Friday, May 7, 2010

The Wild Blue Yonder

This is the first OTR that I'm publishing from the great road in the sky.  Normally, I don't work on fights but rather use the time to think, to read or to write.  But today is a workday and there is a lot going on.  Hopefully, the airlines won't get even greedier and start allowing cell phone usage.  If that happens I suggest we all either take meditation classes, drugs or martial arts classes because it's going to be a war.

Whoa!  Last week's column generated a bunch of emails from you guys about jobs.  Not only did I get a number from those of you who are looking for jobs but I learned about some job openings as well.  Here are a couple of them.  If you're interested (and qualified) please send me your resume ( and I'll forward it on:

1.  New York Metro Area.  Top producing investment sales team is looking for associate/analyst with 3 to 5 years experience, good financial skills and the ability to write offering memorandum and proposals.

2.   New York based placement agent firm is looking to hire a sales person with 5 or more years of experience – preferably someone with institutional marketing experience with real estate private equity product who is happy to be a “road warrior

If this evolves, we can use this as a networking vehicle for everyone to collaborate in helping each other in their careers.  I've heard from a few readers who would just like to get together, either on the phone or in person and I'm totally up (or as my sons used to say 'down') with that.

Here is some very positive news from the just published Global Capital Trends from RCA:

For the first quarter in more than two years, all three global zones posted increases in transactions and declines in acquisition yields in Q1. Not only is the improvement in the property investment markets in all parts of the globe significant, but also the magnitude of the improvements over the past quarter are even more impressive. 

This is good stuff and may truly offer signs that real estate is back and headed in the direction that we all have been wishing for.   More and more investors seem focused on core, or as one of my colleagues says, 'Uber Core" type properties while many have been placing their bets on all forms of distress opportunities.  Clearly, public and corporate pension funds have different styles, appetites for real estate investing and return requirements.  And that's what makes a horse race.  Some investors are still licking their wounds and evaluating which managers to put money out to.  It seems like there's less interest in cross-border investing as investors are finding there are good opportunities closer to home.  There's a real movement towards emerging managers and I believe we'll see more and more boutique investment and advisory firms hanging out their shingle as the year progresses.  We are in the midst of a seismic shift in our industry and it's not over by a long shot.  

BTW, without attempting to recap what has been going on:  What kind of crazy world are we living in?

Special Announcement:  Clowns Without Borders is a collective of nine organizations with a universal code of conduct.  Their objective is to relieve the suffering of all persons, especially children, who live in areas of crisis including conflict zones and territories in situations of emergency.  The performers that make up the Clowns Without Borders organization are volunteers from different walks of life who give up to a month of their year to go on expeditions.  They rough it, traveling with a small per diem, and staying at local guesthouses in areas where they are going to perform.  A documentary, "Send in the Clowns", by Director/Producer Sam Lee is currently in development.  Sam is a friend of my son Kevin. The Director of Photography, Laela Kilbourn; co-producers Nancy Roth and Brooke Stevens, all have strong credentials in documentaries for, among others, A&E, PBS, The Learning Channel, ABC, NBC, CBS.  In August 2009, the team went to Haiti to follow the clowns.  Just five months later the earthquake hit!  This is a very special project.  Immediate funds are needed to support a return trip to Haiti to follow the clowns this summer. They are seeking fully tax-deductible contributions and are holding a fund-raising event in New York City on May 24 between 6:30 and 9:00pm at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker St (Bet. Sullivan and Thompson).   There will be a silent auction and a presentation by the documentary team.  But, please remember that donations of any amount add up. You can make your donation at their website.

Last night, I had the chance to experience something for the first time that is so totally cool I wanted to share it with you:

The Grand Central Whispering Gallery
"The "whispering gallery" is located on the Grand Central Terminal dining concourse near the famous Oyster Bar Restaurant.  Here, the acoustics of the low ceramic arches can cause a whisper to sound like a shout. Sound impossible? To test it out, you and a friend will have to stand in opposite corners of the large arched entryway. Now face the corner and whisper. Your friend should be able to hear your voice as if you were right next to them, not whispering into a far-away corner.  According to experts, this happens because the whisperer’s voice follows the curve of the domed ceiling. The Whispering Gallery is a popular spot for marriage proposals – and a unique place to whisper sweet nothings to your main squeeze."

Restaurant gem of the week:  Cafe Edison; 228 W. 47th Street, Between Broadway and 8th Avenue.  It's really one of those great NYC coffee shops but has a theatre like interior.

 Photo:  Sean "Budro" Felix.  11 months.

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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