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VOL. 126 | NO. 233 | Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ULI Event To Tackle CRE Outlook

By Sarah Baker

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Most commercial real estate markets have stabilized, but improvement in occupancies and rents won’t be as certain in 2012.

That’s the message real estate professionals will receive Tuesday, Dec. 6, when the Urban Land Institute District Council Memphis hosts its fifth annual Real Estate Outlook for the Mid-South at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis’ Tennessee Ballroom, 3700 Central Ave.

National guest speaker Jonathan David Miller will present Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2012 – a trends and forecast publication from ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers with a 30-year market history.

The report 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.

Miller has authored the Emerging Trends report since 1992, is a frequent lecturer on trends in real estate, including the future of America’s major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs, and writes the weekly Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website.

Following Miller’s presentation, Dr. John Gnuschke, director of the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research and co-director of the Center for Real Estate at the University of Memphis, will discuss the region’s economic outlook for 2012, linking national trends with local expectations.

Finally, a panel of local real estate professionals will respond to the trends forecast. The panel includes Kemp Conrad, principal at Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors Inc.; Mark Halperin, executive vice president of Boyle Investment Co.; and McLean T. Wilson, vice president of Kemmons Wilson Cos.

Conrad, who will be focusing on office sector activity, said last year’s Emerging Trends theme, “an era of less,” will continue in 2012, especially on the local level, which is still hurting for job growth.

“Corporate occupiers are being much smarter and efficient regarding their space,” Conrad said. “Technology allows knowledge workers to be productive from anywhere. Rental expense is typically one of the top expenses on the income statement after personnel cost, so shrinking this controllable cost is critical for occupier profitability.”

Much of the recent economic development growth in Memphis has been more in the manufacturing sector, Conrad said, not “white collar professional services” that are the main drivers of office space.

And with few new office developments on the local front – and none without a significant amount of pre-leasing – 2012 looks to be another year of slow, grind-it-out recovery.

“I think we have hit the bottom and will continue to bump around on it for the foreseeable future – at least until after the 2012 presidential election,” Conrad said.

Meanwhile, Halperin will be discussing investment opportunities from a broader investment fund-type perspective.

Halperin helped form Boyle’s Midsouth Capital Fund I LLC in late 2010, targeting $100 million in real estate investment opportunities throughout the Mid-South, with a focus on Memphis and Nashville.

The fund gave the longtime Memphis firm a chance to diversify its portfolio and deploy capital, as evidenced by its $14 million purchase of a majority interest in Belz Enterprises Inc.’s Germantown Village Square Shopping Center earlier this year and more recently, the $13.4 million purchase of a Birmingham, Ala., shopping center.

Wilson, grandson of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, will tackle the hotel sector. And moderating the event again this year will be Nick Clark, partner in the development firm Clark & Clark.

The event – presented by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC – will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a networking breakfast, with the program lasting from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Registration fees range from $25 to $50 in advance (add $10 for onsite registration) and include breakfast and a complimentary copy of Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2012.

Approval for 2.25 hours continuing education credit is pending. To register online, visit http://memphis.uli.org or contact ULI Memphis at 568-4423 or via email at Memphis@uli.org.

PROPERTY SALES 85 205 21,165
MORTGAGES 76 206 24,338
BUILDING PERMITS 183 321 43,755
BANKRUPTCIES 48 92 13,560