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Controversy over Seattle building height restrictions

Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development may soon make changes to code regulating low-rise multifamily residential buildings.  Last night, city officials held a meeting to hear frustrations from neighbors who dislike the size of lowrise multifamily structures.

Ryan Miller is a Master of Urban Planning student pursuing the Real Estate Specialization at the Runstad Center, and a research assistant working with Glenn Crellin at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.  He was present at the meeting and weighed in with an argument in favor of development, which can help provide an answer to the problem of rising rental rates, as well as respect Seattle’s culture of inclusiveness.  Watch local network coverage of the story here!

Tomorrow! Runstad Affiliate Fellows at NAIOP January breakfast meeting

On Wednesday, January 15, the Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows will present an encore screening of their film, PLACE CAPITAL: A Live Documentary About 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 a morning of moving images, stories, and reflections.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Four Seasons Seattle

99 Union St.

Seattle, WA 98101

$40.00 – NAIOP members

$60.00 – Non-Members

Please visit this page to register.


Congratulations to Andy Krause, Ph.D.!

The Runstad Center is pleased to announce that we have a newly-minted PhD student!

Andy Krause, Ph.D.
Andy Krause, Ph.D.

Andy earned his degree through the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Urban Design & Planning, advised by Runstad Center faculty member Christopher Bitter.  Andy’s dissertation work focused on the policy and market context for urban intensification within the City of Seattle.  More specifically, he developed a toolbox-type planning support system to measure parcel-level land use change within the city.  Using data from this model, he then analyzed housing growth within the City’s Urban Villages and conducted a statistical analysis of the determinants of low-rise redevelopment over the 2003 to 2012 period.  Overall findings suggest that: 1) the City’s Urban Villages have been meeting growth targets; and 2) the low-rise redevelopment process in Seattle is driven primarily by factors influencing profitability and that the importance of certain factors – such as lot size and nearby redevelopment activity – varies over both space and time.

In the near future, Andy will be splitting time between on-going research projects at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies and his continued consulting work with Greenfield Advisors, a Seattle-based valuation firm.  He can be reached at

Congratulations, Dr. Krause!

Mark your calendars for 2013 IREM Forecast Breakfast

Runstad Center director Dr. Stephen O’Connor will moderate an all-star panel at the 2013 IREM Forecast breakfast on December 6 at the Bellevue Westin.  The panel includes Dr. Svenja Gudell, (Zillow), Joe McWilliams (Port of Seattle), Dave MaGee (Cushman & Wakefield) and Matt Rosauer (Pine Street Group).  The breakfast will also feature a keynote by Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.

More information and a registration form may be found here: IREM Brochure_ForReference.


BE PhD Colloquium with the Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows

Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows class of 2013: Kelly Hogg, Alvaro Jimenez, Gabriel Grant, Eric Becker, Lisa Picard, Ken Yocom
Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows class of 2013: Kelly Hogg, Alvaro Jimenez, Gabriel Grant, Eric Becker, Lisa Picard, Ken Yocom

The Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows presented excerpts from their live documentary, PLACE CAPITAL, earlier today at a lunchtime colloquium hosted by PhD students in the College of Built Environments.  This year’s Affiliate Fellows traveled to Berlin, Krakow and Detroit to study the strategies and synergies that create value and vitality in challenged urban environments.  They produced a film with vignettes documenting their key observations and shared several of those film vignettes in their presentation.  One key theme revolves around the “sharing economy” and how collaborative consumption (co-working, AirBNB, Zipcar etc.) is reshaping the demand for urban spaces.  Faculty respondents were on hand to spur the dialogue – including Carrie Dossick, Gundula Proksch and Susan Jones.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to engage the college community in an interdisciplinary dialogue with practitioners in the field.  The group that gathered today engaged in a rich discussion around the tension between co-creation of spaces and regulatory requirements that tend to chill innovation and creative expression.  Real estate students were active participants in the conversation, and at the end of the session were recruited to participate in an interdisciplinary studio which will examine waterfront development in Seattle.

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

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!

Chris Bitter awarded 2013 Lionel H. Pries Teaching Award

The Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies is pleased to announce that Prof. Chris Bitter was named as the 2013 recipient of the Lionel H. Pries Teaching Award, selected by the students of the College of Built Environments.

Prof. Bitter’s background combines academic training in urban and economic geography with ten years of applied real estate research experience.   Prior to joining the University of Washington, he was a faculty member in the Department of Geography at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on market dynamics, urban economics, and sustainable development.  At the Runstad Center, he teaches three core courses in Real Estate Appraisal, Market Analysis, and Urban Land Economics.

“Chris Bitter always shows up prepared to deliver an effective lesson plan. Through his consistent teaching methodology Chris clearly articulates the essential real estate fundamentals that influence all aspects of the built environment.  For his dedication to providing students with a solid foundation in real estate economics, market analysis and valuation, Chris was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Lionel Pries award,” says Dave Knight, MSRE class of 2013 and former president of the MSRE Student Council.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by the students of the College of Built Environments as the top teacher in 2013,” says Prof. Bitter.  “This award attests not only to my dedication to teaching, but also to the quality of my students and their devotion to learning.  Thank you all for your support!”

Lionel H. (“Spike”) Pries (June 1, 1897 – April 7, 1968), was a leading architect, artist, and educator in the Pacific Northwest.  In the mid 1980s, students in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (now CBE) established this student-selected award in his name to honor excellence in teaching.