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Call for applications: Hines Competition 2014

ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition — Open to CBE Graduate Students – $50,000 Prize


Attention students… the ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is one of the most prestigious academic design competitions in the country. Open only to graduate students, each team selected to participate by the ULI will have two weeks to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submissions will consist of boards that include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data. The competition will be conducted from January 13 to January 27, 2014. First prize for the winning team is $50,000, which is divided evenly among each of the team members. Here is the competition website.

The rules state that each team is to be multidisciplinary and comprised of no more than five (5) students from a minimum of three disciplines that grant three (3) different degrees, one of which must be a non-design-related discipline. Given this criteria, we believe that the College of Built Environments is perfectly positioned to compete in this event. Therefore, students from Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Construction Management and Real Estate are invited to submit their names in nomination to each of their respective department chairs for consideration. Your intention will only be recognized by submitting a one-page resume. Although all are welcome, a first priority will be given to our second-year students. Given the dates of the competition, special permission from either your department chair or individual professors may be required. Since the ULI application deadline for each team is December 9, 2013, your one-page resume must be submitted by November 22, 2013.

We look forward to putting together a winning team! Please direct questions and applications to Stephen O’Connor, Director, Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies (


Washington home sales surged, affordability declined in third quarter

Washington state’s housing market continued to strengthen in the July-September quarter, registering the fifth quarterly consecutive improvement in home sales activity, according to Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research here at the Runstad Center.   Similarly, median home prices throughout the state advanced, while the affordability of homes dropped measurably.

The Q3 snapshot is now available: Snapshot _WSHM Q3 2013

UW Today also has full coverage of the story.  We expect to have the full report available to subscribers in a few weeks.  Interested in subscribing?  Please contact

CoreNet Young Leaders/Runstad Center Event coming up on November 12


CoreNet Global Young Leaders / Runstad Center event, Tuesday, November 12


University of Washington
Gould Hall, Room 110
5:30PM – 7:30PM

Cost:  FREE!  However, for planning purposes, please RSVP.   (a printable registration form is also available here.)

Real estate professionals consistently hear about the “buzz” companies that are driving the commercial real estate market in the Puget Sound region – Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing to name a few.  However, there is one other driver that tends to be overlooked…. and that is the University of Washington!  Join the CoreNet Young Leaders Group, in conjunction with the Runstad Center and the College of Built Environments, on campus to learn more about how higher education is impacting the real estate market in the Puget Sound Region.  Runstad Center Director Steve O’Connor joins Steve Kennard (Director, UW Operations and Real Estate Services) as guest panelists who will share their unique and experienced insight into the real estate world of higher education.

This event is open to all individuals serving the Corporate Real Estate Industry and are 35 years and younger. We highly encourage you to spread the word amongst all young real estate professionals to join us in these events and be a part of a stronger young leader’s community in the Puget Sound area.


New winter course offered in Affordable Housing and Development

Winter 2014 Housing Policy – flyer and link to registration info

The Runstad Center is pleased to announce a new Winter 2014 Course Offering:

RE 598D Special Topics: Affordable Housing & Development
Wednesdays, 6-8:50 pm
Gould 114
Instructor:  Al Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority (Retired)

Class Overview

This course is intended as a broad introduction to the field of affordable housing, which will guide the student through the affordable housing development process and the policy issues that must be addressed to successfully plan, finance, design, construct and manage affordable housing.

Using Seattle as a contemporary laboratory, the class will examine the Yesler Terrace redevelopment project as an example of a 21st Century approach to affordable housing in the context of smart growth, sustainability and social equity. In the process, students will gain a historical perspective of affordable housing, as well as a current understanding of the programs and issues that Seattle and other major metropolitan areas face in trying to address the shelter needs of low and moderate-income households.

In addition, the relationships of federal tax and budget policy, as well as the role of federal, state, local, non-profit and private sector agencies and participants will be examined.

By the end of the class students will have gained a strong familiarity with the broad range of affordable housing development programs as well as contemporary policy issues related to affordable housing in the United States.  Additionally, an understanding of affordable housing development and finance, as well as the public/private process required to successfully develop affordable housing will be achieved.

About the Instructor:

Al Levine, who holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington, is the former Deputy Executive Director of the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). During his tenure at the SHA, Professor Levine was the principal in charge of the Yesler Terrrace Redevelopment Project. A nationally recognized expert in the field of affordable housing policy and development, Professor Levine brings an abundance of knowledge and real-world experience to the subject.

MSREs visit T-Mobile


Last Friday, several MSRE students were treated to a lunch-and-learn session with Sean Prasad, VP of Real Estate and Facilites (CRE&F), and James Mayton, MSRE 2013 graduate, at the T-Mobile campus in Bellevue, WA.  We’re proud of our students for their initiative, of our alumni for their incredible support, and of our community for fostering such a fruitful professional network!   Thanks to first-year MSRE student Patrick Kassin for guest-blogging about their visit, too.  You can read all about it here.

City Council Candidates on Socially Responsible Development

MSRE class of 2011 alumni Brian Kalthoff and Boting Zhang have created a website, Socially Responsible Development: A Community Dialogue, to address the largely polarized debate surrounding development in Seattle.  Their hope is to carve out a space for curious minds to engage in a meaningful, research-based conversation about what socially responsible development looks like.

Since August 2013, Brian and Boting have met with a number of neighborhood level developers (for and non-profit alike) and community stakeholders to help them develop a questionnaire for the mayoral candidates in regards to their views of socially responsible development.  They have submitted the same questionnaire to candidates running for positions on Seattle’s City Council. Their website now has the Council candidate Q&A available for viewing.  Check out their blog post below, and if you’re a Seattle resident, please don’t forget to vote in the November 5 general election.

Guest bloggers: Brian Kalthoff and Bo Zhang

Over the summer, we began working with a small, diverse group of both for-profit and non-profit housing developers and citizens, all with an interest in promoting socially responsible development toward Seattle’s future built form. The Harrell, McGinn, Murray, and Steinbrueck campaigns all responded with detailed responses to our questionnaire.


After the primary election, we submitted the same questions to the candidates for City Council. We are happy to say that we have received responses from all but one campaign. The Conlin, Sawant, Bagshaw, Bellomio, Licata, O’Brien, and Shen campaigns all responded to our questions.


As the responses cannot be succinctly summarized—and with 7 different responses to 5 essay questions—below is not so much a summary as an excerpt from each full response:


Richard Conlin views the most “salient” issue regarding socially responsible development (SRD) to be the work of integrating affordable housing and transportation choices in a way that is accessible to all. His challenger, Kshama Sawant, acknowledges that Seattle has reason to tout its green credentials, but writes that these improvements are often at the expense of already marginalized communities. Sally Bagshaw hopes to advance SRD by requiring affordable units in market rate apartments, while Sam Bellomio advocates strengthening citizen engagement. Mike O’Brien, in his response, highlights his success in securing funds for a cultural center in Little Saigon as part of the Yesler Terrace Re-Development, as a way to prevent displacement and retain the neighborhood character.

Potential negative outcomes of growth, for Albert Shen, include inadequate public transit relative to the city’s growth, in particular to underserved communities—for example, the lack of a Graham Street LINK station. Kshama Sawant sees gentrification as a negative outcome of growth and development, and proposes freezing rents and enacting rent control as remedies. While Richard Conlin, after explaining the nature of Seattle’s boom-bust cycles, asserts that people in Seattle do not fear change, but rather loss. According to Sally Bagshaw, this is caused by rapid growth—and to Nick Licata this rapid growth tends to exacerbate already existing discrepancies in wealth.


Nick Licata asserts that the “Seattle process” can make the city reactive, when it should be responsive—essentially always “one (economic) boom behind.” However, the he goes on to say that as a model of community engagement, Seattle has set an international example. Mike O’Brien sees the “Seattle process” as an opportunity to fully examine a development’s merits, but that the lengthy review can increase costs that ultimately get passed on higher housing costs. Both Albert Shen and Kshama Sawant indicated that the process can cause delays to the supply of affordable housing, and both draw the connection between the delay in affordable housing and an inadequate public transportation system. Kshama Sawant proposes that while the “Seattle process” has somewhat democratized the process, monied influence still holds undue sway. Richard Conlin values the democratic principles behind the process, but sees it fall apart at times when it is an endless loop, and in the worst case the views ultimately taken into account are simply the last ones standing. He laments that the current land use code is often too focused on things we do not want to see happen, rather than promote opportunities for the things we would like to see happen.


In regards to building typologies and parking, Sally Bagshaw recognizes people’s desire to preserve single family neighborhoods, but states that 100,000 new neighbors are expected within city limits within the next 10 years. She has been impressed by some of the density solutions advocated by Seattle-based Sightline Institute’s Founder and Executive Director, Alan Durning, in his book Finding Home. These include, for example, easing parking and owner occupancy restrictions for (modest) detached and attached accessory dwelling units. Sam Bellomio states that the future typologies will be decided by the impacted neighborhoods. Nearly all candidates expressed the very critical need for improved public transportation to accompany any new growth in the city or any change to the building typologies as issues of both efficiency, sustainability, and equity.


All the candidates who responded express a desire for a range of affordability across all neighborhoods. Mike O’Brien sees the need for a multi-faceted approach that includes strengthening the incentive program in the SLU rezone to a variety of housing types, including micro-housing. Albert Shen states that his 8 years with the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), a non-profit housing provider and community development agency, gives him direct experience in working with the affordable housing community. Kshama Sawant sees raising wages, controlling rents, and taking advantage of currently vacant and underutilized buildings as steps to take before increasing supply. Richard Conlin sees the greatest need for people who earn 30-50% of area median income (AMI), especially as the Federal government reduces its commitment, and sees the Housing Levy as a key tool for this. Nick Licata states that preservation of existing housing is a key to affordability as well, and that the creation of the City’s rental housing inspection program, which he spearheaded, will promote stronger maintenance practices and will help prevent some properties from reaching such a state of disrepair that they are vulnerable to redevelopment.


Reminder: Oct. 3 PLACE CAPITAL presentation

TOMORROW! Don’t miss the Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows’ presentation of PLACE CAPITAL: A Live Documentary Film About Cities.

From travels to Berlin, Krakow, Fukushima and Detroit, this year’s Runstad Affiliate Fellows present alive documentary film about the changing nature of cities. From centers of trade to nodes of information and culture, the Fellows share stories about cities that have experienced destruction and renewal. What makes places resilient? How will the sharing economy reshape our urban experience? Are there better ways to approach development in our own community? Join us for an evening of moving images, stories and reflections.

October 3rd @ 6:30pm, HUB Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104


Orientation is a wrap… and a new school year is underway!

Incoming MSRE students just completed an intensive six-day orientation program, which included a series of briefings and project tours throughout the region.  Highlights included an opportunity to tour the new Husky Stadium and hear a real estate insider’s backstory on the complex financial and construction management aspects of that project from Walt Ingram, CFO of Wright Runstad & Co., and Chip Lydum from UW Athletics.  Orientation also included a road trip through downtown Seattle and the Eastside, with presentations from Carolyn Davis and John Torrance at CBRE on the Seattle market, Jim Melby from Kemper Development on downtown Bellevue, and the Microsoft real estate team in Redmond. The group also rode the Washington State Ferries across Puget Sound to the city of Bremerton, where advisory board member Cary Bozeman gave a presentation on public-private partnerships and economic develpment.  Students heard from Jon Rose, president of the Olympic Property Group, and Taylor Caroll with Forterra on rural development at Port Gamble and innovative transfer of development rights initiatives.  The session was held at the LEED platinum-certifed offices of the architecture & planning firm Rice Fergus Miller, which renovated the former Sears store in downtown Bremerton into an über-cool and highly sustainable office and meeting space.  Students also heard presentations on major new developments in the region including the Seattle Housing Authority’s Yesler Terrace project, and Wright Runstad & Co.’s Spring District project in the Bel-Red corridor.  The group then visited current MUP-MSRE student Nathan Daum, who has a year-long internship at the UW Real Estate Office. Advisory board member Jeanette Henderson and others on her staff discussed the unique challenges presented in managing the university’s extremely diverse real estate portfolio.

Students also spent many hours in “boot camp,” learning Excel proforma modeling techniques by working closely with our own PhD student Andy Krause.  The whirlwind week culminated in a reception hosted by the Runstad Center Advisory Board, where the new students were introduced to the real estate community and mingled with board members, internship sponsors, mentors, alumni, and other friends of the Runstad Center.

We at the Runstad Center offer our sincerest thanks to all who contributed their time and energy to this exciting introductory period for our new students, and we extend a warm Husky welcome to the incoming MSRE class of 2015!

Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows on the “sharing economy” – and an invitation to their film!


AirBNB, Zipcar and co-working: Why sharing matters to real estate

The biggest economic trend of the 21st century may revolve around a concept most of us learned before kindergarten: sharing.   Runstad Center Affiliate Fellow Gabe Grant wrote in today’s DJC about some of the experiences the fellows shared this year, specifically their reflections on how the emerging “sharing economy” is shaping real estate.  His thoughtful article can be found here.

A film about cities: Oct. 3

“Place Capital: A Live Documentary Film About Cities” will be presented by the 2013 UW Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows on Oct. 3 at HUB Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S, Seattle 98104 (note address; this is NOT the HUB at the University of Washington) starting at 6:30 p.m.

The film is about the changing nature of cities and is based on the fellows’ travels to Berlin, Krakow, Fukushima and Detroit, places that have experienced destruction and renewal.  The event will look at how will the sharing economy is reshaping the urban experience and whether there are better ways to approach development in this community.

Tickets are at  General admission is free, sponsored by a grant from 4Culture.  Please join us!

Wright Runstad’s Spring District project featured in Wall Street Journal

Developers bet big on Seattle

WR Bellevue

photo credit Studio216

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Wright Runstad & Co.’s exciting new project in Bellevue, The Spring District.  Runstad Center board member Greg Johnson, featured in the article, talks about how the Seattle area is showing dramatic growth in the demand for office development, in contrast to anemic levels of construction in other parts of the country.  More than 3 million square feet of office space is under way in the region, according to real-estate services firm Kidder Mathews.

Johnson further discusses how the Spring District project will break from tradition in car-oriented Bellevue, in a recent article from Geekwire.

Incoming MSRE students are touring the Seattle and Bellevue regional estate market today on day two of their intensive orientation period, before classes begin at the University of Washington on September 25.