Real estate students tour the Miami River on floating classroom.

All aboard! The “Miami Lady” tour boat became a floating classroom when Suzanne Hollander, who teaches real estate courses in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU), took 100 undergraduates, graduate students and alumni on an educational real estate tour on the Miami River on November 4th.

This critical artery of commerce, running 5.5 miles from Miami International Airport to Biscayne Bay, is flanked by a huge variety of commercial and residential properties, scenic parks and multicultural neighborhoods. Happily, real estate professionals were along to make the details of the properties come alive.

The tour took place along the Miami River.

“A thriving 30-story building sits right next to a vacant lot and you wonder ‘What’s the story there?’” said Frank Halpern, working on his Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE). “We had an incredible array of experts to tell us the inside story. What an experience!”

“We saw luxury homes, modest homes, high rises, developments, restaurants, office buildings and other commercial properties,” Hollander said. “Best of all, people ‘in the know’ shared fascinating insight as to the who-what-where-when-and-how of river real estate.”

Area experts share details, insight and perspective.

In addition to Hollander, on board, making presentations and answering questions, were:

  • Victor Ballestas, managing director, Starwood Residential
  • Brett Bibeau, managing director, Miami River Commission
  • Josie Correa, executive director, Downtown Miami Partnership
  • Francisco Garcia, director of planning, City of Miami
  • Steve Goldman, real estate attorney, Greenberg Traurig
  • William Hardin, director, FIU real estate programs

“These are some of the most knowledgeable real estate people in the area,” said Hollander, who added that students on board were from her Legal Environment of Real Estate class, an undergraduate class and a graduate-level course “The group learned firsthand about boom and bust, realized why one development failed and another succeeded and heard how deals were made.”

Suzanne Hollander and William Hardin

Bibeau and Hollander along with FIU’s Jerome Bain Real Estate Institute were the tour organizers. FIU’s Real Estate Student Association (RESA) also served as a host.

“It was a plot-by-plot tour,” said Halpern. “We learned a wealth of information about zoning, comparables, speculation, property utilization and more.”


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