Mile High Station, a historic landmark turned contemporary event venue in downtown Denver was an appropriate stage for the 23rd annual CU Real Estate Forum on February 27.
The forum, which highlights important trends and topics in real estate, has become one of the premier annual real estate events in Colorado, drawing local, national and international thought leaders in the commercial real estate community. In attendance were leading real estate professionals and experts, business leaders and Leeds’ real estate students, for whom this event is an excellent networking opportunity and catalyst for their future careers.
This year, opening remarks were provided by both Leeds Dean Sharon Matusik and CU President Mark Kennedy who noted the significance of the event.
“It’s a great example of how we partner with the business community to look to the future for our students and state,” Kennedy later tweeted.
The program highlighted cutting-edge projects currently underway in the region and the big-picture direction of commercial real estate in general. The agenda kicked off with Leeds’ Scholar-in-Residence and internationally recognized real estate tech expert, Mike DelPrete providing an insider’s look into the rapidly growing PropTech sector of real estate and disruption of the iBuying revolution.
iBuyer companies offer home sellers a simpler, more convenient online alternative to traditional home selling formats by using technology to estimate the market value of homes and make consumers a direct offer.
As DelPrete shared, they are aggressively increasing their market share, and even though iBuyer giant Zillow has yet to turn to profitability, they stand to gain in the long run because of their lead generation capacity.
Economist and Executive Director of the Business Research Division at Leeds, Brian Lewandowski shared insights on the state and national economies, and the role of the real estate sector in Colorado’s economy. “We are in period of growth amidst uncertainty,” Lewandowski explained. However, even with risk factors such as the corona virus and this being an election year, Colorado is on good footing to weather a future economic storm.
Other highlights included a panel on multi-family housing trends moderated by Doug Bibby, president and CEO of the National Multifamily Housing Council, and an overview of two new entertainment district developments in Denver: the McGregor Square mixed-use property near Rockies Stadium and the much-anticipated Meow Wolf experiential museum and located downtown. One million visitors per year are projected to participate in this unique immersive art experience. Both properties are planned to open in 2021.
Finally, in anticipation of the changes that will occur in Washington, DC and our local governments in this election year, the forum welcomed Jeff DeBoer, president and CEO of the Real Estate Roundtable to discuss the future of real estate. During a fireside chat, DeBoer and Ric Clark, senior managing partner and chairman of Brookfield Property Group, engaged in ideas surrounding policy, affordable housing, infrastructure and sustainability and energy efficiency in construction.
Ever cognizant of the students in the room, DeBoer offered advice for success post-graduation. Because of the shift towards globalization, he suggested that real estate majors consider learning a second language, such as Spanish or Mandarin, and gain data-science skills to stay abreast of the rapid advancements in technology.
As always, the event delivered important academic research, training for future real estate leaders and up-to-date industry expertise—all within one of the most important historical structures that contribute to Denver’s diverse, vibrant real estate community.