This course will explore what is, and how to develop and invest in “social impact” real estate projects. How do we define what constitutes “social impact” with respect to real estate projects? How do various public and private sector stakeholders define “social impact” and how does it change over time as policy and markets change? Is “social impact” measurable, or is it a qualitative concept? How does that effect what types of financial products are available for developers and investors to utilize when putting together deals?
Using examples of real deals, and focusing largely on urban markets, students will work through the challenges and opportunities of financing various types of projects, including: affordable and mixed-income housing, mixed-use, neighborhood retail, community facilities (charter schools, primary care clinics, day care, etc.). Students will be exposed to a variety of financial tools (LIHTCs, tax-exempt bonds, NMTCs, QSCABs, etc.) and public sector programs that are necessary to make social impact projects feasible while also being asked to gauge whether the risk-adjusted returns warrant “doing the deal”.
In addition, the course will explore the following questions: who are the players in the “social impact” real estate space? Who are the capital providers in both the public and private sectors? Who are the developers? Can you make money being a socially responsible developer? What role do nonprofits play? How do shifts in public policy and priorities impact the availability of capital (rental vs. home-ownership, transit-oriented development, the Community Reinvestment Act, etc.) and determine what projects do and do not get done?
Speakers will include: for-profit and nonprofit developers, fund managers, government officials and financial institutions. The course will include a site visit to at least one large-scale “social impact” project in NYC.Completion of B8331 Real Estate Finance is recommended, but is not required.
Alicia Glen was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2012 to 2014.