“We believe, and the vast majority of the scholarly evidence corroborates, that density is a necessary but insufficient condition for addressing the housing affordability crisis,” writes Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, and Rick Mohler, associate professor of architecture. | The Seattle Times
Pedestrian zones in Seattle and Europe
Korbi Wenzl, who is undertaking a join Masters degree with the Runstad Center and the University of Regensburg in Germany, recently contributed to a piece for The Urbanist. Read his interpretation on how American retail differs from the market in Europe here
MSRE Info Session February 8th!
Interested in applying to the Master of Science in Real Estate program?
The Runstad Center will be holding an information session in downtown Seattle on February 8th. Please join us for an informal conversation about the MSRE program and application process. Runstad faculty and staff will be on hand to speak about the program. This is a great chance to get answers to your questions and probe the opportunities that real estate can add to your education and career.
MSRE INFO SESSION
Feb 8th 5:30 pm
520 Pike, 12th Floor Auditorium
Portland joins Seattle in top ten cities with a housing crunch
Peter Orser was recently quoted in a story on Oregonlive.com regarding the housing shortage across the country. Read the full article here
The mall experience, still surviving in Seattle
Runstad Advisory Board member Kemper Freeman was recently quoted in a Seattle Times article about the evolution of the Bellevue Collection, read the full story about the ongoing challenges and successes of retail in our city here
What can Seattle learn from Vancouver’s housing mess?
Peter Orser was recently quoted in a Crosscut article about how Seattle could be affected by Vancouver’s collapsing housing market, link to the story here
Not your dad’s aurora
We conclude our series from the ULI Fall Meeting with one more from Faculty member Pike Oliver…
During a session at the 2016 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Fall Meeting there was a session about the ULI Healthy Corridors project. It is an effort devoted to finding viable strategies for transforming unsafe, unattractive, and poorly connected commercial corridors into thriving places that further the goal of creating healthy and economically vibrant communities. Don Eernissee, economic development director for the City of Shoreline in our area, gave an overview of the Aurora Corridor Project, which transformed a retail strip into a business-friendly multimodal main street.
Shoreline was a bedroom community “with no heart and no town center,” he said, until the city embraced a three-mile north–south stretch of Highway 99 and invested in making it a main street. Over ten years, the city spent $140 million, or $4,400 per foot of frontage, on transit improvements such as safe crossings and sidewalks, business-access transit lanes, cohesive connections, protected bike lanes, stormwater management, and decorative lighting.
Walkers, bikers, and bus drivers love it, said Eernissee, as do retailers like Trader Joe’s. As a result of the improvements, the corridor saw a 56 percent reduction in accidents involving injuries. Ridership on the bus rapid transit (BRT) system shot up 50 percent along the corridor, which benefited from more frequent stops and a new “healthy, egalitarian, BRT lifestyle.” Improvements have led to “corridor living,” with development of 350 housing units replacing a single-story restaurant on a one-acre (0.4 ha) lot. A marketing campaign, “Not your Dad’s Aurora,” has helped change perceptions about the safety and attractiveness of the corridor within and beyond the community.
Meet Brendan Mason and Korbi Wenzl, MSRE Class of 2017
What happens when you bring a Visiting Graduate student from Germany and a 2nd year MSRE student together for a conversation?
The 2016-2017 school year has just started, and with it comes a group of fresh students with new ideas and career goals. Second year students begin this year with a big milestone in their future: graduation. The Runstad Center offers ample opportunity for networking amongst students and the industry, but this time we decided to invite a first year student and a second year student for a more intimate conversation. Joining us today are Korbinian Wenzl, MSRE Candidates of 2017, and Brendan Mason, MSRE Candidate of 2017.
Korbinian Wenzl is a 1st year MSRE student who is participating in the inaugural exchange program between the Runstad Center and the University of Regensburg in Germany. While this isn’t his first time in the US, he is getting his first dose of American education. After completing his first masters year at the International Real Estate Business School at the University of Regensburg, Korbi has just completed Orientation week and is enjoying his first quarter of the MSRE program.
Brendan Mason is a 2nd year MSRE student and an experienced project manager at Olympic Property Group. He is currently working on Harbor Hill, a 330-acre master planned community in Gig Harbor while simultaneously completing his Masters of Real Estate degree.
Given that tuition is free in Germany, we were especially curious to hear what brought Korbi to Seattle. It turns out he really wanted to get to know our educational system. “In Germany, classes are heavily lecture and exam based. Here, we have more discussions, which I find very interesting.” Says Korbi, “Of course, the UW and Runstad Center also have a great reputation.” He’s additionally attracted to Seattle’s growing real estate market and influx of capital. Finally, Korbi is also a big outdoor fan. “I can drive 30, 45 minutes and go hiking, kayaking, all sorts of activities!”
Since graduating from University of Puget Sound with his business degree, Brendan knew that he wanted to become a real estate developer. His career has included positions with Lease Crutcher Lewis and Olympic Property Group, but Brendan wanted additional education to compliment his work experience. “Back in 2006, I thought about the University of Southern California’s program. When the Runstad Center added the MSRE degree, I knew I wanted to be at the University of Washington. This is my home market and I’ll be able to obtain my degree while still gaining valuable experience in my role at Olympic Property Group,” Brendan says.
The most surprising aspect of the Runstad Center for both Korbi and Brendan is the incredible amount of industry support. “During Orientation week, we met so many people. Through this program we get to really know the real estate industry and our advisory board,” says Korbi. He nods in agreement, as Brendan adds, “We got to see the industry behind the scenes, where most people don’t get to see. I knew I would network and make friends, but this week solidified us as a class, and we built strong relationships even before our first class.”
“At first I couldn’t believe I needed to take a week’s worth of vacation to do Orientation Week,” Brendan laughs, “but it was totally worth it.”
“So why real estate?” asks Brendan, noting Korbi’s youth. Korbi is 22, but has known since high school that he wanted to work in real estate. “I’m creative, but I want to organize. Real estate is a perfect match of both worlds for me,” Korbi explains. Following graduation, he will be going back to Germany where he will work for his sponsor, the Staudinger Group, for five years. “I’m still trying out different aspects of real estate, but I’m drawn to development and asset management at a portfolio level, which are all important business lines at Staudinger,” he adds, “Following that, we’ll see where I go, depending on the opportunity, of course!”
Korbi poses the same question to Brendan. Why real estate? What aspect of real estate are you drawn to? “I’m pursuing development,” Brendan responds, “During undergrad, I thought I’d pursue a career as a financial advisor and did an internship at Morgan Stanley. After a few months, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me. My business school invited alums to talk to us every Thursday night. On one of those evenings a gentleman by the name of Tom Leavitt explained to us his transition from being an attorney to a real estate developer. By the end of his presentation, I knew that I would do whatever it took to become one myself. I love being a developer because you get to see your project when you finish. You get to live it and it lasts a lifetime.”
“It lasts a lifetime. I love that,” responds Korbi.
“To your point, real estate development allows me to be creative. For my current project in Gig Harbor, I’ve collaborated with my team and an artist to build a natural park that engages with the community. The whole project will include single family homes, multifamily units, retail, and numerous parks and trails. It is a beautiful example of what the Growth Management Act set out to do; increase density while preserving greenspace. I don’t know where else I can have such a cool job!” Brendan says enthusiastically as he shares photos of artwork for the parks.
As future leaders of the real estate community, the conversation turns to the biggest issues facing Seattle. Despite only having lived in Seattle for a month, Korbi immediately answers, “Easy question. Transit. Especially coming from Europe.”
Brendan laughs and agrees, and then adds, “Population growth is also a big challenge. As a developer, I’m against urban sprawl. We need to be able to do more infill projects in order to preserve our resources and natural landscape. Also, I’m excited for the potential of driverless cars and what that means for development. Parking structures might be a thing of the past and they make great redevelopment sites.”
Despite these challenges, Brendan and Korbi both love Seattle. Some of their favorite things? “Tango’s El Diablo dessert,” says Brendan, “You need to go try it.” Korbi is game, but he is enjoying Seattle because of the great opportunities and easy access to the mountains and outdoor recreation. Brendan agrees and says “If you like the mountains, you should come with me night skiing after class during winter quarter, there isn’t a better way to end a day after class.” “That sounds great”, replies Korbi as the two start planning their wintertime adventure.
MSRE New Student Orientation Week
New MSRE students dove into their school year on Monday, September 19, 2016 with a week-long orientation that took them from the University District to Bellevue, Pioneer Square, Downtown, to Kent.
“The Runstad Center has multiple goals for its’ week long orientation program for students. We want students to begin their studies with inspiration from the best projects and most engaging leaders in the industry. We want students to connect with the industry from the get go – to learn about the industry organizations and how they can participate in them; to meet the advisory board members, mentors and our alumni so they can call on them as resources throughout their time with us,“ says Suzanne Cartwright, Associate Director of the Runstad Center.
During this week, the MSRE Class of 2018 met with faculty and professors to learn about the robust curriculum and elective offerings provided by the Runstad Center, and were introduced to real estate community networks, including ULI, NAIOP, CoreNet, and CREW. This ambitious week also had the students visiting some of the most prominent projects in this region, notably the new Amazon Headquarters, the Spring District, and the new Weyerhaeuser Headquarters.
Taryn Rehn, MSRE Class of 2018, said, “It was an action packed orientation week filled with inspiring speakers, events, and tours. We got a rare tour of Amazon headquarters wherein the Director Global of Real Estate and Facilities described how their workplace design strategy supports the dynamic company culture… Part of the reason I chose the Runstad program was the involvement of the greater Puget Sound real estate community. This extraordinary level of support became evident as dozens of industry leaders offered presentations, did facility tours, and attended welcome events.”
Orientation week also allowed the new students build rapport with each other. As Suzanne puts it, “…we want them to build esprit du corps among themselves – to appreciate the diversity of perspectives and experiences that each student brings to the class – and to create a community of learners, an atmosphere of safety within which risks can be taken. An intimate graduate seminar program located in a dynamic, progressive city deserves no less!”
The Runstad Center is built on incredible industry support. This busy week allowed the next generation of real estate leaders to meet with well over 80 established real estate professionals.
“The Orientation Week is something that really sets this program apart… and it absolutely started the academic year off on the right foot… I was very impressed with the individuals who donated their time to meet with us all around the city. We met executives, developers, construction managers, property managers, brokers, and the list goes on and on. Their willingness to share their expertise and insight with us was very much appreciated,” said Will Mentor, MSRE Class of 2018.
“Local real estate professionals met with us in mentorship groups and one on one. Not only are they willing to be available while we’re in the program but they wholeheartedly want to be a helpful resource. They’ve made a long term commitment to the success of the Runstad program and its’ ability to produce future industry leaders. I was impressed by their generosity, being willing to volunteer time out of their busy schedules… Overall it was a fun, memorable week and set a very positive tone for our studies at the Runstad Center,” added Taryn.
A City to Love
Runstad Center Affiliate Fellow, Joe David, concludes our series of blog posts documenting the 2015-16 Fellows’ experiences in Auckland, New Zealand last spring.
The 2015-2106 Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows had the privilege to spend a week in late March exploring the city of Auckland, New Zealand – A community which is grappling with many of the same opportunities and challenges that Seattle currently faces in the midst rapid population growth.
Our group spent seven non-stop days meeting with private developers, architects, transportation planners, utility planners, real-estate associations, community activists, and city officials. The goal was to learn as much as possible about the role that the right-of-way could play in fostering community spirit, advancing sustainable planning, and promoting mass transit. It was our belief that these areas of inquiry could unlock the opportunities that the public realm presented. This scope was intended to help us focus our efforts so that we could return with well-articulated recommendations for our own community.
We succeeded in learning about those specific aspects of Auckland’s streetscape, but more importantly, we discovered a city that had gone to great lengths to break down these very silos – instilling a holistic visionary approach to city building. We discovered a city with a clear vision for itself, a streamlined governance structure to implement that vision, city agencies that were empowered to take calculated risk, and a culture that used mistakes as an opportunity to learn and quickly advance. Vision, financing, love of place, economics, culture, history and vibrant city living are all nested together as one multi-pronged strategy.
The Fellows have returned to Seattle with clear examples of how a community facing similar challenges of population growth has rallied to create “the most livable city in the world”. We present ideas for how Seattle and the region can learn from this example and harness the cultural, economic, creative potential of its own streets.
To view the Fellows recent presentation at Impact Hub Seattle, click here, we also have some lovely photos of the event here