- October 1, 2020: Vol. 12, Number 9

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Shifting sands: The parameters around core real estate have always been stretched at the end of cycles, but fundamental changes could now be altering its very definition

by Marek Handzel

Core real estate has always been a fluid concept. In the not-so-distant past, a large office building in a prime central business district with a single tenant would have been most investors’ definition of a perfect core asset. Today, the ideal office property is a multi­tenanted one that can be quickly reconfigured to match tenant or mixed-use needs.

In a similar fashion, a few years ago a building in the United States could only be classified as core if it sat neatly in one of the four main sectors — industrial, office, residential or retail. Now, such dividing lines are more opaque and malleable.

Area boundaries are also constantly moving, as governments invest in infrastructure and neighbourhoods are regenerated. “A location can change within years from noncore to core through something simple, like the arrival of a station, airport or even a bridge,” says Axel Drwenski, head of research at German manager KGAL. Nevertheless, as the parameters of core chang

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