Whether or not the local real estate market has rebounded, the Real Estate Student Association (RESA) at Florida International University (FIU) definitely has. Under the organization’s new executive board and its president, Dan Berkovitz, the group recently held its first 2009-10 school year event, titled “Investing in Commercial Real Estate,” and it was a “big success” according to RESA’s faculty advisor, William Hardin, director of real estate programs in the College of Business Administration.
An audience of 80+ heard Jose Fernandez (BA ’77) and Jeff Cohen provide insights on the “South Beach area revitalization and how other areas in Miami may be set for such a transformation,” Hardin said.
“Fernandez has been investing in multi-family units for the past 30 years,” said Berkovitz, a management major and the only non-real estate major on RESA’s executive board. He connected to Fernandez, who had visited his blog, and Fernandez led him to Cohen, “who has been investing in resort hotels, industrial properties and multi-family units for the past 40 years.”
The speakers gave the students practical advice about the effort required to evaluate transactions before finding one that’s worthwhile, given that “there are literally thousands of commercial properties for sale in South Florida at any time,” Hardin said.
Event shows students path to professional contacts.
From Berkovitz’s perspective, “They were ideal speakers to renew enthusiasm for RESA,” noting that RESA’s next event scheduled for December 3, 2009 will tie into Art Basel with a tour of Miami’s Wynwood Art District to view commercial property.
And from his perspective as advisor to a student organization, Hardin appreciated what Fernandez and Cohen had to say about mentoring.
“The students realized that there are many in the real estate industry willing to mentor students,” he said. “While the business is very competitive, it is one where contacts are important and understanding participants’ ethics and ability is essential.”