By Peter Madrid | MadridMedia
Compelling and inspirational speakers. Critical topics such as affordable housing, water and agriculture in the desert. Innovations in hospitality and historic preservation.
Trends Day 2023, the 18th annual version presented by ULI Arizona, attracted more than 1,100 attendees who enjoyed a day of networking and learning about the latest in local and national real estate trends.
Participants made this year’s event at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa the third largest ULI event globally.
The historic preservation panel kicked off the day reminding those in the room why we fall in love with older buildings. And when it comes to adaptive re-use or preservation why it’s important to “listen to the building.”
The panel on innovation in hospitality explained how the development segment of the industry was affected by the pandemic. It’s now about design and dedication to details as this sector moves forward. It’s not just about delivering a nice room.
It’s no surprise that Arizona and the West are facing a serious drought. The water and agriculture in the desert panel presented ways that the two can co-exist along with development. At the University of Arizona, professors and students are creating an agriculture innovation hub.
Technology is also playing a huge role. Indoor vertical farming and air-adapted crops on a national and global scale were mentioned as possible solutions to food production and security.
Panelists on capitalizing on the economy shared their look into the crystal ball at how volatile interest rates and a looming recession could affect the commercial real estate industry. The panelists, all capital market experts, were honest in their assessment – there will be headwinds before the tailwinds return.
The Trends Day Debate – should Valley cities and towns, or the state Legislature, remove barriers to or create opportunities for new multi-family housing through new laws, ordinances or zoning changes – was one of the more “spirited” panels. It included officials from Gilbert, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.
This year’s keynote speaker, Alison Levine, summed up her story by saying: “Backing up is better than backing down.” Levine served as the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition which was slated to go to the mountain in the spring of 2002. She secured funding, but her team turned back a few hundred feet short of Everest’s summit in May 2002. Levine finally reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 24, 2010.
The afternoon session looked at the state of affordable housing and closed with the annual economic outlook.
An esteemed housing panel reminded the industry to “build the community for everyone” and “if it’s done with good partners, everyone should be in with the plan.”
While there is uncertainty in the local and global economy, there is a lot that those who attended Trends Day 2023 can do and can accomplish to bolster the industry and strengthen our communities.