More than 200 commercial real estate professionals attended the seventh annual Detroit Commercial Real Estate Summit held Oct. 28 by REjournals at the Westin Southfield in Southfield, Michigan.
And this year’s event featured a theme common during the last several Detroit CRE Summits: Investors are sinking their dollars into Detroit. The city’s downtown is in the middle of a hot development streak. And the future for Detroit and its suburbs looks bright.
Of course, CRE pros in Detroit — as they are across the country — continue to wrestle with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. But speakers at last month’s summit said that even this did not stop the momentum in downtown Detroit, its surrounding neighborhoods and the suburbs.
The event kicked off with a look at the apartment market in the Detroit market. To no one’s surprise, panelists said that the multifamily market in the Detroit area remains strong. Yes, the area needs an influx of affordable apartment units. But overall, developers and investors have both been busy in this sector. Speaking on this panel were moderator AJ Beachum, Income Property Organization; Kevin Jahnke, Income Property Organization; David Wilkins, Walker & Dunlop; Kristen Diamond, Hayman Company; DeVon Jackson, P.A. Commercial; and Kevin Dillon, Berkadia.
The Detroit Market Sector Update panel had plenty of good news to share, too. As expected, panelists pointed to industrial as the darling of the CRE industry in Detroit. This sector continues to boom, with consumers’ increased appetite for online shopping fueling industrial’s growth. But panelists said that the office, retail and healthcare sectors in the Detroit market are seeing optimistic signs, too. Yes, these sectors face their own challenges, thanks in large part to the pandemic, but panelists said that the future looks to be brighter for these slices of the commercial industry. Speaking on this panel were Steven Chaben, Marcus & Millichap; Kevin Kovachevich, District Capital; Andy Gutman, NAI/Farbman; Brendan George, CBRE; Cynthia Kratchman, Mid-America Real Estate; Joseph Hamway, Signature Associates; and Barry Swatsenbarg, Colliers International.
And what about developers? They’ve been busy in the Detroit market, too. Before the pandemic hit, developers were building plenty of new apartment buildings, office space and retail locations in and around Detroit. And, yes, the pandemic did slow new construction slightly. But panelists said that development is back on the rise here and that developers will only boost their activity in 2022. Speaking on this panel were Conrad Schewe, Burton-Katzman; John-Paul Wolfe, Friedman Real Estate; moderator Randy Thomas, Insite Commercial; Christopher Jackson, Jackson Group; and Quinn Kiriluk, KIRCO.