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ARE WE THERE YET?

ARE WE THERE YET?
Everyone?s favorite destination, the ?bottom,? was the topic of yesterday's NAIOP meet-up at the Seaport Hotel. If there was consensus, it was that retail and hotel might be ready for acquisition and re-positioning, but multifamily, a step ahead, may be ripe for new development.
AvalonBay?s Bill McLaughlin at NAIOP event
On the panel we snapped AvalonBay?s Bill McLaughlin, who says they're building multifamily around Mass, NY, and NJ. Financing is still scarce but Avalon is planning to spend about $400M this year to start new projects. Before we could be impressed, he stressed that's down from $1.4B in starts during boom times. Never a merchant builder, a model Bill says is now defunct, they'll self-finance and hold onto properties. Over the long term, he says, New England is a solid bet: the economy hasn?t suffered as much as some others; there's no oversupply, low construction costs, and high incomes. One lingering problem: unemployment has landed lots of potential young renters back in their parents? basements. Bill assured us that personal experience bears out this finding.
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Howard Grossman and Jeremy and Paul Grossman at NAIOP event
Also on the panel was CBRE Retail?s Howard Grossman, center. His colleagues (and sons) Jeremy and Paul listened to him say that big box, full price, and luxury retailers are still struggling with sales volume. But value stores like Aldi?s and DeMoulas' Market Basket are growing. On property investments, Howard says there's a disconnect between prices commanded by top-tier stabilized assets and all other properties. As for another critical piece of the puzzle, consumer spending, he doesn?t expect that to return to boom levels for about another five years. On the other hand, he doubts online shopping will supplant brick and mortar stores. Howard says people like to socialize, see, and feel the merchandise.
Panel at NAIOP event
Pinnacle?s Rachel Roginsky says the hotel industry is still reeling from a 17% decline in revenue. It's even worse for the luxury segment, which saw revenue drop nearly 20% but can't cut the services that differentiate it. Rachel says luxury is getting hit on the top and bottom line, dropping "farthest and fastest."