The Future of Data Centers and Real Estate Amidst COVID-19

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As digital data becomes increasingly critical to both business operations and end consumers, the national need for data centers is continuing to rise. With companies embracing the cost-saving benefits of a remote workforce as a direct result of COVID-19, there is a rising demand for companies to offload in-house cloud storage to offsite data centers. In addition, the demand for cloud storage is rising rapidly, which has led to a boom into commercial real estate designed for this purpose. Furthermore, over 50 billion devices globally are expected to be connected to the Internet of Things by 2030 propelling the need for more facilities to store and distribute data.

This presents a hot opportunity for commercial real estate investors seeking to invest in data centers and earn steady, long-term returns. 

Watch this session to learn:

  • The allure of data centers in the current investment market: asset diversification and enhanced risk-adjusted returns – how is it emerging as a mainstream real asset investment class?
  • An overview of the investment opportunities: greenfield, brownfield, new construction, existing data centers or retrofit.
  • How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact the demand for data centers in the long term – how has risk decreased and return increased in this burgeoning market?
  • Assessing the growth potential of the market and the interest from real estate, infrastructure and private equity investors.
  • Key trends and long-term potential in the data center investment market.
  • The pros and cons of each tenant type – single and multi.
  • For how long can we expect a surge in demand and how can investors take advantage of the data center investment opportunities?
  • How are investors specializing in building internal data teams to operate all aspects of the business from asset acquisition and development to leasing and business operation?
  • The future of data center real estate investing: key opportunities and challenges.
  • Tax incentives to drive investment.




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Michael Hochanadel

Michael Hochanadel

Managing Director, Head of Digital Real Estate

Harrison Street


Morgan A. Laughlin is a managing director at PGIM Real Estate and head of Japan. Based in Tokyo, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the strategy and oversight of PGIM Real Estate’s business in Tokyo and Korea, and product development across the region. Morgan chairs the Asia Pacific Investment Committee and is a member of the Asia Pacific Executive Committee and the Global Product Committee.

morgan laughlin-1

Morgan A. Laughlin

Managing Director, Head of Japan

PGIM Real Estate

Morgan joined PGIM Real Estate from Grosvenor Fund Management after spending five years with Royal Bank of Scotland. He previously established and led DB Real Estate (RREEF) for Non-Japan Asia from 1999 to 2006. Prior to it being acquired by Deutsche Bank AG, Morgan worked for Bankers Trust Company. His career began in investment banking at PaineWebber in New York and he has been based in Asia since 1989. Morgan has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from Columbia College. He has lived and worked in the U.S., Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Michael Gion is the Director of SAA Real Estate Advisors, overseeing all strategic consulting and facilitation for our clients. His background includes many years leading corporate real estate activities for large technology firms, during which time he developed and managed significant data centers and related critical facilities throughout the Americas.

michael gion-1

Michael Gion


SAA Real Estate Advisors


John Sheputis is a Managing Director of GI Partners and leads the firm’s technology real estate acquisition and development activities. 


John Sheputis

Managing Director

GI Partners

Prior to joining GI Partners, Mr. Sheputis was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune Data Centers, which helped establish the wholesale data center segment in Silicon Valley in 2007. In 2014, the Fortune properties and team were merged with the Dallas Infomart to create Infomart Data Centers, where Mr. Sheputis served as President. Prior to Fortune, Mr. Sheputis founded and managed several Silicon Valley ventures, including roles as co-founder and COO of Totality, EVP of Operations at Solidcore, and SVP of Sales for BeVocal.


Mr. Kanne is responsible for leading National and its subsidiaries. He organizes, plans, leads, directs, and controls all operations of the firm, including new business development; initiating, promoting and oversight of major transactions; and marketing and fund-raising efforts. Mr. Kanne reports directly to National’s Board of Directors, of which he is a member, and chairs both the Investment Committee and the Management Committee.


jeff kanne

Jeff Kanne

President and CEO

National Real Estate Advisors

Jeff has more than 38 years of real estate experience. In 2000, Jeff began leading the growth and success of NEBF’s in-house real estate investment operation, NEBF Real Estate, and directed the formation of National Real Estate Advisors, and its subsidiary National Real Estate Development. He has broad and diverse experience in the real estate investment and development process, with particular insight into legal, finance, and construction aspects. Following service in the Peace Corps and work as a lumber trader, Jeff spent several years at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter. While there, he was involved in multi-billion-dollar international debt restructurings, as well as complex real estate transactions, with a focus on the development projects of non-profit groups and universities. After forming the law firm of Counts & Kanne, Chartered, Jeff was intimately involved in structuring numerous complex investments in real estate development projects nationwide for institutional clients.

Mr. Kanne received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Juris Doctor with high honors from the University of Iowa. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Mr. Kanne is a member of the Order of the Coif of the University of Iowa College of Law.



Nigel is a seasoned property professional with over 30 years’ experience, with the last 20 dedicated to Data Centres (DCs). He has led the successful construction of major DC facilities in Europe and America, from identifying and acquiring sites, appointing consultants, to overseeing construction and commissioning.


Nigel Clarkson



In 2001, he founded Spire Technology, a DC property development company that acted as a long-term development partner of a Forbes listed UHNW investor from Hong Kong.  At Spire Technology, Nigel developed several DC facilities that served major multinational corporations including Fujitsu, Colt, Marsh, Unisys Corp, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Other notable projects Nigel has been involved in include the development of Skyline 3000 in America and Australia, where he undertook a major DC consolidation programme with IBM, as well as formulating and implementing a £300 million DC strategy for British Telecom (BT), involving 13 DCs across Europe. 


Nigel started his career as a valuer at Richard Ellis Adelaide in 1986. He holds Bachelor of Applied Science in Property Resource Management from the University of South Australia.

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November 12th, 2020

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