Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category
Back in October, I had the pleasure of attending the Philadelphia Real Estate Council‘s fourth quarter round table, where the topic was a departure from the group’s usual fare (capital markets, urban development opportunities, valuation). The subject of this meeting was “Social Media and Real Estate.” Three guest speakers shared their experience with social media, its challenges and opportunities. The underlying question throughout this conversation was this: when it comes to commercial real estate (in all of its forms), what is the ROI for social media marketing?
I’ve tackled this subject before, here on the Llenrock Blog, and I’m going to save us all a lot of hand-wringing by saying this: It is impossible to know the ROI for social media marketing, in commercial real estate or anything else.
So let’s stop talking about social media in these terms. It’s difficult to calculate the value of social media for the same reason it’s difficult to calculate the value of any marketing/advertising. There’s a lot of guess work, but we know when it works. And that’s the point all those people in the social media business (myself included) are trying to make: even if we can’t make a direct connection between a company’s online presence and annual income, a connection still exists. Read the rest of this entry »
The 1980 film Atlantic City, starring a young Susan Sarandon and an old Burt Lancaster, is the sort of dark comedy that captures the many challenges and contradictions of America’s second-largest gaming market. (I’ve always been fascinated with Atlantic City, especially its newest resort, Revel.) In the movie, we see Atlantic City in a sort of identity crisis as it transforms from its seedy, old-fashioned past to its more corporate, Donald Trump-influenced future. In a very memorable ending, we get to watch a wrecking ball clear out one of AC’s older casinos as the credits roll.
But the glitzy, larger-scale Atlantic City that’s emerged in recent decades isn’t where AC’s evolution ends.
The opening of Revel, the highly anticipated mega-resort on the north end of the city’s boardwalk marks the beginning of a new era for AC. With surrounding states drawing away gambling revenue, Atlantic City must redefine itself from casino town to resort town. The logistics, however, can be challenging. Read the rest of this entry »
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Or so they say. The “What Happens in Vegas” motto, a creation of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, has proven one of the more culturally significant commercial slogans of recent years (it’s up there, in terms of popularity, with “Got Milk?” and “I Just Saved a Bunch of Money on My Car Insurance…”). Vegas’s slogan has spawned a movie and countless parodies, not to mention successfully rebranding the casino town from its family-friendly 90s incarnation to an image that better suits it–the sort of Sin City that inspired The Hangover.
Unfortunately, a big part of what happens in Vegas–construction jobs, economic growth, gambling and tourism revenue–has not been staying in Vegas.
Pop quiz! What do most major cities have in common?
They were all built near a significant body of water–be it a river, lake, or ocean. While modern cities’ commerce and transportation don’t depend on marine traffic the way they did in America’s early days, water still plays a significant role in any city. Rivers and lakes add to the town’s beauty and create opportunity for waterside attractions, marinas, and so on. Waterfronts hold a huge amount of economic potential.
Consider this. If you were looking at two separate apartments, of similar size and quality, in the same geographical area, which one would come with a steeper rent: the one overlooking a river, or the one overlooking the bus depot across the street?
A waterfront can be an enormous driver for demand, rents, and commercial development. Strangely, though, many cities are struggling to take full advantage of such areas. I’m thinking specifically of cities in the Mid-Atlantic.
A while back, I reported on the Cornell Real Estate Council’s annual REIT CFO panel, which included financial officers representing most major asset types in the commercial real estate world. Representing the retail sector was Pennsylvania REIT (NYSE: PEI) CFO Robert McCadden, who described his REIT’s shifting priorities when it comes to the complex world of shopping mall operations.
Without question, technological and social shifts have hit retail more than any other asset class. Even though “retail as we know it” is coming to an end, with online vendors like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) diverting an increasingly large amount of activity, this isn’t the first time “retail as we know it” has come to an end. Remember, malls and shopping centers were once the “innovations” putting smaller “Main Street” retailers out of business.
Unable to compete with the prices, low overhead, and unparalleled selection of e-retailers, brick-and-mortar retail investors like PREIT are exploring what may be their only option: not competing.
How? By reestablishing their properties, malls in particular, as destinations for less tangible products, drawing customers through “experience” rather than merchandise. In this way, REITs and other retail investors are beginning to transform their sector into something resembling entertainment or hospitality.
To say commercial real estate investors have turned bearish in the last three or four years would be a bit of an understatement (much like the phrase, “a bit of an understatement”). Considering last month’s employment dip and the still-sluggish office and retail sectors, today’s CRE market isn’t conducive to highly speculative investments.
In most cities, the idea of developing a big-ticket “entertainment district” seems too risky. After all, even real estate firms specializing in entertainment have been setting their sights on other assets. Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR), for example, has been pursuing charter school development. Though America’s appetite for entertainment will persist, I wonder how much real estate can truly profit from this demand.
The city of Philadelphia may soon find out: its Xfinity Live! entertainment complex recently opened in South Philadelphia, adjacent to the city’s three sports arenas.
It’s easy to lose sight of actual news stories in the middle of primary season. While being bombarded with endless reports of only the most ridiculous, out-of-context comments from candidates and their attack dogs, its hard to keep your eye on the ball. After Linsanity (no, I’m not embarrassed to jump on a bandwagon), the most important actual news story is the real, albeit sluggish, improvement in the economy.
Things have definitely improved a bit since the most recent European debt panic in the fall of 2011. Employment numbers have improved and the president’s approval rating has gone up. Read the rest of this entry »
Mohamed El-Erian of Pacific Investment Management Co. Discusses the Euro-Zone Debt Crisis
Mitchell Hersh of Mack-Cali Realty Corp Says It’s Time to Buy Commercial Real Estate
Kevin O’Brien of Revere Data Shares How to Profit from the Latest Consumer Pullback
Andrea Peterson Gives a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Largest Hotel in America
Stephen Baker, NPD Analyst, Discusses the Future Decline of Retail Store Shopping
Richard Solomons, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group, Sheds Light on the Future of the Chain