Joe Sitt, Chairman of leading global real estate firm, Thor Equities Group, spoke on Bloomberg Markets on March 23rd to discuss the highlights and challenges being faced by the commercial real estate industry, as well as the banking crisis, importance of carbon footprints, venture capitalism, and the war economy investors are currently navigating.
On Bloomberg Markets, Joe Sitt began his segment by discussing the banking crisis and how the “rear view mirror management” by the Federal Government and decision to increase interest rates magnified problems in the office market. By pushing limits to the extreme, repercussions were felt throughout the real estate industry and the Federal Government did more damage to SVB and Signature Bank than the executives at those banks. However, Sitt said he continues to “chase the positives” and sees strength in co-working with strong occupancy rates across the nation. He also cited high occupancy rates in offices across Europe after a recent visit, representing economic recovery.
As a political investor, Mr. Sitt believes America is in a “war economy” which involves playing by a different set of rules. Historically, the industrial asset class has benefitted from war and the US is being challenged by running out of certain munitions because of conflict overseas. Thor Equities has invested in the industrial sector for years and has built a robust portfolio of high-quality facilities, development sites, and industrial outdoor storage properties worldwide.
Concerning carbon footprints, Mr. Sitt sees investors are increasingly eager to give back to society and are conscious of their carbon footprints. He referenced an Israeli company he co-founded in Tel Aviv, Electreon, which is actively electrifying the footprints of office buildings, homes, docks, storage parking areas, etc. to power cars and more without having to connect.
As far as lending standards tightening, Sitt believes both sides are being challenged. Referencing his investment in Electreon, he stated the stock price had fallen because of tightness in availability of capital and debt markets, which in turn caused pressure on the VC but ultimately turned into an opportunity he was able to take advantage of. On the other side, in terms of physical real estate where the opportunities will be, are in cash. Ultimately, a reset is needed, and the current negatives we are facing will eventually create opportunity. His point of view is that “wise money will come out of shelter and invest in NYC because it will not stay down forever”.
Regarding the fallout on the VC side of the business, investors must have the courage and conviction in their businesses. He maintains the savviest investors are picking and choosing battles and willing to let some investments go to save the bigger picture, and those are the ones that will endure.
Mr. Sitt’s full interview can be found at: Bloomberg TV