Sunday, April 16, 2017

OTR Reader Comments: Manhattan’s Retail Landscape / Dr. Brian Felix / Going to Australia!/ Inspirational Quotes

OTR Reader Comments: Manhattan’s Retail Landscape
Following are a few of the comments I received from OTR readers about my piece on the significant retail space vacancy in Manhattan:
Lots of wisdom here but the issue isn't confined to Manhattan.  Stores on 7th Avenue, where I live in Park Slope, are vacant in great profusion, some for more than a year or two.  Only new tenants are two nail salons directly across the street from each other, and a Chipotle!  Highest and best use in the neighborhood:  real estate offices.
Thanks for this. The future of the whole of commercial real estate, not just retail in Manhattan, is very concerning to me because of Internet induced disintermediation, with regard to both space and services/products. It’s almost that nobody has to be anywhere, at least as much of the time as before, so any particular place is important less frequently. It also costs a landlord, or a space user, some money to be innovative, and maybe more valuable, versus the competition, but this innovation costs money/rent, which must come out of the real estate/business. Now, interest rates are going up too, which reduces available cash for innovative competition. And we better keep the immigrants coming because the natives are not growing larger households for the most part. I see, generally, long-term commercial real estate trouble.
And now Payless 400 stores = which will affect more urban streetscapes.
On a kindred subject, this past week in the New York Times there was a story about “Zombie Malls.”  In one of my seemingly 19 lives in the commercial real estate industry, I worked on turning around (i.e. saving) shopping centers and malls.  Some projects were successful.  Others not. 
The mall industry has always been dramatically segmented and it’s more now than ever.  It may end up that there are only 6 super-regional enclosed malls left in the country (perhaps a slight exaggeration); then, for lack of a better word, second-tier malls, which are able to maintain enough tenancy (baring more and more department store closures) to still be relevant.  And then there are the others, which, in many cases, should never have been built.  What happens to those properties – and I’m not talking about the structure but rather the land – will be in the hands of today’s generation of turnaround specialists – that is, after the lender forecloses and doesn’t know what the heck to do with the property.
We are in some very interesting times, people.  Not just in retail but also in how we live our lives and how technology is impacting society. Change is exciting and sometimes frightening.  I’m certain that’s one of the things that have kept me youthful – not being afraid to embrace chance.  Well, that and the good genes that I inherited from my dad, Manney ‘the’ Felix.

Dr. Brian Felix
This past week my son, Dr. Brian Felix was awarded tenure in his position as Assistant Professor of Music at The University of North Carolina – Asheville.  Brian and all those who love him were looking forward to this moment, as it appeared that tenure would be coming. Like a lot of things we look forward to, the thrill of it actually happening tops all the anticipation.  There was no formal ceremony, however the party was fab!

Going to Australia - finally!

Yesterday, I finalized my plan to go to Australia in August! I’ve wanted to visit that country for a long time and what stimulated this trip is a music festival in which my friends The Heart Collectors, play a significant role.  “O Heart Fest” is billed as ‘Conscious Awakening Indie Folk Festival.’ It’ll take place on August 25, 26 & 27 in Tyalgum Village, New South Wales (Population: 300).

The United Airlines rep did an incredible job of helping me make the reservation, which includes getting me an overnight stay in Sydney on the return trip.  Interested in joining me?  

Inspirational Quotes
I’ve always loved inspiration quotes.  Serendipitously, I discovered (and bought) a book called, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Here are some of the entries that resonated with me; I hope you find something here for yourself or someone you know or love…

“Your life is precious.  You’ve only got one.  Don’t waste it on bad relationships, on bad marriages, on bad jobs, on bad people.  Waste it wisely on what you want to do.”
Eric Idle, actor.

“I couldn’t wait for success so I went on without it.”
Jonathan Winters, comedian

“Whatever you do, don’t stop.  Just keep on going.  Because one way or the other, if you want to find reasons why you shouldn’t keep on, you’ll find ‘em.  The obstacles are all there; there are a million of ‘em.  But if you do want to do something, you do it anyway, and handle the obstacles as they come.”
Benny Goodman, musician

“Be true do yourself and keep things simple.  People complicate things.”
Jay Z, musician and businessman

“Go for the moon.  If you don’t get it, you’ll still be heading for a star.  Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it leads in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of the creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President

“When you learn to harness the power of your fears, it can take you places beyond your wildest dreams.”
Jimmy Iovine, music producer

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
Babe Ruth, baseball player

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford, industrialist

“Don’t give up.  There are too many nay-sayers out there who will try to discourage you.  Don’t listen to them.  The only one who can make you give up is yourself.”
Sidney Sheldon, writer

“When you believe you can – you can!”
Maxwell Malta, doctor and writer

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein, physicist

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over.  Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author

“Don’t become something just because someone else wants you to, or because it’s easy; you won’t be happy.  You have to do what you really, really, really, really want to do, even if it scares the shit out of you.”
Kristen Wiig, actress and comedian

“I don’t know where I’m going from here but I promise it won’t be boring.” David Bowie, musician

On the Road
April 23 – 27:  London, UK

June 5-7:  Chicago

June 25 – 27: IMN’s U.S. Real Estate Opportunityand Private Funds Investing Forum, Newport, Rhode Island. There’s a great lineup of speakers already announced and I’ll be moderating my signature panel which, thanks to the creativity of Steve Glener of IMN, is being billed as, “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head – A Day in the Life of an LP.”

Music note:  Great progress is being made on my 3rd album (I mean CD) of original songs.  This will be a fund-raising project for a non-profit.  Some musicians from the commercial real estate industry will be featured on the album – recently in Boston a couple of those folks added vocals and guitar to two of the tracks, “When I Wasn’t Looking” and “Shoot for the Moon.”  As the production of the album continues, others will add their magic to the project.  My plan is to release the CD for Christmas, 2017.  The album title of is “Light of Day.”

A bold seagull in Boston who turned to me when I talked to him

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