Top RE Development Firms?

Every year a list of the largest real estate private equity firms is published. However I have yet to find a list of the best real estate development firms. I'm specifically referring to firms that have great analyst platforms where you'll learn the most, get exposure to a diverse multitude of deals, and network with the brightest (Hines, Trammel Crow,...). It would be great if someone can create a top 10 and elaborate on the why.

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Comments (14)

Best Response
Jun 21, 2016 - 11:23am

It's going to be really hard to do this list just because of the number of firms and that "having an analyst program" is neither a constant nor always a desired aspect of a development firm. Some great firms that quickly come to mind (in no way inclusive):

Hines
Related
Trammell Crow
Tishman Speyer
Boston Properties
Highwoods
Cousins
Crescent Communities
Avalon Bay
JBG
Post Properties
Childress Klein
Jay Paul Company
Duke Realty
Brookfield
Vornado
Edens

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Jun 20, 2016 - 3:16pm
CRE:

It's going to be really hard to do this list just because of the number of firms and that "having an analyst program" is neither a constant nor always a desired aspect of a development firm. Some great firms that quickly come to mind (in no way inclusive):

Hines
Related
Trammell Crow
Tishman Speyer
Boston Properties
Highwoods
Cousins
Crescent Communities
Avalon Bay
JBG
Post Properties
Childress Klein
Jay Paul Company
Duke Realty
Brookfield
Vornado

To this point, a lot of the most prolific developers aren't really developers at all--they are REITs. Also, individual cities will have dominant development players in certain classes of real estate, but these developers could be totally unknown nationwide.

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Jun 20, 2016 - 8:31pm

While I'm not a subject matter expert, I have consistently heard good stuff about Hillwood (Ross Perot Jr's firm) and Mill Creek, which was started by ex TCR people.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
Jun 21, 2016 - 10:30am

These are great lists of top developers, but they don't address the fact that very few have analyst level programs.

The lowest level at many (most?) development shops is associate/manager/director and require, on average, 5-7 years of CRE experience to break in. Many developers hire former brokers (leasing, sales, or capital) as they have a solid understanding of deal structure and new business development. Unless you're going 100% spec (multifam/senior/hotel, or the one-off office/industrial [not incredibly common right now]), the vast majority of new development occurs through direct relationships with businesses that have already identified the need to expand or through tenant rep brokers that have those relationships. Another reason brokerage experience is helpful.

Jun 21, 2016 - 10:58am

What about breaking in through the CRE debt side?

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson
Jun 21, 2016 - 11:45am

My experience having worked as an analyst at one of these "top" shops is that you can get in as an analyst at a few through networking. They mostly take kids with similar profiles to banking that want to work in real estate instead. Most college students or juniors lack the technical skills to be useful enough however and of course have very little knowledge of real estate. That said it is possible to get into a top shop doing something like Asset Management and transition or push your way through the door into development/acquisitions if you can demonstrate hunger, technical skills and decent real estate knowledge. Though it isn't easy.

Jun 21, 2016 - 7:43pm

So I'm going to start my MBA in a couple months and Ive done a year in real estate on the mortgage lending side and a 4 month investment banking internship. I would like to transition to real estate development. Should I be looking to intern at a reit over the summer or straight to development? I heard you learn some things at reits that might be more helpful than development initially.

Is the best option trying to go to an Associate program? ( like Tishman Speyer MBA rotational program?)

Jun 22, 2016 - 7:03am

You could intern with a developer or a REIT that develops. Your experience will be similar and both are great options.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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