Center for Real Estate Annual Spring Members Meeting Highlights

On June 20, the UCI Center for Real Estate at Paul Merage School of Business held its annual Spring Members Meeting. The event featured a special presentation by Benjamin Conwell, former head of Amazon Real Estate and currently serving as Cushman & Wakefield’s senior managing director-global practice leader, eCommerce Fulfillment Specialty Practice Group.  Conwell spoke on “An Amazon World – Staying Ahead in Today’s Game-Changing World.”

Additional panel discussions included Orange County, A Global Hub for Digital Technology: Insights from Leading Global Companies in OC; The Disruptive Complexities of the Tax Reform Simplification: Thinking Points for Real Estate; and The Evolving Landscape of Housing & Mixed Use Developments. A special presentation on “Digital Cities-A Visual Presentation on How Emerging Technologies are Changing the Way We Build, Plan and Manage Cities,” featured Michael J.T. Steep, adjunct professor and executive director, Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities, Stanford.

The Center for Real Estate and NAIOP SoCal have long partnered on the NAIOP SoCal-CRE Fellowship to provide financial awards to deserving students in real estate. Moreover, many NAIOP SoCal members participate in the Center and serve on its Advisory Board.

Following are a few quotes from the speakers.

“Despite media declaring a retail Armageddon, retail as we have known it in the past is not dying, it is restructuring. We as a shopping society will always demand physical experiences in our retail. I work with a lot of retail legacy ‘sticks and bricks’ trying to figure out how to run their online experience. What is irrefutable is that there will be retrenchment in retail. We are already way over-retailed in the U.S. There’s no question the most successful retail in the years ahead will have a seamless omni-channel experience.”  Benjamin Conwell

“There are interesting examples of robotics in healthcare. Basically, your surgeon is at a podium and a robot is making the incisions. The doctor is controlling it, but not standing over you with a scalpel. The level of precision is so much greater than a human. So what is interesting is that they have done remote surgical cases. The surgeon may be in New York and the patient is across the country.  You start to take for granted the idea of ‘what is a hospital?’ Potentially you can start using the very best human knowledge and talent no matter where it is and extend it.” Sanford Smith, senior vice president of real estate and facilities, Hoag Hospital

“I’ve been through technology ups and down for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like what is happening worldwide today in technology innovation. It is massively changing everywhere all at the same time – from advanced material sciences to predictive analytics. And this technology explosion is exponential but our ability to manage the explosion is linear. This huge gap developing is not a figment of our imagination. if you look at your children and grandchildren, you see the way that it is being adopted. You feel it individually. And we haven’t seen anything yet. We are at the beginning of an even steeper curve. So it becomes virtually impossible for us to figure out where to play. One way to address it is to focus on one area of disruptive technology that might impact your business or industry.” Michael J.T. Steep