CBRE’s Neil Pendleton Addresses the Evolution of the Property Management Industry


Neil Pendleton (second from left), managing director for asset services in Chicago, spoke at the Illinois Real Estate Journal’s recent Property Management Conference.

CBRE’s Neil Pendleton, Managing Director of Asset Services in Chicago, recently spoke at the Illinois Real Estate Journal’s annual Property Management Conference in Oak Brook.

Pendleton appeared on the headline panel, addressing the main trends and issues in property management today.

Joined by other area market leaders, Pendleton discussed how the amenity arms race in the office market remains prevalent in buildings downtown and the suburbs, but, despite the proliferation of new offerings for tenants, the need for quality property managers still remains high.

“There are a lot of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in the office market right now in terms of new amenities and service delivery, but, the fact remains, this is still a people business and the right managers have to make it all work and thrive. Just having the amenities doesn’t work without the right people and the right service,” said Pendleton. “Property management is becoming more akin to the hospitality industry and it is developing our people who will drive and deliver that success.”

However, talent is a concern in the industry. As Pendleton pointed out, recent articles have noted that up to “60 percent of all property managers will be at retirement age in the next five-to-seven years.”

Recruitment and retention of key talent will be a big part of developing a best-in-class service platform in the future.

“The fundamentals of property management won’t go away, but as new technology comes into play and the business becomes more hospitality-focused, it will be an opportunity for new talent or a new mindset of our existing talent to take the lead.”

Other highlights from the panel:

  • Property management continues to play a larger role in the retail industry as consumers are constantly in search of a superior experience. Amenities at shopping centers and engagement with shoppers can help drive tenants’ sales.
  • Industrial is extremely hot. Occupancy is at an all-time high and e-commerce is driving a lot of activity. Investors have turned to this market and well-maintained and managed properties have become very attractive.
  • Technology will continue to differentiate firms. Property managers are now using tools, such as mobile aps for tasks such as rent collection, that streamline processes and make interactions much easier for tenants and clients.


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