John Gerro Real Estate Symposium 2018

The 2018 John Gerro Real Estate Symposium brought civic leaders, city planners, developers, financial experts to meet with students, faculty and community members interested in the “Revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles.” Speakers illustrated how innovation and updated city planning efforts are designed to encourage living and working in the area.

Morning keynote speaker Carol Schatz, President & CEO of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, detailed how existing buildings and spaces are being reinvented to suit the changing demographics of the downtown area.  Wayne Ratkovich, Founder & CEO of the Ratkovich Company, reminded attendees that in the 1920s Downtown L.A. was the entertainment and retail hub of Los Angeles. Imaginative reuse of existing buildings could contribute to maintaining the architecture of the historic core while modernizing buildings for current needs. Chris Martin, Chairman & CEO of AC Martin described the innovations developed for the Wilshire Grand Hotel and built on Mr. Ratkovich’s point adding that as a major world hub Los Angeles needs supportive infrastructure in addition to a modern skyline.

Kevin Keller, Deputy of Planning at the City of L.A. showed how planned developments in transportation for the DTLA support those changing demographic needs. Reevaluating historic planning processes have led to new approaches to zoning and streamlined approvals. The City’s 2040 Master Plan seeks to preserve the best of the district and create a welcoming environment. Brandon Gill, Executive Director at Cushman & Wakefield and a key figure in the development of the Arts District, agreed that transportation issues and a focus on resolving the area’s homelessness issues are key to continued growth.

Luncheon Keynote Speaker Jessica Lall, President & CEO of the Central City Association, addressed the key points made by the panel and impressed upon the need for continued work in these areas to encourage revitalization while cautioning Angelenos to be thoughtful and support initiatives with long-term solutions.

Many thanks for the success of the event go to our partners and sponsors, and to Cal State LA alumnus John Gerro. The John Gerro Real Estate Symposium was established with a generous contribution to the Finance, Law and Real Estate Department in the College of Business and Economics in order to expand student opportunities, to broaden understanding of the real estate market, and to engage our alumni, academic and professional constituencies.  If you are interested in participating or sponsoring next year’s event please contact Denise Gutierrez at [email protected]

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