- December 2011: Vol. 4, Number 11

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Infrastructure Is Infrastructure: Or Why Comparing Infrastructure with Real Estate Is a Mistake

by Tyson Freeman


I have been to a number of financial conferences, and few have been so interesting for me and few seemed to engage attendees up until the final hour as the recent Institutional Investing in Infrastructure (I3) conference in Chicago. That’s no lie, even if I do work for the conference operator. It’s been a long time since I have been to a conference where so many people appeared so interested in what they were doing. So there is a lot of solid content in my notes and a lot of fodder for I3 stories in the year ahead.

But for all of the details, trends and dynamics that were covered, one of the most lasting observations was general, very obvious and, I think, important to keep in mind as the infrastructure market evolves. It is this: Infrastructure — both the assets and, therefore, investing in it — is inherently complex. And expectations should be set accordingly.

The complexity starts with the assets. Someday, some types of projects might become mo

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