Roundtable Founding Member and TPAC Chairman Frank G. Creamer, Jr. Passes

Frank G. Creamer, Jr.

Frank G. Creamer, Jr., a founding member of The Real Estate Roundtable and long-serving chairman of its Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC), passed away on May 17. (Obituary)

Industry Mentor

  • “Frank Creamer offered his deep expertise and knowledge to so many in the industry during his 25 years of involvement with RER,” said Jeffrey DeBoer, Roundtable President and CEO. “In his long-time role as TPAC Chairman, Frank was a tremendous mentor and reliable guide who cared deeply about The Roundtable, its role in the industry, and its members. His dedication was exemplary, and he will be remembered as the consummate gentleman he most certainly was, who always had time for others. We will sorely miss Frank and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
  • Mr. Creamer held various executive positions during his career in the global commercial real estate lending business, rising to oversee all real estate banking at Citibank. After his tenure at Citibank, he became a principal and owner of his company, FGC Advisors, LLC, a real estate advisory firm.

A memorial service is scheduled for June 5 in Center Moriches, NY followed by a June 6 funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, a donation in his memory can be made to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation. (See obituary for details)

Roundtable to House Committee: Balance Housing and Energy Efficiency Priorities

The Real Estate Roundtable asked House lawmakers on Wednesday to direct the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reconsider a recent federal energy codes rule because it does not adequately consider impacts on affordable housing. (Roundtable Statement, May 22 for House Hearing)

HUD’s Energy Codes Rule

  • Last month, HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a joint rule that applies the most recent, stringent—and costly—model energy code standards to new residential construction receiving the agencies’ financial support. (Roundtable Weekly, May 3)
  • The rule would apply to both single- and multifamily homes covered by HUD and USDA programs, including homes backed with federal mortgage insurance. HUD itself estimated the rule would add at least $7,229 to the cost of building a new single-family home. (HUD’s rule | House subcommittee memo)
  • The May 22 House hearing considered how HUD’s rule and other green building policies impact homeownership, price buyers out of the market, and burden renters. The National Association of Home Builders testified at the hearing, and the National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association submitted a joint statement. (Subcommittee hearing YouTube video)

Roundtable Recommendations

  • The Roundtable’s statement explained that policymakers must prioritize both the climate crisis and our nation’s housing crisis, but that HUD’s federal codes rule is not balanced and should be re-considered.
  • The new nationwide rule imposing the highest energy efficiency standards, currently adopted by only a handful of states, must be assessed in light of the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to address the serious U.S. housing shortage and create two million affordable units. (Biden Administration Affordable Housing Policy Fact Sheet, March 7)
  • RER’s letter also explained how the new federal codes rule adds yet another layer to a stacked mix of stringent government rules and other headwinds that have made single- and multifamily housing construction a “hyper-regulated business.”
  • Reducing buildings’ energy use and climate emissions are critical policies, but the Administration should not pass new regulations that “make the housing crisis worse,” The Roundtable explained. A more balanced re-assessment of HUD’s and USDA’s action is warranted.

This week’s hearing follows House testimony recently delivered by Roundtable President and CEO Jeff DeBoer, who reinforced the messages that the health of commercial and residential real estate markets are intertwined—and excessive regulations that make housing prices and rents unaffordable for working-class families must be avoided. (DeBoer’s April 30 oral statement and written testimony | Roundtable Weekly, April 30)

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CRE Executives Express Tempered Optimism Despite High Interest Rates and Tight Liquidity

Commercial real estate executives expressed tempered optimism about property markets in The Real Estate Roundtable’s Q2 2024 Sentiment Index as high interest rates and liquidity challenges linger. The Q2 Sentiment Index registered the same overall score of 61 from the previous quarter as uncertainty persists about future asset values and availability of capital.

  • The Roundtable’s Current Sentiment Index registered 55, a 2-point increase over Q1 2024. The Future Index posted a score of 66 points, a decrease of 4 points from the previous quarter. Any score over 50 is viewed as positive. ­­­­The Overall Index this quarter of 61—a measure of senior executives’ confidence and expectations about the commercial real estate market environment—is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 by averaging the scores of the Current and Future Indices.­­­­

The Q2 Sentiment Index topline findings also include:

  • Evolving market trends continue to shape the real estate landscape. A majority (66%) of Q2 survey participants expect general market conditions to show improvement one year from now. Additionally, 45% of respondents said conditions are better now compared to this time last year. Only 11% of Q2 participants expect general market conditions to be somewhat worse in a year, a slight increase from 6% in Q1.

  • Class B office properties are facing ongoing challenges attributed to an ongoing “flight to quality.” Industrial and multifamily sectors show tempered growth, yet their underlying fundamentals remain robust. Retail sectors are healthy, propelled by consumer spending, while interest in data centers continues to ascend.

[The healthy momentum of the retail sector was affirmed by ICSC CEO and President Tom McGee, above left, this week during an interview with DLC Management. He stated that the demand for physical retail is incredibly strong, but the supply of net new construction is constrained because of the cost of capital and construction. “Retailers are just not using stores for conventional shopping purposes but also increasingly using them as fulfillment centers, so the demand for space is quite high.” (DLC Management on X, May 23)]

  • A significant 75% of Q2 survey participants expressed optimism that asset values will be higher (44%) or the same (31%) one year from now, indicating some semblance of expected stability.

  • The real estate capital markets landscape remains challenging. For the current quarter, 65% believe the availability of equity capital will improve in one year, while 64% said the availability of debt capital will improve in one year. The 36% of participants who said the availability of debt capital would be worse in one year is an increase from 24% in Q1 who voiced the same expectation.

  • Regarding sentiment on the availability of equity capital, 65% of survey respondents expect conditions to improve, compared to 26% who stated that the availability of equity capital was better a year ago.

Data for the Q2 survey was gathered by Chicago-based Ferguson Partners on The Roundtable’s behalf in April. See the full Q2 report.

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Commerce Department Announces Voluntary Industry Pledge to Increase Women in Construction Workforce

RER Chairman and Suffolk CEO John Fish, above, convened a meeting this week of leading construction company CEOS to sign on to the “Million Women in Construction Community Pledge,” led by U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo. (UPI, May 21 and ConstructionDive, May 22)

Committed to Workforce Expansion

  • Fish said, “The construction industry continues to face significant labor challenges due to the aging workforce and dwindling number of young people entering the construction field. There is a critical need to attract more talent and diversify our workforce to ensure we have the resources to build our cities and grow our economy.” (Commerce Department news release)
  • He added, “Suffolk is honored and privileged to be one of the first companies to commit to Secretary Raimondo’s inspiring Million Women in Construction Pledge. As an organization that has long been committed to rebuilding the ratio of women in the construction industry, we are proud to play a leadership role in inspiring other organizations to commit to this effort and help position our American workforce for future growth and success.”
  • The Million Women in Construction Community Pledge is a nationwide call to action for the construction industry to commit to bold steps aimed at increasing the number of women in the construction workforce. Secretary Raimondo launched the initiative after participating in The Real Estate Roundtable’s Spring 2023 Meeting. (Roundtable Weekly, April 28, 2023)
  • In addition to Suffolk, other leading construction companies committed to the Pledge include Baker Construction, Gilbane Building Company, McKissack & McKissack, Mortenson, Power Design, and Shawmut Design and Construction.

Call for Greater Industry Participation

Left to Right: RER Chairman John Fish, Commerce Sec. Raimondo, RER President & CEO Jeffrey DeBoer
  • Secretary Raimondo is seeking more industry companies, unions, and training organizations to sign the Pledge. She emphasized the need for the industry to recruit, train, hire, and retain thousands of new and non-traditional workers as the next generation of skilled laborers and leaders—and prepare them to rebuild U.S. infrastructure and supply chains to complement the Federal government’s investment.
  • Secretary Raimondo said, “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is creating a construction boom all over the country, and with that boom comes a huge increase in jobs and opportunities for workers in construction and the trades. But right now, women make up less than 11% of jobs in construction and only 4% in skilled trades.”
  • She added, “Many of these are good-paying, quality jobs you can get without a college degree, and women deserve equal opportunity for these jobs. I’m calling on everyone—contractors, labor unions, training organizations—to join our Community Pledge to commit to solutions and support proven strategies that help overcome barriers faced by women and underserved communities in construction and the trades.”

For questions about the program or to pledge, email

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Federal Regulators Signal Significant Changes for Proposed Bank Capital Hikes

The Federal Reserve in Washington, DC

Proposed regulations that would dramatically hike capital requirements for the nation’s largest banks may undergo significant changes, which could include a 50 percent reduction in the current mandated increase, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal on May 19.

Proposed Capital Requirements

  • Top officials from the Fed are working with regulators from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on “negotiating substantive and technical revisions” to the current proposal, known as the “Basel III Endgame.” (WSJ, May 19)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable strongly opposes the current proposal, which would hike capital requirements by approximately 19 percent for banks with at least $100 billion in assets. (Roundtable Weekly, March 29)
  • Barclay estimates the proposal, if approved without changes, would require eight U.S. global systemically important banks to hold approximately $150 billion more in capital. (WSJ, May 23)

Roundtable Response

Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer testifies before House Oversight Subcommittee on April 30, 2024
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer testified this month before a House subcommittee on the health of CRE markets and offered Roundtable policy recommendations, which included rejection of the Basel III Endgame—along with other pro-cyclical regulatory measures that would restrict credit and capital formation. (Roundtable Weekly, May 3 | DeBoer’s oral statement and written testimony)
  • Additionally, a Jan. 12 Roundtable letter and Jan. 16 industry coalition letter urged federal banking regulators to withdraw the proposed rule, emphasizing its potential negative impact on available credit capacity for commercial real estate transactions, market liquidity, and economic growth. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 19)

Policymakers Signal Adjustments

Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr
  • The proposal has been met by internal disagreement and concerns among the seven-member Fed Board. (Roundtable Weekly, March 29)
  • Michael Barr, the Fed’s Vice Chair for Supervision, said in a May 20 speech that the central bank is exploring “targeted adjustments” to bank liquidity rules, including Basel III.  In March, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testified before congressional committees that he expects regulators to “make broad and material changes” to the Basel III proposal. (PoliticoPro, May 20 and Roundtable Weekly, March 8)

The Roundtable’s all-member Annual Meeting on June 20-21 in Washington, DC will address Basel III Endgame and other capital and credit issues impacting CRE.

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Roundtable Members Featured in Commercial Observer’s “Power 100” List of 2024 Most Influential Leaders in CRE

Commercial Observer's Power 100 list for 2024

This week, the publication Commercial Observer released their “Power 100” list of prominent industry influencers, which includes Real Estate Roundtable Chair-Elect Kathleen McCarthy (Global Co-Head of Blackstone Real Estate, Blackstone), Chairman Emeritus (2015-2018) William C. Rudin (Co-Executive Chairman, Rudin), Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, and nearly 30 other Roundtable members. (Power 100 2024 – Commercial Observer)

CRE Industry Leadership

  • Commercial Observer notes that the industry has been through a great deal of turbulence this year. “For better or worse, the biggest cliché that seeped into the commercial real estate conversation over the last year was: ‘Survive until ’25.’ This year’s honorees have shown the pluck, the determination, and the fortitude to make their ways onto this list.” (Power 100 2024 – Commercial Observer)
  • The article also notes how The Roundtable effectively represents the industry while partnering with 18 national trade associations to educate Washington, D.C. policymakers on national issues impacting the industry.

The Roundtable’s Role

Commercial Observer's Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in CRE for 2024
  • DeBoer comments within his profile, “Helping federal regulators understand the whiplash of very quickly moving from the historically long period of artificially low interest rates to a much higher interest rate environment was critical to the flexibility they ultimately provided to banks to modify or extend a great deal of the roughly $1 trillion in maturing commercial real estate loans.”
  • He also notes that significant stress on CRE remains, especially the pressures of remote work. Yet, “a systemic crisis for the banking industry and real estate markets seems to have been averted,” DeBoer states. (See DeBoer’s listing)

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EPA Seeks Building Owners’ Input on Whole-Building Energy Data

A new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) campaign seeks to assist building owners in obtaining data from utilities on energy used by tenants in leased spaces. Stakeholders are encouraged to complete EPA’s brief Whole-Building Energy Data survey by Friday, June 7.

Access to Whole-Building Data is Critical

  • A challenge shared by owners and managers across the CRE industry is obtaining leased space energy data particularly where tenants operate under “triple-net” (NNN) leases and pay their electricity, gas, and other power bills directly to utilities.
  • Difficulties accessing whole-building energy data are acute in multifamily, offices, retail, logistics, life sciences, and any building type that leases spaces to numerous tenants.
  • Nonetheless, owners are expected to capture data on tenants’ energy use as a simple matter of proper building management, and for myriad policy and regulatory reasons such as:
  • Reports to investors and lenders, including disclosures to the US-SEC and state agencies;
  • Attaining voluntary certifications such as EPA’s ENERGY STAR and NextGen building “labels”; and
  • Qualifying for the 179D tax deduction for building retrofits enacted by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. [Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 20, 2023 and  IRA fact sheet, July 31, 2023]

Roundtable Advocacy

  • The Roundtable supported a Jan. 18 open letter from leaders of the EPA, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Energy (DOE) to utilities and their regulatory commissions about the national importance of obtaining tenant-level consumption data.
  • The Roundtable also submitted comments to EPA on Jan. 20 that emphasized how utilities should be eligible for EPA grants to develop technologies that provide owners of multi-tenant assets with whole-building energy data.

EPA’s Campaign

  • EPA has posted online tools including a “Multitenant Buildings and Federal Incentives” fact sheet. This resource explains the importance of whole-building data to building owners (with a focus on federal funding opportunities requiring this data), as well as solutions available to utilities to provide the data.
  • More than 90% of utilities currently do not provide whole-building energy use data. (See EPA’s data access map.) The EPA campaign aims to:
  • Gather input from building owners and others on where they need this data most and why, via the survey.
  • Create resources that support building owners in engaging utilities nationwide, including a summary of the survey’s input.
  • Organize meetings between utilities and building owners in priority locations to facilitate discussion.
  • EPA will support utilities that are interested in providing the data in line with industry best practices.

EPA’s campaign will be among the topics discussed during The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Meeting on June 21 in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the RER’s all-member Annual Meeting on June 20.

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House Committee Passes Roundtable-Supported Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act

House Financial Services Committee

Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee passed the bipartisan Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act, which would help eliminate discriminatory land use policies and remove barriers to production of affordable housing. The Roundtable and 17 other national organizations submitted a letter of strong support for the bill the day before the committee mark-up. (Coalition letter, May 15 | Committee news release and video of committee mark-up, May 16)

Affordable Housing

  • The YIMBY Act (H.R. 3507) requires recipients of certain federal grants to submit public reports about their implementation of certain land-use policies, such as policies for expanding high-density single-family and multifamily zoning. The reports must detail how federal grant recipients are removing discriminatory land use policies and other barriers to constructing affordable housing, while promoting inclusive and affordable housing.
  • Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) expressed his support for the legislation during the May 16 mark-up. Previously, the YIMBY Act passed the House without opposition in 2020 but stalled in the Senate (S. 1688).

Roundtable Support

  • The Real Estate Roundtable and 21 other national organizations also expressed their strong support for the bipartisan bill in February to the House Financial Services Committee (Coalition letter, Feb. 20, 2024)
  • The Roundtable joined another coalition of 285 housing, business, and municipal organizations last year in a letter of support when the YIMBY Act was reintroduced. (Roundtable Weekly, May 26, 2023 and coalition letter)
  • Separately, the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 20, 2024) reported that community opposition to new projects is not just restricted to housing developments. E-Commerce hubs are also “increasingly contending with a headache” of NIMBY sentiments, as developers of warehouse and logistics properties face the conundrum of siting projects that are necessary to deliver goods to residents and consumers. (“Don’t Build That E-Commerce Warehouse in My Backyard, More Communities Say”)   

Next week, a House Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Green Building Policies: Jeopardizing the American Dream of Homeownership.” The May 22 hearing will focus on excessive regulations that constrict housing supply, including a recent Biden administration “final determination” that all new single- and multifamily homes financed with federal mortgages must be built to stringent “model energy codes.”  (Roundtable Weekly, May 3)

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Roundtable and More Than 100 Business Organizations Support Legislation to Repeal the Corporate Transparency Act

U.S. Capitol - viewing upward from left

The Real Estate Roundtable and more than 100 business organizations recently expressed strong support for bicameral legislation that would repeal the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) and its onerous beneficial ownership burdens, which took effect on Jan. 1. The Roundtable has consistently opposed the CTA’s beneficial ownership rules. (Coalition letter, April 29)

CTA Overreach

  • The Repealing Big Brother Overreach Act, introduced on April 30 by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), would provide relief for small business owners from the CTA’s burdensome reporting requirements and excessive penalties. (Rep. Davidson news release, April 30)
  • The coalition’s letter noted how the CTA was designed to help law enforcement prevent money laundering by requiring shell companies to report “beneficial owners information” (BOI) to the Department of the Treasury.
  • The law defines a shell company as any legal entity with 20 or fewer employees or $5 million or less in revenues—nearly every small business in the United States.
  • The broad concept of beneficial owner includes owners, senior management, members of the board, and any employee or outside consultant exerting significant control over the businesses’ operations.


  • Under the CTA, covered entities must report and regularly update BOI to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or face significant fines and jail time.
  • Last month, the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ruled the CTA as unconstitutional. However, the resulting injunction applies only to the plaintiffs in the case—members of the National Small Business Association. (Roundtable Weekly, March 8)
  • A subsequent notice from FinCEN made clear that all other covered entities are still required to file their BOI reports by the end of the year. (FinCEN’s current requirements)
  • Initial filings under the CTA began more than two months ago in accordance with the new law, yet fewer than two percent of covered entities have submitted their required information to FinCEN. One reason for this low compliance rate is that most business owners are ignorant of the new law
  • The Roundtable also joined more than 120 other national business organizations in a March 22 letter that urged Senate Banking Committee leaders to support a one-year filing delay for the new CTA beneficial ownership regulation requirements. (Coalition letter, March 19)

The Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Advisory Committee (RECPAC) will continue to monitor developments related to beneficial ownership requirements and legal outcomes.

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Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Set Limit on Federal Employees Telework

This week, Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Back to Work Act of 2024 (S. 4266), which would require federal employees to spend 60% of their work hours in the office, a slight increase from the 50% in-office policies at many agencies. The Roundtable supports various efforts by policymakers to enact workplace return policies for federal workers. (Romney-Manchin news release and The Register-Herald)

Senate Bills

  • The bipartisan Senate bill, in addition to the40% cap on remote work within a federal employee’s pay period, would also require agencies to report on the productivity and potential negative effects of their employees’ telework arrangements. (Government Executive, April 30)
  • A separate bipartisan Senate bill introduced on April 3 would increase oversight of federal telework policies after a recent report showed government agency headquarters in Washington, DC are using an average of 12% of their office space. (Senate Committee news release and Public Buildings Reform Board report).
  • The Telework Transparency Act (S. 4043) from Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Gary Peters (D-MI), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, would require agencies to gather information on how telework impacts agency performance and federal property decisions. (Government Executive, April 8 and Federal News Network, April 3)

House Efforts

House Oversight and Accountablity Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY)
  • A Biden administration official testified last week before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that federal agency workers should spend at least half of their working hours at their office sites. (Committee hearing, April 30)
  • “[For] office workers, the place where there is consistency across agencies, we’ve been clear that our expectation is for agencies to be achieving at least 50% [in-person work], while giving them flexibility for how best to deliver based on their diverse mission space. That’s consistent with where the private sector is, and we’ll continue to adjust as needed,” said Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller. ( Government Executive, April 30 and Miller’s written testimony)
  • Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) responded, “At the onset of the COVID pandemic, massive federal employee telework was a justifiable necessity, but that necessity ended a long time ago.” (Committee hearing, April 30)

The Roundtable View

Jeffrey DeBoer testifying on April 30, 2024 before House Oversight Subcommittee
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, commended the efforts of Chairman Comer before a House subcommittee hearing last week, noting that the SHOW UP Act passed over a year ago and should be enacted into law. (Roundtable WeeklyOct. 20 and Feb. 3, 2023)
  • DeBoer emphasized during the April 30 hearing that a return to in-person work is critical for the health of our cities, local economies, tax bases, and small businesses. “While private sector office occupancy is slowly picking up, the federal office workforce is behaving as if the pandemic still exists. This is despite President Biden’s call for agencies to return to pre-pandemic workplace practices,” DeBoer testified. (Roundtable Weekly, May 3)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable has also urged members of the Senate and President Biden to end the “active encouragement of remote working for federal employees” and for federal agencies to return to their pre-pandemic workplace practices. (RER letter to the Senate, April 12, 2023 and RER letter to President Biden, Dec. 12, 2022)

The Roundtable will discuss the evolving remote work issue during its all-member June 20-21 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

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