THE OFFICE MARKET
Steady fundamentals; This sector will bifurcate into have and have-not metros
“The office market is going nowhere—fast,” observes Mitchell Hersh, president and chief executive officer of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation.
Hersh should know a thing or two about the office market as his company, based in Edison, New Jersey, ranks as one of the largest real estate investment trusts, or REITs, that owns, develops, and manages office buildings. In the first quarter of 2008, Mack-Cali revenues totaled just over $800 million.
I have never met Mitchell Hersh, but he and I have spoken many times over the past years. I would have thought he would be more optimistic about the markets considering the fact that in 2007 he shrewdly increased Mack-Cali’s liquidity by issuing over a quarter of a billion dollars in new equity in a secondary offering and then in the third quarter increased the company’s credit facility by $175 million—all before the commercial real estate market, following the residential markets, froze up. Mack-Cali’s portfolio of properties (almost all of which were located in the Northeast) going into 2008 was about 93 percent occupied.
As he liked to say, “His powder was dry,” in case potential deals arose. And he expected to see substantial opportunities to acquire in the years ahead as badly financed office buildings will definitely need to be dumped ...