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DALLAS-Looking to get their arms around every aspect of the industrial arena, about 200 professionals are wrapping up a third day of seminars focused on the global perspective of doing business in today’s world.

“The outlook for your business is good,” Jeff Thredgold of Salt Lake City-based Thredgold Economics told yesterday’s crowd attending NAIOP’s I.con at the Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas. “The economy’s going to continue to perform well.”

Thredgold crisscrossed the world’s markets for conference goers, tossing out cautionary commentary about Japan and economically flattering stats about China and India. As for the US, he said time will prove it wasn’t a jobless recovery after all, but rather a breeding period for startup businesses to seed the employment sectors of the future.

Thredgold predicted the future’s seven most critical industries will be technology, transportation, telecommunications, financial services, energy, entertainment and biomedicine. “In terms of technology, we ain’t seen nothing yet,” he quipped.

At the end of the day, the most commonly used word was “competition,” regardless of the session. A powerhouse panel, comparing a development model in SoCal, Dallas and Central Jersey, discussed the changing dynamics from market to market and universal pro forma changes arising from increased construction costs and higher land prices as residential developers go head to head with the commercial sector.

“The last cycle, nobody wanted to touch land. This cycle, it’s doubled. Costs are up, rents will have to go up,” said John Stirek with Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. “Otherwise, it’s going to be a pretty cold cycle.” The climate has developers taking down their land banks for spec development and buying acreage when they can. “I do think this cycle’s going to be shorter,” he predicted.

Buoyed by its prospects in the industrial arena, Mexico is advancing a plan to build a logistics network to go hand in hand with its maquiladora manufacturing trade, which has rebounded from the downturn. Meanwhile, the hot talk of the day is the introduction of REITs, possibly in the next nine months, to get more investors across its border, said Luis Gutierrez with G. Accion, part of a panel dedicated to joint venture opportunities in Mexico.

Transportation expert, Dr. Leigh B. Boske from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, discussed trends and regulations for the trucking, rail and shipping industries. Boske, who’s in Washington, DC today to present his latest federally commissioned report, is optimistic the long-awaited transportation funding bill will be ready for a vote by June 30. Besides the highway dollars that are at stake so are regulations for truckers’ road hours.

These days, transportation experts are attuned to the ports, zeroing in on alternatives to battle long waits for offloading, loading and processing. Among the options is an inland port, just like the one that’s proposed for South Dallas. “No one, but no one anticipated the amount of trade coming from China,” Boske said.

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