Real Estate, as the saying goes, is about location, location, location. But it is also about timing. By one estimate, nearly one-sixth of U.S. commercial office space was vacant this past summer: a greater share than after the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-2009—despite an economy so robust that the Federal Reserve Board has been struggling to cool things down. Post-pandemic, of course, millions of former office denizens have continued to toil from home, causing collateral damage to downtown restaurants and bars, dry cleaners, entertainment venues: the whole array of retail spaces. A recent Class B (older) office-building sale in downtown Boston netted $45 million: nearly $10 million less than in 2013 (and, ominously for future tax revenues, $24 million less than the city’s assessed value for the property).

Is the master in real estate (MRE) degree program debuting at the Graduate School of Design (GSD) this semester an opportunistic investment at the darkest point, just before a hoped-for dawn? Not at all. As Williams professor of urban planning and design Jerold S. Kayden, the MRE’s founding director, explained before classes convened, the school began three years ago to review its “real estate and the built environment” concentration within a larger master’s program. In conversations among its faculty, across Harvard (particularly at the business and law schools, which have each offered a few pertinent courses), and with industry professionals, he found the need for a course of study that embraced two “foundational pillars.”

Read the full article in Harvard Magazine.