Blog Club Corner On Campus real estate

The Eighth Annual Harvard Real Estate Weekend

Ina Li, ContributorTaito Ohe, ContributorGeorge Zhang, Contributor

Now in its eighth yr, the Harvard Real Estate Weekend is the College’s flagship actual estate occasion jointly introduced by the Real Estate Golf equipment of Harvard Business Faculty and the Graduate Faculty of Design. This yr, we have been honored and pleased to host a sold-out conference on March 9 and 10, which was attended by over 500 alumni, professionals, and students. The two-day Weekend featured a mess of events, competitions, and panel discussions, masking subjects on funding, improvement, design, coverage, and know-how in the actual property business.

Insights from Discussions: Keynotes

The Weekend was anchored by a collection of three keynotes on actual property improvement, funding, design, and insurance policies.

We have been honored to welcome Alicia Glen, the former Deputy Mayor of New York for the previous 5 years, as the opening keynote speaker in conversation with Professor Jerold Kayden. Glen shared her expertise working with the town, her most proud tasks, and her outlook on the town’s progress.

As a former Goldman Sachs government, Glen is properly versed within the personal sector, especially the actual estate business. Aside from her most well-known deal (Amazon’s HQ2), she additionally talked about her work in enterprise probably the most complete reasonably priced housing program in the nation’s historical past, launching the citywide ferry service, and making strategic investments in superior manufacturing, the life sciences, and the tech ecosystem.

Glen insisted that cities should be extra inclusive to succeed, which requires all stakeholders to decide to preserving affordability and variety. She urged buyers and builders to give attention to longer-term worth creation, actively interact with communities, and use good design to intentionally match into the fabric of a neighborhood. Studying from past success, Glen believes the town has to turn into denser and leverage municipal tools and public belongings extra effectively.

As the closing keynotes on the Design Faculty, SOM Associate Mustafa Okay. Abadan and Brookfield Design SVP John Durshinger targeted on the facility and value of design behind large-scale mixed-use developments such as the newly opened Hudson Yards and Manhattan West. The Manhattan West venture is situated strategically west of Penn Station and east of the Hudson Yards and built over the lively mainline practice tracks connecting New York with the rest of the East Coast, overcoming a very complicated logistical state of affairs. Citing a variety of internationally acclaimed tasks, they concluded that the important thing to reinforce dwelling high quality and reduce monetary dangers in an increasingly dense city surroundings is to leverage the density by way of mixed-use structure that’s highly integrated into the infrastructure.

The second day of the conference at Klarman Hall featured four extra panels and the keynote delivered by JDS Improvement’s management (Michael Stern, CEO; Marci Clark, Director; and Simon Koster, Principal). The workforce shared their stories, challenges, and insights behind the creation of quite a few progressive adaptive reuse and large-scale new development tasks in New York Metropolis and Miami, together with the Walker Tower, 111 West 57th Road, the American Copper Buildings, and Monad Terrace. The JDS group shared its philosophy of pushing the boundaries of design and development to ship probably the most dynamic tasks to the market. Additionally they mentioned the importance of team-building and collaboration, as well as leveraging multi-disciplinary talent to understand seemingly unimaginable tasks.

Insights from Discussions: Panels

In between keynotes, the Weekend hosted seven panels joined by over 35 speakers to debate the most well liked subjects within the business at present.

Day one targeted on the more and more lively disruptive forces and entrepreneurs which are shaping the business of tomorrow.

The speakers on the tech panel mentioned how the purposes of evolving know-how resembling AI and large knowledge have modified how the business has historically approached and solved problems.

First, access to large transactional knowledge has enabled corporations to raised analyze the market, extra successfully matching demand with provide and disrupting the normal home-selling models.

As well as, the discussion addressed the undersupply of reasonably priced houses and how Fintech is making credit score and illiquid capital more accessible for many who had little to no prior access. The inflow of startups and revolutionary approaches in prop tech presents new solutions to challenges that the business has been dealing with for many years.

The sharing financial system panel discussion demonstrated the big potential of how progressive co-living tasks are reworking and enhancing the urban dwelling experience for users of all ages, because the co-everything mannequin continues to redefine traditional possession fashions. As cities face more and more dense populations, the sharing model allows property house owners to make extra environment friendly use of underutilized fastened belongings and supplies users with more flexibility and accessibility to high-quality facilities than would otherwise be obtainable to them.

Day two targeted on rising developments in real estate funding and improvement in response to bigger political and social shifts in metropolitan areas around the globe.

The Megaproject Panel featured numerous international tasks that strategically combine combined uses by way of leveraging their extraordinary scale. The panelists shared their insights on the challenges and alternatives from creating synergy and constructing new communities in the long run.

The Hospitality panelists mentioned the business’s growing interactions with millennial vacationers and new advertising strategies on experiential hospitality. The panel featured new varieties of accommodation that focus extra on curating personalised and local experience by way of integrating cities’ tourism sectors.

Responding to the newest buzzword in the business, the Opportunity Zones panelists provided insights on just lately carried out tax advantages from both policymaker and investor perspectives, advising developers on greatest practices that assist faucet into the potential.

Improvement Workshop

This yr, the Improvement Workshop partnered with HYM Investments to provide you with artistic improvement proposals for his or her Suffolk Downs challenge, a 161-acre improvement website adjoining to Logan Airport which was seen as the perfect candidate in Boston for Amazon’s HQ2. Eleven interdisciplinary teams led by skilled coaches and made up of students and younger professionals from backgrounds corresponding to design, improvement, and finance labored collectively all through Saturday to provide you with undertaking proposals that have been introduced to a jury panel comprising business executives and senior school members. Via an intensive day including a website go to and workshop periods, as well as remaining shows, the individuals discovered to deal with the complicated website by means of monetary, design, and policy perspectives and ultimately synthesizing these right into a cohesive imaginative and prescient and plan.

Real Estate Venture Competitors

Now in its fifth yr, the Harvard Real Estate Enterprise Competition is a showcase for entrepreneurial college students and recent graduates with the potential to influence the actual estate business by way of progressive business strategy and artistic execution. The competitors welcomed 10 finalists to Harvard for a pitch competition on Saturday, March 9. The start-ups have been targeted on numerous elements of the PropTech ecosystem, including knowledge analytics, co-working, wellness, property management, and finance.

This yr’s winner was Victor Hunt, CEO of Astorian, a provider of solutions for property managers to automate procurement for constructing repairs and improvements. Astorian took house a $33,000 cash prize, which was generously sponsored by The Baupost Group and Lisciotti Improvement Corp.

NYC Satellite tv for pc Panel

Previous to the occasions on the Harvard campus, the Weekend additionally organized a New York satellite panel on PropTech to kick off the convention, together with our co-hosts Harvard in Tech, MetaProp, Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board, and Amazon AWS. Along with over 200 attendees, founders and specialists from Nestio, REX Real Estate, MetaProp, Compound Asset Management, and Corigin Ventures met on the AWS Loft in NYC and mentioned how the appliance of AI, automation, huge knowledge, and other rising applied sciences can supply boundless alternatives and benefits for entrepreneurs trying to faucet into the market. The panel additionally discussed predictive analytics, real estate cryptocurrencies, and different nuances in funding for PropTech startups.

What’s subsequent? Integrating variety on all fronts

This yr, we have been extremely excited to function such a various range of probably the most relevant subjects in the business at this time, bringing in new voices from the tech, design, and public sectors. We’ll continue these cross-sector conversations and build bridges amongst stakeholders, exploring new ways of problem-solving and value creation by means of collaboration and partnerships. We have been also proud to deal with the range difficulty that is typically hotly debated in the actual property business by bringing in audio system representing all genders and demographics. We are dedicated to constructing the actual estate group at Harvard into an ever extra inclusive group, as we consider within the power of variety and learning from totally different views.


Ina Li (HKS/GSD ’20) is presently pursuing a public coverage and concrete planning joint degree with a focus in real estate, infrastructure, and urban improvement. Initially from Beijing, China, she studied and worked in New York Metropolis for six years before Harvard. Her past work expertise consists of actual property improvement, urban planning and design, and land use. She is particularly interested by giant scale public-private-partnership urban improvement tasks.

Taito Ohe (MBA ’20) is an architect and lodge developer with experience in Japan, america, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and China. His completed tasks range from condominiums to workplaces to retail shops, integrating luxury design with useful wants. He managed a premier boutique lodge improvement in New York City, bringing his experience to repurpose underutilized belongings. By weaving together expertise in disparate fields, he goals to strengthen the rejuvenating impression he brings to the city built surroundings.

George Zhang (GSD ’21) is presently a Master of Structure candidate at the Graduate Faculty of Design (GSD) with a robust concentrate on real estate improvement, finance, and economics. Professionally educated as an architect and designer, George is eager about and inspired by the intersection between design, enterprise, and the city surroundings. He has skilled expertise throughout numerous design and investment companies, masking a wide range of tasks and contexts across america, Europe, and Asia.