November 3, 2016
Few of the panelists at the Connect Houston conference on Nov. 3 attempted to sugar-coat what was going on economically, due to the oil price drop. However, many of the sessions also came up with some positives as to the current economic situation, namely that a variety of opportunities exist for property owners, landlords and tenants who are savvy enough to take advantage of them.
With mixed-use developments being quite the hot topic within commercial real estate, the opening panel, “Making Mixed Use Work” offered good insights, including the fact that developing such projects requires skill and patience. “We held out for the right tenants. We waited a long time for Whole Foods, for the restaurants and retail,” said Paul Boyle with The Howard Hughes Corp., which is developing the mixed-use Hughes Landing in The Woodlands, TX.
Though “Fueled Up: 20 Minute Energy Update” presented more “downer” news than “fueled-up” positives, Cushman & Wakefield’s Christopher Oliver did indicate that “low energy prices have been positive for the chemical and plastics side, of which Houston has a large industrial base.”
As such, “State of the Market: A 2017 Outlook” had panelists predicting that, while energy might be bottoming out, commercial real estate will take a little longer to recover, though retail and industrial seem to be holding their own. Additionally, “There are micro-areas within places of permanence, where people can live, work and play, and are walkable. Those places of permanence can transcend the ups and downs in the marketplace,” said Kevin Roberts with Transwestern.
And finally, when discussing the role of real estate in “Attraction and Retention in the Work Place,” panelists indicated that today’s workforce is different from any previously experienced. “There’s definitely a heightened sensitivity of accommodating all generations,” said Taucha Hogue of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. “There are five generations we have to accommodate. Companies are recognizing this is something they need to focus on.”
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