(Chicago)–November 2, 2015–When Counselors of Real Estate members from around the world gathered in Charlotte, N. C. for the 2015 CRE® Annual Convention, they received rare insights into what will drive a wide array of real estate and economic decisions in the future. They include observations and predictions about big box retail, drones, logistics, healthcare, the world economy and immigration, cyber security and social media. Representing no single property specialty, The Counselors’ organization is known for providing objective, balanced perspectives on critical issues affecting commercial and residential real estate.
The seven key takeaways from the organization’s convention program represent notable insights for every real estate and business leader:
- Big Box retail will not surrender to ecommerce. In a panel discussion led by Michael MaRous, CRE, president of MaRous and Company, a real estate advisory firm in the Chicago area, panelists see retail adaptation as not only necessary, but crucial. Big box chains can create small formats that work in the urban core and larger formats in selected shopping centers, but all must also integrate with internet shopping. Finding a format that is compatible with the needs of the customer is essential.
- Drones are not novelties, toys, hazards or nuisances. They are essential tools that will open doors for smart users of the technology. Drones can provide information in real time, and in locations not easily accessible by conventional transportation. Noah Shlaes, CRE, managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Chicago, moderated a panel of experts in remote sensing technology. He said, “Drones are more affordable and available than ever, making aerial data gathering a mandatory piece of the real estate tool set.” Panelists noted that drones are not only being used by real estate brokers, but to create geothermal scans of buildings, in humanitarian efforts, disaster information gathering and relief efforts, motion pictures, and even tracking tidal patterns.
- “With the right infrastructure, anywhere can be the center of the world,” said Jerry Orr, former director of the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, in a program session focused on logistics and its impact on the real estate market. Speakers described how mega-sized ships; expanded ports; global distribution via truck, rail and air; increased regionalized warehousing; and both suppliers’ and retailers’ promises of same-day delivery are providing ever-expanding opportunities in real estate and its supporting infrastructure. As a result, smaller cities can become bigger players in the world economy.
- Healthcare is now laser-focused on real estate. The consolidating healthcare industry can be compared to consolidation of the banking industry in the 1980s and 1990s. According to the panel led by William Wiebe, CRE, of CBRE, Cincinnati, healthcare’s evolution focuses strategy on site selection which will cater to two distinct groups – people under age 50 and those older than 50 — catering to each segment’s preferences for healthcare delivery. Look for large healthcare facilities to become the new big box anchor at retail malls. You can expect that while the patient is being treated, the family is out shopping – waiting for the alert message to come which will call them back to the clinic to retrieve the patient.
- Investments in immigrant relocation can provide positive outcomes. Bruno Ettenauer, CRE, CEO of CA Immobilien Anlagen, a commercial real estate firm in Austria, said despite pains in the transition process, the prognosis for immigrants settling into European countries will be positive, but a long-term plan is key. Other panelists on the World Economic Discussion panel did not readily agree, citing difficulties in finding homes for refugees as a difficult challenge and predicting shortages in new construction as a result of the immigrant influx. Speakers included Nicholas Chatzitsolis, CRE, managing director, Axies S.A., an Athens, Greece-based CBRE affiliate; bankers from multinational banks; and Hugh Kelly, Ph.D., CRE, clinical professor of real estate, New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate.
- Are you afraid of internet hackers? You should be. Speakers in the Cyber (in)Security panel noted that office properties can be particularly vulnerable. “If a hacker can get into a building’s unsecured printers, he can overheat them, start a fire and set off your sprinkler system,” said George Hickey III, advisory board member at ThreatTech, LLC. That’s just one example of the havoc that could occur if systems are left unprotected. Robert Griswold, CRE, president, Griswold Real Estate Management, Inc., San Diego, said, “You want to be smarter than the building next door so the hackers move on.”
- If you don’t build a social media presence, don’t expect people to find you. A panel of CRE members joined Rachel Cogar, CEO, Puma Creative, Charlotte, to discuss social media strategy. Robert Pliska, CRE, managing director at Sperry Van Ness Property Investment Advisors, Detroit, said posting valuable information on social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn does not have to take a lot of time. “You’re reading pertinent articles anyway,” he said. “You can share a link to articles when you read them. It’s a service to others.” Anthony DellaPelle, Esq., CRE, partner at New Jersey-based McKirdy & Riskin law firm, explained that a presence on social media makes you visible — and findable in online searches. So when potential clients need the services you offer, you are on their “short list.” Cogar said, “The new model is to build a web of places people can find you. It’s important to be authentic and to share relevant content as a way to differentiate yourself and your company – effective social media is not about self-promotion.”
The Counselors of Real Estate®, established in 1953, is an international group of high profile professionals including members of prominent real estate, financial, legal and accounting firms as well as leaders of government and academia who provide expert, objective advice on complex real property situations and land-related matters. Membership is selective, extended by invitation only. The organization’s CRE® (Counselor of Real Estate) credential is granted to all members in recognition of superior problem solving ability in various areas of real estate counseling. Only 1,100 people in the world hold the CRE credential. For more information, contact The Counselors of Real Estate, 430 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611; 312/329.8427; https://cre.org