Innovative ideas from Dallas

November 08, 2016

Today we begin a series of blog posts from our second year MSRE students, who recently attended the 2016 Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting in Dallas.  One of the many benefits of an education at the Runstad Center is the unique opportunity to travel to a national conference and have exclusive access to a number of prominent figures in the industry, which is funded through generous donations from the Runstad Center Advisory Board. Evan Wong, MSRE Candidate 2017, shares his experiences in Dallas…

Following our ULI Young Leaders Group tour in Ft Worth yesterday evening, things were moving rather slowly for me in the morning. I woke up at 7 am (5 am PST) to get some work emails out and ran down to the café for an espresso where I ran into two of my MSRE compatriots, Brendan Mason and Amy Hartman also on their laptops in the lobby. Laughs were shared and pleasantries were exchanged as we bleakly looked on into our computer screens; our minds a bit fatigued but we were determined to get our school assignments completed and work emails sent.

It’s still relatively early in the trip, but the best thing about Dallas so far has been the weather. 85 degrees and partially sunny with a slight breeze throughout the day. Not the best suit weather certainly, but the conference rooms were frigid and I guess it kind of balanced out. I haven’t gotten to explore to much of the city given our dense schedule, but I did manage to sneak away to Klyde Warren Park on Monday for a few minutes of serenity and relaxation.

On Tuesday morning, we met with Hal Ferris, founder of Spectrum Development and Molly McCabe of ULI’s Responsibility Property Investment Council. Molly is a firm proponent of triple bottom line investing, which emphasizes a focus on profits, people, and environmental sustainability when evaluating real estate returns. It’s an interesting concept, and one that I just previously heard about earlier this quarter at The Evans School in Joaquin Herranz’s Public Policy 566: Community Economic Development class. Joaquin however stresses a quadruple bottom line approach, adding creativity as the fourth factor in the equation. It’s so exciting to see concepts that we learned about in the classroom being applied to the present in the real estate industry.

Following our meeting with Molly and Hal we then met with Scott Matthews of Vulcan to give us the State of the Union for Paul Allen’s development powerhouse. While they are known for their development of the Amazon campus and reinvigorating South Lake Union it was interesting to hear about the entitlement and community feedback process that they are currently going through for 23rd & Jackson in the Central District. Like all accomplished development companies, Vulcan takes community engagement very seriously and is actively working with all parties involved to develop a project that matches the needs of the community with Vulcan’s underlying ideals towards development and revitalization.