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Real Estate Development - Zoning Variances and Exceptions

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Illinois zoning law attorneysWhen you invest in commercial property, it is critical that you are able to use it as planned. Unfortunately, if due diligence is not performed, there could be zoning issues that hinder the completion of a project. Depending on the situation, developers may be permitted an exception, otherwise known as a zoning variance. Learn more about variances, when they apply, and how a skilled real estate attorney can help with pursuing one for your current development project.

What is a Zoning Variance? 

Local municipalities are responsible for the way their community develops. Zoning ordinances allow them to control and limit the presence of undesired structures and land uses. Most of the time, those ordnances are based on community desires (i.e. residents not wanting a factory near their homes), rather than government desires, but there are exceptions. Examples include ordinances that prioritize land and wildlife preservation.


Illinois real estate lawyersGeneration Z now accounts for more than 25 percent of the current U.S. population, and they are expected to make up 40 percent of all consumers by the year 2020. As such, companies and commercial real estate developers are encouraged to start thinking with the “new generation” in mind. Learn how to better cater to this up-and-coming demographic, and discover how a seasoned real estate lawyer can assist you as you continue to expand your investment portfolio.

Getting to Know Generation Z

Generation X saw the start of the internet. Millennials were a part of the upward trend, but they still remember a time when stores were a place to shop. Generation Z grew up with the world at their fingertips, so their expectations are extremely different than the generations before them. They look at retail spots as places to do things, rather than buy things. A company's ecological footprint and treatment of their employees are deciding factors for this group of consumers, and they are less enthralled by experience than the ease of navigation. They want elements that promote health and emotional well-being. They are also less likely to work in a brick-and-mortar building, but when they do choose to work at a location, they want shared work spaces, unassigned seating, and quiet zones that help them “unplug” from their digital worlds.


Naperville commercial real estate lawyersCommercial real estate (CRE) investment was once reserved for the elite, but changes in federal laws have opened up several methods that people can use to break into the CRE market. One such example is real estate crowdfunding. Of course, like most investment opportunities, there are potential risks that one must be aware of when participating real estate crowdfunding. Learn more in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned commercial real estate attorney can help you mitigate against the most common issues that investors may face in CRE crowdfunding.

How Crowdfunding Has Changed the Face of Commercial Real Estate

Prior to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012, investors were only able to access institutional-quality real estate through private equity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), or direct investment. All of these options have serious limitations. In an REIT, individuals are investing their money into a pre-constructed strategy or portfolio rather than an individual property. Private equity funds are usually cost-prohibitive, and they often lack transparency for the investor. Direct investment can allow an investor to bypass these issues, but they require ample time, money, and labor - something that many investors lack.


Naperville real estate lawyersAs investors near retirement, they may begin to worry that their nest egg will not be sufficient enough to sustain them. Could real estate investing help boost them over the finish line? Perhaps, but it is important that potential real estate investors understand the various investing methods, as well as the challenges and pitfalls that can accompany each one. Learn more in the following sections, including how a seasoned real estate lawyer can help you in building a successful real estate portfolio.

Why Real Estate Investing? 

Real estate tends to be one of the least volatile investing markets, and it typically outperforms other asset classes. That can make it a wonderful diversification tool for the seasoned investor, especially if they are nearing retirement age. It is important to understand that real estate dips do occur and your money is not typically as liquid in the real estate market, so you must be willing and able to weather the potential storms.


Naperville commercial real estate lawyersReal estate prices have risen since the recession, for the most part, but many seasoned investors believe that some of the markets are losing steam. The decreased foot traffic in malls, closure of former top businesses, and 10 percent dip in the hard-hit retail sector certainly suggests as much. Yet, even as these areas experience a decline in value, some CRE sectors are experiencing a major surge. Learn more about these niche markets, and discover how a seasoned real estate attorney can help you successfully break into them to further grow and diversify your portfolio.

A Closer Look at CRE Market Trends

At the end of the recession, the Commercial Property Price Index hit an all-time low of 61.2. Since then, the index has more than doubled, and investors have been able to borrow more easily, thanks to low interest rates. Unfortunately, the broad index started to plateau in 2016, hitting and holding right around 126.9. Experts and analysts say this plateau is due, at least in part, to the rising interest rates, which are making it more expensive for investors to finance their purchase. Investor demand is also decreasing, with investors buying $175 billion in U.S. commercial real estate property in the first five months of 2018 (a 2 percent decline from last year).

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