Developing Knowledge

CCIM Development Track courses explore real-world scenarios.

When Glenn Preuss, CCIM, got into development, he was without a roadmap to help him navigate the complexities of his first project. He turned to the CCIM Development Specialty Track program for assistance, knowledge, and confidence.

“I didn't realize the development process was as complex as it is,” says Preuss, broker at Compass Real Estate Investments in Laredo, Texas. “The great part of the CCIM Development Track is the broad scope of material covered in the program. In addition to acquisition and dispositions and issues related to permitting, environmental, transportation, and improvements are covered in great detail. The program helped me provide a deeper level of service for our development clients and allowed our firm to broaden our scope of services.”

Why a Development Track?

In 2016, Daniel Kohlhepp, Ph.D., designed the CCIM Development Specialty Track program to deliver practical knowledge about property development that many CCIMs craved. To date, the Development Track has completed three full cycles of its 10 courses, plus 40 elective credits, which students are required to complete for full certification.

Since its launch, CCIM senior instructors Jeff Engelstad, CCIM, and Mark Van Ark, CCIM, continually have enhanced the content of the workshop, eight online courses, and capstone. To improve the 40 elective course credits also required, CCIM recently added six new Ward Center courses: three courses laser-focused on construction; financial modeling; splitting profits; and low-income housing tax credit financing.

“As a developer, you are putting something on the planet that didn't exist before, and the physical construction is important,” Engelstad says. “A big part of development is of course development financial modeling, but building improvements and new construction also are important. Currently, we are experiencing a trend of rehabbing older properties and adaptive reuse of older buildings.”

Program Benefits

Many of the Development Track students already have earned the CCIM designation and are familiar with investment, financial, and marketing analysis. Development, however, demands different knowledge and skill sets.

“My motivation was to expand my knowledge of different facets of development,” says George Schmidt, CCIM, owner of Affordable Housing Analysts in Austin, Texas. He expects to take the new construction courses and the low-income housing tax credit financing course. Although Schmidt's expertise is in low-income housing, he is eager to hear the thoughts of other experts and learn from their experiences.

Skip Duemeland, CCIM, an experienced land developer, has learned from the instructors, course content, and other students. “The people in the class are the best because they tell the horror stories of development, and how they recovered,” says Duemeland, owner of Duemelands Commercial LLP in Bismarck, N.D. “Our multigenerational firm lost land twice and bought it back twice after we recovered financially. The history of developers is the history of hard knocks. But I am learning how to improve what we do through these courses.”

On the other hand, Christopher Aldridge, CCIM, and his partner, Harry Gibbs, CCIM, sought a good base of knowledge to embark on development projects.

“These courses helped me see under the surface of development, especially the permits and environmental aspects,” says Aldridge, broker at Keller Williams in Georgetown, Texas. “I learned the stages from land banking to land packaging, with a basic blueprint for how to get started as a developer. I can apply this knowledge right away.”

Other organizations offer development courses that might be a good fit for some students. However, the CCIM Development Specialty Track program provides more in-depth discussions and applications to the real world of commercial property from land to mixed-use development, according to several students and CCIM instructors.

And the learning extends beyond students. “Teaching the development courses keeps me up to date on what's happening in commercial real estate,” Van Ark says. “It gives me a competitive advantage in the brokerage world. Teaching development is fresh territory, and it's great being part of its creation.”


Popular Development Elective Courses

Sara S. Patterson

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

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CIRE July/August 2018