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Chicago & Midwest  + Greater Chicagoland  + Office  | 

At Connect Midwest, Panel Takes a “View From the Top”

Attended by 200 real estate professionals on the warmest day of the year, Connect CRE’s Connect Midwest event at Joe’s Live in Rosemont, IL teed off with a discussion of a “view from the top” moderated by Damla Gerhart, managing director for Avison Young’s Chicago office.

Director of analytic research RJ Hottvoy at Placer AI started with a macro look at retail traffic, pointing out that Placer AI saw a definite correlation with rises in gas prices and retail traffic, with traffic declining as consumers were increasingly squeezed at the gas pump.

Gerhart asked panelists what they have been most surprised by lately.

Dr. Suzet McKinney, principal and director of life sciences for Sterling Bay, said her aim is to make Chicago a top life sciences destination, pointing out that Chicago has been losing talent to the coasts. Sterling Bay is doing the giant Lincoln Yards project on Chicago’s North Side, a 15 million sf development that will take a decade to finish. 

Scott Gendell, CEO of Terraco Real Estate, pointed out that Michigan Avenue has been a retail sore spot, with sales tax down 25% and “secondary malls” performing equally poorly.

Barbara Schenberg, EVP of leasing at Parkside Realty:  “There is so much uncertainty with office tenants, they are going to need brokers that are patient.” She added that the best-in-class like BMO Tower, and Salesforce Tower when it’s finished, will continue to do well.

COO and president Gary Rose of industrial specialist Clear Height Properties: “It’s very challenging to buy; it’s a very hot industrial market now.” The biggest surprise, he said, is the huge demand for industrial and the ability to raise rents. “Rent growth has been huge.”

Pictured, from left; Damla Gerhart, Suzet McKinney, Scott Gendell, Barbara Schenberg and Gary Rose.


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Connect Midwest

About Ted Jackson

A highly successful financial journalist, corporate financial writer and magazine entrepreneur with strong expertise in writing on fixed income and pass-through securities (ABS), finance and banking, the economy, economic developments, financial markets, investing and personal finance, the business of behavioral healthcare and more.

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