Best Places For Business = Best Places To Invest?


Over the summer Forbes published their 17th annual comprehensive United States analysis of “The Best Places For Business And Careers”. The results may be a surprise for many, but I’m pleased to report that many Middle East investors have already spotted the opportunities.

Many would guess that New York, San Francisco or perhaps Los Angeles would be in pole position, but the winner was no-where near a coastline, with Denver, Colorado taking the top step. Very pleasing for us at 90 North, having bought the FBI Headquarters there last year.

The analysis was conducted based on a dozen factors related to employment, costs (business and living), income growth, quality of life and the education of the labour force. Businesses are looking at all these aspects in considering where to establish or relocate and it is driving significant shifts in population and with that the need for more and newer offices, residential and retail accommodation, i.e. a vibrant real estate market.

As well as our own deal in Denver (ranked 1st), our research suggests that amongst the large cities (population in excess of one million) Middle East investors have almost all the top five covered with recent acquisitions. Gulf Finance House bought a multi-family apartment building in Atlanta (ranked 4th) last year, Investcorp bought an office campus in Seattle (ranked 5th) also last year and earlier this year 90 North bought the divisional headquarters of Lenovo just outside Raleigh (ranked 2nd).

So, of the top five, only Portland, Oregon (ranked 3rd) doesn’t seem to have attracted any attention, which is a shame, as Forbes reported that “the economy is expected to boom over the next three years.” Considering our Head of North America grew up there, we definitely need to take a look.

But who came last? The answer is Atlantic City. Thankfully we couldn’t find any Middle East investor who had ventured there, presumably put-off by what Forbes described as a “fading New Jersey gambling hub”.

Philip Churchill is the founder and managing
partner at 90 North Real Estate Partners. He
can be contacted at pchurchill@90northrep.com