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Deals & Dealmakers

Visionary sees retail, hospitality demand

Jonathan D. Gray, global head of real Estate at Blackstone, believes the REIT sector is back in business.

Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray

Kicking off the full-day agenda with a keynote address at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate’s 19th Annual REIT Symposium, “One Trillion and Counting,” Gray explained that the industry, and the REIT sector in particular, is past deep distress, while the U.S. commercial real estate industry is somewhere in the middle of a recovery.

He also noted that investors are seeing underlying demand for strip retail, including grocery-anchored space, and select service hotels.

Held at The Pierre in Manhattan, the symposium covered an array of topics as delegates expressed high hopes for the market to continue its post-recession growth trajectory.

NYU Schack Divisional Dean Rosemary Scanlon presented Gray with the annual Visionary Award for his ongoing involvement with NYU Schack.
Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, closed the conference with his traditional wit and colorful comments.

He noted that the commercial real estate market had been on pause, but the market is now poised for a change. He believes that more foreign investors will buy commercial real estate. Zell also expressed optimism for the multifamily sector in 24-hour cities.

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