Oct 162008
Authors: Alexandra Sieh

Local and national finance and real estate company representatives met with CSU students and faculty Thursday to discuss smart growth development and population issues facing real estate businesses in the next 50 years.

“Smart Growth Implications for Colorado’s Future,” presented by the Everitt Real Estate Center from the College of Business at CSU and the Fort Collins Board of Realtors discussed the future of northern Colorado communities and how they will cope with future influxes in populations.

“According to the state of Colorado, there will be an additional 520,000 people moving to Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties by 2030,” Steve Laposa, director of the Everitt Real Estate Center and professor of real estate, said.

“We’re asking a simple question: Where are they going to live? And can we put the incoming population somewhere in Northern Colorado that continues to save the environment and maintain our way of life?” Laposa asked conference attendees.

The intent of the conference was to attempt to answer these questions by informing local companies and CSU students about future problems for the real estate business in northern Colorado as well as possible solutions.

John Daggett, executive director of Embrace Colorado, presented his company’s ideas on what issues faced Northern Colorado’s development.

One such issue included competing perspectives from local communities involved in the development of Northern Colorado.

“We all bring something different to the table with our own perspectives,” Daggett said. “But we tend to get to such great extremes in our perspectives that we can’t hear others talk.”

This idea of differing viewpoints continued throughout the following panel, as prominent local government officials and developers sat to discuss their response to regional issues.

“There is a general effort to be frank about the issues,” said Don Williams, city manager of Loveland. “But it usually only takes the discussion as far as putting the issues on the table.

“We’re so entrenched in local perspectives. We all need to move beyond that way of thinking.”

Cameron Gloss, senior community planner with the Fort Collins office of EDAW, said he felt that to find solutions to development problems like population increases, real estate companies need to learn from different communities and their solutions.

“We can use a grass roots approach, using county governments to solve regional collaboration problems,” he said. “Thanks to technology, we have the tools to see the public comments.”

Bill Schuster, clinical professor in the Management Department at CSU, echoed sentiments of community awareness and involvement.

“There’s a lot of opportunity, horsepower and motivation,” he said. “Before we can have a vision, we need to have a shared purpose.”

“We can’t keep looking at business as it was yesterday. We need to look at how it will work tomorrow,” he added.

Marcus Griffin, senior real estate major, said another important piece of planning and development for the future of Northern Colorado is university involvement.

CSU’s business college has been working to educate students about the issues, and according to Griffin, the conference served well in informing the students and community.

“We’re going to be industry-ready students. Understanding the problems and having the knowledge to fix them will help us to be industry-ready.”

“This has been a great opportunity to learn about the issues and the industry,” Katie Ballow, senior real estate major, said. “This will all affect our future, too.”

Staff writer Alexandra Sieh can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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