Generous gift funds innovative student-managed real estate investment fund

Friday, July 15, 2016

For the first time in the history of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE), graduate students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by investing in public and private equity real estate securities.

Students in the M.S. in Real Estate (MSRE) program work together to identify and analyze investment opportunities before pitching their recommendations, in a “Shark Tank”-like setting, to an investment committee comprised of local real estate professionals. The first set of professionals to hear the student presentations included Peter Fioretti from Mountain Real Estate Capital, Fred Klein of Childress Klein Properties, and John Ockerbloom from global investment banking firm Jefferies, all members of the CKCRE Advisory Board. Professors Womack, Metcalfe and Ott were also participating in the process as mentors and advisors to the students.

The sharks chose to invest $5,000 each in two Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Prologis and EastGroup Properties, as well as $25,000 in a 46.5-acre private land acquisition deal currently under contract on North Tryon near the successful Brightwalk development. 

“Entrusting students to invest on behalf of the CKCRE demonstrates confidence in the MSRE program’s ability to train students to identify profitable investments,” Henri Gresset, Childress Klein employee and master’s student on the EastGroup project said. “The advisors to the MSRE program are amongst Charlotte’s most respected real estate professionals. Their support for the MSRE program is a clear indication that they believe the program is instrumental to developing top minds in the real estate industry,” he added.

The Student-Managed Real Estate Investment Fund was created through a generous donation to the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate from local entrepreneur and real estate investor Peter Fioretti. The fund began with an initial gift of $100,000.

"This gift allows our Master of Science in Real Estate students to have valuable hands-on experience in evaluating and managing public and private real estate securities," Steven Ott, Dean of the Belk College of Business said. “The attractiveness of this opportunity will help us to recruit top students to the program.”

“In addition to the financial contribution, the investment committee provided the students with in-class instruction, resources, and mentorship to guide them in their analyses. This level of investment into the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate demonstrates the high regard the community has for our students and the future growth of our program,” MSRE Program Director Alyson Craig added.

To prepare for their pitches, participating students also received professional development opportunities specific to public speaking and pitching real estate investment proposals. The students said having the chance to pitch investment deals to industry leaders is exciting enough, but doing so in a modern and growing real estate city like Charlotte made it that much more impactful.

“This investment project provided excellent exposure to how fast and complex investments can be. We were able to work on a live deal with a short time window and were expected to not only produce results, but be able to defend them on a stage with an audience,” Jonathan Brooks, one of three graduate students to pitch the North Tryon project, said. “I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneurial real estate developer for a long time and as it sinks in, it makes me feel like I can really do this now,” he added.

Asset management and reporting of investments for these projects will be integrated into finance courses in the Master of Science in Real Estate program throughout the academic year. Each year, graduating students will have the opportunity to research, analyze and pitch future investment opportunities.

Learn more about the Student-Managed Real Estate Investment Fund.

About the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate

The goal of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE) is to educate and develop real estate professionals, advance real estate research, and lead the community in conversations that educate and inspire innovation. The Center administers the M.S. in Real Estate program, the MBA concentration and the Graduate Certificate programs in real estate finance and development, and manages programming and outreach to the Real Estate Alumni Association and Real Estate Advisory Board. It has been ranked among the 20 most active research institutions in real estate for the past decade.

Click here to learn more about the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate.