REITs represent a good indicator of how the commercial realestate world is going to perform, Nareit first vice chair ConnieMoore commented in remarks preceding a panel that she moderatedcalled "Navigating in Turbulent Waters." REITs constitute "a windowto the commercial real estate market," said Moore, who is ,president and CEO of San Francisco-based BRE Properties Inc., anapartment REIT.

|

Moore compared the world of commercial real estate to an icebergand said that REITs represent just the tip of the iceberg, and therest of the iceberg is hard to see. Nonetheless, Moore said, "Theiceberg is all one structure," so wherever the tip goes, you can besure the rest of the structure goes too.

|

The panelists for "Navigating in Turbulent Waters" includedexecs from retail, office and healthcare REITs, all of whom agreedthat the economic downturn and capital markets shutdown are boundto affect all companies. "No one is exempt from these powerfulmacro forces," commented panelist Debra Cafaro, the chairman,president and CEO of Chicago-based healthcare REIT Ventas Inc.

|

Despite the negative news that's been hitting the pressregarding the retail sector, chairman and CEO David Simon ofIndianapolis-based Simon Property Group said that, "From theoutside, it looks a lot worse than it is." Simon observed thatpress reports might create the impression that retail is in a panicmode. "We're not panicked about retail," he said. "It's not as badin the trenches as the media would seem to indicate." Inparticular, Simon noted, retailers are faring better today thanthey did in the downturn of the early 1990s because retailers todayhave a much better handle on inventory control.

|

Another shopping center REIT exec, CEO Peter Lowy of WestfieldLLC, pointed out that it's difficult to make broad, globalobservations about the state of the retail sector because it variesconsiderably from country to country and from region to regionwithin nations. For example, UK retailers are struggling butretailers in Australia are doing well because consumer spendingthere remains strong, Lowy explained. Retail is slowing in the US,he said, but retailers are still taking space in strong marketswhile vacating underperforming stores.

|

The panel on "Navigating in Turbulent Waters" was the first in aseries of discussions at this year's annual Nareit conference thatincluded a session Wednesday on "The Real Estate Economy:Weathering the Storm." The conference, which continues today andFriday, will also include panel discussions today on "The CreditCrisis: Pursuing Debt Finance," "Across the Border: Searching forSafe Harbors," and "Preserving Value in Troubled Times.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.