Investing in the Future

It has been a tough haul, and it doesn’t look like it will get easier anytime soon. The stock market has been gyrating for weeks now, as investors wait for the next shoe to drop in a market that seems to have more shoes than feet to wear them. The passing of Election Day will likely help, ushering in clearer direction through the determination of the next President of the United States, not to mention whether Congress becomes even more Democratic than it already is.After that, of course, will likely come a lame duck period of inaction until Inauguration Day, but that time will give the recovery plan a chance to take hold, and that in turn may help the new president determine next steps.Most commercial real estate investors have pulled in their oars and are just floating right now; some have even thrown in an anchor. But while investment in the United States was down 77 percent for the year through August, some investors are still able to buy and are interested in taking advantage of the quiet market, seeking mostly low-risk, high-quality alternatives. Those investors run quite a range, from institutions to foreign investors to public players to private entrepreneurs.For those investors and others that may be forming strategies in preparation for the right moment to move forward again, our cover story offers insight into some more stable sectors, not all of which may be top of mind. In addition, CPN’s annual Top Cities feature provides details on some specific markets that are attractive to investors, as well as those that corporations are eyeing. Some interesting facts there: Although Wall Street’s woes have raised concerns about a variety of property types in New York City, retail investors may not want to dismiss the market too quickly, as retailers remain interested in it. And while property values have fallen across the country, core assets in major markets have held up better than most, offering some incentive for buying.Retailers must also think differently about their store locations, as the bursting of the housing bubble means that some simple demographics may not tell the market’s entire story. Instead, new combinations of data promise to be better predictors of a market’s possibilities, as we discuss in the latest CPN-Nielsen Claritas special report.Of course, all activity remains mitigated by the continued lack of available capital, and investors and lenders alike are looking for signals of when the capital markets will return and what form they will take. While we offer some predictions in “The Running of the Bulls” on page 22, more will be discussed at the upcoming New York Investment and Washington, D.C., Property Opportunities conferences. The New York event, on Nov. 14, will feature a keynote by Real Capital Analytics Inc. founder & president Robert White Jr., as well as a presentation on New York City tri-state area retail by Terry Munoz, vice president & practice leader of the retail, retail estate and restaurant industries for Nielsen Claritas. The D.C. event, on Nov. 17, will be keynoted by a discussion between economists Stephen Fuller, Dwight Schar faculty chair & university professor director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist & senior vice president for the National Association of Realtors.And for some solid insights into the economy and the presidency following the election, be sure to attend CPN’s Executive Awards Luncheon on Nov. 14 in New York, where pollster John Zogby will keynote and act as master of ceremonies. Visit and click on the CPN Radio icon for a Q&A with Zogby, found under “Extra.” To register for any of the events, visit We look forward to seeing you there.P.S. If you have thoughts on these or any other issues, please e-mail me at