PHOENIX-When discussing his move to Cole Real Estate Investments David Lynn says he wasn’t looking to join a new company. With a background that included positions at AIG Global Real Estate, AvalonBay and Target along with a stint at Clarion Partners, and as CEO and founder of LCM LLC (during which he was portfolio manager for the LCM Total Return Fund), he was satisfied with his career.
However, when an opportunity to become Cole Real Estate’s chief investment strategist and EVP presented itself, Lynn enthusiastically agreed to it. “I’ve known Chris Cole (founder and executive chairman) and Marc Nemer (Cole president and CEO) for years,” Lynn tells GlobeSt.com. “This opportunity came up and we felt it was a great collaboration all around.”
Lynn, who joined Cole Real Estate the week of Jan. 28, takes over the CIS role from Indraneel Karlekar who, according to a press release from Cole, will help with the transition and depart to join his out-of-state family. Lynn says his job will involve leading investment strategy, working with the various stakeholders, overseeing portfolio performance and market impact issues and offering his experience and insight on real estate and the economy. Though both Cole Real Estate and Clarion Partners are private real estate companies, the former is “a different business model from Clarion,” Lynn notes.
Speaking of the economy, Lynn expressed cautious optimism about its recovery, noting that there are positive signs in three sectors: technology, energy and commodity and the housing market. As such, “we believe there is opportunity in markets that have exposure to industries,” he says. Specifically, on the technology side, ideal markets would be Seattle, Austin, TX and Denver. The geographic focus for the energy sector would be Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City and Pittsburgh.
And when it comes to housing, ideal locations include California, Texas and Florida. “The housing market hit bottom last year. It’s recovering and is starting to contribute to the economy,” Lynn observes. “Commercial real estate is also strengthening, and for us, retail and industrial offer the most compelling risk/reward mix.”
Though Lynn didn’t specifically focus on Cole Real Estate’s strategies or plans, he did indicate that the retail sector, as a whole, will see steady improvement moving forward. Despite the economic shock the sector experienced and in spite of rising spend on the Internet, “we’re sanguine about the prospect of retail spending,” Lynn remarks. “That’s actually increased over the past three years.”
Investment in the industrial also makes sense, he went on to say, because, for once, it wasn’t overbuilt during the previous boom cycle. What did happen, however, was that companies drew down their inventories in what Lynn says was an overreaction to fears of depression. However, as exports continue improving and consumer confidence and demand are on the rise, the industrial sector has investment appeal. Specifically, hub and port areas, inland ports and areas with up-to-date road, rail and air infrastructure.
“The increase in exports from this country, as well as an increase in imports and a more competitive dollar somewhat go against the sometimes gloomier forecasts we hear,” Lynn says.