FSC Holds Commercial Real Estate Symposium
Frank Mock, of Counsel, Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, P.A., served as moderator for the Florida Business Symposium; Commercial Real Estate: Crisis or Confidence?.
Crisis or Confidence? was the first in a series of symposia scheduled for 2011-12.
LAKELAND (Oct. 21, 2011) – Leaders in the regional business community gathered at Florida Southern College on Oct. 21 to glean some insights into the current state and future prospects of the commercial real estate market. A symposium, “Commercial Real Estate: Crisis or Confidence,” hosted by the College’s Barney Barnett School of Business & Economics, drew about 50 people to hear perspectives from experts in the fields of finance, banking, and the law.
The symposium was the first in the 2011-2012 Florida Business Symposia Series which will be held by the Barnett School. Getzler Henrich Management and Financial Consultants sponsored the event, with support from Turnaround Management Association; the Tampa Bay chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; and the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce.
Realtors, commercial property owners and managers, lenders and financial analysts were among those present to hear remarks from Dana Rowan, managing director of Paradigm-Exeter Advisors of Boston; Dr. Carl Brown, professor of economics at FSC; and a panel discussion about some of the factors affecting the real estate market.
The analysis from speakers and panelists was not optimistic that the commercial real estate market would improve soon. Rowan outlined some of the history of how the current economic crisis developed.
“There has been very little reflective process about what caused the whole debacle,” he said. “Now we’re in a vicious cycle. … The world is dealing with volatility as we never have before. It’s been very disorienting.”
Rowan noted that hotels and retail centers have been the most sensitive to the ongoing economic downturn. Residential real estate tends to lag behind the commercial market, he said, and Florida has the second-highest number of residential foreclosures after California.
“We don’t have a silver bullet. We don’t know what’s going to drive the next wave of growth in this country,” he said. “It’s going to be a 10-year game.”
Brown gave an overview of the economy in Polk County. He said that the county slipped into the recession about six months before the rest of the country and has had a slower recovery because the local economy is heavily dependent on construction and on population growth, which has stopped over the past several years.
Building permits are down “an astounding 90 percent from their peak,” he said.
“I cannot say when or if the recession ended, but I can say with confidence we have reached bottom. … I believe Polk County’s economy will grow between 1 and 2 percent in 2012,” he said.
The next symposium in the Series will be in January and will address the topic of wealth transfer and the effect it will have on regional and national economies.