As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, FIU’s Real Estate Program presented an inside look at Swire Properties’ $1.05-billion mixed-use Brickell City Centre during the 2016 Hollo School of Real Estate Jerome Bain Developer Luncheon.
Over 200 FIU students and alumni attended the 8th Biannual Developer Luncheon held March 11, 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami.
“A unique component FIU’s real estate program is the opportunity to meet with and learn directly from real estate leaders like key panelist Swire Properties,” said professor Suzanne Hollander, a real estate attorney and broker who teaches at the Hollo School of Real Estate’s undergraduate and graduate programs and moderates the luncheons. “The participation of top developers, students and alumni shows the success and lasting impact of the Developer Luncheons in creating and maintaining these professional relationships.”
For students in FIU’s Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) Program, the 5.4 million square foot, 9 acre Brickell City Centre is an applied real estate lesson in walking distance to the classrooms at FIU Downtown on Brickell.
“The real estate program gives our students a prominent role in the development of modern Miami,” said William G. Hardin, director of the Hollo School. “The Hollo Family’s participation and the financial support from the Jerome Bain Real Estate Institute, founded in partnership with the Miami Association of Realtors, we bring the real world to FIU and to the next generation of Miami’s business leaders.”
While a project of this magnitude may seem daunting, it’s a testament to a creative vision, hard work and dedication, noted keynote speaker Gonzalo Cortabarria, a veteran of the industry with experience in U.S. and Latin American real estate markets including Buenos Aires, Sao Palo and Uruguay.
In addition to updating students on the project, Cortabarria shared advice on building a successful career in real estate. “Don’t try to do everything, be great at whatever you do,” said Cortabarria, who earned an undergraduate degree in architecture and an MBA and masters in real estate from MIT. “Perseverance, focus and luck are very important.”
FIU undergraduate student Ruben Ferrer said he was impressed with Cortabarria’s presentation, noting that he had heard about Brickell City Centre, but didn’t know about some of its notable features. “It’s an interesting project and it also speaks to the growth of downtown Miami,” he added.
Ferrer, who will graduate in December 2016, highlighted the relevance of the Developer Luncheon series and its impact on opportunities for students.
“It’s really crucial because I’m learning about the industry and it gives me the opportunity to network with experts in the field,” said Ferrer, who works as a leasing agent in Miami. “For me, it’s a relationship-building experience.”
Let markets and innovation serve as guides.
He urged students to explore the business landscape in the local market as well as in other cities. “The building environment and process might be different, but the fundaments are the same,” Cortabarria said. “Look at the drivers of supply and demand as well as concepts like financing.”
Why Brickell? The area has experienced considerable residential growth over the past three years, and gains in the number of daytime workers, business travelers and foreign visitors; it’s also underserved in terms of retail options, Cortabarria explained.
“Given the slowing economies in Latin America, particularly the growing recession, devaluation of currencies and falling commodities, what is the impact on real estate in Miami?” asked a prospective FIU student. “Doesn’t that make the U.S. more expensive?”
Cortabarria urged him, and others, to “look beyond the micro elements and see the big picture” because there are still many wealthy Latin Americans who are bringing capital to the U.S.
Look beyond what’s already been done.
Wayne Hollo, executive vice president of Florida East Coast Realty, noted that students as well as recent graduates benefit from presentations like the Developers Luncheon it exposes them to new types of developments that are going up and they can see what vision and creativity can create.
“Use your creativity and vision to see what the city needs and do your own thing,” said Hollo, whose parents Tibor and Sheila Hollo helped establish the Hollo School. “Don’t just put up a concrete structure, give it form and substance. Create an aura, a lifestyle, an ambiance.”