Richard Rojas’s 2016 ULI Fall Meeting Blog

 In All News, Program Reflections

For a public sector urban planner looking for insight into land development trends and best practices, the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas was a valuable experience. Though I traveled to the event on my own, I found myself in the company of professionals from Phoenix, Minneapolis, Dallas, DC, Atlanta, Seattle, and other cities who were eager to strike up a conversation, inquire about shared experiences, include in networking receptions and otherwise make this first-time Fall Conference attendee feel welcomed.

I started off the event with a full-day of tours through three redeveloping districts in Dallas that featured conversions of historic brick warehouses to creative office and retail spaces, new walkable high-rise residential and office development, and a thriving design district that is attracting new galleries and multifamily developments.

On the second day I attended a series of large format presentations that showcased a variety of topics ranging from global market trends, leadership, to the impact of technology on real estate. In particular, one session focused on the attraction of corporations to North Texas and featured executives from Toyota, State Farm, and JP Morgan who explained their rationale behind their recent decisions to consolidate, relocate and develop in the region.

As a recipient of the Rose Center Public Official Scholarship, I was able to dedicate my third day to the Multifamily Product Council Meeting (Green Flight) as a guest participant. This day felt like an event within an event as the day was filled with activities including a networking breakfast, “Getting to Know You” aka “speed dating” session to help everyone become acquainted, in-depth moderated discussion panels, lunch presentation from former staff and advisor to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, mobile tours to three new development sites, and culminated with a networking reception.

It was a joy and honor to take part in the Fall Meeting. The wonderful people and energetic atmosphere made for a great learning environment and offered plenty of ideas and insight for me to share in my workplace as well as my local ULI NEXT Initiative Council. I look forward to taking part in future ULI national events in the future.

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