A Parallel Universe Have you ever heard the term 'parallel universe?' I hadn't until a few years ago when someone mentioned it to me. The official definition: A parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own. It's ...

 

A Parallel Universe / The O'Heart Festival, Tyalgum, New South Wales and more...

A Parallel Universe / The O'Heart Festival, Tyalgum, New South Wales

A Parallel Universe

Have you ever heard the term 'parallel universe?'

I hadn't until a few years ago when someone mentioned it to me.  

The official definition: A parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own.

It's an interesting concept:  could be a certain part of your life is confusing you - or there's trouble that has percolated with a job, family or a relationship.  You want things to work out but you don't know if they will. And you imagine your parallel universe - a place where everything works out - exactly the way you want it to.

Yet there are no roads, no maps, no paths that allow you to get from your current universe to the parallel universe.  It's sad - that you can dream everything going the way you'd like it to go - yet when you try you realize that you can't touch it or hug it and pull it to you - it's out of your reach, out of your control.  

I've got one of those situations going on in my life right now and while the parallel universe idea seems like it might be helpful, I'd rather see the real universe I'm living in magically start resembling that parallel one.  And for now, all I can do is put my positive energy out there and hope that, the words of author Paul Coehlo are true: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

 

As I was writing to you, in whatever universe you are currently situated, I thought of this song:

When You Wish Upon A Star:

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
**

The Heart Collectors, Tyalgum, New South Wales

I bought myself a birthday present this summer:  a trip to Australia. This will be my first visit down under.  I leave on Sunday, Aug 20th. 

The trip was stimulated by my serendipitous meeting last summer in Tennessee of a band called The Heart Collectors. We became instant friends and they told me about an annual festival in their hometown, Tyalgum. It's called the O'Heart Festival and it takes place on Aug 25, 26, 27 and I'll be there!

Tyalgum has a population of 300...yes, no typo, 300 people!  There are just a few places to stay and The Heart Collectors steered me to The Celestial Dew of Tyalgum - which looks really, really cool.  

I'll probably share some of the experience with you here.


Corn as high as an elephant's eye - Fletcher Park, NC







     
 

Half a year gone / 'Give and Take' / Words of wisdom from Anna Quindlen

What a coincidence
It seems fitting that the end of 2Q2017 and 1H2017 is happening today, on a Friday…the end of this week. 

So much has gone on since we rang in this new year 6 months ago!  A lot of job changing – some at very senior levels.  Now, with college graduations behind us there’s a new crop of ambitious, eager and excited folks entering (or re-entering) the global commercial real estate industry.  It’s really terrific because as much as those of us who have been around a while know (or think we know) to me there’s no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes and voice saying, “Have you ever thought of doing it this way?”

We can all learn from each other – if our minds (and egos) remain open.  And, while the income-producing commercial real estate business is still pretty much the same as when I started (except for the layers upon layers added to the capital stack) there are new challenges that we’re facing – not the least of which is the shopping center / retail real estate industry. 

Remember, years back when the talk started, “The Internet is going to destroy traditional retailing.”  It’s taken a while but…it’s happening…big time.  I have always done my best to support the independent retailer, and continue to do so whenever possible.  However, I’ve become a regular Amazon shopper:  order it today, get it tomorrow (or the next day).  If the root of Amazon is not “Amazing” it should be.  And, let’s not forget FedEx who are also amazing in processing and delivering stuff.

While I’ll be leaving the mastering of drones to my grandsons, I’m taking some time off this summer – to really think about what’s going on in the commercial real estate industry, my place in it and what I want to do for the next 40 years of my life.  Yes, there are things to do, places to go and people to see and, for now, identifying and clarifying the priorities and making a plan is, for me, a serious undertaking. 

Felix/Weiner ‘Big’ Client Event
Thanks to those of you who wrote Liz and I with good wishes for the client event we orchestrated last week.  While it was not without anxiety, from the feedback we’ve received – it went great!

Now, when we’re asked, “What’s the largest group you’ve worked with, we can proudly say “260 people.”  It really felt good, celebrating after the event was over!

Book recommendation:  Give and Take by Adam Grant
Someone once asked me, “Steve, why do you feel like you always have to help people?”

There’s a terrific book called ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant.
I’ve read it and am in the process of typing up my ‘highlights.’ As with anything, when something we read or hear resonates with what we already do, we feel validated.  I have always enjoyed helping people.  Have I been disappointed in some folks that I’ve helped?  Yes.  I was willing to help and, on occasion (luckily very rarely) chosen unwisely – hey, we’re always learning.  I help people in part because I remember the times that I needed help and there was no one there for me.

For now, I wanted to share a few of my takeaways:
  • Givers and takers differ in their attitudes and actions toward other people.  If you’re a taker you help others strategically when the benefits to you outweigh the personal costs.  If you’re a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefits to others exceed the personal costs.
  • On balance, people who choose giving as their primary reciprocity style end up reaping rewards.
  • At some point in your life, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of dealing with slick schmoozers who are nice to your face when they want a favor, but end up stabbing you in the back - or simply ignoring you- after they got what they want.    This faker style of networking casts the entire enterprise as Machiavellian, a self-serving activity in which people make connections for the sole purpose of advancing their own interests.  
  • If you set out to help others you will rapidly reinforce your own reputation and expand your universe of possibilities.
  • You never know where someone is going to end up.  It’s not just about building your reputation; it really is about being there for other people.
  • “When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.”  Goethe
  • Givers are inclined to see the potential in everyone.


Words of wisdom from Anna Quindlen
With the college graduation season pretty much over, I thought I'd share this with you.  I pull it our once a year around this time and, while I am not a recent graduate, I feel like there's a different sort of graduation we go through from time to time in our lives.  You may want to send this to someone you know.
The following is from Pulitzer Prize winning author Anna Quindlen’s commencement address at Villanova University – June 2000
It's a great honor for me to be the third member of my family to receive an honorary doctorate from this great university. It's an honor to follow my great-uncle Jim, who was a gifted physician, and my Uncle Jack, who is a remarkable businessman. Both of them could have told you something important about their professions, about medicine or commerce.
I have no specialized field of interest or expertise, which puts me at a disadvantage, talking to you today. I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.
Don't ever forget what a friend once wrote Senator Paul Tsongas when the senator decided not to run for reelection because he'd been diagnosed with cancer: "No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time in the office." Don't ever forget the words my father sent me on a postcard last year: "If you win the rat race, you're still a rat." Or what John Lennon wrote before he was gunned down in the driveway of the Dakota: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
You walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the test results and they're not so good.
Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen, I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.
I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if those other things were not true. You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.
So here is what I wanted to tell you today:
Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous.
Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night.
And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister.
All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live. I learned to live many years ago.
Something really, really bad happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had my druthers, it would never have been changed at all. And what I learned from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this:
Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness because if you do you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.
Well, you can learn all those things, out there, if you get a life, a full life, a professional life, yes, but another life, too, a life of love and laughs and a connection to other human beings. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Here you could learn in the classroom. There the classroom is everywhere. The exam comes at the very end. No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office. I found one of my best teachers on the boardwalk at Coney Island maybe 15 years ago. It was December, and I was doing a story about how the homeless survive in the winter months.
He and I sat on the edge of the wooden supports, dangling our feet over the side, and he told me about his schedule; panhandling the boulevard when the summer crowds were gone, sleeping in a church when the temperature went below freezing, hiding from the police amidst the Tilt a Whirl and the Cyclone and some of the other seasonal rides. But he told me that most of the time he stayed on the boardwalk, facing the water, just the way we were sitting now even when it got cold and he had to wear his newspapers after he read them.
And I asked him why. Why didn't he go to one of the shelters? Why didn't he check himself into the hospital for detox? And he just stared out at the ocean and said, "Look at the view, young lady. Look at the view."
And every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said. I try to look at the view. And that's the last thing I have to tell you today, words of wisdom from a man with not a dime in his pocket, no place to go, nowhere to be. Look at the view. You'll never be disappointed.





     
 

John Riordan (1938-2017)

I was very, very sad to learn that John Riordan passed away yesterday morning after a long bout with cancer.


John was Past Vice Chairman, Past President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
In 2001, John stepped down from a 15-year term as President and CEO of ICSC. At the same time he was chosen as the Thomas G. Eastman Chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Real Estate. In 2003, ICSC announced the renaming of its professional development school as the John T. Riordan ICSC School for Professional Development. Riordan has served on the advisory boards of the MIT/Center for Real Estate, the Center for Real Estate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Business School of Baruch College of the City University of New York. He has served as director of General Growth Properties and Ivanhoe Cambridge. In 2003, John was elected an ICSC Trustee for life.

I met John fairly early in his 15-year term as President and CEO of ICSC.
John was a true leader and visionary.  To me he was a good friend and voice of reason as my career evolved.  As I think back, in some regards he was a mentor to me at different times in my life. 
John was highly respected; as a person and as an executive.  He led the ICSC during a period of exceptional growth and globalization. 
The John T. Riordan School for Retail Professionals is the pre-eminent shopping center industry educational program at the ICSC. 
In the past couple of years, he and I resurrected our contact via lengthy and personal emails.  I hadn’t written to him in a while and hadn’t heard from him but just last week I wrote him with an update and asked if he’d be open to me coming to visit him over the summer.
Always prompt to reply, I didn’t hear back from him. Now I know why.
I went back to our most recent email exchanges and wanted to share some of what John wrote to me as it says a lot about the man John was.  I was encouraging him to write a memoir and don't know if he started it - he lead such an interesting life and was a positive influence on so many people he came in contact with.  
Dear Steve,
….Shopping centers and ICSC in the early 80's were becoming a world-wide retail and member service revolution.  Having been a frequent traveler to western Europe in my college days and my early teaching years thanks to the Experiment in International Living and speaking, as I do, the several  Romance languages helped a lot in growing ICSC internationally.  Once again success came from asking questions and together with new or potential members, finding suitable answers.

Today the big question about the future of retail real estate concerns learning to put the Internet to advantage.  Easier said than done.  Current trends point to concentration of new generations in metropolitan not suburban areas.--people for whom time is one of the most valuable aspects of life.  Locations where walking or using public transport is preferable to  long commutes by car to the workplace. Apartment dwellers who either own or rent homes cared for by building staff.  Shoppers for whom the prime means of time-efficient shopping is a Wi-Fi connected device of one kind or another, including one we still call a "phone" that tends  be with us at virtually all times everywhere  in a purse or pocket!

Could it be that the day of the creative retail real estate architect is over and that of the of the truly creative Urbanist is a hand to help answer the big question:  Now What? What to we do with all the empty retail real estate?
**
Dear Steve,
We have a lot in common. I did not know you attended Fairleigh Dickinson. I'm from NJ and went to Montclair State on a full scholarship in exchange for a promise to teach school in the state for at least four years.

I did in the Princeton NJ public schools which for me at the time was heaven.  I was the editor of the student paper at Montclair, President of a Fraternity, founder of the summer international travel program in conjunction with the Experiment in Int'l Living of which I later became a trustee.--and still able to be graduated in three and one half years rather than four.

Montclair's  enrollment was 1200, today it is over 20, 000 and I have just finished serving as chair of the advisory board for the colleges of the humanities and the social sciences there and am now on the real estate advisory group for its B school.

You may recall that on retirement from ICSC I took on the full time chairmanship of the Center for Real Estate of MIT for three years.  Not the most satisfying assignment I have to say.  We have long lived in MA  (now on Cape Cod) having come here after a stint with McGraw Hill to work for Houghton Mifflin Company of which I ultimately became a director and head of educational publishing then getting involved with ICSC and far more interesting people like yourself. So books and publishing a big part of my life.

I have not written one, but I have read a great many, including Norman Kranzdorf's bio in which he lists me as among the more interesting people he has known. My oh my!  I believe him to have had a fascinating life to date and count him as a good friend.  Indeed, I had a note from him only yesterday.  I'll be pleased to get a coy of your book when complete.

Your comments on health, longevity and the like are we'll taken.  I am very much aware of the niceties of geriatric medicine at this point having endured in addition to cancer, a triple by pass, removal of a kidney, insertion of two stents and in general  having become a source of income for experts in the area.

Let me know how things progress.  Good to have renewed acquaintance in this fashion.

All the best,

John
**
And, what I realize now is the last note I received from John, the first week of January, 2017:

Dear Steve.

I am up early to find your good note and the copy of one to you from me of so long ago.

Wow! Since what I wrote there has come to pass in most of the countries cited and some of which I first got to know and some of which I got to visit so long ago when I was involved first as a student and then when a school teacher and  group leader for an organization I am still affiliated with today, The Experiment in International Living and its School for World Learning.

Founded around the time of World War II by a certain Donald Watt, a scout master from Vermont, it has still today as its motto "Expect the Unexpected." Something that I have adhered to all the rest of my life since my first l957 contact with the organization of which I later became a trustee.

Today, rereading what I wrote so long ago to you (and impressed that you still have it) I would say that the unexpected is what is happening to shopping centers and retailing in general.

It comes down to technological innovations and a major change in societal values on the part of. Recent generations and their decisions on where and how to live and the dramatically reduced rates and extent to which they procreate.  Simply put it is fewer people, living more and more in metropolitan areas and having fewer and fewer children at the same time when earlier generations past child bearing ages are living longer and longer and in turn are leaving their suburban homes for closer in to city access to services.  All of this promoted in part by technology that is advancing at lightening speed rendering the need for place less important for the acquisition of goods.

Bricks and mortar in the shopping center form are not needed as much as they once were.  Dreams of making malls gathering places for entertainment are exaggerated and in the wrong places in any event as the suburbs are no longer valued and will be less and less so as time goes by, as new automated forms of transport are evolved and as already sophisticated automated delivery systems are further advanced.  The notion that retail real estate locations will do better if state sales taxes are applied everywhere and the Amazon-like advantage on price mitigated miss the real point of sales, deliveries and returns by electronic means:  speed is more important to the buyer than the difference in price due to absence of state sales taxes.

I have just retired after more than a decade as a director of Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of the Caisse de depot et de placement du Quebec and am familiar with the situation there quite well, in part as I am a graduate of Laval University in Quebec City and the Caisse is the moment manager for the major provincial pension funds.  I'd be interested to learn more of your interest in Canada.  

Steve, you have made my day and got my blood running at an early hour.  I am today beginning the 6th and last sequence of Chemo for cancer--a cancer that is now gone thanks to the first five rounds but for which this sixth is a kind of double check.   I enter my 80th year in a few days and hope to survive to the end of it at least, and perhaps a few more beyond that.

All the best to you wherever you go and whatever path you take to get there.

John 
**

John touched a lot of lives, not the least of which is mine.  I am privileged to have had him as a friend. He was a class act!
My condolences to John’s family and his many, many shopping center (and other industry) friends.








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The Friendly Skies / There’s a signpost up ahead…maybe! / An interesting 'stretch' assignment

OTR
June 16 2017

The Friendly Skies
For the vast majority of the +/- 3 million miles I’ve flown in my life, I have made an effort to not do any actual ‘work’ during the flights.  I’ve considered it a break – although since Wi-Fi is available in the friendly skies it’s tempting to get online and, well, work. 

Today, as I fly from across the U.S. (east to west) I am online and thus able to publish this column.  Today’s flight takes me from North Carolina to San Francisco for just one business meeting – as you can imagine, it’s an important one as I’m flying back at about 1 in the morning tomorrow. 

As we were waiting to takeoff, I thought about some interesting experiences I’ve had on planes: the time my row partner, an elderly woman, asked me if I was a priest (something I took as a compliment); the first time (pretty recently) that a female flight attendant actually flirted with me (maybe others did but I was oblivious); the time I sat next to baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and we talked about everything except baseball except for the last 20 minutes; chatting with two people who I kept in touch with for years (many years back I started wearing earplugs immediately on boarding and rarely, if ever, have conversations anymore).  There are a lot of other experiences I’ve had…as I’m sure have you.  As those of you who’ve traveled for a number of years know, it’s not like it used to be – actually, is anything?

There’s a signpost up ahead…maybe!
With us being just a few days short of the half-way mark in 2017 (can you believe how fast time is flying?) have we really experienced the ‘change’ that’s been predicted in the commercial real estate industry?  Yes, prices to buy properties are at record highs; cap rates are somewhere near record lows; huge cross-border capital is still flowing.  However, and that’s a big ‘But’, almost everyone is speaking about caution moving forward.  It’s like believing that something bad is going to happen but you don’t know when, right?  What will it look like?

Could this be a sign?
On May 31 Bloomberg reported this:
Foreclosure is looming for a 56th-floor apartment overlooking Central Park, the first such seizure in the Manhattan neighborhood known as Billionaires’ Row because of its sky-high property prices.

An auction for the 3,466-square-foot (322-square-meter) condominium in the One57 tower is scheduled for June 14, PropertyShark said. The unit has a $20.9 million lien on it, plus interest and costs. The four-bedroom Unit 56C at 157 W. 57th St. is also listed for sale by Platinum Properties, with a price tag of $22.5 million, and has been on the market for 548 days, according to StreetEasy.
Or, rather than being some type of early warning about coming changes in the commercial real estate market, is this just an example of a rich person stretching too far to buy an apartment? I’m not sure but sometimes there are subtle indicators of things starting to change.
In any event, the top researchers in the commercial / institutional real estate industry are pretty much on the same page...CAUTION! and, it resembles something that my former colleague at IREI, Geof Dorhmann, ends his editorials with:  “Be careful out there, it’s a whacky, whacky world!”

An interesting 'stretch' assignment
Since my partner Liz Weiner and I started our Professional Development Coaching business almost 5 years ago, we’ve found that our work calendar seems to coincide pretty closely with the U.S. public school calendar:  September through June.  This year appears to be no exception as what is probably the last ‘corporate’ work we’re doing is next week and it’s a very interesting ‘stretch’ assignment for us. 

A global real estate investment manager is having an off-site (coincidentally very close to where I live in North Carolina).  There will be 260 people attending from across the U.S. and Europe.  The final formal activity of the two and a half day event is the morning of the last day when we’ve been allocated 3 hours to work with the largest group for us so far.  We have been given a clear mission of what our client would like to achieve during that session. And, they’ve also given us a tremendous amount of creative latitude (and support) to be successful.  

Liz and I have pulled out some fun exercises, games and theatrical opportunities to achieve the goals.  Some of these come from summer camp dramatics experienced years ago, others come from the very creative mind of my partner.  As we’ve described our plan, our client “Loves it!” which makes us feel really good.  We’ve worked closely with the event manager at the hotel who has been a terrific ally and, with the session coming up next Thursday, we’re pretty close to being totally ready to rock.

This resembles something we coach many of our individual clients about:  accepting and seeking out ‘stretch’ assignments and opportunities in their jobs.  Yes, sometimes they’re daunting or even frightening.  “Can I really do this?”  Well, you never know until you try.  Remember the saying about letting your reach exceed your grasp?  It’s a way for you to grow, to show your stuff to your boss / manager and to feel good about knowing that you can do things that you never thought you could do before. 

As Liz and I next week experience a physician heal thyself moment, we’re both very excited and have some anticipation jitters.  Our client, who we’ve known for many years, has shown tremendous confidence in us…and that really helps.  Stay tuned!
**
Congratulations...to all my industry friends who had a son or daughter (or grandson, granddaughter, niece, nephew) graduate from college this spring. It's not an easy job market and for those graduates who want to enter our wonderful industry of commercial real estate, it'll make you feel good if you can help them land an interview, an internship or a job. 

Think back to what it was like when you were just starting out.  Was there anyone to help you?  Over the years, I've had a few folks ask me, "Steve, why do you feel you have to offer to help almost everyone?"  My answer, "Because I remember when I needed help and there was no one around to help me."

On the Road...

Sometime over the summer: New York City for a special recording session where some of my industry friends will lay down tracks on my forthcoming album, "Light of Day."  This album, like my first, "Felix...Finally" will be done as a fund-raiser. Stay tuned for the name of the charity.


Aug. 22-31:  Tyalgum, New South Wales, Australia:  My first trip to Australia prompted by the "O Heart Festival" headlined by my friends The Heart Collectors.


Oct. 4 - 7: Munich, Germany to attend ExpoReal.  Thanks to my good friend Brad Olsen for inviting me to his legendary dinner during the conference.


Oct. 11-12: Chicago for the NAREIM Executive Officers Meeting


Felix/Weiner Professional Development Workshops:
Look for our fall schedule coming soon:
  • Women's Leadership Workshops
  • Women's Leadership Workshop 2.0
  • Capital Raising Roadshow Prep
  • Behavioral Presentation Coaching Workshops
  • Moderator and Panelist Coaching (just in time for Fall conference season)
  • Investor Conference / Annual General Meeting prep
  • And others...











     
 

A great list of institutional real estate investors / Our week in London / IMN Real Estate Forum - Newport, RI / Marc Zuckerberg’s Harvard Commencement Speech May 25 2017

A great list of institutional real estate investors
IPE Real Estate just published their list of the Top 100 global investors.  It’s a great list, for everyone in the institutional real estate world – especially those ‘emerging managers’ who are looking to raise real estate capital. (Can anyone give me the ‘definitive’ definition of ‘emerging manager’?)
Now, when a list like this gets published (shown below), those that have the money may go ‘Ugh’ here we go again as they anticipate receiving hundreds of emails and phone calls from firms wanting some of money.  However, there are different ways of approaching potential LP’s to see if they’re interested in what you have to offer.  Stay tuned to this column for some tips.
The top 100 global investors are ranked by size of real estate assets under management at the end of 2016

Investor
Country
RE AUM ($’000s)
Total assets ($’000s)
1
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA)
UAE
59,400,000
792,000,000
2
Allianz
Germany
54,000,000
709,000,000
3
APG
Neths
43,800,000
470,500,000
4
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Canada
35,308,300
267,487,000
5
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Canada
32,146,500
200,971,000
6
California Public Employees Ret. Systems
US
30,100,000
314,779,000
7
California State Teachers Ret. System
US
29,458,802
211,933,828
8
Norway Government Pension Fund Global
Norway
28,780,000
899,375,000
9
PGGM
Neths
22,000,000
200,000,000
10
National Pension Service
S Korea
21,914,000
488,852,000
11
Public Sector Pension Investment Board
Canada
19,749,000
131,660,000
12
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
Canada
19,592,000
153,374,000
13
OMERS
Canada
19,001,300
79,825,700
14
Florida State Board of Administration
US
17,996,768
179,967,681
15
The Crown Estate
UK
17,970,000
18,980,000
16
Washington State Investment Board
US
16,350,000
109,000,000
17
Bayerische Versorgungskammer
Germany
15,803,400
84,284,800
18
Temasek
Singapore
14,802,600
87,074,100
19
Cathay Life Insurance Company
Taiwan
14,695,700
157,300,000
20
bcIMC
Canada
14,235,400
97,750,000
21
Canton de Vaud
Switz
14,024,500
88,762,900
22
Office of the New York State Comptroller
US
13,436,000
196,856,000
23
Alberta Investment Management Corp.
Canada
12,650,000
90,200,000
24
National Grid UK Pension Scheme
UK
12,458,000
22,246,400
25
Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
Canada
12,000,000
75,000,000
26
MEAG Munich ERGO
Germany
11,125,600
278,140,000
27
Zurich Insurance Group
Switz
10,562,000
382,679,000
28
Ohio State Teachers Retirement System
US
10,384,350
74,392,016
29
Employees Provident Fund
Malaysia
9,000,000
180,000,000
30
Oregon PERS
US
8,900,000
72,000,000
31
New York State Teachers Ret. System
US
8,379,100
109,515,376
32
Ohio Public Employees Ret. System
US
8,234,603
82,846,551
33
BT Pension Scheme
UK
8,228,310
66,351,800
34
AMF
Sweden
8,158,160
48,623,100
35
GIC
Singapore
7,864,760
112,354,000
36
Mass PRIM
US
7,759,075
64,855,719
37
Alecta Pensionsförsäkring
Sweden
7,595,060
89,353,600
38
North Carolina Dep.of State Treasurer
US
7,008,000
87,600,000
39
Illinois Teachers Ret. System
US
6,943,206
54,090,771
40
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
US
6,875,700
57,823,800
41
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong
6,554,260
455,612,000
42
BPF Bouw
Neths
6,488,460
53,680,900
43
Wisconsin Investment Board
US
6,150,077
87,858,243
44
Los Angeles County Employees Ret. Assoc. 
US
6,062,780
50,895,682
45
Samsung Life Insurance
S. Korea
5,829,980
225,088,000
46
UniSuper
Australia
5,798,832
55,758,000
47
AP3
Sweden
5,719,850
35,683,100
48
Royal Dutch Shell
Neths
5,689,320
81,276,000
49
AustralianSuper
Australia
5,601,550
76,912,300
50
Pennsylvania PSERS
US
5,600,000
50,000,000
51
Kanton Zürich
Switz
5,353,680
28,629,300
52
Pensioenfonds Metaal en Techniek
Neths
5,247,180
69,224,000
53
General Motors
US
4,923,000
74,062,000
54
ATP
Denmark
4,893,000
107,960,000
55
Stanford University
US
4,858,000
46,586,000
56
Yale University
US
4,804,443
36,957,254
57
AMP Superannuation
Australia
4,431,520
49,239,100
58
Ilmarinen
Finland
4,319,600
39,207,200
59
Ontario Pension Board
Canada
4,268,875
23,075,000
60
Sunsuper
Australia
4,136,210
37,209,992
61
Pennsylvania SERS
US
4,015,673
26,771,152
62
Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Co.
Finland
3,960,000
45,900,000
63
AP1
Sweden
3,955,430
35,001,100
64
AP4
Sweden
3,955,430
35,371,700
65
AP2
Sweden
3,926,350
35,694,100
66
Colorado Public Employees Ret. Assoc.
US
3,851,936
44,789,958
67
Maryland State Ret. and Pension System
US
3,819,000
45,921,000
68
Nordea Life & Pensions
Denmark
3,800,000
68,900,000
69
Future Fund
Australia
3,728,771
124,292,373
70
UN Investment Management Division
US
3,500,705
52,642,175
71
Sampension
Denmark
3,413,800
37,931,100
72
Arizona State Ret. System
US
3,378,417
35,422,651
73
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
US
3,342,065
22,294,378
74
Keva
Finland
3,227,360
48,305,600
75
Danica Pension
Denmark
3,213,240
57,369,000
76
State of Tennessee Treasury Department
US
3,163,805
38,007,526
77
Pensioenfonds van de Metalektro
Neths
3,110,950
48,306,600
78
Public Employees’ Ret. System of Mississippi
US
3,102,263
28,202,392
79
Elo
Finland
3,070,430
22,411,900
80
Universities Superannuation Scheme
UK
3,065,650
72,362,200
81
Barclays Bank
UK
3,049,240
42,058,400
82
Missouri PSRS/PEERS
US
3,014,824
40,886,625
83
Church of England
UK
3,011,210
10,383,500
84
PKA
Denmark
3,000,000
34,000,000
85
Elo
Finland
2,980,420
23,081,000
86
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
US
2,963,000
99,546,000
87
Hostplus
Australia
2,930,600
20,165,604
88
Cbus
Australia
2,915,973
34,305,564
89
OPSEU
Canada
2,884,000
23,759,000
90
REST Industry Super
Australia
2,823,690
30,797,300
91
Railways Pension Trustee Company
UK
2,821,690
34,047,900
92
RPMI Railpen
UK
2,821,690
34,047,900
93
BAE Systems
UK
2,694,930
29,770,200
94
Novartis
Switz
2,636,540
12,718,600
95
Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe
Germany
2,632,000
11,882,000
96
Publica
Switz
2,554,220
36,810,400
97
Employees Retirement System of Texas
US
2,460,731
26,089,576
98
Iowa PERS
US
2,369,773
31,236,332
99
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
2,282,270
49,614,700
100
 New York City Employees Ret. Systems
US
2,279,549
63,050,438

Our week in London
Any mention of our work in London this past week has to be prefaced with a comment about the bombing after the concert in Manchester.  Horrible and cowardly. 
I was talking with someone in London who said it was sad that the world seems to have become accustomed to a degree about tragedies like this – they happen and unless we know someone who has been directly affected – killed or injured – we feel badly for a time and go on our ways – back to our regular lives. 
I guess this is understandable as we feel the need to move on.  It’s sad that whoever does things like these pick on innocent groups to inflict pain and death to.  It’s one thing when there’s a war and armies are battling and killing each other, which is bad and sad enough, but these actions against the public – and in this case younger people – shows the absolutely lack of consideration for life.   Look at the lunatic that drove down the street in Manhattan last week. Is there anyplace that’s safe anymore? 

Felix/Weiner Consulting Group had lots of success in London this week.  We conducted an internal Behavioral Presentation Coaching Workshop with 8 very senior members of a well-known real estate private equity firm.  We could tell at the beginning of the workshop that several of the participants really didn’t want to be there. (We have seen this phenomenon before!) The great thing is that shortly into the workshop all really got into it and we received terrific feedback at the end.
On Tuesday we ran our 26th Commercial Real Estate Women’s Leadership Workshop and on Wednesday one of our intimate, open-enrollment 6-person max presentation coaching workshops. 
As we approach the end of the ‘school year’, we’re looking forward to offering new workshops - requested by our clients. All of the programs have our similar underlying theme – It’s not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it that makes the difference!
Over the summer our website-in-progress will be enhanced to include downloadable tips and white papers – geared to professional self-development.  I’ll be keeping you posted as that evolves.
For now, we thank all the firms that have 1) brought us in-house to facilitate professional development workshops to their teams, 2) sent individuals to our ‘open enrollment’ workshops and 3) ‘sponsored’ our events by loaning us conference rooms across the U.S and in London in which to conduct our workshops.  THANK YOU!

IMN Real Estate Forum - Newport, RI
IMN (Information Management Network) is holding their 14th Annual Opportunity and Private Real Estate Fund Investing Forum in Newport, Rhode Island on June 25-27.  I’ve attended, and moderated panels, at this signature event (Laguna Beach, East Coast, London) a number of times – although due to a scheduling conflict in June I won’t be in Newport.  This event usually attracts around 1,000 commercial real estate players – ranging from institutional investors to a diverse group of service providers.  I just took a look at the agenda and see that IMN has recruited a diverse group of moderators and panelists.  Among these are a number of my friends who I will miss seeing on the stage.   The venue, Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina, looks terrific. I encourage you to check out this event.
Marc Zuckerberg’s Harvard Commencement Speech May 25 2017
I read the Commencement Speech Marc Zuckerberg made at Harvard yesterday.  Notice I didn’t say I ‘watched’ it – it’s probably somewhere on Facebook – which I permanently disconnected with earlier this week.
The words in the speech are commendable.  There’s a recurrent theme of ‘creating communities.’  Call me a skeptic.  I believe he’s talking about the ‘communities’ created using Facebook. 
While I’ve been passionate, and an active user of the Internet from shortly after former Vice-President Al Gore invented it, I’ve become increasingly worried about the cyber world.  I agree with Zuckerberg – we need to create communities, not just local ones, but global as well.  And, while in not so many words, he may be suggesting that Facebook is the way to do it, I’ve had a different view on things:  we need to communicate with one another, Face2Face.  I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many countries and my underlying interest is meeting folks in those countries and talking with them.  Even if my ability to speak their language is minimal and conversely their English is the same, I have been able to have conversations everywhere I’ve traveled. 
Because the United States population is so diverse, we have a chance to do that right in our own backyards.  Emailing, while a valuable tool, is not only not a substitute.
While some folks consider the coffee houses to be ‘community-building vehicles’ they’re really not.  While it may be rare, how many times have you met someone and had a substantive chat - most people are either there with others, or on their computers or phones and, very likely, have headphones on – suggesting they don’t want to be spoken to – even if they’re not even listening to something?
Okay, I’ll get off my high horse now.  If you have 10 minutes, read Zuckerberg’s speech (Email me and I'll send you the PDF).  I found it worthwhile, even though I don’t like Facebook.  We can take words and ideas from disparate sources and use them, in our own way; to change the way we may be thinking about something or the way we approach something or someone.
The world we’re living in is fragile – for many, many reasons.  The global violence, targeting in many cases innocent people, is tragic and inexcusable – but it’s nevertheless real.  Can we reverse it?  I fear not.  Can we do something to grow the understanding amongst our fellow citizens of the world?  I believe we can – one by one – Face2Face.

A beautiful neighborhood park in London - May 25 2017

     
 
 

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