Friday, November 16, 2012

Thank You / Phipps Dinner / RCA 3Q Capital Trends Highlights / NCREIF Research Corner / Passion

"Always work like you don't need the money.  Always fall in love like you've never been hurt. always dance like nobody is watching.  And aways-always live like it's heaven on earth."  This wit and wisdom is attributed to Mark Twain. But I read it this week in the 2005 Commencement Address given by Tom Friedman, author and journalist, at Williams College.  

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone eles's life....Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice.  And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition because they somehow know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary." From a 2005 commencement address given at Stanford University by the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer.

These are words, spoken by men who have had something to say during their lives and had an audience to listen to them.  But they are more than just words, they are important concepts which deserve to be considered as the today's of our lives tick away.  

What did you decide you were going to accomplish in 2012?  How much progress have you made?  Did you decide you wanted to improve yourself?  How has that been going?  We are all busy and we do have to make a living to support our lifestyle.  But is that all there is?  How important are the things you have vs. who you are?  How do those people who survived Hurricane Sandy but lost virtually all their belongings feel today?  I suggest that they feel fortunate that it wasn't worse.  Things are just things but lives are what really matters.  

What are you going to do today to give real meaning to your life? Maybe it's simply helping someone else, even in a very small way.  But, as we in the U.S. head into our Thanksgiving celebration, perhaps it's time to really give thanks for what we have:  life, friends, love, food, clothing, shelter.  Is there really anything more important?

Thank you to Judi, Elizabeth, Irwin, Kevin, Marissa, Michael, Rozanne, Jeffrey, Nadine, Bob, Flora, Susan, Corina, Barbara, Brian, Bridget, Stephanie, Nena who have helped me navigate these past few months.  Thank you my OTR family who have reached out to offer help (BTW, an all-cash buyer dropped out of the sky recently and is closing on our Napa Valley house in a few weeks.  How lucky is that?).

3Q2012 RCA U.S. Capital Trends Highlights

Hotel:  Equity funds are the most active investor type accounting for almost a third of total hotel acquisitions.

Apartment: Highest quarterly volume since 4Q2007.

Retail:  The surge of investment in regional malls and and into urban/storefront properties continues to be the highlight throughout the retail sector.

Industrial:  The rise in individual property sales combined with a decline in average cap rate illustrate that the lagging rebound of the industrial sector may be finally catching up to the other property types.

Office:  Early signs point to a strong 4Q, much of it fueled by improving financing conditions and a recent decline in mortgage rates.

Phipps Gala Dinner

On Tuesday evening, seven lovely and fun people joined our host, Gary Koster of Ernst and Young, at the gala dinner celebrating the 40th anniversary of  Phipps NY, the oldest and largest not-for-profit developer, owner and manager of affordable housing in New York City.    

The highlight of the event, held in the grand ballroom of The Waldorf (yes, the same one where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction event occurs) was the presenting of a special achievement award to Darryl Rattray, Assistant Commissioner of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.  

He introduced himself as a "Phipps Kid" having grown up in one of the building complexes built by the company.  This is from the event program.  "Darryl was born and raised in Lambert Houses, a development of Phipps Houses.  A pivotal point in his life was the senseless murder of his childhood friend, Sean Chatman. After the murder, Darryl along with other friends created the Young Hope youth group.  Young Hope became the entry point into the youth and community development organizing field.  The group quickly became a pillar within the neighborhood providing resources and services to the community."  This is one man who has made a difference.  He just decided to do something about something.  We all can.  All we have to do is decide it's something we're passionate about.  

These are the thoughts I jotted down while listening to Daryl: There is nothing stronger than passion, whether it be passion of a feeling of love or passion for what you do-passion helps someone go beyond their formal training in public speaking-believing in what you're doing, speaking from the heart more than the head is incredible to be in the presence of. Darryl had that audience in the palm of his hand.  As he spoke, he looked over from time to time to his colleagues from work and his boss who had nominated him to receive this award.  This was a special moment.  This is the real deal.  The love was so present.  It was beautiful. More than a million dollars was raised at that dinner thanks to firms like Cushman and Wakefield; Eastdil Secured; Ernst and Young; Goldman, Sachs; Hines; J.P. Morgan Asset Management; Jonathan Rose Companies; Related Companies; Tishman Speyer; CBRE; Great Ink Communications.  Perhaps your company would be interested in being a benefactor?  

Takeaways of the Week
  • "Turn negative energy into positive action." Phipps Community Development Corporation Team Member
  • "I was known for doing the right thing."  Recipient of one of the Phipps Community Builder Awards
  • "I'm getting to be more who I am than I ever was."  Dr. Navah Kaplan, PhD, Psychodynamic Pshychotherapist and Psychoanalyst, New York 

NCREIF's Research Corner-November 2012
  • Fundamentals:  continued to improve but rate of change slowed.
  • Economy/Jobs:  GDP growth in Q3 was surprisingly strong and the housing market continues to offer rays of hope.

  • Cindy Daly who has joined Four Springs Capital Trust (a private REIT) as Director of Acquisitions.
  • David Sullivan who joined Precision Capital
  • Karen Kasteel who has joined Massey Knakal River Oak
Some random items...
  • "Son of A Gun."  A terrific off-off Broadway musical.
  • Skendzic Photography.  In the Grand Central Terminal holiday mall.  Check him out. Very cool style.
  • Restaurant of the week:  Blue Fin in the W Hotel, 47th and Broadway.  My lunch guest and I both had wonderful dishes.  There is also  live jazz (I got there early and the manager let me play their beautiful grand piano for about half an felt really good).

Can you help Shannon Corey?
Shannon Corey, a musician friend with a huge heart, needs to raise just a little bit more money to fund her trip to Nepal in January to volunteer to work with children in two orphanages.  She has already raised $1525 but needs $575 more to pay for the flight.  The deadline is next Thursday, November 29th, Thanksgiving Day.  Here's the page to go to (  Any amount will help her reach her goal and live one of her dreams. Thanks. (P.S. Shannon will send you a copy of here new album free as a special thank you for your contribution).

The Handshake
What is it with some men? Recently someone shook hands with me at an industry event. He gripped my hand so hard and shook it so violently that he actually injured my elbow.  What the heck are some men trying to prove? Do you think it impresses people? To be clear-it doesn't and in fact leaves me, anyway, with a really negative impression of you. Think about it.

On the road...

Nov. 17-24:  Driving from New York to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to spend a week with my cousin and clear my head a little. For those unfamiliar with the territory, the drive is only 22 hours and 2 minutes and about 1263 miles.  Compared to driving across country, this is a walk in the park!

Nov. 27:  Deloitte 2012 Real Estate Industry Update, New York at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York (yes, that 30 Rock)!.

Nov. 28:  Rockefeller Center, New York to attend the 80th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Party.  Thanks to my good friends at Tishman Speyer for the invite.

Dec. 3-4:  Chicago to attend and moderate a workshop at the first NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations Council Meeting.

Dec.5: Park Lane Hotel, New York for a holiday cocktail party for The Global Women's Partnership which seeks to empower women in the developing world with limited to no access to basic live-saving resources.

Dec. 15-Jan. 3:  Liberia, West Africa.  Going back six years after my first visit with The MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF) to see first-hand the progress that has been made including the MCF Academy, which opened in 2010.  MCF's mission is simple:  Provide at-risk and vulnerable children with basic human rights:
  • Shelter:  A private boarding school
  • Nutrition:  Three nourishing meals per day
  • Education: An international curriculum
  • Security:  A place to call home

Jan. 23-25:  Laguna Beach, CA to attend IMN's 10th Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing.  

Mar. 12-15:  Cannes, France to attend MIPIM

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