01 Oct2018

CORFAC Makes History with First-Ever Overseas Fall Summit

CORFAC International members who traveled to London, England, for the 2018 Fall Summit, September 23-26, were part of a history-making event for the nearly 30-year old organization. With approximately 140 attendees, CORFAC hosted it’s first-ever Fall Summit overseas. London-based affiliate Farebrother/CORFAC International, was instrumental in planning and running the three-day conference, which was held at the Waldorf Hilton in central London. 

Speakers and Sessions Highlight Global Real Estate Trends
Members were engaged with educational sessions and speakers centered on the theme of global real estate trends. Organized by Alistair Subba Row and Charlie Thompson of Farebrother/CORFAC International, the sessions included a wide range of London-based commercial real estate experts.

International Investment and Development Trends. Moderated by Bisnow’s U.K. Editor Mike Phillips, the International Investment and Development Trends panel session included perspectives from Richard Pilkington, Cain International; Martin Wallace, Brookfield Property Partner; James Thornton, Mayfair Capital Investment Management; Ross Blair, Hines and Tim Russell of Golden Gate Capital. 

Panelists agreed that a number of factors are driving growth in London’s retail, office and industrial sectors, despite the ever-present influence of Brexit. The co-working trend continues to shape the city’s office market, appealing to both large corporate operators and smaller boutique companies alike. The true test of co-working space suppliers will be their ability to sustain a full real estate cycle, according to several panelists. In terms of what’s ahead in the next 12-18 months, the panel concurred that they aren’t seeing many negative impacts on the space markets as a result of Brexit. Leasing remains strong and international investors still view London as a safe haven for global capital. 

Understanding the World’s Workplace Today. The panel session focused on today’s workspace trends was moderated by Jack Williamson of Farebrother/CORFAC International and included a range of key executives, including Neil O’Grady, The Office Group; David Kosky, Work.Life; Mike McCarrick, Workspace and Robin Pugh, Orega. 

Among insights offered by the panelists, it was agreed that large corporate space users are seeking to reduce their footprints, resulting in an uptick in flexible space arrangements in many major global markets. For many of these corporations, the concept of flexible, co-working space wasn’t on their radar five years ago, but today it is a driving force in their decision-making process. Improvements in technology and a shift toward smaller spaces will continue to influence corporations’ occupancy plans in the foreseeable future. The factors that differentiate co-working suppliers in the current market include price, location and value-added services and amenities. For small businesses, lease terms of up to five years in co-working offices can offer significant cost advantages, according to the panel. 

Global Office Occupier Trends. Panelists from several major corporations weighed in on the factors affecting occupancy trends in today’s market. Moderated by Nick Patterson of Farebrother/CORFAC International, panel participants included Suzanne Gill, Wedlake Bell; Phil Merrick, WK Space; David Corry, Turner & Townsend and Mary Finnigan, WeWork. 

Key factors influencing office occupier space decisions right now include 5G technology, tax legislation affecting corporate space and lease accounting regulatory changes, among others. Office occupiers are moving away from multi-floor properties to single-level spaces and seeking a balance of “collision space” for collaborating and quiet spaces. Some panelists noted that the traditional 10-year lease may be a thing of the past for many companies, which are now seeking shorter leases with flexible terms. Corporations are taking cues from employees’ preferences more than ever before, which is a big driver in their space use decisions.  

Artificial Intelligence and Its Impacts on Commercial Real Estate. Keynote speaker Matthew Hopkinson, director and founder of Dibodi, and Michael Griffin, Founder of ClientLook, presented information about how artificial intelligence solutions are impacting commercial real estate. Hopkinson noted that machines are taking over many of the world’s job tasks and the challenge is to determine not how to compete with machines, but how to use employees’ excess time to develop new ideas and creative strategies. Hopkinson recommends firms invest 10 percent of their gross sales in technology and emphasized that everyone is in the data industry; commercial real estate is the asset class in which they are specializing. He also noted that bad data that is referenced by clients must be combatted by knowledge, relationship building and trust. Finally, to embrace AI in the industry, Hopkinson recommends creating a robust data infrastructure; equipping employees with technical, data and interpretation skills; integrating workflows in the business and providing an open “test and learn” culture. 

CORFAC’s Global Market Update. In addition to the panel discussions, CORFAC’s International Committee Chair Miguel Cavazos, Citius Capital/CORFAC International in Monterrey, Mexico, facilitated a global market update session. CORFAC members from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.S. provided short commercial real estate updates on their respective markets. 

Members Connect at the Interactive Deal-Making Session. CORFAC Transactions Committee Vice Chair David Paulson of Blue & Obrecht/CORFAC International led a panel discussion of CORFAC members who discussed their cross-border transaction activity and referral business within the CORFAC network. Panelists included Scott Bloom, Helmsley Spear/CORFAC International; Dan Gostylo, Providence Commercial Real Estate/CORFAC International; Dario Villarreal, Citius Capital/CORFAC International and Daniel Shindleman, Bridgemer AG/CORFAC International. After the panel discussion concluded, the floor was opened for members to discuss their current clients and property haves/wants with the group. 

Tour and Event Highlights
A rainy start didn’t deter the members who took in London sights via bicycle during Sunday’s Charlie King Cycling Classic. Other members took London’s mass transit system, The Tube, for an afternoon tour of the Tower of London, which included a Crown Jewels exhibit and an inside look at the tower’s pivotal role in the city’s history. 

On Monday afternoon several members participated in a property tour at Kings Cross, a 67-acre mixed-use development that has transitioned into one of the most desirable areas of the city. Other members opted to visit the iconic British Museum for an afternoon of exploring the country’s history and culture.

Tuesday afternoon’s sunny skies were welcome as attendees boarded the Silver Sturgeon riverboat for a three-hour cruise along the River Thames. CORFAC’s award winners were recognized during a luncheon ceremony. Read more about CORFAC’s 2018 Award winners

CORFAC sincerely thanks Farebrother/CORFAC International and all attending members for making the 2018 Fall Summit a major success. Thank you to CORFAC’s generous event sponsors Biproxi, CCIM Institute, ClientLook and SIOR for their support and sponsorship of the Fall Summit. 



Patricia True Agos

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Locally Owned. Globally Connected

CORFAC International is comprised of privately held entrepreneurial firms with expertise in office, industrial and retail brokerage, tenant and landlord representation, investment sales, multifamily, self-storage, acquisitions and dispositions, property management and corporate services. Founded in 1989, CORFAC has 50 offices in the U.S., 5 in Canada and 22 in international markets, including Australia, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. CORFAC offices completed more than 10,000 lease and sales transactions totaling 620 million square feet of space valued in excess of $8.2 billion in 2018.