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LVEDC Attends Nation’s Leading Real Estate Trade Association Event

By Colin McEvoy on June 11, 2019

The nation’s leading industrial and manufacturing real estate trade association held one of its signature events last month, and officials from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) were there representing the region.

The Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) hosted its 2019 Spring Forum, highlighting innovations in corporate real estate for attendees from among the organization’s 600 members, including more than 200 senior corporate real estate end users.

The event provided LVEDC representatives with exclusive access to the world’s leading network of industrial real estate experts, providing a unique opportunity to highlight the Lehigh Valley’s economic assets to the very people who are at the forefront of corporate location decisions.

“IAMC attendees represent companies making business location decisions, so it’s important they have a favorable view of the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President & CEO. “The relationships nurtured here today can help facilitate the deals of tomorrow. That’s why LVEDC has been attending these IAMC events since 2015.”

The Spring Forum was held from May 4 to May 8, and Cunningham attended along with Jarrett Witt, LVEDC Director of Business Development. The event’s theme was “Innovations in Corporate Real Estate,” with a focus on core corporate real estate business practices.

One of the most widely-discussed topics was the future of global trade, and the uncertainty surrounding it due to the federal political climate, Witt said. With companies having spent the last several decades building global supply chains, there is now a growing expectation that the future will look very different, and expectations may have to change.

Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) were another topic widely discussed during roundtables and audience questions. Created as a result of the federal tax overhaul legislation in December 2017, these designated zones seeks to encourage investment by forgiving capital gains on commercial or residential projects under certain conditions.

There are more than 8,700 QOZ acres and more than 2,900 QOZ tax parcels located in the Lehigh Valley’s cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, with 58.8 million square feet of existing industrial and office space and 22,600 multi-family units within the region’s zones.

LVEDC has been actively involved in marketing the Lehigh Valley’s QOZs. The organization developed and released informative fliers about the zones in April, and made it a central focus of the new issue of the Lehigh Valley Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Report released last week.

“The QOZs are a great new tool to attract capital into the cities of the Lehigh Valley,” said Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing. “The fact that these zones can be layered with other incentives already available like the Allentown NIZ or the Bethlehem CRIZ provide Lehigh Valley that much more of an advantage.”

This year’s IAMC forum included speakers and sessions with big picture views of trends in both economic and business climates and the ongoing manufacturing renaissance.

The keynote speaker was publishing executive Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, who made a rare appearance sharing insights on finance, business, the national economy, and his experience with leadership.

Other speakers include Greg O’Brien, CEO of the Americas for JLL, who discussed the long-term outlook for commercial real estate; Peter Zeihan, founder of Zeihan on Geopolitics, who discussed changes in global trade and geopolitics; and Garrett Reisman, a retired astronaut and Director of Space Operations at SpaceX, who shared lessons about inspiration, determination, vision, and innovation.

IAMC has members in 44 of the 50 states and a growing global presence across Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In the past three years, IAMC member companies have participated in more than 1,185 projects worldwide, invested $66.5 billion, and created 176,032 jobs.

“IAMC is a relationship builder, and there is no better place to experience that than at a Forum,” said J. Tate Godfrey, Executive Director of IAMC. “Our networking events are fantastic opportunities to forge connections and make friends with fellow leaders in industrial real estate.”

IAMC is managed by Conway, which also published Site Selection magazine. LVEDC was recently recognized as one of the Top 20 economic development organizations in the United States, receiving one of Site Selection’s Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development.

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