Emanuel, Zell, and Roth Walk Into A Bar
We probably can't print the exclamations (and expletives) of these three fiery personalities, and that's what we love about them. They were just three of countless real estate and political icons at DLA Piper's 12th Global Real Estate Summit yesterday.
We snapped Mayor Emanuel kicking off the 500-person conference at the Four Seasons. Kudos to Jay Epstien for conceiving and putting on this top-tier confab every 18 months.
Vornado CEO Steve Roth and EQR boss Sam Zell did their usual colorful verbal sparring. Steve: The single most important trend in the economy is easy money—asset prices will keep rising as long as central bankers keep playing Santa Claus. Sam: Your level of optimism is unjustified. The government needs to stop stalling on issues like immigration reform and corporate tax policy, he says. Both icons are seeing the de-suburbanization (or de-malling) of major 24/7 cities, where young people are moving into smaller apartments because most of their time is spent at work (besides showering, sleeping, and other things you do in bed, they joked).
Sam’s closely watching demographic trends like a six- to seven-year delay of marriage, which means increased disposable income and interest in city living. On the retail side, Steve notes that in-store traffic has gone down for nine consecutive quarters. It’s created a new problem for EQR high-rises, Sam says. How do you fit 150 boxes/day coming from Amazon into a little receiving room? Looking internationally, Sam’s enjoying investing successes in Colombia with its free trade agreement with the US and Mexico with its ramped up manufacturing sector. (Did we mention he travels 1,200 hours/year? Preferably by motorcycle.)
Snapped: Green Courte Partners chairman Randy Rowe, Goldman Sachs managing director Jeff Barclay, Ventas chairman and CEO Debra Cafaro, MDF Capital owner Mike Fascitelli, and Eastdil CEO Roy March. Roy expects dissection of buildings based on relative value to become more common (ex. retail, hotel, then residences on top). Michael calls the Mart, which Vornado bought 16 years ago, a great example of office’s revolution. Before, you couldn’t give away 200k SF floor plates, and now the building’s value has tripled with cash flow up 60%. In investors’ desperate search for yield, some formerly non-traditional asset classes (like healthcare) have earned their way into the core space, Jeff says.
Deb (snapped at a Bisnow event) agrees, noting that Ventas’s healthcare business lines are driven by US demographics and the 75-plus set growing at six times the rate of population growth. She prefers to call today’s revamped skilled nursing facilities post-acute assets, given their short length of stay and rehab facilities. MOBs are getting bigger, 50k SF to 100k SF, filled with clinical uses being pushed out of hospitals as they develop the hub and spoke approach. In private pay seniors housing, Deb’s seeing a boost in amenities and technology as people age in place and look for a wide menu of offerings.