About That Real Estate Development & Reuse Class

In November of 2017, I attended IEDC’s Real Estate Development & Reuse class, which is one of the four core courses for receiving one’s Economic Development Certification. Since this class is required for everyone interested in pursuing the certification, it was a very large class of about 100 economic development professionals from all across the country and in different stages of their careers. First and foremost, this was a great networking opportunity. At the beginning of class on the first day the instructors introduced themselves and gave a quick overview of the next couple of days, and then each attendee was invited to introduce them self to the class. This was great because it allowed myself and others the opportunity to put a face to a handful of names that we’ve heard or have spoken to on the phone or email, but never actually met in person.

The instructors were great! It was easy to see that they all have a passion for economic development and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others who are interested in learning more about the field.

The two-day course was packed with important information that attendees found important both for their day to day job and for preparing for the certification exam. The first session was an overview of real estate development and reuse. It was a very thorough presentation and was a good way to touch upon all the different aspects of the topic. We then began diving deeper by having a session on market and site analysis, where we learned about development feasibility. The last session before lunch was titled “Regulatory and Approval Process,” which discussed how economic developers should facilitate the many different discussions regarding development, whether it be with public officials or with developers.

Attendees were dismissed to have lunch on their own.

After lunch, we reconvened for the session “The Real World,” in which we discussed how the current economic climate is affecting real estate development projects. This was easily my favorite session! Next up was what was generally believed to be the most challenging session, “Financial Feasibility.” During this session, attendees learned how to analyze a development project’s financial feasibility. We even had a case study where attendees worked through a “project’s” financials to find the net operating income and cash flow. The last session of the day was on political feasibility and community involvement, where we learned about creating public support for a development project and engaging community stakeholders.

Attendees were dismissed to have dinner on their own.

Day two began with the session “Developer Solicitation, Selection and Agreements,” where attendees learned about reading and responding to developer Request for Proposals (RFPs). Next, the class broke out into small groups to work on case studies on various real estate deals. After a lunch break, the class began the last stretch with a session on Brownfield redevelopment. Since this topic has become more common and is a tedious venture, the vast majority of the class found this to be one of the most helpful sessions. The last session was “Local Financing and Local Tools for Development,” which discussed different methods for financing including tax increment financing, tax abatements, special improvement districts, and bond financing.

The flow of the class was excellent and the instructors did a great job of keeping the attendees’ attention. I really enjoyed supplementing the course material with the hands-on case studies.

I enjoyed meeting others who are preparing for the certification exam. I am constantly impressed with the community of professionals in economic development who truly want to help each other with their careers and with the certification.

Although the class was extremely thorough, the instructors stressed that simply attending the classes will not prepare you for the certification exam. Those preparing for the exam MUST study the manual given to each attendee on the first day of class.


Check out the link below to see what people are saying about IEDC’s other classes.

About That Basic Economic Development Class