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VOL. 125 | NO. 237 | Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ULI Conference to Tackle Emerging Trends

By Sarah Baker

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As real estate professionals gather this week to take a look at the latest numbers and trends, they will also get a broader economic view of the recession’s effect on the industry.

They will get a glimpse into the current market Wednesday when the Urban Land Institute (ULI) District Council Memphis holds its annual Real Estate Outlook for the Mid-South.

Dean Schwanke, ULI senior vice president and executive director of the ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate, will present Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2011, a forecast based on a 30-year market history.

The report, compiled by ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers, draws on formal and informal surveys of real estate executives, investors, developers and market experts around the United States, including survey responses from more than 400 real estate executives and personal interviews with more than 150 industry leaders.

The fourth annual real estate outlook for the Memphis ULI chapter will include local insight on the industry, which has not been incorporated into the program in the past. The idea is to generate a conversation among the featured panelists and audience members.

Dr. John Gnuschke, director of the Sparks Bureau of Business ad Economic Research and co-director of the Center for Real Estate at the University of Memphis, will discuss the region’s economic outlook for 2011, linking national trends with local expectations.

“Our current status is not just a result of the recession, it’s a result of long-term decisions,” Gnuschke said. “We have structural problems with our labor force, structural problems with our infrastructure, and even a strong recovery wouldn’t eliminate those problems.”

Gnuschke’s presentation will focus on employment and demographics. Because the Mid-South has had 10 years of little or no net job growth, job announcements are critical to the area, he said.

“All the talk about a jobless recovery – that jobless recovery actually happened here,” Gnuschke said. “Basically what happened was, for the first five years, we lost jobs, for the second five years we gained jobs, and we ended up in the same spot.”

Locally and nationally, the public can expect to be inundated with mixed news in what Gnuschke called a “rollercoaster approach” in the early parts of the recovery. But the current economic times are no different than other recoveries.

“Employers have always behaved this way – very cautiously during recovery periods,” Gnuschke said. “The difference with this recession and most of the others we’ve dealt with in the last few decades is that this one was deeper and more severe than the others, and so recovering off of a deep recession is a little different than recovering off of a shallow one.”

A panel of local real estate professionals will respond to the trends forecast, followed by a discussion. The panel includes Earl Blankenship, president of Real Estate Funds at SouthernSun Asset Management; Scott Barton, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis Memphis’ retail services; Kemp Conrad, senior vice president of Commercial Advisors LLC; Alan Swafford, executive vice president at First Tennessee Bank; and Darrell Cobbins, president and CEO of Universal Commercial Real Estate LLC.

Nick Clark, partner in the development firm Clark & Clark, will be the moderator.

While ULI predicts recovery strength to be in the core of the city, Memphis’ market will be the reverse, Gnuschke said.

“Land guys, particularly real estate developers, have to look at the long term – where are things going to be in the future,” Gnuschke said. “Our market is probably going to have strong suburban growth and that’s something that’s taken place for a long period of time.”

The program will start with a networking breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis’ Tennessee Ballroom, 3700 Central Ave. The presentation will last from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

Limited space is still available. Registration fees range from $20 to $45 in advance, and include a copy of Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2010. Add $10 for on-site registration.

To register, e-mail memphis@uli.org or call Andrew Trippel, ULI Memphis District Council coordinator, at 568-4423. For more information, visit memphis.uli.org.

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