ULI/REAP Online Academy – Fall 2020

Project REAP (The Real Estate Associate Program), the industry’s most successful diversity initiative in the commercial real estate industry, presents the ULI/REAP Fall Academy 2020. Live & On-Demand. 100% Online.

REAP is an industry-backed, market-driven program that serves as a bridge between talented minority professionals and commercial real estate companies looking for talent.

REAP exists because the commercial real estate industry's professional ranks are less than 1% minority at management levels—less than 1,000 people of color in an industry with over 125,000 professionals. During its short existence, REAP has increased that minority cohort by 10%—by spotlighting a talent pool that was always there, but previously unacknowledged.

ULI and REAP are pleased to form a strategic partnership to build on a long-standing relationship and commitment to bridging the gap between talented diverse professionals and the world of commercial real estate. The 8-week Fall Academy will provide a suite of on-demand courses, live webinars and industry panel discussions weekly, taught by senior level experts in the commercial real estate industry.

This course contains much of the same material as ULI's FoRE Certificate, modified for REAP.

All content is available for 90 days from first access. For extension inquiries, please email learning@uli.org.


The purpose of this course is to introduce commercial real estate terms, concepts, and processes, that will lay the foundation for a career in commercial real estate. Taught by esteemed faculty and industry leaders, this course is divided into eight sections,  running across 8-10 weeks with three to six hours of content each week.  

  1. Introduction to the Real Estate Development Process 
  2. Foundations of the Development Process 
  3. Best Practices in Site Selection & Land Acquisition 
  4. Principles and Foundations of Real Estate Finance & Investment 
  5. Emerging Trends 2020: Overview of Commercial Real Estate Product Types
  6. Pro Forma Excel Modeling for Real Estate Professionals
  7. Real Estate Examples & Case Studies
  8. BONUS module: Understanding and Using Cap Rates

Experience Level

Commercial Real estate experience is not necessary for selection as REAP seeks to identify minority individuals from across a wide spectrum of disciplines interested in a career in commercial real estate. Applicants must have a 4-year degree (or current graduating senior) from an accredited institution.

Course Objectives

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the real estate ecosystem, including the roles and responsibilities of the primary players in this landscape.
  • Identify the critical phases of the real estate development process, as well as the major tasks and processes undertaken to make well-informed and responsible decisions.
  • Identify and use the fundamental financial concepts employed by professionals.
  • Recognize, understand, and use the elements of the primary financial instrument employed by professionals to describe the elements of a real estate development transaction: the pro forma.
  • Describe the risk/reward landscape of common real estate transactions such as purchases and leases. Understand the ethical dimension of development by being able to describe the impact to the world and future generations of well-planned projects versus poorly planned projects.

Course Format

This course is conducted entirely online over the course of eight-ten weeks. Each week, participants should expect to spend approximately six hours completing the weekly courses, which will include access to the on-demand weekly module, videos, downloadable resources, and live webinars. A quiz will be provided at the end of each module.

Mark Eppli

Director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Introduction to the Fundamentals of Real Estate

Mark Eppli is Director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Previously, Eppli served as Interim James H. Keyes Dean of Business Administration from 2012 to 2015 and as a professor of finance and Bell Chair in Real Estate at Marquette University. He has been instrumental in building the Center for Real Estate and real estate program at Marquette that has enhanced the reputation of the business school not just regionally but also nationally. 

Widely published in commercial real estate finance, development and valuation, his research has been published in dozens of top-respected real estate journals. Eppli is co-author of two books: Real Estate Development: Principles and Process and Valuing the New Urbanism, both published by ULI, the Urban Land Institute. Eppli is an independent board member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago since 2012, and he is immediate past president of the nonprofit Real Estate Research Institute. He was named a "Distinguished Fellow" by NAIOP, a national commercial real estate organization, which recognizes him as a foremost real estate policy expert. He has also received awards from the Greater Washington Urban League and the Urban Land Institute for his efforts to attract minorities to the real estate profession.  Eppli earned his Ph.D., master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Payton Chung

Writer and Developer

Payton Chung writes about the inter-related crafts that build cities and transformative places -- namely architecture, development, finance, landscape, planning, and transportation. He has written for the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, Streetsblog USA, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Metropolitan Planning Council (Chicago), the Real Estate Research Corporation, and the Sierra Club's Washington DC chapter. He studied environmental policy at the University of Chicago and urban planning at Virginia Tech, is a LEED Accredited Professional in Neighborhood Development, and sees the promises and perils of planning every day as a resident of the Southwest Urban Renewal Area in Washington, DC.

Matt Cypher

Professor of the Practice and Director of the Real Estate Finance Initiative, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

“Underwriting Office and Multi-Family”

Matt Cypher is Atara Kaufman Professor of Real Estate and Director of the Steers Center for Global Real Estate at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.  

Prior to joining Georgetown, Cypher was a member of Invesco’s real estate acquisitions group in 2005. While at Invesco, he was responsible for oversight of the Underwriting Group, which acquired $10.2 billion worth of institutional real estate during his leadership tenure. Cypher has personally underwritten $1.5 billion of acquisitions culminating with the purchase of 230 Park Avenue in New York, which Invesco acquired on behalf of its client capital in June 2011. Additionally, he was responsible for the Valuations group, which marks to market Invesco’s more than $13 billion North American portfolio. Cypher also was a member of Invesco’s Investment Committee and Investment Strategy Committee. He served as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University teaching courses in the real estate concentration of the university’s MBA program while at Invesco. 

Cypher has published in several peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Real Estate Research, Journal of Property Research, and Urban Affairs Review. He also has written for trade-level publications including Urban Land and The Institutional Real Estate Letter.

Cypher holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from Texas A&M and a B.S from The Pennsylvania State University.

Gwyneth Jones Cote

ULI Americas President

Gywneth, who served as Bell Partners chief operating officer from 2013 until the end of 2017, was responsible for a team of more than 1,400 employees and approximately 60,000 multifamily units. Prior to her service at Bell Partners, she consulted for several years to private real estate companies. Cote began her real estate career in 1989, joining the mid-Atlantic division of Trammell Crow Residential after receiving her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She remained with Trammell Crow as it evolved into Avalon Properties and AvalonBay Communities. She served 15 years with AvalonBay Communities (and its predecessor companies), concluding her career as a senior vice president, responsible for property operations of 19,000 apartment units located east of the Mississippi River. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College.

Charles Tu

Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Daniel F. Mulvihill Professor of Commercial Real Estate at The University of San Diego School of Business

Charles Tu is the interim associate dean for graduate programs and Daniel F. Mulvihill Professor of Commercial Real Estate at the University of San Diego School of Business. Before coming to USD, he taught real estate and finance courses at George Washington University and Cal State Fullerton, where he received the Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award in 2002. Tu is dedicated to conducting applied research that helps improve real estate and business decision-making. His research agenda covers a variety of topics, including housing valuation, smart growth and the new urbanism, commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), real estate investment trusts (REITs), multifamily housing and retail shopping centers.

Tu has published articles in leading academic journals, and the findings of his research have been cited in major newspapers such as The Wall Street JournalWashington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tu earned his Ph.D. and M.B.A in Finance and Investments from the George Washington University, and his BS in Mechanical Engineering from National Chao-Tung University.  He also received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2000.  

David Farmer. PE, AICP

Principal, Keystone Development Advisors

David H. Farmer is the Principal of Keystone Development Advisors, LLC (KDA) a real estate development firm. KDA is an advisor to lenders and investors in Florida. David has more than 30 years of experience in real estate development and entitlement negotiation. He joined ULI as a Full Member in 2002 and served as an officer and Executive Committee member to the ULI Southwest Florida District Council. In 2010 he was named District Council Chair and completed his term in 2013. David is a passionate ULI member and promotes their mission wherever he has an audience.  His background in civil engineering and planning provide a unique perspective to deal sourcing, analysis and execution. In 2015 David formed Metro Forecasting Models, LLC (MFM) a company which provides development forecasting for housing, commercial uses, industrial uses and public schools for governments to assist with their planning endeavors.

David began his career in the development industry in 1989 with an engineering firm designing commercial and residential projects for private clients. A professional engineer, he left the engineering field in 2000 to work full time 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 their projects.

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 that time, David 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.

David’s development experience includes both very successful projects and those with limited success. In the tradition of ULI, he feels it is important to focus heavily 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.

David 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.”

Colette English-Dixon

Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute & Chair of Real Estate, Heller College of Business, Roosevelt University

Collete English Dixon is Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate and Chair, Real Estate at the Heller College of Business, at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Prior to taking on this role, as of June 1, she was Managing Principal, Libra Investments Group, LLC, a real estate consulting and services firm she founded after leaving her role as Executive Director, Transactions, for PGIM Real Estate (formerly Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI)), a business unit of Prudential Financial. From January 2008 until June 2016, she was co-leader of PREI’s national investment dispositions program, which is responsible for managing the sale of PREI’s investment properties on behalf of its clients. During that time, she completed the sale of more than $9B in portfolio assets, including hotels, industrial properties, apartments, office buildings, retail and land.

Prior to January 2008, she was responsible for sourcing real estate investments in multiple Midwest Region markets, covering all property types, including office, multi-family, hotel, industrial and retail properties. Through December 2007, English Dixon had received authorization for more than $2.7 billion of new investments for PREI’s clients.

From 1989 through early 1996, English Dixon was responsible for PREI and Prudential General Account property dispositions and exit strategy for investment properties located throughout the eastern United States. During this period, she was involved with more than $380 million of real property sales. From 1986 to 1989, English Dixon was part of Prudential’s Southern Region transactions unit, sharing responsibility for completing more than $100 million in property sales and acquisitions.

Prior to 1986, English Dixon was with Prudential's property development group, overseeing all facets of the real property development process for more than $350 million of wholly-owned and joint venture projects throughout the Southeastern U.S. Her activities included concept development and feasibility analysis, site acquisition, construction administration, asset management and project disposition.

English Dixon received her BBA from the University of Notre Dame. She earned her Masters of Business Administration from Mercer University.

English Dixon was 2011 President of CREW Network, a Past President of CREW Chicago and a Past Chair of CREW Network Foundation. She is a member of the Board of Directors and the Investment Committee for Housing Partnership Equity Trust and a member of the advisory board for AdvancedREI; she is the 2016-2019 Chair of the Purple Flight of the Urban Development-Mixed Use Council of ULI; and, a board member of the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. Additionally, she was Chair of the Advisory Council for the Goldie B Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative and a member of the Advisory Council of the Chicago School of Real Estate at Roosevelt University.

English Dixon received the 2008 Conscientious Professional Award given by the Global Diversity Summit. She has also been active as a board member of Hephzibah Children’s Association and the Black Alumni association for her alma mater, Notre Dame.

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