Danny Nikitas, the managing director of Avison Young’s Chicago office is a veteran of more than 25 years in the commercial real estate industry. And he’s no stranger to the Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference, serving as the moderator of one of the general sessions for the last five years.
With that longevity, along with his command of the subject matter and his ability to keep panelists on point, conference organizers joke that the session could be named “The State of the Market, with Danny Nikitas.”
Two weeks in advance of the 16th annual forecast event, Nikitas answered a series of questions, about forecasting and Chicago’s commercial real estate market.
Rejournals: You’ve been in the industry for a long time, and you’ve seen a lot of booms and busts. How easy is it to project what the next year is going to be like?
Nikitas: There are people more analytical than I am who struggle to predict trends or see forward, which would indicate it is not too easy to project what the next year is going to be like. Based on feel, however, 2018 will be interesting in a positive way.
Rejournals: What gives you the greatest cause for optimism in 2018?
Nikitas: 2017. I saw things happening this year that set up for a really exciting and strong next year!
Rejournals: The overhaul of taxes is designed to help business expand and do more hiring. What impact do you think it will have and how soon do you expect we’ll see the effects? Will we see it in the CBD? In white collar businesses/office tenants or will it be more industrially-oriented?
Nikitas: Absolutely no idea. My understanding from serious people in the tax business is that even they are having trouble understanding the tax overhaul and what it’s impact will be.
Rejournals: Glad or sad to see 2017 go? Why or why not?
Nikitas: There was a song by a band Timbuk3 from the mid-‘80s, The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. That is how I feel! So I’m not sad to 2017 go, just happy that what I see in front of me/us is so positive! 2017 had some really great things in it, both professionally and personally. I see that continuing!
Rejournals: Is Chicago on the Amazon short list of cities or not? Is that a good thing or not?
Nikitas: To test the live-voting machines at the recent NAIOP awards dinner, the question used was “Will Chicago get Amazon HQ2?” This was in a very large room full of Chicago’s top real estate professionals. The consensus was negative. Maybe the voting machines didn’t work! Chicago has everything any headquarters would ever need but it doesn’t feel like momentum is moving in our city’s direction. It would be a great thing if Amazon came here!