As NAIOP recently signed on with as a commercial real estate Thought Leader, the timing seemed perfect to take the pulse of the organization's North America president and CEO Thomas J. Bisacquino. New Jersey editor Antoinette Martin spoke with Bisacquino by phone from his office in Washington, D.C.

GlobeSt.: NAIOP-NJ has its I.CON-The Industrial Conference coming up June 5-6 in Jersey City. What do you see as the most important drivers of the current industrial market?

Bisacquino: E-commerce has picked up tremendous momentum and is a key driver of the market. The evolution of warehouse and distribution centers is happening incredibly fast. Over the last ten years, the volume of e-commerce has grown exponentially and changed the face of retail distribution as we knew it. We have gone from the era of catalog sales and waiting on the mail to ordering something with the smartphone in two clicks and expecting same-day delivery. There has been a tremendous upheaval in the supply chain, and across the field of logistics.

GlobeSt.: What is technology's impact on various sectors of real estate?

Bisacquino: Certainly, technology is changing how business is done across all industries. The design and use of all types of space are in flux, and the way our tenants use space keeps changing with lightning speed. At our annual meeting last fall, we honored two “warehouse/distribution center of the future designs” and the look toward the future was amazing. It's no secret that the retail world is changing. Customers go to malls for an experience, be it social or tactile. But instead of buying the pair of shoes they may have tried on at the department store, they'll head home and browse online for more options or competitive pricing.

Office is experiencing change too. Smart offices, coworking centers and wireless devices are transforming the traditional four-walled, windowed office. People are sharing spaces in new ways and meeting via virtual teleconference. At our annual meeting this fall in Denver, we are showcasing the “office interior of the future,” and we are expecting it to be phenomenal. NAIOP sets annual legislative priorities nationally and locally. Top priorities in 2014?

Bisacquino: Taxes are always a Number One issue, as they have a profound impact on how our members do business. In addition to representing our members' interests in the comprehensive tax reform discussion, we are also engaged in supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act. When passed, all e-retailers will be required to collect sales tax regardless of the location of their facilities. Therefore, e-retailers can develop fulfillment centers closer to their customers to quicken delivery and meet customer demand. Because change is happening so rapidly, do you see NAIOP's role changing in some ways?

Bisacquino: Our mission to provide commercial estate education, connections and advocacy hasn't changed, but the speed in which our members need information has accelerated. Demographic shifts are changing where people live, work and play, and that impacts our members' business models. We're delivering knowledge in lots of different ways – from traditional conferences to reports from our Research Foundation. We put people, information and ideas together.

As a Thought Leader, NAIOP will provide insight into the changing the commercial real estate landscape as a build-up to the I.CON: The Industrial Conference 2014. For more information or to register, click here.


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