Jim Connor, CEO of Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE: DRE), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2016: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.
Connor discussed the balance of demand between the company’s traditional retail customers and e-commerce clients.
“We’re in the absolute sweet spot right now…It’s the best of both worlds,” Connor said.
He noted that e-commerce sales are growing at roughly 15 percent a year, “so it’s a huge tail wind for all of us right now.” At the same time, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are seeing sales growth, albeit at a slower rate of 2.5 percent to 3 percent.
On the development front, Connor noted that Duke has committed to keep its pipeline at a pre-leasing level of above 50 percent. He contrasted that to 2008, when the pre-leasing level on Duke’s $1 billion development pipeline was only 13 percent.
Meanwhile, Connor predicted that “calm will prevail” in the current climate of political uncertainty. He also stressed that the company has significantly reduced leverage during the past five years to ensure that Duke can “continue to grow in whatever economic uncertainty we have.”