2019 ULI Fall Meeting Recap: What Our Kahan Fellows Have to Say
October 9, 2019
2019 ULI Fall Meeting Recap: What Our Kahan Fellows Have to Say
Each year, ULI Chicago’s Jeffrey Kahan Fellowship recipients attend the ULI Fall and Spring Meetings, gaining valuable insights from the senior CRE players who convene semi-annually to attend their US Product Council meetings. Our 2019-20 Kahan Fellows, Megan Clower, Associate, Pearlmark and Dawveed Scully, Senior Urban Designer, SOM, recently attended the 2019 ULI Fall Meeting in Washington D.C. and participated in the Industrial and Office Park Development Council (IOPC) meeting.
Here’s what they had to say about their experience:
Megan Clower, Associate, Pearlmark
This year’s ULI Fall Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. With so many different events happening in the world right now, it was an excellent opportunity to hear about the state of the country, real estate in particular, from a wide variety of sources.
I had the opportunity to guest on the Industrial and Office Park Development Council (IOPC) – Blue Flight. It was an amazing chance to listen to inspiring speakers, tour a development, and hear from some of the largest pension plan investors in the country.
Our first speaker was a former US Navy SEAL, Darren McBurnett, who shared his insights on leadership. Not only was his experience inspirational to witness, he also offered context as to how the SEAL’s methods could be applied to the business world to develop the next generation of young leaders in the real estate industry.
Prior to lunch, we had two speakers on the intersection between the government and real estate – Andy Blocker (Head of US Government Affairs at Invesco) and Katrina Mulligan (Managing Director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress). They both shared their perspective on the state of the current administration and its impact on the business world.
Later in the day, we had an Institutional Investor Panel that provided fantastic insight as to how different pension funds look at real estate and real estate funds. The range of views offered by the representatives from New York State Common Retirement Fund, CalPERS, and Utah Retirement Systems showed how different systems look at both their obligations and real estate investing more specifically.
We wrapped up the afternoon with a case study on Tishman Speyer’s 2050 M Street development. The presentation showed how extreme creativity allowed the team to work within an existing tenant’s needs, as well as Washington DC’s strict zoning requirements. The tour that followed the presentation gave us a first-hand look at some of the unique architectural elements.
In addition to the council day, I had the opportunity to hear Nikki Haley present the Closing General Session of the week. Her thoughts on domestic politics and international diplomacy provided a counterpoint to the speakers from the day before, demonstrating the range of challenges facing our country today, but also potential solutions.
Dawveed Scully, Senior Urban Designer, SOM
After spending weeks beforehand prepping with our mentors for the Kahan fellowship, I was very excited to experience and engage in the activities planned for this year’s fall meeting. It was held in Washington DC and began with the opening session and a reception at District Wharf, a new development which as an urban planner was great to experience firsthand while engaging with this amazing group of individuals gathered for the 2019 ULI Fall Meeting.
After kicking off my ULI experience on the Washington DC waterfront I went to meet my colleagues at the Industrial and Office Park Development Council (IOPC) dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab. We met with the council leader and then we’re introduced to some of the members nearby for spirited conversation about my background, the fellowship, the council and development world in general. As my background is design it was great to hear from the mix of folks on this group about what they were working on and sharing some of my own experiences. There was so much knowledge in the room, so I just tried to listen, learn and connect.
Council day was a unique experience for me and the itinerary prepared was diverse and interesting. It was a great mix of development projects, industry conversation, and being Washington DC, we were able to hear from multiple speakers on the intersection of governance and development.
Our day started by hearing from a former Navy Seal on the rigors of seal training and the principles it instilled and relating that to the properties needed for success in any endeavor. Communication, rigor, diligence, effort and preparation are all necessary in any project and it was a unique way for us to start the day. We continued to a lighting round session on WeWork and industry where we were presented with data on each and the members questioned, shared experiences, and ideas on each. Hearing about WeWork was particularly fascinating as a designer because there are so many instances now where we see the coworking element changing design and it was interesting to hear the opinions and ideas of the attendees on coworking and how it is having an impact on office.
We continued through the day with about 5 more sessions on various topics. From Retirement funds, governance, foreign policy, an industrial development example which had every single hurdle to clear to come to fruition and ending on a tour of an office project in Washington DC. I was somewhat familiar with the site as I had stayed at a hotel across the street the last time I was in DC, so it was great to see something I had some familiarity with and understand both a design and development perspectives of Tishman Speyer and REX. How they handled land acquisition and kept an existing user operating while doing demolition and redevelopment into high end office project. They worked through some complex issues and created a unique design that worked to fit into the Washington DC context while not being overly expensive to produce. We took a short walk and ended our council day with a short tour of the project.
Afterwards I attended the all-IOPC cocktail hour to mingle and connect with folks from other groups to wind down with peers and mentors. The day was intense and inspiring. As an emerging professional this experience was invaluable. I’m extremely appreciative of those folks who I met during my time at Fall Meeting and IOPC Blue. Looking forward to the next one in Toronto and exploring more opportunities to stay involved with ULI passionate members and continue to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future.
The Kahan Fellowship honors Jeffrey Kahan, a principal and director of the Investment Services group of Colliers International in Chicago, who passed away in June 2012. As an active member of ULI and a member of the IOPC – Blue Flight, Kahan deeply believed in the value of the relationships formed and information shared through ULI. He was a passionate Chicagoan and wanted his life’s work to make a positive impact on the City.