Midwest Real Estate News April 2011 : Page 4

4 Midwest Real Estate News® April 2011 www.rejournals.com FROM THE EDITOR A mix of markets I also cover the city of Topeka in this issue. And that’s a market that’s remarkably similar to Omaha. It helps here, too, t h at t h e ci t y i s t h e s t at e capi t al. G ov er n m en t jobs h elp keep t h e u n e m plo y m en t r at e i n ch eck. Ag ai n , a di v e r s e ec on om y and affordable housing costs help, as has the fact that Topeka, too, didn’t see the kind of overbuilding during the boom times that many markets did. Of course, not all markets in the Midwest are thriving. This issue also features stories on Cleveland and Detroit, two Midwest cities that have been particularly hard hit by the economic slowdown. This isn’t surprising. Both cities rely heavily on manufactur-ing. When the economy went south, and those industry jobs disappeared, the unemployment rates in both Detroit and Cleveland soared. At the same time, businesses closed. There is hope, though, in both markets today. I interviewed several commercial real estate professionals from both Detroit and Cleveland for this issue. These pros told me that, yes, their cities may have a negative reputation. But they also said that their cities are seeing more commercial activity today. Brokers’ phones are ringing more often. Deals are finally closing. Financing is loosening up. Both cities still have a long way to go, of course. Both still face serious challenges. But the brokers working these markets see better times ahead. And they’re awfully happy to report that the worst days of the Great Recession seem to be behind them. This is a common refrain these days. For three years, the news surrounding commercial real estate has been unremit-tingly grim. Each issue that we put together at Midwest Real E s tate News f ocu s ed on t h e lack of f i n anci n g , t h e deart h of new retail developments and the staggeringly high vacancy rate in the office sector. None of this was particularly enjoyable to cover. But increasingly, I’m hearing from commercial real estate pros across the country that times are getting better, that the economic fundamentals in their markets are steadily improving. And like in Detroit and Cleveland, most Midwest markets still face plenty of hurdles as they work through their slow recov-eries. But it’s a relief to hear of the new developments popping up across the country. Let’s hope that the momentum contin-ues. Maybe we’ll all look back at 2011 — no matter in which market we work — as the year in which the commercial real es-tate industry began its recovery. midwest ® 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 Production | Phil Lonergan plonergan@rejournals.com Circulation | Penny Bernal bernal@lbpc.com I t ’ s n o s ecr et t h at cer t ai n M i dwes t m ar ket s ar e per f or m i n g better than are others. But when it comes to healthy markets in this part of the country, few compare to Omaha. The Nebraska city has weathered the Great Recession and its painfully slow recovery as well as has any municipality across the country. And now that the national economy is finally s t ar t i n g t o s h ow s om e r eal s i g n s of li f e , Om ah a i s poi s ed t o thrive. The real estate professionals I spoke with in this city pointed to plenty of reasons for Omaha’s success: The city features a diverse economy. It doesn’t rely on any one industry like many Midwest markets have. It also features a skilled and highly edu-cated workforce, affordable housing prices and a chamber of commerce that aggressively pursues new businesses. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the city’s unemployment rate is far lower than the national average. Then there’s the fact that developers resisted the urge here to overbuild during the good economic times. That has helped keep vacancy rates reasonable during even the worst days of the recession. Th is all adds u p t o a m ar ket t hat h as abs or bed t h e wor st t h at t h e econ om y h as t h rown at i t an d i s s t i ll pu r r i ng alon g , relatively speaking. 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. Subscriptions: 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. Watch for this special issue coming in June. Contact Mark Menzies for advertising opportunities — 312-644-4610 or Menzies@REJournals.com

Editor’s Letter

A mix of markets

It’s no secret that certain Midwest markets are performing better than are others. But when it comes to healthy markets in this part of the country, few compare to Omaha.

The Nebraska city has weathered the Great Recession and its painfully slow recovery as well as has any municipality across the country. And now that the national economy is finally starting to show some real signs of life, Omaha is poised to thrive.

The real estate professionals I spoke with in this city pointed to plenty of reasons for Omaha’s success: The city features a diverse economy. It doesn’t rely on any one industry like many Midwest markets have. It also features a skilled and highly educated workforce, affordable housing prices and a chamber of commerce that aggressively pursues new businesses. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the city’s unemployment rate is far lower than the national average.

Then there’s the fact that developers resisted the urge here to overbuild during the good economic times. That has helped keep vacancy rates reasonable during even the worst days of the recession.

This all adds up to a market that has absorbed the worst that the economy has thrown at it and is still purring along, relatively speaking.

I also cover the city of Topeka in this issue. And that’s a market that’s remarkably similar to Omaha. It helps here, too, that the city is the state capital. Government jobs help keep the unemployment rate in check. Again, a diverse economy and affordable housing costs help, as has the fact that Topeka, too, didn’t see the kind of overbuilding during the boom times that many markets did.

Of course, not all markets in the Midwest are thriving. This issue also features stories on Cleveland and Detroit, two Midwest cities that have been particularly hard hit by the economic slowdown.

This isn’t surprising. Both cities rely heavily on manufacturing.

When the economy went south, and those industry jobs disappeared, the unemployment rates in both Detroit and Cleveland soared. At the same time, businesses closed.

There is hope, though, in both markets today. I interviewed several commercial real estate professionals from both Detroit and Cleveland for this issue. These pros told me that, yes, their cities may have a negative reputation. But they also said that their cities are seeing more commercial activity today. Brokers’ phones are ringing more often. Deals are finally closing. Financing is loosening up.

Both cities still have a long way to go, of course. Both still face serious challenges. But the brokers working these markets see better times ahead. And they’re awfully happy to report that the worst days of the Great Recession seem to be behind them.

This is a common refrain these days. For three years, the news surrounding commercial real estate has been unremittingly grim. Each issue that we put together at Midwest Real Estate News focused on the lack of financing, the dearth of new retail developments and the staggeringly high vacancy rate in the office sector. None of this was particularly enjoyable to cover. But increasingly, I’m hearing from commercial real estate pros across the country that times are getting better, that the economic fundamentals in their markets are steadily improving. And like in Detroit and Cleveland, most Midwest markets still face plenty of hurdles as they work through their slow recoveries.

But it’s a relief to hear of the new developments popping up across the country. Let’s hope that the momentum continues. Maybe we’ll all look back at 2011 — no matter in which market we work—as the year in which the commercial real estate industry began its recovery.

Read the full article at http://bluetoad.com/article/Editor%E2%80%99s+Letter/693163/66439/article.html.

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