Looking Back – and Ahead

Thirty years. That’s how long CPE has been reporting on commercial real estate.

Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman
Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman

Thirty years. That’s how long CPE has been reporting on commercial real estate. I’m happy to have played an active role in our efforts to inform and provide guidance to the industry for more than two-thirds of those years. It’s been quite an adventure.

As the industry has changed, so too has CPE, both of us shifting, evolving and growing as economic, technological and demographic changes have raised new challenges and have introduced new opportunities.

CPE got its start as Real Estate Times, a regional news tabloid. It very quickly evolved into Commercial Property News, the commercial real estate equivalent to sister publication Multi-Housing News, broadening its reach to cover the nation on a twice-monthly basis. Over the years, we went from black-and-white to color, changed size and frequency, and expanded our offerings to include insights into executive as well as company strategy, corporate real estate, technology and sustainability, while staying ahead of shifts in the leasing, management, investment, development and financial sectors. We’ve produced annual guides, newsletters and conferences; intensified our rankings process and introduced new awards programs; and eight years ago rebranded as Commercial Property Executive. Our online presence has likewise evolved, to an almost entirely digital framework, with daily news, trend, data, viewpoint and multimedia posts, all delivered to your email via an array of newsletters.

The CRE industry has likewise undergone significant changes. This one-time handshake business has evolved to incorporate standardized leasing contracts, online listings and electronic signatures. A variety of financing and ownership structures have been tried, tested and sometimes abandoned: think tenant-in-common agreements or paired-share REITs. The Resolution Trust Corp. unraveled the failures of the savings-and-loan crisis. The rise of CMBS presented a means to better distribute the risk of sizable loans and loan pools so effectively that, despite expectations to the contrary, it withstood the last recession.

Meanwhile, technological innovations have given property managers greater efficiency, security and communication tools that have improved building operations and tenant satisfaction. The ability to achieve and benchmark energy efficiencies continues to advance, too, resulting not only in better-run buildings but a more positive contribution to city electrical grids, water usage and pollution management. And then there is the rise of e-commerce, which is creating a need for new types of industrial and retail properties.

There will always be new challenges. But there will also be opportunities to benefit from taking them on. We will continue to provide the information you need to stay ahead of these twists and turns so you can devise the strategies you need to turn trial to success.

Originally appearing in the June 2017 issue of CPE.