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PODCAST: Industry Vet Ed Cross On Why The Merchant Development Model Is About To Break

Bisnow's audio series, Bisnow Reports, examines every facet of the international commercial real estate industry — from the murky future of retail and office to real estate’s reckoning with diversity to the effects of climate change on the built world, and so much more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, or scroll down to listen in your browser.

Mortgage Bankers Association's Jamie Woodwell and Cross & Co.'s Ed Cross

On this episode of Bisnow Reports, we sit down with Ed Cross, a longtime commercial broker, investor and developer based in San Antonio.

His developments include creating a 97-acre master-planned community in San Antonio and now working with the McCombs family — which has owned the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Vikings — to turn a 1929 office building there called the Tower Life Building into hundreds of mixed-income apartments.

He spoke with Bisnow about the history of downturns in commercial real estate, converting office buildings to residential, mentoring young people in the industry and the precipice on which the entire development industry sits.

“We’ve had 40 years of declining interest rates, and so the real estate business became one of merchant building — 95% of the real estate community builds to sell the building,” he said. “Well, once interest rates turn over and cap rates turn up, that model breaks.”