Urban Planning/Development For my topic I chose to research Urban Planning which also goes hand in hand with Urban Development. Urban Planning integrates land use planning and transportation planning to improve the economic and social environments of communities, where Urban Development is the actual process of taking these plans and putting them to work by the selling, leasing, building of land, buildings, stores, homes, etc. For my interview I contacted Dode Harvey, who has worked in, or owned a commercial real estate firm for over 30 years.
For several years Mr. Harvey owned a company by the name of Diamond T. Ranch development, and he now works for Real Estate Solutions based out of San Antonio, Texas. Because of his experience I have an owner’s point of view and not just an agent. Specialization In the world of Urban Development, Mr. Harvey’s specializes in urban re-development; meaning he takes property that has already been developed, but has been either run down or vacated, and brings it back to life. An example of urban re-development that Mr.
Harvey gave me was the re-development of Houston Street in San Antonio. According to Mr. Harvey there was a strip of about eight blocks in the historic district of downtown San Antonio that was completely vacant and deteriorating, his company went and bought that eight block strip (about 20 buildings) for around twenty million dollars . They brought the buildings up to date and then turned around and brought several small businesses back into the area revitalizing a dying community. Educational Requirements In Mr.
Harvey’s area of Urban Development there are just a couple of educational requirements, including receiving your real estate license and participating in continuing education. As far as formal education goes there are no requirements, though Mr. Harvey did recommend that you receive a college degree to help jump start you when coming into the commercial real estate field. He also recommended that if you do want to get a degree that will help you in the Urban Development to look into a degree in real estate development with a possible minor in finance. When I asked Mr.
Harvey about the amount of continuing education he participates in, and/or recommends participating in every year I was surprised at the amount he gave. He told me that he recommends that you attend at least two major and a minimum of two to four minor seminars every year, along with the amount of continuing education classes required by the TRELC. Job Duties Mr. Harvey as a past owner, and current City Partner and Principal has many responsibilities throughout his normal work day, his higher ranking within the company does not remove any amount of work from his plate.
When developing undeveloped or existing property there are several tasks you must consider, the first thing to consider when planning or developing property is the zoning of that property. If the piece of property he is trying to develop does not meet his zoning needs then he must go to the city and get the zoning changed for your property. If Mr. Harvey was trying to develop a previously undeveloped piece of land, he would then have to hire engineers to come in and “lay out” or design the land; he would need to have them plan out where sewer, electrical, and water lines would be going, as well as how the land would drain and so on.
Gaining city approval would be the next step in his process, which in his words “you’ll take your plan to city hall the first time and they’ll tell you it’s not good enough, then you go back a second and sometimes a third time, until you’ve (got it right)”. Mr. Harvey then has to select the right real estate agency, whether it is residential or commercial. One of his last but most important duties in the office is to hire attorneys, whether they are working in his office, or they be working for him from an outside law office.
Mr. Harvey told me that his agency hired out “Fulbright and Jaworsky” out of San Antonio, because “they are the best I’ve found”. Relation to Real Estate Practice There are many ways that Mr. Harvey’s job role ties into the practice of real estate. When most people think of real estate they typically just think of the buying and selling aspect of, but there is so much more than just buying and selling involved. Mr.
Harvey not only has a salesperson but he also has to be knowledgeable of properties and companies around what you are trying to sell (Urban Planning), he needs to be able to do research and be able to determine which businesses, neighborhoods, etc. will be best fit in certain places. Mr. Harvey needs to be able to know which companies to try and bring into his properties, does he have enough space in his building to house a large chain corporation, or does he need to bring in a smaller local business to fill the spot, a lot of which again ties back to Urban Planning.
Mr. Harvey has to be aware of many real estate laws while helping run Real Estate Solutions, such as zoning laws, and easements. Mr. Harvey dealt with easement issues while re-developing Houston Street, when a title search was done on one of the buildings he was developing it was discovered that “there was a pipeline that ran down the middle of the building, splitting the property in two”, which became a problem when trying to re-develop. Discrimination In the interview I asked Mr.
Harvey “how often do you worry about discrimination in the workplace when dealing with clients and customers”; his response was “every second of every day”. Mr. Harvey said that discrimination is one of the main concerns in the workplace, they have to (as well as every other real estate agency) display the equal opportunity employer sign in their office, as well as “follow government guidelines, very strictly” because if they don’t they can face serious repercussions, even to the extent of being shut down.
Mr. Harvey also told me that he and his co-workers also will attend discrimination workshops/seminars from time to time. When I asked Mr. Harvey if he had ever seen discrimination in the workplace he said “I have seen it before, but I can’t say when or where, and the sad part is even if it was unintentional or didn’t even happen, I have still seen people get their licenses suspended over it”.
Additional Info I asked Mr. Harvey what the most common types of clients have been most common over his years as an Urban Developer? He responded with “I would say by far small business owners, at least 85% or so”, he also added that “small business is the driving force behind this country, and the bureaucracy that is state and nation government is killing the driving force in this country”.
I also inquired about the commission of agents and brokers to which I got a response of “there are no set fees, it’s up to negotiation”, he also told me “the IRS makes a claim on income tax that every agent charges a minimum of 6% commission”, this is very untrue and has become a problem. He also told me that “brokers can make set fees”, by which he means brokers can ask for a certain percent to be paid to them regardless of what the agent is receiving. The last thing I asked Mr.
Harvey was “what laws or barriers do you typically run into when trying to place certain types of businesses in certain area? ” he told me there were several, but the major ones being “zoning laws and what regulations set by local and national governments”. There is much more to be learned about Urban Planning and Developing, but I feel I have covered a lot of the major points, Urban Development is an important aspect of the real estate field, without which we wouldn’t have the advanced towns and cities we do now.