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This blog is used to share information with alumni, students and friends of the UW Madison Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Program.

 

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2017 Scholarship Recipients Announced!

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, April 6, 2017

Congratulations to all of the recipients and many thanks to the dedicated alumni and friends who served on the scholarship committees!

 

 

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March Real Estate Club Recap

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Monday, April 3, 2017

 

This past Thursday, March 30th the Real Estate Club invited D.C. based developer Martin Ditto of Ditto Residential to come speak to the club. In just the past seven years, Ditto Residential has grown from just Mr. Ditto to 15 employees and has become one of D.C.’s best-known boutique developers, noted for partnerships with high-end architects and designers.

 

Many students arrive early to the Pyle Center to enjoy pizza, beer, and the company of their peers. Undergraduates and graduates mingled with each other and the speakers, before the meeting finally got underway. Co-Presidents Emmet Gaffney (BBA ’18) and Ben Stevens (MBA ’17) began by updating the club about the upcoming event about architecture and the bottom line, the upcoming “Pro-Form Off” competition, and the upcoming community service event at the UW-Madison Arboretum.

 

Mr. Ditto received his bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University then went on to pursue his master’s degree in real estate development at Johns Hopkins University. In autobiographical style, Mr. Ditto walked the students through the story of how his life experiences led him to becoming a real estate professional, with a particular emphasis on the qualities he believes are essential to his success in the industry. His firm is known to be one of the leaders in branding of real estate – many architects and designers brand themselves, he explained, though it’s much less common for real estate firms to do so. Though not an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Ditto exhibited the attention to detail and passion for the industry inherent in most real estate Badgers.

 

The next meeting will be on April 13th and will feature alumnus Rob Korslin of the New York based private equity firm KKR. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emmet Gaffney or Ben Stevens with any questions about the club!

 

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Student Spotlight

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Monday, April 3, 2017


Ben serves as the current co-president of the Real Estate Club.

 

Q: What year are you and where are you from?

 

A: I’m a 2nd year Real Estate MBA student, originally from Memphis, TN

 

Q: Tell me about your experiences prior to coming to the UW.

 

A: Before coming to school, I studied German Language and Literature and then did a master’s in theology, after which I spent five years teaching theology in Germany. Friendships with a couple of Berlin’s leading architects and urban planners got me interested in the built environment.  When I finally decided to get involved in that field in some capacity, the real estate side of the equation, and specifically an MBA in Wisconsin’s historic real estate program, seemed like the best place to get started.

 

Q: Have you had any RE work experience since being in school?

 

A: Since coming to the program, I’ve interned with a Madison developer who is transforming the East Washington (TIF district) corridor. My role with his firm involved everything from doing pro-forma analysis of a new development he was considering, writing an offering memo to obtain financing for a development which had just been entitled, assisting the project manager with the final phases of construction of a large, mixed-use building, and working with brokers to consider tenants we were vetting for several commercial spaces. I am currently assisting an owner’s rep in another firm with the pre-con phase of a different large, master-planned development on East Wash.

 

Q: What have been the highlights of your time in the program?

 

A: My coursework has given me a broad foundation, and participation in events like the Austin case competition proved both grueling and rewarding, but our traveling and networking probably stand out as the greatest highlight of the program. For school trips and job interviewing in the past year alone, I have spent time in New York, Washington, DC., Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, and Cannes, France. Almost every trip has involved meet-ups with alumni who were able to give us a crash course in the local market, and I’ve found myself more impressed with the breadth of the alumni organization (WREAA) with every trip.

 

Additionally, last semester I (as a graduate student) decided to team up with an undergraduate I had met to run for club president. Unlike the real estate clubs at other schools, our club brings the undergraduates and graduates together. The partnership has been a highlight of my time at school and has, I believe, helped us knit our graduate and undergraduate community together even more. We have instituted an undergraduate trip scholarship, helped make updates to the graduate lounge, launch a new club website, and spearhead a cooperative project with the alumni network. 

 

Q: Do you have any plans for after graduation?

 

A: Going forward, my wife and I are hoping to find an opportunity to move to the Carolinas, or somewhere in the mid-Atlantic region, where I hope to eventually open my own development firm. In the short-term, though, there’s still a lot to learn and I’m exploring a few different options.

 

Q: How do you like to spend your free time?

 

A: I spend my free time with my wife Rebecca and son Elijah, and what little extra free time I have left after that is spent on my interview show, The Skyline Forum.

 

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Student Spotlight

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Monday, March 20, 2017

 

John "Fordy" Gates will serve as Co-President of the Real Estate Club during the 2017 Fall semester.

 

Q: What year are you and where are you from?

A: I’m in the MBA Class of 2018 and I’m originally from Chicago.

 

Q: Tell me about your experience in Real Estate prior to coming to UW.

A: Prior to commencing my MBA studies, I spent four years in the real estate service industry. I began my professional career at CBRE in the Market Research Group in Dallas, TX, where I was in charge of compiling the Dallas/Fort-Worth industrial market overview and generating quarterly market write-ups. At CBRE I created a database of 100 top industrial leases which was used to compare the largest leases signed year-over-year in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area. After CBRE, I moved to New York City, where I became JLL’s head research analyst for 63.7 million square feet of office property located in the Midtown South office sector within New York City. While with JLL in New York, I launched the JLL New York City monthly high-tech report, designed and developed first Flatiron district information graphic, initiated JLL New York daily news email and provide market analysis for the office capital market team in disposition and recapitalization deals. In June 2014, I was transferred to JLL Industrial Investment Sales Group in Chicago, IL, where my responsibilities included asset disposition and financing services to all capital markets clients focused on industrial assets. I was integrally involved in all aspects of the pre-marketing, due diligence, underwriting and offering materials production processes for institutional and corporate clients as well as private owners of real estate.

 

Q: What have been your favorite Real Estate class so far?

A: Real Estate Finance and Argus modeling, taught by Arif Qureshi.

 

Q: Have you been involved in any Real Estate school projects so far?

A: Not yet, but I’m looking forward to participating in case competitions in the future.

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your time in the Real Estate program?

A: I’m looking forward to competing in real estate case competitions around the country, meeting and networking with people within the real estate industry and attending MIPIM next year.

 

Q: Are you a member of WREAA? If so, how has your membership benefited you?

A: Yes, I’m a member. I am in the mentorship program as a mentee. My mentor is Stew Cedarleaf who does acquisitions and dispositions for Prologis. He’s been a great resource to me so far.

 

Q: Tell me about what you’re most excited to accomplish as Co-President of the club.

A: I am excited to use my extended network of real estate professionals to help bring exciting speakers to campus for the club.

 

Q: What do you do when you’re not focused on Real Estate? Do you have any hobbies?

A: In my free timed I enjoy playing hockey, golf and traveling.

 

Q: What’s your favorite book?

A: Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, the lead vocalist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s his autobiography. 

 

Q: What’s your favorite city? Where do you want to work after graduating?

A: After living in different parts of the country, I’d have to say my favorite city is Chicago and it’s where I plan to live after school.

 

Q: What business line within Real Estate do you think you want to go into?

A: Dock doors, clear heights, and truck courts have been part of my vocabulary ever since my father started Centerpoint Properties. I plan on following in his footsteps by getting into industrial real estate after I get out of school.

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Real Estate Club Tours Seattle

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Thursday, March 16, 2017

After debating between many different cities, Real Estate Club Co-Presidents Emmet Gaffney (BBA ’18) and Ben Stevens (MBA ’17) decided to choose Seattle as the destination for this semester’s Real Estate Club trip. After having a great experience in Atlanta last semester, the two knew they had big shoes to fill. Known for its walkable urban landscape, the two decided Seattle would provide nice juxtaposition to the car-centric nature of Atlanta. Additionally, Seattle currently houses the most cranes out of any city in the United States, meaning there would be plenty of great projects to see.

 

In December, Emmet and Ben started networking with a loyal group of Seattle Alumni, led by Greg Van Patten (BBA ’93). After countless phone calls and incredible diligence on the part of the Badger alumni, the itinerary was eventually finalized a few weeks before the trip.

 

The Real Estate Club arrived on Wednesday night and were warmly welcomed with an evening reception at the rooftop bar of the Thompson Hotel sponsored by Tom Craig (MS ’93). The venue featured striking views of the Elliot Bay and the Seattle Skyline.

 

On Thursday morning, the club began their tours bright and early with a market overview hosted by JLL, the Downtown Seattle Association, and VSA Architects. After the overview, the club went on a tour of Amazon’s Global HQ led by their Director of Global Real Estate and then a construction tour of the luxury apartment building, Arc Tower, led by Dan Lessor (MBA ’10). The club broke for lunch at a delicious Thai restaurant downtown, then got back to it with a tour of the creatively repositioned office building, Second and Seneca, led by Matt Simo (BBA ’04), and a construction tour of the luxury office building, The Mark.

 

Thursday night’s festivities took place on a cruise ship that set sail for Elliot Bay. With breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline as their backdrop, students and alumni talked the night away over dinner and drinks. The cruise, which was generously sponsored by WREAA, was a great way to cap off a full day of tours. As a gift for their generosity in setting up the trip, Emmet and Ben gifted each of the alumnus Real Estate Club apparel and, to help them remember their time at the UW, individual 6-packs of Spotted Cow beer.

 

On Friday morning, the club wrapped up their experience by visiting two projects in the Capitol Hill area of town. The first tour was of Pike Motorworks, a mixed-use, rehab project, led by Greg Van Patten, and the second tour was of 12th Avenue Arts, an affordable housing property designed for artists, led by Brad Lange (MS ’90) and Lisa Hagen (BBA ’05).

 

Be sure to check out the video recap put together by the Real Estate Club to see some great photo and video!

 

Thanks to all of the faithful Badger Alumnus / WREAA members in Seattle for helping make this trip possible!

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Student Spotlight - Grady Capobianco

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Thursday, March 9, 2017


Grady Capobianco will serve during the 2017 Fall semester as Co-President of the Real Estate Club. Stay tuned for another installment of the Student Spotlight featuring Fordy Gates, the second Co-President serving in the fall.


 

Q: What year are you and where are you from?

A: I’m in the MBA Class of 2018 and I’m originally from Boston.

 

Q: Tell me about your experience in Real Estate prior to coming to UW.

A: I Interned for medical/academic focused brokerage group at Cushman & Wakefield of Boston while in undergrad at Tufts University. After graduation I worked for construction manager cm&b, inc. in Massachusetts for 4 and a half years. I spent time as estimator, superintendent, and most recently a project manager for the past 3 years. I built commercial properties across New England, New York State, New Jersey, and Manhattan.

 

Q: What have been your favorite Real Estate class so far?

A: Real Estate Finance was a great introduction to the industry and financial processes that take place daily. Excel modeling, taught by Arif Qureshi, was also a great class.

 

Q: Have you been involved in any Real Estate school projects so far?

A: I’m currently working on an appraisal project for a local property in Madison in Joe Walsh’s Techniques in RE Valuation class.

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your time in the Real Estate program?

A: Meeting new people/real estate alumni, real estate club meetings and trips, and MIPIM

 

Q: Are you a member of WREAA? If so, how has your membership benefited you?

A: Yes, I’m a member. Every alumnus I’ve spoken to has been amazing about giving up time in their busy schedule to connect with me, whether it be a mock interview or just an introduction or networking connection.

 

Q: Tell me about what you’re most excited to accomplish as Co-President of the club.

A: Establishing lifelong relationships amongst all members of the club so that every member continues the great tradition of being a helpful and interconnected Wisconsin Real Estate Alumnus.

 

Q: What do you do when you’re not focused on Real Estate? Do you have any hobbies?

A: I enjoy fishing, boating, sports, watching the Pats and Red Sox, staying active, and spending time with friends/family.

 

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: I have too many favorite movies to choose just one. Happy Gilmore and Old School are up there.

 

Q: What’s your favorite city? Where do you want to work after graduating?

A: Boston will always be my favorite city. But I am hoping to experience working elsewhere for some time after my MBA. I really enjoy Chicago and Austin.

 

Q: What business line within Real Estate do you think you want to go into?

A: Acquisitions.

 

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REAL ESTATE CLUB MEETING - The Birth of a Building

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, (BBA ’18), Monday, February 27, 2017

 

This past Thursday, February 23rd, the Real Estate Club invited Heather Stouder, Madison’s Director of Urban Planning, Rick Gilbertson, Partner at Strang Architects, and John Feller, Project Manager at Findorff Construction, to come speak. The meeting, dubbed “The Birth of a Building,” was intended to expose Real Estate Club members to the important characters who they’ll have to work with throughout their careers, especially if they pursue a career in real estate development.


Hosted at the beautiful Pyle Center, tons of students came early to enjoy pizza, beer, and the company of their peers. Undergraduates and graduates mingled with each other and the speakers, before the meeting finally got underway. Co-Presidents Emmet Gaffney (BBA ’18) and Ben Stevens (MBA ’17) began by updating the club about the Seattle Club Trip, the first annual “Pro Form-Off” competition, and a day trip to Milwaukee they’ve began to organize.


After introductions, each panelist gave a 20-minute presentation about their unique role in the development process, highlighting some of the marquee deals or projects they’ve worked on in their career. Interestingly, all three of them recently collaborated on the construction of The Spark, a partial block revitalization effort in the Capitol East district of town. Each speaker delivered an engaging presentation that captivated the attention of all attendees. After presentations came a brief Q&A session.


The next meeting will be on March 30th and will feature Martin Ditto, President and CEO of Washington DC-based development firm Ditto Residential. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emmet Gaffney (ejgaffney@wisc.edu) or Ben Stevens (bstevens6@wisc.edu) with any questions about the club!

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Real Estate Club Meeting - Innovator Award Series

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Thursday, February 9, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2017

 

The Real Estate Club kicked off the semester with the first meeting last Thursday, January 26th at the Pyle Center. The meeting was the latest installation of the Innovator Award Series, an annual award recognizing individuals who have made lasting impacts on the industry while embodying the rich Wisconsin real estate tradition. This year’s award was given to Richard Saltzman, CEO and President of Colony Northstar. A special thanks to Michael Brennan, executive director of the Graaskamp Center, for helping coordinate the event, as well as Walker & Dunlop who has made the award possible through a generous donation.

 

The turnout was tremendous; over 150 students piled into the Pyle Center to hear Mr. Saltzman speak. Pizza, beer, and hearty conversation flowed aplenty during the pre-meeting happy hour. The club presidents, Emmet Gaffney (BBA ’18) and Ben Stevens (MBA ’17), began the meeting by informing the club about the exciting events upcoming this semester, including a trip to Seattle, the first annual REC “Pro Form-Off,” and future club speakers, among other things.

 

After a warm introduction from Michael Brennan, Mr. Saltzman took to the stage and began his presentation. A real estate investment banker at Merrill Lynch for 24 years, Mr. Saltzman helped to revolutionize the way real estate investment companies access capital. During his Merrill Lynch tenure, Mr. Saltzman was also responsible for various real estate-related principal investments, including the Zell/Merrill Lynch series of funds which acquired more than $3 billion of commercial real estate assets.

 

The next club meeting is February 23rd and will be featuring a local architect, the chief urban planner in Madison, and a local developer. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emmet Gaffney (ejgaffney@wisc.edu) or Ben Stevens (bstevens6@wisc.edu) with any questions about the club!


 

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