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- May 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 5

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The age of disruption: Handling real estate investment underwriting challenges

by Barden Gale

Since the advent of e-commerce and the sharing economy, we are living in the age of disruption, where business models are called into question or destroyed as a result of technological advances. At its onset, e-commerce was considered an existential threat to traditional brick-and-mortar retailing, and when a cataclysm did not occur in short order, it was deemed not so much a threat as a complementary outlet for sales. Then, after a decade or so, the cataclysm hit, seemingly all of a sudden. The online bazaar has challenged the traditional department-store model and upended retail as we knew it. Retail real estate has been severely and, in some cases, catastrophically affected.

How did this catch so many people off guard, when in hindsight it was entirely predictable? It was not so much that no one saw it coming — they simply didn’t know exactly when the big change would happen or that, once in motion, it would happen so fast.

We are seeing similar reimagi

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