Franklin Street Expands N. Florida Office To Include Capital Advisory Services

Franklin Street has added capital advisory to its list of real estate related services in North Florida. Commercial banking veteran Laura Gonzales will lead the regional division as director of capital markets, operating out of the Franklin Street Jacksonville office. Through 2018, Franklin Street Capital Advisors has arranged over $650 million in loan originations for income-producing real estate investments.

“We want to continue growing our outstanding retail, property management and capital markets platforms in North Florida,” said Carrie Smith, managing director for Franklin Street in Jacksonville. “Franklin Street’s ongoing success is a result of our continuous investment in attracting and retaining top talent.”

In her new role with Franklin Street, Gonzales will specialize in the origination and placement of debt and equity for all types of income-producing real estate investments.  Previously, Gonzales served as vice president and senior relationship manager for TD Bank in Jacksonville. She also held senior executive positions with BBVA Compass and Bank of America.

“We pride ourselves on being a full-service firm, so we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our service offerings,” said Yvonne Baker, regional managing partner for Franklin Street’s Jacksonville and Orlando offices. “Laura will work closely with our real estate lending team from the very start of a deal through the final step in the investment sales cycle. Having her on board will allow us to streamline the whole purchase process to make it more efficient for our clients in the region.”  

With over 20 years’ experience in commercial lending and capital markets, Gonzales is highly regarded in the Jacksonville business community.  Gonzales is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and NAIOP (formerly the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks).  She is the current chair of the ULI North Florida sponsorship committee and a member of several standing committees. Gonzales is a past president for CREW Jacksonville and continues to serve on a variety of committees.  She now serves as treasurer on the NAIOP Northeast Florida Board of Directors and is also a volunteer mentor for ICSC, NAIOP and ULI.

About Franklin Street: Founded in 2006 during one of the toughest real estate climates, Franklin Street focused on delivering value-added solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients. Through a collaborative philosophy of leveraging the resources, expertise and experience of each of its divisions – Investment Sales, Tenant and Landlord Representation, Capital Advisory, Insurance, Property Management and Project Management – Franklin Street offers unmatched value and optimal solutions for clients nationwide. Learn more about Franklin Street at


People on the Move: Laura Gonzales to Lead the Regional Division at Franklin Street

Excerpted form Jax Daily Record story.

The Franklin Street commercial real estate firm added capital advisory to its North Florida services. Laura Gonzales will lead the regional division as director of capital markets, operating out of the Jacksonville office. Gonzales will specialize in the origination and placement of debt and equity for income-producing real estate investments. She previously served as vice president and senior relationship manager for TD Bank in Jacksonville and also held senior executive positions with BBVA Compass and Bank of America.

For full story, visit


Commercial Insurance Rates Predicted to Continue Climbing in 2020

Excerpted from National Real Estate Investor 2020 Outlook issue.

We are presently in the most challenging insurance market for commercial real estate in recent history.  Insurance rates are expected to continue increasing into the first half of 2020 as market conditions did not begin to truly harden until the second half of 2019.  

This market shift was inevitable, but the resulting change has come more quickly and severely than anticipated with the market still changing on an almost weekly basis.  This hardening market is impacting the multifamily sector and portfolios with significant losses and low insurable values the most. 


This correction traces back to the beginning of 2017 when the industry was in a soft market with rates at a 15-year low.  During this time, property carriers were already struggling to underwrite accounts profitably due to an increasing volume of attritional losses from fire, water damage, hail and wildfire claims.  The frequency and severity of these attritional losses were consistently higher than expected however carriers were able offset these losses with the Hurricane premiums they were charging on their catastrophe exposed (CAT) book.  

The situation grew more dire for carriers at the end of 2017 and 2018, which went on to become two of the top three worst years for the industry with over $150 billion of insured losses. Having incurred billions in losses, carriers either stopped writing real estate accounts, reduced their capacity, or increased their rates.

When capacity is in short supply and demand is high, carriers are in a position where they can dictate pricing and terms, resulting in higher premiums, higher deductibles and lower coverage.

The graph below provides a good depiction of why a change in the property market was inevitable, as it compares historical property rates (green line) to insured losses (orange bars).



The liability market is arguably more challenging than the property market, which is having its greatest impact on the multifamily sector.  Liability claims continue to rise in both frequency and severity with many large verdicts in certain jurisdictions causing carriers to leave the market altogether.  Carriers are seeking to exclude coverage for Assault and Battery claims or exclude coverage for negligent maintenance and management operations with what’s called a “Habitability Exclusion.”  Verdicts continued to rise, and we anticipate this to continue in 2020.  This “frequency of severity” impairs underwriting performance in both primary and excess casualty (aka umbrella).


Carriers are seeking to write the “Best-in-Class” risks, which means a greater emphasis on data.  In this market, submission quality is of paramount importance to obtain the most favorable result.

The better and more detailed exposure data on the locations, the better your broker can negotiate terms. (i.e. Year of updates for roofs, electric, plumbing, HVAC).  Carriers are also underwriting based on the operations and investment philosophy of the insured more than ever before. Providing detailed information on ownership experience, risk management, preventative maintenance, investment philosophy, CapEx budgets, replacement reserves, inspection processes, etc., are also extremely important.

Integrity of loss data is also very important, and most carriers are now requiring five years of hard copy loss runs for all locations regardless of ownership in order to underwrite based on a true five-year loss picture. Owners should be obtaining seller loss history during their due diligence period on all acquisitions.

Although compiling this level of detail takes time, it will be worthwhile as it will differentiate your portfolio in the marketplace and help you obtain the most favorable result possible.  

As Managing Director, Matt Harrell brings a wealth of industry experience to Franklin Street Insurance Services. He can be reached at full story, visit


Inside The Related Group’s retail strategy for Icon Central in downtown St. Petersburg, from the historic bank building to inline storefronts

Excerpted from Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

A long-blighted block of St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue is within months of becoming one of the most vibrant spots in the city — if a Miami developer’s bet on a historic building pays off.

The Related Group’s Icon Central, a 368-unit apartment building with street-level retail, welcomed its first residents in July. Icon Central wraps around a historic bank building, and Related envisions the space becoming a destination, home to a high-end restaurant with a rooftop space that’s magnetic enough to draw people not only from around the city, but all of Tampa Bay.

Before Related broke ground on Icon Central, the 800 block of Central Avenue was a dead zone in an otherwise thriving retail corridor. And while the apartments are thriving — Related vice president of development Jessica Melendez said the building is leasing about 30 units a month and is 45 percent leased. But it’s the storefront and activation of the long-vacant bank building that will bring more vibrancy and foot traffic to Central Avenue.

Apartment rents range from $1,760 for a studio to under $4,000 a month for a three-bedroom apartment.

“We’ve been able to connect the Edge district and the Arts district and fill in that block,” Melendez said.

Related has taken the bank building down to its bones, leaving behind only the exposed brick and original architectural details. Alex Wright, senior director with Franklin Street in Tampa, is marketing the retail space for Related. Melendez said the developer is in active negotiations with two restaurant groups for the bank building, and an announcement could be as imminent as 30 to 60 days away.

For full story, visit


Franklin Street Brokers $8.3M Sale of Regency Point Retail Center in Jacksonville

Excerpted from REBusinessOnline story.

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — Franklin Street has brokered the $8.3 million sale of Regency Point, a 51,381-square-foot retail center located at 9430 Arlington Expressway on the east side of Jacksonville. Franklin Street’s Bryan Belk and John Tennant represented the seller, Phoenix-based Sand Capital, in the transaction. The buyer, which plans to hold the property long-term, is a Jacksonville-based private investor. Built in 1981, the Regency Point shopping center includes tenants such as Skechers, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Wingstop and T-Mobile. Recent capital improvements to the shopping center include the façade, parking lot and property lighting. Regency Point is situated across the street from Regency Square Mall.

For full story, visit


After Icon Central, Related Group Looking for Next Project in St Pete

Excerpted from St. Pete Rising story.

Now that construction is complete on Icon Central, a 15-story 368-unit apartment community in Downtown St. Pete, Jorge Perez, CEO of Related Group, has his sights set on the company’s next project in the Sunshine City. 

Prior to his trip to Tampa Bay last week, Mr. Perez had only expressed interest in another Downtown St. Pete project if it was on the water. But his recent trip may have changed his mind. 

“While he would love to find a site on the water, after today’s visit, I think he’s going to look everywhere,” says Jessica Suarez, VP of Development. “Mr. Perez is in love with St. Pete. We are absolutely bullish on finding something else here.”

While Beach Drive is home to many condo towers that offer million dollar views, the jury was out on whether a luxury property like Icon Central could be successful despite being eight blocks from the water. 

Six months after Icon Central began leasing, the apartment building is now 45% leased. For a development of this magnitude, the lease up schedule is usually around 12 months, which means Icon Central is right on track to reach stabilized occupancy by June 2020.

“Typically the one and two-bedroom units rent first,” says Suarez. “But at Icon Central, there has been a really big demand for the 3-bedrooms and penthouse units.” The demand for larger, luxury units proves that Downtown St. Pete isn’t just appealing to the younger crowd, but is a destination for baby boomers as well.

Units at Icon Central range from $1,730 for a 576 square foot apartment to $6,324 for a 2,288 square foot townhome. While those prices are on the high end for St. Pete, the amenities included are second to none. The community features a resort-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a yoga studio and zen garden, a spa treatment room, sauna and steam room, a private screening room and more.

Located at 855 Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete, Icon Central was first announced back in October 2016 for a derelict, overgrown site occupied by a large surface parking lot and the Union Trust Bank building, which had sat vacant since 1996. As part of the redevelopment of the block, Related Group renovated the 1926 bank building and is now leasing it out as commercial space.

Although no tenants have been revealed for Icon Central’s 38,000 square feet of retail space, Suarez says an announcement is coming soon. Ongoing discussions are underway with three to four groups. “We are being very selective in who we choose to fill the bank building,” says Suarez. “It’s an absolute jewel and we want to be sure it becomes a destination visited by people from far and wide.

The Union Trust Bank building is 18,000 square feet spread across a first floor plus mezzanine, a second floor, a basement and a rooftop deck. The bank’s vault and safe deposit boxes are still intact.

Aside from the bank building and some space on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr St N, the remaining commercial space, once filled, will activate a segment of Central Avenue that has sat unused for decades. Icon Central has successfully connected two of Downtown St. Pete’s most popular neighborhoods — The EDGE District and The Central Arts District. 

As commercial rents continue to rise in Downtown St. Pete, it’s becoming more difficult for local businesses to set up shop on Central Avenue. “We know local business is really important to the mayor and the residents of St. Petersburg,” says Suarez. “You really need to have a blend of both to be successful.”  

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on all of the progress St. Pete has made as a city, including Icon Central’s success in moving luxury development further west. And looking forward to 2020,  we’re excited to see which tenants move into Icon Central’s 38,000 square feet of retail space. And if all goes according to plan, we may also see the announcement of Related Group’s next project in St. Pete.

For apartment leasing information, visit Icon Central’s website. To inquire about the retail space, contact Alex Wright of Franklin Street at

For full story, visit


Increased Capital Boosting Miami Industrial Market Outlook

The Greater Miami industrial market is thriving with exceptional fundamentals and robust pricing metrics that continue to surpass record highs for best-in-class product.  Vacancy rates are at 4% and last quarter we absorbed more than 500,000 square feet.  Average asking monthly net rental rates are well above $0.70 per square foot, and rent growth remains steady with 3.1% year-over-year gains.

The three major factors influencing the market in 2019 are availability of capital, e-commercial online sales and a perceived rising interest rate environment. On a national level, there is $250 billion of capital in the closed-end institutional funds, which is actively looking to deploy. Industrial real estate is a hot ticket, offering stable returns and growth to both foreign and domestic investors.  

With the recent investments of Blackstone and Cabot Properties in South Florida and Starwood Capital Group’s move to the Miami area, the region is transforming into a major financial capital that also commands a higher profile for international high-net-worth families and funds.  The scarcity of land, which has been pushed to the forefront with the dynamic growth of residential and commercial projects, has also created a stable investment environment for institutional players.

Last year, e-commerce online sales totaled approximately $500 billion and they have been increasing about 15% annually.  It’s estimated that 1.25 million square feet of distribution space is needed for every $1 billion increase in online sales.  On a national scale, if online sales reach $700 billion by 2021, the corresponding warehouse growth would be 250 million square feet of commercial warehouse product.  Currently, Dade and Broward County have 5.3 million square feet under construction with a limited pipeline for future projects.

Interest rates are projected to rise eventually, and yet, the low rates continue to play a factor in industrial real estate pricing. With 10-Year Treasury rates under 2%, industrial caps have continued to compress.  Class A industrial properties are currently trading in the sub-5% rates.

As the industrial market remains attractive even as prices have increased, some of our clients are deciding to recapture equity and gains, both on the institutional and corporate side.  The strong demand and scarcity of future product promises to continue a positive pressure of rent growth.  On the user side, medium-sized tenants are looking for build-to-suit properties that can enable better value and adaption for future business plans.

Mark Behling is a Senior Associate for Industrial Real Estate Services at Franklin Street. He can be reached at


For full story, visit

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: Laura Gonzales

DECEMBER 19, 2019

Laura Gonzales
Director, Capital Markets at Franklin Street

EDUCATION:  University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)

Laura joined Franklin Street’s Capital Advisors division as Director in the Jacksonville office. In this role, she will focus in the origination and placement of debt and equity for all types of income-producing real estate investments. Laura has over 20 years of experience in banking and capital markets, including lending with for profit, non-profit companies and commercial real estate owners and developers.

For full story, visit


Buyer snaps up Regency Point retail center — and five other million-dollar deals

Excerpted from Jacksonville Business Journal story.

An unnamed Jacksonville buyer has purchased Regency Point, a 51,381-square-foot retail center in Arlington, for $8.3 million, according to a release from Franklin Street, which brokered the sale.

The center at 9430 Arlington Expressway was built in 1981 and neighbors Regency Square Mall. Tenants include Skechers, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Wingstop and T-Mobile. Franklin Street represented the seller, Arizona-based Sand Capital.

“Our client was able to upgrade the façade, parking lot and property lighting, which attracted a national tenant lineup to the center,” said John Tennant, senior director for Franklin Street’s Atlanta office.

For full story, visit


Regency Point sells for $8.3 million

Excerpted from Jax Daily Record story.

Franklin Street announced Dec. 18 it brokered the $8.3 million sale of Regency Point, a 51,381-square-foot retail center at 9430 Arlington Expressway, to a private Jacksonville-based investor.

Franklin Street said Bryan Belk and John Tennant represented the buyer, Regency Point of Jacksonville LLC, and the seller, Sand Capital of Phoenix, Arizona in the transaction. 

The deal closed Dec. 10, Franklin Street said.

Franklin Street said the buyer plans to hold the property long-term. The sale doesn’t appear to have been recorded yet with the Duval County Clerk of Court.

Regency Point is along the expressway across from Regency Square Mall, a 1.4 million-square-foot regional shopping center.

Built in 1981, Regency Point was renovated to feature a national tenant mix that includes Skechers, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Wingstop and T-Mobile. 

“Our client was able to upgrade the facade, parking lot and property lighting, which attracted a national tenant lineup to the center,” said Tennant, senior director for Franklin Street’s Atlanta office, in a news release.

Belk, senior director of retail investment sales at Franklin Street, said that traditional mall tenants are reevaluating their real estate portfolios.

“In some cases, tenants are deciding that it’s better for them to be in a retail strip center with excellent road visibility like Regency Point, instead of in mall locations where foot traffic is decreasing,” he said.

Foot Locker and Champs relocated to Regency Point from Regency Square Mall.

Belk and Tennant have arranged more than $863 million in retail investment sales transactions nationwide over the past three years, Franklin Street said.

Tampa-based Franklin Street was founded in 2006.

For full story, visit