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NBA legend-turned-real estate investor David Robinson anticipates a return to the office with ‘refreshed perspective’

NBA legend-turned-real estate investor David Robinson told CNBC on Monday that he believes the coronavirus pandemic has not ushered in the end of corporate offices, despite the widespread work-from-home shift during the crisis.

“The socialization, the amount of work, the quality of work you get done when you’re collaborating with your people in the office is just unparalleled,” the co-founder of Admiral Capital Group said on “Closing Bell.” 

For that reason, Robinson, who is a two-time NBA champion and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said he believes people will want to return to the office eventually. But, he added, they are likely to do so “with a new, refreshed perspective on what’s important in their lives.” 

“I know for me personally, and from a business standpoint, it’s been a resetting time. It’s been a time to rethink family, a time to rethink what you’re doing at the office,” said Robinson, whose real estate investment trust has a portfolio of 12,500 multifamily housing units and 1.5 million square feet of office space.

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in widespread economic uncertainty, with the future of commercial and residential real estate alike coming into question. On the commercial side, there is debate about how the forced shift to remote work will fundamentally alter the demand for office space going forward if treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 become available. 

The residential landscape has been altered, too, as the health crisis caused some people to leave mega cities like New York in favor of the suburbs or possibly midsized cities. 

Robinson, whose nickname is “The Admiral” since he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, said his firm is looking closely at the geographic shifts in the real estate market and trying to capitalize on them. 

“We’re looking at, where are the jobs going? What’s the regulatory environment going to be in those areas? What are going to be the tax rules? A lot of those things are going to dictate where people are going,” Robinson said. “A lot of the cities like Austin [Texas] or Charlotte [North Carolina], Orlando [Florida], they’ve been very, very strong and I think they’re going to be continue to be.” 

Admiral Capital Group also has observed strong interest in suburban, multifamily housing, which has been an area of focus for the firm over the last decade, he said. “So we’re in a good position to sell right now and now we’re trying to figure out, like everyone else, where these markets are going to go.” 

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