ATLANTA (Nov. 3, 2014) - By mid-week, downtown Atlanta will become the center of the REIT industry, with an unprecedented number of real estate CEOs gathering in the city that never stops building.
The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, or NAREIT, kicks off REIT World - its "Annual Convention of All Things REIT" - on Tuesday evening at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The convention runs through Friday morning.
That Atlanta is playing host to this influential conference that attracts top investors, money managers, bankers, and of course, developers, brokers and real estate press, is impressive. Atlanta has a greast tradition of entrepreneurs creating REITs, including John Williams (Post Properties), Tom Cousins (Cousins Properties) and Ray Weeks and his dad (Weeks Corp./Duke-Weeks). In fact, Atlanta used to be a key player in the retail REIT industry with JDN Realty (defunct), and IRT Property Co.; and in the mortgage REIT industry that dried up during recent downcycles.
The list of REIT CEOs who heading to Atlanta this week for REIT World is impressive: David Neithercut, presdent and CEO, Equity Residential; Sandeep Mathrani, CEO, General Growth Propertties; Timothy Naughton, CEO, AvalonBay Communities; Jon Bortz, chairman; Art Coppola, chairman and CEO, Macerich; Donald Wood, president and CEO, Federal Realty Investment Trust; and CEO, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which made a splash when it acquired the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in 2010.
REIT World also marks the first appearance at a major event by PulteGroup President, Chairman and CEO Richard Dugas, who moved his company and himself to Atlanta earlier this year. Dugas (in photo) is a panelist on Wednesday's Session Two, "Gimme Shelter - Housing America."
We're sure Cousins and Post will be well represented as well.