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California  + Orange County  + Industrial  | 

Power Conversation at Connect OC 2017

Last week, Connect Media wrapped up our third annual Connect Orange County event with a panel of “Power Players.” The group included Trammell Crow’s Tom Bak, Buchanan Street Partners’ Robert Brunswick, HFF’s Kevin MacKenzie, and CT Realty’s Watty Watson, with NKF’s Greg May as the moderator.

This elite panel was asked a series of questions about the most attention-grabbing types of investments, profitable markets, as well as advice for the next generation of CRE pros. Here are the key takeaways from the conversation:

NKF’s May spoke to the changes in the market’s clientele, as the mortgage industry or related companies now compose just 30% of the deals, as opposed to their 60% composite in 2007.

Trammell Crow’s Bak communicated that as of now, the Inland Empire is proving to be a sought after market, with demand getting larger and larger. He noted that along with the Inland Empire, office and industrial projects are peaking his interest as of now. On the office side, that’s translated into activity in markets such as Seattle and San Francisco. On the industrial side, e-commerce is the biggest driver.

Buchanan Street’s Brunswick conveyed the reliability of secondary markets such as Denver, Phoenix and the Inland Empire in terms of cash flow. He also noted that money managers are advising clients to invest in alternatives and real estate. There is a shift towards unlevered structures, and that’s resulting in lower levered deals than the last cycle with risk removed, although buyer behaviors and expectations have changed too, he notes.

When discussing recent market trends, HFF’s MacKenzie says they’ve seen increased activity in the 1031 Exchange market in “bite-sized” deals in the $5- to $30-million range. There’s also been an increasing amount of all-cash buyers at the $50-million level.

CT Realty’s Watson described investments being most lucrative in tier 1 distribution markets, where 6 to 7 markets are at the center of everyone’s focus. He also stressed the importance of e-commerce’s prominent role in today’s markets.

When all of the panelists were asked to give advice to the next generation of CRE leaders, they unanimously stated that strong communication skills, especially written, were critical to succeed in today’s commercial real estate sector.

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.