Friday, July 25, 2008

new york

just this week new york i noticed more and more storefront space vacant. maybe it's been vacant for a while but it jumped out at me. i've always been tuned into retail space from all my years in the shopping center industry and maybe, given all the stress and strain in the commercial/institutional real estate world, it just seemed like more. however, having said that, i had lunch with adam ifshin, president of DLC Management ( which is a nationwide owner/operator of shopping centers who told me that the occupancy of their centers is holding up quite well. for some time now, retail real estate has been struggling and the wave of bankruptcies and store closings does not bode well for owners of certain types of shopping centers. however, we have to remember that economies, just as lives, go in cycles and we're in the midst of one right now. with hindsight being 20/20 we know about past cycles but we don't know what the future has in store for us. only that more and more people are talking about this economic condition we're in now will (a) be with us for longer than people originally expected, (2) will be deeper than previously anticipated (c) and will change the landscape of our industry.

i’ve been hearing stories from too many people who are checking their emails while on vacation. this is simply not healthy nor does it make for a real ‘vacation’, a break from work. maybe this is symptomatic of it being a stressful time in the industry and there are layoffs and budget cuts and people are, well, frightened that if they don’t check in they will be forgotten or worse, not missed and therefore subject to being replaced (or worse, eliminated). checking in during vacation is a habit that took me years to break so I can definitely empathize with everyone doing it. but when I did learn, via study in stress management, it has made a difference in my life.

a lot of people have been asking me what i’m going to do now that i’ve parted company with my former employer. The short answer is that I’m having conversations with many people, some about actual opportunities and some just about life/work/fun/money. I would expect that by the end of the summer at the latest there will be an announcement of my next adventure. I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from many of you and look forward to continuing the relationship with both those I get to deal with personally and those of you who support this column.

it was officially announced this week that my good friend, Peter Slatin, has joined Real Capital Analytics ( as Editorial Director and Associate Publisher. Peter will spearhead the growth of RCA’s new publications directed to the global property community, Global Capital Trends and Hotel Capital Trends. He will also oversee RCA’s Capital Trends Monthly and be involved in special new projects. Congratulations to Peter. I think this is a great marriage!

i had dinner last night in new york with a very prestigious group of industry professionals: mark Roberts of INVESCO, simon mallinson of IPD, jeannette rice of verde realty and bob white of RCA. of course there was some good real estate conversation as well as covering a lot of other ground. But something funny happened when we left the restaurant; we were standing in a group and there were a lot of people on the street, generally younger people. we were talking about and we overheard someone say, “see even ‘they’ have facebook pages.” well, we were hurt (not really) but it’s an interesting commentary and suggestion that perhaps, even though different ‘networking’ sites are trying to become ‘the one place for people to congregate, connect and whatever’ it seems like there is a distinct possibility that there are some people that will use the newest and greatest of these type vehicles. at dinner we were talking about the use of information on facebook by HR types to learn more about their prospective hires and that people need to be more careful about what they post on the web. anyway, yes, I have a facebook site. I don’t really do much with it and I didn’t do it to make me feel young (I feel young anyway) but it’s interesting to see how other people do use these tools and how our society continues to morph right in front of our very ‘faces.

Where will I be? (subject to updates)

Sept. 4-5: Stockholm, Sweden for the EPRA Annual Conference (

Sept. 9-10: Cambridge (UK) for Investment Property Databank’s (IPD) RealWorld Conference 2008 (

Sept. 11: New York for FIABCI-USA UN Luncheon ( where Bob White, Founder of Real Capital Analytics will be the keynote speaker.
Oct. 1-3: Chicago for PREA’s 18th Annual Plan Sponsor Real Estate Conferenc

Oct. 15-18: Houston for the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Convention (

Oct. 27-30: Miami Beach, FL for ULI’s 2008 Fall Meeting (

Oct. 31-Nov. 3: Boston for The CRE Annual Convention (

Nov. 27: Amsterdam for the INREV Investor Platform & Working Committee Meetings (

Mar. 10-13: Cannes, France for MIPIM (

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