External Affairs

Other Proposed Issues (Top Ten 2018-19)

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  • #10595
    Alyssa Bray

    Here are some of the other issues suggested by our members:

    • Increased commercial RE demand: Higher occupancy, increased space demand, rising rents
    • Energy: load migration, movement towards smart buildings, beginnings of a transactive grid; market pressure to report on energy usage
    • Hospitality Regulation: One of the major issues affecting local governments and real estate professionals alike is the rapid evolution of the short term vacation rental within our urban areas. Whether it is Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, or local urban management companies, cities around the country are coming to grips with having to establish reasonable codes and rules to manage this proliferation. Some have started with knee jerk reactions such as outlawing them completely, to others who are fighting the state legislatures to assure local control. The overall impact has yet to be fully evaluated, but many believe areas with high short term rental activity devalue the real estate in the area. Cities across the US (Portland, Chicago, New York, Austin, Nashville, etc) are all dealing with the issue. Resort areas, which were traditionally void of this type of issue, are now having to confront it as well.  Organizations in the hospitality space are having to walk a fine line, because certain ordinances and legislation helps to professionalize the industry, but knee jerk enforcement could start effecting even the professional ones. The hotel industry traditionally has been opposed to short term rentals as a competitor, but with so many hotel companies now in the short term rental space, the balance between proper local codes and increased competition makes this a major issue in 2018 and beyond. Lastly, even with proper legislation, the actual enforcement at a local level is difficult and costly. Technology for enforcement has not kept pace with the technology to actually perform short term vacation rental management, thereby having the problem outpacing the solution.
    • Medical Facilities Change: The evolution of the medical facilities model – with CityMD type outposts and outpatient facilities replacing a lot of hospital visits.
    • Immigration: Demographics in the US is also an important issue, with the onslaught against immigrants looking to cost our economy greatly in the coming years.  Science and technology graduate students are largely international ( https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/education/edlife/american-graduate-student-stem.html ) and an incredible number of our top companies were started or are run by immigrants.  (http://www.businessinsider.com/major-us-companies-founded-by-immigrants-2017-2).  Equally problematic are the losses of immigrant labor that drive our construction and agricultural issues.  Perhaps real estate will also be impacted—because as you may know, ia a study of three Trup properties in 2016/2017, only 1 job of 144 was given to an American—all the rest were H-2B visas. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-properties-gave-144-jobs-american-article-1.3818600)
    • Retail sector changes: (A last year top ten – but still huge.) The evolution of the retail market – including the continued pressure from e-commerce, downsizing of stores, growth in “last mile” deliveries impacting warehouse stock.
    • Urbanization: Urbanization creating a bigger divide

    Have any other topics to add? Share your comments below, and feel free to share articles and data illustrating these issue.


    Consolidation in the healthcare space and its impact on demand for traditional hospitals, small box drug stores and ambulatory care.

    Shifting demographics and its impact on demand for traditional office and retail platforms.


    On March 30, I  included in my email of suggested top topics: Globalization impact on 2nd Tier US cities; reflected in Amazon site location competition, Brookings recent reports.  Great article in NYT in December 17.


    The NYT article I wanted to share on that topic did not come up that day in my NYT archival search. The specific article that I wanted to share was on page one of the Sunday Business Section, Dec. 24, 2017, “The Megacity, Untethered,” if there is interest in background documentation.  It may be of interest to our international members as well.


    I am wondering about adding a topic on an emerging focus for major employers: “The “employee workplace experience” – is it impacting office markets and landlord views?”. Employees are often the largest cost to a business, and leading employers are focused on developing workplace strategies that focus on attracting and retaining the right talent. This impacts not only the design of workplaces and office interiors, but also the provision of supporting technology, office services and amenities provided to employees within the office environment. Often there is also an emphasis on employee wellness and well-being. These trends are well documented in the world of corporate real estate, office interior design and workplace strategy – to what extent is this being noticed by landlords and office developers? Is this differentiating office markets and product? What are the impacts? For example:

    • Rise of co-working spaces – originally intended for use by small business and self-employed entrepreneurs, but now being used by major occupiers for select teams
    • The office building as a utility – including high-speed technology and wifi infrastructure
    • Place-making, unique architectural and urban design features and their impact on the “employee experience”
    • Are traditional landlord base building services being broadened out to include a greater reach into concierge and tenant provided office services?
    • What amenities and services are important? Landlord, tenant provided or shared?
    • The use of the WELL building standard.

    Adverse Zoning Conditions-Dealing with arbitrary voting members of a planning & zoning group.  Often this is the pre-cursor to litigation.


    As a follow up to Hugh’s recent article, I believe this is a year to readdress Black Swan events. Growth in geopolitical unrest nationally and internationally, leaped environmental deterioration, increased terrorism attacks, aging infrastructure, record breaking economic growth, etc. To quote Hugh’s article, “how can we put The Black Swan to work for us?”


    In the discussion of the Top Ten today at the Chicago conference, additional topics including excessive incarceration, workforce availability and wealth inequity were mentioned.  These clearly impact real estate.  Education and healthcare are included under “infrastructure” in the draft Top Ten list, these topics should form a separate and critical issue:  social infrastructure.  This is related to demographics and is a key driver of real estate.

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