Cushman & Wakefield is breaking from a long-standing tradition this year by not conducting its annual State of Real Estate outlook with a live local event.
The real estate brokerage typically hosts the annual event in February, usually to a packed house in the first-floor theater at Old National Centre, where Cushman brokers and economists provide guests a recap of the previous year in the local commercial real estate market and predictions on what to expect in the coming months.
A reception would follow, where attendees from the industry could mingle and rub elbows over a beer or cocktail.
But that won’t be happening this year. Chicago-based Cushman instead has chosen to offer the forecast remotely, via satellite.
The invitation to the Feb. 8 event, running from 11 a.m. to noon, includes a message from local Cushman managing principal Chris Yeakey, who says: “I truly believe that the decision to host this event online reinforces our dedication to the innovative and ever-evolving commercial real estate industry.”
Pressed for details on the decision, Cushman, through a spokeswoman, said the digital offering is a new format they’re rolling out across the company, in all of its offices.
“This is an opportunity for Cushman to reach more people than they’ve been able to,” said Lisa York at the Westcomm public relations firm. “It’s also a way for folks to save time. In other words, Cushman is coming to them rather than asking them to come to us.”
Still, it'll be difficult to replicate live presentations by Cushman personnel, many of whom lightened the mood with a bit of flair and humor—like the time former Cushman managing principal Jeff Henry came on stage dressed in an open-wheel racing suit, complete with helmet.
Local real estate veterans say the first State of Real Estate was held in 1983, in what is now the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre hotel on West Ohio Street. It was presented by Cushman predecessor firm F.C. Tucker Co. Inc. The hotel, then a Hilton, was owned by Tucker Hotels.
Tucker morphed into Colliers Turley Martin Tucker and then Cassidy Turley, before becoming DTZ in 2014. That name lasted a year, until DTZ completed its $2 billion takeover of Cushman & Wakefield in September 2015, creating one of the world’s largest real estate services companies.
The firm took on the more recognizable Cushman & Wakefield name. With 30 licensed brokers, Cushman is the Indianapolis area's third-largest commercial real estate brokerage, according to IBJ statistics.
This year’s State of Real Estate presenters are Kevin Thorpe, chief economist and global head of research; Revathi Greenwood, Americas head of research; and Jason Tolliver, vice president of research.