On March 7, nearly 300 CEOs, COOs, and other top real estate executives convened at the fifth annual Akerman U.S. Real Estate Summit held in downtown Miami, FL to discuss the latest trends in commercial real estate investment and explore creative avenues for growth. A series of high-level discussions were held throughout the day; Akerman Summit speakers explored the state of the global market and cross-border real estate investment opportunities, as well as alternative financing vehicles such as the EB-5 Visa Program.
In a session focused on capital sources, Annemarie DiCola, CEO of Trepp led a conversation between Tobin Cobb, Co-CEO of Grass River Properties; Pat Goldstein, Head of Commercial Real Estate of Emigrant Bank; and Steve Witkoff, CEO of the Witkoff Group. The group identified the greatest challenges and opportunities within the EB-5 program and how the program is being utilized in the capital stack. Click here to view this session.
Retail executives Michael Cohn, Regional President of Lennar Commercial Investors; Jeff Berkowitz, President of Berkowitz Development Group; Paul Travis, Managing Partner of Washington Square Partners; and Ron Wheeler, CEO of The Sembler Company discussed EB-5 as a creative financing strategy within the retail sector. They explained that retail has not traditionally been the main sector for EB-5 investment, but the program is now emerging as a financing option for retailers. Click here to view this 'retail focus' session.
In conjunction with the Akerman Summit, the 2014 Real Estate Industry Outlook Survey was unveiled, which found that investor and lender confidence in the U.S. commercial real estate market is reaching new heights since financial giants fell more than five years ago. Investors have a stronger appetite for real estate assets than in recent years. The U.S. is expected to remain a top global investment destination.
In fact, real estate executives indicated that foreign investment will further drive activity across many U.S. real estate sectors, with a third of respondents indicating that the nation will see an increase in foreign spending in 2014. More than half of executives say that the multifamily sector will be the most active market for foreign investment in the U.S., with the majority of capital coming from Europe. In the hospitality and industrial sectors, about half of real estate executives predict that investment will come from Latin America, while capital sources in the retail and office sectors are predicted to primarily be European and Chinese. "Click here to download this report".