Real Estate Development Process: Part I

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December 3, 2013 @ 8:00 am
December 5, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
ULI Headquarters
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 500 West, DC 20007 United States
David Mulvihill, Vice President, Professional Development


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Real estate development is a complex and continually evolving business. To effectively develop, finance, or supervise a project, a person needs a fundamental understanding of the process and its many facets. To be successful, a developer must manage not only their own performance, but also the collaboration of numerous professionals representing multiple disciplines. Throughout this process, the developer also must continually identify and mitigate inherent risks that can threaten the viability of the project.

Designed for both public and private sector participants, this newly updated course follows the principal stages of the process chronologically and addresses how each team member’s actions and performance can affect the success and profitability of the project. Emphasizing the iterative and interactive nature of the real estate development process, the course combines a lecture and case study approach. Top industry professionals, drawn from ULI’s membership, serve as course leaders and guest speakers, sharing their insights, experience, and expertise with participants.

The course is broadly structured in three parts: 1) preliminary considerations, market analysis, financial analysis, and strategic marketing; 2) site selection and due diligence, land acquisition and deal structure, and entitlements and permitting; and 3) planning and design, construction management, and operations and property management. Short group exercises give students an appreciation for the interpersonal aspect of the development process. Hands-on instruction in financial analysis provides students with a fundamental understanding of pro forma modeling basics. In addition to collaboration on cases in the workshop, the program includes lunches, breaks, and a reception that give participants opportunities to network and compare notes outside the classroom environment.

Participants are expected to bring a laptop computer with Microsoft Excel to the course


Principal Instructors

Alan Razak
AthenianRazak, LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Alan Razak is Principal of AthenianRazak LLC, a Philadelphia-based real estate services company that consults on, creates, and manages real property. Alan has more than 35 years of commercial real estate experience, encompassing development and project management, finance, architectural design, and consulting. His diverse real estate background includes managing the development process, both as owner and on a consulting basis as owner’s representative, and project types including residential, office and commercial, as well as specialized expertise in data centers and other highly technical facilities.

Prior to merging with Athenian Properties in 2011 to form AthenianRazak, Alan founded and led Razak Company, which was responsible for the development of projects such as Main Line Jaguar Land Rover, Pembroke North Condominium, 5035 Ritter Road for the AOPC, and the Curtis Institute of Music’s Lenfest Hall. Razak Company also performed real estate consulting assignments for clients including Swarthmore College, the Rock School of Dance, Vanguard Group of Mutual Funds, and many others.

Prior to forming Razak Company in 2003, Alan was a Principal with Radnor Advisors, Inc., which was subsequently purchased by Insignia/ESG. In this role, he coordinated the marketing and service delivery to data center and high technology clients worldwide and managed the Philadelphia office’s real estate consulting group. During the early 1990s, Alan focused on international real estate and technical consulting services for government and domestic financial institutions. For much of the 1980s, he was a Partner at Rouse and Associates (now Liberty Property Trust), where he managed development of a 400,000 sf Washington, D.C. office building project and Rouse’s 20-acre Penn’s Landing urban multiuse project on Philadelphia’s waterfront

Alan began his career as an architect, and for purely sentimental reasons maintains his status as a registered architect in Pennsylvania. Alan has served on the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation’s Board of Directors, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute, where he wrote and currently teaches several workshops for real estate practitioners internationally. He holds a B.S. in Arts and Design from MIT, a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington, and an MBA with a concentration in real estate from Wharton.



David Farmer, PE, AICP
Keystone Development Advisors
Naples, Florida


David H. Farmer is a developer, licensed real estate Broker, certified planner, civil engineer, state certified general contractor and Department of Environmental Protection qualified stormwater management inspector.

Dave Farmer began his career in the development industry in 1989 with an engineering firm designing commercial and residential projects for private clients.  A professional engineer, Farmer left the engineering field in 2000 to work fulltime for Keystone Communities overseeing the entitlement, design and construction of residential communities, resort facilities, and commercial projects.  In 2002, after earning his Certified General Contractors license, he also became responsible for the permitting and construction of custom homes.

Following a large sale of entitled and developed residential lots in 2003, the company’s focus shifted from development to entitlement and infrastructure development.  At this time Farmer took on the additional responsibility of site selection and acquisition for the company.  In 2005, he was made a principal of the company and participated in both the rewards and costs of acquisition, entitlement, and development.

Farmer’s development experience includes both very successful projects and less successful projects.  In the tradition of ULI, he feels it’s important to focus more on mistakes made and lessons learned when teaching the real estate development process. One learns quickly what not to do when you are spending your own money on development projects.

 In 2008, Farmer and his development partner dissolved the original company and each went their own way.  Today he works in Florida with a new partner on identifying development sites and helping investors develop property.   Farmer has brokered more than $70 million in real estate transactions and entitled thousands of homes and millions of square feet of commercial property.  His favorite quote is “Begin with the end in mind.”


Registration Fee

ULI Member: $995
Non-member: $1,325
Government and Nonprofit Members: $950
Government and Nonprofit Non-members: $1,265

Registration fee includes tuition, course materials, continental breakfast, luncheon, and refreshments.
Cancellations must be made in writing or by e-mail to ULI’s customer service department and are subject to a $100 administrative fee. Cancellations must be received at least seven days before the start of the program to be eligible for a refund. No refunds will be granted thereafter. You may transfer your registration to another member of your organization with no penalty.

Accommodations and Course Location

Hotel accommodations are not included in the registration fee. If you would like to make hotel arrangements, please contact the appropriate hotel before the date indicated. You are advised to make your reservations as early as possible.


ULI Headquarters
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Suite 500 W
Washington, D.C. 20007-5201
Telephone: 202.624.7000.


The Graham
1075 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Reservations: 800.388.2410 or 202.337.0900

Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge
1900 North Fort Myer Drive Arlington
Virginia 22209
Reservations: 800.315.2621 or 703.807.2000

The Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Reservations: 877.707.0843 or 202.342.0444

The Melrose Hotel
2430 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Reservations: 800.635.7673 or 202.955.6400

Georgetown Suites
1000 29th Street NW & 1111
30th Street NW Washington, DC 20007
Reservations: 800-348-7203

Avenue Suites NW Hotel
2500 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20037
Reservations: 877-736-2500

Related Reading

Professional Real Estate Development
By Richard Peiser, By David Hamilton

This basic primer covers the nuts and bolts of developing all types of real estate, including multifamily, office, retail, and industrial projects. Thoroughly updated, this new edition includes numerous case studies of actual projects as well as small-scale examples that are ideal for anyone new to real estate development.

Learn more
Real Estate Development: Principles and Process
By Mike E. Miles, By Gayle L. Berens, By Marc A. Weiss

Now thoroughly updated, this book offers a practical introduction to real estate development. Covering each stage of the process step by step, it explains the basics of idea conception, feasibility, planning, financing, market analysis, contract negotiation, construction, marketing, and asset management.

Learn more

Program Highlights

  • Initial preparations
  • Market analysis and real estate economics
  • Identifying product types and price points
  • Financial analysis of real estate
  • Selecting the optimal site
  • Negotiating and structuring the deal
  • Acquiring the land
  • Managing the due diligence process
  • Financing the acquisition of land
  • Strategic Market Planning
  • Managing the entitlement process
  • Planning and designing the project
  • Financing the development of the project
  • Construction management
  • Post-development compliance

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