For aspiring developers, panelists agreed that choosing a sector—whether it be residential, office, industrial, or something else—does not particularly matter, but that you have to start somewhere, start small, and specialize within whatever sector you do choose. “All happy real estate deals are alike—they start with a motivated seller,” said John E. McNellis of McNellis Partners, speaking at the ULI Spring Meeting.
U.S. retailers and their landlords are embracing the pop-up phenomenon in different ways to meet specific goals, speakers said at the ULI Spring Meeting in Philadelphia.
What consumers want is to “live large and carry little,” said generational marketing expert J. Walker Smith, executive chairman of the Futures Company, in a 2016 ULI Spring Meeting session moderated by ULI Global CEO Patrick L. Phillips.
The economic forecast for the next three years likely will be mixed, panelists said at the ULI Spring Meeting in Philadelphia, thanks to slowing productivity, job growth that is relegated primarily to low-wage sectors, and imbalances in real estate markets driven by shifting consumer preferences and incomes.
While the use of big data is increasing in many industries, Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, told attendees at the ULI Spring Meeting, “When you have more data, you have more opportunities to be wrong.”
The United States is undergoing its worst housing affordability crisis in 45 years, said Ron Terwilliger, chairman of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, at the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting in Philadelphia.
Preparations are already underway in Dallas for the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting, which the city will host October 24–27. A high-profile session will feature Roger Staubach, executive chairman of JLL Americas and former Dallas Cowboys star quarterback, who forged a highly successful career in real estate following his retirement from the National Football League in 1980.
Developers of master-planned communities (MPCs) must innovate to remain relevant, said Kathleen B. Cecilian, a ULI governor and chief executive officer (CEO) of Flemington, New Jersey–based marketing firm Cecilian Worldwide, speaking at the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting. “There are innovators in each of your companies who should stimulate discussions about the future of MPCs,” she said.
Over the past half-century, west Philadelphia’s University City district—located across the Schuylkill River from Center City—has morphed from a blighted urban neighborhood into a thriving mixed-use hub for higher education, health care, and tech startups. In the process, it has become a template for other old industrial cities striving to remake themselves, said panelists speaking at the ULI Spring Meeting.
Real estate developers and cities are becoming more responsive to cyclists’ needs by creating an increasing number of amenities tailored to those who would rather bike than drive. A new ULI publication, Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier, identifies this trend as “trail-oriented development,” the latest phase in the evolution of urban development from car-centric to people-friendly design.