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REITWorld 2010: Day Two Recap

11/16/2010 | By Matthew Bechard and Allen Kenney

The weather in New York City was overcast on Tuesday, but the mood inside New York's Waldorf=Astoria Hotel was much brighter. Day two of REITWorld 2010: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT began with a breakfast session looking at the state of the economy.

The panel featured four REIT CEOs representing four different property sectors. The panelists were Michael Glimcher of Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT), Steve Rogers of Parkway Properties (NYSE: PKY), Ed Pettinella of Home Properties (NYSE: HME), and Spencer Kirk of Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR). All of the executives said that while challenges still remain, fundamentals in their area are beginning to recover.

While property-level fundamentals are rebounding so far in 2010, the key to continued growth lies in job creation, said session moderator Ken Rosen of Rosen Real Estate Securities. Rosen added that while it may be three or four years before jobs come back in a meaningful way, the fundamentals for job growth are substantially better than people are talking about.

Later in the day, NAREIT announced the winners of its 2010 Leader in the Light Awards, presented in conjunction with the EPA. Now in its sixth year, the Leader in the Light program honors NAREIT members that have demonstrated superior and sustained energy use practices.

The 2010 Gold Award was presented to Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO). The Silver Award went to Hines REIT. The Bronze Award was shared by Macerich (NYSE: MAC) and Wells REIT. Honorable mentions went to Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LRY) and Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG). This marks the sixth-consecutive year Simon has been recognized with a Leader in the Light Award.

The final session of the day, moderated by Ron Sturzenegger of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, took a forward-looking approach. The panel featured David Simon of Simon Property Group, Milton Cooper of Kimco Realty Corporation (NYSE: KIM), Richard Saltzman of Colony Financial (NYSE: CLNY) and Marty Cicco of Evercore Partners. According to the panelists, one basic, yet never-ending, concern is finding capital.

"The most important thing you can't lose sight of is how you finance your business," Simon said. "It's extremely capital intensive."

The panelists noted that REITs have found themselves facing a much different landscape since they emerged from recapitalizing after the credit crisis.