The Wood Center will be amplifying the voices of students taking part in real estate-focused summer experiences in a student-produced series called Internship Reflections. Hear first-hand about the amazing professional development, project sites, and real-world real estate opportunities these students are being exposed to. This is the second installment in the 2023 Internship Reflections series.
By Shawn Mufti
This summer I have been interning with Boston Properties (BXP) as a development summer associate in the Washington, D.C. office. It has been a fantastic experience so far and just like being a full-time developer, no two days are the same. The company, and especially the development team, have given me tremendous opportunity to shadow, learn, and most importantly to ask questions, which I am incredibly grateful for.
BXP is one of the largest REITs in terms of market capitalization in the country and is the top premiere workplace developer. I think one of the best things I have been able to learn is about how a traditional office developer views the world and strategizes for the future during the interesting economic times that we are in. Coming out of the Pandemic, we have seen drastic shifts in how tenants use office space, and I have directly been involved in discussions on how strategies shift to meet the market where it is at, which has been immensely accretive for my professional development.
As part of exploring this shift in strategy, one of the tasks I have been assigned for this summer is to collaborate with the other BXP summer associates in Boston and New York about how we can measure certain key metrics in some of the gateway markets that BXP does business in, and then provide recommendations based on our analysis. The academic experience from UNC has allowed me to call on some of the speakers and conversations we have had in class to drive our research and analysis. Eventually we will present our findings to BXP’s C-suite executives and leadership from each market.
Apart from strategy, I have been able to get hands-on experience in entitlements, construction, budgeting, etc. BXP is currently developing a multifamily property in Herndon, VA, that previously was home to an office building. When the tenant of the building vacated, BXP bought the property with plans to tear down the office and build a new apartment building, while reusing the parking garage that was attached to the office building. I was able to learn about the entitlement process and attended an Architectural Review Board meeting with local town council members.
Another already entitled project that BXP is working on is the next phase of Reston Town Center: RTC Next. BXP has already delivered two massive office buildings as part of RTC Next and is now building a hotel and mixed-use multifamily and office building as part of the next phase.
Overall, my experience this summer has solidified my decision to become a real estate developer after completing my MBA. Being able to have a wide impact on an area has become so apparent to me after my experience at BXP this summer dealing with local governments and seeing firsthand how new buildings can transform geographies. I am so thankful to BXP, and especially the Tar Heel alumni in the office for providing me with a great platform to learn and share ideas about real estate development.