- October 1, 2020: Vol. 32, Number 9

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Shifting sands: The parameters of core real estate have always stretched at the end of cycles, but fundamental changes could now alter 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 multitenant 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, multifamily or retail. Now, such dividing lines are more opaque and malleable.

Area boundaries are also constantly moving, as governments invest in infrastructure and neighborhoods 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 change ove

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