Moving Into the Role of Developer

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January 29 @ 8:00 am
January 30 @ 4:00 pm
Westin Phoenix Downtown
333 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004 United States
David Mulvihill, Vice President, Professional Development


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A ULI Real Estate Entrepreneur Program

The path to becoming a real estate developer can start from a variety of places. Many enter the field directly through academic training. But many others enter the field indirectly through either a tangential discipline such as construction, law, or design; or through a family connection or inheritance.  To move successfully into the role of real estate developer requires a unique combination of personal and professional traits, combined with a wide set of specific business skills. A developer must be able to manage not only their own performance, but also the collaboration of numerous professionals representing multiple disciplines. The acquisition of these skills is paramount to identifying and mitigating the inherent risks that can threaten the viability of a development project, and the development entity.

This ULI Real Estate Entrepreneur Program is designed to help guide new and emerging real estate developers in gaining a more firm understanding of the skills and knowledge required to move into the field of real estate development. Through instructive dialogues, expert panel discussions, and interactive exercises, the program will provide best practices, lessons learned, and critical operational information.

Program Leaders

Alan RazakAlan 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, AICPDave Farmer
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.”

Guest Speakers

Mark Davis
48 Development Co.
Phoenix, AZ

Damon Jeffrey
Director of Development
VanTrust Real Estate, LLC
Phoenix, AZ

Kimber Lanning
Founder and Executive Director
Local First Arizona
Phoenix, AZ

Kaitlyn Mulhollan
Project Development Manager
Desert Viking
Scottsdale, AZ

Lorenzo Perez
Principal & Co-Founder
Venue Projects
Phoenix, AZ

Carl Perrone
Transcon Development Company
Scottsdale, AZ

Heather Personne
Point B Property Development
Phoenix, AZ

Paul Salinas
Wetta Ventures, LLC
Scottsdale, AZ

Tim Sprague
Habitat Metro, LLC
Phoenix, AZ


ULI Members: $850
Nonmembers: $1,130

Registration fee includes tuition, course materials, continental breakfast, reception/dinner, luncheon, and refreshments.

Cancellations, which must be made in writing or email to ULI Customer Service, will be subject to a $100 administrative fee. Cancellations must be received at least seven days prior to the start of the workshop to be eligible for a refund. No refunds will be granted thereafter. You may, however, transfer your registration, without penalty, to another member of your organization.


Hotel accommodations are not included in the registration fee. A limited number of rooms at The Westin Phoenix Downtown are available for program attendees at a discounted rate of $239 single/double (plus tax). Attendees must register by January 5, 2018 to receive this rate. Reservations can be made online using this link, or by calling 866-961-3775. Reference Urban Land Institute to receive the discounted hotel rate.

Program Highlights

•Understanding the development process

•Pathways to development

•Deal-making exercises

•Understanding and acquiring the skill sets of a developer

•Thinking like an entrepreneur instead of an employee

•Techniques for funding your projects and your business

•Deal structures and finance for new developers

•Expert senior leader panels – best practices and lessons learned

•Networking reception and dinner