On the third floor of Juniper Hall, in the office of the department of finance, real estate, and insurance, lies the home of the Center for Real Estate. It currently resides in the office of Dr. Donald Bleich, the founding and current director of the center and chair of the department.
Bleich created the center in 1998. He said after spending eight summers teaching real estate at New York University and experiencing their center for real estate, he saw that CSUN could benefit from something similar.
“I thought it would be a good idea to bring one out here,” he said. “I certainly hope to adapt some of the programs they have to CSUN.”
According to a pamphlet from the center, there are a number of missions the center is aimed toward achieving. One is their community outreach program.
“We put on this series of lectures, usually panels,” Bleich said. “It’s mostly for students, but it’s also open to the public.”
The seminars, which are co-hosted with Lambda Alpha International, an honorary society for the advancement of land economics that, according to information from the society, aims to create a closer relationship between academics and professionals, range from the process builders go through to develop land to management methods for family-run businesses.
But what Bleich is most proud of are the economic summits held annually in the spring, he said. The 2006 San Fernando Valley Economic Summit, held in May, featured reports about the Valley’s economic and real estate outlook, an overview of the national economy, and trends and ways to take advantage of them. The summits are not as lecture-based as the seminars, but also differ in another way.
“This event’s geared mostly for the public, but students are allowed, too,” Bleich said.
The summit, which had about 500 attendees in 2006, Bleich said, raised money for one of the center’s other missions, real estate research. Using the money raised by the summit, the faculty was able to conduct a study on how the 1994 Northridge earthquake affected apartment sales.
“We were able to pull off about five years of sales for apartment buildings in Los Angeles County,” Bleich said.
They pulled their data from the CoStar database, a system that allows users to look up the sales of properties not used as homes from all over the country, though the Center’s access is limited to Los Angeles County. Bleich said that, unlike many professionals, real estate students also get access to the CoStar database, which was donated by the CoStar Group, for use in their classes.
Promoting education in real estate is another one of the Center’s missions. The Center gives out scholarships to real estate students using money given to them by the Real Estate Education Endowment Fund and the Appraisal Institute, a professional association of appraisers.
Bleich said the difference between his NYU inspiration and CSUN’s Center for Real Estate is still enormous. They have a budget in the millions and are based in an area much more closely connected to the business.
“I don’t think we could ever get that big,” he said. “We’re still a baby.”