USD Burnham-Moores Center's Annual Real Estate Conference Delivers

Monday, March 5, 2018 post has photosTOPICS: Conferences and Workshops

The 22nd annual Real Estate Conference, hosted by the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate (BMC) on March 1, once again delivered an exceptional event to a Hilton Bayfront Hotel audience of more than 600 people.


The morning-to-noon program, which opened with remarks by BMC Executive Director Stath Karras, consisted of hearing and learning from some of the industry’s top movers and shakers — Prologis Chairman and CEO Hamid Moghadam; Gafcon Inc. CEO Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen; PriceWaterhouseCoopers Partner and Real Estate Advisory Leader Mitch Roschelle; Holland and Knight LLP Partner, Jennifer Hernandez; and USD School of Business’ Hahn Chair of Real Estate Finance, Dr. Norm Miller.

• Moghadam, who was interviewed by Barbara Cambon, a BMC Policy Advisory Board member, offered various insights into Prologis, Inc., the global leader in logistics real estate that focuses on high-barrier, high-growth markets. Prologis leases modern distribution facilities to a diverse base of approximately 5,200 customers, including Amazon.

• Gaffen’s talk, titled “A New Paradigm for Large Scale Mixed Use Development: A Quadruple Bottom Line — Profit, Public, Planet and Purpose (PPPP),” centered mostly on his company’s current project, a reimagining of San Diego’s Seaport Village.

• Roschelle spoke on emerging trends in real estate in 2018, discussing survey question results on what words describe the 2018 real estate market, examining positive and negative outlook reactions, that emerging trends in the market for the new year are interconnected and a look at how current real estate expansion is slow compared to past instances and thoughts on if it will be sustainable. He briefly spoke about changes in the current economy, including a statistic on a “freelance” economy in which approximately 57.3 million people freelance and that millennials are leading the way in that number with 47 percent of workers in that age demographic freelance, more than any other generation.

• Two breakout sessions following the general session speakers had Jennifer Hernandez provide her thoughts on the topic: “California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Housing Crisis: Moving Past CEQA Reform Gridlock,” and Dr. Norm Miller examined “Blurred Lines, Disruptions and the Future of Real Estate.” Miller’s talk looked at several factors, everything from technology, climate change, job security, a look at business closures in 2017, real estate that’s not needed much per capita, possible real estate opportunities that will be in demand and a glimpse at new forms of real estate.

USD Students Attend BMC Conference

While the conference’s central objective is bringing together the professional real estate community for industry insights, access to first-class networking opportunities and to provide useful trending information, it’s also another valuable resource for USD students who are in real estate education programs.

“I came from San Francisco so I’d not had much connection to the San Diego real estate market before so the biggest takeaway for me has been integrating myself into San Diego professional real estate groups and USD does a really good job with that,” said Whitney Jorgensen, a full-time student in USD’s Master of Science in Real Estate program who graduates in May. “Whether it’s allowing us to attend events such as the conference or bringing guest speakers into the classroom, they do a really great job of putting students in front of really great community leaders and experienced individuals. It’s a really well-rounded education and there are a lot of resources.”

Zachary Harman, a May 2017 USD undergraduate alumni in real estate and finance who started the part-time MSRE program in the fall, is already working for Cushman-Wakefield as a commercial real estate broker. He credits his exposure to USD’s programs for fueling his passion for the real estate business. USD’s undergraduate program, he said, gave him a knowledge base toward understanding the real estate field. In the master’s program, classes and events such as the conference are helping “to further my career with great connections and providing real-life applications to the concepts I learned in undergrad.”

Both students said the conference was a worthwhile experience.

“I really looked forward to hearing from Hamid Moghadam of Prologis because he’s such an international player and he’s doing some unique projects,” Jorgensen said. “I really enjoyed learning about the vertical industrial they’re developing because it was something that before I had not looked into too much.”

Jorgensen, who did an MSRE study abroad trip to Hong Kong during Intersession, stated she was quite familiar with Gaffen’s discussion on the Seaport Village project because it is simultaneously being studied in a current feasibility class she’s taking in the MSRE program.

Harman looked at attending the conference as a highlight for several reasons.

“I’ve not been able to be taught by Norm Miller yet so I looked forward to hearing him. I know how educated he is, how intelligent he is on the subject. Learning from Dr. Miller is one of my main reasons for applying for the MSRE program. Second, the conference is great for networking and third, the real-life knowledge you get from speakers who are leaders in industry is just something you can’t get day in, day out in the office or in the classroom.”

Asked what he'd take away from the conference and apply to his work, he particularly liked “hearing about the trends as far as which sectors are thriving and which ones aren’t. Being in industrial (real estate), I heard today that industrial will be thriving, taking over retail and how they’ll be blending. I can take that back with me to the office and use that knowledge on the day-to-day when speaking to clients, educating them or having discussions within my own teams on the best ways to move forward.”

— Ryan T. Blystone


Read media coverage of the conference

March 2, 2018 CoStar™: Prologis Sees More Opportunities Amid Disruption in Global Logistics Market."

• March 5, 2018 “Build Up Local Business Through a Global Platform”  *Requires free subscription.

March 5, 2016 The Daily Transcript: Trump’s Proposed Tariffs to Affect Commercial Real Estate.”  *Requires paid subscription.

March 6, 2018 “Seaport San Diego Project Moves Into Its Second Evolution”  *Requires free subscription.

View slides from the conference

• Norm Miller’s PowerPoint Slides

• Jennifer Hernandez’s PowerPoint Slides.

View photos of the conference