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    Atilla Kara and Tzu-Ching Lai Join the Washington, DC Studio of National Interior Design and Consulting Firm MKDA | Milo Kleinberg Design Associates… - February 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    WASHINGTON, DCNational interior design, space planning and consulting firm MKDA today announced that Atilla Kara and Tzu-Ching Lai have joined the Washington, DC design studio as Technical Director and Project Architect respectively. The strategic additions come on the heels of the studios one-year anniversary and are anticipated to bolster the studios respected workplace and commercial office building interior design services while also helping to grow the studios services, capabilities and reach.

    Atilla and Tzu-Ching are fiercely talented and are a welcome addition to our strong, integrated team. As a culturally diverse and cohesive team with over 27 collective years of local market experience and former work collaborations, we share a unified vision to offer human-centered design solutions with European influences, said MKDA Executive Managing Director Kristin Aldan Gumundsdttir. As we move ahead together, we look forward to continuing to offer clients our unique design process and a stand out level of service that is the legacy of our New York City Headquarters.

    Atilla Kara

    As Technical Director, Mr. Kara manages the day-to-day technical operations for the design studio. He oversees the standardization and implementation of REVIT/BIM; monitors code compliance and quality control of construction documents; and oversees complex assignments as project manager and project architect, ensuring project success from concept to completion.

    Mr. Kara was most recently a Senior Technical Designer at Stantec, where he reviewed projects for quality assurance and code compliance. The majority of his professional career was as an architectural designer at Gensler, where for nearly 16 years he applied his expertise to base building and interior design projects. His broad experience includes federal, commercial, educational, sports and mixed-use facilities. Notable projects include the Saint James Sport Complex, Georgetown Day School and Marriott International's Headquarters.

    During his tenure at Gensler, Mr, Kara earned three Star Awards and two Star Margo Awards for design excellence on the Digital Domain and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line projects. For his outstanding work on Marymount Universitys Ballston Center, he earned an Award of Excellence from the Northern Virginia Chapter of NAIOP and an Award of Merit from Northern Virginia Chapter of AIA. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Kansas.

    Im thrilled to join this entrepreneurial and talented team and look forward to adding a unique perspective honed over many years in the industry, said Mr. Kara. In my new role, I intend to add great value to our client projects, and also to aid in the growth of the DC studio to match our New York studio in size and our Miami studio in breadth of service, including base building, adaptive reuse, and more.

    Tzu-Ching Lai

    As Project Architect, Ms. Lai oversees the full scope of projects from pre-design through construction, occupancy and beyond. Ms. Lai blends her unique experience as an architect, designer and visual artist to ensure full creative and technical efficacy on a broad range of workplace and commercial office building interior design projects.

    Ms. Lai has held positions at several DC-area architecture and interior design firms, most recently as a Project Architect at Gensler where she specialized in commercial interiors and base buildings. Her experience includes projects ranging from global law firms to educational institutions to corporate offices. Notable projects include Hogan Lovells, Georgetown Day School and Marriott International's Headquarters.

    Ms. Lai earned a Masters of Architecture with a graphic design certification from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies with a minor in Fine Art Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She was a finalist in IAAC Advanced Architecture Contest in Self Fab House: 2nd Advanced Architecture Contest.

    Ms. Lai deeply values human-centric design, believing that architects and designers have a unique social responsibility to create built environments that enhance user experience and wellbeing. As such, she strives to fully immerse herself in the clients vision, ensuring their goals are met by being actively involved in the project from start to finish.

    Since I was a child, it has always been my dream to make a positive impact on people through architecture. After reconnecting with former colleagues here and learning about MKDA DC and their human-centered design philosophy, I jumped at the opportunity to join the firm, said Ms. Lai. I am thrilled to be able to use both my technical knowledge and design skills to help the firm reach its full potential in creating unique, high-performing spaces for its clients.

    MKDA is a national architecture, interior design and advisory services firm with offices in New York, Stamford, Miami and Washington, DC. The firm, established in New York in 1959, is a corporate interior design studio with an architecture arm in Miami that designs notable hospitality, retail, mixed-use and commercial buildings across South Florida and the Caribbean. MKDA is ranked year-after-year as one of Interior Design magazines Top 100 Interior Design Giants and in 2018 was named a Top 10 New York Commercial Interior Design Firm by Commercial Observer. Client brands have included Snapchat, SoundCloud, Guggenheim Partners, Design Within Reach and Heineken USA, as well as leading building owners Rockrose, Boston Properties, Silverstein Properties, George Comfort & Sons, Vornado Realty Trust, Blackstone and ClearRock Properties.

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    Atilla Kara and Tzu-Ching Lai Join the Washington, DC Studio of National Interior Design and Consulting Firm MKDA | Milo Kleinberg Design Associates...

    Burns & Klemm – The SandPaper - February 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    We take our craftsmanship seriously. Burns Klemm Custom Home Builders is well known for building beautifully crafted custom homes along the New Jersey Shore. We bring three generations of building experience to our vast skill set. We are dedicated to providing you with a custom, quality crafted home delivered on time.

    Burns Klemm will work with your lender of choice to help you procure the best financing for your needs. We understand you are looking for the finest quality while maintaining a reasonable budget.

    We know how important it is to have a quality builder you can trust. (References available and highly recommended.) We not only build homes, but relationships with our customers. At Burns Klemm we assist and guide you through each phase of the process from meeting the architect to selecting your finishes and everything in between. This is one of the many places we shine! We are able to assist and streamline this process and make your building experience enjoyable.

    At Burns Klemm, we are devoted to your project and remain available after completion for any maintenance or additional projects that may arise.

    Do you need a custom built home on the beach? Do you need to find a location for your dream home? Or are you looking for a home renovation? Come join our reliable team, from financing to finishes, we are ready to assist you with your new project.

    We are your builders. Lets get started!

    Custom Built Homes Remodeling Commercial ConstructionWe are unique in our ability and knowledge of both residential and commercial construction and building. We have hadthe pleasure of working on big Atlantic City casino projects as well as building quality custom homes. We offer our residential and commercial knowledge from concrete to crown moldings.

    We also:Buy & Sell homesWe are licensed realtors who have properties we can build on or can locate property to fit yourneeds. John Burns is a full time resident of Brigantine and Jason Klemm is a full time resident of Ocean City. They are both very familiar with all zoning and local ordinances of the Jersey shore area.

    Architectural ServicesWe work together with our draftsmen and architects to customize your dream home.

    Excerpt from:
    Burns & Klemm - The SandPaper

    Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. Announces Rapid Expansion Throughout 2020, Increasing Headcount by 8% – Business Wire - February 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    TORRANCE, Calif. & EATONTOWN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., the countrys leading third-party engineering, environmental and energy due diligence consulting firm for the real estate industry, today announced its growth in 2020. Despite an economic slowdown that caused contraction across many sectors of the business world, Partner continued its decade-long expansion, hiring several of the industrys most well-regarded professionals, increasing headcount by 8% and bringing the company to a total of more than 1,000 employees.

    After being founded in 2007 with eight employees, Partner has grown rapidly into the countrys largest and most active due diligence consulting firm, providing commercial real estate investors throughout North America and Europe with a broad range of services. By utilizing a dual-pronged expansion strategy fostering a collaborative, positive work environment to support recruiting and pursuing strategic acquisitions the company has consistently added talented engineering and due diligence professionals to its team, which, in turn, has attracted a large and growing client base.

    While 2020 was a challenging year for much of the business community, Partner was fortunate enough to weather the storm well, and to actually grow many of our practice areas, particularly in the second half of the year, said Partners CEO Joe Derhake, PE. With the goal of providing the highest level of service to our clients, we are constantly looking to add to our bench of talent, and this was an unmatched year for Partner in this regard. When the 2008 recession hit, we were a fledgling one-year-old company, and our disciplined approach enabled us to not just survive that downturn, but to grow our capabilities markedly by adding seasoned industry professionals to our team. By following the same script in 2020, we were once again able to expand significantly, adding more than 70 talented members to our team and broadening the services we offer to our clients.

    Our job as a trusted advisor to our clients is to listen and understand their needs, and then tailor a team to address those specific needs. I came to Partner because I saw an opportunity to better fulfill that mission theres a real team culture and nimbleness to pull the right resources and approach together for the client, said Greg Souder, who joined Partner in December as a Senior Managing Director Integrated Facilities Solutions. With Partners broad, multidisciplinary team, I can offer my clients a more integrated approach to assessing risk and managing their real estate. Partner already had a great platform and the trust of many of the top investors and financial institutions in the business. Now with so many industry veterans joining recently, the momentum is exciting going into 2021.

    Due its rapid growth and industry impact, Partner has received a wide range of awards and accolades. In addition to numerous regional fastest-growing business recognitions, the company has been included on Inc. 5000s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list five times and has also been listed among ENRs Top 200 Environmental Firms and Top 500 Design Firms.

    Some of the most prominent of Partners new hires include:

    Construction Services team:

    Architectural and Engineering team:

    Integrated Facilities Solutions team:

    ALTA Land Title Survey Team:

    Environmental and Industrial Hygiene team:

    Client relationship team:

    About Partner Engineering and Science

    Founded in 2007, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. offers full-service engineering, environmental and energy consulting and design services throughout the Americas, Europe, and around the globe. Drawing on the companys diverse staff of over 1,000 seasoned professionals and its experienced leadership team, Partners multidisciplinary approach allows it to serve clients at all stages, from initial due diligence and design to development and construction, as well as the ongoing maintenance and optimization of real estate assets.

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    Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. Announces Rapid Expansion Throughout 2020, Increasing Headcount by 8% - Business Wire

    What Is the Future of Work Space in RI – Will Staff Ever Return to the Office – GoLocalProv - February 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Thursday, February 18, 2021

    GoLocalProv News Team

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    Providence - what is the future of the office PHOTO: Will Morgan

    Now, 71% of those workers are doing their job from home all or most of the time. And more than half say, given a choice, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic, according to aPew Research Center survey.

    The impact to the economy, how we work and how we live in our homes is in complete transformation.

    I don't know any organization thatrents office space that isn't rethinking its value, including our team at BIF," said Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalystof Business Innovation Factory (BIF). BIF is known globally for their innovation conferences.

    "There's nothing like a year of paying foremptyspace to focus any renter's attention," he continued. "Being forced by #COVID19 to operate remotely has helped us and others to more clearly separate out those activities that require a central office from those that dont.

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    One of BIF's major creations was the annual Summit which brought hundreds to Providece

    Given what businesses in general have learned during the pandemic, there is an increased and significant need for flexible work environments. We expect the opportunity to choose between working in person or remotely will become the norm, said Kelly Ramirez, CEO ofSocial Enterprise Greenhouse(SEG) one of the critical startup incubators in Rhode Island.

    For SEG, this means that we will continue to develop creative ways to accommodate Rhode Island businesses and workers across many different situations and provide dynamic working environments that can support new team needs such as asynchronous working, shared team spaces, and meeting spaces, said Ramirez.

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    Wexford office building/CIC, RI invested more than $40M

    Ramirez says that it is critical for early stage companies to have a network of resources. Prior to the pandemic there was a wave of startup spaces being created across the state from shared resources to open office spaces. Rhode Island invested upwards of $50 million in Providence and Newport alone on the Wexford complex andInnovate Newport respectively.

    Entrepreneurs require a community of support, be it virtual or in-person. It is vitally important for them to foster connections and find the resources they need to overcome challenges and grow. Because of the pandemic, they are facing absolutely new challenges, and the goalposts are constantly moving. They will need to find creative and adaptable ways to engage at multiple different levels with audiences and customers, said Ramirez.

    They will need to find new ways to collaborate with partners and peers, both in person and remotely, and discover flexible options to support teams. Many Rhode Island entrepreneurs and startups have already demonstrated their versatility in developing new models of engagement. Entrepreneurs are, after all, adaptive. We are eager to continue to support the leaders in our social impact community who are driving change and building a brighter future, in ways that are most beneficial, she added.

    Architectural critic Will Morgan, who has spent his career looking at the spaces people live and work in, says he believes a majority of now home-ensconced workers will return to the office, or some kind of traditional workspace.

    Most of all, people are social animals, and we need constant human contact. Interaction, even gossip at the water cooler, is an essential ingredient in productivity. Also, a work identity can be valuable, whether a series of recognizable tasks or being associated with a certain brand: a name on the door is better than a zoom screen, said Morgan.

    "How different will the post-Covid office be? Many changes being predicted now are not, in fact, the result of the virus. The transformation to hybrid workspaces was already happening, as was experimenting with flexible work schedules. And, there has long been pushback against the open plan office. The need for improved and even incorporated childcare services has only been heightened by recent events, added Morgan. As always, smart developers and thoughtful architects can improve our working environments.

    The Trends

    Matt Fair of the commercial real estate firm Hayes and Sherry tells GoLocal, All indications are that the 'office' will remain an important cornerstone of commerce due to the need to bring team members together for collaboration and culture building, both of which enhance long term productivity. So far newly adopted digital tools have not been able to fully replace the physical gathering wants/needs of employees.

    The office is likely to change over the next several years as companies redesign their spaces and in many cases shrink their footprints to accommodate their new needs. This will likely skew towards a more flexible working arrangement that many employees will require their employer to offer, such as working from home part time, said Fair.

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    Home office - will it be the future PHOTO: GoLocal

    As Fair points out, Rhode Island is a state of small businesses rather than tech giants. Companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are telling workers that there is no rush back to the office and for many key functions, they will never return to the brick-and-mortar workplace.

    We think the office market around the country will remain soft as tenants give back space, but will eventually strengthen again over the next few years as spaces absorb due to new job growth demand. The Rhode Island market is somewhat insulated from the negative absorption trends that we are seeing in other major markets around the country due to the small number of large corporate tenants in the market. The Rhode Island market is largely made up of a smaller regional and local companies whose space shedding is likely to happen to a lesser extent than the larger corporate entities, added Fair.

    But uncertainty is certain. A survey of 2,200 U.S. workers conducted by the Conference Board, a research group, found that 44% of employees polled didnt know their companys plans to return to the workplace.

    Fair added that in his work, collaboration is critical and that some of it can only be experienced in person.

    "Our office has found that having a physical space to come together is very important," he said. "Not being able to bump in to co-workers and grab them for 15 second conversations to keep productivity churning has been a problem and has negatively impacted our business."

    "We are an office of 10 people (8 brokers + 2 admin). Weve been back full time since June 2020 as nearly everyone has private offices. We did shut down again for a couple of weeks during the spike in late 2020," Fair added.

    Smaller and More Remote

    While the office may return, Kaplan predicts it will be far smaller, less formal and more shared space. Many workers will never or only partially return to the office. The pandemic has changed everything.

    As the crisis subsides office activity will surely return but demand for office space will change dramatically. As current office leases end many organizations will consider smaller space commitments, rely more heavily on remote collaboration/work platforms and increase their use of shared physical meetingspaces and amenities as needed. The future of work is here and the market for office space will be changed forever, said Kaplan.

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    What Is the Future of Work Space in RI - Will Staff Ever Return to the Office - GoLocalProv

    Paul Williams, Architect to the Stars, Designed the Buildings That Shaped Southern California – Robb Report - February 2, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    To commemorate Black History Month, Robb Report is publishing a limited four-part series highlighting Black designers, thinkers and other creators whose pioneering work has shaped the luxury sector. This is installment one.

    Its a story thats been told many times: How Paul Revere Williams, the most renowned Black architect of the 20th century, the acclaimed architect to the stars, taught himself to draw upside down.

    The reason was simple: He did it for the benefit of white clients who might have felt uneasy sitting beside a Black man while he sketched designs for their future homes.

    In the same vein, the quiet-spoken Williams would typically stand with hands firmly clasped behind his back as he toured construction sites. Again, he simply wanted to avoid making clients feel uncomfortable, removing the need to shake the hand of a Black man.

    Despite the inequality and racism, both subtle and overt, the trailblazing architect, during a storied five-decade-long career from the early 1920s to his retirement in 1973, shaped the architectural look of Southern California, from residential projects to commercial and municipal ones.

    He earned that architect to the stars tagline after designing homes during the Golden Age of Hollywood for a raft of A-list celebrities. From Tyrone Power to Carey Grant, from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to Frank Sinatra and silent movie legend Lon Chaney.

    Architect Paul Williams in his Los Angeles office.Photo: Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

    Then there were the commercial buildings that came off his drawing board: Saks Fifth Avenues flagship Beverly Hills store, the Los Angeles County Courthouse, the MCA headquarters, the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company headquarters and the landmark additions to LAs Beverly Hills Hotel.

    When the architect passed away in 1980 at the age of 85, he left behind a prolific portfolio of more than 3,000 buildings that included homes, hotels, banks, churches, hospitals and schools, many of which have become Southern California icons.

    Paul Williams was a trailblazing architect whose long career truly helped shape Los Angeles and Southern California, says Getty Research Institute director Mary Miller.

    In June last year, Millers Getty Research Institute, together with the University of Southern California, was able to acquire Williams entire archive of roughly 35,000 plans and 10,000 original drawings that had been meticulously curated by his granddaughter, Karen Elyse Hudson.

    The work contained in the archive tells many stories. It contains the creative expressions of an architect working across many different constituencies in a socially complicated time, says Milton S.F. Curry, dean of the USC School of Architecture.

    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnazs Palm Springs home, built by Williams in 1954-1955.Photo: Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

    Paul Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894, to parents who had moved to the city from Memphis. He was just two when his father died of tuberculosis, and four when his mother passed of the same disease.

    Raised by church friends of his parents, he developed a passion for architecture and eventually earned a place at LAs Polytechnic High School. It was here a teacher famously advised him against pursuing his dream, telling him white clients wouldnt want to use a Black architect, and Black clients could never afford his services.

    Yet Williams was undeterred. After becoming the first Black graduate from USC in 1919, healmost unthinkable at the timewas appointed to the Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920. The following year, he got his California architects license, opened his own practice in 1922, and became the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923. He was just 29.

    His big break came during Californias 1920s housing boom with the new greenfield suburb of Flintridge, north of Los Angeles. The developer, former senator Frank Flint, hired the young Williams to design his new home in the suburb. That led to other commissions in the area. Business suddenly started to take off.

    The unfortunate irony is that the strict, race-based segregation covenants that Flintridge adopted would have prevented Williams and his family from ever buying property there. Same with the hotels he designed, where he would not have been allowed to stay.

    The Beverly Hills Hotel addition, which Williams completed in 1950.Photo: Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

    But the architect continued to attract new commissions through his talent for inspiring clients with his remarkable creativity. He was also determined not to be pigeon-holed into one design style. He could offer plans that ranged from Tudor and French Provincial to Spanish Colonial or Modernist.

    And his quiet demeanor, his always-immaculate attiredouble-breasted suits even on gritty construction sitesproved to be key attributes in winning over clients.

    In a 1937 essay for The American Magazine entitled I Am a Negro, he wrote that his aim was always to amaze potential clients within a few minutes of meetingthe upside-down sketching no doubt helped. This, he said, would let them focus on his skills and creativity, rather than his race.

    It was without doubt his knack for connecting with Hollywoods A-list that defined much of his legacy. One of his landmark designs was for a 15,000-square-foot, 20-room Bel-Air mansion in 1936 for Jay Paley, of the wealthy CBS broadcasting family. A highlight was its breathtaking zodiac pool, designed by Williams and featuring thousands of multi-colored tiles, hand-painted and imported from France.

    The zodiac pool was also designed by the homes architect, Paul Revere Williams.Photo: Courtesy of Hilton and Hyland

    The estate was eventually bought by the late hotel magnate Barron Hilton who called it home for more than 50 years. Following Hiltons death in 2019, it just recently went on the market for $75 million.

    Second only to Williams residential designs were his commercial projects, many of which resonated strongly with LAs Black community.

    An early work was the 28th Street YMCA just off Central Avenue in one of the citys most historic Black neighborhoods. The four-story Spanish Revival-style building, completed in 1926, was LAs first club founded by and for Black boys and men.

    The remarkable retractable roof Williams designed for the El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs from 1952 to 1953.Photo: Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

    Williams Late Moderne design for the new Golden State Mutual Life Insurance headquarters, at the corner of Adams and Western in South Central LA, was considered a masterpiece when it opened in 1949. At the time, Golden State Mutual was the largest Black-owned insurance company west of the Mississippi. It sold life insurance policies to Black Angelenos at a time when other companies refused.

    While his worldwide recognition was a long time coming, Williams and his nearly 60-year career and gifted body of work, finally received its due. In 2017, the AIA posthumously awarded him its prestigious gold medal, the organizations highest honor. And his career was a recent subject of an acclaimed PBS documentary, Hollywoods Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story, which can be streamed online.

    The pool courtyard at the El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs.Photo: Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust

    As Williams wrote in that I Am a Negro essay for American Magazine in 1937: Without having the wish to show them, I developed a fierce desire to show myself. I wanted to vindicate every ability I had. I wanted to acquire new abilities. I wanted to prove that I, as an individual, deserved a place in the world. And he did just that.

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    Paul Williams, Architect to the Stars, Designed the Buildings That Shaped Southern California - Robb Report

    Commercial Lighting Market 2021-2026 Booming Growth Analysis and Future Prospects | Deco Lighting, Syska, Toshiba Corporation – KSU | The Sentinel… - January 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Latest added Commercial Lighting Market research study by MarketDigits offers detailed product outlook and elaborates market review till 2026. The market Study is segmented by key regions that is accelerating the marketization. At present, the market is sharping its presence and some of the key players in the study areDeco Lighting, Inc., Syska, Toshiba Corporation, Zumtobel Group Ag. The study is a perfect mix of qualitative and quantitative Market data collected and validated majorly through primary data and secondary sources.

    This report studies the Commercial Lighting Market size, industry status and forecast, competition landscape and growth opportunity. This research report categorizes the Commercial Lighting Market by companies, region, type and end-use industry.

    Request for Sample Copy of This Report @

    Scroll down 100s of data Tables, charts and graphs spread through Pages and in-depth Table of Content on Commercial Lighting Market by Product Type (LED, CFL, LFL, HID, Halogens, others) By End User (Residential, Commercial, Outdoor) and Geography Global Forecast To 2026. Early buyers will get 10% customization on study.

    To Avail deep insights of Commercial Lighting Market Size, competition landscape is provided i.e. Revenue Analysis (M $US) by Company (2018-2020), Segment Revenue Market Share (%) by Players (2018-2020) and further a qualitative analysis is made towards market concentration rate, product/service differences, new entrants and the technological trends in future.

    Unlock new opportunities in Commercial Lighting Market; the latest release fromMarketDigitshighlights the key market trends significant to the growth prospects, Let us know if any specific players or list of players needs to consider to gain better insights.

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    The report on Commercial Lighting market covers exhaustive analysis on:-

    Thecommercial lighting marketis projected to reach USD 21.8 billion by 2025 from USD 8.2 billion in 2020; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.5% during the forecast period. The most significant factors driving the growth of this market are the ongoing and upcoming smart city projects in the developing countries, growing focus of governments worldwide on energy consumption, increasing acceptance of standard protocols for lighting control systems, escalating demand for LED lights and luminaires for use in outdoor applications, and surging use of integrated lighting control systems. Rapid transition from traditional lighting to connected lighting solutions and increased adoption of PoE-based and solar lighting system are major opportunities for the commercial lighting market.

    Impact of COVID-19 on Commercial lighting Market:

    The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the lighting industry owing to the lockdown across many countries and disruptions in the supply chain. Thus, most of the lighting OEMs and integrators are witnessing a shortage of electronic components such as chips and LED drivers. This has created an imbalance, resulting in a demand-supply gap and an increase in the prices of lighting products. For instance, Signify has announced a temporary price hike on all LED and lamp electronics as the costs in its logistics chain is on the rise due to the pandemic. Disruption in the supply chain would create an imbalance in the demand-supply equation and create pressure across entities in the smart lighting ecosystem.

    Market Dynamics:

    Driver: Ongoing and upcoming smart city projects in developing countries

    Presently, there are several ongoing smart city projects across the world that offer opportunities to technology companies, technology service providers, utility providers, and consulting companies. The efficient use of electricity is one of the primary goals of smart city infrastructures. Smart cities are considered as the driving factor for sustainable economic growth in a country. Energy efficiency, the sustainability of resources, and advancements in digital technologies have led to the rise of the smart cities concept. The smart lighting application is expected to play a significant role in achieving sustainability and energy savings.

    Restraint: High initial costs

    The initial cost of smart lightings, as well as the cost of integration and installation services, is high. Smart lightings comprise hardware components such as dimmers, switches, sensors, control systems, and software. Hence, the installation cost of smart lighting is higher than that of conventional lightings. This is primarily due to the requirement for highly expensive software, control systems, and LED light sources for smart lighting solutions. This hampers the adoption of smart lighting control systems.

    Opportunity: Rapid transition from traditional lighting to connected lighting solutions

    In recent years, there has been a rapid shift from conventional lighting systems to connected lighting systems due to various advantages offered by connected lighting solutions, such as increased energy efficiency, improved ambiance at the workplace, and cost savings in the long run. Connected lighting devices are well known for their energy efficiency. These devices consume less power and have a long life, thereby reducing maintenance and replacement costs. Most of the connected lighting solutions consist of wireless sensors and switches that provide flexibility in lighting control operations, whereas conventional lighting solutions do not have these features. The introduction of wireless lighting controls has boosted the market for retrofit lighting systems, which, in turn, has increased the demand for lighting control systems. Wireless lighting control solutions have not only reduced the use of wires but also helped avoid reconstruction of existing buildings.

    Challenge: Interoperability issues between different network components

    At present, the biggest concern in the lighting control ecosystem is the availability of solutions with multiple interoperable technologies. End-users need to choose a suitable lighting control solution from a wider range of available solutions but, the lack of uniform standards makes it challenging to integrate the available solutions. The incompatibility of various components and the lack of interoperability create problems for end-users. Traditional lighting control systems usually consist of hardware and software manufactured by the same manufacturer, whereas different manufacturers develop controls in connected lighting solutions. This creates interoperability issues, causing problems for communication between various network components of a lighting system. Hence, there is a need to establish standard protocols to develop compatible products. Several organizations such as the Connected Lighting Alliance (TCLA) and the ZigBee Alliance are trying to standardize the protocols used in connected lighting technology so that luminaires could be used to collect and share data for analytics purposes.

    Based on end-use application, the indoor segment held the largest share of the commercial lighting market in 2019.

    The market for indoor smart lighting is expected to hold the larger share, owing to the high demand in commercial space. In these applications, smart lighting is an essential element in creating a modern workspace that attracts customers with changing preferences. It continues helping owners to create a flexible working environment, reduce expenses, improve work efficiencies, and create quality lighting that enhances the occupant experience. Hence, the adoption of smart lighting in commercial spaces is gaining more traction and has a high opportunity in the near future due to smart city initiatives by governments across the world.

    Key Market Players

    Signify (Philips Lighting) (Netherlands); Legrand S.A. (France); Acuity Brands, Inc. (US); GE Current, a Daintree Company (US); OSRAM Licht AG (Germany); Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc. (US); Lutron Electronics (US); Hubbell Incorporated (US); LEDVANCE GmbH (Germany); Schneider Electric SE (France); Ideal Industries, Inc. (Cree Lighting) (US); and Zumtobel Group (Austria) are a few major players in the commercial lighting market.

    Recent Developments

    Commercial Lighting Market definition, market segmentation, key developments in the market, competitive analysis & research methodology are the major topics in which this Commercial Lighting Market research report is divided. This market research provides clients with the information on their business scenario with which they can build business strategies to thrive in the market. The report covers all the market shares and approaches of the major competitors or the key players in the market. Each of the topics covered in the Commercial Lighting Market analysis report is studied very well to get clear idea about all the factors that are influencing the market growth.

    Table Of Content: Global Commercial Lighting Market

    Part 01: Executive Summary

    Part 02: Scope Of The Report

    Part 03: Global Commercial Lighting Market Landscape

    Part 04: Global Commercial Lighting Market Sizing

    Part 05: Global Commercial Lighting Market Segmentation By Product

    Part 06: Five Forces Analysis

    Part 07: Customer Landscape

    Part 08: Geographic Landscape

    Part 09: Decision Framework

    Part 10: Drivers And Challenges

    Part 11: Market Trends

    Part 12: Vendor Landscape

    Part 13: Vendor Analysis

    And More

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    MarketDigitsis one of the leading business research and consulting companies that helps clients to tap new and emerging opportunities and revenue areas, thereby assisting them in operational and strategic decision-making. We atMarketDigitsbelieve that market is a small place and an interface between the supplier and the consumer, thus our focus remains mainly on business research that includes the entire value chain and not only the markets.

    We offer services that are most relevant and beneficial to the users, which help businesses to sustain in this competitive market. Our detailed and in-depth analysis of the markets catering to strategic, tactical, and operational data analysis & reporting needs of various industries utilize advanced technology so that our clients get better insights into the markets and identify lucrative opportunities and areas of incremental revenues.

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    Commercial Lighting Market 2021-2026 Booming Growth Analysis and Future Prospects | Deco Lighting, Syska, Toshiba Corporation - KSU | The Sentinel...

    Panzura Expands Leadership With Six Key Hires to Intensify Growth Initiatives – PR Web - January 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The appointments reflect Panzuras continued focus on putting customers first, simplifying channel partner programs, strengthening financial growth, and driving greater employee engagement.

    CAMPBELL, Calif. (PRWEB) January 19, 2021

    Coming off the strongest year in the companys history, Panzura has announced six additions to its leadership team. Joining the company are Judy Kopa, James Seay, Joseph Hopkins, Thomas Arlington, Jim Choumas and Pablo Schneider, each of whom will bolster core initiatives. The appointments reflect Panzuras continued focus on putting customers first, simplifying channel partner programs, strengthening financial growth, and driving greater employee engagement.

    This team was attracted to Panzura in part due to the burgeoning market opportunities for the company. Hybrid-cloud data management providers are becoming even more critical to digital transformation in the enterprise. Rooted in a perspective of customer service earned over more than two decades, I am excited about what we are doing at Panzura to enhance the experience of our customers and add real value to their business, said Panzuras new chief services officer James Seay.

    According to a recent report by research firm DCIG, as software-defined storage (SDS) continues to accelerate enterprise adoption for data storage management, organizations are concurrently adopting hybrid cloud. The hybrid cloud market is expected to grow 20 percent incrementally by $67.62 billion through 2024. The SDS market, simultaneously trending at a compound growth rate of 27 percent, is forecast to reach $42.79 billion in the same period.

    We couldnt be more proud of the diversity and world-class expertise represented by our team, said Jill Stelfox, CEO at Panzura. Together, these senior leaders bring tremendous advantage to our customers, and as true trailblazers in their fields, they offer finely honed strategic and technical acumen that will help us play the game at the highest level.

    As Panzuras new chief financial officer, drawing on her strong record with large enterprises, Judy Kopa will drive plans to help scale the company as it continues on a trajectory of significant growth. Managing on-prem and cloud solutions is complex, and Seays remarkable expertise in enterprise-class cloud deployments will provide incalculable benefits to Panzura customers.

    Panzuras legacy of bringing together great people to build great products has been a tremendous asset and differentiator in the market. The creative way in which weve supported our people through the pandemic attracted me to the company, said Joseph Hopkins, who assumes the new role of chief people officer.

    An enthusiastic people-focused thought leader, Hopkins will align Panzuras people strategy to ensure business continuity and resilience. He will lead all aspects of people operations, including culture, employee engagement, talent acquisition, total rewards, organization development, diversity, equity and inclusion as Panzura is poised to double its staff this year. More than 70 people have joined the company in the last 6 months.

    Panzuras senior management team has also been expanded to include two new vice presidents and a director. Exponentially large and complex hybrid cloud deployments require commensurate technical advances. Thomas Arlington, Panzuras new Director, Solutions Architects, is focused on pre-sale technology design, and provides critical direction on the creation, documentation and development of solutions to meet the needs of specific customers and industry use cases.

    Following outstanding progress and expansion in channel relationships last year, Jim Choumas has been brought on board as Vice President, Commercial Sales. He has more than 20 years of experience building sales and channel organizations for both startups and Fortune 100 companies. Moreover, as Panzuras Vice President of Business & Corporate Development, Pablo Schneider is responsible for creating strategic business partnerships and driving new revenue sources in support of sales targets and marketing goals.

    Judy KopaChief Financial OfficerJudy Kopa brings a wealth of financial leadership and business strategy experience to Panzura. Previously, she was CFO at Gigster where she contributed to the companys expansion from Services to a SaaS platform model for freelance and remote workforces. She also served as CFO for Ciscos AppDynamics business unit as well as advising and supporting the CDO to drive software and subscription strategy and monetization, and as Vice President, Global Financial Planning and Analysis for SAPs SuccessFactors cloud division.

    James SeayChief Services OfficerJames Seay was general manager at DXC Technologies where he focused on vision and strategic planning to maintain existing customers and pursue new business opportunities for the energy industry in North America. He has served in leadership roles around sales, service delivery, channel development, and customer engagement for technology industry titans including Arrow Electronics, Diebold Nixdorf, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent.

    Joseph HopkinsChief People OfficerJoseph Hopkins, a thought leader in human capital management, has crafted and led a variety of initiatives that create positive employee experiences across the technology, aerospace, healthcare and energy industries. He is recognized as a subject matter expert in championing, delivering and executing HR solutions that align to business demands and growth. Most recently, he led HR programs for DXC Technology, as well as serving as a key HR thought partner for BD and Boeing.

    Thomas ArlingtonDirector, Solutions ArchitectsWith more than 15 years experience in the technology industry, Tom Arlington comes to Panzura with deep solution architecture experience in building robust strategies and techniques to manage petabytes of data and billions of files across any cloud configuration. He previously directed solutions architect for Igneous, driving exceptional public cloud services through design and development of igneouss first SaaS customers, as well as in key channel technical and engineering leadership positions with Qumulo and EMCs Isilon Storage Division.

    Jim ChoumasVice President, Commercial SalesJim Choumas is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in data services and modern data management. Prior to joining Panzura, he served as Vice President of Sales at Igneous. Choumas previously built Qumulos channel partner program and ecosystem as the Director of Channels for North America, and held progressively complex enterprise sales leadership and business development roles at NetApp, Fusion-io (now Sandisk), Nimbus Data, and SGI.

    Pablo SchneiderVice President, Business & Corporate DevelopmentPablo Schneider brings a broad range of international business expertise to Panzura. His work has focused on helping companies grow through business development and innovation programs that advance market leadership and customer affinity. Schneiders long-time affiliations in business, media, leadership, and education include The Wider Net, APCH, Renaissance Dinners, MBN USA and WE USA, NACD, HITEC, Prospanica, Ascend, Thunderbird, Texas Lyceum, LEAD San Diego, San Diego State University, and Grossmont College.

    About PanzuraPanzura is the fabric that transforms cloud storage into a global file system, allowing enterprises to use the cloud as a high performance, globally available data center. Companies all around the world in the sports, healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, gaming, and architectural, engineering and construction industries, as well as government agencies use Panzuras fabric to manage hundreds of petabytes of data in the cloud. Visit for more information.

    # # #

    Panzura is a trademark or registered trademark of Panzura LLC in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks and/or logos are property of their respective owners.

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    Panzura Expands Leadership With Six Key Hires to Intensify Growth Initiatives - PR Web

    KBS Completes an $11 Million Renovation to an Iconic 31-Story Office Tower in Downtown Denver, Colorado – Business Wire - January 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--KBS, one of the largest investors in premier commercial real estate in the nation, announced that it has completed a series of renovations to Granite Tower, a 31-story Class A office building in Downtown Denver, Colorado. Granite Tower is owned by KBS REIT II.

    The improvements serve to activate the buildings street-level space to invite interaction with Downtown Denvers local community, in addition to providing a full slate of new indoor/outdoor amenities to enhance tenants experience at the property in preparation for a post-pandemic environment, according to Giovanni (Gio) Cordoves, Western regional president for KBS.

    Our goal with the renovations to Granite Tower was to deliver office space that serves the needs of todays top tenants, says Cordoves. The renovations we have completed at this iconic property enhance its appearance and functionality while increasing its value significantly in a vital and thriving central business district.

    As Denvers downtown core has boomed, companies have come to expect high-end amenities in their office space in order to attract and retain top talent for the long haul, according to Tim Helgeson, asset manager for Granite Tower and senior vice president for KBS.

    New class-A commercial offerings like Granite Tower are redefining amenity norms and luring long-term tenants from aging assets, says Helgeson. KBS was astute enough to find the right time to implement the recent upgrades to this highly visible and desirable property and redefine its image in the eyes of office users, Denver residents and visitors. The renovations give both tenants and pedestrians in this market even more reason to return to the building time and again once the pandemic is behind us.

    To complete the renovations to Granite Tower, KBS tapped architecture, engineering, planning and interiors firm DLR Group and architectural firm Alan Colussy Architecture, LLC to align the property competitively with nearby comparable assets, according to Jessie Johnson, architect and principal with DLR Group. The upgrades included:

    After these improvements, what was formerly dark and dated at Granite Towers street level is now a new, modernized experience that is light, bright, and expansively streamlined, says Johnson. The building is now open and welcoming to pedestrians, visitors and tenants as well as visually pleasing from the interior and exterior.

    The perception of this property has fundamentally changed with the recent renovations, according to Alan Colussy, principal member of Alan Colussy Architecture, LLC.

    We delivered an expansion in the lobby, creating a lantern effect so that during the daytime it captures light and at night time it takes on an internal illumination that allows it to glow and come alive, says Colussy. The new amenities afford the building a clean, crisp and contemporary look that supports the propertys updated functionality. The changes also truly resonate with tenants, who increasingly bike to work and can now enter the building securely and go up to the new fitness room to shower without having to use the main entrance.

    Colussy adds that he enjoyed working with KBS on the project. The company is so knowledgeable about market trends. We were dealing with very educated project managers who knew what they were doing. Its refreshing to work with that skill set. KBS also recognized the opportunity for us to do these renovations while many of its tenants were working remotely due to COVID-19, which enabled us to complete the project more quickly and efficiently than it would have in a typical year.

    Originally built in 1984 as part of a four-tower block and formerly known as Stellar Plaza and Plaza Tower, Granite Tower today covers two city blocks and features 593,527 square feet of office space. The LEED Gold-certified property, which contains a 774-space, three-level parking structure with 615 spaces dedicated to its office tenants, is located a couple of minutes walk from the Ritz Carlton, in the center of Downtown Denver development, at the gateway to Denvers Lower Downtown Historic District (LoDo), and with close proximity to Coors Field and the redeveloped Union Station.

    Engineering services for the renovations were completed by Columbine Engineering for MEP and Martin Martin for structural and civil services.

    Granite Tower is located at 1099 18th Street in Denver, Colorado.

    Click here for renovated photos of Granite Tower.

    About KBS

    KBS is one of the largest owners of premier commercial real estate in the nation. As a private equity real estate company and an SEC-registered investment adviser, KBS and its affiliated companies have completed transactional activity of more than $42 billion on behalf of private and institutional investors globally. Founded in 1992 by Peter Bren and Chuck Schreiber, KBS acquires and operates prime commercial real estate in some of the most successful epicenters in the country. The firm is committed in its business ethics, its business relationships and its constant focus on exceeding the expectations of its investors, partners and tenants. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any particular level of skill or training. For more information on KBS, please visit

    This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended including statements relating to KBS ability to invest in and manage a diverse portfolio, and the performance of Granite Tower and of the Denver real estate market. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause KBS and/or Granite Towers actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

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    KBS Completes an $11 Million Renovation to an Iconic 31-Story Office Tower in Downtown Denver, Colorado - Business Wire

    Resilient year for East Midlands architect with expansion plans for 2021 – East Midlands Business Link - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Lincolnshire-based architectural practicePolkeyCollins is celebrating a strong year in business, despite the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic presented the construction industry earlier this year.

    Specialising in commercial architectural services, across multiple sectors including retail, office, science and education, PolkeyCollins has reported an increase in turnover in 2020 compared with 2019, following a successful first year of the firms ambitious five-year business plan.

    The company, which was founded by Clive Polkey and Daniel Collins, made multiple hires throughout the year including architectural and administrative staff, who have helped to propel the companys growth strategy forward, and has now prompted a decision to move to new, larger offices in 2021.

    As well as strengthening the team, PolkeyCollins has also made significant investments in its BIM (Building Information Modelling) capabilities, which includes the introduction of upgraded software and training for the team.

    Director Clive Polkey said: This year has been a challenging time for everyone and we are grateful for the support we have had from our clients, partners and team members, who have pulled together throughout the year.

    By specialising in understanding the client and applying design rigour across multiple sectors, we have seen positive responses and attitudes to the way we work. Our ethos has always been about creating a progressive architectural practice that delivers cost effective, detailed designs that are viable from concept to completion. This is something we strongly believe in and has proven to be even more important this year.

    We are lucky to count some the UK best known brands and leading educational organisations as clients and along with new business, we have seen the number of enquiries for our services and live projects grow. This is reflected in our turnover increase and is testament to our teams skill and hard work.

    Fellow director Daniel Collins added: The challenges of this year have helped us to focus on supporting our team and meeting and surpassing the needs and expectations of our valued clients.

    We are proud of our achievements as a business over the last twelve months despite the uncertainty and we have remained focused on our business plan. We are now seeing the positive results of that strategy, with a clear direction for the company over the next few years.

    Our team are everything; they have worked together through difficult times with their positive, energetic and productive approach and it has made a huge difference in the work we have been able to achieve this year.

    Go here to read the rest:
    Resilient year for East Midlands architect with expansion plans for 2021 - East Midlands Business Link

    Courts Are Deciding Some Conservation Easement Cases In Favor Of Taxpayers – At Least In Part. Is It Time To Rethink Settlement? – Forbes - December 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A string of taxpayer victories in Conservation Easement cases has many taxpayers who have sponsored or invested in these transactions re-thinking whether settling pending tax court litigation is a good idea, after all.The Eleventh Circuits decision in Pine Mountain Preserve, LLLP v. Commissioner, coupled with recent Tax Court decisions in Kissling v. Commissioner and Rajagopalan v. Commissioner have the conservation easement community feeling confident about litigation prospects.But taxpayers who want to litigate these cases should not look at their prospects through rose colored glasses.The IRS could not be more clear: it intends to litigate and fight against these transactions with every resource available.

    The IRS is aggresively pursuing taxpayers who participate in conservation easements. (Photo By Bill ... [+] Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

    I have and do advise anyone who is considering entering into a syndicated conservation easement transaction today: do not even think about it.The litigation costs let alone the time and energy of a battle with the IRS simply cannot be understated.As a tax controversy and tax litigation attorney, I represent clients who have involvement with conservation easements.Because of that, while Ive had no involvement with any of the cases discussed in this article, my assessment cant possibly be completely impartial.It is because of that representation, however, that no matter how much I think a particular conservation easement case has a very good chance of being decided in favor of the taxpayer, I know that such a victory may be Pyrrhic at best.Anyone considering whether to settle or fight in a conservation easement case should carefully consider the financial and emotional cost of litigation when evaluating a possible settlement.As Ive said before, fighting the IRS can take an emotional and physical toll on a person.

    A Public-Private Partnership to Conserve Land

    As I explained in an earlier article, a conservation easement is a collaborative effort between the federal government and landowners to protect land from development and conserve it for future generations. The landowner enters into a voluntary and binding legal agreement encumbering property that she owns, restricting its use exclusively for specified conservation purposes. The agreement must run with the property and in favor of a qualified donee organizationa governmental unit or a publicly supported non-profit organization with a commitment to protect the donations conservation purposes. These purposes can include preserving land for outdoor recreation, preserving the natural habitat of wildlife and plants, preserving open space for scenic enjoyment, and preserving the faade of historic structures. In return, the federal government, through the tax code, grants the landowner a tax deduction in the amount of the diminution in her propertys value resulting from the restriction placed on it. The National Conservation Easement Database has documented about 32.7 million acres nationwide preserved to date by almost 200,000 distinct conservation easements. According to one study, the Treasury lost about $600 million a year between 2003 and 2008 on account of these donation deductions claimed by individuals.

    Congress first enacted a tax deduction for charitable contributions of conservation easements as a temporary provision in 1976, and then made that deduction permanent in 1980. When enacting the permanent deduction provision, Congress specified two separate perpetuity requirements, the so-called perpetual-grant and perpetual-protection requirements. Specifically, Congress provided that the restriction constituting the easement should be granted in perpetuity, and the conservation purpose sought to be achieved by that grant should be protected in perpetuity. As I explain below, after years of inactivity, the IRS abruptly and without explanation began wielding both these perpetuity requirements as cudgels in an effort to deprive taxpayers of any tax benefits from their charitable contributions of conservation easements.

    During the intervening time, there was apparent consensus on what the perpetuity requirements entailed. In particular, the Senate Finance Committee report accompanying the 1980 legislation explained the perpetual-protection requirement thus: By requiring that the conservation purpose be protected in perpetuity, the committee intends that the perpetual restrictions must be enforceable by the donee organization (and successors in interest) against all other parties in interest (including successors in interest).

    An implementing Treasury regulation finalized in 1986 states that any interest in the property retained by the donor . . . must be subject to legally enforceable restrictions. . . that will prevent uses of the retained interest inconsistent with the conservation purposes of the donation. Harmonizing that regulation with the 1980 Senate Finance Committee Report, it is clear that it is the donee organization that is envisaged as preventing inconsistent uses. Therefore, the regulation quoted above would more faithfully track congressional intent if it were read as follows: that any interest retained by the donor must be subject to legally enforceable restrictions that will enable the donee organization to prevent uses of the retained interest inconsistent with the conservation purposes of the donation. And that is exactly how that regulation implementing the perpetual-protection requirement has been understood by taxpayers and those advising them, at least initially with apparent tacit consent of the IRS.

    The IRS Strained Reading of the Perpetuity Requirements

    But after almost two decades, during which both the statutory and regulatory schemes remained largely unchanged, the IRS seemed to precipitately indicate a ramp-up in audit and litigation activity, issuing Notice 2004-41. Issued without an opportunity for public participation through notice-and-comment procedures that generally precede promulgation of regulations, this notice cautioned taxpayers engaging in conservation easement transactions of the Services intention to disallow improper deductions and impose penalties in appropriate cases. The notice focused on valuation of conservation easements, reminding taxpayers that availability of a deduction required that the easement be substantiated in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, and highlighting the constraint that the amount of the deduction may not exceed the fair market value of the ...contributed easement...reduced by the fair market value of any consideration received by the taxpayer. Other than a passing reference to the perpetual-grant requirement, the notice was silent on the two perpetuity requirements.

    The other shoe dropped with Notice 2017-10, again issued without notice-and-comment procedures, in which the Service identified conservation easements granted through partnerships or other pass-thru entities, so-called syndicated easement transactions, as listed transactions and notified taxpayers that the IRS intends to challenge the purported tax benefits from this transaction based on overvaluation of the conservation easement. Like Notice 2004-41, Notice 2017-10 only briefly mentioned the perpetual-grant requirement and made no reference to the perpetual-protection requirement.Unlike Notice 2004-41, however, Notice 2017-10 imposes draconian and burdensome reporting requirements, as well as strict and heavy penalties for the failure to comply with those requirements.

    Belying its proclaimed intention in both notices to train its enforcement guns on the valuation of conservation easements, however, the IRS has been engaged ever since in an exercise in revisionist history, rearticulating the two perpetuity requirements in a manner that would trip up almost any grant of a conservation easement. Instead of challenging the taxpayers claimed valuation of a conservation easement, the Service has typically been hunting through the grant instrument, looking for provisions that it argues run afoul of its strained reading of one or both perpetuity requirements. The upshot? The IRS disallows the entire charitable contribution deduction on the grounds that the taxpayer failed to comply with the threshold prerequisites for a valid conservation easement.

    For example, the IRS points to the amendment clause typically found in most easement deeds, contending that such a clause opens the door to the parties amending the easement in ways violative of the perpetual-protection requirement, notwithstanding language in the clause precluding amendments inconsistent with the conservation purpose of the grant. In effect, then, the Service seems to be arguing that the donee organization is not to be trusted in the exercise of its contractual consent power.

    That argument flies in the face of congressional intent to charge the donee organization, as holder of the easement, with enforcement of the perpetual-protection requirement. It has also been consistently rejected by the Tax Court and every Court of Appeals to have considered it. In rejecting it, the reviewing courts have refrained from delving into the legislative history of the perpetual-protection requirement. They have, however, found a donee organizations tax-exempt status adequate reason for respecting that organizations discretion.

    Observing that [a]ny donee might fail to enforce a conservation easement, the D.C. Circuit has pointed out that a tax-exempt organization would do so at its peril. Simmons v. Commissioner, 646 F.3d 6, 10 (D.C. Cir. 2011), aff'g T.C. Memo. 2009-20. The Sixth Circuit, too, rebuffed a similar IRS challenge, focusing on the absence of any evidence suggesting that the donee organization is unwilling or unable to monitor and enforce compliance so as to maintain the stated conservation purpose in perpetuity.

    The IRS Tumbles Down Pine Mountain

    Undeterred, the IRS has pressed ahead, seeking to strike down the grant of a conservation easement for allegedly violating not just the perpetual-protection but also the perpetual-grant requirement. It tasted partial success with the latter argument in the Tax Court in Pine Mountain Preserve LLLP v. Commissioner, 151 T.C. 247 (2018), a case involving three separate easements granted in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively, over some 6,224 acres of land in Shelby County, Alabama, about 20 miles south-east of Birmingham.

    The Tax Court allowed a deduction for the 2007 easement covering a specific, identifiable piece of real property, rejecting the Services contention that a general amendment clause in the easement deed could enable the parties to amend the easement in ways that might violate the perpetual-grant requirement, e.g., by reducing the size of the . . . [c]onservation [a]rea or by permitting residential construction within it. Drawing inspiration from the rationale expressed by the D.C. Circuit in Simmons v. Commissioner, in denying an IRS challenge to the perpetual-protection requirement, the Tax Court extended that rationale to the perpetual-grant requirement. Finding it hard to imagine how the donee organization could conscientiously find such amendments to be consistent with the conservation purposes set forth in the easement, the Tax Court noted that the IRS argument would apparently prevent the donor of any easement from qualifying for a charitable contribution deduction, as long as the easement permitted amendments, a result it deemed untenable. Consequently, the Tax Court concluded that the amendment clause in the 2007 easement deed did not violate either the perpetual-grant or the perpetual-protection requirement.

    Nevertheless, with only a single dissenting vote, the Tax Court in that case sustained disallowing deductions for the remaining two easements at issue, those granted in 2005 and 2006, because the property owner retained certain development rights over the conservation area.

    Invoking a Swiss-cheese metaphor, the Tax Court majority imagine[d] the entire easement-related area as a large slice of Emmenthaler cheese. The majority worried about the property owner making new holes in this cheese. The holes represent the zones reserved for commercial or residential development. The majority reasoned that the property owner could put new holes in the cheese and make up for it by adding an equal amount of previously unprotected land to the conservation area. Alternatively, argued the majority, he could put new holes in the cheese and make up for it by plugging the same number of holes elsewhere in the conservation area. Claiming that the statute thus bars the developer from putting any new holes in the cheese, the Tax Court majority concluded that the 2005 and 2006 easements did not restrict a specific, identifiable piece of real property, and therefore, violated the perpetual-grant requirement.

    On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the Tax Courts holdings with respect to the 2005 and 2006 easements, eschewing the Swiss-cheese metaphor and declaring that the better cheese analogy is to Pepper Jack. The Court of Appeals explained that the reserved rights don't introduce holes into the conservation-easement slice, because the entire slice remains subject to a restrictioni.e., the conservation easement. Therefore, concluded the court, the reserved rights are embedded pepper flakes, and, so long as they don't alter the actual boundaries of the easement, the perpetual-grant requirement is satisfied.

    Making clear that its opinion wasnt giving the Pine Mountains of the world a free pass, the Eleventh Circuit pointed out that even after passing through the granted-in-perpetuity gateway, a conservation easement must still satisfy ... [the] protected-in-perpetuity requirement. To make that determination for the 2005 and 2006 easements, the Eleventh Circuit remanded the case back to the Tax Court. Even as it did so, the Court of Appeals remarked that the donee organization, the North American Land Trust (NALT), has extensive advance-approval rights under these easement contracts. NALT is a sophisticated land-conservation organization, and we have little doubt that when it comes to negotiating conservation easements, it is well positioned and equipped to look after conservation interests.

    In doing so, the Eleventh Circuit appeared to be echoing the sentiments of an amicus brief filed by Land Trust Alliance, Inc. in the case, arguing that when deciding whether an easement has been granted in perpetuity, a court should presume as a matter of law that easement holders will faithfully comply with their obligations under the conservation easement and under Code 501(c)(3), which provision governs nonprofit organizations in general.

    By entrusting the donee organizing to police the dual perpetuity requirements, the Eleventh Circuits Pine Mountain opinion thus forces the IRS not only to read those requirements consistent with legislative intent but also to live up to its own word in the two notices the agency has issued in this area, Notice 2004-41 and Notice 2017-10, and litigate the merits of the value of a conservation easement claimed by a taxpayer instead of trying to ensnare him with novel theories that would seek to deny the obvious fact of his having granted a valid conservation easement in the first instance.

    The Battle of Experts

    A couple of Tax Court cases that followed right after the Eleventh Circuit decided Pine Mountain signaled why the IRS may have been so keen to fight this battle so far away from the promised battleground of valuations: On both occasions, the Service came up second-best in the valuation race.

    The value of a conservation easement is its fair market value (FMV) at the time of the contribution, with Treasury regulations defining FMV as the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller. These regulations prefer using sale records of properties with easements comparable to the contributed easement at issue, provided a substantial record of such sales exists. That, however, is seldom the case. Recognizing that, the same regulation provision allows looking to the difference between the FMV of the property encumbered by the easement before and after the grant of the easement, the so-called before-and-after test. For purposes of this test, the regulations provide considering not only the propertys current use, but also the propertys highest and best use both before and after the easement grant. In computing before and after values for the test, courts generally use the comparable-sales and income methods. Regardless of the method used, the before-and-after test usually boils down to a duel between the IRS and taxpayers economic experts, each side marshaling assumptions and projections about the larger economy and the specific piece of property at issue to answer an imponderable: what might the property have been worth had it been put to its highest and best useboth with and without the easement on it.

    In both the post-Pine Mountain cases I examine here, the IRS drew attention to provisions in the respective easement deeds to argue that the perpetual-grant requirement had been violated. And in each case, the Tax Court put a stop to those arguments by pointing to its own Pine Mountain opinion regarding the 2007 easement at issue in that case. Once we decided in Pine Mountain that the power of parties to amend a deed of easement did not ipso facto render all donations of such easements nondeductible, this case became one of the apparently rare instances in which the only dispute is about the proper value of an easement, the Tax Court wrote in the first of these cases, Kissling v. Commissioner . Similarly, in the second case, Rajagopalan v. Commissioner, the Tax Court, while acknowledging the presence of an amendment clause that allows the parties to modify certain restrictions in the deed of easement, nonetheless rejected the IRS argument that this deprives the easement of the required perpetuity, stating that the court expressly rejected this argument in its Pine Mountain opinion.

    The duel of the experts then ensued in each case. Kissling involved faade easements on three commercial buildings in Buffalo, New York, contributed to the National Architectural Trust in 2004 by individual taxpayers through a partnership. The IRS fielded a solitary valuation expert against three for the taxpayer. The court expressed some serious concerns about the IRS experts methodology. Cherry-picking its way among the several components of the before-and-after test based on the reports of the different experts, the court determined that the correct total value of the easements was only slightly lower than what the individual taxpayers had claimed on their returns; $ 672,512 rather than $770,310, for a total difference of $97,798, a difference too small to attract any accuracy-related penalties.

    The second case, Rajagopalan, turned out to be an even bigger rout for the IRS. At issue was an easement on almost 90 acres of land in Haywood County, North Carolina, granted to NALT in November 2006, at what turned out to be very nearly the frothiest point on a local real-estate bubble that was even bubblier than it was in most parts of the nation. Once again, the easement had been granted through a partnership. Each side fielded a single expert. The IRS expert determined a before value of $1,280,000 and an after value of $560,000, for an FMV for the conservation easement of $720,000. The taxpayers expert determined a before value of $4,150,000 and an after value of $1,250,000, for an FMV for the conservation easement of $2,900,000. The partnership had claimed on its return an FMV for the easement of $4,879,000, and the individual taxpayers, on whose returns the deduction had flowed through, urged the Tax Court to disregard their own expert and conclude that the FMV of the conservation easement is at least the amount claimed by the partnership.

    The Tax Court acceded and reached that very conclusion, even though it admitted that [t]his is an exceptionally unusual conclusion to reach in a conservation-easement case. But the court felt compelled, given plenty of credible evidence that land prices per acre were booming in the years before the easements creation. Looking at it from within the market bubble that existed at that time, the court found the claimed deduction entirely reasonable. Justifying its decision to settle on a number outside the range provided by the experts who battled it out at trial, the court noted that while the taxpayers expert had relied primarily on transactional data of other properties, the court itself relied on transactional data of the specific property at issue. Of course, the court had to do so, because that transaction was the only transaction before the court.

    A third case in which the Tax Court decided against the IRS expert is Glade Creek Partners, LLC v. Commissioner. In Glade Creek, the Tax Court held that the charitable donation deduction was invalid because the deed making the conservation easement donation improperly subtracted posteasement improvements from the extinguishment proceeds before determining the share to donate to the conservancy receiving the donation. In other words, Tax Court held the deed did not properly allocate extinguishment proceeds as required by the applicable Treasury Regulation. Although the deduction was disallowed, the court still considered expert testimony on the question of value to determine if the IRS penalty proposed applied.

    Glade Creeks attorneys made quick work of the IRS appraiser, who relied on several incorrect and misguided assumptions in rejecting the taxpayers experts conclusion that residential real estate development was the highest and best use of the property (HBU). And even once the court determined that the HBU was in fact residential real estate, the Tax Court disregarded several other portions of the IRSs expert testimony, including his comparable price properties and sales history analysis. Taken together, the court found the IRS appraisers conclusions were so flawed that his testimony was disregarded entirely for determining the before value of the easement. However, the IRS did not accept the taxpayers conclusions whole cloth, either. The taxpayer claimed a deduction of $17.5 million, and the IRS argued that the entire deduction should be disallowed and a 40% penalty applied. While the entire deduction was disallowed due to the issue with the deed discussed above, after considering both the taxpayers expert and discounting the IRSs expert, the Tax Court held that the proper value of the easement deduction was closer to $8.6 million and applied a 20% penalty to that reduced amount.

    Challenging Notice 2017-10

    In my earlier article, I discussed an IRS settlement program for such syndicated easement grants made through partnerships. Pine Mountain, Kissling, and Rajagopalan all seem to indicate that taxpayers with large amounts of claimed contribution deductions at stake who have made good-faith efforts to comply with substantiation and other requirements governing conservation easements may well spurn this offer and litigate their valuation disputes. If any of these taxpayers need stiffening of their resolves, the Supreme Court may soon provide it.

    On December 1, the Court heard oral argument in CIC Services, LLC v. IRS, a case in which the taxpayer is asking the Court to allow a pre-enforcement challenge to an IRS notice impacting captive insurers, a notice issued without notice-and-comment rulemaking and one imposing onerous reporting requirements, huge potential tax penalties, and possible criminal penalties. What does this case have to do with conservative easements? Recall that both of the IRS recent pronouncements on conservation easementsNotice 2004-41 and Notice 2017-10were issued without notice-and-comment rulemaking. And more importantly, analogous to the notice at issue in CIC Services, Notice 2017-10 imposes burdensome reporting requirements on donors making conservation easements through partnerships or other pass-thru entities as well as their material advisors with failure-to-comply penalties of as high as $200,000 for an entity and $100,000 for an individual. Civil and criminal penalty possibilities abound in both captive insurance and conservation easements.During the CIC Services oral argument, a clear majority of the Supreme Court justices seemed inclined to allow the taxpayer to challenge the notice without first paying the penalty. If, as expected, the Court allows a pre-enforcement challenge in CIC Services, a similar pre-enforcement challenge to Notice 2017-10 should get underway almost immediately.Prior to the Supreme Court taking up CIC Services, I argued in Tax Notes that Notice 2017-10 (subscription required) is problematic for these very reasons.

    It has been more than 15 years since the IRS threatened in Notice 2004-41 to crack down on what it characterized as abusive transactions involving exaggerated valuations of conservation easements. But instead of a front-on challenge to these valuations, the Service seems to have been engaged in two-pronged asymmetric warfare. First, it has largely confined its litigation strategy to taking sniper shots at the easement grants themselves, claiming that they violate one or both perpetuity requirements. And second, through Notice 2017-10, it has sought to strong-arm participants in syndicated conservation easement transactions to settle. But the Eleventh Circuits Pine Mountain opinion appears to have stymied the first prong. And a taxpayer-friendly result in CIC Services may well defang Notice 2017-10. If so, the IRS may soon run out of cover and be forced to litigate the merits of conservation easement valuations, a development that good-faith donors of such easements should welcome.

    It Seems Like Taxpayers are Winning Whats the Downside of Participating in a Conservation Easement?

    Yes, some taxpayers are winning, and there have been some key taxpayer victories lately.But there are a few things about these victories that investors should keep in mind.The process of battling the IRS takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of nerve.

    Time: For those taxpayers who are encouraged by the Pine Mountain win in the Eleventh Circuit, consider this: the tax years at issue in that case are 2006, 2006, and 2007.You read that right.It has been over ten years since the tax returns at issue were filed, and the case is not over yet.It is heading back to Tax Court.

    Money: The IRS knows right where to look to see if the partnership or LLC fighting the battle has enough capital to fight the good fight the balance sheet.Is this partnership well capitalized or not?If not, then there wont be sufficient funds to fight the IRS at the IRS Exam, IRS Appeals levels, then in Tax Court, if necessary in Appeals Court, and if necessary back in Tax Court.The IRS is taking an aggressive approach and is auditing every single syndicated Conservation Easement Deduction, and likely will issue notices of deficiency for all.Legal fees can easily exceed what partnerships have in reserves, and if so, partners will have to infuse additional capital into the partnership in order to keep fighting the IRS.

    Moreover, even if a partnership does keep up the fight, in light of these recent taxpayer victories, does it mean that all conservation easement cases will be decided in favor of taxpayers?Not even close.It is therefore critical that partners consider that a deduction today may very well turn into a tax bill later, plus interest.The IRS is entitled to interest at 3% above Prime on tax, which is due from the date the tax was due.Looking back to Pine Mountain, if the partners in that entity end up owing tax, they will owe interest since 2005.

    Nerve: Fighting the IRS is no easy task, even with a good lawyer by your side.It is important to consider whether you are the kind of person who can sleep at night knowing that the IRS may literally come knocking on your door.Taxpayers who participate in conservation easements can expect to have the deduction disallowed until they are proven right and this is not an emotional place that many taxpayers are comfortable in.


    In light of these recent taxpayer wins in Tax Court and at the Eleventh Circuit, those who have a stake in the conservation easement world have good reason to take heart.But as any attorney who has actually tried tax cases will tell you, trials are unpredictable and expensive. Indeed, fighting with the IRS even before getting to trial is expensive and takes a toll on those who are forced to do so.One client of mine put it this way: when the battle with the IRS first began, whenever I went out to the mailbox, my hands would start trembling. Taxpayers who are considering whether or not to settle should be encouraged by the recent hard-won taxpayer victories, but take care not to discount the cost of a trial and appeal, both from a financial and emotional perspective.

    See the rest here:
    Courts Are Deciding Some Conservation Easement Cases In Favor Of Taxpayers - At Least In Part. Is It Time To Rethink Settlement? - Forbes

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