By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read November 2019 – In the last few years, the Charlotte Metro Area has enjoyed consistent growth, thanks largely to its strong banking sector. As the region continues to grow, Charlotte’s economy is diversifying and attracting large companies that need commercial real estate solutions. In a recent interview with Invest:Charlotte, Cushman & Wakefield Managing Partner Brett Gray talks about the state of Charlotte’s real estate market, use of technology to improve client needs and his outlook for the region heading into 2020.
How is Cushman & Wakefield addressing the growth of the Charlotte metro area?
We are organized across a suite of services with specializations that directly tie to Charlotte’s explosion as a high growth city. These services include Capital Markets, Tenant Representation, Landlord Representation, Project & Development Services, Asset Services, Facility Management, Valuation and Advisory Services and Consulting to name a few. Under each of those service lines, we have additional services that clients can tap into for all of their needs.
This is a thriving city. It has often been thought of as a secondary market, but it’s practically a regional hub that’s led by the banks. That has been the driver for development since the 1980s. It is essential for us to have key leaders in this space to help grow. For example, we have one of our National Emerging Tech Advisory Group members here in town, which is important as tech has been a big part of Charlotte’s recent growth. Our Multifamily National Practice Co-Leader sits here, our Southeast Valuation and Advisory leader is here. These are just a few examples that show our commitment to this market and the depth and breadth of our resources and services.
How is Cushman & Wakefield implementing new technologies to address client needs and provide better service?
Cushman & Wakefield’s property technology (PropTech) strategy focuses on strategic partnerships across our global platform with a variety of organizations, including Fifth Wall, MetaProp NYC, Plug and Play and 1871. The firm recently entered into technology relationships with innovative companies like Saltmine and Reonomy. It is essential for us to partner with organizations to identify technology that will disrupt our industry. PropTech drives efficiencies ensuring Cushman & Wakefield evolves quickly in this ever changing environment to deliver excellence to our clients. It is our responsibility to drive the latest solutions to them as their advisor.
How is Cushman & Wakefield addressing growth while preparing for a potential recession?
We’ve seen some inverted yield curves, and while the curve is a good historic warning sign of a recession, it doesn’t mean it’s right on the edge. The difference is that consumer confidence, which makes up 70% of the economy, continues to rise. Government spending remains strong. You’ve got a record unemployment rate continuing at an all-time low. You’ve got wage growth. As long as we continue seeing wage growth and low unemployment numbers, with consumers making up so much of that, we feel really good about where we are. We don’t see anything happening in the next year and a half to two years, but we continue to advise clients to be aware. We take a look at the “what if?” models out there. If a recession happens, what will happen? We’re always looking at those things, but right now we feel really good.
How does Cushman & Wakefield view the commercial real estate landscape?
If you look at the past 12 months like a report card, it’s arguably the most exciting time in the history of Charlotte. We look out everyday to cranes looking into our windows, and you see the growth of the light rail happening. The airport is expanding. The logical places of growth are emerging. It followed predictable patterns, where before some of the wealth was concentrated, but now you’re seeing emerging corridors appear. Opportunity Zones help drive some of that investment. Companies are selling their properties for record prices, and moving into emerging corridors. When you think of a big city, you put a dot in the middle of the city and there are no gaps expanding outward a mile or two. Charlotte still has some opportunity to develop around those gaps, and you’re starting to see that happen.
To learn more about our interviewee, visit: http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en