When the U.S. economy wakes up from its current slump, Casey Wold forecasts that the real estate business will get back to its roots. Wold, senior managing director and head of Midwest, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., regions for New York-based real estate firm Tishman Speyer, spoke with about 25 Kellogg students during an Oct. 15 lunch lecture at the James L. Allen Center.
Tishman Speyer’s holdings include the MetLife building, Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Center in Manhattan, and several properties worldwide. Tishman is currently focusing on emerging markets in China, Brazil and India.
Wold expects the real estate industry to return to the fundamentals, with developers knowing their markets very well and using that knowledge to make predictions, rather than assumptions, for properties and rents. “There are billions of dollars on the sidelines,” Wold told students. “But developers have to know everything about the local market – what makes the city tick and the pulse of the market. All of this will create an opportunity for you. What you will learn over the next five years is incredible.” Today’s economy, Wold said, is similar to the financial situation in mid-1980s, when the Dallas area encountered a regional real estate depression in which three major local banks went under and property transactions were nearly nonexistent. “I’m generally an optimist, but these current times are abysmal,” Wold said.
Students asked Wold several questions about the future of the real estate sector, particularly how sustainable building technology might shape the industry. Wold said that sustainable developments likely will be a permanent fixture for the market, similar to when developers had to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the 1990s. “Tenants are going to drive LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] and ask those questions,” Wold said. “It’s going to be a major player in the market.” He also gave students some career advice with much emphasis on the value of lifelong learning. Wold noted that as a construction lender at Wells Fargo early in his career, he learned as much as he could about construction so he would have a better understanding about lending. “Find a job that puts in you on a rotational road,” Wold said, noting that new hires at Tishman Speyer spend rotations in different fields from construction design to acquisitions. “Well-rounded-ness is important. If you don’t know something related to your field, go on your own and learn.”
Wold’s visit was part of the Kellogg Real Estate Executive Speaker Series, a joint effort between the Kellogg Real Estate Club and the Kellogg Real Estate Program.