SREC Members Convene at Stanford for 3rd Annual SREC Conference

Professors, leading experts in the field, and engaging and meaningful discussions awaited the approximately sixty senior executives from the real estate industry who convened at Stanford University for the 2013 SREC Annual Meeting. In its third year, the conference was held October 3rd – 5th at the Rosewood Sand Hill Resort and the Knight Management Center at Stanford University. Highlights of the weekend included a lively roundtable discussion, a look into the current state of capital markets, and a presentation by world class economist Michael Boskin.

The SREC conference is exclusively kept to a small group to facilitate a quality exchange of ideas and interactions not typically found at other conferences. The conference proceedings are off the record and participants are encouraged to question one another’s assumptions. The conference attendees represented a who’s who of Stanford alumni participating at the highest levels of the real estate industry across the country. The SREC conference is a program of Stanford Professionals in Real Estate and is available to SREC members.

The kickoff event for the conference, a welcome dinner and reception, was held at the Rosewood Sand Hill where Thomas Lurquin of Stanford Management Company (SMC) provided commentary on their approach to real estate investments in relation to their portfolio of assets. Lurquin has been the Managing Director of Natural Resource Investments at SMC since May 2012.

The main conference programming was held on the 4th floor of the Bass Center at the Knight Management Center on the campus of Stanford University. The board room overlooking the GSB campus and the Stanford foothills was a dramatic backdrop for a series of panels and speakers.

The first panel of the day focused on Capital Markets and was moderated by Ron Sturzenegger of Bank of America. Capital Market panelists included leaders from financial institutions based out of San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. The second panel, “Real Estate Fund Forum: Seeking Outsized Returns in an Increasingly Competitive Market,” was moderated by David Butler of Argosy Real Estate Partners. The four panelists represented several billion dollars in funds across the spectrum of asset classes.

The final panel of the day focused on the design and economic issues of developing sustainable and livable cities domestically and abroad, and was moderated by Ed Friedrichs, former CEO of Gensler. The panel consisted of professor, an engineer, an architect, and a developer, to bring about a holistic discussion of sustainable design. Martin Fischer, Stanford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, introduced the new Sustainable Urban Systems program being developed at Stanford for students as well.

Special guest speakers were part of the day’s proceedings. Michael Boskin, Senior Fellow at Hoover Institute and TM Friedman Professor of Economics at Stanford, addressed the group as the Keynote Speaker. Interesting insight was given with regards to Janet Yellen’s forthcoming appointment as Federal Reserve Board Chair and what it means for fiscal policy. John Burns, John Burns Real Estate Consulting, gave a presentation on the state of the real estate market.

Later that evening, SREC members attended the 2013 Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame Honors Banquet, held at the Arrillaga Alumni Center, to honor Buzz McCoy and Bill Tooley, as well as recognize Stanford faculty and current students Roshan Mehdizadeh and Afroz Algiers.

On Saturday morning, Peter Bing led an intimate, VIP tour of the newly constructed Bing Concert Hall. Bing was involved from the very start of the design and he and his wife Helen helped with a lot of the decision making. SREC members enjoyed hearing first-hand about the reasoning for some of the design decisions, including their recommendation to the project team to include overhead light sensors in the bathrooms that turn red when a stall is occupied and green when it is available.

On Saturday evening many of the conference attendees attended the Stanford vs. Washington football game. They witnessed a thrilling win with Cardinal topping the Huskies 31 – 28.

The SREC conference once again delivered on its objective to provide a platform for unparalleled networking, interaction, and thought leadership for alumni at the highest level of the real estate industry. Susan Meaney, Managing Director at Makena Capital, said, “It was terrific to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with SREC participants during the dinners and get together as well as the meeting.  I really enjoyed the weekend and felt that the Stanford connection among the participants made the conversations more open, direct and engaging.  We are all busy and it is tough to make time for these types of events but this meeting was a great use of time and I would definitely participate again next year.”

To view photos from the conference, click here. You will need to enter the password SPIRE2013 when prompted.