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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark J. RiedyMark J. Riedy, PhD

In the April issue, I recounted a discussion I had with 15 rising real estate professionals on March 9. My challenge to them was to address the question: Assuming that you build your careers, raise your families and take full advantage of all that San Diego has to offer over your lifetimes, what will the San Diego of 2052 look like to have made you happy that you stayed here?

What these young real estate executives converged around was the overarching theme of the San Diego of 2052 being defined by a single phrase: “It’s as simple as ABC, America’s Best Climate, where the business and nature opportunities are equally extraordinary.”

MSRE Program DeadlinesOne of the most striking comments from the discussion was: “In this city, there are limited job opportunities once I reach a certain level of success. If this situation is not addressed adequately, it will create pressure on me to leave. Even with a higher income, it still will be an economic challenge to live in what always will be a high-cost area. I will have to work long hours to earn a good income, so for me to enjoy the amenities of the region, it has to be easy to live here and to access its natural and man-made attractions.”

Comments about San Diego needing to overcome the image of not being taken seriously by outsiders were widespread. The perception of the city not being substantive from a career perspective arises in part from San Diego being heavily promoted as a tourist destination and from its historical identification as a military town. The group did not consider tourism as a good industry to promote unless and until its costs and benefits to residents are more clearly and accurately assessed and understood.

Recognizing that tourism and the military will continue to help define the region, however, the group expressed a desire to see additional features of the region emphasized and policies created to assist in their implementation. Specifically, policies to: emphasize the region’s intellectual capital, entrepreneurial orientation and diverse small business base; attract and nurture growth industries and the support industries feeding off of them; and to enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

The group of 15 rising real estate leaders plans to continue their discussion in the months to come. Most acknowledged that never before had they given serious thought to the future dimensions of this region that would cause them to continue building their careers, families and legacies in San Diego vs. moving elsewhere. Even fewer envisioned themselves playing a meaningful role in helping to shape those dimensions. And this group of 15 joining forces with other younger executives will be instrumental in the reinvention of the region in ways that will be attractive to future generations for decades to come.

Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Executive Director

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USD Teams Compete in Real Estate Competitions

Argus Software University Challenge

USD’s 2012 Argus Software University Challenge team (from left to right) Alex Leonard, Skye Morland, Dan Buoye, Mike Kelly and Bryan Grissinger

A team of Master of Science in Real Estate students won second place in the 2012 Argus Software University Challenge. The team of Alex Leonard, Bryan Grissinger, Dan Buoye, Mike Kelly and Skye Morland was awarded $4,000 for their accomplishment in beating out 27 other teams from across the country and internationally. USD was bested only by York University in Toronto, making USD the No. 1 ranking team in the United States, ahead of Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Clemson University, the University of Colorado, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University and New York University, among others.

In the challenge, each team was required to simulate a comprehensive real-life development analysis of a fictitious commercial real estate project by modeling the provided assumptions using Argus software, which is the industry standard for commercial real estate analysis. The team’s results were submitted in written report form to a panel of academic and industry judges, including James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA; Patrick T. Craig, MAI, MRICS; Kathryn Foley; and Sophia Baltz. Professor Charles Tu, PhD, served as faculty adviser to the team.

USC International Case Competition

USC team
USD’s USC International Case Competition team (from left to right) Brandon Arner, Eric Hertel, Dietrich Nascimento, Milan Brandon and Adrian Hochstrasser (not pictured: Cassie Wells)

A team of USD students took third place in the University of Southern California’s International Case Competition, held April 16-20 on USC’s campus. The USD team of undergraduate students Brandon Arner, Milan Brandon, Eric Hertel, Adrian Hochstrasser, captain Dietrich Nascimento and Cassie Wells competed against teams from the University of Wisconsin, USC, the University of Texas-Austin, Villanova University, the University of Auckland, New York University and the University of Colorado. This is the third year that a USD team competed in the invitation-only event, which asks students to address a real-world real estate problem posed by leading practitioners in the real estate industry. The cases were judged by 25 of the top real estate leaders in Southern California and beyond. Instructor John Demas, Esq., served as faculty adviser to the team.

NAIOP-San Diego University Challenge

NAIOP team
USD’s NAIOP-San Diego University Challenge team (from left to right) Jameson Johnson, Kelly Ness and Cowas Jehangir with faculty adviser Vivek Sah, PhD

A team of USD students took part in the Second Annual NAIOP University Challenge case competition, held April 26 at Campus Pointe in UTC. USD’s team was made up of seniors Cowas Jehangir and Kelly Ness and junior Jameson Johnson. Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, served as faculty adviser to the team.

USD competed against the University of California-San Diego and San Diego State University, who won the competition. Students were asked to provide their recommendations on the highest and best use for a piece of property owned by Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee member Ash Israni. The property is located at 2045 Pacific Highway in Little Italy, one block from the San Diego Harbor. The USD team recommended that a boutique hotel be built on the site, to capitalize on the location’s stunning views as well as the demand for hotel space in the San Diego region.

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National ICSC Scholarship Awarded to USD Undergrad

By Diane Gustafson

Morgan Schwanke
Morgan Schwanke

Junior Morgan Schwanke is one of two undergraduate students nationally to be awarded a highly competitive $5,000 Schurgin Family Foundation Scholarship from the ICSC Foundation. Each year, two Schurgin Family Foundation Scholarships are awarded: the Schurgin Real Estate Scholarship and the Schurgin Entrepreneurial Scholarship, which Schwanke won.

Schwanke had been working on an entrepreneurial endeavor called On My Block, a website and Facebook application that connects individuals to reliable rentals based on where people live in their social networking circles. He came up with the idea when he was interning at a rental management firm in Northern California during the summer of his freshman year. While interning, he noticed the inefficiencies inherent in rental property databases such as Craigslist. When he returned to USD the following fall, he discovered a similar problem when students began looking for off-campus housing and decided to start the service to help students find housing through the connections they had in their social and college networks.

Schwanke has been extremely active in a wide variety of student activities while attending USD. He set a goal of becoming student body president early in his college career and after becoming involved with a multitude of activities on campus over the years has been elected to do just that in 2012-13. Prior to this appointment, he served as the inaugural director of lectures within the student body government, where he organized a successful speaker series for the entire campus.

Throughout all of his accomplishments, Schwanke has learned that the journey is just as important as the destination. “I have gotten so passionately caught up in creating something that challenges me and makes me happy,” he says. “I believe that in itself is a professional goal to strive for.”

Schwanke hopes to launch On My Block early next year and commit to the project full-time upon graduation.

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Norm Miller’s Paper on Office Space Per Worker Made Available

“Estimating Office Space Per Worker,” a paper authored by Burnham-Moores Center Professor Norm Miller, PhD, has been updated and is now available online. The paper attempts to reconcile the discrepancy between the stated office space goals of corporate real estate planners vs. the actual office space allocated per worker in the marketplace. The research could have important implications for all those involved in forecasting commercial real estate demand.

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Spring Woodruff Scholarship Recipient Selected

carey Algaze
Carey Algaze

Master of Science in Real Estate student Carey Algaze has been named the Spring 2012 recipient of the Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship.

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate established the prestigious 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.”

Algaze, who also was awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Scholarship from the California Homebuilding Foundation last semester, is a dual MSRE/MBA candidate who will graduate later this month with the hope of landing a position as an urban planner. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California-San Diego, where she double-majored in urban studies and planning and sociology. Prior to attending graduate school at USD, Algaze worked at the County of San Diego in the Department of Planning and Land Use as a land use planner in the Zoning Department. She decided to return to school so she could better understand finance, investments, economics and decision-making to become a more knowledgeable and well-rounded urban planner. Since starting grad school, Algaze has had two internships: one with New Urban West, a small real estate development and investment firm, as an acquisitions analyst; the second with Chelsea Investment Corporation as an assistant project manager, where she continues to intern.

“This scholarship is such an honor because it not only considers scholastic ability but it speaks to who you are as a person, which means so much to me,” said Algaze. “I strive to act in the way that my parents taught me—I treat people kindly, I try to do what is right, and I am a compassionate person whether people are looking or not.”

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Burnham Foundation Scholarship Recipients Meet Malin Burnham

Burnham Scholarship
(From left to right) Nick Norris, Malin Burnham and Matt Bean at the April 20 scholarship presentation meeting

On April 20, MSRE students Matt Bean and Nick Norris met with Malin Burnham, president of The Burnham Foundation, at Cushman & Wakefield’s downtown office to receive their Burnham Foundation Scholarships. At the meeting, each student was awarded a $4,000 scholarship from the foundation and heard from Shari Laughlin and Pamela Legge of BB&T-John Burnham Insurance and Burnham himself on why they were selected for the honor. Malin Burnham established The Burnham Foundation, a private, non-profit, public benefit corporation, in 1980 and has since donated more than $8 million to community, education, health, arts and research organizations.

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MSRE Students Visit ConAm’s Office

ConAm Company Visit
(From left to right) MSRE students Eric Held, Mike Kelly, Skye Morland, ConAm’s development associate Matt Reams ’06 (BBA), president and CEO Brad Forrester, MSRE student Erica Schutt and Professor Charles Tu, PhD, at the ConAm office April 27

Master of Science in Real Estate students visited ConAm’s offices in Kearny Mesa April 27, where they listened to presentations from several of the company’s senior-level executives. The company’s president and CEO, Brad Forrester, who is a member of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee, as well as Mike Mahoney, vice president-development; Matt Reams ’06 (BBA), development associate; Rob Singh, senior vice president-Investment Group; Bob Svatos ’94 (MBA), senior vice president and CFO; and Ralph Tilley, senior vice president-Investment Management Group, spoke to the students during their visit.

While ConAm is best known for its property management business, the students also learned about the development, investment and acquisition sides of the business. The executives offered their insights on what they look for when they hire and gave the students advice on finding jobs in the current market.

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MSRE Students Present at CCDC

CCDC Presentations
MSRE student Chris Carter hands out printed materials from his team’s presentation.

Master of Science in Real Estate students in Professor Sherm Harmer’s “Urban and Suburban Development” class presented their case studies to a panel of industry judges in the CCDC Board Room April 30. The four teams offered their development options for the Navarra Super Block in the East Village to judges: Jeff Graham, Rob Lankford, Ann Navarro, Jerry Navarro, David Malmuth, Brad Richter and Jacob Schwartz.

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Center Takes Part in SBA Golf Tournament

SBA Golf Tournament
On April 12, USD’s School of Business Administration held its Fourth Annual Golf Tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort & Spa. The Burnham-Moores Center participated by sponsoring a hole, which offered the opportunity to visit with alumni as they teed off during the scramble-style tournament. (From left to right) Burnham-Moores Center supporters Nick Zech ’10 (BBA) of CDC Commercial, Dan McCarthy of Cushman & Wakefield, Mark Hoekstra ’86 (BBA) of the Heritage Group and Don Zech ’83 (BBA) of CDC Commercial
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Center Professors Participate in 28th Annual ARES Meeting

ARES logoBurnham-Moores Center professors Charles Tu, PhD, Norm Miller, PhD, and Vivek Sah, PhD, took part in the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Real Estate Society, held April 17-22 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tu chaired a session called “Housing Markets and Policy” and played a key role in coordinating the doctoral seminars, which included 44 doctoral students from 10 countries in eight sessions.

Miller moderated a session on “Alternative Research Methods and Data Sources Available to Better Understand the Complexity of Real Estate” and presented a paper with Michael Sklarz and Jim Follain on “National Housing Market Trends: Reality Distortion When Not Looking at the Local Level.” Miller also presented his paper “Estimating Office Space Per Worker” and sat on a panel on “Effective Teaching and Presenting Tips.”

Sah presented three papers: “The Intra-Industry Information Transfers: Contagion in REIT Privatization Transactions,” which he co-authored with Xiaorong Zhou, PhD; “How Real Estate Developers Do Their Work: An Empirical Analysis of the Development Process,” which he co-authored with Prashant Das, Louis Galuppo, JD, Divyanshu Sharma and Vinod Singh; and “The Property Specific Premium in Equity REITs: Tenant and Common Risk Factors,” which he co-authored with Changha Jin, PhD, and Alan Tidwell, PhD.

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Real Estate Society Holds Final Meeting of Academic Year

Nearly 50 undergraduate students attended the final Real Estate Society meeting of the academic year April 26 and heard from a panel of representatives from several local professional real estate organizations. The representatives at the meeting included: Brian Gates ’11 (MSRE), project manager at H.G. Fenton, representing NAIOP; Alex Plishner, senior community development manager at Shea Homes, representing the Building Industry Association; Renee Savage ’88 (BBA), senior vice president at Capital Growth Properties, representing the Institute of Real Estate Management; and Stephanie Morgan Whitmore, senior environmental analyst at RECON Environmental, representing the Urban Land Institute.

Also at the meeting, USD’s team members from the USC International Real Estate Case Competition and the NAIOP-San Diego University Challenge were awarded certificates of recognition for their outstanding dedication, contribution, commitment, participation and performance during the April competitions.

Additionally, the new Real Estate Society Executive Committee for the 2012-13 academic year was announced at the meeting. The committee will be led by:

Chair: Jonathan Fuller
Co-Chair: Jameson Johnson
Marketing Representative: Anchal Sud

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Norm Miller Speaks at CoreNet Global Summit

Norm Miller at CoreNet
Professor Norm Miller, PhD, spoke at two breakout sessions during the CoreNet Global Summit held April 29-May 1 at the San Diego Convention Center. Miller addressed the topics: “Estimating Office Space Per Worker” and “Sustainable Real Estate: Occupiers’ Perspectives” at the summit, which provided educational sessions for corporate real estate and workplace professionals, service providers and economic developers.
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Professors’ Paper Accepted for Publication

A paper co-authored by Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate professors Norm Miller, PhD, and Vivek Sah, PhD, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Housing Research. The paper, “Integrating Real Estate Market Conditions into Home Price Forecasting Systems,” looks at the variation in home prices depending on the time of the year.

Back to TopIn the News

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and Associate Professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the April 6, April 13, April 20 and April 27 editions of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s weekly “EconoMeter.”

Norm Miller, PhD, was mentioned in April 5 and April 21 articles after sharing his views on sustainable real estate in India during a webinar hosted by realism.IN.

Norm Miller, PhD, was mentioned in a May 3 story in The Economist on real estate commissions and how they differ in the United States compared to other countries.

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THURSDay, JUNE 14, 2012

SAVE THE DATE - Real Estate Alumni Associations Casual Thursday

Join the Real Estate Alumni Association for a night of networking and reconnecting with friends within the USD real estate community.

Deadline for Fall 2012 MSRE Program

  • Last admission deadline is July 1, with decision notification by July 15.
  • For more information, go here.

WEDNESDay, JULY 25, 2012

SAVE THE DATE - Real Estate Alumni Association’s Annual Bowling Tournament Fundraiser

Join the Real Estate Alumni Association for its annual bowling tournament fundraiser, which raises money for real estate scholarships.

  • 6 - 8:30 p.m.
  • East Village Tavern and Bowl, 930 Market St., San Diego, 92101
  • For sponsorship opportunities or questions, contact Annie Grand at

Back to TopContinuing Education - Upcoming Courses


CEQA and Other Environmental Regulations


  • Course taught by Ryan Birdseye, California environmental sciences and planning practice leader with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
  • To register, contact John Ferber, or register online.
  • For more information on this course, go here. For more information on Real Estate Continuing Education, go here.