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Geography, Industrial, Alternative Asset Classes and Hospitality to Remain Key Drivers of Commercial Real Estate, Experts Say

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 9:30 AM
Fordham Real Estate Institute

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / March 2, 2021 / The Fordham Real Estate Institute (REI) recently held the second event in its Visionary Series CCL: The Future Role of CRE, a five-year campaign tied to the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. The virtual panel discussion, What's Next for the Major Sectors of Commercial Real Estate?, took place on February 18 and gathered together the country's leading minds in real estate capital, investment, and development to unpack the biggest trends impacting the industry and how each of the major sectors are faring in an unpredictable market.

The first trend discussed by the expert panel was geography and the seemingly mass exodus to the South due to the pandemic. However, according to participants, that trend has been going on for decades.

"If you look at the last 30 years, and you take the dozen largest MSAs from North Carolina, Florida, and Texas, the population growth they have seen is three times the national average. To sustain that growth for 30 years is not an aberration, it's a world change," said panelist Scott Lawlor, founder, and CEO, Waypoint Real Estate Investment. "COVID really just accelerated and amplified what's already been going on. As far as growth, the demographic trends in the US have for a very long time been pointing from the Northeast and Midwest to the Southeast and Southwest."

When delving into particular asset classes, panelist Steven McCraney, president and CEO, McCraney Property Company, shared insight into the strength of industrial.

"No one would ever think that COVID would be good for anything, but it's certainly been fantastic for e-commerce, distribution, and for the industrial category overall. Look at all the packages that come to our houses every day. I think we will look back some years from now, and we'll see this as a giant change on how the American public, and perhaps the world public, does business.," he said. "Right now, they say that the demand for industrial warehousing will be about 200 million square feet, and that doesn't even include the safety stock that most companies are looking at."

According to panelist Ben Brown, managing partner, Brookfield Real Estate Group, there is a continued and growing interest from investors in alternative sectors, specifically life sciences.

"For the past 18 to 24 months, life sciences has gone from what we would all consider truly in the bucket of alternatives to mainstream and probably the most desirable asset class for most of the capital. The problem is, in the whole US market, there is only about 150 million square feet of space in this sector, and half of that is in three different markets, so people's ability to invest in that sector is very, very difficult," he said. "But I think alternatives generally have become much more mainstream in terms of what we're hearing from our investors."

And in terms of those more traditional classes, moderator Simon Ziff, president, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate, is placing his bets on hospitality.

"There is so much interest in hospitality right now because the view is it's coming back, and a good hotel will still be a good hotel," he said. "There's a little more question around office because there will be great office space, but it's still unclear how it will fare. And the same thing with retail: retail is not dead, but there's a ton that we don't know about how it will come out. But for the most part, I've seen more investors interested in hospitality out of those three classes."

The event was the second of four currently scheduled virtual events in the Visionary Series CCL: The Future Role of CRE. The remaining schedule is:

  • March 18, 2021: Show Us the Money: How Providers Will View Risk and Capital for the Next Five Years
  • April 15, 2021: Envisioning the Near Future: Technology, Innovation, and Obsolescence

For a full list of speakers and to register for any of the webinars, visit


The Fordham Real Estate Institute (REI) currently offers a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE), Master of Science in Construction Management, graduate certificates in real estate finance, development and construction management, Bachelor's in Real Estate, and a comprehensive array of professional certificates in real estate and construction at its campuses in Manhattan and West Harrison, N.Y. The programs are developed and taught by leading industry practitioners and are centered on imparting real-world professional skill sets. Flexibility and convenience are program hallmarks as classes can be taken in-person, online, and at various paces. REI is a part of Fordham's School of Professional and Continuing Studies. For more information, visit

Fordham Real Estate Institute, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Press release picture

Top row: Simon Ziff, President, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate; Scott Lawlor, Founder, and CEO, Waypoint Real Estate Investment; Bottom row: Ben Brown, managing partner, Brookfield Real Estate Group; Steven McCraney, President, and CEO, McCraney Property Company

Fordham Real Estate Institute, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Press release picture

Top row: Steven McCraney, President, and CEO, McCraney Property Company; Louis Mirando, Founder and Principal, Streamline Realty Funding, LLC and Chair of the Fordham Real Estate Institute Executive Advisory Council; Simon Ziff, President, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate; Bottom row: Scott Lawlor, Founder, and CEO, Waypoint Real Estate Investment; Ben Brown, Managing Partner, Brookfield Real Estate Group


Kayleigh Lentz
Co-Communications Inc.
[email protected]

SOURCE: Fordham Real Estate Institute

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