Sunday, September 21, 2014

The road back / NAREIM / INREV / Asheville / Brooklyn

This was a very exciting week for three reasons.  I was in Chicago to attend the NAREIM Executive Officers Fall Meeting and I attended the INREV seminar in New York City.  The third special occurrence was that many of you wrote and spoke with me about the future of this column.  The encouragement I received was heart-warming to say the least.  One long-time reader told me how the pieces I wrote in 2009, when my Dad was dying, were very meaningful to him – having lost his Dad a couple of years before.  This is truly special.

I have been struggling with whether to continue publishing On The Road. After almost 15 years I started to feel that I didn’t want to be part of the excess ‘noise’.   There has been so much clutter created by blogs, LinkedIn posts and Twitter feeds that I didn’t want to be contributing to the overload.  But, your support and feedback has convinced me that I should continue publishing.

Thanks again.

NAREIM Executive Officers Meeting

Patricia Gibson, President of Hunt Realty in Dallas, was ushered in as Chair of the NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) organization for the next two years.  Congratulations to Pat and to NAREIM. Just as Lynn Thurber, Chairman of LaSalle Investment Management, has been the Chairman of ULI for the past year, Pat Gibson’s appointment might be another giant leap for womenkind in the industry.  There is undoubtedly a need for more women to be in senior positions in the institutional real estate world.

At last week’s Executive Officers meeting, Ed Casal, Global CIO of Aviva Investors Real Estate Multi-manager platform, conducted a mock investment committee workshop that produced interesting discussion and results.   Many investment options were presented to 9 ‘committees’ who were each asked to reach consensus on the 3 best and 3 worst acquisition choices. Real Estate is an art – not a science - and as you might imagine, the debate on where to invest one’s money was a lively one.  But, it will only be from the perspective of hindsight that we will know which asset did in fact provide the best risk-adjusted returns.  Interestingly enough, some of the same choices presented to the investment committees appeared on both the best and worst lists!

NAREIM offers a number of educational meetings throughout the year.  I encourage you to explore those opportunities for you and members of your team.  Thank you to NAREIM CEO Gunnar Branson for inviting my partner Liz Weiner and I to attend the Executive Officers event.

INREV US Seminar

INREV is the European real estate trade association for investment in non-listed real estate.  I was a member for many years and found the organization to be hugely valuable in staying connected with my institutional real estate industry peers across Europe.  The second INREV US seminar was held in NYC this week.  I attended and ran into a number of my European (and American) friends.

I offer you a few takeaways:

  • “Never seen more capital to be invested in real estate.”  Panelist
  • Huge interest of US capital in Spain – Spanish office looks extremely cheap in a European context
  • Most liquid European cities: London, Paris, Berlin (especially apartments)
  • Investors are increasingly seeking value in recovering regions (Ireland, The Netherlands, S. Europe). 

Thank you to INREV CEO Matthias Thomas for the invitation.

Over the summer…

I drove from New York City to Asheville, NC (+/- 12 hours).  Quite a bit of the trip took me through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains including hundreds of miles with no billboards on the highway!  Two of my four grandchildren live in Asheville - Sean is 5 and Gavy turned 3 during my visit.  We did another round of Geocaching together, a real-world treasure hunt.  If you’re not familiar with this phenomenon please check it out – it’s great family fun.

This week, my Brooklyn-based twin grandchildren, Edie and Ben, turn 3.

It’s a beautiful thing to see my sons as parents.  
But, where did the time go?

Congratulations to these friends on their new positions...

Matt Holberton - AXA Real Estate Investment Managers
Gena Cheng - USAA Real Estate Company
Andrew Dietz - Morgan Stanley
Dietrich Heidtmann - GTIS
George Ahl - Forum Partners
Max von Below - USAA Real Estate Company
Felicity Ambler - MaxCap Group
Philip Hy - JC Penney
Debbie Davis - Starwood Retail Partners
Barry Ziering - Guggenheim Partners
Asieh Mansour - The Townsend Group
Alessadro Bronda - Zurich Insurance Company
Sophie Mathieu - ReedMidem (MIPIM & MAPIC) now based in NYC
Nicole Waldorf - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Larissa Belova - Thor Equities
Emily Von Kohorn - The Hisar School 
Charise Wong - eBay
Damien Isabella - TVO Groupe
Phil Greenberg - Cornell University

On The Road…

Sept. 30 – Oct. 2:  Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) 24th Annual Institutional Real Estate Investor Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Oct. 21 – Oct. 23:  ULI Fall Meeting, New York, NY (t)

Oct. 26 – Oct. 29:  CoreNet Global, North American Summit, National Harbor, MD (t)

Week of October 27:  Careers in Real Estate / Interview Skills, Drills & Thrills workshop, Edward St. John Real Estate Program, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Washington, DC (t)

Dec. 3 – Dec. 4:  NAREIM Capital Raising / Investor Relations meeting, Chicago, IL

Mar. 10 – 13, 2015:  MIPIM (The World’s Property Market), Cannes, France (t)


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