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The UW Real Estate Club Scopes Out Miami Market

Posted By Maria-Elena Svigos, Monday, April 15, 2019


The Wisconsin Real Estate Club and chaperons Sharon McCabe and Joe Walsh took a group of graduate and undergraduate students down to sunny Miami, Florida for their Spring Semester Field Trip last week. The MBA’s and BBA’s were eager to explore the booming Miami market, a city the Real Estate Club had not visited in over five years.


The trip began on Wednesday evening with a WREAA sponsored Networking Event at Batch Gastropub in Miami’s downtown Brickell neighborhood. Over appetizers and refreshments, club members casually discussed what the next few days would entail and what they were eager to learn. The night ended at rooftop bar, Sugar Miami, located at the Brickell City Centre, where the group would be touring the next morning.




The group met Thursday morning back at Brickell City Centre for their first introduction to the Miami market. City Centre, a development by Swire Properties, is a $1 billion, mixed-use project that spans over 5 million square feet of retail, multi-family and hotel properties. President of Swire Properties, Kieran Bowers, gave the group an informative presentation discussing the history of the 200-year old company, the timeline and execution of this major mixed-use development, and an overview other projects that Swire is currently developing throughout Brickell and downtown Miami.


The student's understanding of the Miami market continued to expand during their next stop at HFF, where Luis Castillo and his team gave an extensive Capital Markets Presentation. The team gave an overview of HFF and its capabilities, discussed the current economy and trends of the Miami market, examined capital allocation and current debt and equity markets, and finished with an overview of HFF's recent deals and case studies. Students agreed that the presentation was extremely helpful in understanding Miami’s real estate market.




The Club then headed to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.  Wynwood is an up-and-coming, artistic area best known for its industrial look, wall graffiti, and for hosting the Art Basel Mural Festival. The group met with “founder” of the neighborhood, David Lombardi, and his team at Lombardi Properties. David discussed the history of the neighborhood and the fruition of his dream to develop the area. Lombardi Properties, a close-knit family company, has developed and renovated many buildings in the neighborhood and has greatly encouraged the arrival of retail and artistic showrooms throughout the area.



The Real Estate Club explored the unique neighborhood and enjoyed viewing the celebrated mural art. The group gathered with alumni at the Welcome Event, hosted by the WREAA, at Wynwood Kitchen, just next to the famous Wynwood Walls. Over delicious Spanish food and refreshments, students conversed with numerous alumni about their impressions of Miami and their experience so far.


By 9 am Friday morning, the group headed to the new Four Seasons Surfside development, ready for the second and final day in Miami. Michael Conaghan (MS, 1991) Chief Operating Officer of Fort Partners, the developer of the Surfside project, gave students a tour of the entire property.  The development is comprised of a mixture of residential condos and hotel, built around the historic Surf Club but under the Four Seasons name. Michael described the timeline of the project and how the deal came together with Fort Partners. As an alumnus of the program, he provided students with advice about the professional world and how to utilize Wisconsin’s network connections. He says the most important thing to remember about any project or deal within the industry is to: “Be Nice.”


Alumni Jared Brunnabend (BBA 1999) and Felipe Izquierdo (MBA 2008) met the Club for lunch at their next stop, the famous Versailles Restaurant. Over discussion with alumni and fantastic Cuban cuisine, students got another taste of Miami. Most of the Club members agreed that this was their favorite meal, and they truly enjoyed and appreciated meeting with the two alumni again.


The Real Estate Club then moved to their final activity on the itinerary—exploring residential real estate in Miami by boat! Students enjoyed some of the Florida sun and the views of multi-million-dollar mansions located on the Venetian Islands, or Millionaire’s Row. After learning about office, retail, multi-family, industrial, and hotel aspects of the Miami market, this was a great look into the residential aspect of downtown Miami.


Thank you to all involved for their time and commitments in helping to make this an incredible trip. We would especially like to thank alums Jared Brunnabend (BBA, 1999) and Felipe Izquierdo (MBA, 2008) for taking the time to attend nearly all the events and for their help in organizing this memorable trip to Miami!

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