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Learning about real estate in the Queen City

Charlotte Trek 2019

The Undergraduate Real Estate Club headed to the major financial hub of Charlotte to learn about commercial real estate. Our March 2019 trek focused on all asset classes. Each firm we visited had its own unique strategic advantage, so we learned about the different approaches to real estate investment and development opportunities.

Nuveen, one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world, looks to the future to predict what is next for retail and caters to the trends of consumer preferences in real estate, including the younger generations’ preference for a new type of office atmosphere. It believes the eco-friendly building trend will soon fill cities in the U.S.

Beacon Partners, a full service commercial real estate investment company, emphasized the importance of accounting for the trends in all real estate asset classes. The Railyard, one of its current mixed-use projects featuring ground-level retail and office, is an example retail strategy to attract various customers to one place, a common trend in new retail properties.

We saw retail trends at Asana Partners, a real estate investment firm that focuses on reinventing retail as an experience. It redevelops properties to create a trendy boutique retail experience. Asana focuses on attracting customers through interesting entrances, painted murals, and unique retail offerings. For example, Asana successfully redeveloped the Design Center into a prime millennial hangout spot.

The trend of attracting individuals through interesting experiences and amenities also is found at Greystar. We explored its cutting-edge apartment development, Ascent Uptown. Touring Greystar’s luxury development was an eye-opening visit for many students, as the cosmopolitan feel of a building in North Carolina was a new experience for many participants. Although Uptown Charlotte is experiencing hyper-supply of apartments and condos near the Bank of America Stadium, Ascent still achieved a quick lease-up due to their success in targeting the ultra-luxury consumer base.

We rounded out the day with a visit to HFF, a boutique real estate brokerage firm. HFF employees work at a fast pace to close as many deals as possible for commercial real estate companies like those we visited earlier in the day. Each deal they process is unique and requires different skills and techniques. Through the variety of deals they work with, they learn about all types of trends within the commercial real estate industry.

Overall, the Undergraduate Real Estate Club members gained exposure to a variety of trends in Charlotte’s commercial real estate market. We were fascinated with the thought process behind each firm’s unique strategy for investment and development. Not only did this trek allow us to learn about commercial real estate in Charlotte, but it also gave us insights into a variety of potential careers in the industry.

By Suzanne Nevant (BSBA ’21) and Jennie Vo (BSBA ’19)