Celebrating 60 Conversations on TEN


Hard to believe that it’s been over 3 years since we launched the Tenant Experience Network (TEN) podcast as a way to connect with people at a time when we all felt isolated.

Host and HILO Co-founder and CEO, David Abrams, has had the opportunity to interview some amazing people from leading CRE and Proptech companies, and in real-time, share what’s really happening in buildings and communities across North America. David wanted the program to provide a true pulse on what was actually going on in the industry, across all asset classes, without being sensational or polarizing, as is often found in the media.

60 episodes later, we hope that the conversations we are having will continue to provide valuable insights and positively contribute to the discourse as we all navigate the future of the workplace.

PR: I’d love to do it. I’d love to host you here and show you our operation JLL in New York City. 

DA: We will definitely make that happen. To kick off our show today, Peter, I would love to hear about your journey to the current position role.

DA: How did you get started? It’s my favorite question. And I love to hear how people got into this 

PR: business. Well, my dad was in the property management business. So I was exposed to real estate my whole life. My first job in real estate was a very Glen Gary Glen Ross environment. You know, where’s the leads canvassing for business competing with people.

PR: But there were a lot of really. smart, knowledgeable real estate people above and around me in those days. And I really was taught a great lesson and learned the business the right way and had some success early on enough. So that a group of us decided to borrow our own company in 1989, which were tough times.

PR: And, and that really, It’s the only move I’ve ever felt like I’ve made in my career to switch because that firm evolved and then that firm was eventually, we sold it to JLL in 2002 and I’ve been here at JLL ever 

DA: since. Wow. So the transition, what was the motivation at that time to make the move to JLL to, to, to, to go from independent to, you know, part of a much larger organization?

PR: Winning and losing. Right. I was starting to feel like there were many situations where people were saying, you know, Peter, you’re might be the best advisor or you might be the best broker we talked to in this space. But, you know, we’re contractually obligated to use only one of these two or three firms, right?

PR: And we’re also seeing more and more procurement groups playing a role in the selection of advisors and brokers. And JLL seemed like the best choice for me at that time. 

DA: Right. So, you know, in terms of the, the, the entire career trajectory and to where you’ve landed, why do you think you were so uniquely suited for this opportunity?

DA: What has helped you to be successful? Skills, mentors, colleagues, books, everyone’s got 

PR: something to tell. Yeah. You know, I, I, that’s a great question by the way. And I’ve, I’ve answered that question in parts many different times. So the first thing I would say is the way I was raised, right. Right. My, my family You know, taught me respect and, and listen and you know, to, to, to take everybody seriously, right.

PR: I was an average student, but I was an average student. Because I was below average or average at certain things, but I was always the best math student in any class I was in. And I think math always helped me in, in, in the real estate career. And then a couple of things early on that I think really changed the game for me.

PR: Is. Early on, I realized you shouldn’t work with anyone that you can’t control the work with. So instead of trying to offer space as a broker to someone who needed 50, 000 feet and was listening to five or six brokers, I would rather spend my time trying to get someone who needed 5, 000 feet to hire me as their exclusive broker and it made my business more professional.

PR: After that, not that long after, it also clicked on me. If I’m going to call on a person, it’s better to call on a person who has many requirements in their area of responsibility as opposed to one. So I started calling on more corporate, larger companies and making my way into their real estate hierarchy.

DA: Interesting. So sort of some tips on, on, on, not on, you know, sort of how to grow your business, but also how to advance your career and, and where the best opportunities lie. 

PR: Exactly. Exactly. Right. 

DA: Very interesting. Anxious to sort of get your insights given your, your location, you’re in the heart of New York.

DA: And obviously New York being a just such a focal point for commercial real estate across North America. So really, you know, excited to sort of get your, your views on sort of our topic of conversation today. We know that commercial real estate has just gone through, you know, one of the most turbulent times.

DA: Yeah. I’m sure we can ever remember. I’m sure you’ve been through a few, not, this is not the only one, but you know, it’s still the largest asset class in the world, but it is still rebounding from, you know, a really challenging period of time. I’m in touch with people in the industry on an ongoing basis.

DA: And I am still hearing language. You know, from, you know, medium size, large, you know, players, owners, regional, national, that the industry, you know, is really still in crisis. And that’s the language that they’re using. 

PR: No doubt. So yeah, I’ve been through this before, you know, we obviously had the financial crisis, the.

PR: com crisis. But the crisis to me that’s most representative when the stock market crashed in the late eighties, and we really went almost seven or eight In a tailspin, right? And there’s a lot of similarity now to what I remember when I was younger. But back then, there’s no doubt that people bought buildings in New York city for a billion dollars.

PR: It’s an answer for 700 million. And the building’s worth 500 million today, right? And I think that there’s a, that’s an issue throughout the United States. But given the scale and the quantity, it’s compounded problem here, right? And so that’s something that’s going to take time to play itself out between banks and operators and things like that.

PR: Around all that we have a very curious marketplace, right? People starting to want to come back to work in the office Right and people needing to be competitive to bring their people back to work in the office We’re seeing a tremendous push to the best office building, right? It doesn’t really matter where they are as long as they’re new They have a tremendous amount of demand for occupiers for the amount of space they have, and that’s a good, positive, healthy sign, but it’s also a little bit misleading.

PR: Because it’s thought, you know, the tip of the iceberg, right? And so, that space is going to start to run out. Will that you know, sort of appetite continue to the next level of buildings? Can the next level of buildings make the adjustments physically? Amenities, things like that, to be attractive. And I’m positive that that can happen.

PR: But despite all that. There’s going to be space in this city that no one wants anymore for commercial office. There’s no doubt. We have 460 million square feet of office space on the island. Is this going to be 50 million feet of that? Is it going to be a little less? Is it going to be a lot more? I’m going to tell.

PR: Is it going to turn out to be converted to residential, demolished, converted to residential, other uses, time will tell, but it’s going to take a few years to apply ourselves through this. Right. 

DA: Well, I think we can agree that it is, you know, after every downturn, there’s opportunity. It’s a very exciting time, although with a lot of fear and a lot of anxiety, you know, particularly around the office category.

DA: I think you’re right. There has been this flight to quality. You know, the, the, the individual workplace, individual workplace. Is now much part of a much larger workplace ecosystem. It’s not just your office. You have options. People are reimagining what their space looks like, what their space requirements are.

DA: I think you made an interesting comment that yes, there’s been this flight to quality and new, you know, but what does that mean for the BNC building? Can the BNC building. Also reinvent itself. And we believe, you know, again, we, you know, so we’re in the technology side of the industry and helping commercial real estate operators to deliver great experience using technology as a way to engage with their tenants and deliver services and connect to amenities and promote different events and programs going on in the building.

DA: So we think technology can be a bit of an equalizer that it can start to help those smaller buildings to present themselves in a much different light. And we’re excited to see, I mean, we, we’ve got some clients in Midtown, New York that, you know, their buildings are full, they’re, they’re fully leased.

DA: Their leasing activity has been fairly robust and, and they’re working hard. Now, what we say is that everyone’s got to work a lot harder than they ever did. It’s not just built, it’s not just build it and they 

PR: will come. Yeah. And you know what, we’re, uh, optimistic in a few places too. So we did a number of transactions during COVID and right after COVID.

PR: And the number of them were banks and if they had a choice of taking one foot, two feet or three feet, they all just chose the one foot right now when they’ve returned to the office, they’re looking for that second foot. So we’re seeing some expansion needs. And maybe that’ll happen when tech starts returning to the office as well.

PR: We need these positives These positive 

DA: signs, right? What are you seeing in terms of buying and selling are Are you seeing some of those bnc owners? You know, many family businesses, those buildings have been in the family for generations. Are they, you know, where are they on, on that sort of that continuum of, you know, we got to do something now we can be patient, you know, we’ve been through this before, you know, any, any signals that you’re seeing?

PR: Yeah. Let me see if I can make you laugh. I would describe it as the high school lunchroom. About a month before the prom. Everybody’s trying to figure out where the date is. Okay. You know, the, the interest rates, the availability of capital are either non existent or so expensive that the market is caught, right?

PR: But there’s no doubt. That there are landlords, as you described, and a lot of them are long time family owners that need capital or are looking for ways to invest in their businesses and use their expertise with, you know, partners money to do things. And then there are a lot of partners out there circling New York City.

PR: Hey, this is a great market. You know, if I wait too long, I’m going to miss it on the rebound. I have to be ready to strike. You know, right before the bottom at the bottom. So there’s a lot of courtship going on between those. Right. 

DA: Right. In terms of the whole return to work effort. Are you seeing any changes currently as opposed to pre pandemic with the way in which building owners are collaborating with the occupier to create a more compelling reason why.

DA: Buildings and office space are important place for people to be. I, what do you 

PR: say? I think that any landlord that’s not on the cutting edge of that topic and challenging themselves to be innovative and creative will fall behind. We’re, we, we represented a big bank. They moved to Hudson yards recently and they at scale.

PR: Wanted to be able to share some of the amenities that the landlord was providing for the building. They wanted to do that because they didn’t want to waste the space and they wanted to do it because they felt their people liked Interacting more with other people in other spaces. So it’s a whole new paradigm And we we need to continue to challenge and be creative in that space And those buildings that do it the best are going to leave the best 

DA: I agree.

DA: I think that there was always an element of creativity and commercial real estate, but more so from, you know, the development of the physical plant. I think now the opportunity for creativity is in the service and the program. And, you know you know, their, their everyday experience that they offer their tenants and residents.

PR: Yep, no doubt. No doubt. You know, people spend a lot of time during COVID some of them in really nice places, in homes, in second homes, in beautiful apartments. You know, they went into the kitchen and they got a snack, or they distracted themselves watching TV a little on the sofa, or they walked outside on their terrace.

PR: They want all those same options in the office. 

DA: Yeah, we like to say that homes are becoming more office like and offices are becoming more home like. 

PR: That’s right. Exactly No doubt. 

DA: This Todd, this question is really relevant, particularly to the New York market. You know, we think a lot about buildings, and we don’t just think of them as silos as four walls.

DA: We really think of them as part of neighborhoods and cities and particularly coming through, you know, the pandemic where cities, the purely urban centers were really hit so hard with you know, people working remotely working from home. What are your thoughts on how building operators should be collaborating with, you know, B.

DA: I. D. the business improvement districts with cities. To help reinvigorate and reenergize and, and help, you know, the businesses that perhaps, you know, we’re near, you know, death, you know, help them to, you know, revitalize themselves and, or bring new businesses to the downtown. 

PR: Well, you know, the question cuts through the public private partnership, right.

PR: And if, you know, we were talking before we started on this, you know, you know, how, how divided and different. The world has become we need to merge the public and private. Each body needs each other. Right. So I think the commercial office building, the managers of commercial office buildings, I grew up, my father was in the property management building business.

PR: I have the utmost respect that they do the right thing. You know, whether it’s. Developing a great building, whether it’s being respectful and hitting targets around ESP. I think that industry is always going to be right there, cutting edge, doing it the right way. But they don’t control the drive to work.

PR: They don’t control the walk from the subway station to work, right? They don’t control that whole surrounding area. And that’s a factor in the success of the building. And so these partnerships and bids are extremely important to the future of the Central Business District and the growth of the commercial real estate market in the inner city.

DA: I 100 percent agree. And I’m continuing using my best efforts to help make those connections. You know, we’ve always developed our, our technology to be not just again, a technology solution for the building, but also to engage and connect with local neighborhoods and cities and, and really help, you know, promote that vibrancy.

DA: And maybe you and I offline can chat again, because I’ve had a tough time connecting with some of these public organizations, but maybe a little bit of collaboration. We might get to the finish line. 

PR: I’m happy to do it. I’m looking at Grand Central here, and we’re very friendly with the people there, and Times Square, which is you know, very challenging, right?

PR: So these are important partners for all of 

DA: us. Agreed, agreed. And now we’re going to take a short commercial break and we will be right back. 

PR: This episode of 10 is proudly brought to you by Hilo. Hilo is a rapid deployment workplace engagement platform for the hybrid world that enables building operators to connect to their tenants whether they are at work, at home, or anywhere in between.

PR: We are in the midst of a seismic shift. in the evolution of the workplace. Now more than ever, it’s clear that the most important asset of a building is the people. Commercial real estate leaders recognize that tenants and employees want new kinds of spaces, services, and amenities to support having the flexibility to work from anywhere.

PR: Workplace engagement solutions that connect hybrid working people to buildings no matter where they are have become a major differentiator as buildings compete to retain current tenants and attract new ones. Hilo empowers building operators to meet this challenge. To learn more about Hilo and schedule a demo, visit hiloapp.

PR: com. 

DA: And now I’d like to welcome back to the show Peter Rigardi, Chairman and President, New York Region, Jones Lang LaSalle. 

PR: By the way, you did tell me you were doing a commercial. Should I be looking for a fee on this interview? 

DA: It’s an in house 

PR: commercial. It’s not a paid sponsorship, yet.

DA: But good question, Peter. Thank you. You know, we’ve talked a little bit about the fact that we’re on the technology side of commercial real estate, and we really believe that technology is playing a significant role in helping how how buildings are ultimately delivering a great customer experience.

DA: And there’s a lot of opportunity to look at technology to improve the way a building is operated, its efficiency, the way it connects to all of its residents and tenants. I’m just curious from your perspective, from your lens into the industry, you know, what are you seeing? What, what technology, if any, are you seeing that is, that, you know, you’re paying attention to, or as you’re speaking to people that are looking at commercial real estate, they are interested in.

PR: Yeah. So, so first off for me, the pillars for our growth, you know, are around. Sort of pivoting our business development from a traditional brokerage style to more of an investment banking style. And just becoming the leader in technology. I think that’s the future for JLL, right? And when you take that down, first, I’m going to just say how I see it in our role.

PR: You know, I’m looking for the best technology to assist JLL brokers in point of sale. I’m looking to be answering the questions that brokers instinctively answer. And be able to board it with real time technology, right? And we’re doing tons of different things and piloting different technologies that are real time and interactive with us and our clients.

PR: With the office building, or any building, I mean, first and foremost with ESP, right? I mean, we negotiate, we should, still today, Where they turn the air condition on at eight in the morning and they shut it off at six at night Five days a week. That’s ridiculous People come in at 10 o’clock and they leave at 10 p.

PR: m Or they don’t come in on friday. We should be shutting off and the systems and everything should be so precise Technology, right? We should know who comes into our building and when and where they go, right? We should be able to order food and coffee and services I mean it everything everything should be in your Tablet and available to you that you could possibly need during the course of your day 

DA: Well, we agree and we think we’re at a point in time where a lot of what you’ve just described is absolutely achievable and and part of what we’re working towards is helping building operators that are, you know, have a, a tech stack made up of many different applications.

DA: You know, how do we bring them together? How do we make sure they’re talking to each other? And how do we make sure they’re working towards a common set of goals? So I think you’re, you’re bang on. Thanks for sharing that. Our closing speed round’s an opportunity to get to know Peter a little bit more, a little bit more on a personal level.

DA: So, Peter, here we go. When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing? 

PR: I, I am a baseball statistical geek. Okay. I read a lot of data. And I can watch a baseball game from the Little League level to the World Series 

DA: with enjoyment. Amazing, amazing. Well, I guess that’s that math side of you, right? All right.

DA: What is your favorite drink beverage of choice? Alcoholic, non alcoholic. What do you love to drink? 

PR: I’m going to make my family happy and not say Diet Coke because they tell me I drink too much of it. I’m going to say an Arnold Palmer. 

DA: Okay. Cocktail. All right. Any favorite movie or current TV series that you’re watching?

PR: Well, I, I’m not a big TV person. Right. But I really enjoyed Oppenheimer. I saw that recently. I thought that was terrific. 

DA: I haven’t seen that yet, but it’s on the list. It’s very good. Nice job. Alright. Name one way in which technology has specifically improved how you live your life or how you 

PR: work.

PR: Well, I, I just think that the advancement in the You know, communication capabilities like we’re doing right now has given me such a tremendous amount of flexibility. I’m very old fashioned. I’m in the office most of the time, right? So I almost reject a phone call now, right? I either we’re going to do it on some sort of video call or we’re going to, you know, do it on the iPhone, you know, video call.

PR: And so I like the connectivity it gives me. 

DA: I 100 percent agree with you. I think that it’s at times when someone says, I’ll just call you. I’m like, really? Really? a phone call. It almost seems impersonal now. I just, you know, right without that visual connection. My, my other pet peeve then on the, on the visual connection is now that there are still people that for some reason refuse to turn their video on, on, on call.

DA: So you know, I, I think we’ve got to just be more accepting that, you know, if we’re on a call, run a business call videos on. 

PR: You’re on. That’s right. And you know, if you’re The patio, we’ll deal. That’s okay. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it. Yeah. You kind 

DA: of alluded to already, but what’s your personal choice for days spent in the office you know, collaborating with your colleagues versus working from anywhere?

PR: So I, I’m, I’m blessed. I live in the city and, you know, we have a house in the country and I have a nice lifestyle. I, but it was a time in my life I raised four sons in New Jersey. And I came to work every day and they had hockey matches or baseball games and I raced home And missed some of them and got there late boy, if I was doing that all over again, I would use the new advancement To be a better father and be around and make more things that I did back then and I want to be conscious of saying that now Because I I don’t have that Time constraint anymore.

PR: So I do find myself here most days, including Fridays like today. But as far as where we can go here at JLL, we think we employ a lot of grownups. We prefer them in the office as much as they can. We know it works for them when they’re not in the office. And so they have to make those decisions. 

DA: I think that’s brilliant.

DA: I think, you know, the, the, the fact that they are, we are all grownups and people can make the best decisions. And to your point, looking back and reflecting back on, you know, your younger years, recognizing that to have had the flexibility that we have today is actually a boat. It’s great. It’s a win win right.

PR: The win win. No doubt. Yeah, no doubt. 

DA: Peter, thank you so much for joining us on the program. It’s an opportunity for us to speak to professionals in the industry who can tell us what’s really going on today on the street. We’ve got New York in your background, so I know that this is going to be great content to share with our listeners.

DA: Thanks for joining me and I look forward to continuing our conversation. 

PR: I want to say, David, I really enjoyed this too. You’re a very affable guy and I’m happy to do this again. All the best. All 

DA: right. Thanks so much. Bye now. I want to thank Peter Rigardi for joining me on this episode of 10 and for contributing to the global conversation around buildings.

DA: Being part of a robust ecosystem, helping to build great companies, and that they are vital in the effort to cultivate and support great people and teams. The future of the workplace will likely take many forms, and we will continue to explore what that looks like together. Subscribe to TEN for more conversations with leading CRE industry professionals and experts who all have something to say about tenant experience and the future of the workplace.

DA: We love hearing from you. So if you enjoyed this episode of TEN, please share, add your rating, and review us through your preferred podcast provider. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on a future episode, please reach out to me directly at David at HiloApp. com. Until our next episode, I wish you all continued success.

DA: in building community where you work and 

live. Thank you.

We love hearing from you, so if you enjoyed this episode of TEN, please share, add your rating and review us through your preferred podcast provider. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on a future episode, please reach out to me directly at david@hiloapp.com. And until our next episode, I wish you all continued success in building community where you work and live. Thank you.

Lisa Davidson | Vice Chairman | Savills North America | An inspiring journey from Tenant Rep to Proptech investor

Season 5 / Episode 5 / 46:17
In this episode, Lisa sheds light on key market drivers influencing real estate decisions, such as the rise of amenities and spec suites. She describes the future of work as “accommodating employees with great space.” The impact that unique community spaces have on potential tenants as they are touring prospective spaces is something else she sees in the market.

Rob Kumer | CEO | KingSett Capital | Trends and success strategies in CRE

Season 5 / Episode 4 / 53:34
In this episode, Rob shares his 3 pillars for success in the office category and speaks about the importance of experience and the technological advances impacting all asset classes. KingSett is very focused on decarbonization, and energy management including deep water cooling and implementing new lighting systems.

Lisa Davidson | Vice Chairman | Savills North America | An inspiring journey from Tenant Rep to Proptech investor

Season 5 / Episode 5 / 46:17
In this episode, Lisa sheds light on key market drivers influencing real estate decisions, such as the rise of amenities and spec suites. She describes the future of work as “accommodating employees with great space.” The impact that unique community spaces have on potential tenants as they are touring prospective spaces is something else she sees in the market.

Rob Kumer | CEO | KingSett Capital | Trends and success strategies in CRE

Season 5 / Episode 4 / 53:34
In this episode, Rob shares his 3 pillars for success in the office category and speaks about the importance of experience and the technological advances impacting all asset classes. KingSett is very focused on decarbonization, and energy management including deep water cooling and implementing new lighting systems.