Salt Lake City

Wanted to get everyone's thoughts on the SLC real estate scene, specifically from a REPE jobs/firm perspective. 

Goes without saying that SLC is a booming CRE market, and will be for years to come, but I am interested in job opportunities at MF REPE shops in and around the city. I currently work in MF acquisitions in the Northeast FYI.

I have seen a growing number of SLC-based shops over the years (Bridge IG, Millburn, etc.) and am tempted to consider a move there for a better QOL than my current Northeastern city, in addition to joining a smaller shop chasing deals in a more active CRE market. 

Wondering if anyone can give insight who has made a similar move? Also, interested to hear how being a non-LDS member can affect my chances of landing a gig/networking.


Comments (16)

Most Helpful
Jan 5, 2022 - 12:04pm

Well, I could probably speak to this topic. The competition for deals in SLC is insane. I would assume that the groups you compete with for acquisitions in the Northeast would be the same groups you compete with in SLC, potentially even more so. Groups from both coasts are very active in the market. Small REPE shops, especially local ones, don't really stand a chance currently unless they are willing to do something crazy aggressive - which isn't really the MO of most local firms. 

In terms of local REPE firms, Bridge is definitely a major player and from what I hear, a good place to work. However, you better like whatever role you get into with them because you will be siloed in it. Millburn seems to have shifted their focus to other markets, but I could be wrong. Peak Capital Partners is another large shop, but they seem to hire interns/analysts almost exclusively from BYU - which I must say, does produce some very polished analysts out of their real estate club.  

I don't think being a non-LDS guy will hurt you too much; however, there are plenty of firms that seem to prefer a BYU grad to an out-of-state hire. The bigger factor, in my opinion, is the cultural differences around events and the way deals get done. Brokers don't want to grab a beer after work, they want to go home to their families. ULI / NAIOP events will have more people drinking diet coke than alcohol. Being verbally aggressive with third parties will get you blackballed rather than moved to the front of the line like in some Northeastern markets. On top of this, nepotism is rampant and the CRE scene is just starting to evolve from an old boys club that was traditionally dominated by a handful of 3rd and 4th generation families. 

In sum, Utah sucks don't move here. Go to Boise, I hear they love newcomers. 

Jan 5, 2022 - 2:55pm

Really appreciate your insight here. Will keep that in mind as I look to make some westward moves going forward. 

Utah does suck though, certainly more than Denver and Boise ;)

Jan 5, 2022 - 2:20pm

Why not just try Denver? You will never be an insider in SLC without being LDS. 

Jan 5, 2022 - 2:50pm

Yeah that is my main concern. Most if not all of the SLC REPE shops I know of are run by LDS guys. 

Denver has been on my radar for a while now, just a higher COL than SLC. Certainly more job opps over there for someone in my shoes, in addition to being a super hot market. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 10:15pm

Current student in the state, my thoughts:

  • Hard to be "the guy" in any industry (IB, CRE, etc) without being LDS. It's not that you get excluded for being a nonmember, members just get a boost. BYU dominates all industries
  • There are a few RE shops in the valley but not all that many (on top of the above named there is Sundance Bay, Dakota Pacific, PEG, Keystone)
  • The market is hot in SLC, but it is everywhere
Jan 6, 2022 - 2:04am

I am from SLC, lived there for probably 13 years or so. I don't know anything about real estate as that's not my industry, but if you have any questions about SLC or Utah in general just let me know. Feel free to send a PM

  • Manager in Risk Mnmgt
Jan 6, 2022 - 2:16pm

Currently in SLC, but not in CRE so I figured I'd address your concerns over the LDS thing. 

It depends entirely on the size of the shop in my experience. Is your shop 6-8 BYU alumni? Then yeah you probably better be LDS. If you're working for a larger firm then it doesn't really matter. Either way, be prepared for the culture shock of living in a city where half the residents consider drinking coffee a sin. 

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jan 6, 2022 - 3:35pm

SLC is evolving!  Once you do a deal or two, IPA, CB, C&W, etc. will be knocking on your door step.  CBRE Investors recently bought their first deal, everything is trading for a low to mid 3 cap (haven't seen a sub 3.5 cap deal in the past year for the product we look at that has traded).  Very competitive market with insane rent growth!  No different from Phoenix, Austin, etc.  Anyone buying core deals in those markets is looking to place capital or paying to play!!  My firm is quite active and we have no connection to the church but have good connections.  Our main contact was a former broker/banker in that market, knows a ton of folks and we have been successful.  It's getting more challenging to find deals just like everywhere else.  Anyway, C&W, IPA and CB control the institutional product in that market on the multi side.  Also, that market was on fire during COVID with no negative rent growth, positive absorption and new employers leasing office space.  Might as well be in the South, COVID isn't a factor!

Jan 6, 2022 - 3:57pm

Not in RE but have been here for a bit now. The culture thing pointed out above is very real. I've lived in a handful of major US cities and this is the only one that truly feels like a separate country. 

A few thing drive me bananas. For example, everything is closed by 8 pm or so. So if it's a Friday, you wrapped up work at 7 or 8, then go to the gym for an hour, and want to go eat a nice dinner or do something...your options are severely limited.

The food is rough in general, a few good places but definitely good for what you're paying in most cases.

The whole mormon/church/drinking thing can be annoying sometimes. People get offended if you swear, even a reasonable amount, etc. 

All that said, SLC is way less racist than I thought and I like the mormons more than other dominant groups in some cities as they are well travelled and educated in general. 

Jan 6, 2022 - 4:23pm

SLC fascinates me. Absent the LDS influence, it should be bigger than Denver, as the mountains are 90 minutes closer to downtown. For anyone local, how do you see the LDS influence evolving over the next 10-20 years?

"I don't know how to explain to you that you should care about other people."

  • 1
Jan 7, 2022 - 2:16pm

I have always thought the same thing. I lived in Denver for a bit and when I visited Salt Lake for the first time I thought, "this what I expected to Denver to be" with the mountains right there next to town.

Jan 7, 2022 - 4:04pm

I lived there and went to school there and now cover it from out of state. Hated my time living there - culture and general dogmatism wasn't my thing. Granted, I did not take advantage of the outdoors very much. 
The biggest negative to SLC in my mind is that it doesn't have the lifestyle that a denver, Portland, Austin etc. has (besides the mountains). The busiest place on a Friday night is the Murray Fashion Place Sefora or Container Store. 

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 10, 2022 - 6:54pm

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