Real estate developers convene to collaborate and advocate at 2013 LOCUS Leadership Summit

The second annual LOCUS Leadership Summit brought together over 50 leading real estate developers from across the country to meet with members of Congress, share ideas and learn from one another in Washington, DC this week.

Over the past two days attendees heard from leaders in Washington and the real estate industry about how public policymakers and real estate developers can work together to create more walkable, livable, economically strong neighborhoods.

John Porcari, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation; Shelly Poticha, Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and John FJohn Frece, Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spoke about the future of sustainable communities in the Obama Administration.

Ben Miller, President of Fundrise and Shyam Kannan, Managing Director of Planning for WMATA spoke about crowd-sourcing, value capture and the new era of real estate financing.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Chief Corridor Development for Amtrak Robert LaCroix, and Policy Director for Transportation for America Nick Donohue spoke about sustainable transportation. Brandon Palanker of Renaissance Downtowns spoke about how developers can use social media to harness community support. Ari Maron of MRN Ltd. spoke about the innovative work being done in Cleveland, OH. And Steve Leeper of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation spoke about how that city is engineering a renaissance.

The Summit’s keynote speaker was Matt Yglesias, author of The Rent Is Too Damn High. His points about housing affordability, transportation and wages tied together many of the themes touched upon by speakers throughout the Summit.

A walking tour of DC’s NoMa neighborhood gave attendees a chance to see many of these strategies in action, and an opportunity to discuss practical questions about how to make them work.

Finally, Summit attendees visited nearly 50 Congressional offices, to speak with members of Congress and their staff about how federal programs could better harness real estate development as an economic driver.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Summit and made this event so engaging and informative. We look forward to seeing you next year!