Status of Bergstrom Real Estate Center Applied Research Initiative

Most people are aware of Kelley Bergstrom’s significant new gift in support of an applied research program at the Bergstrom Center. Kelley’s vision for the center has always included a research component that would leverage the research capabilities of the university and provide valuable insights to the practitioners in the state. Our first step in this development was bringing Bill on board to lead the effort.

Tim Becker & Bill Hughes

Bill’s early impression of the Center is one of great appreciation for the support and participation of its supporters. It is already clear that the Center’s advisory board members offer financial support, time commitment, student engagement, job opportunities, and incredible classroom contributions. Graduates of the University of Florida real estate programs (as well as statewide business leaders) recognize the value gained through industry exposure and they want to contribute to the benefit of all future students. They make this much more than just a “book learning” institution.

There are so many experts and thought leaders across the UF campus that our opportunities are extensive. The primary goal of the applied research group is to direct and develop expertise across many disciplines to studies that inform our real estate community. We have initiated conversations with the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR), the environmental engineering department, and the College of Design, Construction and Planning. We hope to translate their specialty knowledge into meaningful insights regarding residential and commercial real estate. Additionally, we are partnering with Real Capital Analytics, CBRE Econometric Advisors, NCREIF, and other industry organizations to provide resources necessary to our mission. Bill's Background

In the coming months, you will see several products that emerge from the center. We are planning research briefs that will inform on particular topics of interest as information becomes available. These briefs use the information that we are obtaining from our industry partners. We are also planning a quarterly publication that will provide a look at the research being done across campus that impacts real estate. This will include original research done at the center for the benefit of the industry. Finally, we are planning an annual journal that will provide a deeper dive into the research issues being explored at UF, from the impact of sea level rise on value to new construction techniques and materials. At the heart of each publication is the goal to inform our industry so that leaders can make better, more informed decisions.

In addition to the research and information, we believe this initiative provides a tremendous opportunity for our students. Not only will they benefit from the information developed in this effort, but they will also have the opportunity to participate. We anticipate employing several of our graduate students to collect and analyze data for our research. This will help them hone their analysis skills and provide them the opportunity to think deeper about the meaning of the data. We also believe that our students will benefit from the increased exposure that this initiative will provide, opening the door to new employment opportunities and connections.

Kelley’s gift has opened the door for an incredible new chapter in the Bergstrom Center’s growth. But there are more opportunities ahead. We intend to leverage Kelley’s gift with additional fundraising efforts that will allow the center to continue its growing mission to serve our students, our stakeholders, and the citizens of Florida.

The Bergstrom Center appreciates the many continued contributions of our advisory board members, donors, and alumni. We are happy to be positioned to direct your gifts to the students in our real estate programs and back to the Florida business community through this new applied research initiative.

Thank you for this opportunity.