There is no question that the new year has brought new and renewed interest in investing in the institutional real estate community. That's not to say that every pension fund, endowment or foundation has an 'open to buy' but clearly there is more focus on looking forward at opportunities than looking backward at distress. The funny thing is that in many ways, the forward opportunities will come from dealing with distress but that's just the period we're entering. I've been involved in creating value from distressed commercial real estate and loans for a long time but things used to be simpler. There was a property. There was a first mortgage. We all knew who each other was and how to find each other. When it came time to deal on a situation in hindsight it was pretty simple. Well, as time has gone on, this and other things in our world have become more complex. However, the underlying skills needed to work out a problem property at the property level are still pretty much the same. My old industry friend, Bob Barclay, who runs North American Realty Advisors, has used a phrase in his marketing pitch for many years, "Creating a silk purse out of a sow's ear." It's pretty graphic but they and a handful of others have been able to do just that, not only with underperforming commercial real estate but also with environmentally tainted properties in the Rust Belt. However, the untangling of the complex "Capital Stack" as it's now known, is more cloudy than clear and that's why it's not just any Larry, Moe or Curly who can be successful in some of these type deals that are in the offing today and tomorrow. But with new capital seeming to be ready to step up to the plate, this is looking like it's going to be a very, very interesting year in our industry and I, for one, am glad to be in the hunt and are expecting 2010 to be a lot more fun than "the year which will not be mentioned."
Timing may not be everything but it means a lot. Recently, I was given a book to read. It was a book that I had been exposed to a couple of years ago but at that time the message didn't resonate with me. This time was different. Very different. And the message was not only loud and clear but I was ready and able to accept it's premise and immediately incorporate it into my life. I have seen and felt a positive change within me that is very powerful and very healthy. It feels good and while I have been aware of my own demons for many years, they had continued in one way, shape or form, keep pulling me back from breaking away and really enjoying life every time I thought I had broken away. The book is called "The Power of Now." I won't ramble on here about it any more. Just wanted to mention it and leave it to you to decide for yourself.
Photo: Sean Felix with his first drum
On the road.....
Feb. 9-11: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA to attend IREI's VIP Conference
Feb. 18-19: Chapel Hill, NC to attend and be a judge at the Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Challenge
Mar. 24-25: Boston to attend the PREA Spring Conference
These are my views and not that of my employer.
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