100s turn out for sage advice from dozens of real estate insiders


By PULIhilip Haldiman, Editor-in-Chief | The Dealmaker

About 900 real estate professionals in search of the industry pulse descended upon the 10th annual Urban Land Institute Trends Day at the Phoenician in east Phoenix.

Here’s what a number of industry insiders had to say on a wide spectrum of topics:

Ted Jones, chief economist and senior vice president for Stewart Title Guaranty Company, opened the event with positive thoughts about the year to come. He said the economy has no place to go but up …

–“The only thing going down is gas and oil.”

–“Right now, Arizona has an exciting real estate time ahead of it” for a number of reasons:

–Arizona is the 11th best state in job growth. Construction was the only sector that lost jobs in last 12 months.

–Continuing trend: 34 percent of the market is rentals.

–“I differ from other economists when I say this: There is a high potential for inflation in the future.”

–“Arizona has 2.5 new jobs per dwelling. No, Arizona is not over-building.”

Ted Jones
Economist Ted Jones opens ULI Trends Day



On infill development and re-development

Mike Ebert, co-founder and managing partner of Red Development, said rooftops follow successful retail …

–“There is not a better driver than restaurants for infill.”

–“I like to tell my kids that we eat out more in one month than I did in my whole childhood.”

–Have patience with infill and take opportunities when they are avail, with the right use at the right time. It is a long-term investment.

–Infill was overlooked for a couple generations, but now it’s in demand and there are a lot of reasons to support it. Today it’s not just good idea, but the market is pushing it.

Tim Sprague, co-founder and principal of Habitat Metro, said Phoenix is seeing success in its neighborhoods, with such developments as Upward Projects along the central corridor …

–Listen to the neighbors, infill changes their neighborhood, so it’s important to listen. “When you go into someone’s living room to talk to them, you become their neighbor.”


mega events
Panel discusses mega events at the 10th Annual ULI Trends Day.

On mega events

Eric Grubman, executive vice president of the National Football League, said many things go into site selection …

–There are baseline requirements, but you have to have a certain amount of hotels and provisions.

–“You must have buy-in. Complete buy-in to present a pallet the NFL can paint. All pieces must be tied in a way that is profound.”

–“How do you get (the Super Bowl) a second time? You have to be a vibrant host.”

Ray Anderson, athletics director at ASU, said if you can pull off global events, you can pull off the Final Four …

–“What was clear was that the NCAA was impressed at how the Valley hosted the Super Bowl, Phoenix open and other events.”

–“You can’t underestimate the branding opportunity with these big events.”

–Collegiate hockey is next – “I guarantee now that ASU has hockey, you can bet we’ll be bidding for the Frozen Four.”

Michael Kennedy, co-founder and shareholder of Gallagher & Kennedy, said the success of the 2008 Super Bowl paved the way for this year’s game …

–Mega events bring intangibles that spur community pride.

–“I’m not sure if there is a right or wrong way (to secure mega events), but we must remain competitive.”

–The Super Bowl is an expensive investment, with about 75 percent of funding from the private sector.

–The Super Bowl is a coveted reward, “But we’ve demonstrated we can do it and we want to do it again.”

Panel discusses employers and site selection at ULI Trends Day

On employers and selecting sites

Michael Trout, vice president of operations, human resources, for State Farms, said a number of things about Tempe attracted his company …

–The reliability of the infrastructure was almost unparalleled.

–“In Tempe, we hope to connect to broader community and attract people from across the spectrum,” and partner with ASU and the Mariciopa County Community College School District.

–State Farm is looking or long-term employees.

Amy Gerber, executive vice president of business and economic incentives at Jones Lang LaSalle, said the primary driver for choosing a site is labor force …

–This includes not just availability, but type of labor, skill set and cost.

–“Don’t wait until there is a need for infrastructure. “Having the light rail and freeway is huge.”

–Create partnerships between businesses and schools to distribute the load.


On Millennials

Generational expert Kimberly Lear said Millennials want two things, customization and neighborhood identity …

–In 2020, Millennials will be 50 percent of the U.S. workforce.

–In 2025, Millennials will be 75 percent of the global workforce.

–Traditional identifiers, such as marriage and religion, do not speak to Millennials.




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