Friday, August 1, 2008

New York/Montreal

I like it when friends of mine get together to do things. Last week I mentioned Peter Slatin joining Bob White at Real Capital Analytics and this week, one of the powerhouse investment sales brokers in New York, Adelaide Polsinelli ( joined Marcus & Millichap in their New York office ( Adelaide is a brand in New York and she and I have become good friends over the past few years. I was thrilled when I got the news and know that it will be a great combination.

I’ve agreed to moderate a panel at the Investment & Finance Summit produced by RealShares. This event is a sensible one-day meeting on September 10th in New York that includes both educational sessions and networking opportunities. The panel I’m moderating is called: The Influence of Foreign Banks on Today's Market. By attending you’ll also get to hear about what is really going on in the investment sales market today from, among others, Steve Quazzo, CEO, Transwestern Investment Company and Michael Pralle, President, J.E. Robert Companies (and former head of GE Real Estate) and Jack Fraker, Vice Chairman of CBRE. You can find out more about this event here: ( If you make it perhaps we can get a group together and go out for a drink at my new NY hangout, Pera on Madison bet. 41 and 42 (

Some interesting headlines this week:

1. Lone Star raises $10bn for distressed private equity, real estate deals

2. Former Blackstone RE chief closes on $1.25bn

3. ING launches €1bn global real estate fund of funds

4. Emerging markets private equity fundraising boom hits $35bn

5. Trump Jr to raise $1bn India property fund

So, it seems like there’s still a lot of action in pensionland and the slowdown in the traditional bricks and mortar deal world is not necessarily reflected in the delivering of new funds albeit some of them oriented to ‘new’ asset types or regions. Lone (or is it Loan) Star has had great success in buying distressed loans for a number of years so that’s no surprise although $10BB is still a good piece of change. John Kukral and Erwin Aulis’ ability to raise $1.25BB for their ‘first’ fund should be a good omen for other ‘first time fund’ operators who are in or contemplating coming to market with a fund. More of the challenge with first time funds has been with getting a buy-in from the consulting community and while there is more of an interest in diversification than at any time in recent memory, there still is a very cautious approach being taken (can you blame them) by institutional investors who are not compensated to take risk. All these headlines, except maybe the Trump one (Jr. shouldn’t have too much trouble raising his fund if he can get his father to pony up some real cash and it’s good he’s going to market during the summer when the Hamptons folk that still have disposable income may be more inclined to back a promoter.

Many of you, no matter where you are in the world have heard of Randy Pausch, the professor whose “Last Lecture (Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams)” on Youtube has been viewed by 5,587,952 people in seven months. Sadly, Randy lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last Friday, July 25. I bought and read his book, “The Last Lecture” ( this week and I highly recommend it. I don’t think we can be reminded enough about how fragile this life is and what is really important. Here are a few of my takeaways from the book:

1. Earnest is better than hip.
2. Don’t complain, just work harder.
3. Don’t obsess over what people think.
4. Look for the best in everybody.
5. Dance with the one who brung you.
6. Write hand-written thank you notes.
7. Never, ever give up.
8. It’s not about how you achieve your dreams, it’s about how you live your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

I discovered a excellent restaurant in New York for a business dinner this week: Brasserie 8 ½ which is in the architecturally significant 9 West 57th Street ( My host told me that some “Sex in the City” scenes have been shot there as there is a dramatic circular stairway which brings you from the street-level entrance down to the restaurant. What I liked about it:

1. Nice ambiance
2. Moderate sound level (you can actually hear each other talk)
3. Tables not on top of each other
4. Very good service
5. Good food

I don’t know about you but I’m finding it harder and harder to find a good place to have a business meal (or drink) mainly due to the crowds and the noise. Sometimes, especially when you’re with a group, it’s fun to be at an ‘energetic’ place (and I was also introduced to one of these recently too. It’s “Bookmarks Lounge” in The Library Hotel just off the corner of Madison Avenue and 41st Street ( I’m told the hotel is very cool (and it’s a great location) but I haven’t stayed there yet.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your summer vacation (except in those parts of the world where it’s another season) and you’re taking time to unplug from the technology tools that make it all to easy for us to not only stay connected willingly but at other people’s beck and call.

Where will I be?

Sept. 10: New York for RealShares Investment & Finance Conference ( where I’ll moderate a panel called “The Influence of Foreign Banks on Today’s Market.”

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 Conference (

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

Mar. 10-13, 2009: Cannes, France for MIPIM (

Blog Archive