Letter from the Executive Director
Mark J. Riedy, PhD
The 700+ guests attending the Center’s 15th Annual Real Estate Conference March 3 listened attentively to remarks made by Molly Jones (real estate and business administration major, Class of 2011) and Justin Shifrin (MSRE, Class of 2011). Molly and Justin are the Fall 2010 recipients of the Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship. As I sat on stage listening to their upbeat insights on the quality of education and personal attention they receive at USD, I beamed with pride at their accomplishments and the way they represent our real estate program.
The culmination of students’ journeys through USD and our real estate program is for our graduates and newly minted alums to be hired into fulfilling and rewarding jobs. We’ve had several positive indicators of our students’ job readiness already this year.
The first indicator of heightened demand for our students occurred in January, when John Ferber, commercial real estate director, solicited a number of firms that historically had shown strong interest in our students but had not been hiring in the last two to three years. These firms’ interest in hiring interns was “overwhelming” in John’s words. Internships are an important preliminary step in career preparation, so we are pleased at the resurgence of demand in this area.
Secondly, in response to a recent survey by BusinessWeek magazine regarding the industries that hired the most undergraduate USD business students in 2010, real estate ranked third among 15 industries, just after accounting and finance. This is especially striking given that the real estate major started less than two years ago. This clearly demonstrates the fact that our students are well-prepared for the job market, even in this tough environment.
The final recent indicator came on Feb. 24, when John Ferber and Annie Grand, student and alumni services manager, orchestrated our Ninth Annual Real Estate Career Expo, which attracted 22 employers and 76 students. To facilitate as much interaction and open as many hiring doors as possible, the event used a speed networking format, with students moving from one interviewer to the next every six minutes. Resumé books were provided for employers to take notes on the students they will invite for lengthier, more in-depth interviews. We were extremely proud of our students for their professionalism, their focus and the substantive questions they asked of employers.
If this commentary on why we are so proud of our students has stoked the fires of your thoughts about connecting with USD students, to be a mentor or to hire one or more as interns or employees, please reach out to John Ferber or Annie Grand. We treat every student and employer individually, not as a number, and I know you will be pleased with the result.
Dr. Mark J. Riedy
|Fannie Mae president and CEO Michael J. Williams addresses the sold-out room at the 15th Annual Real Estate Conference March 3.
Well over 700 people attended the Center’s 15th Annual Real Estate Conference, held March 3 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront downtown.
Attendees were treated to a rare public appearance by Michael J. Williams, the president and CEO of Fannie Mae. In his remarks, Williams put forth a five-part strategy that Fannie Mae is enacting to enable a stronger housing market. Actions include:
- Keeping liquidity flowing
- Helping distressed homeowners
- Encouraging sustainable lending
- Supporting rental housing; and
- Building a better company
Following Williams’ prepared remarks and a question and answer session, a local panel moderated by Mary Ann McGarry ’80 (BBA), president and CEO of Guild Mortgage Co., offered their insights on the topic: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” Panelists included: Jim Waring, co-founder and chair of CleanTECH San Diego; Mel Katz, executive officer of Manpower Inc.; and Robert Watkins, president and chair of R.J. Watkins and Company. Waring emphasized the need for a marriage between clean tech and real estate, Watkins stressed the need to keep one’s skills updated, while Katz said that hiring would shift from temporary to permanent this year.
Brad Forrester, president and CEO of the ConAm Group of Companies, led the second panel, which addressed: “Lending, Investing and Capital Markets.” Panelists included Chip Fedalen, executive vice president and group head-Real Estate Banking Group at Wells Fargo in Irvine; Bill Lindsay, founding partner of PCCP in Los Angeles; and Robert Brunswick, co-founder, chair and CEO of Buchanan Street Partners in Newport Beach. Panelists cautioned the attendees to expect very low leverage as loan costs go up.
In his featured presentation, USD Professor Norm Miller, PhD, urged leaseholders to lock in long-term leases if they can, in anticipation of spiking office, industrial and retail rents and rising interest rates over the next two to three years. Miller also suggested that commercial real estate could help lead the country out of the recession; traditionally, housing has been the push in similar economic circumstances.
That sentiment was echoed by the final panel of the day, which was moderated by Dan Phelan, president and CEO of Pacific Southwest Realty Services. “Are Workouts Working Out?” included Tom Nolan, managing director of CW Capital Investments in Irvine; Kevin Donahue, senior vice president of Midland Loan Services in Kansas City; and Wayne Brander, executive vice president and California region manager at US Bank in Newport Beach. Panelists said they are seeing larger and “A” properties experiencing strong demand and rising prices per square foot, while “B” and “C” and smaller properties are not getting serious interest.
|(Left to right) Mark Riedy, PhD, introduces Woodruff Scholarship recipients Justin Shifrin and Molly Jones at the 15th Annual Real Estate Conference March 3.
MSRE student Justin Shifrin and undergraduate student Molly Cooper Jones have been selected as the Fall 2010 recipients of the Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship.
The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate established the award in 2000 in permanent tribute to USD graduate Daniel Woodruff. Woodruff died of cancer at the age of 27, less than two years after graduating from USD. The scholarship is awarded to a student who best epitomizes Woodruff's positive qualities of “academic excellence, warmth, determination, intellectual curiosity, and unabashed love for humankind.” This is the first time two students have received the scholarship in the same semester.
Jones is an undergraduate real estate and business administration major from Salt Lake City, Utah, who will graduate this May. She was the captain of last year’s University of San Diego USC International Case Competition team and is competing on this year’s team, as well.
Shifrin is a graduate of Pitzer College and worked previously as an underwriting and market research analyst for Fairfield Residential LLC and JMI Realty. He is enrolled in the University of San Diego’s joint MSRE/MBA program.
Norm Miller, PhD
Norm Miller, PhD, will be returning to the Burnham-Moores Center as a full-time professor beginning April 1, 2011.
Miller was previously serving as vice president of analytics at the CoStar Group, while also remaining on faculty at USD as a distinguished research professor. Miller will return with the same faculty title—full professor—that he held in his first USD employment when he was academic director of the real estate program from 2007-09.
Charles Tu, PhD, will continue to be academic director of the Master of Science in Real Estate program, where he is responsible for the content and quality of the graduate and undergraduate curricula.
Mark Riedy, PhD, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center, said that Provost Julie Sullivan, PhD, and School of Business Administration Dean Dave Pyke, PhD, were wholly supportive and instrumental in creating the opportunity for Miller's return.
“We are ending our search for a third faculty member with the best possible outcome—an extraordinary and known talent who knows and likes us and our stakeholders and will again play a major role in the continued advancement of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate,” Riedy said.
Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
USD’s 2011 NAIOP University Challenge team (from left to right): Coach Louis Galuppo, Esq., Kyle Sullivan, Molly Jones, Chris Lisle, Connor Witt, Amir Atefi, Team Captain Brittany Harrison and Faculty Advisor Vivek Sah, PhD
A team of University of San Diego undergraduate students will compete against a team of San Diego State University undergraduate students in the 2011 NAIOP University Challenge. The challenge will have students competing head-to-head in a real estate case competition on the highest and best use for a piece of property, located at 301 University Ave. in San Diego. The site, which consists of two parcels totaling approximately 35,460 square feet, is owned by Pacifica Companies.
The USD team is made up of team captain Brittany Harrison, Amir Atefi, Molly Jones, Chris Lisle, Kyle Sullivan and Connor Witt. Assistant Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, is the team’s faculty advisor; Louis Galuppo, Esq., is serving as coach.
Teams will present the findings of their analysis to a panel of judges on April 14. Judges include: Paul Twardowski, Brig Black, Mike McNerney, Gary Katz and Matt Reid.
To register for the event and for more information, go here.
|Richard Schulman, Esq.
The recent decision of a California Court of Appeal on prevailing wages could greatly increase the cost of private development projects. In Azusa Land Partners vs. Department of Industrial Relations, the court held that an entire 1,200-unit housing tract is a “public work” under California’s prevailing wage law because the proceeds of some tax-financed bonds would pay for some required public infrastructure. The court required that prevailing wages be paid for all of the public infrastructure, whether or not it was funded by those bonds.
California requires that the wages prevailing in the community be paid on all public works projects built by outside contractors (i.e. not by government employees). The law has two main aspects. First, Labor Code Section 1720 defines public works broadly to include improvements done pursuant to a government contract, under government supervision, or using public funds. Second, under Labor Code Section 1770, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations determines the wages that prevail for different types of work in each community. As a practical matter, prevailing wages under the state’s law tend to be union-level wages, increasing costs for most contractors by about 15 to 20 percent.
The extent to which infrastructure built by private developers is a public work has been a matter of controversy and uncertainty for years. On Dec. 31, 1986, then-Attorney General John Van de Kamp issued a formal opinion stating that, when a local agency requires that a private development provide public infrastructure, all of that infrastructure would be “public works” subject to prevailing wages. However, his opinion gained little respect among practitioners.
In 2001, the Legislature formally revised the definition of public works as part of a bill dealing with industrial development bonds. The new definition is not a model of clarity. Much of the revised definition concerns what is and is not paid for with public funds and consists of exceptions to qualifications.
The facts of Azusa Land Partners are complex, but there a few key ones. First, the private development project in question consisted of 1,200 housing units plus some commercial structures. Second, about $71 million of the $146 million cost of city-required infrastructure was paid for by community facility district (“CFD,” a.k.a. “Mello-Roos”) bonds. Third, there were various agreements governing the use of CFD funds.
These key facts led to three key holdings. First, the court held that CFD bonds are government funds because they are issued by a government entity (the CFD) and will be repaid from special taxes levied on area landowners. Second, prevailing wages must be paid to build all of the public infrastructure, not merely the elements financed by these bonds. And third, the entire private development―residential and commercial―was a public work, even though (because of the exceptions in the law) prevailing wages only had to be paid to build the infrastructure.
“Developers should be aware that contracts or public money, even if only for part of a project and even in a charter city, can result in having to pay prevailing wages."
The first holding is not remarkable. Once government takes tax or other money, the law holds that the money belongs to the government. The second holding is of greater concern. In the context of the case, the court said it would be improper to exempt some of the facilities from the prevailing wage law. The third holding may ultimately be the most important: It could conceivably lead to a court imposing all the usual due process requirements, such as formal hearings before terminating workers, on the entire project.
The losing developer in Azusa Land Partners has asked the state Supreme Court to take the case. The court will probably not decide whether to do so for another month or two. If it does, it could take a year or two to get a decision. Unless the state Supreme Court takes the case or orders the opinion cancelled, though, it remains binding law.
In the meantime, a second major prevailing wage case is also pending at the state Supreme Court. California has two classes of cities. General law cities are subject to all of the state’s municipal laws. Charter cities have their own voter-approved mini-constitutions (“charters”) that give them control over “municipal affairs,” a vague term that has generated a great deal of litigation. Charter cities tend to be the larger ones like Los Angeles, but there are some small cities with charters, such as Del Mar. Some charter cities have their own prevailing wage requirements, but many, such as San Diego, do not. Older case law held that wages on public works projects were municipal affairs, so the state’s prevailing wage law did not apply to charter cities. In 2009, a Court of Appeal affirmed that older case law in State Building & Construction Trades Council vs. City of Vista. However, the state Supreme Court took that case up, leaving the rule uncertain. A decision on the Vista case is likely later this year.
While awaiting decisions from the state Supreme Court, developers should be aware that contracts or public money, even if only for part of a project and even in a charter city, can result in having to pay prevailing wages. Developers should also be aware that any public money may trigger prevailing wages, whether from an agency’s general fund, special taxes in a CFD, or a reimbursement agreement using developer impact fees.
Richard Schulman is a land use partner at HechtSolberg. He assists clients with the permitting and environmental review processes and litigates resulting challenges.
| Chris Pascale ’83 (BBA), senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis, was one of 35 representatives from companies participating in the Ninth Annual Real Estate Career Expo, held at USD’s Hahn University Center Feb. 24. Twenty-two private and public organizations and 76 undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in real estate took part in the Expo, which was sponsored by the USD Real Estate Society. This year’s expo used a speed networking format, during which students were given six minutes with representatives from a variety of organizations to network, discuss employment opportunities and practice their interviewing skills.
Undergraduate student Chad Williams (right) networks at the kickoff breakfast with his mentor, Brett Kondrick ’08 (BBA), financial analyst at Wells Fargo’s Real Estate Banking Group and Real Estate Alumni Association board member.
On Feb. 10, over 50 students were introduced to the new Undergraduate Real Estate Mentorship program at the first Real Estate Society meeting of the spring semester. The program highlights were given by Real Estate Alumni Association (REAA) board members and former Woodruff Scholarship recipients Ron May ’07 (MSRE) and Brett Kondrick ’08 (BBA).
The REAA launched the program at a breakfast on campus March 9, where the undergraduate students and their mentors were able to meet for the first time. The 25 students, who were paired with real estate professionals from all over California, are required to meet with their mentors throughout the semester and submit a written account of their experience.
Prospective mentors for Fall 2011 should contact Annie Grand.
For the fifth year in a row, the University of San Diego’s undergraduate business school has been ranked as one of the Top 50 programs in the nation, according to BusinessWeek magazine’s latest rankings. USD’s program was ranked 36th, which makes it the third year in a row that it ranked in the Top 4 on the West Coast. USC ranked 34th, and Santa Clara was 35th.
Also, for the third year in a row, USD’s SBA received an A+ grade for teaching quality. USD also ranked 22nd for student satisfaction, out of 113 schools that made the cut for inclusion in the ranking.
“USD’s strength―and the reason we have been consistently recognized among the top 10 percent of all AACSB accredited business schools―is because of our commitment to personalized service and teaching quality,” said SBA Dean Dave Pyke, PhD.
Over the past five years, USD’s business school has gone from being unranked and largely unknown outside of Southern California to being recognized as one of the top programs in the country. With this success has come a sharp rise in interest in USD among college applicants and transfer students. In the past two years, the number of students declaring to be business majors has increased by nearly 30 percent.
A team of MSRE students will be participating in ARGUS Software’s 2011 University Challenge. The team will compete against students from 21 other universities, including MIT, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as four teams from the United Kingdom, one from Canada and one from China.
Teams will be charged with simulating a real-life investment analysis of a commercial real estate property by modeling the provided assumptions in ARGUS Valuation-DCF and/or ARGUS Developer. Teams will compete for cash prizes totaling $13,000.
The University of San Diego team took first-place in the 2009 ARGUS Software University Challenge―the first and only other time the competition was held. The 2011 team is made up of: Michael Argier, Joseph Engelken, Ashley Lencek, Joel Munoz and Justin Shifrin. The faculty advisor is Charles Tu, PhD, director of academic programs.
The Burnham-Moores Center’s MSRE program participated as an exhibitor at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Commercial Real Estate Finance (CREF)/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo Feb. 6-9. The annual convention was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown and attended by top commercial and multifamily real estate finance professionals from across the country.
Policy Advisory Board Young Entrepreneurs Council member Dan Broderick has been named president and CEO of Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial. Broderick will serve on the company’s board of directors and will be instrumental in driving the firm’s strategic initiatives and growth strategies, including building a presence in Orange County and the Inland Empire, as well as developing the company’s regional Corporate Services platform.
Broderick was previously senior vice president at Eastdil Secured, the largest investment bank in the country that exclusively focuses on the commercial real estate industry.
“As we implemented our search for a new CEO, we conferred with trusted clients and associates. One name that kept coming up was Dan Broderick,” said Rick Reeder, head of the CEO selection committee and member of the company’s board of directors. “He has the rare combination of bold enthusiasm, strategic vision and wisdom beyond his years.”
Formed in 2009, the Policy Advisory Board Young Entrepreneurs Council is comprised of a group of high performers under the age of 35. Membership is limited to no more than 10 individuals and is by invitation only.
Professor Norm Miller, PhD, served as keynote speaker at the San Diego Chapter of the California Receivers Forum’s “Receiverships: Beyond the Appointment” program in San Diego Feb. 9. Later that same day, Miller was a featured speaker at the Appraisal Institute of San Diego’s 2011 San Diego Economic Forecast at the Four Points Sheraton, where he discussed regional indicators, market conditions and gave his economic predictions for the year ahead. On Feb. 16, Miller was the keynote speaker at SDSU’s Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate’s program, “Forecasting and Trend Analysis: Learning from the Past to Maximize Success in the Future.”
In the News
Executive Director Mark J. Riedy, PhD, and Charles Tu, PhD, director of academic programs, were quoted in a story on the growing popularity of real estate graduate programs in the February 2011 issue of ICSC’s Shopping Centers Today magazine.
Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor, was mentioned in several articles following his January release of the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center. Articles appeared in the San Diego Business Journal (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3), the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North County Times and San Diego 6.
Louis Galuppo, Esq., residential real estate director, was quoted in a Feb. 14 San Diego Union-Tribune article on San Diego County’s home price drop in January.
An article on the Burnham-Moores Center’s co-authored multi-year study on sustainable buildings was featured on Thefifthestate.com.au Feb. 14.
Mark Riedy was quoted on the increased number of housing permits this year in a Daily Transcript article Feb. 24.
Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and Alan Gin were included in the Feb. 26. edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s “EconoMeter.”
Mark Riedy was quoted in a March 2 San Diego Union-Tribune article on mortgage basics.
The Center’s 15th Annual Real Estate Conference on March 3 was reported on in several stories following the event including: the San Diego Union-Tribune (Article 1, Article 2), The Daily Transcript (Article 1, Article 2) the North County Times and PREA.org.