The Bisnow Weekender: The Gilded Age
Thanks for reading the Bisnow Weekender, my personally curated roundup of the most impactful news, notable quotes, binge-worthy show recommendations and other colorful highlights from the Bisnow world of commercial real estate and beyond.
National Unfriend Day is on Friday, which is appropriate because we’re only a few days away from Thanksgiving — the ultimate test of friendship, family and patience.
Speaking of patience, on LinkedIn each week I get at least a few inbound connection requests that look legitimate on the surface but then instantly turn into an ice-cold pitch for a product or service I don’t need that serves a market I am not interested in for an industry I don’t work in.
Then the endless drip campaign ensues.
Two days later, I’ll get another message. I ignore. Then a week later, another outreach, which usually reads something to the effect of, “Hi Mark! I noticed you haven't scheduled your complimentary consultation yet. I understand that life gets busy, but you don't want to miss the chance to accelerate your brokerage business, do you?”
Or even better, “Hi Mark [frowny face emoji], are you really not interested in growing your client list.” Or worse: “OK I get it, you aren’t interested [crying cat face emoji]. Please just write back STOP and I will go the way of the Dodo bird. Happy birthday, by the way.”
I don’t want to be callous because I know firsthand how hard cold outreach is — I have been doing it for more than two decades as a reporter, and it can be effective when done right. (Just ask legendary New York City broker Bob Knakal.)
But with a full heart and a big smile, I am not going to write STOP. I am not going to explain to you that I am not a broker and do not have clients — and if you really want to find out my birthday, maybe let’s get to know each other first.
I know I am not alone. Just ask StripMallGuy: This isn’t the way. Let’s exchange an actual email or two with each other and let’s talk over Zoom or in person at an upcoming Bisnow event.
The Bisnow Weekender will be off next week, so from my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and good luck.
— Mark F. Bonner, Bisnow Editor-in-Chief
Voices From The CRE Battlefield
“The guy basically said, ‘You’re all chasing me.’ It was a lightbulb moment for me. How do I differentiate or get in there in a way in which I don't seem like everybody else doing outreach?”
— David Newman, a 25-year-old associate at Newmark in New York City, recalling exactly when he learned just how much brokers lean on data and technology — and the negative outcomes that can follow. As he told Bisnow National Reporter Patrick Sisson, the level of intel available to brokers these days is mere table stakes, and it is that much harder to stand out in a troubled market.
“It's going to be a bloodbath. I'm telling you right now: It's going to be bad.”
— Ofer Cohen, founder and president of Brooklyn brokerage TerraCRG, to Bisnow New York Reporter Ciara Long, in reference to the strain New York City rent-stabilized apartments are placing on the multifamily sector.
“When interest rates rose, some folks were caught in the crosshairs, and we don't really know what the damage is on a community bank or regional bank level just yet. As far as with office and other workouts, it's still a wait-and-see moment.”
— Brandon Moulton, managing director of Renovo Financial, to Bisnow National Reporter Dees Stribling, in reference to real estate stocks outperforming the S&P 500 Tuesday, leaping 5.3% as investors poured in money on news that inflation slowed in October.
“We firmly disagree with the baseless allegations brought forth by Nextdoor and are confident the facts of this case will prove that JLL acted with integrity and in the best interest of our client.”
— JLL spokesperson to Bisnow DFW Reporter Olivia Lueckemeyer in response to a lawsuit brought by neighborhood app Nextdoor against its leasing agent, JLL, over claims the brokerage firm never verified the square footage of its San Francisco headquarters in a bid to rake in a bigger commission. The difference resulted in about $20M in additional rent payments over the duration of the lease, which was signed in November 2019, according to the lawsuit.
“We have never missed a payment, we have never paid late and we have never breached a loan covenant. We are incredibly proud of 40 Wall St. and we will continue to operate this world-class building.”
— A Trump Organization spokesperson said after the mortgage on 40 Wall Street, one of the buildings at the center of former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial, went into special servicing as it faces tumbling office occupancy.
“We thought values may come down 15%, 20%. We now think that may be another 10%.”
— CBRE Group CEO Bob Sulentic said during an event hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber late last week, acknowledging commercial property values likely aren't done falling, especially in the office sector.
Bisnow News Excerpts: Nov. 13-17
The 'Godfather' Of Life Sciences Real Estate Faces The Sector's Sharpest Downturn Yet — Deputy East Coast Editor Jon Banister
In 1996, Joel Marcus faced a critical juncture with Alexandria Real Estate Equities: It was teetering on the brink of financial collapse.
But his fortunes turned with a $27.5M investment from AEW, a moment he recalled to Bisnow Deputy East Coast Editor Jon Banister as pivotal: “That Series B was really the key.”
This investment propelled Alexandria to become the dominant, $37B force in the life sciences real estate sector.
Despite recent challenges, including a downturn in the biotech industry and a short-selling campaign, Alexandria, under Marcus’ leadership, has maintained its resilience and market dominance.
Now 76, Marcus continues to navigate the company through turbulent market conditions, declines to talk about retirement and is never shy about thumping his chest about his company’s place in the life sciences real estate market.
“We’re one of a kind in that sense, and nobody else compares,” he said. “We’re bigger than all the other people who claim to be doing this business.” Read more.
Mezzanine Loan Foreclosure Notices Spike To Highest Level In 15 Years — Houston Reporter Maddy McCarty
Lenders issued at least 62 foreclosure notices on mezzanine and other high-risk loans through October, more than double the number for all of last year and likely the highest total for a single year. Read more.
'You're All Chasing Me': Tech Alone Is No Longer Enough For Brokers To Beat The Competition — National Reporter Patrick Sisson
Tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, CoStar and ZoomInfo, as well as proprietary customer relationship management and data platforms designed by larger brokerages and startups, make it easier than ever to figure out when potential clients are looking for new space or to locate contact information for a key decision-maker.
But when that level of intel is mere table stakes, it is that much harder to stand out in the market, especially in a moment of uncertainty and low deal volume.
“The idea that technology and AI is making things more efficient works in some ways, but also makes it more competitive. Anybody can send a cold email,” said David Newman, a 25-year-old associate at Newmark in New York City. Read more.
'A Bloodbath': The Reckoning For Rent-Stabilized Apartment Owners Is Starting To Set In — New York Reporter Ciara Long
The strain of a restricted rent roll that isn’t keeping pace with increased costs is beginning to show. Delinquency rates for loans backed by rent-stabilized buildings are on the rise, some rent-stabilized portfolios have traded for huge discounts, and others have faced foreclosures.
As more loans mature in the coming months and landlord costs keep rising, multifamily market insiders say the worst is yet to come. Read more.
REITs Rally To Beat S&P's Best Day On New Inflation Data — National Reporter Dees Stribling
REITs soared on the strongest day recorded by the S&P all year, a signal of investors’ confidence that the slowdown in inflation serves as a harbinger of a break for the property sector after repeated interest rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation. Read more.
The Rise And Rise Of The £750B Alternative Real Estate Sector — UK Editor Mike Phillips
Offices, shops and even logistics units aren't topping real estate investors’ shopping lists this year.
Instead, it is new energy infrastructure like solar farms, electric vehicle charging units and battery storage sites, alongside data centers and healthcare assets, that are top of the tree, according to the latest Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe report, published by the Urban Land Institute and PwC. Read more.
Competitors Eye Space Abandoned By WeWork As Coworking Seeks New Normal — National Reporter Dees Stribling
“We've taken over a dozen-plus WeWorks already,” Industrious Chief Operating Officer Liz Simon said, referring to deals her company executed in recent years as WeWork sought to improve its balance sheet. “Those won't be the last time that we do. So far they've rejected 70 [leases] and some of them are places we'd love to be operating. And we expect there to be more to come.” Read more.
More News From The Week …
My Slightly On/Off-Topic Media Diet
Letting People Work From Home Is Good for Companies’ Revenue Growth (Bloomberg): “A three-year analysis, co-led by Boston Consulting Group, found that sales at ‘fully-flexible’ employers grew at a much faster rate than those that didn’t embrace remote work.”
… Is Remote Work The Answer To Women’s Prayers, Or A New ‘Mommy Track’? (NYT): “Leaving the office on time to pick up the children or saving commute time by working a couple of days from home was possible in many jobs before the pandemic, but came with what the academic literature calls ‘flexibility stigma.’ Many women I talked with for this story called it ‘guilt.’ People who took advantage of workplace flexibility were seen as less serious workers, and it hurt their careers.”
Moody’s Changes U.S. Credit Outlook to ‘Negative’ (NYT): “The change falls short of a downgrade to America’s credit rating, which Moody’s maintained at the highest AAA level. But it is another black mark for the economy and underscores the threat posed by rising interest rates, a mounting debt burden and a polarized Congress that has been unable to agree on ways to reduce America’s budget deficit.”
… U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s response? “I disagree … the American economy is fundamentally strong.”
Ken Griffin Sees Miami Possibly Replacing NYC As Finance Capital (Bloomberg): “The density of talent both in financial services and writ-large in New York City is amongst the top of the world. It really is the epicenter of thoughtful people passionately engaged in their careers.” But he also said that Florida has a political environment that encourages growth. “Miami, I think, represents the future of America.”
‘The Marvels’ Has The Worst Opening Weekend Ever For Any MCU Film At $47M (CNBC): “After 2019′s ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ which wrapped up storylines and arcs for popular characters like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Marvel Studios’ theatrical and streaming content has been hit-or-miss with audiences.”
… The Life Cycle Of Superhero Storytelling (Kottke): “In this short video essay, Evan Puschak explores the typical life cycle of superhero storytelling, where things move from standalone stories to crossovers and interconnections, the stakes continually rise, and things get so complicated that entertainment becomes homework. Marvel in particular is in the later stages of this cycle, where casual fans are dropping off because they haven't watched increasingly mediocre movies and full seasons of shows to keep up to date on what's to come.”
That Scannable Spotify Tattoo Sounded Like A Good Idea At The Time (WSJ): “‘The whole reason I got Thunderstruck [AC/DC] was so I always have a drinking game on here,’” [Veronica] Reid said, referring to a game that involves alternating chugging a drink whenever the lyrics say ‘thunder.’ But her tattoo has never scanned.”
The Humane AI Pin Is A Bizarre Cross Between Google Glass And A Pager (Ars Technica): “As far as we can tell, it's a $700 screenless voice assistant box and, like all smartphone-ish devices released in the last 10 years, it has some AI in it. It's as if Google Glass had a baby with a pager from the 1990s.”
… Tech Companies Want You To Wear AI (Morning Brew): “Of all the things that supermodel Naomi Campbell could debut on the runway at Paris Fashion Week this year, a wearable AI device was not on our bingo card.”
The Crown is back, and I am full of beans, as they say … The Crown’s Season 6 Cast And Their Real-Life Counterparts (Vanity Fair): “The sixth and final season of The Crown, which premieres its first part November 16 and its second December 14, may be the drama’s most controversial yet, given that episodes will reimagine events still somewhat fresh in viewers’ memories. Spanning 1997 to the 2000s, the final episodes will reimagine Diana’s death, Prince William’s college courtship of Kate Middleton, and, reportedly, another royal wedding.”
Bisnow Weekend Interview Preview
Orion Capital Managers founding partner Aref Lahham has forged a career as one of the most successful opportunity fund investors in Europe, but it almost didn't happen. If it weren't for the property crash of 1989 limiting new development, he would be happily designing skyscrapers to this very day.
In this week's Weekend Interview, Bisnow UK Editor Mike Phillips spoke to Lahham about how he sees the downturn playing out and how the firm managed to bag one of the biggest lettings in London of the past two decades, poaching HSBC for its new 556K SF office development near St. Paul's Cathedral.
Bisnow: How did you get into real estate?
Lahham: When I graduated from school, I had a job offer from Les [Robertson, designer of the original World Trade Center], and so I worked with him for almost five years in New York City. And then in 1989, the crash happened. So nobody wanted to build my nice high-rise buildings. I went from designing very tall buildings to reinforcing the New Jersey State Library in Trenton for high-density bookshelving, which is like going from Formula One to driving a milk delivery car.
The Weekend Interview goes live every Friday evening — head to www.bisnow.com over the weekend to check it out!
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
Executive Director, Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship — George Mason University strategic leadership role.
Vice President of Acquisitions and Asset Management — Lead acquisitions and asset management for a premier Southeast owner-operator.
Vice President of Finance — Lead financial planning and analysis for a PE-backed, rapidly growing company in the digital real estate industry.
Corporate Counsel — Lead construction counsel for an organization with a $92.3B portfolio of high-performing assets across residential, logistics, retail, office and mixed-use strategies.
Upcoming Bisnow Events And Webinars
Tuesday, Nov. 21 (London): UK ESG Real Estate Agenda
Tuesday, Nov. 21 (Los Angeles): Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference West
Hey, Taylor, What Are You Going To Binge This Weekend?
I’ve never been one for a period piece, but I started watching The Gilded Age on HBO and I’m obsessed. Set in late 19th-century New York City, a group of wealthy individuals divided by old and new money are tirelessly competing for power in a rapidly changing economy and cultural landscape. Also, it features my favorite actress, Christine Baranski, who plays a bitter, older — and quite entertaining — heiress. If I’m not watching that, I’m rewatching one of the many early 2000s teen dramas (probably Gossip Girl), solely for TV nostalgia. — Taylor Driscoll, Bisnow Boston Reporter
How did I do? You can send all love letters and dissents directly to me at email@example.com.