ULI’s Spring Meeting in San Diego was held the week of April 18. The strong attendance harkened back to pre-2020 days and is hopefully an indication of conferences to come. Below are observations from various sessions over the three days of events.

  1. ESG is front of mind for the real estate community. Cities still have a long way to go for preparedness due to climate change.
  2. Expect accelerated global mobility as a result of climate change, economic dislocation, political upheaval, demographic imbalance, technology disruption, and connectivity.
  3. Owners and investors are looking at ways to decarbonize their assets and electrify and digitize them. How to get this to work, particularly on “average” assets, is not straightforward (or potentially financially viable without incentives).
  4. Mass Timber offers alternatives to steel/concrete structures. Case studies showed an accelerated development timeline.
  5. A study estimates that by converting class B or C office assets with 20% vacancy in Los Angeles, upwards of 113,000 housing unit could be created.
  6. Rising interest rates will challenge values if growth isn’t there as an offset.
  7. Interest rate caps are expensive, but a focus for investors.
  8. Geopolitical challenges could be a catalyst to send even more capital to U.S. markets.
  9. Some state plans are at allocation sublimits due to recent pricing movement of real estate and other asset classes.
  10. Crowdfunding is presenting opportunities for wider equitable development in communities.
  11. San Diego’s life science industry is focused on attracting talent, not companies.
  12. Recession was questioned as to whether that would be self-fulfilling. But if it happens, it isn’t real estate’s fault – the industry is not overbuilt or over levered.

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