer look at the capital structure, the management and the control structure of your deal, as well as making sure your partnership has a clear source of capital.

Investors should also consider the hard lessons learned during the Great Recession and ask questions about possible scenarios, such as “what leverage a property can bear comfortably if occupancies or rents drop by 20 percent or more?” Retaining enough liquidity to fund the potential operating and debt shortfalls are important to outlast the cycle. Mr. Rutter says, “The key to commercial real estate is staying power through the inevitable downturn that will come.”

Read full article.

Paul Rutter Discusses Crowdfunding Risks in a Q&A with GlobeSt.com

Of Counsel Paul Rutter was featured in the article, “Investors Need Be Aware of Crowdfunding Risks” published by GlobeSt.com, discussing how crowdfunding is changing the commercial real estate market, what investors should consider as they get involved in crowdfunding real estate, and the pending Securities and Exchange Commission regulations that will affect the industry.

The risks of making a crowdfunding investment are similar to those made through traditional syndications. However, crowdfunded investments pose new challenges as well. For example, in crowdfunding of loans, Mr. Rutter explains that the real estate underwriting and enforcement skills and abilities of the crowdfunding platform are critical to the investor’s returns. “The costs of collection and exercise of remedies will diminish the recovery by investors unless the property and/or the guarantor provide sufficient sources of payment to cover the lost principal and costs,” he explained.
Crowdfunding platforms are a fresh way for retail investors to invest directly in real estate, but “until the first deals go into default, it will be unclear how effective the platforms will be in protecting their investors,” said Mr. Rutter.

Read full article.

Gilchrist & Rutter Hosts Another in a Series of Seminars on Energy Efficiency Legislation - Partners with Institute for Real Estate Management to Educate Property and Asset Managers!

On September 24, 2014, Gilchrist & Rutter will host a seminar at Casa del Mar Hotel (click here for additional information on Events page) to educate our clients and friends of our Firm on the intricacies of AB 1103 and Title 24, two new energy efficiency laws that came into effect on July 1, 2014. This time, the Firm has teamed with the Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM) to seek to educate IREM's extensive membership of real estate professionals including Property and Asset Managers. As with prior events, the experts from TEEMWorks Energy, Leviton and RHM & Associates will present and discuss the issues pertaining to this new legislation and how it will impact the real estate industry. Gilchrist & Rutter has presented this seminar several times before with great success, including in-house presentations for the Asset Management Divisions of JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

Law360 Features Diane Hvolka as a Top Mover and Shaker in the Real Estate Industry

Law360 featured Partner Diane Hvolka in their Dealmakers Q&A series which profiles the top movers and shakers in the real estate industry. Named one of the “Most Influential Women in Real Estate” by Real Estate Southern California, Ms. Hvolka continues to gain recognition in the real estate community for her ability to negotiate and document complex transactions, including leases to Fortune 500 companies, social media companies, high-end restaurants and large industrial users.

When asked about the most challenging deal she has worked on, Ms. Hvolka discussed the Grand Avenue project in downtown Los Angeles. “The number of parties involved (including the county, city, developer and now the Broad Museum) and amount of property at stake (over 3 million square feet, including the new Civic Park) make this one of the most complex and challenging transactions I have handled to date. I became involved in 2006 with the drafting of the development agreement and initial ground lease and have been working on it ever since.” She explains there have been numerous twists and turns, but the first phase of the project, which was delayed due to the recent financial crisis, is now slated to go forward and should prove to be an exciting addition to the downtown landscape.

Video from AB 1103 and Title 24 Seminar

On June 26, 2014, Gilchrist & Rutter hosted a seminar at Shutters on the Beach Hotel (additional information on Events page) to educate our clients and friends of our Firm on the intricacies of AB 1103 and Title 24, two new energy efficiency laws that came into effect on July 1, 2014. Experts from TEEMWorks Energy, Leviton and RHM & Associates were brought in to discuss the issues pertaining to this new legislation and how it will impact the real estate industry.

Gilchrist & Rutter, together with TEEMWorks, Leviton and RHM and Associates, has been taking this seminar on the road - and on the web - offering in-house presentations to such organizations as JP Morgan Chase (Asset Management Division), and via webex to Wells Fargo Wealth Management.

Seminar Video - Part 1 - Opening Remarks and AB 1103

Seminar Video - Part 2 - Title 24

Seminar Video - Part 3 - Panel Discussion

If you have any questions about our Title 24 and AB 1103 seminar, please contact the firm or one of our presenting partners. All contact information for our presenters appears at the end of each video segment. Thanks!

Law360 Features Paul Rutter in Dealmakers Q&A Series

Law360 featured Of Counsel Paul Rutter in their Dealmakers Q&A series profiling the top movers and shakers in the industry. Mr. Rutter is a prominent real estate executive and attorney, having worked for eight years as an Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of two different real estate companies and serving as co-founder of Gilchrist & Rutter for 23 years. As a real estate lawyer he recounts his most challenging deal, which included the simultaneous closing of a joint venture between Maguire Thomas Partners and IBM Corp., coupled with the closing of a construction loan.

When asked which aspects of regulation are in need of reform, Mr. Rutter stated the California Environmental Quality Act has been “hijacked by developers as a tool to delay and discourage competitive developments,” and can be improved by limiting the Act to larger-scale projects and restricting the use of CEQA challenges by competitors. He also predicts the increase of infill residential and retail development in and around the downtown Los Angeles area where millennials have gravitated for a better work-life balance.

For aspiring dealmakers, Mr. Rutter says, “there is nothing more important than your reputation for honesty and integrity.”

David Lambert Comments on Skyrocketing Rents at Telecom Hub in Los Angeles with Los Angeles Business Journal

In the article, “On the Line: Internet network rips royal rates at telecom hub,” published by Los Angeles Business Journal, Attorney David Lambert discussed a recent lawsuit over certain fees charged by a retail colocation services provider (a “Retail Colocation Company”) for cross connections in its meet me room facility. Retail Colocation Companies typically operate colocation data center facilities, in which they lease, sublease or license space (with a specified amount of electrical power available for use by IT equipment installed in such space) to their customers. They also may operate “meet me room” facilities into which telecommunications carriers install their networking equipment and where “cross connections” are typically made (and required to be made). The fees at issue are charged for these cross-connections, and are in addition to other fees, such as fees for space and electrical power. The parties to the lawsuit are both Retail Colocation Companies that have leased space in the One Wilshire Building in Downtown Los Angeles (which is a major internet/telecommunications hub). The defendant’s premises includes a major meet me room facility, and the plaintiff has licensed space in that facility so that it can make cross connections in that facility. The defendant controls cross connection in the applicable meet me room facility and is attempting to require the plaintiff to pay its typical cross connection fees. The plaintiff has claimed, among other things, that the defendant’s practices constitute an unlawful and unfair business act or practice under California law.

Cross connection fees (or “plug in fees”) have recently become a significant source of revenue for many Retail Colocation Companies. These fees vary from provider to provider and from location to location, but the trend is up, and increases have been significant over the past several years. This is a shift from prior practices in industry in which service providers operated in a manner that was closer to the manner a typical commercial landlord operates, deriving revenues primarily from rents and//or license fees that represent an underlying assumption that space (a real estate asset) is the primary commodity that is being sold. As Mr. Lambert comments, “When this was in its infancy back in the late ‘90s and early part of this century, it was more of a real estate play. Now they’re looking at it as a big source of revenue.” Customers generally are not happy about recent market-wide increases in cross-connection fees (and/or about the existence of such fees), but certain types of customers (such as the plaintiff) have been affected more significantly than others.

Richard Close Featured in Real Estate Finance & Investment Explaining Developers’ Interest in Land Value of Manufactured Housing Communities

Attorney Richard Close was featured in the article, “Developers Seen Eyeing Manufactured Housing for Land Source” published in Real Estate Finance & Investment Magazine, discussing the attractive land value posed by manufactured housing communities for mixed-use developments.

Mr. Close says, “For some of these properties, turning the park to dirt is about two or three times what the park is worth.” These communities were built for temporary purposes nearly 40 years ago, and the infrastructure and utility systems are now at the end of their useful lives so many park owners are refusing to spend the millions necessary to put in new utilities. “As a result, they are anxious to sell and the best buyer is often a real estate developer,” Mr. Close added.

Read full article

Paul Rutter Quoted in Law360 Discussing Millennials’ Effect
on Real Estate

Paul Rutter was quoted in the article, “Millennials Drive Development Focused On Work-Life Balance” published in Law360, discussing the growing millennial population’s demand for better work-life-play balance and its subsequent effect on the real estate industry. As this generational group begins to migrate toward urban areas such as New York and Dallas, developers must create or improve the existing infrastructure to accommodate the desired collective office spaces, multifamily homes and retail stores with easy access to public transportation. In addition, to recruit young talent, companies must focus on the millennials’ desires for the need of proximity, which correlates with their need for food, fitness and fun all under one roof.

“There’s a lot of focus on quality of life for millenials. They are not just going to work 15 hours a day every day and that’s the way life is going to be; a little more balance is expected,” says Mr. Rutter.

Richard Close Discusses Growing Investor Interest in Manufactured Housing Communities in Commercial Investment Real Estate

“The ‘trailer parks’ of yesteryear, known today as manufactured housing communities, are being met with increased investor interest due not only to the steady cash flow, but also the potential for significant land appreciation,” says Gilchrist & Rutter attorney Richard Close who has more than 30 years’ experience in this niche area of real estate law.

In his article published by Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine, Mr. Close discusses the benefits of this often overlooked specialty market, including the low annual tenant turnover rate compared to apartment complexes, as well as the rising housing demand for retiring baby boomers. Many investors look to retirement areas such as Arizona and Florida, with an abundance of both land and investment opportunities. However, California manufactured housing communities are extremely sought after investments, particularly those that are large and well-located in coastal, wine, or desert regions.

An investor’s gem, these developments can be as hard to find for sale as a rare Matisse says Mr. Close.  He explains that due to a quirk in state law, the majority of purchases and sales take place without public listing of the property. Once acquired, there are a variety of investor options, including continued rental operations with reliable return, subdividing and offering individual lots for purchase, or obtaining closure entitlements and developing the land for its highest and best use.  The development is often done either by the owner or with a developer in a joint venture.

Read full article

Richard Close is Interviewed by Bisnow Real Estate Regarding California Redevelopment Opportunity

Practicing real estate law for more than 30 years, Gilchrist & Rutter attorney Richard Close has seen his share of redevelopment opportunities.

And with more than 25 years experience in representation of owners of mobile home parks he has witnessed the steady profitability of this real property investment.  However, due to a number of variables, the land values of some parks have far exceeded the rental values and certain of these large parcels of land in California are being highly sought after by developers. 

Mr. Close says, “The end of redevelopment agencies made it tough to assemble large parcels, so developers buy these park for good locations.  It is a good way for national developers to build large developments in desirable areas.”

Read full article

Richard Close Authors Article on SB 510 in Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal

In the article, “SB 510: Divisions over subdivisions gain weight” published by Daily Journal, Partner Richard Close discusses the newly amended Cal. Map Act law and the impact it will have on manufactured housing community owners and tenants.

Since the 1980s, the legal process of subdivision has had no reports of unsatisfied tenants; however State Legislature amended the law due to pressure from tenant advocacy groups. Mr. Close reports, “SB 510 will take away the right of park owners to subdivide their own property without obtaining a majority approval of their tenants.” Before the amendment, if a mobile park owner wanted to exit the rental business, he or she could offer tenants the option to purchase the land beneath their home or continue to rent. Now the process will involve new strategies.

With the passage of SB 510, Mr. Close fears there will be an increase in park closures. “The change in California law is unlikely to have the positive impact for tenants that the advocacy groups desired, as it may force community owners to give more thought to other options, such as closing the park, rather than resident ownership.”

Read full article.

Richard Close Discusses Manufactured Housing Investment Trend in Real Estate Finance & Investment

Gilchrist & Rutter Attorney Richard Close discusses investing in manufactured housing communities in the article, “More Investors Taking a Shine to Manufactured Housing” published by Real Estate Finance & Investment .  Although investors are taking more interest in these communities, Mr. Close says few of these properties are up for sale.

Despite the fact that there has been few manufacturing housing communities built over the past several years, Mr. Close anticipates an uptick in sales activity as the lending markets have loosened up for manufactured housing communities. He explains, “Individually owned properties tend to have rents below market. The original owners still own the properties and because they have a relationship with the tenants, they have been reluctant to raise rents. A property with rents of $500 per month per space may now have a market rent of $800 per month. There is substantial value upside.”

Click here to read the full article

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