IRVINE, CA—Rising costs—including land prices, construction and multi-level fees—and legislation from the Split Roll Tax Ballot Initiative to a potential ban on dual agency are some of Southern California commercial real estate’s most pressing concerns, James Camp, SVP and regional development officer for the Rockefeller Group’s west region. tells GlobeSt.com. Camp is president of the 2018 NAIOP SoCal Executive Committee, so we sat down with him for a chat about his new role and the organization’s agenda for the year.
GlobeSt.com: What do you see as your chief objective in your new role with NAIOP SoCal?
Camp: My chief objective is to maintain the successful NAIOP SoCal operating platform that I have inherited and to expand it to serve the best interests of our members in the following areas: legislative, education and networking. These principles are the three-legged stool of NAIOP SoCal. To continue our success, we need to protect the property rights and interests of our members, provide quality education programs and create interesting and unique opportunities for our members to network, collaborate and serve the communities where they do business.
GlobeSt.com: What issues will the organization be dealing with in 2018?
Camp: We will be faced with many legislative challenges this year at the local, regional and state level, including a Split Roll Tax Ballot Initiative; a bill to ban the customary practice of dual agency in brokerage representation of tenants, landlord, buyers and sellers; new taxes including linkage fees and parcel taxes; an Indirect Source Rule proposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District; and many other organized efforts to slow down or stop the real estate development industry. Further, my focus will be to raise our members’ awareness of the issues they face and to solicit their active involvement to work together as an industry to solve creatively the challenges we are facing. Too many people think that “someone else will handle that issue … I’m too busy.” Well, if you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.
GlobeSt.com: What do you see as the most pressing issue in Southern California real estate currently?
Camp: Another major issue is rising costs. Throughout Southern California, developers are faced with rising land prices, escalating construction costs and increasing city, county and state fees. There appears to be no end in these upward trends. Rising project costs will negatively impact the returns on most projects, and many projects will simply not be financially viable. If this occurs, then developers will not be able to accommodate the growth in tenant demand, and our business tenants will simply move to other states. California’s upward trend in over-burdensome regulations and ultra-high taxes is taking its toll on our economy and its people. We need to reverse this trend, create more jobs and employ more people. To accomplish this goal, regulations and taxes must be reduced. Only after reducing regulations and taxes will we be able to build more-affordable housing for our workers.
GlobeSt.com: How do you view the strength of CRE in this region now and moving forward, and why?
Camp: Our markets are strong and stable due to the dominant size of our market. There are approximately 20 million people in Southern California, and they all need a variety of goods and services. The business community is competing daily to serve this large and growing population base. Even with all of the problems we face as an industry and as an economy, Southern California still has and will always have one of the nicest environments in which to live. This characteristic draws people like a magnet to our area. I expect that our markets will continue to be on a solid foundation as long as our regulators and litigators don’t push us over the tipping point and kill the California Golden Goose.