AFIRE Podcast 2024.02: Jeffrey Kanne on Data Center Investments

Technology can be enormously disruptive to commercial real estate. Remote work is responsible for the global devaluation of office properties. Artificial intelligence (AI) is already changing the way we live and work.

So what will be the effect of AI on institutional investment strategies?

To get at some answers, AFIRE CEO Gunnar Branson talked to one of his favorite futurist investors, Jeffrey Kanne, president and CEO of National Real Estate Advisors, an AFIRE member firm and investment manager specializing in a build-to-core strategy, developing and managing large-scale, urban commercial and multifamily projects for its institutional client accounts. 

“The advent of AI as a technological tool is going to greatly increase the rate of change,” Kanne tells Branson. “I’m very nervous about where you can place money and think it’s safe.”

The best opportunity for investment, Kanne believes, is in data centers that provide consistent power and temperature-controlled environments for the Googles, OpenAIs and Microsofts of the world. 

With that in mind, Kanne and Branson discuss how investors can enter the data center market.

“It’s not rocket science,” Kanne says, while outlining potential pitfalls and barriers to entry for new operators. “It’s incumbent on all of us as investors to think about what the world will be like in five years, ten years, fifteen years,” Kanne says. “When I look ahead, data centers are a good place to focus on.”



The publisher of the AFIRE Podcast is not engaged in providing tax, accounting, or legal advice through this publication. No content published in the AFIRE Podcast is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Some information included in the AFIRE Podcast has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable, though the publisher is not responsible for guaranteeing the accuracy of third-party information. The opinions expressed in the AFIRE Podcast are those of its respective contributors and sources and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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The AFIRE Podcast with Gunnar Branson is the official, multiple-award-winning podcast of AFIRE, the association for international real estate investors focused on commercial property in the United States.

Hosted by AFIRE CEO Gunnar Branson, the podcast features informative and in-depth conversations with experts across the full spectrum of real estate, investment, sustainability, economics, geopolitics, and urbanism with a focus on helping each other become Better Investors, Better Leaders, and Better Global Citizens. To learn more, visit


Benjamin van Loon, Communications Director | +1 202 312 1405

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