The Masters of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) degree program is a one-year, full-time, immersive learning environment for the technical training, intellectual advancement, and practical formation of the most accomplished and prepared professional for the real estate industry. The MSRED program is uniquely resourced to provide the various theoretical explorations and technical skills needed for the real estate sector, in addition to effective training in the synthesis of decision-making through development projects and pertinent industry case studies.
The conceptual construct of this amalgamated learning is immediately referenced to the fundamental theories of urban planning and architectural design at GSAPP. Instructors who practice at the top levels of their respective professions in New York City provide the necessary technical knowledge from various disciplines—such as finance, market analysis, construction methods, law, data science, and project management—to perform in the industry. The application of the theory and skills to resolving various real estate challenges and issues are given rich, complex, and exciting examples in New York that also connect and have implications globally.
Furthermore, with the growing entrepreneurial and technologically advanced environment of Columbia University, the program includes training and proficiency in real estate databases and the digital tools of analysis, with the opportunity to explore emerging applications being investigated in the Center for Urban Real Estate, the affiliated research laboratory. It is anticipated that within this rich, innovative environment, the program’s curriculum development will continue to produce further synthesized forms of teaching and research to produce the most effective, intellectually progressive, and multi-faceted real estate professional.
The class introduces students to the initial processes that a developer would go through before committing to purchase or develop a specific site. Classes are devoted to specific stages of pre-development analysis: market conditions, specifically economic, financial, and competitive issues; rules, entitlements, and regulations associated with a particular site; relevant site conditions; neighborhood context; and community concerns.
Students apply material and techniques covered in class to one of three specific sites selected by the student on a block in Harlem. Each week “adds a layer” to the student’s familiarity with the site and its potential, so that by the final week of class students feel comfortable defining and defending a concept, design, and basic pro forma for a development project at their chosen site.
Urban development projects require a complex design resolution of numerous, often-competing objectives ranging from responding positively to the neighborhood context, incorporating the attributes desired by the intended occupants, achieving high aesthetic quality, and clearing investment return hurdles. Between the developer leading the project delivery and the architect designing the physical manifestation that meets all these objectives, a critical dynamic occurs: the various objectives are defined, detailed, and resolved in the project’s program, layout, design, and specification. The outcome has significant consequences for many stakeholders and a permanence that is a legacy of both the architect and developer.
This course explores this design/development dynamic, understanding the complexity of competing objectives, interrogating the typical processes of resolution, critically examining various projects as outcomes, and contemplating potential modifications and improvements. This learning exercise utilizes recent and current development projects.
This course introduces students to the comprehensive nature of creating a development proposal and provides an overview of the process including the integration of finance, marketing, spatial programming, architectural design, and urban planning. Using the request for proposals (RFP) as a framework, students learn how to analyze an RFP, evaluate the real estate opportunity it presents, craft a vision that meets the demands of the market and the needs of the community, maximize value for the municipality and the developer, and prepare a professional development proposal. Students also develop core competencies in presenting a convincing and compelling written, verbal, and visual presentation.
This mini-studio uses the RFP as a vehicle to better understand a comprehensive approach to creating a real estate development proposal that synthesizes various social, political, economic, and spatial factors into a cohesive vision that can be communicated in a concise and compelling manner. The class evaluates the scope of work called for in the RFP and analyzes the possibilities within the RFP given current trends in the market, the make-up of the neighborhood, and interests in the community. In assigned teams, students utilize various strategies and techniques to create a clear vision for the project; develop a compelling initial design, massing, program, and Pro-forma; outline a strategic and competitive response to the RFP; and present a winning proposal.
During the Spring 2021 Semester, MSRED students Yeshu Tan, Kylie Pond, Andrew Allyn; MArch student Lin Hou; and MSUP student Zeineb Sellami won Honorable Mention in the 2021 ULI Hines Student Competition for their design proposal titled “The Bowline.” Advisors included Professor Kate Ascher; Adjunct Assistant Professor Johnny Din; Claire Weisz, principal-in-charge at WXY Studio; and Andy Golubitsky, founding partner of Astral Properties.
“The Bowline will leverage its position at the nexus of the East Village, Paseo West and Downtown Kansas City to create a verdant and connected mixed-use development. The project will activate the area surrounding the East Village Transit Center to secure the neighborhood as an integral 18-hour community, simultaneously stitching together the urban fabric with the broader region and advancing development beyond the constraints of the highway system. Within these pillars to connect the city, secure its position as a center for culture and innovation, and advance a vision for new connections and discoveries, The Bowline will serve as a catalyst for future progress.”
—Yeshu Tan, Kylie Pond, Andrew Allyn, Lin Hou, and Zeineb Sellami