California State University, Fullerton

Mihaylo College of Business and Economics

Top Real Estate CEOs Discuss the Major Forces Affecting Their Industry

Job growth is returning to the United States due to increased energy efficiency and onshoring of jobs, according to Pat Donahue ’78, chairman and CEO of Donahue Schriber Realty Group. “Stars are starting to line up for prosperous and stronger growth,” Donahue said. Top CEOs in the commercial real estate industry participated in a panel discussion moderated by Donahue on Jan. 30 at Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The 2014 Commercial Real Estate Forum, “Moving Forward … The New Real Estate Market,” was sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Panelists included Brandon Birtcher, CEO at Goodman Birtcher; Kim Redding ’80, chief investment strategist at Brookfield Investment Management; Allen Staff, market president/-region executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and Frank Suryan, chairman and CEO at Lyon Communities.

The annual forum presented by Cal State Fullerton’s Real Estate & Land Use Institute opened up with Donahue making some positive points about the future of economic prosperity in the United States. Panelists agreed that there is an on-shoring trend and the future looked bright for commercial real estate. There is going to be a period of low rates for a long time and the federal government is committed to zero interest rates, Redding said. “We have an energy renaissance here in North America,” he added. “Energy independence and the impact that has on manufacturing and moving jobs back to the states … is going to serve North America well.” The markets have changed dramatically, according to the panelists, and Corporate America has more cash on the balance sheet than it did 60 years ago. This means disposable income has increased among consumers. Panelists agreed that there is a lack of confidence in all government: local, state and federal.

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Watch the highlights video of the 2014 Commercial Real Estate forum here.

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