A student perspective on ULI’s annual conference
by Kate Zawacki, Mason MRED student
I went to the annual ULI Washington Real Estate Trends conference and I have to say it was a great learning and networking opportunity. I’m glad I took advantage of the MRED programs offer to sponsor our participation as students. The theme for this year was Lifestyle: Changing the Way We Design & Build. I got to hear from demographic experts, developers, city planners, real estate market analysts and public policy advocates. I even had a chance to meet the architects who designed the property I just wrote a paper about for my Urban and Suburban Redevelopment class.
The Shark Tank presentation was my favorite. First thing we learned: Do not line up your investors together like they do on Shark Tank! If one of them is not interested in the deal, the rest of the investors wonder why and get spooked. The Three C’s of Housing presentation provided great insights into the competitive residential development market—the costs of capital, product innovations, and how developers are using market consumer research to create market-centered products. Bob Youngentob’s discussion of the entitlement process was enlightening to say the least.
In short, the conference was a fun, informative and productive day. I learned a lot about the DC market, and made new connections with people throughout the industry. I even had time to follow up on job leads with people I had arranged to meet up with at the conference. I hope to meet the new Mason real estate students there next year—and to catch up with my fellow MRED alums.
Kate Zawacki, here with MRED Program Director Bob Wulff, is a student in the Mason MS in Real Estate Development program. She will complete her degree next Fall and is in the process of transitioning from a career on the Hill to a career in real estate development. Her areas of interest include multi-family and mixed-use development. Kate is a member of ULI, NAIOP, and CREW.