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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark RiedyMark Riedy, PhD

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with legendary developer Jim Rouse long ago, when I was inviting him to fly from Columbia, Maryland to speak on campus. He and Ernie Hahn had been close friends and I wanted Jim to speak at the dedication of the Ernest W. Hahn Chair in Real Estate, which I have been privileged to hold since 1993. Rouse’s response? “Unfortunately or fortunately, I’ve got more money than time. I’ll send a nice contribution to your program, but can’t take the time to be with you in San Diego.”

We may not have more money than time, like Jim Rouse, but who among us has not said we don’t have time to do this or that—all the things we’d like to do—when what we mean is that for a wide variety of good and bad reasons we do not make or take time to do them. There are competing demands on everyone’s time. I am fully aware that asking you to read this newsletter is a request for that which you probably know is your scarcest resource, your time.

19th Annual Real Estate ConferenceSure, everyone makes trade-offs in how they manage their time. And I submit that their trade-offs do not necessarily reflect their priorities, which one could argue they should. Instead, I’ll bet they, and we, are guilty of making time trade-offs within a relatively narrow playing field, among the same options we’ve lived with for far too many years. It’s tough to break away from the status quo of our daily routines. It is difficult to take time to opt-in to new things, even if they appeal to us and promise our time will be well spent. It is much tougher still to opt-out of time-sapping activities that may provide minimal satisfaction, but are comfortable, or at least not so uncomfortable or dissatisfying that we will invest the time and energy to jettison them.

When it comes to giving up old habits, even if they are not satisfied, many if not most people tend to be lethargic, with some possible exceptions. For example, at our recent Women in Real Estate Conference, speakers on the millennials panel made several interesting observations about groups who tend not to be lethargic about time management and shaking up the status quo of their lives. First, working moms are very time efficient and focus sharply on getting things done. If a job is disruptive to time management without adding great value to their lives, they will make changes. The second group is millennials (born between 1978-1995), about which two reasonable conclusions were drawn: A) Similar to working moms they seek jobs where they can make a difference and where the value-add to their lives is significant—or they will move on. B) “They want it all and they want it now.” Could it be that millennials are too young to have fallen into a “status quo” mentality so opting out of a time-wasting job or organization is not difficult at their age?

For me personally, time management after January 15, 2015 will bring an entirely new set of challenges. After 22 years of a wonderful career at USD I am going to fill my days in new ways yet to be identified. I’ve opted out of my job. Having threatened to retire “within the next 3-5 years” for at least the last 8 years, I finally overcame inertia—albeit a status quo I thoroughly enjoyed—and gave about a year’s notice. I’m anxious to see what my day-timer will look like a year from now, my only fear being that it might be clogged with a “honey do” list!

Shifting from a personal focus to time management/BMC considerations, our commitment always has been and will be to respect the time you have available in your busy lives. We are one of perhaps dozens of demands competing for your awake hours. We understand the concepts of return on investment and work-play-family-life balance. We also suspect that if 24 hour days miraculously became 30 hour days the vacuum created by those six hours of newly found “free time” would suck us into patterns involving four more hours of work, one of play and maybe one for the family. It’s tough being a "Type A" personality, as many successful real estate professionals tend to be. Let me suggest that whether the clock shows 24 or 30 hours, one of those extra free hours could be allocated to exploring the value that getting involved in the BMC might add to your career and life. It might well be satisfying enough to overcome the lethargy of attending meetings of organizations you find time-wasteful. Opting-out of anything is difficult if it involves more than clicking on an unsubscribe button!

MSRE Program 2015One of the real challenges we have faced since our founding in 1993 has been to get you and others to carve out a slice of time to get acquainted with USD’s real estate program. To know us is to love us. Back in 1993 it was a rare real estate professional who had stepped foot on “that beautiful university up on the hill.” Fortunately, over the years more and more individuals and firms have taken the time to become more involved: 

  • To guest lecture
  • To host a field trip for students
  • To be a mentor
  • To attend one or more conferences
  • To join a task force or a committee
  • To take a continuing education course

Especially in good times, many of our stakeholders remind me of Jim Rouse. “I don’t have the time (to get involved) but I’ll send you money.” As everyone well knows, the Burnham-Moores Center is largely self-sustaining and needs your ongoing financial support. We also want some of your time. Unlike social media, we do not barge in uninvited, to crowd out the important uses of your computer and take scarce time away from you. Rather, we respect the time and attention of those who are involved with the BMC through communicating effectively, yet sparingly, and not asking too much of your time. If you have not interacted with us, please reach out to me or any of my colleagues. Get involved—even just once and just for an hour or two—because I am certain that among all of the benefits offered by the BMC you will find one, or two, or three, that you will treasure. And wish you had made time for us long ago.

Mark J. Riedy, PhD
Executive Director

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Women in Real Estate Conference Features National NAIOP Chair, Millennial Panel

Women in Real Estate Conference - Jean Kane
Keynote speaker Jean Kane, national NAIOP's 2014 executive chair, at the Center's Women in Real Estate Conference on Nov. 5.

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Fourth Annual Women in Real Estate Conference on Nov. 5 drew its largest audience to date. The conference featured keynote speaker Jean Kane, the 2014 executive chairman of national NAIOP and CEO of Welsh and Colliers International in the Twin Cities, and a panel of millennials working in the real estate industry.

During Kane’s presentation titled, “The Changing Face of Commercial Real Estate: How to Stay Relevant and Capitalize on an Evolving Client Base,” she provided a wealth of demographic information for NAIOP and the current commercial real estate industry. Although it is still a white male dominated industry―especially the high-level positions―Kane recalled walking into a room full of blue suits when she started in the business over 26 years ago and thought, “Holy Moly, I’m not in Kansas anymore!”

She said she had to find ways to connect with the men she was surrounded by at work, and said it was a challenge since she didn’t golf or go to bars. “Not that all guys do that! But I had to find other ways,” she said. Since, then she said that she is encouraged that demographically the makeup of the industry is better than it used to be in part because top business schools are recruiting more diverse applicants, but noted that we still have a long way to go.

Kane is a big advocate of diversity in the office place. “To me it is about more than filling quotas; it’s about diversity of thought.” She said it is how she runs her business, and she really values people with different backgrounds and says that it has only helped her business.

Women in Real Estate Conference
Millennial generation panelists (from left to right) Kimberly Chanelle Clark, Daniele Horton, Melissa Scofield and Kelly Souza '03 (BBA)

Following Kane’s presentation, Bess Wakeman, executive vice president of JLL, moderated a discussion with four panelists in the millennial generation, titled “Millennials: Their Impact on Real Estate Markets and Opportunities.” Panelists included: Kimberly Chanelle Clark, JD, associate at Voit Real Estate Services; Daniele Horton, LEED AP O+M, MS, CEM, Assoc. AIA, founder and principal of Verdani Partners; Melissa Scofield, associate at CBRE; and Kelly Souza '03 (BBA), senior vice president and manager of the Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate office in San Diego.

The panel discussed how recruitment and retention has had to change in recent years to attract and retain top talent. Souza is responsible for recruiting in her office and said it’s very competitive for companies such as hers to attract the best candidates possible. Wells Fargo now targets sophomores in college into their summer internship programs.

Horton, who is a mother, found that working in corporate America was not for her, so she started her own company to gain the flexibility she wanted. She also has a difficult time recruiting talent but gives her employees a lot of flexibility and promotes a sense of community in the workplace so they are not tempted to look for opportunities elsewhere.

“If millennials are not adding value at work, they will look for something else,” said Chanelle Clark. She also noted that many millennials are willing to give up higher paying jobs or have a longer commute for more flexibility or to get out of positions that don’t fulfill them.

The group also discussed millennials' preference for open concept workplace designs and sustainability trends. Scofield discussed CBRE’s new office concept “Workplace 360,” which was developed after studying what its employees wanted in the workplace. Employees in the company’s downtown San Diego office now have flexible workstations, stand-up desks, dual monitor computers, and small glass conference rooms for privacy. She says this concept “keeps you stimulated and focuses on things millennials enjoy doing.” She said the company has realized that this is what everyone at the company wants, not only the millennials.

After the conference, the speakers met privately with undergraduate and graduate real estate students to address career and industry-related questions.

Visit the conference website for PowerPoint presentations. View additional photos from the event.

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Undergrads Meet Mentors, Attend Real Estate Society Meeting

Real Estate Society
Renee Savage '88 (BBA) speaks to students about CCIM and IREM at the Oct. 30 Real Estate Society Meeting. Gregor Connors '14 (MSRE) (not pictured) spoke to the group about ULI.

Undergraduate real estate students met with their respective mentors at the fall semester mentorship program breakfast held on campus Oct. 22. While the mentor program is optional for the students, 21 opted to be paired with mentors and take advantage of the excellent opportunity to network and learn from top industry leaders.

On Oct. 30, the Real Estate Society held its monthly meeting. Representatives from CCIM, IREM and ULI presented on their respective associations and informed the undergraduate students on why they should get involved with these organizations now as students, to begin building a business network and learn more about each industry.

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MSRE Students Busy Inside and Outside of Classroom

MSRE Site Tour of Celedon
Ian Gill (right) discusses the Celadon Project during the MSRE 515 site tour

USD’s graduate real estate students continue to have a busy semester. On Oct. 16, MSRE students in Ian Gill’s Design and Construction Management course took a site tour of Celadon’s Affordable Housing Tower off of 9th and Broadway in downtown San Diego. Prior to the tour, students enjoyed a brief presentation from Matt Smith of Turner and John Bradel of Highland Partnership Inc. The students then met Gary Halbert, assistant city manager and Kelly Broughton, director of development services at Turner’s office to talk about the zoning, planning, entitlement and permitting processes of the project and how applicants can minimize the pain of the process by following some simple rules.

MSRE students visit ConAm's office Oct. 31.

On Oct. 31, the MSRE students attended a private meeting at ConAm’s office in Kearny Mesa. Caleb McKinley ’02 (BBA), director of business strategies, acted as the emcee for the event. Other presenters included: Chaz Mueller, president and CEO; George Lloyd, executive vice president and head of acquisitions; Bob Svatos, chief financial officer; Mike Mahoney, senior vice president of development; and Sean Murphy ’14 (MSRE), financial analyst, who each described activities in their departments. ConAm's speakers demonstrated the pride they take in the company's reputation and explained how they were anticipating significant growth in the next five years.

As a part of their Technology and Databases for Real Estate Analysis course, MSRE students as well as a few interested undergraduate students attended an ARGUS Developer training workshop on campus on Nov. 15. This training is a new component of the MSRE program, and was taught by an ARGUS trainer. The software is designed specifically for development projects, and is capable of performing analyses that are more difficult to deal with then using Excel, such as changing the number and/or duration of development stages.

On Oct. 26, Professor Miller and 11 MSRE students did some team building outside of the classroom and rented two boats for a four-hour sailing trip near Harbor Island. The students hope to organize another sailing outing again next semester.

MSRE Sailing Trip
MSRE students and Professor Norm Miller got together outside of class to go sailing near Harbor Island on Oct. 26.
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Crowdfunding: The New Darling of Real Estate Equity Funding

By Professor Norm Miller, PhD and Brian Sanger, USD MSRE student

Norm Miller
Norm Miller, PhD
Brian Sanger
Brian Sanger

Crowdfunding, raising equity or debt through online portals and social network contacts instead of through the regular medium of investment banks, partnerships and financial institutions, has grown much more significantly in 2014 than even its early supporters would have expected. Crowdfunding got its start on sites such as Kickstarter, which allowed inventors and artists to post an idea or project and benefactors to fund them. No promises were made yet often the “investors or benefactors” received a product or service once available. This lack of a promised return opened up a sliver of a door crack in the highly regulated securities world.   

The concept has now carried over to real estate, where the loosening of the laws defining how funds and private companies solicit investors in 2013 through changes to the U.S. based Jumpstart Our Businesses (JOBS Act) has allowed crowdfunding to soar as a viable alternative to banks, traditional partnerships and institutional cash. New portals emerge monthly seeking some of the market share for serving this new way of funding enterprises. The websites allow potential investors to learn about and invest in any scale real estate project from micro deals to the revitalization of whole neighborhoods. See for example, CityShares LLC’s Neighborhood Investment Fund, which will invest in a basket of residential and mixed use properties in Brooklyn’s up and coming Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The section of the JOBS act defining how funds can be raised through “non-accredited investors,” investors with incomes less than $200,000 per year or net worth less than $1 million, has yet to be set. Nonetheless, dozens of portals have already launched crowdfunding opportunities with minimum investments as low as a $100.

Crowdnetic, a provider of technology and market data solutions to the global crowdfunding marketplace, found that from October 31, 2013 to May 31, 2014, the number of total crowdfunding portals or funds grew by 336.4 percent. According to Nav Athwal, co-founder and CEO of RealtyShares, “Over the last year, crowdfunding for real estate platforms has been responsible for raising over $100 million for hundreds of real estate properties across the U.S.” 

The funds work by creating a limited liability company for each property or project, through which investors can commit to funding a project once they have researched and completed internal due diligence. When sufficient commitments are reached the funding is required.  Investors receive returns but with few promises, aside from revealing track records of prior investment returns from the same sponsor. Thus, the track record is key. It takes time to be able to pull down a larger funding, but some funds expect soon to approach $100 million via crowdfunding.  

In addition to allowing those without significant means to become investors in a project, crowdfunding also can be used as a metric to show community support for a specific project, which may be valuable in obtaining regulatory approvals and permits, and in making the argument any profits from a project will go to local pockets. The nature of real estate―tangible, regulated and well-defined by data―make it more compatible with crowdfunding than other types of ventures or investments such as software development.

Currently, most portals are independent of specific properties or projects; that is, a developer would come to a portal and sign up their project funding through that specific portal. Fees tend to run five percent to 10 percent of funds raised plus legal costs for documentation, but this is rather modest compared with typical investment banking costs for startups and smaller funds.

Portals opened just two years ago and expecting to be working with 100 developers in a year have far surpassed their goals. In the future some investment sponsors, developers and building owners may try and become portals themselves in order to gain direct funding for their projects.

We will see a shakeout in this industry in terms of portals, and probably a few that will be more successful for real estate. For now, however, it is the wild west and every portal is out to be the last one standing. Industry insiders see the key challenge to crowdfunding’s growth as being the potential for a “bad apple” to tarnish the industry’s reputation. They believe this can be minimized through utilizing education, promotion and public awareness. Transparency seems to be key to credibility and delivering on what is promised. Specialization by size, geography and property type will surely follow if crowdfunding continues to become a new favored form of capital raising.

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Alumni Matters

David Arscott
David Arscott ’10 (MSRE)

David Arscott ’10 (MSRE) has been named vice president in the real estate valuation and advisory services department of FirstCity Financial Corporation. Arscott and his colleagues advise other FirstCity departments and third-party clients on matters of real estate valuation, property management and disposition. FirstCity primarily acquires debt backed by commercial real estate and has invested more than $5 billion to acquire loans with unpaid principal balance in excess of $13.8 billion since 1991. Previously, Arscott and his partners at WakeStorm Capital provided similar services to FirstCity and other clients.

Alumni News
If you are a USD alum working in the real estate industry, we would like to hear from you. Please e-mail Diane Ice with recent and significant career-related achievements and initiatives. All submissions will be considered for publication.

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MSRE Lecturer Daniele Horton Named One of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability”

Daniele Horton
Daniele Horton

One of the MSRE program's Sustainable Real Estate course lecturers and recent Women in Real Estate Conference millennial panelist, Daniele Horton, was recently named one of GB&D Magazine’s “The Top 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability.” This is no small recognition—Horton was honored along with an impressive list of women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Arielle Berman of Google and Bea Perez of Coca Cola.

Horton is the founder and principal of Verdani Partners, a full-service sustainability consulting firm located in Carlsbad. Horton was selected in part for her contribution to women-owned businesses in the field of sustainability consulting—where the majority of owners are men—and for her unorthodox approach to a flexible, results-driven business model.

“It’s important for women to advocate for what they believe in and to follow their intuition. I have strived to be in a position where I could make a difference unconstrained by the boundaries of standard work environments,” said Horton. “I am so honored to be included as part of this group of women who are tirelessly advocating for a better world.”

With Horton’s leadership and vision, Verdani Partners hopes to continue the positive trend in carrying out global sustainability initiatives in the built environment.

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Professor Miller Speaks at Society of Certified Appraisers Conference

On Nov. 18, Professor Norm Miller, PhD, was a guest speaker at the Society of Certified Appraisers (SCA) 2014 Fall Conference at the County of San Diego Operations Center in Kearny Mesa. Miller’s topic “Business Valuation Separation from Real Estate,” focused on the biases imposed by experts and where business value may exist. The SCA is a non-profit organization whose members are state certified property tax residential and commercial appraisers and auditors employed by the County.

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Real Estate Alumni Association Recruiting Board Members

REAA LogoUniversity of San Diego’s Real Estate Alumni Association (REAA) is currently recruiting members for its REAA Executive Board. Appointments begin in January 2015 and continue for two years.

The association is seeking members who are focused on the goals of continued growth and improved service to members. Board members benefit from the opportunity to give back and to connect with leading alumni and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate more closely. For position requirements, go here. For questions, contact Joe Bertocchini at (619) 260-4183.

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15th Annual Residential Real Estate Outlook Conference Postponed

The 15th Annual Residential Real Estate Outlook Conference scheduled for Dec. 2, 2014 has been postponed. Most likely it will be re-scheduled for late spring or early summer in 2015. We apologize for the inconvenience and recognize that this program has been a sought-out event every December for 14 years. We are short-staffed at present and judged that we risked producing a program of lesser quality than the standards we expect of ourselves and you have come to expect of our programming. If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact Joe Bertocchini, director of residential real estate, or Mark Riedy, executive director.

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USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators

Alan Gin
Alan Gin, PhD

Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor of economics at USD, has compiled the “USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County” for the Burnham-Moores Center since January 2002. The Index is a highly regarded monthly report which offers an outlook of the local economy. Gin is a popular resource for information and analyses and has given over 1,000 interviews to local and national media sources since 2002.

Gin’s most recent Index report appears monthly in The Pipeline.

To schedule a media interview with Gin, please contact Kimberly Malasky, director of communications and administration.

Back to TopIn the News

Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, was featured in the “Photo Album” section in the October 2014 edition of Mortgage Banking Magazine.

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, was recently listed as a “Grand Slam” author of real estate research in a paper titled “Acknowledging Contributions to the Real Estate Literature,” published in the American Real Estate Society’s Journal of Real Estate Literature (Vol. 1, No. 1, 2014).

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in an Oct. 21 U-T San Diego article on foreclosures and how they have fallen to a post-recession low.

Norm Miller, PhD, and associate professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 editions of U-T San Diego’s “EconoMeter.”

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in an Oct. 29 Daily Transcript article on recent guideline changes for lower down payments on housing.

Alan Gin, PhD, was featured in the San Diego Business Journal, The Daily Transcript (article 1, article 2) and San Diego 6 following his most recent release of the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center.

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Fourth Annual Women in Real Estate Conference was featured in The Daily Transcript and U-T San Diego on Nov. 5.

Media and Speaking Engagement Inquiries
The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is proud to connect our world-class faculty and executive team with the media and the community to discuss a wide range of financial and real estate-related industry topics. To request an interview or speaking engagement, contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

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THURSDay, NOV. 20, 2014

Real Estate Alumni Association's Craft Beer and Real Estate: A Perfect Brew

Join USD's Real Estate Alumni Association for an evening of networking, craft beer and a discussion on how the changing face of the craft beer industry is affecting real estate in San Diego. Speakers from Stone Brewing Co. and Coronado Brewing Co. confirmed.


Time: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
57 Degrees, 1735 Hancock Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Cost: $25, includes five flight beer tasting and food

Contact Joe Bertocchini at (619) 260-4183 for more information or sponsorship opportunities.

Register for the event.

THURSDay, MARCH 5, 2015

19th Annual Real Estate Conference

Time: 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101

Cost: $175 per person, or $1,000 for a reserved half table of five seats, or $2,000 for a reserved table of 10 seats

Keynote Speaker: John B. Kilroy Jr., Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Kilroy Realty Corporation
Sponsor this conference. Contact Diane Ice at (619) 260-2379 for more information

or sponsorship opportunities.


Register for the conference.

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Real Estate Finance


WEDNESDay, JAN. 21, 2015

The Real Estate Process