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2018 WREAA Biennial Recap

Posted By David A. Walsh, Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2018

 


This September 13-15th, over 500 alumni and friends of the UW-Madison Real Estate program converged on Madison to attend the 2018 Biennial Wisconsin Real Estate Reunion and Conference. Together we heard from industry leaders, presented awards, got an update on the UW Real Estate program, saw old friends, met new ones, and pushed ourselves to consider this year’s theme, “Where are We Now? Continued Growth or Reaching Peak.”

 

Returning to the newly renovated Memorial Union, this year's reunion was full of great events, generously made possible by sponsors and the hard work of many individuals, including the conference co-chairs Katie Johnson Bergen and Michael Zelin. Following are a few highlights of the event, but certainly not all. We hope that if you attended, you enjoyed your time and found it valuable. If you couldn’t join us this year, we hope to see you at our next conference, the Trends Conference, in Chicago on September 25th and 26th, 2019!

 

 


Thursday Highlights

The Conference kicked off when a full field of Badgers and friends teed off at University Ridge on Thursday morning in a scramble format, with the winning foursome shooting -12. Congratulations to Dan Flattery, Stew Cedarleaf, Max Kaminsky and Dan Price!  By late afternoon, a Women’s Networking Event was underway at the Edgewater Hotel, bringing together women in the real estate industry who share common ties to the Wisconsin Real Estate Program. The Student Speed Networking session followed, where students were provided a platform to make new connections with alumni.

 

   

 

Alumni Banquet and 5th Quarter Cocktails on the Plaza

The Alumni Banquet, hosted at The Edgewater Hotel, was informative and entertaining. This year, mentalist Oz Pearlman shocked the crowd in an after-dinner program which included an array of mind reading tricks. In addition, the Distinguished Real Estate Alumni Award was presented to David Lenz of the North Central Group and the Dianne Orbison Memorial Scholarship Award was presented to Alison Petrick. Following outgoing WREAA President Andrew Weir’s remarks, he was presented with the President’s Award. To cap off the program, the UW Marching Band made an appearance and played everybody’s favorite Badger classics including Varsity. After dinner, participants made their way outside to enjoy cocktails and conversation in the new post banquet 5th Quarter event.

 

     


Geopolitical Strategist Peter Zeihan

Friday morning commenced with an extremely engaging presentation from Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist, global energy, demographic and security expert. Peter covered a wide range of topics including the history of international trade and security alliances, upcoming trends of available capital, the Trump administration’s staff turnover and relationships with other heads of state and an economic outlook for many industrialized nations.

 

On economic strength in the short to mid-term future, Peter cautions us that the cost of capital will quadruple. This is driven, he argues, by the baby boomers changing investment needs. He said, “Baby boomers made our economy capital rich, but that will change as they shift to saving.” Peter also claims that millennial consumption is a major reason we’re not currently in a recession. Looking forward to when a correction does come, Peter showed the audience the consumption patterns and investment needs of major countries. Using graphics to convey average ages of populations, Peter discussed how these ages affect the spending in each country. Peter explained that China is the most over credited country in history. He said, “Think Enron in every sector of China, and double in agriculture. It’s all going to crash at the same time.”

 

Peter also focused on foreign capital flowing into the United States, acknowledging that it’s driving up prices in gateway cities. He’s very optimistic about the strength of the dollar, arguing that there is no true competition to the USD. One example is that trade within the Eurozone is frequently done in USD already. The strength of the USD, Peter claims, will lead to continued deficit spending in the coming decades.

 

Fireside Chat with Matthew Bronfman, Principal and CEO of Jamestown Properties. Moderated by Dr. Mark Eppli, Director of the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate

Matthew Bronfman spoke on his experience with Jamestown Properties, including their tradition of sourcing capital from Germany. He says that even with poor relations between President Trump and Angela Merkel, capital continues to flow into the US, driven by high returns. He also spoke about owning Chelsea Market, where they started leasing space at $10/sf and grew it to $300/sf. Keys to success with non-commodity assets such as Chelsea Market and Ghirardelli Square, Bronfman suggests, are making the tenant sticky through branding the space within the firm and always seeking a value-add component to drive up net income.

 

Bronfman likes and wants to work in some secondary markets but is almost exclusively in Tier 1 markets because of deal size. Secondary markets, he explains, offer smaller deals and these smaller deals have the same pursuit and due diligence costs of the large deals. To effectively deploy their large amount of capital, scale is needed. He argues that the best market and asset class for dry powder these days are Washington, D.C. and multifamily. This is because D.C. hasn’t fully recovered from the recession and hasn’t created a tech/creative hub yet, and because we need to solve the affordability crisis in housing.

 

Two major signs that caused Bronfman to sell a majority of his core assts just before the GFC are not present today. These include losing bids to 90-95% leverage and underwriting unrealistic rates for vacant space. An interesting story he shared was that when selling a mixed-use property, he was advised not to sign a tenant into the commercial space because prospective buyers would underwrite the space more aggressively than current market rate.

 

Looking forward, Dr. Eppli asked Bronfman for his opinion on cap rate trends. Bronfman replied that he believes cap rates have already increased about 50 bps on large assets. However, he does not believe cap rates will increase much more as a result of the sufficient supply of capital. On a related note, he is noticing more competition and bidding wars on large scale assets because of the need to deploy large amounts of capital.

 

     


Concurrent Sessions: “What’s in Store for Retail” and “Debt, Equity, Alternative Financing and the Evolution of the Capital Stack”

The future of retail is a hot topic in real estate circles today and was discussed at length by members of CBRE and Brixmor Property Group Inc., moderated by Scott Crowe, the Chief Investment Strategist at CenterSquare Investment Management. Main takeaways were that selling a commodity isn’t enough because the internet made it simple, experiences including food and beverage are today’s strongest anchor tenants, tenants want shorter term leases and the fitness industry is demonstrating high growth.

 

A great turnout packed the room for a discussion on alternative financing methods, and attendees were impressed by the discussion between very qualified representatives from CBRE, Mesa West Capital and Northwood Investors LLC.


   


Alumni Luncheon

The luncheon this year set the stage for an update on the UW Madison Real Estate Program. The newly appointed Real Estate Department Chair, Tim Riddiough, shared with alums an update on new initiatives within the Program.  He announced that they will be bringing back the international real estate course, including a student trip, led by Instructor Joe Walsh.  The department is also working on plans to offer the MS program in 2019 and is exploring plans to organize a PE fund to be managed by MBA students, similar to the AREIT program currently offered.  Following the update on the Program, the Wisconsin Award was presented to Michael Shannon, Chairman of KSL Capital Partners.

 

   


Stories and Insights from Veteran Real Estate Entrepreneurs

A panel of four real estate entrepreneurs shared their experiences in the final session of the conference. Topics discussed included why each panel member decided to start their own firm, navigating capital raising and partnerships.


Motivations for starting their own firm were different for each panel member.  The panel also discussed how they went about raising the first round of capital for their business. They mentioned needing to give concessions to get that first round and have full discretion of where to place it as well as putting down hard personal money to tie up a deal to buy more time to raise funds. An echoed point from panel members was that partnerships in the business benefited from complementary skillsets.

 

Conference Closing

After the final session with veteran entrepreneurs, attendees networked on the Memorial Union Terrace. Many attendees also stayed on campus Saturday for the Wisconsin vs BYU football game. A packed two days of events lead to a beneficial and enjoyable conference for all who attended.

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Real Estate Club Hosts Tan Phillips, Senior Vice President, Regions Bank

Posted By David Walsh, Sunday, September 30, 2018



The Real Estate Club kicked off the new semester last week with a presentation by Tan Phillips of Regions Bank. Ms. Phillips is responsible for Real Estate Banking Strategy and Sales Performance and has been with Regions for almost 30 years. She began as a teller at First Alabama Bank in Birmingham, Alabama, which rebranded into Regions Bank. She has had exposure to many roles during her time moving up through the company.

 

Ms. Phillips discussed many aspects of Regions’ real estate strategy, including the Regions360 relationship initiative in which Regions Bank seeks to provide at least four services to any single client. Ms. Phillips also discussed their lending for affordable housing and explained to attendees the role of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits within the capital stack of an affordable housing development and shared current market values she observes for the credits. Her team believes that affordable housing is less risky than traditional multifamily because of the affordability crisis and steady demand.

 

Ms. Phillips specifically said that the most important thing to take from her presentation was that you should always know who you want your business to serve and adhere to this goal. It’s okay to change but always be aware of your target client profile. She emphasized that this is how Regions Bank operates and ensures they secure quality clients rather than relaxing standards to serve more clients.

 

Thanks to Ms. Phillips for coming to Wisconsin to share about her experiences with current UW-Madison Real Estate undergraduates and MBAs. The next club meeting will be October 4th.

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International Market Representative Spotlight

Posted By David Walsh, Monday, May 14, 2018

 



Alejandro Mazariegos is WREAA’s Market Representative for the Latin American Region. Raised in Escazu, Costa Rica, Alejandro joined UW as an inaugural member of the Global Real Estate Masters (GREM) program in 2011. His education prior to UW included a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Universidad Veritas and an MBA from INCAE Business School, both in Costa Rica. Alejandro now works for Grupo Financero Improsa in San Jose, Costa Rica.

 

Tell us about your role at Grupo Financero Improsa.

  • I am leading the acquisitions unit here at Grupo Financero Improsa. More than a REIT, it’s a fund. I oversee valuations and negotiations when we look at assets for acquisition. I also go to banks and try to work out debt financing.

Why did you choose to study at UW-Madison?

  • My family was always involved in smaller real estate deals. Before doing my MBA, I worked doing lease accounting for Citi Bank, and before the crash I was working in real estate banking. [Real Estate] has always been my passion. At INCAE, I heard there was an opportunity to go study specifically real estate. There aren’t that many specializations in my small country, and I thought, I have to be there.

How does the real estate industry in Costa Rica differ from in the US, and how does that influence the challenges you face in your work?

  •  Development: Costa Rica is very into sustainability and the environment, so permits can take a very long time.
  • Financing: Interest only loans for commercial assets aren’t allowed in Costa Rica. You’re required to be paying principal no later than 6 months after originating the loan. To work around this, a REIT might issue interest only bonds to create an IO loan.
  • Financing: Financing in USD is usually cheaper than local currency, but you need to handle exchange rates. Because leases here are signed in USD, large companies that also generate revenues in USD are safer because they will be able to withstand fluctuations in the Colones’ value.
  • Leases: In all leases, the tenant is not under the obligation to fulfil the lease. The tenant can end the lease whenever they want, so you have to price this into your valuation.

What has been the most enjoyable or unique deal/project you have worked on?

  • At my last job, I was hired by First Citizens Bank with the purpose of launching an investment banking unit in Latin America. I had to work with my headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago while completing deals in Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Salvador, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Columbia. I am proud to have lead the creation of something not already established.

How do you stay connected to the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Network?

  • Every now and then UW undergrads reach out to me with questions and I try to answer those as best as I can.
  • I try to involve other Real Estate Badgers in projects in Costa Rica. Everyone has been very responsive and kind when I call, but I think fears of market liquidity have prevented transactions. I don't think this concern is justified, so I hope we can do deals together soon. Like I said, everyone has been incredibly friendly when I call, it just hasn't worked out yet.

Do you have any advice for current undergrads or graduate students studying real estate at UW? Also, for students who may be interested in working internationally after graduation?

  • Keep your eyes and options open. Think outside the box, and go beyond the country. At my graduation ceremony, two Midwest professionals gave speeches and encouraged students to go outside the borders. They said the world is getting smaller.
  • As RE professionals, we must look outside the spreadsheets and understand the markets, demographics, and industries.

WREAA thanks Mr. Mazariegos for sharing his experiences and his role as an International Market Representative! As a reminder, Market Representatives for all regions can be found under the "Contact Us" tab of the WREAA webpage. 

 

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Student Spotlight

Posted By David Walsh, Monday, May 7, 2018


 

Hans Helland, MBA Candidate, is an incoming Co-President of the Real Estate Club for the Fall of 2018. Hans is from the Wisconsin Dells, and got his BBA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame. Here is a short interview with Student Ambassador David Walsh to share his background and interests:

 

Tell us about your career prior to UW MBA program.

  • I worked with Quicken Loans out of college as a mortgage banker for a couple years, eventually becoming licensed in 11 states.  I then went to the Poconos where I helped open a waterpark resort at Camelback. My responsibilities included revenue and labor reporting, setting accounts payable procedures, and general hotel management duties.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA in Real Estate at Wisconsin?

  • When at Camelback, I joined the team as development was wrapping up.  I found the entire process fascinating and desired to change my career to a more development focus.  After researching potential schools to attend, Wisconsin jumped out with its excellent academic reputation and affordability.

What topic(s) within real estate interests you the most?

  • Lodging Development
  • REIT investing

Have you been involved in any application-based learning such as case competitions, appraisal projects, or REIT trading? 

  • Argus Case Competition
  • Applicant to the AREIT program

Where geographically are you most interested in working after graduating from the program?

  • The midwest in general, but I’m still narrowing down options.  Right now, Minneapolis-St Paul area and Chicago are the top candidates

How has your WREAA membership been beneficial to you?

  • The strong alumni connection with  the real estate program, as enhanced by WREAA, has been one of the most beneficial parts of my time here at Madison, and was one of the deciding factors in choosing to come to Wisconsin for my MBA.  Having an opportunity to speak with industry leaders because of my WREAA membership is something that not many schools can offer.

How long have you been a REC member?

  • Since September 2017 when I came to school here.

What have been your favorite experiences with WREAA or the Club?

  • The spring 2018 REC trip was fantastic with the quality of the companies we met with and the events set up for students to meet alumni living in and around Boston.  WREAA’s support of the semi-annual trips, in my opinion, is essential to the success of the club overall.
  • The speakers that have been brought in for club meetings have been very enlightening and have helped broaden my understanding of the real estate industry.

What hobbies keep you busy outside of school?

  • Playing basketball and ultimate Frisbee, hiking and kayaking, and traveling.

 

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Student Spotlight

Posted By David Walsh, Wednesday, May 2, 2018



Matt Allard, MBA Candidate, is one of the Real Estate Club’s incoming Co-Presidents for the Fall of 2018. Matt is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned a BS in Finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Matt answered a few of WREAA Student Ambassador David Walsh’s questions to help us get to know him better:

 

Tell us about your career prior to UW MBA program.

  • I worked at J.P. Morgan for 7 years in its Private Banking division. In my role, I worked with ultra-high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and endowments and foundations to allocate capital across equities, fixed income, and alternative investments. During this time, I entered the CFA program and received my CFA charter prior to business school.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA in Real Estate at Wisconsin?

  • I’ll answer this question in two parts. I chose to pursue an MBA in Real Estate because I knew Real Estate was going to be my long-term career passion. I chose Wisconsin because it offered (in my opinion) the best Real Estate curriculum and the strongest alumni base of any MBA program in the country. 

What topic(s) within real estate interests you the most?

  • Affordable housing
  • Transit-Oriented Development

Have you been involved in any application-based learning such as case competitions, appraisal projects, or REIT trading? 

  • UT Austin Case Competition, Argus Case Competition
  • REAL 715 Appraisal Project

Where geographically are you most interested in working after graduating from the program?

  • Chicago for now. May have some interest in moving to the East Coast for the right opportunity.

How has your WREAA membership been beneficial to you?

  • It has been. I think one of the best selling points about coming to the University of Wisconsin to study Real Estate is the alumni network. Being able to link up with an alum who is currently working in a function that you are interested in to learn more about what they do has been extremely beneficial.

How long have you been a REC member?

  • Since September 2017 when I came to school here.

What have been your favorite experiences with WREAA or the Club?

  • I attended the WREAA Christmas party in Chicago this past December and I really enjoyed that.
  • I’ve also really enjoyed the speakers that we have brought in to talk to us about their experience in real estate.

What hobbies keep you busy outside of school?

  • I enjoy reading and finding new places to eat around Madison.

 

 

 

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Michael Casey Returns to Madison

Posted By David Walsh, Monday, April 30, 2018


 

Last Thursday, Michael Casey joined the UW Real Estate program for a lunchtime Q&A session and a Real Estate Club meeting. Mr. Casey is originally from Milwaukee and earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was honored with WREAA’s Distinguished Real Estate Alumni Award in 2016.  The award recognizes the commitment and dedication of a University of Wisconsin-Madison real estate alumnus, which can be seen through his continued involvement and support of the UW Real Estate Program and the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association.  His career began with 25-30 years focused on acquisitions and then transitioned to raising capital. Mr. Casey credits his experience in transactions with helping him to have an in-depth knowledge of real estate, which he believes has been integral in his success raising capital. In addition to being knowledgeable, he told students that to raise money people need to be able to trust you, and this comes from never taking shortcuts or compromising your integrity.

 

Mr. Casey also spoke on topics such as how an investment committee at a large firm like Blackstone Group operates and global trends in capital availability. WREAA thanks Michael Casey for spending this time with student Real Estate Badgers!

 

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REC Hears from Mike Berman, Former Executive VP of Finance for GGP

Posted By David Walsh, Thursday, April 12, 2018


 

Mike Berman presented to the Real Estate Club last Thursday about his career in real estate and offered advice to students entering the industry. Mike studied and practiced law before attending Columbia Business School. He then gained experience in a wide array of roles including loan securitization, hedge fund management, and taking companies public. He recently retired from the position of Executive VP of Finance for GGP, a leading owner of retail properties in America.

 

After explaining his career history, Mike spoke at length regarding what REITs are, their history in the US, and how they are regulated. Because of his experience at GGP, Mike is particularly well positioned to advise on the retail sector. Students were eager to hear his opinion about the future of retail,  particularly malls, during the Q&A opportunity. A few of Mike’s wise words to students throughout the presentation included not taking on a new role for the sake of change without understanding its responsibilities; always being respectful to recruiters, regardless of if you are job searching; and to receive constructive criticism without resistance or defense; all of which he supported with stories from his career.

 

WREAA thanks Mike Berman for providing a great learning opportunity for UW Real Estate students!

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Spotlight on WREAA Scholarship Recipients

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, April 12, 2018

Generous donations made to the alumni association by dedicated alumni and friends make funding possible for scholarships. A total of four scholarships are administered through the WREAA office. In addition to the Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Scholarship Award and the Stephen Malpezzi Tradition and Innovation Scholarship, WREAA was able to provide one $5,000 Scholarship to a graduate student, and two $2,000 scholarships to undergraduate students in 2018. This post highlights the recipients of three of the scholarships administered by WREAA , Jared Shoemaker, Jonathan Korger and Conor Mc Carthy.

 


 

Jared Shoemaker (MBA 2019), received the WREAA Graduate Scholarship. Jared earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Architectural Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 and 2010.  After graduating from Penn State, Jared moved to New York City to work for Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.  He stayed with WJE for seven years and was promoted to Senior Associate during that time.  As a Senior Associate with WJE, Jared led project teams on the design and construction of over 20 projects annually, each with budgets ranging from $10,000 to $5,000,000. Jared looks forward to pursuing his career ambitions starting with an MBA at Wisconsin School of Business’ Graaskamp Center for Real Estate.  He was awarded the Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship award.  He would like to focus his career on multifamily residential and mixed-used development, including suburban densification and the reuse of existing buildings.

 


 

Jonathan Korger was awarded a WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship.  A Wisconsin native, Jonathan wants to use his education to help bring a new wave of economic growth and development to areas outside of Madison. In addition to the Real Estate Club, he is active on campus in the Finance & Investment Society and the Capital Management Club.  Following graduation, Jonathan plans to secure a law degree and pursue a career in credit, incentive and location services for small and large businesses.

 


 

WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship recipient Conor Mc Carthy is a direct admit Freshman with Junior standing, after completing an A.A. in Business Administration concurrently with his high school diploma.  Conor hails from Washington State.  He serves on the Executive Board of UW-Madison's Capital Management Club (an investment club), where he is the Recruitment Chair. Conor interned this spring in Financial Services for Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial. 

 

Congrats to Jared, Jonathan and Conor!

 


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Badger Real Estate Undergrads Earn 1st Place Victory at Villanova

Posted By David Walsh, Tuesday, April 10, 2018


 

On Friday, April 6, UW-Madison won the 2018 Villanova Real Estate Challenge. The team of undergraduate students included Austin Jansen, Austin Wolske, Brett Bousquet, and Blaine Barker (left to right in photo).

 

The team was given a 30,500 SF site in downtown Philadelphia to develop for Brandywine Realty Trust. The final proposal included a tower with 8,400 SF of retail, including a high-end restaurant; 422,000 SF of office space on floors 2-20; 242 units of multifamily on the 21st-35th floors; and 74 underground parking spaces. Return metrics were calculated as a 21% IRR and 4.5x equity multiple over a ten-year hold.

 

Second place went to the University of Southern California, third place to Colorado State University, and fourth place went to Ohio State University. Other participants in the competition were: California Polytechnic, Florida State University, Monmouth University, New York University, Penn State University, Rutgers University, Saint Joseph's University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Congratulations to the team!

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Paying it Forward in the Wisconsin Tradition

Posted By David A. Walsh, Friday, April 6, 2018
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018



Mike Kalscheur has been providing guidance and support to real estate students at UW-Madison since the program’s inception nine years ago.  Mike grew up in Madison and received both a B.S. in Construction Management and an M.S. in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from UW-Madison. He currently serves as the President of Meridian Properties Real Estate, Inc. in Carlsbad, California.  Mike recently talked to Social Media Ambassador David Walsh about his experiences as a mentor and what has encouraged him to maintain his lengthy involvement with the mentorship program.

 

What lead you to join the UW Real Estate Mentorship Program? Have you had mentors throughout your own career from UW or elsewhere?

 

I wanted to stay connected to the real estate program in general and the students specifically. The mentorship program seemed like a great way to do that, and to hopefully help the students gain some insight into what they could expect after they graduate. I was blessed with several great mentors at TOLD Development Company, all whom were UW real estate guys and can’t even begin to articulate how much they helped me grow in the real estate business and as a person.

 

What encourages you to continue serving as a mentor?

 

I probably get a lot more out of it than my mentees. It’s been fun for me to get to know the students and to hear how the real estate program continues to evolve over time.

What has been notably valuable in your experience with this group?

 

It’s always great to get a call from a mentee that’s excited about landing a job. I know the mentorship program goes out of its way to make sure the students understand that it’s not a mentors’ role to give them a job or help them find one, but ultimately that’s why you get your degree, so I try to help however I can. I don’t think my efforts have ever led directly to a student getting a specific job opportunity, but the interviewing process and decision making that takes place can be pretty intense and I’d like to think I can help them along; even if it’s only as a sounding board.

 

Have you done business or continued your relationship with any mentees?

 

Not yet. My business is specific to the San Diego area or within a very narrow niche when I do deals elsewhere in the country. So, unless one of them lands in San Diego or focuses on heavy industrial property that allows outdoor storage it may not happen…although maybe someday one of them will lend me money.

 

What advice do you have for current students?

 

The biggest thing I tell the students is to view their first job out of school as a continuance of their education. The Wisconsin Real Estate program is clearly the best in the world, but you still have a lot to learn after you graduate. My advice is to look hard for a position in the area of real estate that you’re most passionate about and make sure you end up with a company that’s going to invest in your personal growth. You don’t want to be stuck in a cube somewhere running Argus models forever, so find out what you’ll be doing day one and what they expect you may be doing in year five. I also tell students they should resist the urge to take one job over another for the sole reason of year one salary. A few bucks won’t mean much if it’s in a city you don’t want to live in or with a company you don’t enjoy.

 

Many thanks to Mike for his continued contributions to the UW-Madison Real Estate program!

 

 

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