July 29, 2016
Connect Orange County brought together more than 500 CRE leaders for an information-packed conference at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. The second-annual event on July 28th featured four panel discussions where 20 top industry minds shared insights into the trends, drivers and future of CRE in Orange County. Connect Media will be sharing more in-depth reports of each panel over the coming days, but here’s a few key takeaways that stand out from yesterday’s conversations:
Orange County Office: Traditional, Transitional & Technology
- ORION Property Partners’ Jay Carnahan says architecture is the key to defining what is creative workspace and what is more traditional office space. And even within creative environments there are a range of definitions from “creative lite” to “creative heavy.”
- John Hancock Real Estate’s Parker Jones says the market is still in a transition phase to a more open, untethered workspace that traditional firms are still getting comfortable with adopting.
- Techspace’s Vic Memenas notes what has changed in the marketplace is the customer expectation to an Uber-like experience. That encompasses on-demand, high-touch, technologically-advanced workspaces that allow companies to scale as needed.
Tale of Two Cities
- FivePoint’s Emile Haddad says that OC faces the same challenges as Silicon Valley in development, and that is the ability to attract young talent to live in the regions. It’s a “lifesetyle issue” that needs to be addressed by foreseeing the future, rather than retrofiting a city after the fact.
- City of Tustin’s John A. Buchanan shared the importance of educating city councils on densities and using different ways to appeal to them in order to get over such hurdles when seeking entitlements.
- Both agreed that while regional planning between neighboring cities is the most logical way to create communities that work together, “cities are competitive,” and getting them to sit down together is very difficult to do, but would serve as a useful solution.
NOW Generation: Today’s Decision-Makers Shaping Tomorrow’s CRE
- Trammell Crow Company’s Chris Tipre explained how CRE is an industry where reaching out and paying it forward is a widely-accepted mentality because everyone has been in your position once and sought to gain the same insight from a mentor.
- Pendulum Property Partners’ Kevin Hayes, who recently opened his own business, said that there is “no business plan greater than a cycle” and that you need to learn other people’s jobs so that you can be invaluable.
- LBA Realty’s Eric Brown, who was working in acquisitions at the worst time in 2008, proved that one must always be open to new opportunities in this business in order to be successful.
Investment & Development: Buy, Build, Lease, Sell
- Bixby Land Co.’s Bill Halford believes California is still the market to develop and own CRE because of its back-end liquidity considerations. While it may be more expensive, there’s always demand. California is the first to come back and the first to recover after a downturn.
- Irvine Co.’s Dave Moore says a significant change for retail centers is that size is no longer a determining factor in what constitutes an anchor. The drawing power of a retailer is now the critical measure.
- Trammell Crow Co.’s Tom Bak says the beauty of Orange County now is the eclectic mix of office spaces available for companies to find what fits their need – from creative office, adaptive reuse projects or more traditional buildings. For many companies, the building or workspace has become the embodiment of its brand.