Roundtable Weekly - June 15, 2018

2018 Roundtable Annual Meeting

Industry Execs Engage Lawmakers on National Policy Issues; Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro Elected Roundtable Chair

Congressional lawmakers and industry leaders discussed national policies affecting commercial real estate this week during The Real Estate Roundtable's 2018 Annual Meeting, where Debra A. Cafaro (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.) was elected to a three-year term as Roundtable Chair. 

Debra A. Cafaro  (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.), right, was elected to a three-year term as Roundtable Chair, following  William C. Rudin 's (Vice Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management, Inc.), left, term.

  • Roundtable Chair William C. Rudin  (Vice Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management, Inc.) kicked off yesterday's business meeting with a summary of the organization's successful efforts to diversify the membership and announced its newly-released FY2018 Annual Report, "Building Success."  
  • Following Cafaro's approval as Chair starting July 1, Real Estate Roundtable and President Jeffrey DeBoer said, "Bill Rudin and Deb Cafaro follow a long line of distinguished business leaders who have pursued a fact-based, pro-growth agenda in Washington on behalf of the industry.  We are confident that our new Chair will continue that tradition and we look forward to her leadership." 
  • Cafaro noted The Roundtable's public policy agenda remains full of key issues that require further engagement with policymakers: "Above all, we must uphold our independent & respected position on Capitol Hill, emphasizing our optimism about the economy and the positive contributions the real estate industry provides as a job creator and as a cornerstone for retirement savings."   
  • Cafaro's election as the first female chair for The Roundtable culminates years of service.  She joined its board of directors in 2011, became board secretary in 2015 and chair-elect and secretary in 2017. 

National policymakers and featured speakers at yesterday's meeting included: 

The economic importance of foreign travel and tourism to the United States' economy and commercial real estate industry was the focus of a panel discussion during The Roundtable's 2018 Annual Meeting. (enlarge photo)

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed policy issue priorities for their party. 
  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) was presented with The Roundtable's Champion of the Economy Legislative Leadership Award.  He also engaged meeting attendees on the results of recently enacted tax legislation. 
  • Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) focused on the House Democratic legislative agenda. 
  • The economic importance of foreign travel and tourism to the United States was the focus of a discussion that included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); American Hotel & Lodging Association President & CEO Katherine Lugar; U.S. Travel Association President & CEO Roger Dow; and Empire State Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Tony Malkin. The Roundtable is a member of the VisitU.S. Coalition, which is encouraging policy solutions to address a recent drop in travel to the U.S. and the resulting loss to the economy and jobs. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 9) 
  • Cook Political Report National Editor Amy Walter and former Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe offered separate insights and remarks on the upcoming mid-term elections. 
  • An evening dialogue with former White House Press Secretary to President Barack Obama Josh Earnest and former Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush Karl Rove focused on how their experience with past Administrations offers perspective about current and future legislative efforts. 

The Roundtable's Policy Advisory Committees also met this week in conjunction with the Annual Meeting for in-depth discussions in the policy areas of tax; capital and credit; energy and environment; and homeland security.  Next on The Roundtable's calendar is the Fall Meeting on September 26 in Washington, DC (Roundtable-level members only).

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ENERGY STAR - Energy, Climate and Immigration

EPA Recognizes Roundtable Members with “ENERGY STAR for Tenants” Award for High Performance Office Spaces

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 12 announced the first-ever federal government awards for energy efficiency in leased office spaces. Many Roundtable members and their tenants are recognized among the award's inaugural winners.  (EPA list of tenants and landlords

SPAC Chairman Tony Malkin (Chairman and CEO,  Empire State Realty Trust ) stated, "This is a great example of the Roundtable at work. We took best industry practice, formulated policy around it, and worked with staff and members of Congress to develop legislation for the good of the economy, our industry and the environment."

  • Originally envisioned by The Roundtable's Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC), EPA's ENERGY STAR for Tenants program has been long-supported by the industry.  After the enactment of the 2015 "Tenant Star" law, EPA was tasked with piloting the branding program for energy-efficient tenant spaces that met certain design criteria.  (Roundtable Weekly, June 30, 2017) 
  • SPAC Chairman Tony Malkin (Chairman and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust) stated, "This is a great example of the Roundtable at work.  We took best industry practice, formulated policy around it, and worked with staff and members of Congress to develop legislation for the good of the economy, our industry and the environment.  At the same time, our Sustainability committee worked with the Department of Energy and the EPA within their structures, rules, and regulations for years to create a new label for energy efficient tenant spaces, to complement existing programs that award whole-building efficiency.  This voluntary program will lead to a significant increase in cost-saving leased spaces as companies vie for EPA's tenant label in the future." 
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer noted the national value of the new federal recognition program. "Without any tax credit or subsidy, EPA's new seal of approval can motivate tenants and landlords across the country to demonstrate their commitment to energy efficiency in leased commercial building space.  As EPA's new office space program expands, CRE leaders  will have more opportunities to distinguish their buildings for investors, tenants, and the Millennial workforce who place a premium on sustainable assets."  
  • To earn the label, applicants must verify how they drive energy efficiency in five key areas in the design and construction of high performance leased spaces.     (EPA Documents and Tools for Tenants
  • As funding for the federal ENERGY STAR program also affects the new EPA Charter Tenant program, a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday affirmed the Trump Administration's recommendation to continue ENERGY STAR program funding for FY2019 (starting October 1, 2018).  For the agency's programs overall, the Senate panel recommended that appropriations be maintained at the status quo for the next fiscal year..  (The Hill, June 12) 

The 2018 ENERGY STAR Charter Tenants program was a focus during today's SPAC's meeting in Washington, which included presentations from EPA and other key federal agency officials.

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