Recently, the classes of 2015 and 2016 had the opportunity to meet with and learn from leaders in a variety of asset classes and industry functions during company presentation day at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Both a learning opportunity for those without real estate backgrounds and a networking opportunity for the class as a whole, company presentation day was a great success and a rare opportunity to gain a wide knowledge of real estate at both the macro and company levels.
Through discussions surrounding larger economic and consumer trends and firm-level strategy, we were able to gain a holistic view of the multi-family, commercial, retail, and industrial asset classes.
We started the day with Kim Bucklew from Alliance Residential talk to the class about trends in the multi-family market. Beyond covering the basics and the current state of the real estate cycle as it relates to the multi-family sector, Kim gave great insight into greater economic trends as well as Alliance’s cycle-risk and investment strategies.
We then heard from David Doubman, senior director of finance at Highwoods Properties, the largest real estate employer in the triangle. Highwoods is a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns, develops, acquires, leases and manages properties in the best business districts (BBDs) of Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond, Tampa and the triad. We spoke in depth about the importance of local market knowledge and how that translates to the investment decisions and successes Highwoods has had.
Katie Bucklew, Kim’s sister, spoke to us about the state of retail. Katie is the Director of Investments at EDENS, a private REIT out of Columbia, South Carolina. We learned about greater trends in retail and talked about the nuances that online retail is currently playing in the market and what it could mean in the future. She walked us through a case study, which demonstrated EDENS’ strategy of creating shared, public space to create a sense of place to increase foot traffic, add value, and increase rents.
Lastly, we heard from Terry Brennan, partnerof Trinity Patners. Trinity is a successful developer and operator of industrial buildings, specializing in the Charlotte market. We spoke about different aspects of the industrial market, from trends to value drivers to Trinity’s experience since the recovery. Terry did a fantastic job of grounding us in industry parlance and in bringing in engaging stories and lessons from his career.
Company presentation day was a fantastic opportunity for both experienced students and those trying to learn more about real estate to hear from industry leaders and their respective asset class expertise. We were honored to have hosted such a complete day and look forward to more opportunities such as this and thank all of our speakers.
By Jonathan Lim (MBA ’16)