ULI Chicago News

Announcing our 2018-19 ULI Chicago Jeffrey Kahan Full-Member Fellows

ULI Chicago is pleased to announce our 2018-19 Jeffrey Kahan Full-Member Fellows, Sara Disney Haufe, Senior Transportation Engineer, Sam Schwartz and Christa Petruska, Vice President, LaSalle Investment Management.

Created in memory of long-time ULI member, Jeffrey Kahan, the Kahan Fellowship provides ULI young leaders with a one-year Full membership and participation on the IOPC-Blue National Product Council, including attendance to the ULI Fall & Spring Meetings. In addition, they have been paired with a Council mentor who will act as a resource to expand their Council experience.

This year’s Fellows just returned from the ULI Fall Meeting in Boston – read more about their experience below.

Sara Disney Haufe
At this year’s ULI Fall Meeting in Boston, I had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand the value that ULI and its members place on the creation of thriving communities. Through the course of the week, the relationship between the community and our work as land use & real estate professionals was a consistent theme.

The conference kicked off by honoring Chicagoan Theaster Gates of the Rebuild Foundation, whose innovative approach to urban development is built upon an appreciation for art and culture and engages community pride in a truly unique way. In his acceptance speech for the ULI Nichols Prize, Gates spoke about his journey creating the Stony Island Arts Bank, pausing deliberately to describe the simple joy that neighborhood residents experience by walking in the green space that abuts the cultural attraction as part of their visit. His story was a heartwarming reminder of the many ways that thoughtful and community-minded development can add value both inside and outside of its walls.

As a guest of the Industrial & Office Park Development Council – Blue Flight, I had the opportunity to tour The District in Burlington, Massachusetts, and hear how this commercial office development is thriving since it introduced greater vibrancy with on-site restaurants and hotels and improved pedestrian connectivity between its office buildings and adjacent amenities. The group also heard details of the Boston Landing development, which is home to New Balance’s headquarters and reintroduced transit service to the surrounding neighborhood for the first time in over 50 years by funding a new T Station that opened in May 2017.

The role of community benefit packages—and their ability to enhance both a development and the surrounding neighborhood—was further discussed by a Boston-centric panel that stressed the need for the public and private sector to both come to the table ready to contribute to the conversation. On the public sector side, a representative from Boston’s Planning & Development Agency recommended that a framework plan for community development and enhancement are useful tools, along with a realistic set of expectations for what can be requested of the private sector; on the private sector side, developers on the panel advised against getting stuck in a pro forma too early in the process so that improvements can go beyond just achieving financial goals, but can also provide real benefits that resonate with community needs.

Our closing speaker, author and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, wrapped it up with a message that resonated on a human level: our genuine presence in a conversation (or presentation or community meeting) enables us to access and express our authentic best selves to achieve the best results. A fitting reminder to go home with and get back to work!

Christa Petruska
As a Kahan Fellow, I was able to attend ULI’s Fall Meeting in Boston and gain new insight on how to influence others. I found the messages of several of the keynote speakers to be particularly encouraging.

Theaster Gates, recipient of the 2018 J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, explained said that his creativity and passion have evolved over time through his interactions with others. He has learned to never show people abandoned space; he recommends producing renderings or at least partially building an example of the potential. Gates engages and partners with the community, out of the recognition for the need for culture and in order to leverage the resources and intelligence of the community to develop more beautiful places.

Tiffany Jana, CEO of TMI Consulting, charged us to be “one of the good people” who works against bias and poverty. She directs us to not look at these issues as one giant unsolvable problem, but to scale them down to the realm of influence that each of us has. We have a responsibility to figure out what our privilege is and how we can use it to chip away at these problems. If people like us take on that responsibility in an audacious way, we can shape the world in an incredible way.

As a guest on the Industrial Office Product Council – Blue, I was able to tour AEW’s suburban office campus in Burlington, Massachusetts. The team shared some of their key lessons learned, including that it is helpful to enter into short term, lower rate leases prior to commencing construction to increase cash flow, as most suburban office tenants are not willing to pay a premium for space based on renovation plans. In addition, I learned from several panels in which the speakers cold called council members to share their perspectives on certain topics. The product council is a great way to learn from and connect with experts.

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, Harvard professor, and bestselling author, says that people need agency (need to feel like they have power) to become more confident. People are more creative and action oriented when they feel powerful. She advocated that if we have this confidence, we should have it without arrogance. She encouraged us to win friends and get allies, invite people in, be comfortable being challenged, and to trust that others have something to teach us.

The ULI Fall Meeting encouraged me that in my role in the real estate industry, I should engage those around me to guide new developments and carry out business plans in a more successful way.

The Kahn 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. 

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