Highlights from the 2017 Annual Convention

The 2017 CRE Annual Convention was held September 24 – 27 in Montréal, Canada, around the theme of “Cities In Motion: Innovation & Adaptation”. 

About the Event

Session Recap: Retail Industry – In Crisis?

Nicholas Chatzitsolis, CRE

Is the retail slump in the U.S. worse than in other countries? Nicholas Chatzitsolis, CRE, managing director, Axies S.A., Athens, Greece (part of the CBRE affiliate network), led a fast-paced dialogue with speakers from Canada, Germany, and the U.S.

Ralf-Peter Koschny, CRE, a member of the directory board at Bulwiengesa AG, commercial real estate advisors based in Germany, credited the overabundance of per-capita retail square footage in the U.S. as sharing responsibility with the exploding online shopping trend for the American retail slump. “In the U.S.,” Mr. Koschny said, “there are 25 square feet of retail space per person. In Europe, it is half that. See the issue?”

“Spending of households with household heads age 65 or older is just half that of households headed by those 40 to 54 years of age,” said Jean-Francois Grenier, senior director, retail development and research at Altus Group in Canada.

Raymond Cirz, CRE, senior managing director, Newmark Knight Frank, New York, pointed to troubled mall redevelopment and tenant remerchandising as positive steps to manage retail decline.

Read the full recap here.

Session Recap: Trends in Cybersecurity

Dr. Sunny Handa

According to cybersecurity legal expert Dr. Sunny Handa, partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), a McGill University professor, any organization can–and probably will be—hacked. It’s just a matter of when and how.

Quoting the former CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, Dr. Handa said, “There are two kinds of companies–those that were hacked, and those that don’t yet know they were hacked.” With the global hacker economy three to five times the size of the security industry, he urged all business owners and real estate practitioners–regardless of the size of the company–to proactively take steps to secure their company from the financial and reputational damage cyberattacks can cause.

Cyber attacks are targeted intrusions into a company’s computer systems. A data breach involves unauthorized access to, use, or disclosure of personal information. Both types of attacks make headlines in the news on a daily basis, most notably when a department store, corporation, online company, or most recently, a credit bureau, has been breached.

Successful security strategies include developing clear policies for company computer use, data use and passwords—and monitoring and enforcing such policies once they have been put in place. If all precautions fail and an attack occurs, it’s important to be prepared to act quickly.

Read the full recap here.

Key Quotes from Montreal

The Honorable Mayor of Montréal Denis Coderre

“Montréal has trust in real estate developments. With 150 cranes around our island – it shows! And it’s working well because we are working together – investors, developers, planners, regulators…”
The Honorable Mayor of Montréal Denis Coderre 

“The world’s most valuable asset is no longer oil – it’s data.”
Stéphane Paquet, Montréal International

“In the U.S., there is a fourth, silent P in PPP (Public/Private Partnerships) – it’s Politics. Every state has different rules, which makes PPPs complex in the U.S.”
Christophe Petit, Star America Infrastructure Partners

“E-commerce is not the only thing to blame on the decline in retail.  Look at: aging population, stagnation of income, rising household debt, sluggishness of purchase power… No concept is eternal.”
Jean-François Grenier, Altus Group

“We need to level the playing field – if hotels have to operate under certain restrictions, Airbnb and similar ventures should as well.”
Roz Winegrad, Marriott Hotels 

“We knew what we wanted – we just didn’t know where to find it, until we heard of The Counselors.”
Mike Couch, Chairman, Preston Redevelopment Agency, Connecticut, Working with the CRE Consulting Corps

In a year, Las Vegas will be able to transport people from casino to casino via human drones!”
Geoff Kasselman, SIOR, LEED AP, Executive Management Director, Newmark Knight Frank

“The #1 Real Estate Disruptor issue in the world: AUTOMATION.”
Spencer Levy, Senior Economic Advisor, CBRE

“Detroit is more than cars and Motown – it’s technological innovation & entrepreneurship.  And we know – you have to have public transportation and bike lanes to make a city work.”
Sharon Madison, The Madison Companies, Detroit

“You know Green Buildings – but what are Blue Buildings? They link human wellbeing and health with increased productivity, performance, and satisfaction; they communicate with other buildings.  Blue Buildings give added value for users and developers: increased productivity, performance, and satisfaction – check out cube Berlin.”
Sascha Kilb, Drees & Sommers

“Cities that look to the future are cities that succeed.  Innovative cities face their problems front on – they are problem solving cities.”
Hugh Kelly, Ph.D. CRE, author of 24-Hour Cities: Real Investment Performance, Not Just Promises