Archive for March 15th, 2009

15th March
2009
written by JHiggins

I had the opportunity to be in the audience at last weeks commercial real estate industries annual meeting.  The news wasn’t good George Larson’s but the delivery was hilarious! 

From Sunday’s Star – HERE

Larsen, co-owner of Larsen Baker Commercial Realty, rocked the crowd of commercial brokers at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Thursday by imitating Mayor Bob Walkup in a mock state of the city speech.

Here are some of Larsen’s zingers …

The economy:

“Tucson’s economy has been thrown around like a drunken dwarf at a biker’s rally.”

City Council:

“We’re a tightknit group in City Hall. You scratch my back, and I’ll stab yours.”

Rio Nuevo:

“I’ve got to hand it to that Greg Shelko(Rio Nuevo director); he is always stirring up apathy.”

Larsen also suggested Rio Nuevo’s new slogan should be “where fun goes to die.”

Mayor Walkup:

“I want to be known as a green mayor. No one loves this planet more than I do. I live here most of the time.”

In a telephone interview Friday, Larsen said no one should take his comments too seriously. He’s a supporter of Rio Nuevo and the mayor. He was just trying to lighten up the conference.

“It was done in fun,” he said. “I don’t mind that you want to put a couple jokes in there. I was just trying to add a little lightening to what I thought was going to be a fairly somber outlook on commercial real estate.”

He then said the comments were nothing compared with the cracks he makes about the Star.

Oh, really?

So, Larsen served up this one: “I heard you had to sell your corporate jet. It’s difficult to sell, though, because it only has a left wing.”

For those wondering, Larsen did say he expects retail vacancies to hit 12.55 percent this year.

Economic recovery will take 2-3 years, says Diamond

When developer Don Diamond speaks, Tucson’s business community listens.

Diamond of Diamond Ventures Inc. gave the keynote speech at the Certified Commercial Investment Members Southern Arizona forecast competition.

He said it will take at least two to three years for the economy to recover — and that’s just getting back to normal, not back to what he described as the “euphoria” of the housing boom.

“This one is different. It’s not just a recession. It’s just a deep, deep feeling all over the world,” he said to the group. “I don’t think it’s down at the bottom because we are all trying to figure a way out of it.”

In an interview Friday, just before he headed off for a fishing trip, Diamond said Tucson is going to learn real quick how dependent it is on real estate and development.

“What this entire community is about to realize is that real estate is the driver for Tucson,” he said. “Now that our industry is totally depressed, we, being the entire community, should rethink and realize that we have to do some very innovative things to help our real estate industry recover.”

It’s too hard to get projects done in Southern Arizona, he said, and this downturn represents an opportunity to change that. Otherwise, when the bottom shakes out, Tucson will continue to lose business to other desert cities.

Diamond has some ideas — he didn’t want to share them — that he plans to pitch to CCIM’s executive committee and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Meanwhile, he didn’t have kind things to say about our elected leadership, particularly the City Council.

“Perhaps in this dull period, a period where we have a little more time, we can straighten out our local politics. … We have terrible people representing us,” he said during his speech.

He didn’t back down over the phone Friday.

“You get in representation and politics what you deserve,” he said. “It doesn’t say much for us.”

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