A ballroom full of commercial real estate professionals heard about everything from long lines for office bathrooms to dog-friendly workplaces, Millennials and developers’ natural tendency to repeatedly overbuild at the Urban Land Institute Northwest’s annual Emerging Trends event yesterday morning.
Held at The Nines Hotel, the event featured a keynote from Andy Warren, director of real estate research for PricewaterhouseCoopers. It also offered presentations from Eric Cress, a principal with Urban Development + Partners, Brian Pearce, senior vice president of property management for Unico Properties, and Tido Pesenti, global head of real estate and construction for AirBnb.
It was a big year for Portland in terms of the Emerging Trends report, as this year was the first time ever that Portland has cracked the report’s top 10 list for the cities to watch in terms of overall real estate prospects.
There was plenty of great information shared, including this: Nearly 5,000 Millennials are moving to Portland every year, there’s not enough bike parking in town and that some tenants find downtown and the Pearl District “too corporate.”
Three other takeaways from three of the presenters:
Brian Pearce, senior vice president of real estate services for Unico Properties, which co-owns and manages the U.S. Bancorp Tower, on what’s popular with tenants in today’s office market —”Hipsters plus bikes and dogs, minus cubes and the corner office … that’s my formula for success. There is also an arms race for amenities. Everybody is trying to come up with the next unique idea to put in their office as a differentiator. We’re actually building a bowling alley in a building of ours in Denver … And with dogs, if you’re not pet-friendly, you’re probably not leasing space.”
Eric Cress, principal with Urban Development + Partners, on —”If history tells us anything, we will overbuild . . . The last time we entered a recession and the tide went out, we weren’t all wearing suits. So this time around, let’s keep an eye on the market, keep an eye on the target customer, keep an eye on the numbers. This current strong market is not a complete surprise. It was predictable. So let’s keep our eyes open and build for . . . the needs that we have.”
Tido Pesenti, global head of real estate and construction for AirBnb, on why the company opened its office in Portland —”We chose Portland because it’s very representative of our brand. Socially it has the type of employees — the Millenial generation — and the urban fabric that is representative of AirBnb culture. Obviously there’s also a tremendous amount of talent here. I think we’re putting something like 18,000 college grads into the market every year just out of the Portland universities.”