John Kilroy Jr. hates politicians, thinks Trump immigration ban is a “huge issue”

Developer of Hollywood's Columbia Square has a tech-centric portfolio

Feb.February 09, 2017 03:30 PM
John Kilroy and Kilroy Realty’s Sunset Media Center

John Kilroy Jr. is no fan of President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban.

The CEO of Kilroy Realty said the ban would negatively impact the tech industry, which employs many foreign workers, and “helps the U.S. maintain its competitive edge” greater than any other industry.

“[The ban] reinforces my view that I’ve long held that I hate politicians,” he said Tuesday on a fourth quarter earnings call.

But Kilroy is not planning to get involved in a formalized attempt to combat the ban, he said, despite his company’s relationships with several tech companies that vehemently oppose it.

“[We] like to think that we have a voice compared to Apple and Microsoft and Facebook and Google,” he said. “[But] I think those combined voices are probably a little bit clearer and stronger than ours.”

Nearly 100 tech companies — including the likes of Apple, Google and Facebook — have come together against Trump’s initiative. The firms filed an amicus brief to that effect late Sunday evening with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It’s not just going to affect the West Coast, it’s going to affect New York and Chicago and Austin and Denver and Detroit,” Kilroy said. “This affects everything…every industry relies upon technology. It’s a huge issue for the entire country.”

Kilroy said he doesn’t foresee any immediate impact on his own bottom line, though.

“The fact is we have tremendous credit, we have long term leases and, with the four or five unicorns we have, we have huge letter of credit,” he said. “So I’m not sanguine about it. I guess one of the reasons we have the balance sheet we have is because you’ve got to navigate through whatever the potential macro implications are of bad policy or wars or whatever.”

The real estate industry has been largely quiet on the Trump ban, with a few notable exceptions. Robert Reffkin of residential brokerage Compass told The Real Deal that “this country will not remain a global superpower if we close our doors.”

Meanwhile, Kilroy said an increase in M&A activity in the tech sector — he referenced Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn, AT&T buying DIRECTV, Adobe absorbing Livefyre and Cisco acquiring AppDynamics — has enhanced his company’s credit portfolio.

Tenants at Kilroy’s Hollywood complex, Columbia Square — which was redeveloped from the onetime CBS headquarters — include Viacom, MTV and coworking concept NeueHouse.

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