EDITOR'S LETTER: Spring thaw

PERE magazine, April 2011 issue

For those of us that reside in the northern hemisphere, this past month saw the official arrival of spring. With it comes the promise of warmer temperatures, longer days and a general sense of optimism as the bleak, cold days of winter slowly fade into memory.

The global commercial real estate markets seem to be marking the arrival of their own “spring,” as both GPs and LPs are looking to put the gloom and doom of the credit crunch and financial crisis behind them and focus on the sector’s recovery. Indeed, evidence of the market’s renewal was on display at this year’s MIPIM conference in Cannes, France.

Although attendees were questioning the current pace of recovery and what assumptions should be made about the speed and longevity of any rebound, the fact is more deals are getting done. And with that, a sense of enthusiasm seemed to pervade every aspect of the week-long event.

Of course, PERE was right there in the midst of it all, attending panels, checking out exhibitors, meeting with industry sources and schmoozing at cocktail parties. In between, we managed to do some reporting as well. Beginning on p. 32, Robin Marriott, Jonathan Brasse and I combine to bring you some of the highlights of MIPIM via our conference journal, an honest and sometimes humorous look at our schedule. That is followed by thoughts on how LPs are looking to approach the market from a select group of 2010 Global PERE Award winners that stopped by our breakfast meeting.

Optimism wasn’t confined to MIPIM, however, as across the Atlantic private equity titan Kohlberg Kravis Roberts announced its intention to create a dedicated real estate platform with the hiring of Ralph Rosenberg as head of real estate investing. In a special report starting on p. 6, Jonathan Brasse speaks with Rosenberg just eight days into his new post about the firm’s strategy and its plans for measured growth.

Lastly, Zoe Hughes and Robin Marriott look for signs of optimism in the world of commercial real estate finance. Starting on p. 27, Zoe finds lending activity on the upswing in the US, while yours truly contributes with an examination of the move to create a covered bond market in the states. Robin rounds out the finance expose with a look at how alternative lenders are stepping up to fill the void created by the retrenchment of big banks.

Beyond those features, the PERE team also brings you news about Clarion’s plans for solo expansion, Duet tapping the public markets and the Chinese city of Chongqing seeking foreign capital. In all, quite a bit to be optimistic about.

Enjoy the issue,

Erik Kolb
Senior Editor, Real Estate
PERE and PERENews.com