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ULI offers advice on navigating real estate downturn.

With real estate companies facing the uncertainties of the troubled economy, Strategy for Real Estate Companies, provides practical advice to guide strategic planning aimed at surviving the economic downturn and taking advantage of unexpected opportunities to prosper.

Charles Hewlett and Gadi Kaufmann, leaders in the industry with more than 50 years of combined experience, authored the new ULI publication.

"Even though strategic plans are imperfect, the planning process will outline the upside potential and the downside risks that the company faces, preparing it to quickly and effectively respond to known challenges and unanticipated threats," notes Charles Hewlett.

According to the authors, it is especially important for companies to develop strategic plans that define their goals and tie those goals to specific implementation strategies in uncertain economic times when the real estate industry is rapidly changing and consolidating.

Strategy for Real Estate Companies addresses the central issues facing management of real estate companies: how to set the firm's direction and implement an action plan to ensure the strategy is pursued.

The book outlines the key elements of a well-rounded strategic plan that will help a real estate company gain a competitive edge in a crowded field and outline how it can maximize profits by anticipating and responding to market cycles, determine how and where to grow business, identify and fully use the appropriate tools to target customers, and apply best practices from other fields and areas to any given market.

According to Hewlett and Kaufmann, a strategic plan is an essential tool for all types of real estate companies--large and small, private and public, those focused on a narrow set of geographies or products and those that are fully diversified, multi-disciplined concerns.

Four case studies illustrate the invaluable role strategic planning plays in the evolution of real estate companies:

* A private company that goes public, merges, and grows rapidly, yet remains focused on its core strategy throughout;

* A private, regional development firm grows its capital risk business and retains ownership of assets while maintaining a strategic balance of operating risk activities;

* A local, family-owned homebuilder shifts its focus to land and vertical development, then makes a transition from family to professional management and evolves into a major regional player and partner in acquiring, developing, and managing a diverse range of real estate projects throughout the southeastern U.S.; and

* A private company that began as a small Texas developer shifts its focus to services in the mid-1980s market collapse, engineers explosive growth to become a national diversified services company, parlays a national network of local market talent into a powerhouse investment company and then circles back to its roots with a bold initiative in development. All in pursuit of "sustainability."

Kaufmann is CEO and Hewlett is a managing director of RCLCO (Robert Charles Lesser & Co., LLC).

Strategy for Real Estate Companies (Urban Land Institute, 2008, ISBN 978-0-87420-997-6; $74.95) is available through the Urban Land Institute at 800-321-5011 and
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Comment:ULI offers advice on navigating real estate downturn.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 11, 2008
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