Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Ole Days, Nick Tyrell, Dreams and ice cream

Matt Slepin and his colleagues at Terra Search Partners publish a regular piece called Viewpoints.  Yesterday their most recent issue hit my mailbox.   I thought you'd find this section particularly interesting.

"At the beginning of this year, it felt like we were exiting the darkness of the recession. There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel, a glimpse that maybe we would indeed return, although cautiously, to the realm of the Good Ole Days. CMBS 2.0 was gaining momentum, investment sales volume seemed to be returning, and indeed our search business felt back on a roll. But the second quarter brought us back down to reality as employment remained flat, CMBS 2.0 fell apart, and the ripples of the failed debt reduction talks, the S&P downgrade, and the parallel dysfunctions in Europe sunk in. Now it feels as though the first quarter was the effect of pent-up demand and the settling into the New Normal versus a return to the Good Ole Days.  Real estate in the US is saying crazy, contradictory things. Multifamily is the one sector with largely positive long term drivers. The other sectors all seem more affected by secular changes – technology, globalization, and corporate efficiencies all have deep and obvious impact on the other major real estate “food groups.” Hospitality is, as always, more volatile and the bottom in the residential sector sadly still seems to be several years out."

Special Event:  The Nick Tyrrell Memorial Seminar : Applying Research Insights to Real Estate Investment Management: 

Nick was a friend of mine as he was of many in the industry.  This looks like a great program with some of the leading Research/Investment Strategists in the industry in attendance.  Unfortunately, I will only be able to attend in spirit.  The seminar will be used to raise money for the Nick Tyrrell Memorial Fund, which will present awards to papers that combine academic discipline with practical insights for the real estate profession. The event is being hosted by JPMorgan Asset Management, Nick's last employer and is being held on October 12 at 4pm to 8pm at Victoria Embankment, London.  I will include more details as I get them.

This quote, sent to me yesterday by a good friend, really hits home:  "We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing." Ronnie Laing

I don't dream all that often.  I've been trying to corollate my dreaming being associated with when I eat ice cream just before going to bed...but I'm going to have to keep testing that thesis!  But early this morning I woke up from a dream and just couldn't go back to sleep.  I dreamed about getting up and calling my father.  Just to see how he was doing.  The problem is that he died in November 2009.  I guess in my dream he was still reachable by phone.  But, I remember what one of you guys wrote me when I was spending a lot of time with my Dad in his final months:  you can talk with him anytime you want.  I remembered that just now and decided to close my eyes and have a chat with him.  He really didn't want to talk much about how he's doing and what type of things he's involved with...perhaps he's not allowed to divulge that kind of stuff.  But he did listen to what was on my mind and these days there are a few things that should be keeping me up at night.  It's been a good early morning for me, simply the ability to reach out to my Dad and also to write about this to you.  Actually, the more I think about it, I'm pretty sure the dreaming is due to ice cream but maybe it's only specific flavors.  More research is definitely in order.

Enjoy your weekend.


P.S.  My cousin, Jeff Smiley, went to the Air Force Academy and flew B-52's in Vietnam.  More than 20 years ago, at age 41, he died of some type of leukemia.  After the funeral ceremony, attended by hundreds of people whose lives he had touched, I went back to his house and found the following poem, framed and hung on a wall.  My old classmate, Peggy Noonan, drew from this for President Regan's speech after the Challenger disaster.  Even though  it's been adopted as a mantra by pilots, I thought it also had meaning for those who had innocently boarded those airplanes on September 11, 2001.  I offer it to you in honor of their memory. 

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

On the Road:

September 11-16:  New York (Yes, I am flying to New York from San Francisco on Sept. 11)
September 20-21:  Amsterdam to moderate a panel at the PERE Global Forum
September 26-28:  Colorado Springs to attend the NAREIM Executive Officers Meeting
October 4-6:  Las Vegas to be a panelist at CBRE’s Americas Summit on “The Commercial Real Estate Industry of the Future: A 5-10 Year Outlook.”
October 17-19:  Chicago to attend the PREA fall meeting
November 1-4: Washington, DC to attend the CRE Annual convention
November 9-10: New York to moderate a panel at the PERE  Forum-North America
November 17-18:  Frankfurt to moderate a panel at the PERE Forum-Europe

Congratulations to my friend, Peter Lewis, who has just joined the consulting firm Towers Watson as head of their U.S. consulting business.

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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