That’s a Wrap for 2021’s Commercial Real Estate Summit

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September 09, 2021

Thank you to everyone who attended the 32nd annual Commercial Real Estate Summit! The event took place on Friday, August 20th at the CHI Health Center in Omaha as well as virtually on our online platform. We’re excited to share that we had just over 700 CRE professionals and students attend our event – a great turnout amidst another challenging year of the pandemic. But, our conference didn’t focus on the pandemic, but rather on how to rewrite the playbook and move forward from here.

We want to congratulate those who were inducted into our Hall of Fame during this year’s conference, including: • Robert Hancock • Robert Huck • Thomas C. Huston • Michael Yanney • Deal of the year: Scoular Corporate Headquarters Relocation by Tim Kerrigan and JP Raynor of Investors Realty, Inc. and Ryan Ellis and Derick Lewin of PJ Morgan Real Estate. • Development of the year Omaha: The Cottonwood Hotel by BSHO, LLC (Tom McLeay, Matt Dwyer, Jay Lund and Mike Peter). • Development of the year Lincoln: Telegraph District by Speedway Properties/Nelnet.

Highlighted Keynotes:

Ryan Severino, Chief Economist at JLL

Ryan Severino kicked off our opening session, sharing that from a short-run economic perspective, we are in a perfect storm for economic growth that we may not see again in our lifetime. Severino went on to highlight opportunities and challenges within the different sectors of commercial real estate, including the office sector, industrial real estate, retail, multi-housing and the investment sector. With record-low interest rates, strong fiscal stimulus, pro-cyclical demand to get out and spend money, and the world reopening, NOW is the time to move fast and take advantage of commercial real estate opportunities.

Karen Mangia, Author and VP of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce

Karen Mangia picked back up after our networking lunch! She shared that success is not a location or a destination, but something that happens one moment at a time. She highlighted that the competitive workplace landscape is changing, and one way to have an advantage is to give your team the choice of where and when work happens (or at least the perception of choice). From her research, she found that some surveyed would give up 5% of their salary for the flexibility to continue working from home in some capacity, and 46% of those surveyed would be willing to give up vacation days for this option. While making big structural changes in an organization can seem daunting, she encouraged the audience to think big while acting small. Take 5 minutes out of your day to ask “I wonder…?” and make the daunting doable!

Highlighted Panels:

A Neighborhood By Design

Did you know that Omaha is the 38th most segregated city in the USA? The Neighborhood By Design panel looked into Omaha’s long history of racism, including how early 1900’s redlining in the predominantly black neighborhoods of North Omaha and South Omaha still detrimentally impact their housing and economic opportunities today. This panel was moderated by Ashley Kuhn, President of Blair Freeman Group, and included Jamie Burglund of Spark CDI, Meredith Dillon of Sherwood Foundation, Tony Goins of Nebraska Economic Development and Toddy Johnson of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Along with identifying why systematic racism continues to impact areas of Omaha, they discussed ideas on how to change the stigma of these disadvantaged areas and what CRE professionals can do to help – including investing, creating partnership and mentorship opportunities, and building new construction. Greenlining funding is now the goal – to set up multimillion-dollar funds for previously redlined areas to go towards development, property tax relief, and down payment assistance. The trajectory of North Omaha and areas of South Omaha are bright, and commercial real estate can do something great and set a precedent, not only in Omaha but in the nation.

Office of the Future

Before COVID-19, there were concerns about designing and building healthier offices. The global pandemic has now accelerated health as a key priority in both existing buildings and new construction across Omaha. The Office of the Future panel was moderated by Ted Zetzman, Vice President of Noddle Companies, and included Kevin Andersen, Deputy Chief of Staff-Economic Development of the City of Omaha; Jan Johnson, FIIDA, MCR.w, VP of Workplace Strategy at Allsteel; and Tom Trenolone, FAIA, AIA, LEED AP, Design Director at HDR.

Over the past year, the City of Omaha has been engaging with its top employers in the metro area to talk about what they envision the office of the future looks like. While 80% of respondents mentioned they didn’t need to change their square footprint, it is clear that changes within the workplace environment must be made to mitigate future widespread illnesses and other office hazards. Understanding that 40% of greenhouse gasses are formed from building materials, builders are turning to renewable sources and adjusting air quality within the workplace. Thanks to the pandemic, there are also new priorities employees have from their work environments – less “solo space” which can be accomplished at home and more collaborative space. On-site daycare is also a hot amenity. These changes are coming soon as states are putting low carbon legislation in place. The Mayor of Omaha currently has a smart city advisory committee that is collectively looking at a regionalized climate action plan to make our buildings safer for employees and the environment alike.

Breakouts Offered:

Throughout this year’s CRE Summit, we offered a myriad of breakout topics that each attendee could choose from. These topics included:

• The Future of Logistics, Supply Chain and Real Estate • Learn How to Create Reliable Valuations Amid Uncertainty • Housing Affordability – A Land of Challenge and Opportunity • Lincoln Economy – Where We Are and Where We’re Going • What is Going On with Single Family Homes? • Tax-Deferred Alternatives to Selling Your Real Estate

Join us for CRE Summit 2022:

Save the date for next year’s conference! CRE Summit 2022 will take place on Friday, May 6th. Stay tuned for more information!