Thursday, October 25, 2012

PREA / PERE / Hot Dogs / RCA Q3 Trends / Napa Valley House 4 Sale

PREA-Los Angeles

What I believe was the largest PREA event ever was held this week in Los Angeles.  Adding to the excitement of many of the star-struck, at the same hotel, was the Hollywood Film Gala Awards dinner on Monday night honoring Robert DeNiro, Richard Gere and Ben Afleck.  On the red carpet and virtually mingling, in a way, with the PREA crowd were lots of movie stars and other celeb types.  It was pretty cool.

PREA Scholarship Recipients:  Congratulations

  • Thomas Campbell, University of St. Thomas
  • Andre Chachere, George Mason University
  • Brittani Clayton, University of Connecticut
  • Prashant Das, Georgia State University
  • Derek Fohl, DePaul University
  • Chris Goldsmith, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • David Keane, DePaul University

PERE Global Investor Forum-Amsterdam

It's early Friday morning in Amsterdam on the overnight between the two days of this event.  A strong showing of LP's in the group added to some excellent networking opportunities yesterday as PERE has used the concept of "Speed Networking" well.  Bob Weaver of TPG is the Chair for the event and I moderated a fun session called, "The Great Debate" yesterday.  The subject:  Is now the time to invest in Europe?  "Yes" was the overwhelming winner but in a side straw poll it was clear the audience felt that the vote would have been different had question been asked in a non-European city.  

As the event wraps up today I'll be moderating the closing panel on Global Capital Raising and then heading back to New York tomorrow morning.  About six of us made the pilgrimage from PREA in LA to PERE in Amsterdam.  We are just such a totally global industry!

Watching the days go by:  Interesting how many people have been mentioning to me how fast this year has zipped by.  Was a time when it was only old people who felt time moving quickly...but they no longer have the monopoly on it.  A line from the legendary sports movie, Hoosiers:  "Don't get caught watching the paint dry."  Translation:  Don't let things pass you by. Be aware of the serendipity of it all.  And live your life so you'll have no regrets.

Getting investors across the finish line is still challenging.  Last minute changes of heart and mind and negotiation of terms seems rampant.  But from what I'm hearing, some folks have forgotten the concept that to make a deal it needs to be fair to both sides, otherwise why would someone do it?  It's great to throw your weight around in try to squeeze the other side.  But as I learned in my years in the deal-making world, you need to understand what the other side's needs are as well as know your own to be able to negotiate reasonably.  A deal that is too heavily weighted in favor of one side may not be a winner, even to the side that thinks they won.

RCA (Real Capital Analytics) Q3 2012 U.S. Capital Trends Highlights published this week:

  • Hotel: Sales down 25% vs. 2011; early signs point to stronger Q4; equity funds (vs. REITS) are most active investor this year.
  • Apartment:  Highest quarterly volume since Q407; total transactions up $47 Bn over 2011
  • Retail:  Quarter sales lowest this year but signals point to a stronger Q4.
  • Industrial:  Individual property sales (vs. portfolio) remarkably strong
  • Office: Unmistakable shift to suburban properties and smaller markets; early signs suggest strong Q4.

Thanks to Julie Brenton of Ranieri Partners (and a long-time friend of Susan Hudson-Wilson) a simple button (see photo) was worn by many of Susan's friends and colleagues at the PREA conference this week.   We all agreed that Susan would have approved!  

Feedback on last week's comment about NAREIM discussion on the future of office space:  "At my ULI council, we have been concentrating a lot on creative office space.  I think it is very interesting but the real question is whether this is a long-term shift or a short-term phenomenon. I don't know the answer." 

Yoda quote correction from last week:  
"Do or do not.  There is no try."


  • Amelia Patt has joined Clarion Partners as Senior Acquisitions Analyst

Two cool Los Angeles restaurants that I went to for the first time:  Morels and RockSugar

Almost Real Estate:  Lois Weiss is a highly regarded and widely read real estate journalist who is also a personal friend and who wrote rock music reviews earlier in her career.  Anyway, last week she told me about Eco Nuts (, co-founded by her daughter, Mona with her friend, Scott.  They are doing something important to the survival of the earth by packaging and selling "Soap Nuts" which are transcending the cleaning industry.  As soon as I settle down in my new place in New York, I'll be buying some of their stuff.    

Visiting someone at Morgan Stanley's New York. Sometimes it pays to start flipping through a book or magazine from the back, that's where I found this gem:

The Legacy
The great firms hold at heart a certain view,
Values of their founders that survive 
only because the energy and art of generations coming after thrive, like planted fields when the rains arrive.

There is this mystery; that such a firm and it’s people, beating within a single heart, are each in the other renewed as they renew, even as both are changed are both affirmed.

Written on the 75th Anniversary of Morgan Stanley (1935-2010) by John Barr, Managing Director Morgan Stanley (1984-1990)

Thanks to Jeff Fisher for bringing this "Free the Damn Data" button to PREA and allowing me to photograph it (and his lapel!) that Susan Hudson-Wilson handed out at a NCREIF (National Association of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) meeting back in the 'old days.' 

I met a young man who is working as a bartender in a hotel bar near where I'm living.  He told me about a business that he and a partner are just about to launch.  It's such a brilliant idea and it's theirs so I won't spill the beans.  But one thing he reminded me about that he had learned when he was growing up and that I had read some years back:  True character is defined by your behavior when no one is looking.  

Pretty cool thing:  Toddle Tunes-Where Kids Learn to Play (

Hot dog of the week:  Clarion Partners hosted "Pink's Hot Dog" party on the Monday night of PREA.  How was I supposed to know that it's the family of Clarion Partners' Richard Pink that had founded a hot dog operation as famous as Pink's in 1939.  Anyway, I had their famous chili dog..delish! (

So, there was this other party on Monday night at Orson Welles' estate in the Hollywood Hills.  It was one of the most fun nights I've had in a long time.  A few of us jammed well into the night (make that morning) accompanied by tambourine players, percussion bangers and singers while others entertained themselves by shooting pool, shaking a tambourine, singing along, just enjoying the view.  

On the road..
Nov. 6:  Hartford, CT
Nov. 7:  Washington, DC for my "Careers in Real Estate-Connecting the Dots" talk with students at Johns Hopkins University.
Nov. 8-9:  PERE Forum, New York to attend, moderate a panel and serve as chair for Day Two (Gunnar Branson, CEO of NAREIM is Chair for Day One)

Nov. 8:  Join me for a YBYO (You Buy Your Own) drink on the night of the first day of the PERE Forum in New York.  I'll provide the famous Joe G pizza.

Where:  Joe G Restaurant, 244 W. 56th St (bet. B'way and 8th) and downstairs at the DaVinci Hotel. (

When:  Starting at 6:30pm
Look forward to seeing you.  Feel free to bring your industry friends.

Nov. 27:  Deloitte 2012 Real Estate Industry Update at 30 Rockefeller Center, New York
Nov. 28:  Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony Party (Thanks to Tishman Speyer for inviting me).
Dec. 3-4:  Chicago to moderate a panel at NAREIM's Capital Raising and Investor Relations Council Meeting
Dec. 15-Jan. 2:  Monrovia, Liberia.  Going back six years later with The MacDella Cooper Foundation (
Feb. 27-28:  Hong Kong to attend the PERE Forum-Asia. (This is part of a two-week trip where I'll also visit Singapore and China for the first time!).

Napa Valley House for Sale (The photos don't do it justice!):  

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