by Nicole Urquhart-Bradley, MAI, FRICS, President, Valuation & Advisory Americas
Each quarter, I’d like to recognize the individuals within our Valuation & Advisory (V&A) group who have hit major anniversary milestones. I’ve asked these veterans, who have been with the firm for 20 years or more, to answer a few questions about their experience, tenure, and what keeps them going…
You’ve now been with the firm 20 years and focus on valuations of multifamily residential projects and mixed-use projects. What changes within the appraisal industry and/or your market have you seen since you began your career? Where do you think it is heading?
In general, the emergence of the internet (and all of its repercussions) has had a tremendous impact on the appraisal industry. Other advances in technology have also been huge – everything from how we take pictures to how we communicate to how we work remotely from almost anywhere at any time. In our market (Texas), and during my tenure with Cushman & Wakefield, we have been fortunate to have had prolonged periods of substantial population and job growth – fueling strong demand for both new and existing offices, lodging facilities, restaurants/retail space, manufacturing, distribution and warehouse facilities and places to live. This has obviously fueled the demand for real estate appraisal work.
The question as to where the real estate industry is heading is complex. Appraisal firms are continually faced with the challenge of producing reports faster, less expensively and with higher quality. Although fundamentally flawed, this will likely continue in the near term. At the same time, it appears as if there are fewer recent college graduates (and/or individuals making career changes) entering the appraisal profession. At the same time, there is a growing number of national (and global) real estate organizations attempting to position themselves to compete with the existing firms for valuation work. Given these somewhat disjointed supply and demand imbalances, and barring any legislation easing or artificially inflating demand for appraisal services, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out over the next 5, 10 or 20 years.
How did you get your start in commercial real estate/why did you choose to go into the appraisal profession?
After graduating college, I started out in architecture/urban design, but after about a year, decided that wasn’t for me. I went back to school to get my MBA and took several real estate related classes. The national and local economy, at the time, was not very favorable for employment with a real estate development firm, which is what I had hoped for. However, there were ample employment opportunities in commercial real estate appraisal. Once I entered the profession, I found I enjoyed the work, and the compensation wasn’t bad either.
What is it about Cushman & Wakefield that has helped you reach this anniversary/keep you here?
In working for a large real estate organization, the ability to specialize in multifamily residential appraisal, and in a geographical region/metropolitan area that has essentially been at or near the top of the list of most active development markets for several years, has played a major role. This has enabled me to work on some of the area’s (and region’s) top multifamily residential and mixed-use projects, and work with some of the most prominent apartment developers in the industry.
What was the most unusual assignment you’ve ever had or what has been the most memorable/your favorite?
Luckily I haven’t had too many “unusual” assignments, or those I care to remember. I enjoyed working on an appraisal for the redevelopment of the iconic Mercantile Bank complex in downtown Dallas, because of its historic significance. This was a project that converted a downtown city block with vacant office structures into a multifamily residential units with street level retail space and also involved construction of a new public park in the CBD. Also, one of my first assignments at Cushman & Wakefield was appraisal of the land beneath a utilities facility to the immediate northwest of downtown Dallas, which in turn, is now Victory Park – a master-planned development with offices, condominiums, apartments, restaurants, the W Hotel, a museum and a sports venue (American Airlines Center). At the time, there was much speculation as to where the new sports venue was to be constructed, so only a handful of people knew that this was the site that had been selected.
How do you plan to spend your next 20 years at Cushman & Wakefield?
Hopefully continue to work on assignments I enjoy for a few more years, but likely not working as many long hours.
When you’re not out appraising an asset or writing a report, what do you like to do?
I have always enjoyed sports – particularly college football – and I have an avid interest in modern American History and Texas History. In the past two summers, I have enjoyed traveling to Southern California and Hawaii with my (now) fiancé. I actually went parasailing in Hawaii. We also enjoy spending time together at the theater, art shows, movies, concerts and all that.
Thanks to Jeff and our entire team for all they have done and their continued dedication Cushman & Wakefield.
Nicole Urquhart-Bradley is President for Valuation & Advisory Americas. She is responsible for the overall leadership of the Valuation & Advisory (V&A) group in the Americas, overseeing 600 appraisers in 71 offices and driving the business objectives and activities of the operations. Valuation & Advisory offers six core services, including Appraisal Management, Diligence Advisory, Dispute Analysis & Litigation Support, Financial Reporting, Portfolio Valuation and Property Tax Services, along with 17 asset-class practice groups. In 2016, the Americas team valued over 53,045 properties valued at over $1.06 trillion USD.