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Runstad team wins the 2014 NAIOP Challenge!

Congratulations to our Real Estate Development Studio students for winning the Eleventh Annual NAIOP Real Estate Challenge!  This unique competition features teams from the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Alberta; each vying for bragging rights and the prestige associated with the mastery of the event.  Students from each university’s real estate program compete from January through late March to create and present a development proposal for a multi-faceted and challenging real-world project.

The Runstad Center’s team of graduate students studied various development scenarios for the Mariners Square site in the South Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Their proposal, “Gas Works Flats,” represents an opportunity to build on what’s existing to transform a key site and create enduring value without a large footprint.  For those who couldn’t attend today’s NAIOP breakfast, the team’s full report and full presentation are available online.

Big thanks and a thunderous round of applause to our hardworking students and their talented, devoted instructors, Chris Bitter and Al Levine!

Here are some images from our exciting morning:


MSRE candidate '14 Eric Hadden with John Teutsch, site sponsor and owner of Mariners Square
MSRE candidate ’14 Eric Hadden with John Teutsch, site sponsor and owner of Mariners Square
The Filley Cup comes back to the University of Washington!
The Filley Cup comes back to the University of Washington!
Real estate faculty members George Rolfe and Al Levine enjoying the presentation
Real estate faculty members George Rolfe and Al Levine taking in the presentations
Runstad Center director Steve O'Connor (far left) congratulations the winning UW team (L-R): Craig Ratchford, Ryan Miller, Elizabeth Johnson, Jon Beem, site sponsor John Teutsch, Jin Seok Park, Nate Daum, Louisa Galassini, Aaron Lykken, Eric Hadden, Yifan Cui, Bo Peng.
Runstad Center director Steve O’Connor (far left) congratulates the winning students from the Development studio (L-R): Craig Ratchford, Ryan Miller, Elizabeth Johnson, Jon Beem, site sponsor John Teutsch, Jin Seok Park, Nate Daum, Louisa Galassini, Aaron Lykken, Eric Hadden, Yifan Cui, Bo Peng.

Seattle as classroom for first-year students

First year MSRE student Patrick Kassin has been blogging about the many visits he and his fellow students have been making to sites around Seattle, and their conversations with the many Runstad Center board members, mentors, and friends they meet.  These inside tours of the real estate “real world” are an invaluable complement to work done in the classroom.  Seattle has an incredibly rich and varied market, and the Runstad Center is fortunate to have close connections to the major players in the industry that shapes it.  One of the biggest assets to our program is how readily available these individuals make themselves so our students can learn from their experience and expertise.  Check out Patrick’s blog for the full report!

Evolution Projects visits the Runstad Center

Ji Shon '13 and Chad Dale of Evolution Partners
Ji Shon ’13 and Chad Dale of Evolution Partners

MSRE 2013 alumna Ji Shon returned to Gould Hall yesterday along with her colleague Chad Dale, partner in Evolution Projects, for a brown bag lunch session with our students.  Ji completed a dual MSRE/M.Arch degree last year and is now doing both design and development work for Evolution.  Chad is a partner is the famed Seattle restaurant The Walrus and the Carpenter, and has developed a great deal of expertise on the real estate aspects of restaurant development, adaptive reuse, and a host of other topics.  Evolution Projects is the development arm of the Fremont based outdoor retailer “evo” (evolution Innovations), which strives to bring values around “commerce, cause, culture and community” to all of their development projects.  This was a wonderful opportunity to hear about cutting edge work being done by a small, innovative development team – just the kind of work so many of us would like to be associated with and live down the street from. Our thanks to Ji and Chad for answering our students’ questions and joining us for an engaging discussion!

Christopher Leinberger lecture available online

Christopher Leinberger presented a fascinating picture of the Walkable Urban Future of Metro Seattle at the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on February 12.  If you couldn’t be there in person, you can enjoy the lecture right here, right now!  Our thanks to the UW College of Built Environments staff for recording it and making it available to all.

New spring quarter course in Green Building

The Runstad Center is pleased to announce a new Spring 2014 course offering:

RE 598: Green Building Law & Risk Mitigation
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 7 – 8:20 pm (3 credits)
Gould 440
Instructor:  Nicole DeNamur, JD & LEED Green Associate

Click to download the flyer


This multidisciplinary course will focus on the intersection of green, high performing buildings and the law.  Topics will include:

  1.  Systems and standards for defining “green” and the impacts of this definition.
  2.  Federal, state and local regulatory landscape.
  3.  Assessment of risks and risk mitigation tools.
  4.  Professional liability, financing, and insurance.
  5.  Environmental and social justice issues.

Students will learn to identify and understand the risks and challenges presented by high-performing buildings, and analyze frameworks and strategies to manage and overcome these challenges.  This course is designed to prepare future sustainability leaders for the issues they will encounter as this area continues to evolve and become increasingly regulated.

Questions about enrollment?  Email


You’re invited to UCREW: March 4, 2014

The Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies & Commercial Real Estate Women present:  UCREW!

Tuesday, March 4, 5-7pm
Gould Court

UCREW 2014 Flier Revised

Are you interested in the real estate industry? If yes, this event is for you. If not, this event is also for you. Because whether you’re in planning, finance, construction management, design, HR, engineering, philosophy or… any discipline, the industry has something for you. How about customer service, project management, research, green building and sustainability… there are endless possibilities for you to explore and apply your interests in real estate.

CREW Seattle & Sound has partnered up with The Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies to host a fantastic event, UCREW, to be held on Tuesday, March 4, from 5 – 7pm in Gould Hall. This event features an interactive panel session with high-profile speakers representing a wide range of fields, along with professional networking as well as opportunities for job shadowing and mentoring.  RSVP now!

While CREW seeks to promote the advancement of women in the industry, this event is by no means only for ladies. Anyone who is a supporter of the mission is welcomed!

Runstad alumnus grows new food industry concept


MSRE ’12 alumnus Chris Bajuk has been receiving lots of media attention lately for his environmental agriculture startup, UrbanHarvest.  Bajuk has partnered with The Millionair Club, a leading Seattle charity, building a 250 square foot hydroponics system in the basement of their large Belltown facility, with the goal of harvesting some 20,000 bowls of salad a year.  The program will provide fresh produce for sale to local stores and restaurants, as well as supply homeless individuals and families with donated fresh produce.  It will also create job training and employment opportunities in urban farming to participants in the Millionair Club’s jobs program.

The new venture has been widely covered by local media, including KOMO News, KING5 News, Puget Sound Business Journal, and the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

The 93-year-old Millionair Club charity provides employment opportunities, meals and other social services to thousands of people a year.  UrbanHarvest, founded by Bajuk in 2012, operates on an ethic of “people, planet, profit” — meaning that in addition to being financially sustainable, the company focuses equally on positive benefits for employees, consumers, and the environment.  UrbanHarvest won top honors in the University of Washington’s annual business plan competition, and hopes to bring a new type of farming to rooftops – and basements – across Seattle and beyond.

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!

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!

First year students meet with local mentors

While our second-year students were in Chicago for the ULI fall meeting, our first-year students were busy meeting with some heavy hitters in the local real estate community.  Patrick Kassin shares some choice tidbits on his blog about the students’ tour of Stadium Place with Kevin Daniels, and Lei Wu writes in with an account of her conversation with Bob Wallace of Wallace Properties.  Past, present, and future MSRE students would do well to take note of the valuable insights which Lei learned and wishes to share with other young professionals entering the field.

Thank you to all of these talented mentors for so generously sharing their time and wisdom with our students!


A Mentor’s Tips for Real Estate Industry New Professionals

Contributed by Lei Wu, November 10, 2013


Bob Wallace and I met at a NAIOP mentoring event on October 23, 2013. During our brief conversion, I learned that Bob is the CEO of Wallace Properties, which has been an influential real estate company in the Puget Sound region since the 1970s. Its projects are regular features on news media, such as the Puget Sound Business Journal. As successful as he is, Bob seems very down to earth and humble. I yearned to learn about more about him and his recipe for success. Maybe there is an ingredient or two that a newbie like me could borrow right away, which would start me off on the right foot. As swarms of mentees surrounded him at the event, I decided that a separate meeting with Bob later would be the way to go.

Bob generously agreed to meet with me on a sunny Friday morning.  Our one and a half hour conversation was filled with stories of fun and wisdom. The recipe that I was looking for emerged through these stories. The two biggest ingredients that I have heard from these stories are: 1) focusing on your strengths and 2) giving back to the community.

Focus on your strengths. Between two potentially good career options: healthcare management consulting and real estate, Bob made the decision to focus on the latter early on. As Wallace Properties developed into a full-blown commercial real estate company over the years, focusing on strong areas allowed the company’s reputation to develop concurrently with growth. However, the areas that Bob has delegated for outside help are probably as significant as opportunities he has taken on. For example, Wallace Properties does not provide residential property management because this area is not regarded as one of its strengths. What does it do for its own multi-family properties? It hires good residential property management companies.

Give back to the community with what you are good at. “I sort of understand finance and real estate. Those are areas in which I have tried to give back to the community.” Bob’s efforts in a list of diverse community organizations show the point of his words. One example is his involvement as the past chair of the Major League Baseball Public Facilities District, also known as Safeco Field. Another example is Bob’s efforts with Puget Sound Air Transportation Commission as its chair.  A quote that Bob used in emphasizing his point is ”we spend too much talking with ourselves.” You do not have to be a chair in order to get involved meaningfully in a community organization. Bob noted a success story about a young professional, who has been active in community organizations. Apparently, her active community involvement has helped her get to know and work with people. Not surprisingly, she does very well in her professional career.

Now, I have shared my learning from one mentor. I hope you can put it to good use in your future successes.