Top Takeaways from the Counselors of Real Estate 2019 Midyear Meetings
Chicago, IL

By: Robert J Pliska, CRE, CPA. MBA; Owner/Managing Director; SVN Property Investment Associates, LLC; Birmingham (Detroit), Michigan

The Counselors of Real Estate of the National Association of Realtors held their 2019 Midyear Meetings from April 28 to April 30, 2019 at the London House in Chicago, Illinois. Speakers included Andrea Zopp, former Deputy Mayor, Chief Development Officer for the City of Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Spencer Levy, Americas Head of Research and Senior Economic Advisor, CBRE; Mary Ludgin, Managing Director and Director of Global Investment Research, Heitman; Hugh Kelly, PhD, Fordham University and many others. Numerous tours of the Chicago area included Chicago’s Mega Projects such as Lincoln Yards and the 78; the Architecture River Cruise, The Clare; The University of Chicago area, the University Club of Chicago, Chicago’s South Side, and Chicago’s North Shore.

1. Chicago is a renowned as a center of architectural innovation. Chicago’ Architectural Center is the city’s newest must-see cultural destination.
2. Chicago has been transformed over the last 50 years and is now in the approval process for two “mega-projects” on the edges of the Central Area. Each is in excess of 50 acres with estimated buildouts of more than $5 billion each – Lincoln Yards and the 78.
3. The top tour in Chicago and one of the top ten tours in the U.S. is the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise. It offers a memorable and unique perspective of a city known for the birth of the modern skyscraper.
4. The University of Chicago has long influenced the neighborhoods surrounding its Hyde Park campus. In the area, there is the revitalized 53rd Street retail corridor, the new hospital and trauma care center, the proposed site of the Obama Presidential Center on Stony Island and the Midway Plaisance – an historic boulevard.
5. Chicago is number #1 in corporate relocations and expansions in the U.S per Andrea Zopp.
6. Class A is now “whatever it takes to attract the best” per Spencer Levy.
7. Urban meccas that will prosper in the years ahead offer a combination of three key attributes – talent generation through universities, a work-live-play environment and capital from foreign sources per Spencer Levy.
8. Walkability is a key if not the most important factor.
9. Autos are not going away soon in spite of reports to the contrary.
10. On a global basis, what happens in China impacts the entire world.
11. China has a rapidly aging population and working age population is declining.
12. In 2017, venture capitalists invested over $5 billion in real estate technology, more than 150 times the $33 million invested in 2010.
13. Opportunity zones were designed to spur long term private sector investments in low income urban and rural communities nationwide. The opportunity zone is the largest community reinvestment tool in decades. Be aware and use if possible.
14. For the first time ever, the world’s population now has more people aged 65 and over than under the age of five. The rising number of aging American will drive transformation as to how seniors age in place from technology to real estate design.
15. Disruptions in the world lead to disruptions in real estate. The Counselors of Real Estate will address these issues in their annual update of the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate. This report will be issued in June.
16. There are significant member benefits to Counselors of Real Estate members seeking information from fellow Counselors on various markets, challenges, counseling assignments and business opportunities. Counselors all have a wealth of experiences and information – what it takes to become a Counselor. Use the Counselor members for your benefit.
17. Welcome to the many new Counselors of Real Estate and invitees! Congratulations to the current 2019 Leadership Team for their great work – Julie Melander, Chair of the Board; Michel Couillard, First Vice Chair, Marilee Utter, Second Vice Chair; Mary Bujold, Liaison Vice Chair; Donald Guarino, Liaison Vice Chair; Casey Pipes, Liaison Vice Chair. Thank you and very honored for my election, Robert J. Pliska, to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.