ULI Arizona News

Trends Day 2017: Adapt. Disrupt. Create

By Peter Madrid/MadridMedia

It’s amazing how three short words succinctly and accurately sum up the future of Arizona. Adapt. Disrupt. Create. The theme of the 12th annual Trends Day hosted by ULI Arizona was relevant throughout the day before another packed house, nearing 1,000 strong, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.

Economist Kevin J. Thorpe of Cushman & Wakefield kicked off the day giving global and local macro-economic outlooks. Globally, GDP will accelerate the next couple of years. What does a President Donald Trump mean: tax cuts, increased government spending in some areas, regulatory reform, and new trade agreements. The biggest downside for commercial real estate: slow population growth could erode the need for space.

Locally, the Phoenix market is one that clearly has momentum in the country right now. Thorpe labeled the Valley a “late bloomer,” but it added 52,000 net new jobs last year and has the potential for 80,000 to 100,000 new jobs, most of it organic.

Helping this growth is businesses expanding into Phoenix. “When a business chooses your city, it’s great for the local economy.” He predicted job growth between 2016 and 2020 will push Phoenix to No. 6 nationally.

In the first Quick Hit – The Future is Now, Brian David Johnson, Futurist in Residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, shared this quote: “Be an active participant in the future. You can do that by having an opinion. Talk to people about it. Then do something.”

The next two panels discussed disruptive technologies and the ROI of building healthy communities. “Changing behaviors is important,” the audience was told. “Healthy is not just about being well. It’s about focusing on healthy amenities and healthy places to hang out.”

The second Quick Hit, Phoenix Beyond the Tipping Point: More Than Sunshine and Cheap Labor, led by GPEC President and CEO Chris Camacho, was the lead in leading-edge employers speaking. “How do you start a tech company with no engineers,” one of the panelists challenged the audience. “The first thing is we must have talent.”

Camacho said: “How do we make Arizona a world-class state? Education. It’s critical if you’re a young company or Intel.”

Panelists before the lunch break discussed office revolution, experiential retail, and advanced industrial

A solo presenter two years ago, Kim Lear, founder of Inlay Insights, was the keynote speaker. She led a compelling – and at times a humorous – discussion on the generations: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials.

The Trends Debate “edutainment” again pitted Grady Gammage vs. Grant Woods. In one of the most significant quotes of the day, in talking about Arizona’s K-12 education, Gammage said: “You cannot go on being 48th or 49th and aspire to being 44th.”

The day wrapped up with panels on multifamily trends throughout Phoenix Metro and then a lively discussion on single family residential land markets featuring the CEOs of several homebuilding companies

Mark your calendars for the 13th Annual Trends Day Conference, February 23, 2018 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.


See more Trends Day coverage below:

Phoenix Business Journal- A City Without Traffic Lights or Stop Signs: How AI and Technology Will Change Work, Real Estate, and Life– February 24, 2017

AZ Central- Sunshine, Low-Cost Homes Enough for Phoenix Growth?– February 27, 2017

Phoenix Business Journal- Cities, Transportation Will Develop Differently With Technology– March 3, 2017

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