In the early days of the lockdown, I got pretty good at creating videos and podcasts while gearing up to do my own virtual tours. Then, my activity level began to take off. So how did I spend the lockdown and my summer staycation?
In April, I took on an assignment to lease Prisma at Cypress Creek, a boutique office in Fort Lauderdale. The owners completed a major renovation and I personally developed the website and virtual tours for the property. This team effort has resulted in our successfully leasing nearly 10,000 sq. ft. We are now 95 percent leased, but with upcoming rollovers, I can still accommodate tenants up to 5,319 Square Feet.
Prisma At Cypress Creek: Tour our upgraded lobby plus Suite 103/5 5,319 SF.
Virtual Tour – Prisma Suite 110 – Leased to QOL Investments
I’ve also been busy with a number of office and industrial tenant representation assignments, which included the sale of an office condo, which has been a favorite blog topic of mine.
The Exchange 3363 W. Commercial Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL – Represented Sharma & Associates Accounting as occupier and investor in purchase of 6,000 SF Office Condo.
Overall, the market has seen a temporary downturn tied to the pandemic, but office and industrial vacancy rates are up only up one percentage point in Broward County since the onset of the lockdown at the end of Q1 2020. Demand remains strong, particularly among owner/users as “work from home” seems to be accelerating the exodus from the northeast to sunny South Florida. I therefore remain highly optimistic about our market as we move into 2021.
Plantation Medical Plaza – 2 for 1 – Relocated and downsized existing tenant to accommodate new lease for medical practice.
It was just over ten years ago that I started blogging as a way to improve the search engine visibility for my former firm. My content eventually found a permanent home site at kenstrends.com. I’ve always aimed for quality and originality as opposed to quantity. I’m proud that my work has appeared on numerous platforms including TheBrokerList,Propmodo, Commercial Café, the South Florida Office Brokers Association, and CRE Sources. While I’ve taken a couple of months off, I generally post articles on a monthly basis and I realize that I do need to post and repost my work to boost my following.
Ken blogging from Luang Prabang, Laos – December 2018
As much as I enjoy writing, I have realized that in our digital society, people do not sit still for long enough to read 1,000 words or even 280 characters. I have pivoted to podcasts and video and will continue to grow in those areas.
My topics generally relate to Commercial Real Estate, CRE Tech and South Florida. I try to be informative while occasionally hoping to get a smile if not a full LOL. So after the vote of a prestigious committee consisting of … myself, here are my top ten articles (plus one) in my ten years of blogging.
Honorable Mention – A lot of my early blogging promoted a champion poodle owned by my former employer and his significant other. I am a dog lover myself and I think I did a great job interviewing Josh Dean, Author of “Show Dog The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred.” I also produced the video on Skype long before there was a Zoom. But views of this video are in the 300s while I drew over 2 million views for a baseball video (see below). It is no wonder I am no longer with that company.
#10 Be Do #1 on Google – This first entry on the list was done just for laughs – the purpose of my blogging is to be number one on Google. This is an article I originally wrote in 2012 about a guy wanted to Do #1 on Google. KensTrends does not condone public urination
#9 Tryin’ to Reason with Hurricane Season – I stole the title from Jimmy Buffet. A humorous look at the serious issue of Hurricanes and the relentless efforts of the media to keep you glued to the screen.
#8 My Favorite Super Bowl Ad. Did you see LoopNet’s Superbowl Ad in 2012? I am one of the few who did, because the NFL forced them to pull it down. This is my commentary on cat videos and the power of Social Media to draw more viewers than the “Big Game.”
#7 Prose and Condos – I closed my most recent office condo sale at the height of the COVID crisis in May 2020. Commercial condos are not for everybody, but for some companies, they are a brilliant real estate strategy. This is a series of articles on with everything you need to know about commercial condos.
#6 Miami with a Twist of Lime – With iPhone in shirt pocket, Ken shoots a video of a Scooter ride from his Downtown Fort Lauderdale office to Brightline and eventually to Downtown Miami. This article covers micro-mobility, its link to mass transit in South Florida and the impact on the CRE market.
#4 Not sure if it falls into my best articles, but this one is included as it got a wide distribution via an interview I did with Commercial Café, an international Commercial Real Estate Blog and contains my insights into real estate in the COVID era. I also turned it into a podcast.
#2 The significance of this one is that my 2012 YouTube video for this article is now over 2 million views which has to be some kind of record for #CRE. I had leased a warehouse at Boca Industrial Park a baseball training facility. As a baseball player, coach and parent, the owners invited me to watch a bullpen session with then rookie sensation Aroldis Chapman, who at 105 mph, threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in a major league game. While my close-up video study of his mechanics generated a debate over how fast he was throwing, the views and the royalty checks from Google kept coming.
#1 First, a personal favorite and second, I am writing a follow-up. Is Commercial Real Estate Data worth more than a guy in a Chicken suit. (Although I hate to link to my former companies’ blog) Ten years later, despite countless threats to disrupt their stranglehold on the market for Commercial Real Estate data, CoStar remains the undisputed king of Commercial Real Estate Tech.
So there it is – ten years of blogging. So much has changed but so much remains the same. COVID, Technology, Climate and Politics will shape the next ten years. I’ll continue to share my perspective, while continuing to help my clients make the most informed decisions regarding their commercial real estate needs. Please call, text or email if I can help you buy, sell lease or analyze commercial property.
I remain optimistic that some good will come out of our recent struggles. In a recent facebook post celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary, I quoted Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic What’s Going On. “We’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today.” Nearly 50 years later, we’ve come full circle and are facing the same issues. But maybe this time is different and finally “love will conquer hate.”
It’s already June 2020 and most of us have been in some degree of lockdown for nearly three months. Somehow, I find myself working harder than ever. KensTrends is now on video (intro below) and podcast, I’ve stepped up my production schedule and I continue to close deals which is the point behind the blogging. I’ve also added 360° Tours to my repertoire.
I also joined the leasing team on some Levy Realty assignments and added some new ones of my own. While I’ve spent the past 2 years working primarily with tenants, I am now also representing Landlords. It is also a kind of homecoming for me to be back in the Cypress Creek or “Uptown” market of Fort Lauderdale. I closed my first investment deal in Cypress Creek over 20 years ago and have completed hundreds of sales and leases since then, including a 6,000 sf office condo sale last week.
I am now leasing the renamed Prisma at Cypress Creek, (click to visit my new website) a three-story boutique office off Cypress Creek and Powerline Roads. We can lease from 1,650 to 3,850 square feet. The renovations in progress will make it one of the coolest boutique buildings in the market. I’m also working on The Spectrum Building west of I-95 off Commercial Boulevard. With it’s high-end modern finishes and 5-story atrium lobby, it is one of best office space values in South Florida. At the Gateway Building 6500 NW 15th Avenue, just north of Cypress Creek I have 10,000 square feet with 57 percent office and 43 percent warehouse for under $12 per sf including expenses. We have a lease out on another 3,300 sf of 50-50 office warehouse “flex” space at Powerline Business Center on Poweline north of Commercial. I had previously handled the acquisition of property in 2000 when we paid $5.3 million and worked on the 2008 sale of the property for $9.7 million.
So my return to Cypress Creek is kind of a homecoming. You can say I’ve come full circle, and to continue the full circle theme, I thought it would be interesting to discuss my implementation of 360° virtual tours in my marketing program. I’ve always been known for my use of cutting edge technology in commercial real estate. I was one of the first to use computer databases to track the South Florida market and find space. I also posted one of the first websites for a South Florida commercial real estate firm, and was one of the first in our market to initiate an investment deal over email. More recently, I believe I was the first in our market to lease a space with the aid of an artificial intelligence bot. Prisma Suite 110 Virtual Tour on Ricoh Tours App – 1,650 – 2,200 or 3,850 sf Available
My former company emphasized the use of 3D virtual tours for tenants, and I have embraced the concept. They say it reduces the search time by 60 percent and makes spaces twice as likely to lease. While I don’t recommend leasing a space by virtual tour alone, it can help eliminate some choices, which I believe drives the 60 percent time savings.
The problem with my former company’s use of the 3D imaging is that we needed to hire a 3D photographer with a backpack-sized $3,400 Matterport camera with 9 lenses. That can run $0.12 or more per square foot. I recently shot and created 3 tours totaling 10,000 square feet in about 45 minutes and edited the tours in about an hour. It could have cost $1,200 to outsource. Two hours to save $1,200 is pretty efficient. It is even more economical to delegate, but I kind of enjoy it.
The Gateway Building as captured by the Ricoh TC2 – click and then click “exterior” to see how the software converts it to a 360 view of the flat facade.
After researching the various platforms and cameras, I purchased a $300 Ricoh SC2 that fits in my shirt pocket and the mini tripod is like carrying an umbrella. It connects to your cellphone whihc acts as a remote control via onboard wifi. You can view individual 3D images directly in Google Photos, but you generally need a service to provide software and to assemble and host the tours in the cloud. Matterport is the leader in the field and they have a $10 monthly plan to host 5 tours. There is an upgraded $69 plan for 25 tours it goes up from there. I’m currently using the Ricoh Tours app that was bundled with the Theta and is available for $195 annually with unlimited uploads. Matterport has recently opened their platform to non-Matterport cameras and I can shoot Matterport tours on my $300 Ricoh Theta. Matterport’s software and tours are clearly superior to Ricoh, but I’ve been investigating some very competitive alternatives including Kuula, Lapentor and Theasys. My Ricoh rep tells me they will be making improvements as well. My biggest issue right now is that Matterport is the only provider that is fully supported by Loopnet/CoStar, the dominant player in commercial real estate online search. I can provide links to my Ricoh Tours on these sites (Scroll Down on the Gateway Listing), but not linkable images. Matterport, like CoStar is a dominant force in its market, but I see more opportunity for disruption in 3D tours. More on CoStar in a future KensTrends.
Anyway, I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets and the ROI on my 3D investment remains to be seen. I do see it helping me win more assignments. I’m also doing my part to use virtual touring to promote social distancing and I have a fun new hobby that is helping me in my business.
“Circling” back to my February article, I believe the Cypress Creek Submarket in Fort Lauderdale provides the best value for office space in South Florida. I represent the owners of some great spaces for you to lease. Also keep in mind that I represent tenants and buyers to help find the best value on the best spaces throughout South Florida. And if you have concerns about venturing out in today’s environment let’s do a zoom meeting and do some virtual touring.
I’m always looking for new ways for KensTrends to reach a wider audience within the #CRE Commercial Real Estate Community. I was asked by www.commercialcafe.com to comment on the South Florida market, the impact of COVID-19 and my career. Commercial Cafe, an online property search site, is a division of Yardi, one of the world’s top developers of commercial property management and investment software. The article was posted on their blog HERE.
Rather than fly the authors into South Florida, I decided to have my wife Lisa stand in as interviewer from the KensTrends Boca Raton Studios. Whether in written form or in the expanded podcast version, I hope you enjoy Expert Insights: Ken Silberling on Commercial Real Estate in the Time of COVID-19.
As I discuss in the article, more and more commercial real estate deals are initiated by internet search. Therefore, a key element in my marketing and personal branding strategy is to continue to grow my footprint on the web.
I am told the number 420 and the date 4/20 have special significance. The term CBD has been used in Commercial Real Estate for years. More recently it has taken on a new meaning in cannabis culture. Here is my special 4/20 edition of KensTrends. I also want to take this opportunity to make a special shout out at the bottom of this article.
Miami CBD – As we know it today
CBD is one of the most commonly used terms in commercial real estate, but it’s definition has changed dramatically. As a young researcher, I first came across statistics for the CBD and non-CBD market. “Central Business District” or CBD was a more impressive way to say Downtown and non-CBD was basically suburban. Today, CBD is impacting the Commercial Real Estate market in a different way.
Miami CBD – Original Definition
CBD also stands for cannabidiol, which according to the Harvard Medical School is the second most prevalent chemical in the cannabis sativa (hemp or marijuana) plant. The other, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that produces the psychoactive effects or “high.” But we are seeing an ever-increasing number of CBD products in stores, medicinal marijuana is now legal in Florida and legalization of recreational use is almost inevitable.
Proponents claim CBD can treat all of these
From my understanding, and I don’t claim to be an expert, both CBD and THC are extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp fibers have been used for centuries to make rope, paper and even clothing. Thomas Jefferson actually drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. But the cultivation of industrial hemp has only been legal in the U.S. since 2018. Legal hemp, defined as having a THC content of less than 0.3 percent can be grown and distributed across the U.S. It is only when the hemp is specifically grown to produce flowers with THC content in the 20 to 30 percent range, that it’s legality comes into question. Proponents claim that CBD helps with pain, inflammation, anxiety and insomnia. While many medicinal benefits of CBD are unproven, the FDA has approved a CBD product to reduce epileptic seizures among children.
Denver industrial rents increased by 12% Annually for 4-year period after announcement that Cannabis would be legalized in Colorado Source: CoStar
The explosion of new CBD and Cannabis businesses is having a major effect on the Commercial Real Estate Market. CBD sales, which totaled $500 million in 2018 are expected to triple to $1.5 billion in 2022. Legal sales of cannabis worldwide are expected to increase by 853 percent to $104 billion between 2018 and 2027. As brokers, we are all getting calls from CBD and cannabis related business owners. While 11 states have legalized marijuana and 22 have approved it for medical use, cannabis is still illegal according to Federal Law. We are seeing dispensaries paying a “cannabis premium” as landlords charge higher rents based on the risk of government intervention. In Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014, growers have paid two to three times market rent for industrial property and the increasing demand has raised prices across the board.
There are now actually Cannabis Real Estate Investment Trusts that invest in retail and industrial property involved in the Cannabis industry. You can now get in on the trend by investing in companies like Treehouse REIT and Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. which aim to generate “higher” returns than traditional REITs by investing in properties leased to Cannabis related companies. There are also numerous Cannabis Businesses that are also now publicly traded with market caps in the billions.
So real estate analysts and consumers must be sensitive to the new double meaning for CBD which will have an increasing impact on Commercial Real Estate. But I don’t think we have reached the point where “non-CBD” will refer to THC.
A Special Shout Out
I’ve used this lockdown to learn some new tricks including the production of 3D tours, blog videos and podcasts. I normally schedule one blog post per month – this is my 4th in April. I promise to take it a bit easier on your inbox going forward. I’ve also put a few deals together and enjoyed the time with my family.
But barely a moment has gone by in the past month where I wasn’t thinking about Alan Levy who was fighting and is now winning an intense battle against an invisible enemy, Covid-19. I am very thankful that he’s out of the hospital and wanted to thank all those who have reached out to me.
Alan is one of the most knowledgeable and best liked people in the business. That is why I joined his company and I look forward to continuing to help Alan and Josh Levy expand a great organization.
I continue to publish this blog because it’s something I enjoy. It also helps me to build my personal brand so that you will contact me for your commercial real estate needs. My brand is built on market knowledge combined with the ability to present original content in a fun and entertaining way.
But we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and that is serious business. Let’s hope we can all pull together and join Alan in fighting off the effects of this pandemic, both biological and economic.
I’m Ken Silberling. In today’s edition of KensTrends, we are celebrating a very special anniversary. It was eight years ago this week that the worlds 2 most powerful men came to my home town of Boca Raton, Florida. In today’s presentation I’ll be discussing some famous people from the world of entertainment and politics. I generally write about commercial real estate, economic development and social media. Sometimes I deal with serious subjects, other times – like today, I just try to have a little fun. I try to steer clear of politics and try not to go too far right or too far left. Too bad I can’t say the same about my golf game.
The following is an update to an article I wrote on April 13, 2012.
Fagen/Rundgren “He’s Comin’ Down the Escalator”
It was a simpler time – still years before a real estate developer and reality show host would head down an escalator to begin an improbable run to the presidency. Back then, it was unusual for the leader of the free world to tackle issues of global importance from the fairways of a Palm Beach County golf course. So the week of April 13, 2012 was pretty remarkable with the two most powerful men in the world descending upon Boca Raton, which is about 20 miles south of Mar-A-Lago.
On April 13, 2012, Justin Bieber, with 42 million Facebook likes and 20 million Twitter followers had a speaking engagement at the St. Andrews School in Boca Raton. Three days earlier, the other guy – who had previously occupied the White House, delivered an address at Boca’s Florida Atlantic University.
That guy, Barack Obama, came to Boca with 36 million likes and 14 million Twitter followers. Seven months later, he would be reelected receiving 65 million “likes” in the form of votes. The guy on the escalator got 63 million votes in 2016. His opponent, Hillary Clinton got 66 million in defeat.
But those numbers are “trumped” by Bieber’s 79 million current Facebook likes and 111 million Twitter followers. Incidentally, Obama has now passed Bieber as the most followed person on Twitter at 114 million. The only thing more astounding than these numbers is the fact that Justin Bieber is still relevant eight years later.
The number of Twitter followers may be only slightly less arbitrary than the electoral college as a means of selecting a President. Obama is now ineligible due to term limits and Bieber would be disqualified as he is only 26-years-old and he was born in Canada. The winner, if selected by Twitter, would be Katy Perry, (108 million followers) who meets the requirement of being American-born and who recently turned 35, the minimum age for a president as set by the Constitution. Does that sound far-fetched? What if I told you in 1951 that the star of “Bedtime For Bonzo” or in 2004 that the star of “The Apprentice” would become president? Who’s to say that in this age of Social Media, we couldn’t elect a pop star? She is a judge – even if its on American Idol. And how do we know we won’t live to see a President Kardashian-West (Kim has 63 million followers but Bernie may not approve of her billionaire step sister).
Katy and Hillary would be a tough to beat. Is it too late?
Stepping out of this crazy parallel universe, let’s get back to my 2012 story, which other than a few updates in italics, is taken verbatim from here on.
What was most interesting to me about Bieber’s visit to Boca was the way I found out. It was a clear early sign of how media was changing. We can all remember where we were when we found out about the monumental news stories of our time. Granted, this is a far cry from monumental news for non-millennials; but it was important enough to make the front page of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
So, how did I find out? Was it a TV news story, was it on my car radio, was I on the South Florida Sun Sentinel web site? No, I was one of the first to know because of a text my 15-year-old daughter (now 23 and an accomplished writer and filmmaker herself) received from a friend who goes to St. Andrews. Between the internet and our mobile devices, we are more connected than ever and that has major implications on how we get our news and even bigger impact on how we sell our products (I had this right in 2012).
To a social media marketer, Justin Bieber is highly powerful and represents an opportunity to reach his mass of followers and their parents as well. Bieber was in town to congratulate three students who raised $51,738 for Pencils of Promise, one of Bieber’s favorite charities. The nonprofit group has built more than 50 schools around the world (up to 524 as of 2020). You have to give the kid a lot of credit. With all of the international fame, he seems to be doing things the right way and has kept himself remarkably clean. (may have missed on this one a bit, but still better than most) And his music isn’t nearly as annoying as some of the other stuff out there. (still agree, but can he compete with Steely Dan or even the KensTrends Theme?) My tweets on the Obama and Bieber visits were listed alongside major news organizations and political groups. My objective at the time (and today as well) was to promote Boca Raton and get the interest of corporate executives who would consider relocating their companies to our community.
The Boca Raton and South Florida business community needs to embrace these opportunities to get our community in the news with positive stories. That is what will help to draw more quality business and create high-paying jobs. This will help us to fill our office buildings, make your businesses more successful and improve upon what is already a great quality of life here in town. And if you are looking to buy, lease or invest in South Florida Commercial Real Estate, please call, text or email me at Levy Realty Advisors. I’m Ken Silberling and I approve this message.
You can read the blog below, or click above for the video version. So the economy was riding high, businesses were thriving and the commercial real estate market was seeing all-time high rental rates and historically low vacancies. Then a virus hits and everything is in chaos. On March 18, the CEO of Cheesecake Factory sent a letter to all of his landlords saying they won’t be paying their rent on April 1. I don’t think anyone told him that April Fool’s day was postponed due to the coronavirus, but this is no joke.
As I work for a company that owns, manages and or leases 3.5 million square feet of space, I urge you “please don’t try this at home.”
The majority of my business involves representing tenants in their office and industrial leasing. We’d all love to skip our April rent payments, but that can cause major problems. Everybody is hoping that the current crisis will be short-lived and the economy will come roaring back. So what should you do as a tenant if paying your rent becomes a hardship?
The worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem and do nothing. I had a front row seat representing a Landlord through the 2008 market crash, and the best advice I can give tenants is to communicate with their Landlords.
If you can’t pay your rent, contact your Landlord. They’re better off working with you than spending time and money drafting 3-day notices and preparing eviction papers. Believe me, it’ll cost your Landlord a lot more to refill your space that it does to negotiate a workout. And if they want to play hardball, they were going to do it either way.
If you do nothing, you’ll be responsible for back rent, late fees and legal and administrative expenses. And if you signed a guaranty, your personal assets are also at risk. But a reasonable Landlord also realizes that they may never collect and it’s better to be proactive about finding a win-win solution that can forge a stronger relationship for years to come.
It may be possible make an agreement to defer your rent as long as you pay back over time. But that can sometimes serve to dig a deeper hole. The most popular tool in the prior market downturn was the “blend and extend,” where a tenant can get rent concessions in exchange for extending their lease term. I’ve always said that a Landlord’s biggest expense is vacancy. So they may be willing to take a temporary hit in order to avoid the expense of refilling a space a couple of years down the road.
What we don’t know right now is where rental rates are headed. During the great recession, rental rates dropped drastically, so tenants paying above market rents could use the blend and extend to lower their rates. But today, rental rates are increasing rapidly. Whether the current crisis will cause rents to ease remains to be seen. So we may see the blend and extends signed at above market rents.
Depending on whether you take Landlord or Tenant site, there are arguments to extend at higher rates or at lower rates. It depends on who is making the argument. So it comes down to having someone on your side that knows the market and can support your side.
So you can probably guess my final point. Whether you’re a Landlord or a tenant, you need a commercial real estate professional on your team in order to make the best long-term decisions to overcome what we hope will be a short-term problem. Stay tuned to the new and improved KensTrends – now with video; or call, text or email me at Levy Realty Advisors.
And when this thing is finally behind us and you find yourself sitting at the Cheesecake Factory, please tip your waiters and waitresses generously! And maybe they take that monster menu and put it on video.
I’m Ken Silberling, I’m a commercial real estate broker in South Florida. It’s March 2020 and with the world pretty much shut down, I thought it would be productive to learn how to put my blog, KensTrends on video. I’ve also been learning Garageband and you can hear the results of that. The text of my intro is below, or just click on the video. Or catch the KensTrends Podcast!
Just for a little introduction, I began my career a market analyst for Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers and Commercial Florida which would become Newmark.
For about 10 years, I wrote one of the most widely read reports our market and investors paid hundreds and some thousands to subscribe to and read my work.
But that’s changed – today you can write a great blog and people certainly aren’t going to pay for it. You’re doing well if people make the effort to read it.
Personally, I’ve become a big podcast fan and I realize that in this mobile era, the best way to reach people is audio and video. So I thought I’d give this a shot. All I can hope for is that you enjoy my original content and that you call or email me or my company Levy Realty Advisors if you’re looking to buy, sell or lease commercial property.
My content is generally original and unconventional and I always try to inject a little humor. I started blogging about 10 years ago on my company’s websites.
I started my current blog kenstrends.com in 2015. After syndicating my blog on The Broker List.com 2018 I got their award as newest blogger. It wasn’t best blogger or most influential blogger – it wasn’t even new, but I’ll hey take what can get. And for an added bonus, I can legitimately call my blog the award-winning kenstrends
Whether in its written form or as video or audio, I hope you enjoy kenstrends and I welcome any comments or suggestions. Let’s all work together to beat this virus, be safe out there, and I’d like to wish a quick recovery to all those affected.
In 2002, the last time a spec Class-A Office tower was completed in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, rents were $30 per sf – today they are pushing $60.
As a tenant/buyer representative, it is my mission to find value in South Florida commercial real estate. Working with office tenants throughout the South Florida market, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find space for less than $30 per square foot. Rates are now nearing $60 in Downtown Fort Lauderdale and topping $65 in Downtown Miami. In my January’s KensTrends I showed how the main points of my most recent office market report still hold true today – even though I wrote the report back in 1998.
When comparing 1998 to 2020, the vacancy rates are similar. The current recovery, like that of 1998 has been the result of a strong economy, population growth, tax advantages and the lack of new office construction. While vacancy rates have risen slightly over the past 12 months, they remain only slightly above 1998’s historical lows.
But one major submarket has been largely unaffected by the resurgence, which is why I see it as the best value in South Florida. The “Submarket That Time Forgot” also happens to be where I currently have my office and where I have completed hundreds of lease transactions. I am sitting in my office in a Class-B office tower at the Spectrum Building off Commercial Boulevard, 15 minutes from Downtown, with completely modernized features and finishes and free parking – at an all-in rate in the low $20s. So my advice to business owners looking for value is to revisit Fort Lauderdale’s “Uptown” (aka Cypress Creek) Market consisting of the Cypress Creek Road and Commercial Boulevard corridors along I-95.
Quality Class-B space at the Spectrum Building off Commercial Blvd. at rates in the low $20s.
Gross rental rates including operating expenses have increased by approximately 50% in Broward and Palm Beach County since my 1998 report, a compound annual increase of 1.8 percent. In the red-hot Southwest Broward market, rates have increased by 68.4% or 2.7% annually. At the peak of the market’s resurgence from 2015 to 2018, rental rates in Downtown Fort Lauderdale increased at annual rates from 5.5 to 9 percent.
But in the Uptown market, rates have increased by 25% or only 1% annually since 1998. Rental rates average $26 in the uptown market as compared to $39 in Downtown Fort Lauderdale and $33 in Southwest Broward. In addition, parking can cost an additional $3-$4 per square foot downtown.
But you can still get uptown Class-A space, minutes from I-95 with free covered parking, for under $30 per square foot. Regarding location, in 15 minutes, you can be in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, and it is around 40 minutes to Downtown Miami or West Palm.
Cypress Creek also offers an abundance of single-story office and office/warehouse (flex) space. I personally appreciate the convenience of drive-up space without having to ride elevators and navigate parking garage ramps. These spaces can also be improved with upscale finishes to rival Class-A buildings without the added expense of upgrading common corridors and lobbies. I recently represented a tenant in the building shown above in a 2,300 sq. ft. lease with a custom buildout for well under $20 per square foot – about the same as my client would have paid 15 years ago. My favorite selling point of the Uptown market is its access to business owners and employees throughout South Florida. I live in Boca Raton while my former leasing partner on three uptown properties lived in Northern Miami-Dade County. So a property in the 954 area code could easily be represented by agents in the 305 and 561.
Brightline pulls into Downtown Fort Lauderdale as new residential construction continues.
Yes, there is value in Fort Lauderdale’s rapidly expanding Downtown market. Thousands of new residential units have created a live-work-play environment, helping to attract and retain employees. There are also great places to eat and Brightline (Virgin Trains) provides direct access to Downtown Miami and West Palm Beach. In 2018 and 2019 I worked at One Financial Plaza in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. It was nice to walk down the block and have lunch at YOLO or Morton’s. I also was able to hop on a Lime Scooter (KensTrends May 2019 Miami With a Twist of Lime) for a five minute ride to Brightline or to Rocco’s Tacos. But rush hour traffic on the 2 mile stretch along Broward Boulevard from I-95 to Downtown was an ordeal and $100 per month to ride the ramps to level 5 of the parking garage was no bargain. For the few times a year I have lunch Downtown or take the Brightline to Miami, I will gladly jump in the car or even an Uber for 15 minutes – and hope there is no construction on Broward Boulevard.
Mayor Wayne Messam boasts Miramar is home to more Fortune 500 Companies than any other South Florida municipality
So what has kept rates from increasing in the Uptown market? A lot of it can be attributed to Southwest Broward. This submarket emerged in the early 1990s with the completion of the Sawgrass Expressway and I-75 providing access to Miami and Fort Lauderdale. New residential developments and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 created a perfect storm with a mass migration from South Miami-Dade to Southwest Broward. Many companies, particularly in the expanding healthcare and tech sectors capitalized on the trend, relocating from Cypress Creek to Miramar, Plantation and Sunrise. Surprisingly, Miramar in Southwest Broward is home the most Fortune 500 firms of any city in South Florida. Of the 18 million sf of new office construction in Broward County since 2000, Southwest Broward captured 6 million and its neighbor Sawgrass/Plantation 3.8 million.
In contrast, the uptown market has seen only 188,000 square feet completed since 2004. The market has always been a great alternative for companies looking to service customers along the Southeast Florida coast and attract a tri-county labor force. It is also home to Executive Airport, (FXE) the nation’s eighth busiest general aviation airport. The success of the Downtown and Southwest Broward Markets has driven rents in those areas well above those uptown. For those companies seeking fast access to I-95 and affordable rental rates, Uptown is a very attractive alternative. The one missing component of this market has been residential development. While millions of people live within 30 minutes of I-95 and Commercial Boulevard, there are few upscale residential alternatives in the area. That could soon change with the approval of the 353-acre Uptown Urban Village which promises over 2,500 new residential units.
The 353-Acre Uptown Urban Village runs along I-95 at Cypress Creek Road and is a potential game changer for the submarket with over 2,500 residential units proposed.
Pulte Homes is also under construction on a 405-unit residential development on the former site of the Oak Tree Golf Course at Commercial Boulevard and Prospect Road. And InterMiami CF, David Beckham’s MLS Soccer expansion franchise begins its inaugural season at Executive Airport in the rebuilt Lockhart Stadium on March 14, 2020. (Can Soccer Be Successful in South Florida? – KensTrends 11-2019) So the window of opportunity for tenants and investors may be short-lived. But for now, if your company is looking for value in office space with great access to the tri-county labor market, there is still time to take advantage of the “Submarket that Time Forgot”.
Two weeks until opening – the new Lockhart Stadium, home of InterMiami CF on 2-28-20. Opening day is March 14.
We’ve watched the new stadium take shape from the elevator of the Spectrum Office Building.
I recently presented highlights of my most recent office market report to the South Florida Office Brokers Association.
The key points:
Our tremendous job growth and population growth have positioned South Florida as a highly attractive investment market.
In addition, the relative absence of new construction has driven office vacancies to historical lows while rental rates are showing
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Firms will continue to be drawn to our market due to our warm weather, quality of life, favorable tax structure, government incentives and the region’s role in trade with Latin America.
So what is wrong with this picture? While I started my career in research, my most recent office market report was written in 1998. But those points are still spot on. It seems that the more things change, the more things stay the same. So what has changed?
First, what used to take weeks and hundreds of phone calls can now be accomplished with a few keystrokes on CoStar which provided the statistics here. The industry has a love-hate relationship CoStar which has become our primary source of information. While there is a lot happening in the world of Commercial Real Estate technology, and I personally spent a majority of 2018 and 2019 in the field, there is still not a worthy competitor to CoStar. The value of this data is clearly illustrated by CoStar’s capitalization, which has increased nearly 1,000 times from $27 million to $24 billion since it’s 1998 IPO. But CoStar provides an easy way to compare my 1998 report to the current market (which will be the subject of Part 2).
In addition, since 2019, residents of these states now pay federal tax of up to 37% of these amounts. Talk to your tax advisor for more info.
The tax environment has also changed to our benefit. The absence of a state income tax has always been an advantage. But with state income tax no longer deductible, there is additional incentive for firms to relocate from the northeast.
Another major change is the advance in technology. Back in 1998 I was rocking a 56K modem which transferred data at a rate of 7KB per second. Today, I download music over my cable modem at over 7MB per second which is 1,000 times faster. And the Iphone in my pocket has 100 times the memory, 40 times the storage and 5 times the computing speed of my 1998 desktop PC. Clearly, you can now work from anywhere – why wouldn’t you want your company in South Florida?
One drawback of South Florida is a perceived talent gap when compared to other markets. But that is changing as well. The growing population has resulted in our colleges becoming increasingly selective, attracting better students and better faculty. According to US News, The University of Florida now ranks 7th and Florida State 18th among US public universities. We have also seen tremendous growth within the state system at the University of South Florida (#44), Central Florida (#79), Florida International (#105) and Florida Atlantic (#140). My own child got a degree from the prestigious engineering school at the University of Florida only to be recruited to Seattle by Amazon. It is up to us to bring in companies that will allow us to keep our talent and our families in state.
Brightline arrives in Fort Lauderdale
In addition, with the influx of population, getting from point A to point B is increasingly difficult. While we have made great strides in mass-transit with Brightline and an expansion of Tri-Rail, we still have a long way to go. While mass transit will not service our western suburbs any time soon, Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) along the major north-south routes are gaining momentum and will be a key trend affecting where South Floridians live and work in the future.
Possibly the biggest challenge is that we live in a highly fragile environment. While it may be a controversial topic, we are vulnerable to rising seas and catastrophic storms. A small segment of the commercial investment market is avoiding South Florida for these reasons.
You can save some turtles by purchasing paper straws on Amazon.
Drinking from paper straws is a positive step, but it won’t solve the problem. I believe the solution lies in research and technology and our region is poised to lead in that direction, potentially creating thousands of jobs.
Overall, the outlook for South Florida remains as bright in 2020 as it was back in 1998. Part 2 of this post in February will provide more information and a comparison of the office market from 1998 to 2020.
It is now 2020 and as Miami prepares to host Super Bowl LIV, I thought it would be a good time to dust off a blog article I wrote in 2012 about a Commercial Real Estate Super Bowl Ad as one of Ken’s Klassics. I revisited the story in 2015. The key points remain as valid today as they were then. I also updated some stats. Most importantly, I added a cat video to hammer home my main point. I’d also like to add one other point. Many of us who now live and work in South Florida first came here as visitors. The Super Bowl is a great showcase for our community with many benefits to our economy that will last long after the big game.
Here is my updated 2012/2015 article:
As the Seahawks and Patriots prepare to take the field for Super Bowl 49, (yes it’s 49ers and Chiefs in 54) it’s a time to reflect on the great teams and the great games. Some of us think of Deflate-Gate. I think about the Dolphins’ perfect season. But we all look forward to the great commercials. As a commercial real estate blogger, I also reflect on a 2012 Super Bowl ad that never was. The ad was produced by LoopNet, which at the time was a mere $400 million commercial real estate search site – before it was absorbed into the now $6 billion Costar empire. ($27 Billion in 2020)
LoopNet had a brilliant idea. They would produce their own Super Bowl ad to be shown only on the Internet. As I recall, it was a cute ad, a bit edgy, and it gave me a chuckle. But it wasn’t the message that was important, it was the medium. You see, LoopNet showed that anyone can make their own Super Bowl ad. We all have the ability to create a YouTube video that can be seen by millions. And we can do it for about $4.5 million less than it cost Budweiser or Pepsi in 2015. (Up to $5.6 million for a 30-second Super Bowl Ad in 2020) Somewhere out there in cyberspace, one of my own videos has generated 1.5 million hits (up to 2 million in 2020). While a Super Bowl Ad will get you 115 million viewers (less those making a pit stop or a run to the fridge), the angry cat video below is nearing a record 90 million views. Social media makes it possible to reach 100 million viewers for substantially less than $5.6 million.
I was probably one of a select few who saw the LoopNet ad thanks to a Linked-in post by Duke Long. You see, LoopNet’s Super Bowl ad had one fatal flaw. The fact that they called it their “Super Bowl Ad”. Unfortunately, the National Football League owns the trademark on the term “Super Bowl.” Mysteriously, the LoopNet ad was taken down within about an hour. Yes, the NFL may be more powerful than even CoStar.
The takeaway? First, if you want to create your own Super Bowl ad, you may want to call it your “Big Game” ad, so as not to anger our friends at the NFL. But even more important is what is says about the internet. Anybody can now reach millions or even billions of people via social media.
Yes, you’ll need to create some compelling content and that’s not an easy thing to do -especially if you don’t own a cat. But there is some great commercial real estate content out there, and a few select individuals are using the internet to enhance their brand and make more deals. Hopefully, I can continue to make my own contribution and effectively use the internet to make my phone ring more often. If you’re looking for office or industrial space or commercial real estate investments in South Florida, I’m happy to help.
While you were out celebrating New Years Eve, I was already sipping my January 1 morning coffee in Bangkok.
I rang in 2019 from Bangkok, twelve hours before most of you, making it the longest (non-leap) year of my life. It was a crazy year full of ups and downs, but things are definitely looking up for 2020. I wish all you a great holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2020. Here is my 2019 year in review and a sneak peek at 2020.
I started the year in the midst of a trip of a lifetime. We went to visit my daughter who was on a fellowship in Luang Prabang, Laos. (more on our trip) We spent 2 weeks in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. The highlight of the trip was an excursion to Halong Bay near Hanoi, cruising and kayaking though breathtaking views of islands and caves (below is some amazing video shot by my wife Lisa). It was fascinating to learn about the turbulent history of the region and to gain a true appreciation for our veterans who sacrificed so much fighting a very controversial war. But it was walking 8 miles and climbing the equivalent of 12 flights of stairs at Halong Bay which led me to another pivotal decision – to undergo double knee replacement.
Throughout the first half of the year, I continued to build an online marketplace for South Florida office space and placed tenants in space from South Miami to West Palm Beach. But that project came to an end in early June. Less than two weeks later I underwent the surgery.
I was on my feet the next day, off opioids (my $0.02 on the opioid crisis) in three days and climbing full flights of stairs in four days. I continued to close office leases throughout my recovery. Within three weeks, I was back behind the wheel and back on the job with my own company KensTrends, LLC. Thanks to cycling, yoga and some great physical therapists, my recovery has been way ahead of schedule. I’m back on the golf course and tennis court and hope to return to the ballfield very soon.
In October, I joined Levy Realty Advisors. While I enjoyed having my own company, the synergy and opportunities created by aligning with a great group of people that own, lease and manage 3.5 million square feet in South Florida were too good to pass up.
2020 (which will actually be 12 hours longer than my 2019) is shaping up as an exciting year. Technology continues to make commercial real estate information more available than ever, although the bulk of the information continues to come from only one source.
My strategy for 2020 will be to leverage the use of this data with new technology as well as old-school networking and communication. Emailing, blogging and social media are tools we can use to to touch more people more often. That is the purpose of KensTrends. But there is still no substitute for the old fashioned phone call and face-to-face meeting.
I look forward to sourcing new investment opportunities for Levy, while continuing to represent tenants and buyers in finding South Florida office and industrial space. Let me know if I can help you.
Happy holidays from the KensTrends and the Silberling family – this was taken at Mandalao Elephant Conservation in Laos. My son Michael wasn’t able to join us. Luckily, my daughter Amanda very talented on Photoshop!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined Levy Realty Advisors as Senior Vice President of Brokerage and Tenant Representation. It’s basically an extension and expansion on what I’ve been doing for the past 30+ years in South Florida; creating value for owners and occupiers of commercial property in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County.
I continue to work through online sources and my own relationships, but I see tremendous opportunity in aligning with Levy Realty Advisors. I’ve known Alan Levy for over 20 years and he has steadily built a great organization and a portfolio of over 3 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space owned and or managed.
Alan recognized that there was a large pipeline of untapped business in finding additional locations for companies in his portfolio, and finding space for companies he couldn’t accommodate. In addition, we expect that by working with owners of properties across the market, we will uncover new investment opportunities to spread our footprint in the South Florida commercial real estate market.
And don’t worry, I’ll still be publishing KensTrends to inform, entertain and continue to generate new business. Read more at www.SFOBA.com
“I am excited and pleased to announce that after many years of knowing Ken Silberling, he will join our company to head up the Brokerage and Tenant Representation division,” said Alan Levy, Broker/President of LRA. “Ken comes to the company with over 30 years of industry knowledge and experience and is well respected amongst his peers in the South Florida Commercial and Industrial market. Ken will be handling brokerage and tenant representation opportunities that we have been passing up for many years due to our focus on our own portfolio of properties.”
“We feel very fortunate to have Ken represent our company,” added Josh Levy, LRA COO. “This is a new chapter in the evolution of our company. Ken’s extensive experience and exposure in the market will help us to continue to expand our footprint throughout South Florida. He will also bring an extended level of service to our tenant base of over 1,000 companies occupying over 3 million square feet of space.”
The new Lockhart Stadium from the elevator of Levy Realty Advisors’ Headquarters – Spectrum Office Park, Fort Lauderdale 11-18-2019
Major League Soccer is coming to South Florida much sooner than you think. And it is the centerpiece of one of the largest real estate deals ever proposed for South Florida. From the elevator of Levy Realty Advisors’ headquarters in Fort Lauderdale’s Spectrum Office Park, I can see a new $60 million soccer stadium take shape. The site of the recently demolished Lockhart Stadium and Fort Lauderdale Baseball Stadium will be the temporary home for Inter Miami CF. The new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise will open their inaugural season here on March 14, 2020. Meanwhile, negotiations continue on the voter-approved 131-acre Miami Freedom Park; a $1 billion stadium, mall, hotel, technology hub and park proposed for the site of the Melreese Golf Course near Miami Airport. This would be the permanent home for the team starting in 2022. So the $1 billion question is:
Can pro soccer be successful in South Florida? As a long-time South Florida sports fan, I was extremely skeptical. This may make you change your mind:
Corner End Zone Nosebleed Seats in Section 300 for the 11/10/19 MLS Championship were selling for $345 on Stub Hub.
My son was in town from Seattle, where he has attended some Seattle Sounders MLS games and enjoyed the experience. We watched on ESPN as Seattle beat Los Angeles FC and earned a spot in the MLS Cup Championship. He thought it would be fun to attend the game and we went online to check on tickets. We found out that the Sounders sold out 70,000 seats in 20 minutes and the worst seats in the stadium were selling for $345 on StubHub. He decided to watch the game on TV and the Sounders wound up winning the championship in front of a raucous record crowd.
A Record MLS Crowd of over 72,000 Packs Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium
Soccer has definitely caught on in Seattle with an average attendance of over 40,000 per game. In Atlanta, in the football-crazed South, their MLS expansion team posted a winning record in its 2017 inaugural season. Atlanta United now leads the league in attendance at over 53,000. In addition, the culture is changing. Organized youth soccer was very rare when I was growing up in Miami. But my millennial kids and their friends all played soccer and you can’t drive by a field these days without seeing a game going on.
Pele, Soccer’s Greatest of All Time, Leaps Celebrating a Goal vs. Strikers in Front of 77,000 fans in New York, 1977.
For professional soccer in South Florida it has been a rocky road. The Miami Toros started play in the North America Soccer League (NASL) in 1972 and became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977. I recall sitting in a loud and packed 15,000 seat Lockhart Stadium in the late 1970s as the Strikers posted the league’s best record. The Strikers and the NASL reached their peak in 1977 when Pelé and the New York Cosmos defeated the Strikers in the playoffs in front of 77,000 fans. But attendance began to fade, the Strikers relocated to Minnesota and the NASL folded in 1984. Major League Soccer (MLS) was formed in 1988 as a condition (quid pro quo?) for the US to host the 1994 World Cup. South Florida’s potential as a pro soccer market is illustrated by a 2014 exhibition between the national teams of Brazil and Columbia which drew over 73,000 fans.
Another “friendly” between Brazil and Columbia draws 65,000 to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, September 6, 2019.
In 2014, a new group headed by Brazilian superstar Ronaldo purchased a new Strikers franchise hoping to elevate them to their past glory. I negotiated a lease with the team to lease 1,512 square feet for their corporate headquarters minutes from the old Lockhart Stadium. But interest in the re-formed minor league NASL was limited and the deteriorating stadium proved to be a disaster. The team moved to Lauderhill and folded in 2017. At the same time, however, David Beckham began searching for a South Florida home for a new MLS franchise.
So the question is, can soccer survive and even thrive in South Florida? South Florida has always supported a winner as shown by the success of the Miami Heat and until recently, the Dolphins. The financial success of the new team will be closely linked to the success of the team on the field. But can we field a competitive team?
Rendering of the $60 million new Lockhart Stadium, scheduled for completion in time for Inter Miami CF’s opening game in March 2020.
Atlanta United has proven that you can quickly put a winning MLS soccer team on the field and develop a fan base. Beckham can draw from a worldwide talent pool and Miami’s multicultural community and abundant sunshine should prove attractive to players. I believe the key lies in the organization. The Dolphins have always been king in this market. Despite some recent down years, they have consistently been one of the best managed and most successful franchises in the NFL. The Miami Heat took the court in 1988. Mickey Arison has put together an organization and a culture that breeds success and has the championship banners and attendance to prove it. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins have two championships, but poor management decisions have led to losing teams and anemic attendance. I personally enjoy Marlins Park and think it’s a great facility, but the team’s former owners walked away with all the profits and left Miami taxpayers holding the bag.
Plans for the $1 Billion Miami Freedom Park
David Beckham and his group have billion dollar plans to bring big time soccer to South Florida. And local entrepreneur and co-owner Jorge Mas plans to finance Miami Freedom Park at no cost to taxpayers. Regardless of what happens with Melreese, which has some environmental issues to overcome, Inter Miami CF will take the field in March in Fort Lauderdale. If the Miami deal falls through, Fort Lauderdale could still become the permanent home. Interest in soccer across the US in on the rise. MLS has a contract with ESPN and the English Premier League is televised nationally on NBC. A recent Gallup Poll shows soccer as the second most popular sport behind football among the 18-34 demographic in the US. The attendance for the Colombia – Brazil matches also shows the potential for soccer in our market. I don’t know if Inter Miami seats will be selling for $345 on StubHub any time soon, but MLS appears to be thriving. Personally, I’m a baseball and football guy. But if Beckham and Mas can put together a winning organization which fields a winning team, pro soccer in South Florida will finally be a success.
While I was recently recognized as “newest blogger” by thebrokerlist.com, I have actually been blogging since 2010. At my former company, we began to explore the use of this “new” tool called Social Media to create a sense of community among our 200 corporate tenants, while enhancing awareness across the Boca Raton office and industrial market.
In 2011, I produced a blog video that has generated nearly 2.2 million views. I believe it is the most viewed video ever produced by a commercial real estate company. (Can you beat 2.2 million? Let me know!) It serves as living proof that you never know what will make social content go viral. The key is to keep producing content, cover topics you’re passionate about and as they say, “just do it.”
I started my latest internet venture, KensTrends.com back in 2015. I’m proud of the original content I have produced, and I send a monthly blog and newsletter to nearly 1,000 people. But I have never again come close to 2.2 million views.
The video was the result of a lease I did with ProSource Baseball, a now defunct 11,600 sf training facility at Boca Industrial Park. Miguel Valdez, former coach for the Cuban National Team, was an instructor at ProSource. Aroldis Chapman, who defected from Cuba in 2009, came over to ProSource in March of 2011 to work with Valdez. In 2010, his rookie year, Chapman threw a pitch at 105.1 mph, the highest speed ever recorded in a major league game. Since I was a fan, a player, and the parent of a high school pitcher, ProSource invited me to meet Aroldis and watch him throw a bullpen session at the nearby American Heritage High School. I asked if I could shoot video, and they obliged.
I included the edited and branded 55-second video in a blog post. While most of the 2.2 million viewers were baseball fans and players attracted by the headline “Aroldis Chapman 105 MPH Pitcher,” I’d like to think we developed some additional traction throughout the business community.
A lot of the comments debated whether or not he was throwing 105 in the video, but it didn’t matter. I’m a pretty good judge of pitching speed and believe he was throwing in the upper 90s that day. It really didn’t matter how hard he was throwing. Whether it was 85 or 105, my video gave viewers a close-up study of the pitching mechanics that produced that 105.1 mph fastball. In the ensuing years, Chapman has lived up to expectations, becoming one of baseball’s premier closers for the New York Yankees.
Was this my best blog post and video ever? Probably not. My best blog video, in my opinion, is an interview I did with author Josh Dean in May 2012, which had a total of 326 views at last count. The owner of my former company owned one of the top show dogs in the country, and arranged an interview with Dean, author of “Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred.” We recorded the interview on Skype. I’m no Anderson Cooper, but I enjoyed Dean’s book and think I came up with some good questions, learned to use the technology, spliced in some related footage, and created something that was fairly entertaining and informative. And the cameo appearance by Niko, my beloved but now departed Shih-Tsu shows I do have a passion for our furry friends.
Niko, my co-pilot
While animals are often the subject of some of the most viral videos on the web, in this case it was my passion, baseball, that garnered such a wide viewership. My former company still receives checks from Google from advertising on my baseball video. But it was only three months after the Dean video that my 13-year run at my former company ended.
So, what did we learn here?
1. Just do it – put quality content out there, and eventually people will pay attention;
2. The content doesn’t need to be about your business – it can be tangentially related as long as it generates interest;
3. Now that I have my own company, this does not apply, but if you have an employer, it may be a good idea for your most popular blog content to reflect the passion of the person who signs the paycheck.
KensTrends is back after a short hiatus. It’s been four weeks since my June 13 double knee replacement. While I continue to work on deals for Truss, I am now an independent contractor with access to the Truss platform among others. More on that at a later date.
My recovery has been in the top percentile, I was off opioids less than 3 days after surgery, I’m back on my feet and walking faster than I was before, I’m climbing stairs, working on chipping and putting and hope to return to baseball in the next couple of months. I continue to work with tenants and buyers of office space throughout South Florida. But I am now a free agent and ready to explore additional opportunities.
You can see the bone on bone situation prior to surgery on the left. Now, the new titanium knee joints have replacements for my long-missing anterior cruciate ligaments and are lined with plastic to replace the cartilage. I am pain-free for the first time in 40 years.
This issue of KensTrends goes in a different direction focusing on America’s opioid crisis. It comes from an absurd occurrence in my hospital stay, where I asked for Tylenol for a headache but was only authorized to receive Percocet. Even more absurd is that Percocet is a combination of Oxycodone, a highly addictive synthetic opioid and Acetaminophen (Tylenol). So I could get Tylenol mixed with Oxycodone, but I couldn’t get Tylenol alone.
Tylenol is generally considered to be the safest over the counter pain reliever, safer than traditional aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen sodium (Alleve). I consider Tylenol to be the “Diet Coke” of pain relievers. This comes from one of my favorite moments in the Austin Powers Trilogy when Dr. Evil appears on the Jerry Springer show with his son Scott Evil. He tells Scott he is not evil enough, “You are the margarine of evil, you are the Diet Coke of Evil.” Hence, the “Diet Coke of Pain Relievers.”
Meanwhile, Percocet is a prescription painkiller containing Tylenol and the opiod Oxycodone. Like other narcotics, Percocet is highly addictive because it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, triggering dopamine release and associated feelings of happiness and euphoria. Many Percocet users start with a necessary and legitimate medical prescription only to tragically slip into addiction.
Anyway, rather than succumb to a highly addictive opiod to fight a minor headache, I decided I would drink a lot of Gatorade to fight my dehydration, which was clearly my best alternative. I asked the nurse what I could do about my situation and she said it was up to the hospital administration. Broward Health North, where I was recuperating, is run by the County Government and there was nothing she could do. I told her that I guess the only thing I could do would be to write my congressman.
That gave me a great idea, why don’t I write my congressman (or woman)? I had never done it before, but I have a few personal connections to Ted Deutch, who represents District 22, adjacent to my own District 21 and home to Broward Health North. I was able to email Ted via the congressional website, as well as District 21 representative Lois Frankel. I also passed this along to my former office leasing partner Betty Geller who has some very strong relationships in State and County government.
Broward Health North – I-95 at Sample Rd.
Stay tuned to KensTrends to see what happens.
Here is the letter originally written to Ted Duetch and also sent to Congresswoman Lois Frankel:
This June 13th, about 4 weeks ago, I checked into Broward Health North at I-95 and Sample Road in Pompano Beach for simultaneous bilateral total knee arthroplasty or double total knee replacement. I am pleased to report that my recovery is in the 99th percentile and I feel great. This success is due to (1) getting my body into excellent physical shape prior to surgery and (2) the amazing staff at Broward Health North which is a credit to a highly successful public-private partnership.
I am very proud that I had the surgery on a Thursday morning and I took my last opioids, 2 Percocet, at 10 AM Sunday the 16th, less than 3 days after surgery. Since then, I have been off opioids and have treated the pain with ice, and the over-the-counter remedies ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
My only complaint, and the purpose of this letter is the way that these opioids were offered to me by the staff. This was a matter of policy. I understand that the nurses were only following protocols and would be risking their livelihoods to go against them. I was smart enough to refuse the opioids when offered. I understand how dangerous these drugs are. I also know that regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on, controlling opioids is a national issue that should unite all Americans.
I checked into Broward Health North on Thursday morning June 13 and had the double knee replacement performed in the 2nd floor operating room. By late that afternoon I was in recovery. The next day, they had me up on my feet in the 3rd floor joint replacement center and I started physical therapy. At that point, the use of Percocet and OxyContin was warranted as the procedure involved saw cuts to both major leg bones and the therapy was extremely painful. By Saturday, I was transferred to the 4th floor inpatient therapy center. Prior to my physical therapy on Sunday, less than 72 hours after surgery, the pain specialist recommended I take 2 Percocet and I agreed. That was the last time I used the opioids.
I was looking forward to going home on Friday the 21st, 8 days after surgery. On the night of the 20th I believe my body was draining itself of the much of the fluid buildup on the knees. I was using a bedside urinal and had filled up a liter bottle and would eventually fill a second. I felt a bit feverish and weak, but having grown up in the South Florida heat, I recognized the signs of dehydration.
I called the nurse and twice had her bring me about a liter of water to drink. I also had a slight headache when the nurse came in around 3 AM. Here’s where things could have gone totally wrong. I asked for some Tylenol which would gently relieve my headache. But my last dose of Tylenol was at 1 AM and I was scheduled for Ibuprofen at 5 AM. The nurse could not offer me Tylenol or Ibuprofen. But I was authorized to get Percocet on demand and she could bring them to me immediately.
I explained to the nurse how ridiculous it was to offer an opioid for a minor headache after five days of narcotic-free recovery. She agreed, but rules are rules and I understand that she could not offer me anything more mild than Percocet without putting her job at risk. Ultimately, I drank a lot of water mixed with an electrolyte enhancer that basically turns the water into Gatorade. The mild headache was cured by hydration and I didn’t need the Tylenol or the Percocet.
The point here is that I have no medical training, but I know enough about my own body to help guide my own recovery. I am likely in a minority of patients that understand the danger of taking the Percocet. If even one patient at this point were to give in to the opioids and later spiral into drug dependency, it would be one too many.
I am not an expert on policy and do not necessarily have a solution, I just want to point out a problem that needs to be addressed by professionals. My suggestion is that (1) patients need to be warned every time that they are offered narcotics that those drugs may be habit forming and (2) any time a patient is offered an opioid pain reliever, they should have the opportunity to substitute an non-opioid alternative.
In my discussion with the nurse, I joked that it would take an act of Congress to change the obviously flawed rules. That’s when it occurred to me that it was my right and my duty as an American to write my Congressman. I live off Glades and Lyons in unincorporated West Boca Raton and Ms. Frankel is my congresswoman. But Ted, you may remember me as I toured office space with you off I-95 and Congress at 950 Peninsula Corporate Circle. My daughter Amanda was also at Waters Edge Elementary with your girls, and my Brother-in-Law, Roy Kobert was your partner at Broad and Cassel. I am also copying my good friend and former business partner Betty Geller to pass along. Betty is the wife of State Representative Joseph Geller and sister-in-law of Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller.
I believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed and I am happy to help in any way I can. Again, I must emphasize I have only the highest praise for the wonderful staff at Broward Health North. Thank you for your consideration.
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