Master’s in Real Estate – Real Estate Matters
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Master’s in Real Estate

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Real Estate Trends

Minnesota: Commercial Development Hub

A recent post by the New York Times blog, shows Minneapolis is among the leaders in urban development. One may ask, why and how does Minneapolis keep attracting people to the city? Simple, the city’s diverse population allows for vibrant restaurants and events, and municipal transportation creates accessibility to and from these destinations. Looking deeper, destinations and even housing were only possible through recent Minneapolis commercial development. You can see from almost any point in the city a construction crane or sign saying, “Opening Soon.”

Setting aside apartment and condo developments, the last 15 years has seen revitalization of major Minneapolis buildings. The old Sears building on Lake Street is now the Midtown Global Market which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year, and the Foshay Tower is now the W-Hotel. Recently, the Minneapolis Armory, also on the national landmark registrar, looks to be renovated into a venue hosting large crowds as an event center. The Armory was recently sold for $6 million dollars to Nedal Yusuf Abul-Hajj who has submitted plans to convert the 80 year old building.

Architecture & Design, Development, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Former Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home Development Remains Postponed

If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis. 

The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.

While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.


UST Program News

Build Something: Your Career in Real Estate

Everything needs a foundation – even a career in Real Estate. The Master of Science Degree in Real Estate provides you with the skills and credibility you need to differentiate yourself in a competetive industry.

Take the steps to build your career in real estate:

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Executive Insight Series, Multifamily, Property Management, Senior Housing, Uncategorized, Upcoming UST Events

Dominium to share Multifamily Insights on December 6th

dominiumlogoMark Moorhouse of Dominium, the Midwest’s premier owner and developer of affordable, luxury, and senior multifamily real estate will speak at the University of St. Thomas on Tuesday, December 6 at 5:45 p.m.  This is the last event for 2011 in the Real Estate Executive Insight Series.  This event is free and open to the public but please register here.

As senior vice president and project partner for Dominium, Mark Moorhouse is responsible for development and acquisition activity. Since joining the firm in 1996, Moorhouse has played an integral role in the financing of over $140 Million of apartments and has helped raise in excess of $40 Million in equity.

Green Building, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Uncategorized

MSRE Development Students Analyze the Impacts of Sustainability

Graduate stGreenLeavesudents in the Master of Science in Real Estate program have the opportunity to complete hands-on projects catered towards their individual interests in real estate throughout each semester.  In addition to compiling a development site plan for REAL 770, students in Dr. Tom Musil’s development class are researching and analyzing the effects of sustainability on the market and development trends.

Several students cited the recent study conducted by CB Richard Ellis and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.  The study which began in 2009, now in its 3rd phase, tracks a portion of CBRE’s portfolio, 150 office buildings, to report the impacts of sustainability measures, such as LEED certification, on building occupants, energy consumption, and NOI.  You can access information from these reports as well as read recaps of CBRE’s sustainability webinars here. recently released its own report entitled “Green Building Market and Impact Report 2011,” available for download here.  Beyond LEED, students are looking at the impact of new technologies on commercial real estate and housing, including net-zero energy communities.

Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Tim Lawrence, Site Selection Specialist & Retail Real Estate Broker

TimLawrenceWith expertise in geography and location analysis, Tim Lawrence helps retailers and developers find the perfect site.  Now, Tim is expanding upon his real estate knowledge in the MSRE program.

What is your educational background and professional experience?

I majored in Geography and English at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.  Because of my interest in Location Analysis, one of my professors recommended a master’s program at UNC-Charlotte.  I completed the MA in Geography at UNC-Charlotte, a program focused on Location Analysis, particularly retail location.

I became interested in under-served retail markets, particularly inner-city retail potential.  While in that program, I was hired to complete research projects for two wonderful companies that were on the brink of rapid expansion into under-served markets.  At Supervalu, I built a sales forecasting tool for potential new Save-A-Lot store locations.  Supervalu was one of the first retail chains to conduct detailed market analysis studies decades before I had the opportunity to work for the same department.

After that, at Family Dollar, I interned with the real estate department.  I conducted a customer-spotting project to determine trade area parameters.  Using this information, we were able to create a model to use for evaluating prospective sites.  Family Dollar soon hired me as a Real Estate Manager, a position I held for six years, both in Charlotte and the Twin Cities.  I found this to be an excellent opportunity to gain retail real estate experience and exposure to dozens of retail markets throughout the country to complement my background in retail market planning and analysis.

Currently, I operate my own commercial real estate brokerage, Terrager Corporation, with a focus on location consulting for developers and retailers.

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Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Henry Ndawula

HenryPicWhat is your professional experience and education?

I graduated from St. Henry’s High School Masaka (Uganda) in 2005; I then joined the University of St. Thomas Minnesota in spring 2006. I graduated in fall 2010 with majors in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Real Estate. When I graduated, I never wanted to work in any business sector other than Real Estate. I then joined the Masters in Real Estate program starting fall 2010. Currently I’m in my last year through the program and expecting to graduate fall 2012.

My working experience has been short but exciting. I worked in the Minneapolis campus bookstore for a few years. In the summer of 2008, I had an opportunity to work as an intern student at Premier Banks in Maplewood which was another exciting and adventurous experience for me. In 2009, I was lucky to get my much desired internship in real estate at Shenehon Company Minneapolis which I’m still doing up to now. It has been a great learning experience working with commercial and business appraisers.

Why did you choose the MSRE program at UST?

After my graduation in fall 2010, I was interested in the real estate business, since I had my internship with Shenehon Company and an undergraduate degree in real estate. I wanted to further explore what real estate as a business has to offer me. I came to this decision after talking to a couple of people from the MSRE department, talked to Susie and Dr. Tom Hamilton who really helped me very much in my desire to do the program. Since I had graduated from St. Thomas, I pretty much knew the system and even the professor, so it was not a hard decision to choose this program.

What was your career goal when you entered the program and how has it evolved since?

My career goal was to learn as much as I can from the program and see how I can apply all the knowledge attained into the real life business. This goal has not changed; I’m just eager to get the most I can from the program.

My goal is to start a real estate business in Uganda, dealing in development, property/asset management and investment.

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Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Erik Schwegler, Commercial Real Estate Lender

Erik SchweglerWhat is your educational background and professional experience?

My undergraduate degree is in accounting from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  After my second year at Mankato, I was looking for summer job and was fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for Northland Financial Company (NorthMarq). Although I had some knowledge of real estate, I had never thought that I would go into real estate as a profession.  After the positive experience with the summer internship I realized I wanted to work in real estate and set my goals along this path.  The following summer I again interned for Northland Financial and upon graduation was hired as a full time credit analyst.  I was promoted to loan producer in 1998. In 2000, I took a loan officer position at Associated Bank and was promoted to Regional Manager of the Real Estate Group in 2003.  In 2006, I was hired as Vice President of Commercial Real Estate for Crown Bank. Currently, my focus is on monitoring the loan portfolio, workouts, restructuring, and new lending.

As I look back over my career to date, I am really fortunate – I’ve had great bosses and clients as mentors who have given me the opportunity to succeed and given me tremendous real world experience.

Why did you choose the MSRE program at UST?

I actually started the MBA program at St. Thomas in 1996 and completed eight classes; however, when I took the job at Associated Bank, lending was very busy and I decided to take a break from school to focus on building the real estate group at Associated.

After being away from the MBA program for about 10 years I was involved in a lengthy lawsuit related to a loan.  This lawsuit affected me in a pretty significant way due to some very unethical actions by the borrowers.  The combination of this lawsuit and the overall real estate market decline motivated me to search for a way to reinvent and revitalize myself.

One day I ran into Mr. Herb Tousley in the downtown skyway and we discussed his new role as Director of the MS-Real Estate program, at that moment I decided I was going to go back to school.  Ironically, the first class I took at UST was the required Ethics class.

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Uncategorized, UST Program News

Graduate Real Estate Courses Begin Next Week

A chill is in the air and booksMSRE students are getting ready to head back to class next Wednesday, September 7th.  Kicking off the semester will be a dinner and networking event for all MSRE students on Tuesday, September 6th.  Here is a sneak peek at some of the courses offered this semester.

Investment Property Analysis

Instructor: Dr. Tom Hamilton, CRE, FRICS, CVS

In this course, we will discuss investing in income producing real estate. This will include both direct ownership and indirect ownership. Direct ownership of property will focus on the investment decisions faced by investors including how to develop expectations of potential future performance as well as how to analyze when and how to sell the property. This will include whole ownership and partial interests in the property. Partial interest ownership will look at how we can create undivided interests in property and own those partial interests as real estate as opposed to owning claims on the real estate (indirect ownership through equity positions such as shares in a REIT). We will also look at indirect ownership, how to value such interests and to see how they compare to similar direct ownership interests.

We will also look at the development process as an investment strategy. Development can be from scratch or it can be a retrofitting/transforming process. Highest and best use will be our primary decision tool for this determination. Lastly, we will be looking into various financing vehicles and the effects that leverage can bring to the investment decision—including the risks associated with leverage, such as cash flow shortfalls and bankruptcy.

To gain a better understanding of these investment concepts, students will work hands-on with Argus software to model various financial scenarios.

Dr. Hamilton will also be teaching an undergraduate appraisal class this fall, in which students will conduct an appraisal of a commercial parcel located on University Avenue in St. Paul along the Central Corridor LRT line and make recommendations for the highest and best use for the site.

Real Estate Development

Instructor: Dr. Tom Musil

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Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Jonathan Jablonsky, Investment Analyst

JablonskyIt was a quick success story for Jonathan Jablonsky, who landed his ideal job in commercial real estate after completing only one course in the UST MSRE program.

A Tale of Two Paths

Jonathan’s interest in real estate peaked once he and two friends started a small property management business, first by purchasing a duplex, then a fourplex, then a 7-unit building.  Meanwhile, Jonathan was working full-time as a Financial Analyst for Thomson Reuters.  As a finance major, he enjoyed the broad exposure to finance at Thomson Reuters while he worked there for 3 ½ years.

While working in the 9-5 world, Jonathan couldn’t keep his mind off real estate.  He craved the tangible “hands on” nature of working with real estate and found his financial skills could be well utilized in analyzing his own investments.

During this time, Jonathan also acquired his real estate license and began selling homes on the side.  With most of his free time spent dedicated to real estate, it’s no wonder Jonathan chose the MSRE program at St. Thomas.  But he explains it wasn’t that easy.

How Jonathan Chose the MSRE at St. Thomas

While real estate seemed to be the natural fit for him, he considered MBA programs, but he could not get as excited about the general nature of the courses.  Then, he came across the St. Thomas real estate program and began pondering how he could meld his experience as a financial analyst with his desire to work with real estate as his day-to-day job.

The first step was to attend an information session at St. Thomas to learn more about the program.

“The faculty at UST helped me determine it was a good fit and encouraged me to make a decision about whether I wanted to do the MSRE or MBA.  At that point, I decided to begin the program, since I felt that the Master of Science in Real Estate degree would differentiate me from the competition.”

UST Helps Jonathan Secure a Position with Ameriprise

Jonathan is pleased with his decision.  After completing only one class in the program, he was offered his ideal job that finally allowed him to analyze investment real estate.

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