ORLANDO—It was standing room only at the second-ever RealShare Central Florida on Thursday. Over 250 gathered at The Citrus Club in Downtown Orlando to hear thought leaders discuss the major property types and underlying growth trends in the city’s commercial real estate industry.
Over and again, industry leaders on every panel zeroed in on urbanization. From the rising opportunities in Downtown Orlando to transit oriented developments in other parts of Central Florida, urbanization, one panelist joked, was mentioned about 56 times. That may have been an understatement.
Central Florida has diversified economically in the past decade with its undeniable drivers, such as tourism and hospitality, but what else is driving Florida’s future? How will the impact of local and national policy issues and the economy directly affect growth? Industry leaders answered those and other questions in the Town Hall Meeting: State of the Industry Panel.
Richard Matricaria, regional manager of Marcus & Millichap in Tampa, moderated the panel, which included David Barilla, associate director of the Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency, Greg Matus, regional managing partner of Franklin Street, Fred Hames, general manager and executive vice president of Skanska USA, Ryan Kratz, president of Tampa Bay, Central Florida and Southwest Florida for Colliers International, Brooke Myers, president of Emerge Real Estate Ventures, and Larry Richey, senior marketing director and Florida market leader for Cushman & Wakefield.
“We are focusing on what is the heart and soul of downtown because that is where the market is shifting,” said Barilla. “People want to be in places where they feel connected. That’s where our strength has started to lie and will continue as we move going forward.”
It seems the best is yet to come for Downtown Orlando and the Central Florida region. Richey said five factors drive the area economy: construction spending, business spending, government spending, tourism, job growth and population growth.
“When you look at the spending demand, we are not quite there yet,” Richey said. “Those areas are all muted. As these drivers increase over the next two years, as most people think they will, things will get better.”