Wednesday, March 31, 2010

UW goes global with new real estate program posted an article today on the new Global Real Estate Master (GREM) program, a new two-phase program that combines high-level instruction in economics, finance, and real estate finance at one of three partner schools with training in the principles of international real estate during a capstone semester at the Wisconsin School of Business.
In the first phase of the program...students will spend up to three semesters studying economics and finance to earn an MBA or master of science in a business field. Then, in January 2011, the first participants will arrive in Madison for the real estate component of their degrees.
In the article, program director François Ortalo-Magné discusses the roots and growth of this new degree program.
“We figured we could leverage our expertise here in real estate and put together a consortium of schools from around the world that would use their prestige and brand recognition to source students for us and also generate a very high quality of teaching.”
He also "hopes that the global real estate program can serve as a model for other areas of excellence at UW-Madison."

Go to to read the full article and visit for more information on this innovative new degree option.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MIPIM 2010: Trends and Networking Opportunities

Here is the next installment in our continuing series Meet Our Current Students; this one shares an MBA student's views on MIPIM:

Last week's MIPIM conference in Cannes, France proved to be an enlightening experience. In addition to meeting industry leaders from around the globe, my fellow class members and I attended panel discussions and posted summary posts here on this blog (see keyword: MIPIM for more coverage). Overall, the real estate industry appears upbeat coming out of the recent market downturn.

In the evenings, we continued networking at private parties hosted by various real estate firms. On Wednesday, we attended the RICS Professional Bodies Reception in a pavilion on the beach. Although lesser known in the United States, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) was founded in London in 1868 and has become the preeminent global organization of real estate professionals.

It is difficult to pick out one defining moment of the MIPIM conference, but the RICS reception was definitely a highlight for me. We met with the outgoing President Max Crofts, the incoming President Robert Peto, and CEO Louis Armstrong. They discussed the continued role of RICS as a leader in the global real estate marketplace.

I spoke with a variety of industry professionals who emphasized the value of RICS. The designation provides clients an assurance of high competence and ethical standards, and has become essential for international work. The opportunity to network with such a prestigious group proved invaluable to our professional growth at MIPIM.

Travis Campbell is a first year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business. He is looking forward to pursuing his RICS designation upon graduation and joining the global network of real estate professionals.

Friday, March 19, 2010

MIPIM 2010: Signs of economic recovery

During the closing session of MIPIM 2010 in Cannes, UW Real Estate faculty member and department chair François Ortalo-Magné and Dr. Thomas Beyerle, head of global research for Aberdeen Property Investors, presented on the signs of economic recovery in U.S., Europe and the rest of the world. The full slide presentation is available below. Your comments/questions are welcome!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

MIPIM 2010: Outlook: Turkey

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Recovery of the Real Estate Sector in Turkey

Turkey’s retail market has seen significant growth in recent years and has continued to expand its supply despite the crisis. However, as a result, rents have fallen by approximately 15 to 20%. The office market has performed better than the retail market throughout the crisis. Higher quality office space is currently undersupplied in the market. There will likely be significant opportunity in the future for value-add development in the conversion of Class-B office properties.

There is currently a large gap between foreign investor price expectations and local owner price expectations, which has caused the limited sales. While rents have declined, local owners have been less affected due to lower debt levels, and therefore have not been forced to sell properties at depressed prices to raise capital.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Core is king

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: A Year of Reckoning—Emerging Trends 2010

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers Emerging Trends in Real Estate (Europe) report 2010 highlights the fact that there is cautious optimism in the real estate market, but we should “expect a long, slow haul.” Two major problems may hinder the pace of the real estate recovery. First, concerns over the overall economy and what will happen when state aid ends. Second is the massive amount of refinancing looming in the next few years, and a concern over how this debt will be dealt with. Core is king--it is better to keep it simple. Minimizing risk is imperative; therefore, investments should focus on these core assets in large and liquid markets.

European cities with the strongest acquisition potential are Munich, Hamburg, Paris, and London, while Moscow, Madrid, Barcelona, and Dublin sit at the bottom. While the possibility for development generally remains off the table, cities with the strongest likelihood for development include Istanbul, Munich, Hamburg, and Warsaw.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: REIT review

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Recovery Positions: Listed Property- Advanced Positions?

Many investors look at REITs and other real estate securities as a liquid path into real estate investment. However, the fast paced investing has led to the need for constant guidance on the value of the underlying assets. This mark-to-market valuation mind set has led to a much more volatile market and a great deal of stress for the retail investors who purchased the securities with the intent to hold. While listed securities offer retail investors an opportunity to invest in real estate with ease, it is unclear whether these unsophisticated investors are able to handle the volatility of these securities. The current system is likely here to stay, but real estate is ill-suited for the current world obsessed with instant information. Companies that focus to property fundamentals and seeking sustainable returns from quality assets are one most likely to survive going forward.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: What do tentants think?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: How Can Occupiers Position Themselves for an Upturn? Doing More With Less

This session focused on the real estate market from the tenant perspective (the only session to do so) and on stakeholder management and the changes in market conditions. Some markets have seen rents fall as much as 35%, producing both winners and losers, and a variety of opportunities. However, while market conditions matter, end users are clearly focused on the productivity of their employees and the strategic growth of their core businesses. Landlords may be missing an opportunity in this downturn to focus on the end-user who could expand, but instead are utilizing existing space more efficiently for some time.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Opportunities in MENA

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Value Creation Strategies for Hotels in the MENA Region
Although MENA (Middle East / North Africa) was negatively impacted by the economic crisis over the last two years, hotel owners and developers remain confident of the region’s growth potential. The MENA hotel market experienced the same level of decline as Europe, and has since witnessed a recovery trend. Times of crisis create opportunities for entrepreneurial investors. One strategy is to acquire large swaths of land near the sea, and create a destination hotel resorts. The remaining land is developed into residential properties, which are marketed to visitors enjoying the resorts. The investor build lifestyle infrastructure, such as parks and schools, leading to a resort town. Some developers are moving away from the saturated first-class hotel market and focus on mid-market hotels in areas such as Saudi Arabia. As the MENA region continues to stabilize and grow, investors will take advantage of the area’s locational advantages.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: UK douple dip?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: UK Commercial Property: The investment opportunity

UK transaction volume for core class A assets has spiked during the last 6 months primarily catalyzed by a few early transactions, with 68% of the investment from overseas investors. Panelist felt that investors jumped back into the market quickly in the UK due to its liquidity, transparency and mature market. Currently, transaction volumes are expected to slow down as uncertainty in regards to the upcoming elections and the possibility of a double dip recession are forefront on investors minds.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Canada beyond the Olympics

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Canada: The “New” Safest Market in the World

Fresh off the successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Canada is attempting to direct attention and investment to the relative safe waters of its national property markets. Stability is their motto, and with the recent downturn in the global economy, the Canadian property market boasts both attractive market fundamentals as well as a strong positive outlook for the next century.

Vacancy rates are approximately 5%-10% lower than U.S. markets and net absorption showed positive results over the last calendar year. As a result, there are very few distressed properties within the market, and there is no unnecessary pressure forcing investors to make reactionary moves to extraordinary market forces. Canada hopes that the lure of large natural resource reserves, in tandem with an economy that projects to rebound much quicker than other global markets, will be the distinguishing factor in driving more demand and investment in its property market.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Brazilian ambition

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Opportunities for Investors in the Host Country of the 2014 World Soccer Cup and 2016 Olympic Games: Brazil

Brazil has stability both politically and economically and is a "safe port for new investments," suffering less in the financial crisis. Now in preparation for the World Cup and Olympics, Brazil has enacted the Growth Acceleration Program which projects $8 billion for private investments in new projects. Mario Moyses, Vice Minister of Tourism: "Brazil is experiencing a change in ambition. Our future is our present."

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: What's fresh in hotels?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Post Crisis: A Fresh Look at Hotel Development

While hotel markets have struggled across all property types, budget brands have shown far more resilience than other brands. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) has still decreased across budget hotel brands, but not to the degree that has been seen in luxury and other full service brands. Niche lifestyle brands are currently struggling the most in the hotel segment, while more versatile larger-scale brands have shown better performance and a better ability to withstand the downturn. However, interest in budget hotels has been increasing and there is some financing available for well-located properties with strong hotel flags.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: US improvement

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: USA—A Trillion Dollars of Maturing Debt: Impact, Resolution, and Opportunity

An overall feeling of cautious optimism is widespread throughout the U.S. real estate market as some transactions are starting to take place, although almost all of those transactions are in the core asset arena. Major improvement in the overall real estate market is dependent on job growth. While job losses have slowed dramatically in the United States recently, it is believed that job growth is not likely to occur until late 2010. In addition, improvement in commercial real estate fundamentals such as increased occupancy and rental rates will likely lag the onset of job growth by 12 to 18 months.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Potential for the Islamic finance model?

Our first year real estate MBA students from the Wisconsin School of Business continue their coverage of MIPIM today. They attended Thursday's sessions and have sent back reports on the themes and conclusions from the day's panelists.

Graaskamp Center for Real Estate has partnered with MIPIM and CREOpoint to bring you coverage of all the events at MIPIM. You can see today's and the rest of the conference schedule here.

Our posts continue with this from the Thursday morning keynote address from Khaled Al-Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD):

The Islamic finance model has the potential to bring economic growth all over the world. While the global economy is struggling, the Islamic finance model has been relatively safeguarded in comparison to the finance models in many other countries. A few reasons include: asset-backed investing, clarity in understanding transaction terms by all parties, shared risk and profit, and requirements for fair profit and ethical criteria in investment choices. Islamic financial products have grown in sophistication and now include retail and corporate bonds. Additionally, “forward leases” have been developed to meet the needs of buyers and developers.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MIPIM 2010: What architecture can and cannot do for evolving cities

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: My Architect(s)

Six noted and respected architects, including Daniel Libeskind, Bernado Fort-Brescia and Manuelle Gautrand, discussed the role of architecture in our changing cities. Architecture cannot change the trend in population growth but can address it via increased density in urban development. Building "up" isn't the only answer, regulations in many areas require lower or low-rise buildings. Libeskind emphasized that people need to take some risks and also stated that we cannot modify the past. Cities (government) should understand that just because the transformation is unprecedented, people shouldn’t shy away from it. Matthias Sauerbruch thought that people should think long term – then change will establish itself.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: What makes a city successful?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Spotting the Trends: Shaping the Cities of the Future

City success is typically not predictable. There are too many variables to be able to predict the long-term financial viability of a city, and trends have led many to wrong conclusions pertaining to the futures of numerous cities. However, successful cities do have common characteristics. Location, connectivity and space, standard of living, distinctiveness, values, power, and environmental performance are all shared by cities viewed as being “world cities” or “smart cities.” Smaller scale cities which flourish ("smart cities") have a specific niche position in the market even though their place in the global markets are not as large as "world cities." Further, these two types of cities usually exhibit a depth of artistic, architecture, cultural endowment, openness to international population flow, and maintenance of effective leadership. Likewise, planning and continuing to deliver city infrastructure for sustainable growth is an overall theme when comparing successful cities.

London, Montreal, and Hong Kong illustrate the importance of these characteristics in the makeup of a successful and dynamic city. To maintain their status as world cities, London must revitalize its outer suburban areas, incorporate special events to attract people to less popular areas, further invest in public spaces, and maintain its commitment to the "green" transition. Montreal will need to work on its existing public transportation deficiencies, focus on sustainable development and the quality of neighborhood life, and recognize the importance of a cultural sector in order to position itself as a smart city. Lastly, Hong Kong must prioritize efficient land utilization, optimization of infrastructure, and revitalize portions of its existing urban area as it attempts to balance itself as a blend between a world and smart city.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: "New Cities"

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Concept of “New Cities” in Morocco: Investment Opportunities & ROI

The “New Cities” concept, better known as the no-shantytown concept, aims to rid Morocco of unsound, blighted housing units. Obviously this has resulted in a huge demand in housing which in turn is providing huge opportunities for foreign investors. The Moroccan government is looking to public/private partnerships to achieve this goal and is providing tax and procedural incentives to entice foreign development. Morocco hopes that its close location to Europe, very stable reputation, growing population and growing GDP will make it an investment destination.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Universal green building standards--needed but possible?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Sustainability "Sans Frontiéres" - Achieving Equally Green Buildings around the World

There is a need for a universal green building standard, yet key issues are preventing its development. Among the problems facing the standard are: carbon ownership (does it belong to building owner or tenant?), public transparency regarding energy efficiency, and the difficulties of placing value on the sustainability of a building. All of which depend on metrics—using the wrong metric to measure this concept, and it may ultimately render the sustainability concept worthless.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Where's your crystal ball?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Recovery Positions: Investing in Distressed Debt and Equity

No matter which country in which you are conducting real estate transactions, you'd need to have a crystal ball to predict when the bottom of the market will be (if it hasn’t happened already) and when to step in and buy distressed assets. However, there is some agreement that 2013 will be a pivotal year for CMBS lenders and their borrowers as many CMBS loans come due. We may not yet have reached the ideal opportunity to buy distressed assets, but it would most likely arrive after 2013. “When we reach the wall of refinancing from 2011 to 2013, we will see more opportunities."

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Hurdles and solutions to Kyoto in Portland

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Keynote: Ralph DiNola, Green Building Services Incorporated

Portland, Oregon is U.S.'s first city to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol. It has faced a number of hurdles to its green strategy. Buildings are the greatest energy consumer at more than 40% of the total pie. New construction is only accountable for 1% of the building stock in any given year. If real impact is going to be made, it will have to begin with renovating existing buildings. Closing the gap between design, construction, and operations and maintenance, using technology efficiently, placing proper value on green features, and overcoming the inertia of our lifestyles will help other cities achieve a successful green strategy.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: French pessimism

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Will There Be Any Investment Opportunities in France in 2010?

A recent survey suggests 1% growth in French GDP in 2010. What’s preventing an upturn? Mismatched expectations between buyers and sellers, scarcity of new product, and uncertainty about the future. Are there signs out there of a renewed cycle of growth in France? Pessimism persists but given a lack of real estate product in the pipeline and the amount of investment dollars waiting on the sidelines, a turnaround could be seen before late 2011. The real estate crash in ’91-’92 was the result of over-supply, which isn't the case today. Demand may soon drive the market to become active soon. In particular, new green building laws in France should incent development of new buildings. But this outlook is tempered by fears that this new legislation may lead to faster building obsolescence.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: The domino effect

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Prospects for European Recovery - Economics & Implications for Real Estate

The financial sector is truly global and very much interconnected. Beginning with the U.S.'s housing downturn and credit crunch as the initial "domino", all European countries were subsequently affected to varying degrees. But why was the current recession unlike the Great Depression of the 1930's? The first answer is BRIC--Brazil, Russia, India and China. These countries have seen growth which was not present in the 30's and have subsequently suffered far less. In total, BRIC has produced 1/3 of economic growth worldwide during the current recession. Second, policy response was much greater this time around. We responded by reducing interest rates and enacting policy to support the financial system. An overall economic recovery is good for real estate, but going forward investments must be diversified beyond Europe with an eye to price differentiation between countries in regards to risk.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Facing the present in Russia

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Russia 2010: Face the Present – Think Long Term

The Russian real estate market has seen a dramatic change in ownership over the last year. Foreign investors have begun to retreat and Russian banks have taken back properties through foreclosures. This has created significant opportunities for well-capitalized Russian companies and foreign investors to purchase foreclosed properties or properties from those wishing to exit the market. Opportunities are also available to purchase struggling developments that have not yet been completed or recently completed developments that can easily be rebranded or repositioned.

In particular, the hotel sector suffered during this crisis; vacancy rates are high as some segments saw over-development during the boom. However, 3-4-star hotels are still under-supplied. Anticipation of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has already encouraged an increase in projected hotel development.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Retail therapy

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Panel: Recovery Positions: Retail Therapy

Retail is a leading indicator of economic recovery in the real estate industry. As the economy improves, consumers speak with their wallets at shopping centers. While industry leaders see signs of an upswing in the retail market, there still remain challenges ahead in 2010. Cautious optimism exists while possible threats are foreseen from increasing taxes and unemployment. But times of crisis facilitate innovation. Retailers need owners to understand their brand concept for success, and owners must explain the challenges they are facing to their tenants.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

First Green Capital of Europe

A group of first year real estate MBA students from the Wisconsin School of Business are at MIPIM this week, attending the sessions and reporting back on the discussion points and key takeaways. The Graaskamp Center for Real Estate has partnered with MIPIM and CREOpoint to bring this timely info to you. You can view today's and the rest of the conference schedule here.

Our reports from Wednesday's sessions continue:

Keynote Address by Sten Nordin, Mayor of Stockholm
Stockholm’s hard work to become a leader in green technology has been recognized by the EU with the award of the first annual Green Capital of Europe for 2010. The city hopes to use this recognition to help spread their values of sustainability to the rest of the world.

Active measures to reduce carbon emissions are already in place. The Mayor emphasized that the city cannot rest on its laurels and has great plans to continue its innovative practices in the future. Stockholm is on pace to have zero carbon emissions for the entire city by 2050.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MIPIM 2010: Housing is so much more

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: The Expanding Need of Social Housing Around the World: Opportunity of Investment?

Affordable housing projects, like the ones UN-HABITAT sponsors around the world, cannot be achieved by government alone. Help has to come from private sector collaboration.

The importance of housing goes beyond mere shelter to serving as a bridge from being homeless to being a contributing member of society. Projects in Turkey and Brazil offer examples of strategies for focusing on urban regeneration and the creation of mixed-use communities. If people live near where they work, this decreases the need for infrastructure investment and will increase GDP through lower construction costs. Transportation cost decreases also lead to an expected increased standard of living.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: The mixed-use bump

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: Mixed-Use High Density Trends

Research suggests that successful mixed-use high density developments can reduce workplace costs, increase innovation, and boost productivity all of which lead to stable cash flows and increased property valuations for developers. At the same time, for all of the benefits they can provide, large scale projects require a high-level of public/private coordination adding complexity, cost and time.

Projects such as Turkey’s San City, a large redevelopment project in Istanbul’s CBD, illustrates the critical role that mixed-use high density infill developments can play in the regeneration of a city’s identity.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Increasing interest in Poland

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: Poland - Land of Opportunity

Poland—able to weather the economic crisis of 2008-2009 by having stricter credit policies for banks, no dynamic growth of foreign debt as in other countries, less sophisticated financial instruments, and a stock market with a smaller influence on the economy—is attracting increasing interest from foreign investors.

Warsaw, in particular, currently has a city centre ripe for redevelopment. In the short term, €17 billion is expected to be invested in infrastructure in Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, and Wroclaw—the four event venues for the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Lasting legacy?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Keynote and Panel: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and an Overview of London’s Approach to City Planning

As host of the 2012 Summer Olympics, London is implementing many improvements to create a low-density mosaic with green space that facilitates continued development. The conditions, outlined by the Mayor, to increase development were: safety, fluidity in the housing market (London has created a plan to deliver 50,000 affordable homes) and the creation of a London-wide housing company (to alleviate some of the risk in land holdings). Plans include the sale of £1.5 billion in land holdings in 5–6 years for development and creation of more affordable housing in a partnership with local developers, ideally setting the stage for a lasting legacy for the city.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: 3 ways that foreign investors can enter Chinese market

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: China - Expansion Rhymes with Challenges

As fears of a real estate bubble approached in the last two years, the central government of China tightened rules for foreign investment in real estate and the increased proportion of domestic to foreign investors reflects that. There are currently three ways that foreign investors can enter the market: (1) through direct investment by establishing a real estate development subsidiary; (2) through the merger and acquisition of equity of an existing Chinese real estate developer; and (3) (most popular) through the merger and acquisition of real property developed by a Chinese real estate developer.

The future of commercial real estate in China looks promising for at least the next 5 to 10 years, but the Chinese government remains the biggest determinant of how that future will roll out.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Diversity of markets and opportunities in Asia

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: Trends in Asian Pacific Property Markets

Distinctive real estate markets exist in Asia Pacific—from advanced Japan, sophisticated Korea to central Singapore and nascent Vietnam—offering a diversity of investment opportunities and portfolio options. Japanese assets in an Asian portfolio can offer stability and value due to re-pricing over the last two years. A relative newcomer to international investment, Korea’s experience in the Asian crisis of the 90’s left the country largely unexposed to the current financial crisis. Singapore was not so fortunate, but large-scale government intervention as well as the private sector’s trust in the economic fundamentals has led to an early bounce-back. Real estate development in Vietnam is “still in its infancy,” but increased tourism and changing cultural patterns are driving demand for hotel and residential properties.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Creative solutions needed

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: South East Europe: Riding Out the Storm

Poland shines as a lone bright spot in Eastern Europe with positive GDP growth in 2009. Other countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, and Turkey showed a decline, while Greece faces uniquely difficult macro challenges. Private investments have seen some recovery, but stalled development projects still dot the region. The negative outlook continues throughout 2010. Going forward, real estate professionals will need to find creative solutions.

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

MIPIM 2010: Douple dip?

Wisconsin Real Estate MBAs report from MIPIM 2010:

Tuesday March 16
Panel: Recovery Positions: Institutional Behavior - Building on Traditional Values?

After a review of the markets over the last year, the panel tackled the
question of a possible double dip recession in real estate markets. Opinions on
the outlook were mixed. Significant capital is coming in, but is the investment
backed by fundamentals? Most say domestic investment is preferred, but there is
a surprising amount of cross border investment done in the last year. Uncertainty
and risk for real estate still abound. More transparency may have led to more
pronounced, yet harder-to-read, cycles.

Will we see the next boom in 2025?

For more coverage of MIPIM 2010, visit our partner

Reporting from MIPIM 2010

A group of first-year Wisconsin Real Estate MBA students are in Cannes, France, this week to attend MIPIM, the premier international real estate conference in the world. The 15 students are led by François Ortalo-Magné, professor and department chair, and Arif Qureshi, lecturer for the Department of Real Estate.

This is the fifth year Wisconsin MBA's have attended the conference, and this year's participation again offers an outstanding opportunity for close collaboration between the Wisconsin group and the organizers and executives of MIPIM to help them deliver an improved experience to conference attendees and, at the same time, provide valuable global real estate industry exposure for our students.

In 2010, we are partnering with MIPIM and CREOpoint, the online community for CRE leaders worldwide, to put you ringside for all the action at MIPIM and learn what is happening across the world in commercial real estate! We will post summaries of each day’s discussions, plus we offer you the opportunity to tell us your questions for MIPIM. We may ask them during the session! Check out the conference program via CREOpoint here. Feel free to add your questions or comments below.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Simulations for success

The latest post in our continuing series Meet Our Current Students:

In recent weeks, there have been simulations going on in Wisconsin MBA classrooms.

The Littlefield Technologies simulation in the Operations Management class allows student teams to run a factory of their own and compete with each other on revenues. The student teams need to decide on the numbers of machines at each station, in what priority orders are processed and various other issues. It's easy to get addicted to checking the ongoing ranking changes in the competition. The first phase of the simulation was just completed. Students are reviewing, in addition to their respective rankings, what they did well and what they didn’t. They are hoping to apply this learning to the second, more complex phase of the competition.

The Manager’s Workshop simulation was run on a CD developed by Professor Randall Dunham, instructor of the Managing Behavior in Organizations class. In this simulation, students act as managers, and the objective is to help five employees whose job performances are lower than expected. You need to interact with these hypothetical figures, identify what the causes of the low performance are, and make choices on how to solve the problems. Progress will be made if you handle the situations well. If you don’t, some responses from the employees can even be hostile.

These simulations are of tremendous value. They provide opportunities for us to put a step towards the real world where strategy is not "simulated" and missteps can be costly.

Kan Zuo is a first year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. Originally from China, he completed his undergraduate education at Beloit College in 2006 with a double major in Economics and Management and International Relations. As an undergraduate, he interned with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Calling Chicago area alumni & friends!

Kick off spring on March 23rd with the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association Illinois Region happy hour!

Join WREAA members and guests 5:30-7:30 pm at Bull & Bear in Chicago's River North District at 431 North Wells. Register online at by March 18th.

Don't be late! Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour this weekend!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Real estate innovator: Laurence Geller

On Thursday March 11, the Real Estate Club will feature Laurence Geller, chairman and CEO of Strategic Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Geller will be presented with the club’s Innovator Award, established to recognize individuals who have accomplished outstanding innovation in the real estate industry. He is the second recipient of the award; prior honoree was Nicholas Billotti, chief executive officer of Turner International.

Mr. Geller founded Strategic Hotels & Resorts, a publicly traded REIT stock (BEE), in 1997. Strategic Hotels & Resorts is an owner and asset manager of hotels and resorts with a portfolio of upscale and luxury hotels and resorts in North America and Europe. Its unique hotels with complex operations, sophisticated customers and multiple revenue streams currently include 17 properties totaling 8,002 rooms. Properties are geographically diverse and include large convention hotels, business hotels and resorts, which are managed by internationally-known hotel management companies. Previously, Mr. Geller has held positions with Hyatt Development Corporation, Holiday Inns, Inc. and Grand Metropolitan Hotels in London. He is a graduate of Ealing Technical College’s school of hotel management and catering. He has over 40 years of experience in the lodging industry and has received numerous awards for his service to the lodging industry.

The event takes place in Madison at the Pyle Center's AT&T Lounge beginning at 6:30 pm with pizza and beverages. The presentation starts at 7 pm. (Map and directions.)

We hope you’ll join us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The next best thing to being at MIPIM, thanks to UW updates

MIPIM begins March 16th. Again Wisconsin Real Estate will be well represented and will bring you the three-day action live to your Blackberry, iPhone and computer.

We are delighted to be partnering with MIPIM and CREOpoint, the online community for CRE leaders worldwide.

We will be blogging here and on our profile at CREOpoint. As we did last year, our students will report key takeaways from 30 MIPIM sessions as well as cover other meetings during the conference.

Not going to MIPIM? Then this is the place to get the inside story. Send us your questions. We may ask it live during the discussion and report the response. Check out the MIPIM program here. And start thinking about your questions!

P.S. If you go to, you’ll also be able to access MIPIM videos, forums and breaking news. You'll be able to see what is happening across the world in commercial real estate.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Taking a closer look at Vornado, the NY/DC REIT

Meet Our Current Students

In our course Real Estate Equity Investments, we are working in teams on a semester long project to analyze a publicly-traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). My group consists of five students (including myself) who are interested in pursuing the AREIT program at Wisconsin. During our second year, we would invest real money in equity REITs with property holdings throughout the United States.

Because of the rigorous nature of the AREIT program, our instructor Michael Dubis gave our team a more complex company to analyze. Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) certainly fits that description, with office properties in New York and Washington, DC, retail holdings on the coasts, and merchandise marts throughout the country. In addition, Vornado has interests in private companies that are difficult to research, including one-third ownership of Toys R Us.

Work as an industry analyst is tedious, and may only be considered fun by true real estate geeks, but we have pored through VNO's consolidated financial statements, annual reports, and supplementals with enthusiasm. We also contacted an alum of the program, Shannon Bauer, who currently works for Vornado. Shannon is in the New York City office, and she has provided an invaluable perspective on how the company worked through the recent economic downtown and where opportunities exist for near-term growth. (Alumni support for real estate students at Wisconsin is exceptional.)

The course objective is to derive a valuation of the company based on corporate strategy, capital market constraints, and macro economic trends. Luckily, we are not yet to Spring Break, so we still have time to work through the details.

Travis Campbell is a first year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business. He is packing his bags for the first-year class trip to the largest real estate conference outside of the U.S.--MIPIM 2010 in Cannes, France.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Big Ten Network: Office Hours

UW–Madison real estate and urban economics professors Morris Davis and Stephen Malpezzi appeared on Office Hours on the Big Ten Network yesterday to assess the national stimulus package and its implications on the economy, debate its benefits, as well as highlight its shortcomings. The active discussion touched on unemployment, job creation, short and long term effects of the stimulus on the nation's economy, and what happens next.

You can watch the episode online.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happenings in Southern California this week

Members of the UW Real Estate Club are traveling to Los Angeles this week. For three days, students will participate in site tours of key developments, meetings, networking dinners, and a variety of other opportunities to learn from industry leaders. The club typically takes two trips each year to major U.S. markets. Contacts with local alumni and principals are key and ultimately make it all possible. Past excursions include Boston, Washington DC, Phoenix, New York, and Denver.

This semester's trip to Southern California coincides with the WREAA's Southern California UW Real Estate Network Event on March 3rd in Santa Monica. For more information and last minute registration, visit the WREAA's Community Calendar.