Updates from the Director
As we enter this new year, I would first like to reflect on 2023. Over the past year, with your collective support, we have had more engagement through CREF than ever. From the numerous Real Estate Treks of our undergraduate and graduate student organizations, to on campus interactions, engagements through CREC and Titans, our support of HBCU students in the Cornell PPS Case Competition and eCornell, and finally our launch of the national DAIRE initiative. Together, we have created an organization that provides education, research support, and engagement for all Cornell students and our faculty.
Looking forward we at CREF are seeing even more opportunities for education and engagement. We plan to work closely with the newly formed Rubacha Department of Real Estate to enhance the global reputation of Cornell Real Estate. We are currently in the early stages of planning an event in NYC dedicated to Workforce Housing. We expect to continue our support of the PPS Case Competition this spring and expand our support of the national DAIRE initiative. I also hope, with your assistance, to grow CREF again over the course of 2024, with a target of 100 members but 2025.
I am blessed to have been offered the opportunity to serve as the Academic Director of CREF. I am so very lucky to have the support of Elizabeth Cunningham as Program Manager and to have each of you on the board to provide your guidance and assistance as we continue our quest to have Cornell Real Estate recognized as one of the world’s top programs.
Fall has arrived in Ithaca, N.Y. and with this comes changes. CREF is also in the midst of changes. We are firmly planted in the Cornell Nolan School of Hotel Administration, and continue our support of all UG Real Estate and our Nolan RE faculty. We are also working closely with the new Chair of the Rubacha Department of Real Estate, Stuart Rosenthal, the Cornell Baker Program and its students, as well as the broader community of graduate real estate students here at Cornell.
The Real Estate landscape here has become more exciting than ever and offers ever increasing opportunities for engagement. I am personally committed to working towards this future while steadfastly committing to our roots within Nolan. I see so much more on the road ahead. We have multiple TREKs, campus events and the recently completed 41st Annual CREC conference as prime examples of real estate in action here at Cornell.
It is only with the support and guidance of the CREF board that we will be able to positively navigate all that lies before us. Afterall, we are not competing among interests here at Cornell. We are competing on a world stage for recognition that real estate at Cornell, in all it’s forms, is the preeminent home of real estate research and education. Real Estate at Cornell has always been at the forefront of the view that real estate is a holistic set of principles and field of study. The investments over the years at Nolan, JCB and AA&P have set in motion a future that is amazingly bright.
I look forward to the rest of this year and next working with all of you to continue advancing real estate and CREF.
As our academic year ends, I want to begin my letter by thanking the CREF board members. Your support over the past year has been inspirational. This is not an easy or calm environment for real estate professionals. Yet, we have had continuing support from so many, have added many new board members in the past year, and have had so many engagement activities supported by our members. During our June board meeting we had 34 members attend in person and another 12 attended via zoom. A special thank you to Alan Tantleff and FTI for hosting our meeting. This level of commitment from our board members, and their companies, is truly amazing. I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to shepherd this Center, build this community, and engage with you all. I am looking forward to working with you all in the coming academic year as we continue to build CREF.
During this past year CREF was again busy supporting numerous activities. In November we ran the 14th Annual Cornell Real Estate Case Competition at the Convene facility at 1 Liberty Plaza. We had 17 teams compete including 4 teams from outside the U.S. I would like to recognize the efforts of Prof. Dan Quan, who served as the faculty chair and organizer of the event, and Daniel Lebret, who served as the faculty coach for the Cornell team. I want to thank also our board member judges, Kenny Blatt, Paul Fine, Alan Kanders and Bradley Walker, as well as Dana Jacobsohn for helping with lodging for the Cornell staff, faculty, and team members. This event is the largest and most prestigious under-graduate international real estate case competition in the world. Your support allows us to manifest all the resources and logistics necessary for this event to occur each year.
CREF, with your collective support, was also able to support Student Treks, in coordination with our various student real estate clubs. During the fall semester the Cornell Real Estate Club (CREC) went to D.C., a special thank you to David Pollin and Robert Buccini for hosting the club. The Association of Cornell Women in Real Estate went to New York City, a special thank you to Richard Russo and William Lovejoy for assisting with the group’s accommodation during their trip. The Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate Club also went to New York City, a special thank you to Brian Kaufman for hosting the students and Habib Enayetullah for assisting with their accommodations. During the spring semester The Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate Club visited D.C., a special thank you to David Pollin and Robert Buccini for hosting the students on a company tour and to Habib Enayetulla for assisting with accommodations. The Cornell Real Estate Club visited Chicago, a special thank you to Rodney Clough for helping to arrange a tour with HVS, as well as Seth Singerman for meeting with our students.
In April we were fortunate to coordinate a special version of the 8th Annual Titans of Real Estate together with the Philip Payton Society’s Answering the Call Summit at Convene in NYC. The event featured opening remarks by Christopher Browne MPS-RE ‘23, president of the Philip Payton Society for Minority Real Estate Professionals, and an interview with Richard Baker ’88, governor and executive chairman, Hudson’s Bay Company. Among those in attendance this year were students from the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate, members of both graduate and undergraduate Cornell student real estate clubs, team members from the PPS HBCU Real Estate Case Competition, and several of our distinguished board members. A special thank you to Habib Enayetullah and David Mei for assisting with lodging for the attending students and our Cornell staff members.
As we move forward in the 2023-24 academic year, we have many activities planned. We expect to continue our support of the various student real estate clubs, and to continue the RE Faculty Liaison Program as well as our support for the array of activities here on campus and in NYC. I also will be planning to schedule Roundtable events in a few cities in the coming year and again have a breakfast meeting at ALIS.
In closing I would also like to recognize the incredible efforts of Elizabeth Cunningham. Without the support and efforts of Elizabeth, none of what I have written about above would have been possible. Thank you, Liz, for being the amazing professional you are. I look forward to working with the board in the coming year to make CREF a stronger and even more vital addition to the success of The Cornell Nolan School, The Rubacha Department of Real Estate, and the S.C. Johnson College of Business.
As I reflect on the past year my thoughts go first to all of our board members. Over the past year we have been fortunate to add many new board members and to have the vast majority of the rest of our board continue their support. The resources they all provide through their guidance, and physical and financial support are so very much appreciated. I am looking forward to working with all of our board members, new and continuing, over the coming academic year.
This past year we were fortunate enough to provide support for students going on treks, consulting activities, seminars, and a variety of D&I initiatives. We provided support to our faculty through board member guidance as liaisons, and by providing financial support for database purchases. We provided support to the academic mission of CREF and Cornell through our support of various real estate academic conferences. CREF also ran the 13th Annual International Real Estate Case Competition and the 7th Annual Titans of Real Estate here on campus. We also co-sponsored the 7th Annual ICSC Case Competition, the Philip Payton HBCU Case Competition, as well as the CREC Conference in NYC.
Looking ahead, we will be holding our first board meeting in many years on our Ithaca campus. We have a busy day planned. Aside from our board meeting where Dean Andrew Karolyi will visit with us and discuss the new Rubacha Department of Real Estate; we will host a round table where we will discuss the significant challenges facing hotel ownership and management, as well as a meet and greet with students. I have invited our faculty to attend the board meeting and the roundtable. We will, of course, have time to gather informally at dinner the night before the board meeting, during lunch, and at a reception in the late afternoon/early evening where students from our six real estate clubs will join us to discuss real estate education here at Cornell and how CREF is providing support for their various initiatives.
As we move forward in the 2023-24 academic year, we have many activities planned. We expect to expand our support of students from each of the real estate clubs, continue the RE Faculty Liaison Program as well as our support for the array of other activities both here on campus and in NYC. I also will be at ALIS this year and hope to see many of our board members at a planned breakfast meeting.
Finally, I am happy to report that, over the summer, Dean Walsh and the college leadership extended me a second three-year term. I am grateful to be able to provide leadership for CREF through June 2026 and hope to continue to expand our support of all aspects of Real Estate at the Nolan School, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and Cornell University.
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer months. This past June we were fortunate to have our board meeting hosted by Adam Burinescu at the Centerbridge Headquarters. We had 30 members in attendance and another 18 joined us on zoom. Just as Dan Peek and HWE had the year prior, the hospitality of a board member provided us with an opportunity to connect in NYC. Thank you, Adam.
We had great feedback from this most recent meeting. I plan to use our next opportunity to review fewer points about the past, and instead dedicate more time to board input about how best to use our combined resources to further the mission we all collectively set. In advance of our next meeting, Art Adler and I will set a topic of discussion around an issue related to finance and investment decision making so we can have a true information exchange with esteemed members of our board about a topic of pressing importance.
We have an exciting and busy fall planned! On September 19-20 we will host a special reception for any CREF Advisory Board company staff participating in the Real Estate Career Fair, hosted by Nolan Career Management. Please let us know if your firm is sending anyone up and we will make sure to coordinate with them. If you or your staff need us to assist in any other way to improve your recruiting efforts, please let us know. We are also actively planning our fall CREF Advisory Board Meeting on campus September 28-29 with a welcome reception on September 28, a board meeting on September 29, as well as a set of roundtables with active student engagement. This will be our first board meeting on campus in many years and we are excited to host you- please join us.
CREF is also actively planning our 14th Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition (CIRECC). The CIRECC is the premier undergraduate real estate case competition and Professor Dan Quan’s leadership, as well as Daniel Lebret’s coaching of our team, are greatly appreciated. Team recruitment is underway, and we are in search of a venue. If anyone on the board is interested in being a judge or providing a venue or sponsorship, please let us know. As the semester launches, we will also be meeting with our five student-run organizations to plan Real Estate Treks with each group as well as other on-campus activities.
We hope to see you all soon and thank you all for your continued support. It is very much appreciated.
Although we are all still challenged by the times we are very grateful for all the support and engagement here at Cornell. As the Director of CREF I want to express my delight as we welcome eight new members to the advisory board. Coming from diverse and wide ranging perspectives, these members will add to their strengths to our already powerful and active board. We are also looking forward to the 13th Annual offering of the IRECC and are thankful to Prof. Dan Quan for spearheading this initiative since its inception. Also, our CREC/CREF conference is up and running and I am so very thankful for the leadership at the Cornell Real Estate Council for their continuing engagement with CREF and our Cornell community.
I look forward to welcoming many of our board members to our first face to face board meeting on November 19th, hosted graciously by Dan Peek and HWE. For those board members not able to attend in person, we will provide a zoom link so you can participate virtually.
As anticipated the first part of 2021 has been a whirlwind, for Cornell, CREF and the entire Real Estate industry. Our students have mostly been back to campus and are engaging better than we hoped possible. Due to the efforts of so many at the University and the School of Hotel Administration we are closing in on a successful spring semester. Classes, although mostly virtual, have been actively engaging our industry partners as guest lecturers. In every regard, our faculty have done what they always have in the classroom, surpassing our expectations.
As a reflection of these efforts I am proud to say our student teams competing in real estate case competitions have shown that Real Estate education here at Cornell produces the finest graduates in the world. Cornell teams won the HEEF Real Estate Challenge and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)/CREF Real Estate Case Competition. These two wins, in addition to our students winning the fall Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition, are an immense source of pride for all of us. CREF, through the collective efforts of our staff and support from eCornell and with the generous support of our members, was able to launch and sponsor the ICSC competition and host the CIRECC. We look forward to supporting these student competitions and our students in the coming year.
Although we were unable to provide many outreach opportunities this past academic year due to COVID restrictions, I do want to mention that I am working with female and minority student organizations as well as the Cornell Real Estate Club to reinitiate and create outreach opportunities on and off campus for these groups and their membership. The female RE student organization will be engaging with WX in NYC. As we could not send them down to NYC for their traditional spring NYC interaction, it is my plan to sponsor two trips this coming academic year, assuming travel restrictions allow it. I have also been working closely with JCB student services and a group of minority students to re-ignite the minority Real Estate Club, The Philip Peyton Society. I plan to support this group in a similar way as CREF does with the Cornell WX Club. I will be meeting with representatives from these groups before the semester is over and when we begin in the fall to plan for the coming academic year.
Finally, I want to acknowledge our 6th Annual Titans of Real Estate event that took place earlier this month (hyperlink). For those who were unable to join us, after opening remarks by Dean Andrew Karolyi, Richard Baker had a great conversation with this year’s Titan, Mr. Brian Kingston. The event was supported by CREC and we raised $4,000 in sponsorships from Mr. Paul Rubacha and JLL, all of which will be earmarked for the D&I initiatives discussed above. We had over 400 live attendees and many more viewed it afterwards. Richard sat with Brian in his new SaksWorks facility on Vesey Street and we were presented with an informative and lively dialogue hosted by two Baker graduate students.
It’s been a tumultuous year for certain. Together we will continue to create an environment where Real Estate at Cornell and CREF will be acknowledged by all as a world leaders of thought, engagement and drivers of equity.
With 2020 finally in the rearview mirror we look forward, as I know you all do, to a much brighter 2021. I want to wish all our board members, faculty, students, alumni, and supporters a happy healthy and prosperous New Year. Our plans for the coming semester include a mix of student, faculty, and industry activities all designed to reinforce the value proposition of Real Estate at Cornell and support the activities of the School of Hotel Administration as we continue to be a global leader in real estate thought and action.
We will be continuing our CREF webinar series this spring and hopefully into the summer. This series was incredibly successful last year with over 2000 viewers tuning in to each session. Art Adler ‘78, Chairman of the CREF Board, and I will be exploring topics and seeking interest from board members willing to participate in the series. It is our hope that we will design and launch a series that will reinforce CREF and its members as industry thought leaders. Any board member who would like to participate, I ask that you contact Art or myself as soon as possible so we can begin planning and logistics.
I am pleased that we are again publishing our analysis of Hotel Indices — Fourth Quarter 2020: A Glimmer of Hope Amidst a Hemorrhage by Crocker H. Liu, Adam D. Nowak, and Robert M. White, Jr. I want to thank Professor Crocker Liu for spearheading this initiative.
Our Real Estate faculty have been meeting virtually with their board mentors. Some of these meetings took place before the New Year and we continue to have them scheduled into early 2021. In these sessions we discuss research interests, relevance, and engagement opportunities for students as well as faculty. Our newly hired faculty have seemed to benefit particularly from these early stage discussions as they seek to broaden their understanding of Hospitality Real Estate. We are all hopeful as we coordinate future opportunities for our board members to join us as guest lecturers in class, mentoring students one on one or in small groups, and giving career advice as well as providing support to our faculty’s research and teaching.
Our students are returning from their winter break in the next few weeks. As they return, CREF will be working with student organizations across campus to provide support for internships and industry outreach. We plan to work with the WX — New York Women Executives in Real Estate to provide mentorship for our female real estate students. We are currently engaged in a new initiative to provide similar engagement and mentorship for our underrepresented minority students. If any of the board would like to be specifically engaged in any of these initiatives, please reach out and I will work closely with you and your firm to foster a productive engagement.
Finally, I am pleased to report that we continue to add to the size and breadth of the CREF Advisory Board. In the near future I will share welcomes to our new members with the board. We are working on increasing both domestic and international representation, and to have as wide a range of industry segments represented as possible. If any member of the board knows of industry colleagues that they feel would be a good fit, Art and I would be happy to reach out to them. As we discussed at our meeting in NYC last year, increasing the board will provide CREF with the funds to build Real Estate at Cornell. In conjunction with the efforts of the School of Hotel Administration, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, CREF will continue into 2021 stronger than ever and with more purpose.
Greetings from Ithaca New York! These past months have been a challenge on many levels, but have also exemplified how resilient our students, faculty and industry are. We at the Center for Real Estate and Finance have been working hard to continue to create opportunities for Cornell University students and alumni to connect. We have facilitated dozens of interactions between industry practitioners and our students. Utilizing virtual visits on platforms like Zoom, our faculty have provided opportunities for practitioners to guest lecture in our Real Estate courses. Our CREF Advisory Board members are continuing to work with our six full time faculty helping them to be at the forefront of Real Estate research and education.
This fall we had our Real Estate Career fair where we virtually welcomed 31 firms and had over 300 students interview for potential positions. CREF just completed hosting the 12th Annual International Real Estate Case Competition. We had 14 schools participate and are especially proud or our Cornell University team who received the First Place honor in the competition. Our thanks go to Prof. Daniel Quan who coordinated the competition, all the teams who participated and especially to the Judges and Sponsors who gave so much of their time to make the competition a reality. CREF was also fortunate enough to co-sponsor the 38th Annual Cornell Real Estate Conference Webinar Series where more than 7000 people registered for the four webinars. Congratulations to Tammy Jones ’87 who received the 2020 Real Estate Industry Leader award.
Moving forward CREF is in the planning stages of another round of Real Estate Webinars. Our series earlier this year each drew thousands of participants from around the year and were seen as the most informative and impactful Real Estate webinars launched during the COVID Crisis. This coming spring, we at CREF are committed to continuing to support our collegiate chapter of WX Women in Real Estate and to engaging our underrepresented minority students in Real Estate by supporting activities at Cornell University as well as other intercollegiate and outreach activities. Later in the spring we will also be hosting a Titan’s in Real Estate event.
We are thankful for all who support CREF and all its activities. We look forward to our future and are committed to all Cornell Students being supported in every way possible.
These past few months have seen much disruption but also many examples of strength and support. Our physical contact with students ended and we transitioned to all remote instruction. Many of the board members or their associates visited our Real Estate classes via Zoom. I want to thank each and every one of you who continued to support our students’ education during this difficult transition. We were unable to have many of our scheduled CREF events, including the Real Estate Titan’s event, but I want to thank Richard Baker, our Centers & Institute staff, and External Affairs for their support throughout. We look forward to planning a robust 2020-21 academic year schedule of events, and encourage you to check back frequently as details are updated.
As part of our response to the academic and event schedule disruption, we launched a series of Real Estate Webinars. These webinars are co-hosted by faculty and board members. The series was incredibly impactful according to the “views” across a number of platforms as well as the anecdotal responses received by myself and the other board members involved. I want to express my appreciation to all the participants, eCornell for hosting the webinar series, and the School of Hotel Administration Dean’s office for supporting the logistics. A special thank you is due Professor Linda Canina for helping to organize the series and assemble the participants.
By coming together and uniting our efforts the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University, and the entire Real Estate community, have been informed and supported throughout this difficult period.
The Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF) finished 2019 in great shape and we are looking forward to a productive 2020. Spring is an active time in the Real Estate world, and here at CREF we are no exception with multiple events in the works.
This month CREF will be teaming up with The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE), The Cornell Center for Innovative Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations (CIHLER) and The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) to bring a very special Center and Institutes: Career Networking Event, focused on bringing together industry leaders with the some of our brightest and best university students.
May revs up with a minimum of four events around the country. The 2nd Annual Real Estate Symposium will feature six visiting speakers from different universities. Look for an analysis of current trends in the real estate market and engage with the faculty who conducted the research.
CREF is also in the final planning stages of our 5th Annual Titans of Real Estate Panel Discussion which will be held in NYC on May 8th. Please hold the date, follow-on details to be announced very soon.
We are also pleased to announce the 5th Annual ICSC & Cornell International Retail Real Estate Case Competition May 17-19. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) will join in hosting this year’s competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Robert C. Baker Professor in Real Estate Professor Daniel Quan has agreed to lead this initiative as he has done in the past.
Lastly, we are planning a WX NYC Trek for our Women in Real Estate Initiative for later this semester.
Along with all these events, the CREF Board Faculty Mentorship Program is in full swing with most teams having connected at least once. CREF is looking forward to having face-to face trips in the spring and fall once the teams have defined their agendas.
On a personal note, I hope that the members of the CREF Advisory Board will let me know if they plan to visit Ithaca. I would be happy to host dinner, drinks or coffee, whatever works. Again, I look forward to a prosperous new year with you all.
This has been an exciting period for the Center for Real Estate and Finance. We have published our new mission statement and are in the process of updating our website. We have launched the “rebranded” CREF Index and are finalizing a process for CREF Board members to get a first look and to provide commentary as the index is launched each quarter.
CREF, because of all your generous support, was able to fund a trek for the Cornell Real Estate Club and to send a team to the UBC case competition. I am excited to inform you all that our team came in third and did so without two important team members who were unable to make it any further than Chicago due to weather. We are now in the planning stages for the Titans event on March 6, 2020, as well as preparing to co-brand with the ICSC on their case competition and a Real Estate Retail and Hospitality Roundtable in the coming spring semester. I am also pleased to report that CREF has committed to supporting the 11th Cornell IRECC in the fall of 2020.
I want to thank the board for their input during our last board meeting and especially recognize the efforts of Mr. Art Adler. He has generously given his time and counsel since I became the director on July 1, 2019. Of course, a special thanks also for hosting our board meeting at JLL’s headquarters in NYC.
We are set to have a great year and I want to take this opportunity to encourage each of you to reach out to me directly with any ideas or input you may have. Together I expect we can continue to have the Center for Real Estate and Finance enhance the growth and quality of real estate at Cornell.
The Center for Real Estate and Finance recently concluded its busy “competition season” this fall with the introduction of the Cornell CUHK Regional Real Estate Competition, Asia on October 8th, which attracted a strong university presence, hosting 8 teams from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia. The top teams in our regional competitions in Asia, Australia and UK/Europe received an expense paid trip to New York City to compete in the 10th Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition on November 13th. A total of 27 international universities competed for over $20,000 in prize money with University of Pennsylvania winning first place. Cornell University was represented by: Max Feng ’19, Linda Cao ’19, Amanda Cheng ’19, Karen Ding ’20, Mark Rittiboon ’19 and Becca Wang ’20. Many thanks to the industry judges and student teams that took the time to participate in all of our case competitions around the globe. It is a wonder to look back over the past 10 years and see how the competition has expanded and helped to cultivate so many students into successful real estate professionals. The competition is truly the foremost event of its kind.
The Cornell Real Estate Club ventured on two real estate treks this semester, focusing on networking and recruitment opportunities. The New York City trek took the students to PGIM Real Estate, Eastdil Secured, PJT Partners, and Goldman Sachs. Their trek to Chicago included visits to Hyatt Development, CBRE Hotels, AJ Capital Partners, HFF, Harrison Street Capital, Singerman Real Estate, Walton Street and LaSalle Investment Management.
I would also like to extend gratitude to the guest speakers that arrived on campus over the past few months to share their extensive industry knowledge with students via individualized club sessions, the classroom and full, school-wide information sessions. We filled their itineraries from morning to night with as many engagement opportunities as possible. Thank you to Richard Baker ’88, Cheryl Boyer ’87, David Israel ’09, Jonathan Korr ’09, Michael Nash and Jenny Wang ’12.
We look forward to a busy spring filled with more exciting events.
Arthur Adler ’78 & Karen Newman Adler ’78 Director
Center for Real Estate and Finance
A Team Effort
As we close calendar year 2014, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the many people who make possible the wide variety of activities found under the banner of the Center for Real Estate and Finance. Our goal in all of this is to complement and improve our students’ educational experience. As you see from the many events highlighted in this newsletter, we have a strong group of supporters. During this season of thanks we would like to extend our appreciation for everyone who contributes to CREF’s efforts. Let me highlight a few who have been instrumental in making the fall 2014 semester a successful one.
We thank Harry Macklowe for his recent visit to campus and providing an invaluable experience for the students in sharing his extensive knowledge of the real estate industry. Harry graciously took time not only to speak in the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series, but he also met with students who wanted to gain his perspective on the industry.
Many thanks to the judges who shared their time at the Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition, especially the Cornell alumni who joined us: Chuck Rosenzweig ’85, JD ’88, Bruce Kimmelman ’91, Sanjeev Misra ’98, and Thad Paul ’98. As you see in this newsletter, the case competition has become the foremost event of its kind—and that is possible only through the support of many real estate experts and financial partners.
Thank you to the leadership of the Cornell Real Estate Club for all their efforts in cultivating an enriching learning environment for their fellow students and looking forward to continued growth within the club.
Last but far from least, thank you to our Advisory Board members. Your faithful support makes all the CREF activities possible and promotes the real estate minor, which is the largest undergraduate minor on campus.
As you see, we have had a busy fall semester, and we look forward to an equally fulfilling spring.
Director of the Center for Real Estate and Finance
Nothing is more exciting than the beginning of another academic year, with a new class of students joining returning students for classroom and field studies in real estate and finance. We at the Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF) look forward to enhancing the students’ learning about these key aspects of the hospitality industry throughout this upcoming busy and exciting fall semester.
One of our important functions is to support the real estate minor at Cornell, which continues to be one of the largest undergraduate minors on campus, with over 300 students declared as of the beginning of this semester. Although the minor is available to students attending any school at Cornell, I should note that over 200 students at the School of Hotel Administration are enrolled in the school’s real estate and finance courses. We now have twelve faculty members supporting this educational effort, teaching courses that cover such topics as investment in real estate securities, real estate financial modeling, and investment and portfolio analysis.
In addition to our classroom teaching, the CREF supports the Real Estate Club, which now has 45 students as members. As you’ll see elsewhere in this newsletter, the club has a great roster of activities planned for the year. You’ll also read about another highlight of the fall semester in this newsletter, the 6th annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition. This is a major competition that brings in students from a wide variety of international colleges and universities to analyze an actual real estate transaction. Based on previous case competitions, it’s impossible to overstate the value of the interaction between the expert judges and students as they tackle the case.
As we do every year, we’ll also bring in industry experts for workshops on various specific industry strategies and techniques. In short, these are just a few of the ways that the CREF is satisfying our educational mission—with great programming, events, and classes. In closing I want to thank our advisory board members and others who help promote this educational agenda. None of this would be possible without your support.
Director of the Center for Real Estate and Finance
With the upcoming summer months, this is a good time to reflect on our many CREF achievements during the last academic year and to consider CREF activities in the coming year. Our three core objectives of student education, industry relevance, and academic rigor were well served with our various activities. Students were presented with opportunities to interact with real estate industry icons and our CMBS panel attracted widespread participation. Our faculty continues to produce top quality publications to further enhance our academic reputation. The very successful Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition continues to raise awareness among the international academic community that our real estate program is willing and able to take a leadership role in promoting real estate education.
While we’re happy with our success, we plan to continue our path in the coming year. While we will continue with many of our previous successful efforts, we are also exploring new and exciting events to further enhance CREF’s mission. We’ll make announcements as they come to fruition. As a supporter of our program, I would welcome any comments you may have on our activities. And as always, all of us in Real Estate and Finance at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration appreciate your continual support.
Director of the Center for Real Estate and Finance
As I write this message, I have just returned from the successful conclusion of the fifth annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition. I want to congratulate the Cornell team which placed third overall, but also acknowledge the student competitors from all fourteen teams for their excellent effort. Teams have traveled from as far as China and the UK to compete in this event each year. Thanks again to sponsors and judges for their support of this important competition, which is the largest of its kind.
The Case Competition is just one of a whirlwind of activities that CREF has scheduled, some of which are still in the planning stage. I want to briefly highlight some of these initiatives, beginning with our partnership with WX, the New York–based Women Executives in real estate, whose members have become mentors for our students. We’re especially looking forward to having WX members come to campus and share with our women real estate minors about their professional experiences and about the WX scholarship program.
Speaking of educational resources, we are seeking connections with the parents of our 300-plus students in the real estate minor. We want to invite parents who are involved in real estate to come to Ithaca for a panel discussion (and also to visit their children). This will expand our resource base by providing our real estate minors with access to top real estate executives.
We also plan to take advantage of the amazing real estate laboratory known as New York City. To give our students the details of more specific real estate deals, we’ll visit the Google Building in the Meat Packing district, to learn about how that deal was structured. The students will be treated to an in depth deal-level discussion about the sale to Google by Frank Sullivan, the architect of the transaction. Another remarkable real estate development in NYC is 432 Park Avenue, and we will learn from Macklowe properties about their plans. This will be the tallest residential building structure in NYC and will transform the surrounding areas. We also will take a retrospective look at the evolution of the CMBS market, so that students can learn how the commercial mortgage-based securities market has changed over the years. We will assemble a panel consisting of the pioneers of the industry to hear their views about what the future holds for this important sector.
In closing, I want to thank my predecessor, Professor Jan deRoos, for his work as founding director of CREF. We intend to continue the momentum he created, and add to CREF’s many co-curricular activities, all with a goal of supporting our real estate and finance students. Thanks also to our CREF fellows and advisory board members for their continued support. I want to join Professor Jack Corgel in inviting our board members for a breakfast reception during the ALIS conference in Los Angeles this January. We’ll update you on our future plans. Watch for more details shortly.
Academic Director of the Center for Real Estate and Finance
It is hard for me to believe that it has been four years since the official launch of the CREF, and that my service as academic director is coming to an end. We launched with nine CREF Industry Fellows and a small graduating class in the spring of 2009. We now have 27 Industry Fellows, over 350 students in the minor, a world renowned real estate faculty, and a record of accomplishment. The incoming CREF director, Prof. Daniel Quan, is looking forward to putting his stamp on the CREF and building on the foundations laid over the past four years.
With the recent graduation of the class of 2013, we shared the excitement that came with attending Cornell’s 145th commencement ceremony; here in the CREF, we celebrated the graduation of 100 of Cornell’s finest students who obtained the Minor in Real Estate. At our minor recognition ceremony, I encouraged the graduates to do three things; “please be investors for the minor”, “make no little plans for your lives and for your careers”, and lastly, “please hire from the Minor”. It was a good year for graduates, with students reporting a very buoyant job market and job prospects. We increasingly see real estate firms making Cornell one of their top recruiting stops when hiring real estate talent. Our “guerrilla marketing” tactic has been the use of our bumper sticker. We’re encouraging students to place them in highly visible locations in densely populated urban cores. Please let me know if you see them and send photos, I’d love to make a regular feature to be a photo of the sticker in iconic locations.
In this edition of the newsletter, you’ll find a variety of topics detailing the multitude of activities happening with the CREF. I’m very proud that Rob Kline ’84, CEO and co-founder of Chartres Lodging Group, and his family have endowed The Robert ’84 & Denise Kline Family Real Estate Capital Markets Lab, which will be known as the “Kline Lab” by students. This state-of-the-art facility will launch in the fall of 2013, and be used by several courses as a teaching facility for the “Trading Real Estate Securities and Funds” course and will be a research facility for students. The lab will host a myriad of real estate databases including Real Capital Analytics, TREPP, CoStar, FactSet, REIS, PKF Hospitality Horizons, STR Global, and SNL Securities. I also want to thank Rod Clough and Suzanne Mellen of HVS for their generous support of the CREF by joining as our latest CREF Industry fellows.
Lastly, I would like to thank those who have helped the CREF become an unqualified success; the CREF Industry Fellows for their continued support of our mission, the CREF Faculty for all of the extras I ask them to do in the name of the CREF, and to the staff, especially Kathy Terry, for their dedication, good humor, and attention to detail. Thank you to you all.
Things have really been cooking in the CREF the past three months: student interest in the Real Estate Minor is at an all-time high, employer activity continues unabated with a positive spring 2013 outlook, and CREF sponsored ten extra-curricular events—including an in-depth look at the redevelopment of the venerable Buffalo Statler Hotel and roundtables with Cheryl Boyer, president of WX–New York Women Executives in Real Estate, and Jonathan Grey, Global Head of Real Estate, The Blackstone Group. The CREF faculty continues to publish new knowledge, both in the real estate journals and on the CREF website. Pay us a visit at www.cref.cornell.edu. We’ve added three new industry fellows and appreciate two continuing members in the past three months. Please welcome The Mega Companies, RLJ Lodging Trust and Wells Fargo to the CREF Industry Fellows and kudos to Watermark Capital Partners, LLC and Westbrook Partners for continuing to support our efforts.
In this newsletter, you’ll find details on all of our fine work. What I’d like to convey in this welcome is the energy and interest around the center, the minor, and the programming that allows our real estate mission to mature and become an increasing part of the intellectual life of the School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University. Most important, with our focus on making a key difference in the students’ education, we are fulfilling the twin goals of providing academic knowledge and connecting that knowledge to the hands-on learning that is essential for accelerating our graduates’ career success and providing the industry with high functioning future talent.
Associate Professor and HVS Professor of Hotel Finance and Real Estate