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ADISA Video: The Modern Definition of Core Real Estate

As part of ADISA’s Focus on Alternatives Series, Keith Lampi – chief executive officer and president of Inland Real Estate Investment Corporation – recently discussed the evolution of core real estate to include more than just office, retail, industrial, and multifamily.

The video conversation was guided by Greg Mausz, chief operating officer and senior managing director of Skyway Capital Markets.

“We’ve seen an interesting shift in investor preferences … seeing the virtues and benefits of moving into some of these niche sectors, and that’s really propelled the market on a forward-looking basis,” said Lampi, defining niche as real estate like student housing, self storage, and healthcare-related assets, i.e., senior housing.

There’s still strong investor appetite for real estate so it’s forced investors to consider other sectors as well as traditional options, Lampi stressed.

As shared in the video, real estate avenues change and grow. “We’re seeing a fair amount of liquidity, largely propelled by institutional appetite,” Lampi added, meaning that going forward, investors and advisers should continue to be and expect to be engaged in these trends.

Watch the full conversation above.


Video Transcript

Greg Mausz 00:09

Welcome to another edition of Focus on Alternatives, brought to you by ADISA, the Alternative and Direct Investment Securities Association. For more educational content like this, please visit and check out the resource library. My name’s Greg Mausz, I’m your host today, and I’m joined by Keith Lampi. He’s the CEO of Inland Private Capital. And Keith, thank you for being here today.

Keith Lampi 00:33

Thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.

Greg Mausz 00:34

So, I want to talk core real estate. Start with the definition of core real estate.

Keith Lampi 00:38

Well, traditionally, core real estate was defined by four sectors, right? You had office, retail, industrial, and multifamily. And since the beginning of time that was those were the four main food groups of real estate. And so, everything else was considered niche or alternative.

Greg Mausz 00:55

But I get the feeling that things are evolving and changing. What do you think?

Keith Lampi 01:00

Absolutely. I mean, the real estate market is and has evolved a tremendous amount. You know, having gone through a variety of cycles, a couple of black swan events here over the past, you know decade plus. And we’ve seen a, an interesting shift in investor preferences. Not abandoning the traditional core, but kind of seeing the virtues and, benefits of moving into some of these niche sectors. And  that’s really propelled the market on a forward-looking basis.

Greg Mausz 01:28

So, give me an example. Some of these niche sectors.

Keith Lampi 01:30

Yeah, niche sectors, like student housing, self-storage, healthcare related assets, which is kind of a numerous category, right? You have senior living, medical office, life sciences. These have all been sectors that we’ve seen in some respects, replace some of the more traditional sectors like, like office, which obviously has a fair amount of turbulence attached to it, particularly coming out of the pandemic with remote work, hybrid work, retail, obviously with the you know, the Amazonization effect on that particular sector and some of the oversupply. We’ve seen waning demand in two fundamental, fundamentally historic core segments of the market. But there’s still a desire to allocate to real estate. There’s still strong investor appetite for real estate. So, it’s forced investors to look elsewhere. And many of these three sectors that I mentioned have seen the benefits of that.

Greg Mausz 02:27

Yeah, I really do think that those sectors should be part of core these days. What about data centers?

Keith Lampi 02:35

Data centers are another one. I mean, clearly categorically those fit the niche mold. And one of the things that has really driven investors to look elsewhere has been the historical performance of, you know, whether it’s data centers, health, healthcare related assets, student housing or self-storage. The historical performance has been on full display here coming out of the pandemic. And I think a lot of that, they’re all very different from an investability perspective, but they benefit from needs-based demand, demographic based demand. And that’s a demand driver is what oftentimes offers, great risk adjusted returns in an upmarket, but also downside protection when we’re facing economic turbulence. That was proven out from throughout the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. And then yet again with the COVID-19 pandemic. So, two black swan events, I think have really raised and increased, investor notice to how those assets have performed compared to some of the more traditional sectors.

Greg Mausz 03:42

And just like companies evolve, technology evolves, real estate evolves, and investors and advisors need to be engaged in those trends. Speaking of trends, what do you see going forward?

Keith Lampi 03:54

You know, on a forward-looking basis I think we’ll continue to see a strong allocation to some of these non-traditional alternative segments of the market. You know, I think we’re seeing a fair amount of liquidity largely propelled by institutional appetite for a lot of these sectors. I think that was always the concern with niche sectors was, Hey, I understand the performance trend, but there’s not a lot of liquidity. If I buy a student housing asset, will there be a buyer on the other side when I want to sell? And I think those concerns have sort of waned. So, the volumes from a transaction perspective are going to continue to provide liquidity, I think continue to propel some of these niche sectors onto the main stage. And then, you know, again, when you look at these as being kind of unrepresented in a lot of investor portfolios, that will propel demand forward, certainly some tailwinds that each sector has experienced and has benefited from here in recent years. But I think through a long-term lens, again, just that durability, that demographic based demand that each benefit from should propel the evolution of the market for years to come. And yeah, I don’t know that anybody’s ever going to redefine what core real estate is, but I think the market is kind of speaking to maybe kind of making that statement without going to Webster and changing what’s in the dictionary.

Greg Mausz 05:15
And investors are going to chase that return. They’re going to chase that alpha and the income that comes with some of these sectors of real estate. So, Keith, thank you for walking us through this evolving kind of a definition of core.

Keith Lampi 05:29
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Greg Mausz 05:31
And thank you for watching another episode of Focus on Alternatives. Again, for more content like this, please visit Thank you.

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