Auburn adds the Institute for Real Estate Development

Course offerings added for undergraduates; certifications for graduates

The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University. Photo by Julie Bennett.

Building on its strengths in architecture, business and construction, plus its 10-year-old executive master’s program in real estate, Auburn University is opening the Institute for Real Estate Development.

The project is funded by a $5 million anonymous gift to the university.

“Having a strong graduate program in real estate development helped get the institute started,” said Justin Benefield, director of the Master’s in Real Estate Development program and Walker Reynolds Bickerstaff Professor in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business’ Department of Finance. “But the donor has a broader vision — to continue to professionalize and train the next generation of real estate professionals in learning, application and integrity. Auburn is uniquely positioned to do this because we have the right mix of institutional resources.”

Auburn’s resources for this project include expertise in design, contract and build, finance and investment structures, engineering, e-commerce, hospitality management and other disciplines. 

“One of the key goals of the institute is to prepare our students to understand the financial aspects of real estate and acquire the knowledge necessary to manage a real estate project or an entire portfolio of projects,” said Joe Hanna, Regions Bank Professor and interim dean of the College of Business. “The effective management of real estate projects and investments clearly involves aspects of architecture, construction and finance. It is the ability to bring these aspects together through the institute that makes the collaboration between the Harbert College and the CADC particularly valuable and somewhat unique.”    

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In addition to the executive master’s program, Auburn will now offer real estate as a minor option for undergraduates plus additional graduate-level certification programs.

As part of the new Institute, Auburn will expand the current CityBuilders guest lecture series into a multi-day event on real estate and development topics.

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