ULI Chicago News

Personal Member Perspectives from the ULI Fall Meeting in NYC

The ULI 2014 Fall Meeting in New York City was a whirlwind of tours, jam-packed sessions, award ceremonies, council meetings, staff meetings, cocktail receptions, dinners and lots of sharing and networking.  As Young Leader, Mark Hahn, Asset Manager, Kensington Realty Advisors, Inc., remarked “the contacts and camaraderie one experiences at the Fall Meeting takes networking to a new level.”

Mark has attended previous Fall Meetings, however, this time around he was fortunate enough to be a guest on the Senior Housing Council.  The Council consists of approximately 50-60 members who are the top executives in the senior housing industry.  Mark had this to share about his Council Day experience. “Our day started with an update on the state of general economic conditions and demographic trends presented by the National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care (NIC).  The presentation set a baseline of facts and the perfect tone for sharing ideas during the full-day meeting.  Several other speakers presented their views and activities in the industry and they all shared their visions freely and answered questions throughout the discussion.  The group wrapped up with a 90-second update from each member (and guests).  The 90-second update format allows each attendee to share what’s new, innovative, and worth sharing with the other council members.  The update displayed how diverse the group’s disciplines were including developers, investors, lenders, operators, appraisers, architects, an executive search firm, researchers and construction companies.  For me, attending a Council meeting was very rewarding and highlights why ULI is the premiere real estate organization that focuses on innovative ideas, education of its members and ultimately promoting responsible land use.”

John Oharenko, Senior Vice President, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, has been a member of ULI for over 10 years and has seen his share of Fall Meetings, however, the 2014 event was a highlight for him.  “This Fall meeting was a great venue as no other city in America can showcase real estate developments and trends like the Big Apple.”  John summarized his “take homes” in just a few succinct bullet points.

  • Core is Core  The rebirth of the urban cores of most cities is a permanent trend, as people seek more socially interactive environments vs. open space suburbia and seek to reduce unnecessary commuting.  Rehabbing and redevelopment of core urban areas will continue to spread unabated.
  • Tech is THE first language  Millennials talk “tech” as a first language; for others, it’s a second language that is rapidly changing workspace.  Think “cool” spaces with larger collaborative work environments, and smaller personal work space per employee (140/ft.²).  Expect the “demise of the demising wall” – one of the last barriers to physical communication within the office.
  • Renting is fashionable Rent-vs-own philosophy is more prevalent, demonstrating the need for flexibility, mobility and a focus on carefree living as top priorities for housing.  New York epitomizes this trend with a rental population in excess of 80%.  While some fear overbuilding within the multifamily sectors, many others believe the current rental demand will continue to outstrip supply for at least three years or more.
  • Beating spiraling construction costs  Labor and material costs are up by about 15% over the past year, with wood and concrete as the lead culprits.  Large-scale developers are buying raw materials earlier in the delivery cycle as a cost control measure.  Others turn to alternative construction technologies such as prefab.   For example, prefab housing represents a cost savings of about 33%, including labor and materials. Also, delivery time is a few months shorter than conventional construction.

John agrees that connecting with members from across the globe is one of the best reasons to attend the Fall Meeting.  It even gives him quality time to connect with Chicago colleagues he just doesn’t seem to see often enough.

From all accounts, the ULI Fall Meeting did not disappoint … well, maybe in one small way.  Mark says he won’t be ordering a “Chicago-style” dog in NYC again any time soon!

See Member photos from the Fall Meeting

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