The Boston University Program for Real Estate studies ran a nine-part webinar series on the possible future states of commercial real estate after the current virus is tamed. The webinars took place from April 16 to June 24. This time around, the commercial real estate industry, perhaps more than any other, is at the center of the speculations. Who will be the winners and the losers, and for how long? The program was co-moderated by Jon Keefe, the BU Director and New England Chapter member, Rob Nahigian, SIOR,CRE,FRICS,MCR, a 26 year faculty member.
The webinars included distinguished faculty and featured guests to discuss how the real estate industry will face the current environment. The webinars discussed the different ways in which COVID-19 may affect the industry in both the near and distant future.
Topics included: The Built Environment Post CV-19, The Future Workplace after CV-19, Physical Spaces and Social distancing, and Future Facilities Design and Operations, Ethics, Moral and Good Business Practices in Commercial Real Estate. These topics covered questions such as how will physical distancing work in enclosed spaces? How can lenders and investors make decisions when rental estimates and values have become so uncertain? Will real estate be a part of their solution to rebalance government budgets? These topics allowed an open discussion of both the knowns and the many unknowns of COVID-19 and its effects on the Commercial Real Estate Industry.
The webinars included phenomenal speakers, including: Doug Poutasse, CRE, Head of Strategy &Research at BentallGreen Oak Group; Jim Martin, Director, Duffs and Phelps and Instructor, Boston University; Sarah Abrams, Senior Vice President of Real Estate at Iron Mountain; Gary Hofstetter, Senior Vice President, Asset Management, of The Davis Companies; Tom Pereira, Senior Vice President and Director of Sales and Structured Finance, Boston Capital and BU instructor; Mike Price, President of Legacy Real Estate and BU Instructor; Marc Margulies, Principal of Margulies Peruzzi Architects; Greg Vasil, Executive Director of GBREB and BU Instructor; Darryl Fess, President of Brookline Bank and a BU guest speaker; Suzanne LeBlanc, Director of Real Estate and Facilities, Mercury Systems; Brian Golden, Director of BRA; Richard Henderson, Chief Real Estate Officer, MBTA; Jim Terrell, formerly with Sears Holdings in 2015 as Vice President and Chief Operating Office of the Seas Holdings Real Estate business and a guest speaker at BU; Lizzy Lokken, SIOR VP of Programs, and Jay Halfond former Dean and current Professor at BU.
Many New England Chapter SIOR members attended these complimentary events Bob Cleary, SIOR was also instrumental in obtaining Brian Golden of BRA as a guest speaker. Lizzy Lokken of SIOR National served as a panelist. Lizzy spoke to the effects of CV-19 on national conventions and programming and the impact on commercial real estate. Alexis Fermanis of SIOR then published a summary on the SIOR national blog.