Tuesday, July 1, 2014

National Association of Real Estate Companies, Charleston, SC

NAREC (National Association of Real Estate Companies)

Charleston, South Carolina was the site of NAREC’s recent annual conference.  The National Association of Real Estate Companies is a commercial real estate trade association dedicated to education and community building for the real estate finance and tax professional.

Liz and I were included in the program and conducted a two-hour general session focused on improving presentation and communication skills – for business, and for life in general.  Our program also included smaller breakout workshops where attendees received more individual attention.  It was a very enthusiastic and collaborative group who shared positive feedback with us.  

Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to visit Charleston for the first time in many years and enjoy some authentic Southern hospitality.  Before heading to the airport, we took an impromptu bike-taxi ride - to beat the heat - past the lovely historic homes we had just seen portrayed in original oil paintings being sold by the artist himself at the Charleston City Market. Although our bike ‘driver’ mentioned we were technically NOT allowed to tour while with her, she did share some noteworthy non-tour information about the area.  These website references come pretty close:

“These neighborhoods possess the unique visual appeal of old Charleston, a picturesqueness created by the close proximity of buildings, in a wide variety of architectural styles.  There is general harmony in terms of height, scale, proportion, materials, textures, colors and characteristic forms, such as the side piazzas.”

Walk throughout the Charleston peninsula, and you’re sure to see that iconic side piazza. This open-air porch often runs the length of a home and has multiple doorways leading indoors. Originally designed to beat the South Carolina heat by capturing the cool cross breezes from the water, piazzas are now integral parts of the city’s lifestyle.”

Being driven through these neighborhoods felt like being part of a moving-picture postcard. 

But not all is idyllic - Our ‘driver’ said that some who dream of living in a historic home find, after moving in, that a number of the things they thought they could live with (i.e. poor heating/ventilating systems, old windows, etc.) are not so livable….and are very expensive to fix.  There were ‘For Sale’ signs everywhere!  Have you seen the movie “The Money Pit”?

Charleston truly is a beautiful city to explore.  Sauntering along random streets we came upon a theatre - apparently the oldest theatre in America is located in Charleston. Who knew?   The Dock Street Theatre held its first performance on February 12, 1736 and is still going strong.  Once inside we noticed a 9-foot grand piano on the stage below.  With only a few other tourists in attendance, and the temptation too great, I found my way around the circular mezzanine and down the far staircase. I walked out onstage, sat myself down at the magnificent ebony concert piano, paused to take in the moment and began to play a few tunes  - original melodies, plus The Beatle’s ‘Something.’  I heard totally unexpected, but appreciated, applause from the ‘audience’… that is, until getting thrown out.  Actually, we were politely asked to leave by a theatre employee.  But, seizing that brief moment on the stage of that theatre is something I’ll always remember.

Thanks again to NAREC for bringing us to Charleston. If you are a commercial real estate finance or tax professional - at any stage in your career - I encourage you to check out NAREC membership (www.narec.org).  The knowledge, experience and camaraderie found in this group will bring value to both your company and yourself as your career evolves.

Restaurant of the week: 

Brasserie Gigi
102 N Market St.
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-6393

A relatively new addition to the city, housed in a beautiful space reminiscent of a true French bistro.  Consider the oysters, the Beets, Beef and Blue salad, and the Duck Confit at lunchtime (although all the dishes looked delish!).


On The Road...

July 8 -10:  Client meetings, Chicago, IL

Sept. 14 - 15:  National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM), Executive Officers Fall Meeting, Chicago, IL

Sept. 30 – Oct. 2:  Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Fall Meeting, Los Angeles, CA

Oct. 9 – 10:  Cornell University Real Estate Conference, New York, NY


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