Midwest Real Estate News February 2012 : Page 4

4 Midwest Real Estate News® February 2012 www.rejournals.com FROM THE EDITOR midwest ® Mixed feelings on the future of commercial real estate? You’re not alone R E A L E S TAT E N E W S ® The Midwest’s commercial real estate publication, providing useful, unbiased and accurate coverage of the industry and its professionals since 1985. WWW.REJOURNALS.COM Publisher | Mark Menzies menzies@rejournals.com Associate Publisher | Jay Kodytek jkodytek@rejournals.com Editor | Dan Rafter danrafter@sbcglobal.net Circulation | Debbie DeWolf ddewolf.com@rejournals.com T he mood at this year's Commer-cial Real Estate Forecast Con-ference in Chicago was decidedly mixed. Sam Zell, the famed Chicago real estate mogul and chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Debra Ca-faro, chief executive officer of Ventas Inc., kicked off the event with a fireside chat in which they discussed every-thing from the future of the housing industry to the wisdom of in-vesting in international real estate and presidential politics. During the conference, held by Illinois Real Estate Journal, the sister publication to Midwest Real Estate News, Zell was his typical blunt self. He painted a fairly grim picture of most com-mercial real estate sectors, reserving his praise only for the per-formance of multi-family. It isn't a surprise to commercial real estate pros, of course, that office, industrial and retail have been struggling. The good news, though, is that there has been some improvement. These other commercial sectors might not yet be strong enough to at-tract the attentions of Zell, but they are performing better as 2012 begins than they were a year ago. And for commercial real estate pros, that's good news. Piers Pritchard, a vice president and principal in the St. Louis office of Cassidy Turley, sums it up well. During an interview with Midwest Real Estate News, he said that he and the real estate pros in his office remain confident that the commercial real es-tate business is on the rebound after some of the most chal-lenging years that anyone in the industry can remember. But Pritchard also admitted that this confidence, like the in-dustry's recovery itself, is fragile. "Everyone is still on edge. We are still optimistic, and we do believe that the momentum that we've seen can carry us in the right direction," Pritchard told me during his interview. "But re-cent history has everyone a little nervous. Everyone is very cau-tious in their optimism. We have political issues and the presidential election in November to worry about. There are a lot of things that are teetering in Washington. Who will be president is one of them. This all could have an impact on what happens nationally." Block Real Estate Services' 2012 Kansas City real estate re-port is an example of the mixed feelings that commercial pro-fessionals still have concerning their industry. The Block report brought healthy doses of both good news and bad news, some-thing that's pretty much par for the course in the commercial real estate world today. Block's researchers said that the end of 2011 brought more than a few glimmers of hope that a slow but steady recovery is in store for Kansas City in 2012. Unfortunately, this recovery is best described as shaky. After all, there's an economic crisis going on in Europe and unending political infighting in Wash-ington. Both could derail improvements in 2012. The hope, though, lies largely in the return of jobs to Kansas City, according to the Block Real Estate Services' report. The Kansas City metropolitan area lost more than 100,000 jobs from 2001 to 2011. But the metro area is expected to add 19,100 jobs in 2012 and, in even better news, 36,700 in 2013. Again, though, this good news comes with a healthy dose of reality. According to the Block report, even with this job growth, the Kansas City metropolitan area won't return to its pre-reces-sion employment level until the end of 2014. For those keeping track, that's more than six long years after the country's Great Recession officially began. A recent report from Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Invest-ment Services is similar in that it provides both good and bad news, only this time for the national economy. According to the report, 2011 was actually a solid year for job growth. According to the company, December capped a year in which the economy generated positive hiring every month. That's the first time this has happened since 2005. Marcus & Mil-lichap researchers predict that this trend should continue in 2012 as employers continue to boost their staffing levels to meet rising demand for goods and services. n Marketing Coordinator | Frank Biondo fbiondo@rejournals.com Midwest Real Estate News brings real estate leaders together to explore the challenges and opportunities unique to their markets. CHICAGO OFFICE 415 N. State Street Chicago, IL 60654 • 312-416-1860 MINNEAPOLIS OFFICE 5353 Wazata Blvd., Suite 307 Minneapolis, MN 55416 • 952-885-0815 Midwest Real Estate News® (ISSN 0893-2719) is published bimonthly by Real Estate Communications Group, a divi-sion of Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 415 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60654 (rejournals.com). Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calendar, are available on the internet at rejournals.com. Sub scriptions: Within U.S.: 1 year, $29; 2 years, $49. Outside U.S. (surface mail): 1 year, $75. 2 years, $128; (air mail) 1 year, $115; 2 years, $208. Single copies, $10.00. Subscription information: Penny Bernal, 415 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60654. 312-644-2394. ©2011 Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Member of American Business Media and BPA International.

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