Real estate students tour the Miami River with a team of experts.

Aboard a “floating classroom,” 150 undergraduates, graduate students and alumni learned valuable real estate lessons as they toured the Miami River on September 27, 2013 with a team of real estate planners, developers, government officials and other experts.

The boat tour was organized by Suzanne Hollander, an attorney and real estate broker who teaches in the Tibor and Sheila Hollo School of Real Estate, part of the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU), and by Brett Bibeau, managing director of the Miami River Commission.

Professor Bill Hardin and Professor Suzanne Hollander answering student questions.

“The Miami River is a microcosm of development, so students not only saw an enormous variety of commercial and residential properties but also heard right from professionals involved in the development of these areas,” Hollander said. “Students learned first hand how it takes a team to build a real estate project.”

“This tour took us way beyond textbook learning,” said Lil Suazo, a senior. “To have the experts show us buildings and developments made issues such as zoning and boom-or-bust come alive.”

Joseph Semprevivo, a resident of Vero Beach, was one of the students earning a Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) through online study who came to Miami for the tour.

“These professionals showed us examples of what we’re learning on such diverse topics as leverage, eminent domain and density,” said Semprevivo, an entrepreneur already involved in real estate selling. “To be able to get their insight on developments such as the Miami Riverwalk as we’re viewing it was an incredible opportunity.”

Area experts share details, insight and perspective.

In addition to Hollander and Bibeau, the diverse group of professionals included:

  • Horacio Aguirre, chairman, Miami River Commission
  • Bill Hardin, professor, FRICS and director of the Hollo School of Real Estate
  • Andy Hellinger, attorney, principal and developer, River Landing
  • Sandy Londono, vice president of Commercial Lending, Sabadell Bank
  • Margaret Nee, president, Commercial Real Estate Women and vice president of Development, Pointe Group Advisors
  • Coralee Penabad, attorney, principal and developer, River Landing
  • Tony Perez, chief of Land Development City of Miami
  • Alyce Robertson, executive director, Miami Downtown Development Authority
  • Hal Ruck, chief of Community Planning, City of Miami
  • Dave Snow, Planner 1, City of Miami
Guest lecturers included Horacio Aguirre, Bill Hardin, Andy Hellinger, Sandy Londono, Margaret Nee, Coralee Penabad, Tony Perez, Alyce Robertson, Hal Ruck and Dave Snow.

“Around the world, civilizations started on the water and each waterfront city has incredible stories to tell,” Hollander said. “I’m so pleased our students were able to hear some of those stories right from the people involved in the past, present and future projects that shape Miami.”

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