Fireside Chat with Mike Ablon
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He's given new life to the Design District, snapped up one-third of the Preston Center office space, and is planning projects along the Upper Toll Road. Is it the efforts of a mad man, or a man with a plan?
Oh, there's very much a plan for PegasusAblon principal Michael Ablon, here with leasing VP Mike Silliman, asset management VP Mark Roppolo, and marketing communications director Jennifer Smart in the vacant 72k SF tri-level penthouse suite available in Lincoln Plaza (Mike handles leasing there). In the last six years, the firm has invested more than $500M--all focused on what people really want: adjacency to a daily amenity base, Michael tells us, like in Preston Center, where it's all about the banks, gyms, restaurants, and retail within walking distance. (In the past, we had to work out at their bank, which tends to spook some people.)
Why the focus on retail? Michael says it will morph more than any other asset class in the next decade. The echo boomers will replace baby boomers and the Internet continues to influence consumer patterns. So look for acquisitions, redevelopment, or new development. The Design District is a good example. There are no national restaurant chains but instead venues that appeal to the hip crowd that lives and works there. (If Chili's isn't hip, then we want a refund on our Triple Dippers.)
Adequate parking to accommodate commuters is critical, Michael says. Headington Cos has purchased multiple parking lots (word on the street is look for mixed-use development). If it does that, a lot of cars will have to find a new home. The planned South Asian museum is taking 2,500 parking spaces away, too.
One of PegasusAblon's next focal points: the Upper Tollway from the toll road to Hwy 121. With land suitable for office, retail, or hotel, Michael says that area will be the center of growth for the next decade.