I recently attended the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) California Conference 2012 at the JW Marriott at LA Live. CREW is a premier multi-disciplinary commercial real estate organization that provides its members with information programs, local and national networking opportunities and leadership training.
The conference featured many prominent leaders in commercial real estate, including Ted Tanner, Executive Vice President, Real Estate Development with AEG Worldwide, Darla Longo, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of CB Richard Ellis, as well as California State Controller John Chiang, who discussed how the current economic climate is shaping the future of commercial real estate.
The most interesting topic of discussion was the highly anticipated proposed football stadium to be built in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, also known as the Farmer’s Field development project. Mr. Turner assured the audience that this project will move forward despite the naysayers who say a project of this caliber will never advance in the highly congested corridor of Los Angeles.
Darlo Longo, who is revered as a leader in her industry and is among the few women executives in the industrial real estate sector, provided her “cautiously optimistic” viewpoint on the state of the economy, specifically in California. According to Ms. Longo, manufacturing is coming back to the U.S. due to quality control issues and wage increases in China. She also noted that as the rise in gas prices continue, and transportation being the number one cost in manufacturing, the focus on a local economy will drive industrial real estate development back to the U.S., and Los Angeles in particular.
Mr. Chiang addressed the fact that when California suffers, it affects the world, as it’s the 9th largest economy. Mr. Chiang discussed California’s current financial status and warned that if California doesn’t restructure healthcare to focus more on health and wellness, fix the tax system so it reflects the economic change, and help to get small businesses off the ground, we will fail to see any improvement within the state budget.
“Why add band-aids to a structure that’s old and broken?” he commented. “We need to fix the system throughout to help people get off public assistance, and provide job training and education.” The implications of the effect of California’s financial crisis on the real estate market were apparent in his speech.
Although there were diverse views on the future of the real estate market, one thing was agreed upon: nothing is constant except for change; especially when it comes to real estate.
-By Berbay Assistant Account Manager Summer Vernon