CCIM Education

Double-Sided Coin

CCIM training confers expertise in development.

For years, the Chicago Housing Authority was the poster child for development gone wrong. Cabrini Green, for example, became  a breeding ground for crime and was far more dangerous than the housing it replaced. On the bright side, Austin, Texas, shows how good development planning enhances a city's prosperity enticing more companies and employees.

These two cities illustrate the two sides of development: high risk stakes that either improve or devastate cities. Drawn to its potential, many CCIMs have become developers as their careers evolve. Or they participate on teams involved in property development.

“I am charged with growing the development capabilities and opportunities for my company,” says Troy Legge, CCIM, specialty corporate developer at Sam’s Real Estate in Matthews, N.C. “I wanted a systematic way of thinking about the different stages and tasks of real estate development, so I can create an efficient organizational structure that mitigates risk and maximizes profit-making potential.”

Jumpstarting Success

Until CCIM Institute launched the Development Specialty Track earlier this year, commercial real estate professionals did not have access to in-depth training.

“CCIM members have indicated an interest in having a specialty track dedicated to teaching a core body of knowledge about development,” says 2016 CCIM Institute President Steve Moreira, CCIM. “Many costly mistakes can be prevented by taking a series of courses about development before entering this field.”

Spearheaded by Daniel B. Kohlhepp, PhD, with contributions from CCIM Instructors Jeff Engelstad, CCIM, and Mark Van Ark, CCIM, the Development Specialty Track consists of 10 sessions — two in the classroom and eight instructor-led online. CCIMs who successfully complete the courses and 40 elective credits will receive a CCIM Development Certificate.

“The commercial real estate development process is complicated, but there are ways to improve it through knowing what to do through the eight stages of development,” says Kohlhepp, president of Granite Road LLC and adjunct professor at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. “Development is a necessary skill to master because the long-term consequences of commercial real estate development decisions.”

Central to the Development Specialty Track is applying practical knowledge to help CCIMs make smarter decisions. “The Development Certificate definitely builds on the CCIM designation curriculum,” says Legge, who signed up to take all 10 Development Specialty Track courses.

Advancing Practical Knowledge

CCIM Instructor Van Ark views his behind-the-scenes role with the Development Specialty Track as “melding the academic to the CCIM style.” He describes Kohlhepp’s efforts on the pilot run of the Development Specialty Track “doing a great job as it progresses.” In the meantime, Van Ark and Engelstad are adding case studies and scenarios to keep the material lively and applicable to real world scenarios.

“Development courses were an obvious gap in CCIM Institute content development,” says Van Ark, DTC broker at KW Commercial in Boulder, Colo. “This specialty track will be honed to become the star of the CCIM educational program.”

While CCIMs already are knowledgeable and accomplished in acquisitions, financing, marketing, and disposition, the Development Specialty Track hones their skills specifically to the development process. It also increases their expertise in environmental issues, permits, critical improvements, and traffic and accessibility, according to Kohlhepp.

“These courses appeal to CCIMs economic motivations, as well as to their intellectual curiosity,” he says.

On the practical side, Engelstad says, “Our objective is to give CCIMs the knowledge to fully execute a development plan, which incorporates all aspects of the commercial real estate process.”

Davide Pio, CCIM, enrolled in the pilot for the Development Specialty Track to help him develop rehab projects in the San Francisco Bay area. “I want to learn to do my own development projects,” says Pio, broker associate and investment consultant at BCRE.

For those newer to commercial real estate, Moreira thinks earning the CCIM Development Certificate will increase their chances of obtaining a job with a developer. Those who are already established can enter the development arena faster and generate higher yields in investment.

“Those who complete the Development Specialty Track will learn better skill sets in development and to understand the motivations of developers,” Moreira says.

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Inherent Flexibility

CCIM Institute Development Specialty Track offers its participants many options. The traditional format is to take the Introduction to Development Workshop, which is a two and one-half day classroom session; polish off the eight online courses consecutively; and finish with the Capstone Project, which is a classroom course only available to students who complete all the coursework. Except for the Capstone Project, however, Development curriculum can be taken in any order.

Students may select the specific Development courses of greatest relevance to them. Only CCIMs are eligible to earn the Development Certificate and must successfully complete the 10 sessions and 40 elective credits. Learn more about the Development Track.

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Sara S. Patterson

Sara S. Patterson is former executive editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

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