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Power to the Westside

By Dennis Kaiser

The Westside continues to retain its leading role as one of the most active markets in Los Angeles. Nearly 400 who gathered for Connect Westside LA 2016, Connect Media’s final conference of 2016, heard what’s driving the market from a panel of power players. The discussion surrounded the hottest submarkets, where to be looking for deals in 2017, what tenants seek, and a bit of sage career advice.

Here are the key takeaways from the conversation:

  • JLL’s Carl Muhlstein says companies are attracted to markets such as Santa Monica and others on the Westside primarily because they want to plug into the entertainment industry and its system. “Connectivity to content and the major power houses here [on the Westside] is very important,” says Muhlstein. He notes that the “Westside is virtually full,” thus he advises office tenants to “go for early renewals. They’ll have very little clout to play tough.”
  • NGKF’s Jay Luchs notes that Westside retail will continue to be driven by consumers’ search for “things to do, not just a bunch of stores.” One change he suggests is updating the parking codes currently being applied on restaurant or retail destinations such as SoulCycle. The adoption of ride hailing services, as well as emergence of public transit options, has diminished the need for large amounts of parking for those establishments.
  • Greenberg Glusker’s Ken Fields says he’s not seeing much “change in clients’ directions” in the coming year. Though he continues to see technology push further into CRE, as companies are now negotiating “drone rights into deals.”
  • NMS Properties’ Neil Shekhter believes that there’s “not enough supply coming for the demand.” Though he expects to produce a “similar volume in 2017 as this year.” As a result of the companies locating on the Westside, “people will need a place to live.” He asserts they will be looking for “quality of life, near where they can walk to places to eat, work or shop at one place.”
  • Brookfield Residential’s John O’Brien notes that Playa Vista is maturing as a “place where people can work, play and shop. The work-life balance perspective is good.” That is showing up in “significant increases” in the per square foot prices being achieved for homes in markets below Santa Monica and Venice. “The gap is closing and the buyer demo has changed.” He also says technology is continuing to make its way into housing projects. “The robotic car is coming, and it is projected to have an impact on real estate and housing design,” he says, noting that they are even making plans to add landing zones for secure drone delivery services for residents.

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


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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.

  • ◦Development
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