Field Studies in Real Estate

Field studies sponsored by property owners, non-profit organizations and public agencies in the United States will be undertaken by students working in teams of three or four members. Typical projects include development scenarios for a brownfield property, regional planning for a suburban county in the path growth of a major metropolitan area, and redevelopment of a dying shopping mall. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams under the guidance of the professor and in cooperation with the sponsor. Field study work will be tailored to the needs of each problem site. Activities may include development feasibility studies (market, physical, environmental, financial, and political), planning and design, working with the community, financing, public/private joint ventures, public impacts, and other critical factors affecting the best solution to planning and development of the property. Potential field studies for Spring 2002 include the following urban development problems:1.) Revitalizing obsolete shopping centers into mixed-use, multi-phase projects; 2.) Developing a public-private joint venture for the Los Angeles School District on a site to include an elementary school and housing or commercial use;3.) Redeveloping the AMTRAK station area adjacent to Green International Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island; and4.) Regional master planning for Wise County, an urban edge county northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, about to experience rapid growth due to proximity to Alliance Industrial Airport.Students will act as development and planning consultants on the projects. Each team will make its own travel arrangements to visit the site and meet with the sponsor, public agency officials, local developers, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders. Travel expenses will be reimbursed. After the site visits, team members will return to Cambridge to prepare their market, financial, and impact analyses and develop their proposals. They will prepare a report that will be reviewed by the sponsors in Cambridge during April. Final reports will be presented to the class and a jury of faculty and professionals at the end of term. One student from each team will be selected to make another site visit where he/she will present the final report to the sponsor and other interested local parties in May or June.Professor Peiser will meet weekly with the students. Professor Hashim Sarkis will provide design input and critique. The class will emphasize real estate analytical skills, market and financial analysis, and deal structuring with occasional lectures and project-related assignments. The objective of the class is to give students the opportunity to help solve complex development problems. Students learn how to combine private development issues involving design, market, and financial feasibility within the context of social, political, and public sector impacts.