In early November, ULI New York had the unique opportunity to host senior leaders from ULI Germany for a three-day exchange. Kicking off with a dinner on November 4 at The Loeb Boathouse, members of ULI New York’s leadership and ULI Germany gathered for an evening of networking. Carl Weisbrod, Chairman of the City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning, delivered the keynote address highlighting the accomplishments the city has made insofar as safety, civic space, and economic opportunity, as well as challenges it faces ahead. The dinner was a welcome introduction for ULI Germany, as their members embarked on a packed schedule including panel discussions, site tours, and roundtable discussions.
The following morning brought us to the anticipated half-day program, Cross Border Investments & Global Innovation hosted by Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management. The program began with a presentation by Christoph Schumacher, Chief Executive Officer, Union Investment, introducing over 80 attendees to investment opportunities in German real estate markets. An open market that welcomes entrepreneurial investment and a strong transit infrastructure were among Schumacher’s top reasons. The informative and at times humorous presentation gave way to the economic outlook delivered by Kevin White, Head of Strategy, Research and Strategy for the Americas, Deustche Asset and Wealth Management. The numbers-heavy presentation touched on short and long term trends and rates of supply growth, which, excluding apartments, are at a historically low rate. White also presented a breakout of key opportunities globally, including themes in markets as varied as Australia, Japan, and Southern Europe.
The morning’s first panel, Cross Border Investment Opportunities & Capital Flows, moderated by Darcy Stacom, Vice Chairman of Investment Properties at CBRE, compared and contrasted trends in New York and German markets. The dynamic conversation brought insightful perspectives from our German guests, Jürgen Fenk, Member of the Board, Landesbank Hessen Thürigen (Helaba) and Chairman of ULI Germany, Christoph Schumacher, Chief Executive Officer, Union Investment. Providing the voice from New York, Ravi Sinha, Senior Advisor, Corestate Capital, and David Zobel, Vice President, Acquisitions and Strategic Relationships, Paramount.
The following keynote address, delivered by Hugh F. Kelly, PhD, Clinical Professor of Real Estate, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, explored how 24 hour cities can drive economic development and attract investment. The foundational argument for 24 hour cities is that buildings are used for more hours in a day, thereby generating more revenue, as human capital is more productive. Kelly admitted that the requisite investment in infrastructure and legislative changes required to create 24 hour cities create upfront hurdles. However, in the long run, 24 hours cities not only have higher office price per square foot compared to 18 hour cities or 9 to 5 hour cities, but they also have a higher price per foot for multifamily assets.
The morning closed with the last panel, The Future of Cities in the U.S. and Germany, moderated by Peter Miscovich, Managing Director of Corporate Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle. Speakers Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive Officer, HafenCity Hamburg, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder and CEO, Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism, Hugh F. Kelly, PhD., Clinical Professor of Real Estate, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, and Markus Wiedenmann, Managing Partner, Art-Invest Real Estate. The panelists lead a thought provoking conversation on how cities can support inclusive growth and the role of technology in improving city life. There were striking similarities between Berlin and New York insofar as tech tenants moving to previously undesirable parts of the city and introducing different types of buildings to the city’s office inventory. Our guests from ULI Germany invited attendees to join them on a packed itinerary of site tours leading into the afternoon.
The ULI New York- ULI Germany exchange concluded with an invite-only capital markets roundtable the morning of November 6. The exchange epitomized the value of the ULI global network and encouraged the New York District Council to think about pursuing more cross-border exchanges in the future.