It was the best of times and, yet, the worst of times They are common refrains you hear at many a real estate conference these days -- "If you're not making money now, you better pack it up," and "Pinch me, it can't be this good!"
My favorite line though is one from a certain Samuel Zell of Chicago that went something like, "In the future, we will look back on this period as the Golden Age of real estate." Now understatement is not Zell's stock and trade, but his words truly typify the tremendous times in which we all seem to be living these days. All of the many markets that we cover as a magazine are up -- hotel, industrial, multifamily, office, retail, seniors housing. And by most estimations, we have at least another year to run in this cycle.
My biggest fears are that the combination of the recent Asian monetary crisis and the continued battering of our own presidency may ultimately affect our economic well-being. But many disagree, saying these are not happenings that will dramatically alter our present upward course.
Sometimes I feel as though I am preaching to the converted. And yes, friends, these are quite heady times in which we live. But it is wise to keep things in perspective and to remember that not all are so fortunate.
My theory of life is based on an old physics theory that says for every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction. My take is that for every high time, there is an equal and opposite low. For every ebb, there is a flow, so to speak.
I will remember 1997 not so much for the great news stories of mergers and acquisitions and the gyrations of a euphoric stock market. No, I will most remember 1997 for the senseless death of one of our own, Lee Miglin of Chicago.
Miglin's death at the hands of a psychotic killer was the most shocking "news" story of 1997, and it touched many in our industry who had never even met thislikeable man. It reminded us all of our own human frailty and the inescapable fact that our time on this planet may be too brief.
Though Miglin is gone, he touched many lives around him and his spirit continues to touch us as he lives in our memories. His partner, Paul Beitler, wrote one of the most heart-felt eulogies I have ever read.
So, I will most remember 1997 for the loss of a great man. And I dedicate this 1997 Year in Review issue to Lee Miglin.