By all accounts, the Third Annual Carolinas’ Meeting was a great success. With 600+ attendees, this was the most well-attended and well-funded Carolinas’ Meeting to date. With its rich content, dynamic speakers, engaging programs, and ample networking opportunities, the Carolinas’ Meeting has, without question, raised the bar for regional real estate and land use conferences.
With the theme of the “Emergence of the 18-hour City,” the meeting explored factors that are fueling innovation, investment and economic growth. The mood was optimistic. Second and third tier cities across the country and across the Carolinas region continue to be great investment options. The lower cost of living and of doing business is accelerating job growth, downtown revitalization and institutional investment. Governor Pat McCrory opened the conference by sharing an upbeat message about several infrastructure initiatives including increased funding for our state parks, renewing historic tax credits, and implementing Project Phoenix, the State’s plan to sell underutilized land to spur development.
The conference provided views at both macro and micro levels of the various components that are contributing to the shifting urban and suburban landscapes. We examined business strategies focused on product differentiation and high-quality design to gain a competitive edge. We heard from a number of speakers who shared examples of deploying new approaches to mobility, housing and accommodating density for long-term sustained growth.
A decidedly macro view was presented by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. He shared his personal perspective on diversity, intentionality of leadership and building something that is bigger than oneself through the lens of real estate. Interviewer Trish Healy noted, “I love when perspectives are altered. His view that every city has their own equity was novel and intriguing. His challenge to leaders to use the equity to invest in the future was inspiring.”
Success of marquee events, like the Carolinas’ Meeting, is the result of bold ideas, visionary leadership and provocative thinking. The face-to-face interaction and personal connections are not only relevant but perhaps more important than ever. Our worlds are dominated by virtual interaction and experience. As community builders, the large gatherings, small forums, workshops and sharing of best practices will strengthen ULI’s impact and reinforce the value of the ULI network. “We are excited to host this prestigious event in Charlotte in 2017, convening experts in land use with the potential of building even better communities throughout the region,” said Ron Kimble, ULI Charlotte Chair.
Many thanks go to the program committee; ULI Chairwoman of the Americas, Trish Healy; District Council Chairs Phil Hughes, Ron Kimble and Kevin Penn; and to all the people in Raleigh who graciously welcomed the ULI community.