Spring 2011 Newsletter


Print this newsletter

Anthony Pennington-Cross honored for 2010 best paper award

DENVER – On January 8th, Dr. Anthony Pennington-Cross and his coauthor Giang Ho of UCLA were awarded the 2010 Edwin S. Mills Best Paper in Real Estate Economics, at the annual meetings of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

AnthonyThe award honors the research paper, “The Termination of Subprime Hybrid and Fixed Rate Mortgages,” which was the lead article in the fall 2010 edition of Real Estate Economics. The American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and the organization’s journal, Real Estate Economics, are the longest running academic organization and journal in real estate and are considered discipline leaders. In short, this award recognizes Dr. Pennington-Cross’ paper as the best of the best.

Using data from before the beginning of the recent financial crisis, Pennington-Cross’ study revealed that there were significant vulnerabilities associated with the then emerging subprime mortgages. These 30-year amortizing mortgages, known as “2/28” loans, often included a low introductory interest rate, which increased after two years, often 2 to 3 percentage points. Pennington-Cross found that the rate hike itself would increase the loan defaults three-fold. Further, if these higher interest rates were mixed with flat or declining house prices, loan defaults would increase six-fold.

“Simply put, even before the crisis, the data showed these loans were risky and bound to fail if the economy and/or home prices became stagnant,” Pennington-Cross said. “Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened.”

Prior to joining Marquette, Pennington-Cross was a senior economist in the research division at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis where he conducted research on subprime and predatory lending. Previously, he was a senior economist at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight in the Office of Policy and Research and the director of research at the Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA), a research organization devoted to extending home ownership to all Americans.

“Anthony is a leader in real estate research nationally and the 2010 Edwin S. Mills Best Paper in Real Estate Economic is recognition of that leadership,” Dr. Mark Eppli, Bell Chair in Real Estate and Director of the Center for Real Estate.

Congratulations to Dr. Pennington-Cross! He can be reached at anthony.pennington-cross@marquette.edu

Students attend national/regional conferences

in Washington, DC, Orlando, and Chicago

WASHINGTON, DC , CHICAGO, and ORLANDO During the fall semester 31 students traveled to real estate conferences hosted by the Urban Land Institute, Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, and NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association). This is the first time that the Center for Real Estate sponsored organized trips to conferences. Student feedback was rewarding, McElwee called the ULI trip,

...an incredible experience. I think I learned more in those three days about the real estate industry than I could have in a week of class; this experience was real. You learn about these things in school and teachers try to prepare you for them as best as possible, but nothing is quite like getting out there, diving headfirst into something totally unfamiliar to you, and just going with it.

Dr. Eppli accompanied four students to the ULI annual meeting in Washington, DC, October 13-15, which was highlighted by keynote speakers Sheila Bair, chairman of the FDIC; Donald Kohn, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve; and J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., CEO and Chairman, Marriott International. Maggie Hansen also benefitted from the conference stating, “The many presentations gave us great exposure to upcoming trends within the different segments of real estate. This was undoubtedly an amazing experience and something that should be continued into the future!”

In Chicago, twenty three Real Estate Club members attended for the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Career Day conference on October 14-15. The event included breakout sessions providing real estate property market and capital market updates; a site tour of Aqua, a new high-rise condominium development near Lake Michigan; and concluded with three round table discussions where students engaged real estate professionals on their day-to-day professional responsibilities. Marquette University students joined students from other universities including Indiana, DePaul, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Illinois, UIC, and Wisconsin. “This is our fourth year attending the Eisenberg Career Day, and it once again proved to be one of the most valuable experiences our students have as they search for their career paths. We are lucky to have this affiliation with the Eisenberg Foundation,” said Andy Hunt, Assistant Director of the Center for Real Estate. Special thanks also go to Theron May (’07 ) who helped organize the event, as well as Pat Biernacki (’08) who served on the “Young Guns” panel.


Orlando, Florida was the location of the NAIOP annual meeting on October 27-29. Seven students joined Andy Hunt to attend presentations on the national economy, office development, industrial development, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), and tenant demand from the leadership of Jones Lang LaSalle, Liberty Property Trust, Cushman and Wakefield, AMB, and the Welsh Companies. Through his active affiliation with the NAIOP Young Leaders group in Minneapolis, Andy Hunt was able to arrange a private meeting with NAIOP national chairman Larry Pobuda. Stephanie Dremonas said, “The atmosphere and NAIOP members were very inviting and open to giving career advice and discussing current events, and they genuinely enjoy each other's company. I definitely see this being an annual trip for CRE!”

Other than Marquette University, few if any other undergraduate real estate students attended the ULI and NAIOP annual meetings. “Being the only undergraduates in attendance, it was an honor to be the face of Marquette's program and get a chance to network with professionals that have made a huge impact in real estate across the nation,” said Maggie Hanson. John Feeney, reiterated this point stating, “For me, the best part of the NAIOP Conference was that there were no students there. All of the professionals in attendance were impressed that we were there and were more than willing to speak with us about their respective industries.”

The students and Center for Real Estate appreciate founding member financial support to attend these conferences. The Center funded slightly more than half of the cost to attend the annual meetings of the ULI and NAIOP at a cost of approximately $350-400 per student. Next is the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Conference this spring in Las Vegas, May 22-25, see you at the MU CRE booth!

Associates in Commercial Real Estate graduates recognized for contributions to regional growth

MILWAUKEE Five Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) graduates were presented with "Central City Business Awards" at the Pfister Hotel by the Milwaukee Business Journal on March 14th. The Central City Business Awards recognize entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises whose contributions toward growth, expansion and prosperity are making a difference in Milwaukee's central city and other areas across the region. Three of the nine firms receiving awards are run by ACRE graduates including JCP Construction which has three brothers that went through the program. The ACRE awardees include JCP Construction (James, Jalin, and Clifton Phelps), Maures Development Group (Melissa Goins), and Nelson Soler. Prior to the ACRE program James Phelps (now president of JCP) was employed by Milwaukee Public Schools as paint crew supervisor, and Melissa Goins (now founder and president of Maures Development) was a state corrections officer.

In August 2010, ACRE successfully transitioned to TAN (The ACRE Network). TAN is a group of ACRE alums that requested to run ACRE with a focus on continuing education and active networking for ACRE alums and other interested minority participants. TAN board members include James Phelps and Melissa Goins.

Real estate alumni unite!

MILWAUKEE Marquette graduated 170 real estate majors since 2005, the year of our first four graduates! Realizing the joy of reconnecting with old friends and the importance of networking, with the assistance of Andy Hunt the real estate alumni created REALM. The Real Estate Alumni Marquette Network, held their first event and meeting the weekend of January 29-30 in Milwaukee. "The existence of affinity groups like REALM is a great way for our alumni to remain connected - particularly as the college celebrates our Centennial year. We look forward to working with real estate alumni and engaging them with REALM, MUBAAA, and Marquette University as a whole,” said Ann Marie Wick, President of the Marquette University Business Administration Alumni Association.

REALM co-sponsored its first event with the Center for Real Estate on Saturday, January 29, following the Marquette men’s basketball game victory over nationally ranked Syracuse. The post-game reception was held at Whiskey River Saloon one block from the Bradley Center, with dozens of real estate alumni in attendance. The following day seventeen real estate alums kicked off the inaugural REALM committee meeting, where the group discussed goals and strategic plan for REALM. Pat Biernacki, -(08) real estate alum and former Real Estate Club president, is enthusiastic about REALM., stating:

I’m excited about this organization. This is the next step in the maturation and continuation of the real estate program at Marquette. We’ve gotten to a point now where we’ve graduated some people from the program, and they’ve had some success, and we’re excited to get to the next level of providing the future graduates of the program with a strong network they can utilize when they enter the workplace."

Real Estate Club plans site visits to CBOT, Miller Park, and others

CHICAGO and MILWAUKEE The Real Estate Club has a busy spring semester of site tours, training, networking, and case competitions. Incoming club president Andrew Deegan is excited about the months ahead, “Each semester we try to come up with new and engaging site visits and speakers. I think this will be one of the most exciting semesters to date with the Chicago and Miller Park site tours, the case competitions and our attendance at ICSC’s conference in Las Vegas.”

Site tours for the semester began in early February with a trip to the Junior Achievement development near Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, through Real Estate alum Robert Mueller (‘09) of HSI Properties. This 40,000 square foot building will house learning centers for students in the Milwaukee area. The club was joined by UW-Milwaukee’s real estate club, providing some great peer networking.

In late March, students will travel to Chicago for tours of the Chicago Board of Trade with Bob Devine and the Willis Tower with Gary Michon of U.S. Equities Asset Management. In April, the club will take a tour of Miller Park; home of the Milwaukee Brewers major league baseball team since 2001. Miller Park has garnered many accolades for its design and fan experience, the tour will be followed by tailgating and a baseball game.

Regional case competitions challenge students

Members of the Real Estate Club will be competing in two case competitions this spring. New to the schedule is the Eisenberg Foundation Case Competition in Chicago, Illinois on April 9th, this is the inaugural case competition for the Foundation. Marquette will be competing against seven other universities. All are tasked with analyzing and making redevelopment recommendations for Cabrini Green, currently vacant parcel of land located on Chicago’s north side that was formally one of the nation’s worse public housing projects.

A second team of Marquette students will compete in the NAIOP University Challenge in Minneapolis on April 7th. A greyfield mall site in Oakdale, Minnesota is the subject site for that competition. In Marquette University’s inaugural entrance to the NAIOP competition in 2009, we won the competition. The students recommended the development of a medical office building for a downtown Minneapolis site near the Hennepin County Medical Center and Metrodome stadium. This is the third competition entrance for MU students.

In conjunction with Center for Real Estate receptions in Chicago (March 23rd) and Milwaukee (March 30th), both case teams will make “dry-run” presentations. Anyone interested in providing questions and feedback is encouraged to attend.

For more information on Real Estate Club activities, please visit their website at www.marquetteuniversityrec.com, or contact President Andrew Deegan at andrew.deegan@marquette.edu.

Quick Notes

Congratulations to Stephanie Dremonas for winning the ICSC Foundation Undergraduate Real Estate Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is given annually to one Marquette undergraduate real estate and includes a free one year ICSC membership.

Congratulations as well to our five real estate students who graduated in December 2010!

  1. Breanne Rehfeldt graduated with a double major in Real Estate and Anthropology. Breanne has moved to Tempe, Arizona to live with her sister and pursue a career in property management or brokerage. She can be reached at Breanne.Rehfeldt@gmail.com.
  2. Patrick Buss graduated with a major in Real Estate and will be working with WHR Group in Milwaukee as an Appraisal Associate. He can be reached at Patrick.Buss@whrg.com.
  3. Aubrei Gray graduated with a double major in Real Estate and Marketing. Aubrei will be working with Gray’s Manor, LLC, as the Business Administrator. She can be reached at aubreig@gmail.com.
  4. Isaac Svien graduated with a double major in Real Estate and International Business. Isaac is hoping to work in brokerage in Milwaukee. He can be reached at iwsvien@gmail.com.
  5. Adam Kuczynski graduated with a double major in Real Estate and Accounting. Adam will be working with Wegner CPAs in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, as a Staff Accountant. Adam can be reached at adam.j.kuczynski@gmail.com.