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Resource for Realtors

Alabama Center for Real Estate poised for the next 15 years of service.

ACRE Chairman and Vice President of Alfa Properties Mark Fain and University of Alabama College of Commerce Dean Mike Hardin are pictured with real estate students at the 2011 ACRE conference.

ACRE Chairman and Vice President of Alfa Properties Mark Fain and University of Alabama College of Commerce Dean Mike Hardin are pictured with real estate students at the 2011 ACRE conference.

Today’s business landscape is defined by change, which seems to be the only constant. With change comes the responsibility to manage large amounts of information, a key to survival in today’s competitive business environment—particularly the business of real estate.

Founded in 1996, the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE), housed on the University of Alabama campus, is the state’s premier repository of statistics, research and forecasts for residential and commercial practitioners. ACRE was created in partnership among the Alabama Association of Realtors (AAR), the Alabama Real Estate Commission, UA Dean’s Office and several prominent real estate professionals when they discovered a need for one centralized institution to provide the necessary financial and statistical tools for the industry. The founding director was Leonard Zumpano, professor of finance and holder of the Alabama Association of Realtors Endowed Chair of Real Estate.

In 2011-12, ACRE celebrates its 15th year of service; but it is the opportunity that lies ahead for the next 15 years that fuels the energy and passion of its executive director, Grayson Glaze.

“The relationship between the Center and our industry stakeholders is one of the Center’s greatest strengths,” Glaze says. “Alabama companies and individuals partner with the Center to bring a wealth of resources and experience, becoming, in effect, extensions of the Center, a network through which our outreach to the Alabama real estate industry is enhanced and enriched.” 

ACRE is organized for growth and guided by a dynamic advisory board of trustees, executive level stakeholders representing various disciplines from banking to brokerage. Bench strength flows into ACRE from its leadership council, made up of more than 60 real estate professionals who provide collaborative market insight from across the state and all real estate-related disciplines.

ACRE members attend workshops and seminars to gain information on the real estate industry.

The impact of constant change in business also trickles down to education, both internal and external outreach. 

ACRE maintains a laser-focused support role with University of Alabama real estate students, helping them become educated, industry forerunners from the point of graduation. ACRE is credited with providing the best and brightest to nationally-recognized commercial real estate firms, such as CBRE, Cushman-Wakefield, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, Regions and Wells Fargo. Other firms that have hired UA real estate grads with ACRE expertise include Birmingham firms Graham & Co., J.H. Berry & Co., Watts Realty and Shannon Waltchack Investment Real Estate plus NAI Commercial Real Estate in Huntsville, Hamner Real Estate in Tuscaloosa, Barr Appraisal Services in Montgomery, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital in Mobile, CB&S Bank in Moulton and out-of-state firms including Boxer Property and TIG Real Estate Services in Texas, along with Post Properties and Racetrac Corporate Real Estate, both in Atlanta, Ga.

Chandler Davis, shown with her parents, was hired by the Nashville office of CBRE Group after graduation.

Chandler Davis, a recent graduate with a real estate specialization, was hired by the Nashville office of CBRE Group and credits her relationship with ACRE for CBRE’s attention to her experience and employment. “ACRE opened my eyes to all opportunities within the industry, despite the challenging environment. Through the help of ACRE, I received a total of $14,000 in scholarships, paid internships and as a result of ACRE events, a full-time position at the largest commercial real estate company in the world, and a special connection with the university and classmates that I will cherish forever.” 

The Center also acts as a point of connection and interaction with the university’s 1,400-plus real estate alumni, many of whom have earned their degrees in the past 10 years.

Externally, other important ACRE initiatives include statewide industry education, networking and business development events, which allow for one-on-one relationship building among professionals in five markets—Montgomery, the Gulf Coast, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville.

Key among those events is the annual Commercial Real Estate Conference, called ACREcon. This year’s ACREcon, the 12th annual conference, will be Jan. 27 at Birmingham’s Cahaba Grand Conference Center.  This year’s conference theme will be based on the book, The Shift Age, by David Houle. In keeping with Houle’s focus on change and the future, all conference contents will be focused through a global and futuristic lens.

This year’s featured speaker is Jim Wilson, global director of client accounts for CBRE.  Past keynote speakers include David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, and Kelly King, CEO and chairman of BB&T.

Continuing on a futuristic path, ACRE also is developing an interactive app platform to be used by all practitioners that supports their current statistical data series on residential sales and new home construction, as well as specific data associated with commercial industry interests, finance and economic indicators.

For more information about the Alabama Center for Real Estate and the University of Alabama’s real estate program, visit acre.cba.ua.edu.

Tracy Gatewood contributed to this report. Gatewood is a senior member of the ACRE Leadership Council and a public relations and marketing professional living in Tuscaloosa.

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