Jonathan D. Miller


Jonathan D. Miller
Partner and Co-owner
Miller Ryan LLC

Executive Bio

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities.

For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website.

Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. 

Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.

  • Shareholder Value and Real Estate

    Fast food workers around the country are rebelling at wages bordering close to the minimum wage and the fast food companies threaten to automate more of their systems and eliminate workers so their message to workers is take it or leave it.

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  • Motown’s Message

    The car companies brought their headquarters back into the city. The Tigers kept their stadium in downtown and the Lions moved back. You would see some PR about new tech start-ups and strip of restaurant and entertainment venues in the heart of the city. But the population continued to hollow out and vast swaths of empty areas literally were turned back to nature or in other words abandoned. City services stopped in many near empty neighborhoods and the police force is able to solve only a small fraction of reported crimes.

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  • Twinkie World

    There’s an estimated $70 billion in institutional capital wanting to find a home in real estate, but unable to get in the door. Meanwhile, hundreds of wannabe managers and partnerships try to raise more money when managers and operators with secured commitments have trouble finding sound investments… The top markets appear too pricey, everywhere else appears too risky, especially the further out in the suburbs you look.

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  • Topping Out?

    At lunch yesterday someone raised the lurking question—“Have values topped out?” Since we were sitting in the middle of Manhattan sushi den, I presumed he was talking about the New York office market. And of course, New York is a special case—a unique, global gateway where everybody wants in and foreign money all too readily grabs for a piece of the action.

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  • The Worm Starts to Turn

    ADDENDUM: Blog Addendum—How revealing is the news behind Tuesday’s CNN headline after Wall Street’s rebound from recent market declines—“Stocks higher on weaker GDP data—hopes rise that interest rates stay low.” Is this investing turned on its head? We used to buy shares in companies based on their prospects for increased earnings from sound business models. Here we get more news that reinforces views about relative weakness in the underlying economy and that sends markets into buy mode, because the government will keep printing more money and provide cheap financing, which helps trading spreads and CFO balance sheet manipulations. Unfortunately, real estate investors need increased GDP to spur office leasing and retail sales for higher shopping center returns. In that vein, the announcement from big law firm Weil Gotshal should not be welcome news to office brokers. Weil announced layoffs of associates and compensation reductions for some partners, probably a harbinger of more thinning to come among the professional ranks where firms cannot command the same level of fees from corporate clients they once did. That gives Bernanke and friends more prodding to be cautious and keep rates low. It’s just another buy signal, right? As noted below: the U.S economy is certainly no great shakes, but China deserves our special concern…

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  • Hold Onto Your Wallets

    There was another article in the paper over the weekend about how more mutual fund investors are wising up and moving away from stock picker managers to index funds, because the majority of pickers don’t beat the index while charging significantly higher fees for their questionable value add, further eating into returns.

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  • Infrastructure—Jobs or Jam-ups?

    Government deficits decrease, partly because of budget cuts and higher taxes, but mostly just because the economy is improving enough to generate more business and commerce and more income and sales taxes.

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  • Advisor Shakeout Underway

    So many real estate advisors looking for new allocations to stay afloat, so many lackluster or worse returns to find in legacy funds, so much capital looking for yield, and so much of that money going only to the top performing fund managers while the also-rans run out of time.

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  • Follow the Yankees

    Despite a solid, early-season winning record, the New York Yankees were selling grandstand and bleacher seats for $5 this week, according to a dispatch on Yahoo. It’s not just because Jeter and A-Rod are on the disabled list and who-knows-who is in the line-up to replace them and some of the other big name stars. Attendance is down, because the average fan just cannot afford the price tags the Yankees envisioned for seating when they formulated plans for their new billion dollar stadium—those $2,500 box seats around home plate, tailored to the Wall Street expense account crowd—have always gone wanting since the new stadium opened in 2009 and now Yankees tickets are always available for online resale at a fraction of face value. The Yankees, meanwhile, are trying to get out from under the salary cap after paying egregiously outlandish salaries to A-Rod and others before the Era of Less took hold. If Average Joe cannot keep up, eventually the guys at the top of the compensation pyramid will make less too.

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  • More of the Same

    Consider these items: •Gold gets hammered—investors who bought in and created a bit of a bubble worrying about inflation now back off in a general commodity decline as China stumbles and Europe remains mired in recession. The U.S. just keeps printing money and now Japan joins in on quantitative easing after two decades of keeping interest rates at near zero without much impact on the pricing of goods. •The housing market strengthens in part off pent up demand—a growing population needs more places to live. But much of the home buying in woebegone markets has been by big institutional investors, not Average Joes, who still cannot get mortgages notwithstanding bargain prices either because of bad credit or not enough cash to put down or both. The institutions will rent to the Average Joes in the meantime, but eventually hope to make a killing when Average Joe can afford to buy at a higher price. •McDonalds reports its global sales are off and value meals are back to increase market share. •Austerity has not worked in Europe---the latest numbers show even Germany begins to stumble, and now the sequester cuts start to bite into the U.S. economy—the jobs numbers have not been inspiring and our friends, the economists, suggest there won’t be a pick up until year end.

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