In our latest expert interview, we spoke with Christine Mastandrea, Adjunct Professor of Property Management at Rice University’s Jones School of Management, about the Texas commercial real estate market. Mrs. Mastandrea is also Chief Operating Officer of Whitestone Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: WSR).
Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of Midwest Development Corporation, a privately held residential and commercial real estate firm. She started her career on the trading floor of Wall Street, after which she started her career as an investment banker at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
Read below for more information.
Q: Tell us briefly about your background and why you chose a career as a real estate teacher.
My Career Developed into Commercial Real Estate [CRE] From his beginnings in finance, to mastering the “ops chops” at a private real estate firm, culminating in his experience as Co-Founder and current Chief Operating Officer of Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) are combined.
Teaching at the Jones School of Business at Rice University gives you the opportunity to learn from a new generation of students, their views, curiosities and perspectives, as well as the opportunity to share first-hand knowledge.
Q: What are your thoughts on the current US CRE market trends and challenges in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Cigna does excellent research on loneliness and its effects on individuals and societies. The impact of COVID has caused more disconnections. It is more important than ever to design not only the functions of spaces, but also the connections between people.
Q: How is the Texas commercial real estate market different from other major US markets?
We are Houston, Dallas, Austin, [and] So is the San Antonio-Phoenix subway. We specifically targeted investments in business-friendly states and the nation’s fastest growing subway market. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and know how difficult it is to start a business. Focusing on unrestricted demand rather than restricted supply is a big win for Texas’ growth and opportunity.
Q: How have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade?
Data availability is very helpful. [For example,] Placer.ai and ESRI. I teach classes with both. Additionally, knowing how to “start” and operate real estate, rather than just investing, is becoming a more important differentiator.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Bigger is not necessarily better, [also considering] A flexible way to build for the future. With the average age of buildings in the United States nearly 50 years old, how to address environmental needs is an interesting challenge to address effectively. New ESG positioning will continue to influence investment.
Q: Are there any lessons learned from the past few years that are a must for those considering entering the CRE industry?
Start with land and rights to understand how it affects value. Know your customers and clients. Understand their needs and aspirations and how they use the space. Observation is important. Too many decisions are designed on screen instead of onsite.
Q: What is your general assessment of the commercial real estate market in 2022? Did you spot any interesting market trends?
A move to suburban markets occurred pre-COVID as millennials moved to more affordable communities. They are no different from their parents before them. They landed later because of school loans and household formations that occur at a later age.This group and his Gen Z are creating new needs.
[Also,] More entrepreneurship. In the world of the gig economy, it’s interesting how many young people have side jobs. [they] Develop into a full-time opportunity. A true American Dream!
Q: How has the evolution of online marketing impacted the commercial real estate industry?
Fixed the issue. A time-pressed consumer needed convenience, but not everyone needs Amazon to deliver within his day. That’s nice, but not necessary.
With the expectation of omni-channel, one-click access and ease of delivery, not all retailers will benefit. More “e-tails” are moving to brick-and-mortar stores for presence. It’s interesting to observe how brands are building between their online and inline storefronts. Again, it evolves around creating a community for customer stickiness.
Q: Any other insights you’d like to add?
Gray hair and experience are important in CRE. Unlike technology, it can age quickly. Fortitude and foresight are built through many cycles and are very valuable. If you plan for the long term, you’ll be fine.
Interested in an interview for the Expert Insights series? Feel free to contact us. [email protected] Or check out other articles in this series.