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Annual NAIOP conference generates industry buzz

ORLANDO, Fla. - Voices buzz and e-mails fly in anticipation of the upcoming National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) Annual Conference and Marketplace. The conference for the Herndon, Va.-based organization will take place in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 18 through Oct. 20.

Steven Pumper, president of owner advisory services for Transwestern Commercial Services, and chair of the NAIOP 2000 Annual Conference Subcommittee, is confident this year's meeting will offer attendees valuable information and insight into industry trends. "One thing we are trying to highlight in this year's conference is how to integrate technology into our business," says Pumper. "That can involve our use of the Internet for information gathering as well as the way we develop buildings or retrofit buildings to satisfy tenants with high-tech needs."

The high-tech aura of the conference is evident in several e-Track sessions being offered. These special sessions specifically address aspects of the commercial real estate industry that deal with Internet applications, from property listings (moderated by NREI's own industrial/office beat editor Bailey Webb) to online financial services and projections into the future of Internet applications.

Other high-tech features include the e-Tradeshow and the CyberCafe. The e-TradeShow will highlight the latest technology available to enhance a real estate professional's services. Meanwhile, the CyberCafe will give conference attendees the opportunity to try out new software programs and visit industry Websites, or simply relax with a cup of coffee, surf the Web and send e-mail.

Though the Net and the Web are sure to catch your attention at the conference, there will be plenty of more traditional topics as well. Bricks and mortar get their due as does Wall Street. The Gala Opening Dinner will honor Terry W. Stiles of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Stiles Corp. as the "Developer of the Year." H. Wayne Huizenga, chairman, Huizenga Holdings, Inc.; AutoNation, Inc.; and Extended Stay America; will present the award to Stiles. Huizenga is a seven-time winner of the "Entrepreneur of the Year Award" and five-time recipient of Financial World magazine's "CEO of the Year" award. He is also known as a triple-threat professional sports team owner.

The conference's keynote speaker will be Sheryl Pressler, CEO of Atlanta-based Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. Pressler joined Lend Lease in March after leading the restructure of an $8 billion real estate portfolio for the California Public Employee's Retirement System (CalPERS), as the public pension fund's chief investment officer.

"We thought it would be important for Sheryl Pressler to share her vision as CEO of Lend Lease with our membership," says Pumper. "We think Lend Lease is an organization on the cutting edge, and we'd like to hear how the company is looking at strategic initiatives pertaining to investment, development, technology and research issues that affect our industry."

Pressler promises to touch on a number of issues and trends affecting the real estate industry today and in the years ahead. "I will be discussing how real estate fits into a multi-asset class portfolio, and the effect of technology on the real estate investments and business," says Pressler. "I'll also address the impact of demographics on the outlook for savings in the future. As baby boomers gray, their investment focus should shift from equities with low current income to asset classes that offer relatively higher current income and some appreciation potential such as real estate."

Conference general sessions offer investment guidance, telecommunications technology assessment, economic outlooks and other pertinent matters of concern for real estate professionals. Pumper will moderate a "Capital Markets Update" session. This program is designed to analyze the current situation in real estate capital markets and project the next 12 months. "This panel will be looking at what kinds of investors are active in commercial real estate now, what kind of return on investments they are looking for and where the money is coming from, among other things," explains Pumper.

Another general session is entitled "Telecommunications & Commercial Development: Sorting Through the Hype," and will be moderated by attorney John Brewerton. New telecommunications companies and services seem to be popping up daily with new agreements and plans to consider. Brewerton and panelists will decipher the often puzzling legal and technological elements of this important area of commercial development.

Deal City will once again facilitate business deals for conference attendees in a separate sales and networking environment. Investors, pension fund advisers, developers, owners, brokers and REITs will be represented at this affair. And for the first time, Deal City will have a "Properties for Sale" pavilion where leading owners and developers will display their marketing brochures.

Gold Mine sessions, conducted in a roundtable fashion, close out the conference on Friday. Topics as diverse as the interior office environment, working with construction contractors, growth management strategies and development joint ventures will be addressed in these freewheeling concurrent sessions.

"Anyone in the office or industrial sector of commercial real estate would be remiss not to participate in this conference," says Pumper. "It will offer the opportunity to interact with the leaders of our industry and provide expert advice and tips for anyone connected to the industry."

Though the conference actually begins on Oct. 18, pre-conference business meetings and events begin earlier in the week. An optional golf tournament tees the week up on Oct. 16. The event will be held at Celebration Golf Club.

NAIOP is a trade association of industrial and office real estate professionals with more than 8,000 members in 46 chapters across the United States and Canada. The organization coordinates educational programs, networking opportunities and the promotion of effective public policies for the enhancement of property values. For more information, contact NAIOP at 703-904-7100, or visit the e-mail site at

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