Commercial Real Estate – Heavy Hitters

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Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:00am CDT


Selected by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

Michael (Kaiyi) Yu, vice president, investments

Hometown: Tianjin, China

Downturn strategy: Continue to close deals.

Busiest building: Limited service hotel/motels. That is my area of specialization and focus.

Second career choice: Building a business from the ground up

2011 real estate outlook: Sales activities will be up. Pricing will hold steady.

Your typical Saturday: Usually spent with my family.

Rahul Bijlani, associate vice president, investments

Favorite quote: “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” – Richard Branson

Hometown: Pune, India

Downturn strategy: We had lower transaction volume during

the downturn, but did not really have to change any aspects of our business to make ends meet.

What the recession changed: We have improved our attention to detail as well as our emphasis on having a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ investment needs. In this environment, it is critical to know as much about a client’s portfolio as possible, including details of how the cash flows and/or how the sale of one asset could impact others. In the previous market, seller motivation was often price-based — on the other hand, in 2011 sales are often motivated by far more specific criteria. If our clients have visibility with us, it increases our ability to add more value to their business beyond simply securing qualified buyers.

Second career choice: Technology. My background is actually in computer science and data mining, and I still code from time to time.

2011 real estate outlook: The price gap between buyers and sellers for hospitality products is shrinking — as sellers begin to reconcile with dropping valuations, and buyers begin to realize that they cannot get both high cash flow and a low price/room. Financing is also making a steady comeback, with lenders realizing that both deal quality and buyer quality are much higher than in previous years. Lastly, lenders with distressed assets on their books are beginning to realize that they need to offload these properties before sustaining further losses and are getting more realistic about valuations. Hence, my projection for hospitality real estate is an increase in velocity all through 2011 and continuing into 2012 — at prices that are the lowest we’ve seen in the last few years.

Can’t work without: My iPhone, of course. With great apps like DropBox, SalesForce and Logmein, I can access any information I need at any time, no matter where I am.

Premium content from Houston Business Journal

Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:00am CDT


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