Tag Archives: Jim Belfiore


Valley Partnership reveals reality of residential real estate

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, April 17. The month’s program will feature an update on the Valley’s residential real estate market in 2014.

Panelists will discuss whether 2015 will be more of the same or if the industry will finally see the uptick many believe is around the corner.

The panel will feature residential analysts Mike Orr, Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory & Practice at Arizona State University, and Jim Belfiore, President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting.

The panel will also feature Greg Abrams, Vice President of Land for Taylor Morrison’s Phoenix Division, and Tom Lemon, Vice President of Land Acquisitions and Development for Maracay Homes.

The strong return of single-family home development is essential to the Valley’s full economic recovery,” said Cheryl Lombard, CEO and President of Valley Partnership. “We keep hearing that full recovery is ‘right around the corner’ and first quarter numbers have been promising. This group of experts will unpack that data and give our partners an in-depth look at what they can expect this year and in coming years.”

In addition to the panel, this month’s Mayor’s Minute will feature Cathy Carlat of the City of Peoria. Mayor Carlat will speak on economic development policies, current projects in her community, as well as future opportunities for the commercial real estate and development community.

Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, please visit www.valleypartnership.org and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

Jim Belfiore still gets goosebumps when he describes ULI Arizona's UrbanPlan to his peers.

ULI brings urban planning to Phoenix high schoolers

Jim Belfiore, CEO and President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, has spent nearly a decade volunteering to help high school students enrolled in economics classes understand the nuances of urban planning and development. In schools where UrbanPlan has been offered, enrollment in the class has “skyrocketed,” he says.

Of ULI’s 52 district councils, 15 have UrbanPlan programs. With the exception of a few councils with higher education partnerships, UrbanPlan is exclusively offered in high school curricula. Schools that offer the UrbanPlan program in their economics classes are Desert Vista and, most recently, Brophy Prep.

To put the impact into perspective, Desert Vista High School instructor Shannon Corcoran teaches the UrbanPlan curriculum to 250 students every semester. During the program, students work with classmates to create a redevelopment plan in response to an RFP and receive live feedback from a mock city council comprised of industry experts, such as Brett Heron, executive vice president of finance at RED Development. Heron is a seven-year volunteer.

“Growing up, none of my friends or family were in real estate, so I didn’t have much exposure to it,” he says. “I became interested when I took a class in college.”

He says a program like UrbanPlan would have given him a better idea of different real estate disciplines and may have allowed him to focus more deeply on those areas during college.

“We continually receive feedback from the hundreds of Arizona students who have taken the program,” says Belfiore. “UrbanPlan changes their perception of the community they live in, increases their confidence, gets them involved in real estate and their communities, and many have told us the program was ‘the’ single-most valuable experience they have had in their years within the educational system.” ULI selects schools that have reputations for being high performing, says Jeff Mongan, senior vice president of The Athens Group, who has been with the program since it started and currently chairs the UrbanPlan Committee.

“This interaction provides the future leaders of our community an opportunity to gain a better understanding that high quality sustainable economic development and the built environment don’t happen by accident,” says Mongan. “Instead, it requires a team working together, collaborating with the local community to achieve a win-win result and enhance the community they live in.”

Last year, Mongan received a letter from a college graduate who had participated in UrbanPlan six years earlier.

“He mentioned that participating in UrbanPlan … had a transformational effect on his thinking about his future and that it was foundational in terms of preparing him for the challenges of college and his ultimate career choice. That was special,” he says.

Shannon Corcoran, an economics instructor at Desert Vista High School, gets to hear about the program’s effect first-hand. She has seen students take what they learn in her class to careers in economics, marketing and business. Some have gone on to become city planners, involved in real estate, sales and design, she adds.

“I always tell my students UrbanPlan is the best practice for an interview they will ever have,” she says, adding, “Whether or not they end up in the field as a land use professional, they still have a greater understanding and willingness to participate in decisions within their own communities that impact land use decisions around them.”

Like Belfiore, Corcoran also gets goosebumps talking about UrbanPlan.

“One [moment] in particular was when I had a student who had no real plan for the future say to me … I love this and I want to do this for my job,” she says. “That student is now at ASU getting a master’s in real estate development.”

Executive Q&A: Jim Belfiore

Jim BelfioreJim Belfiore
President, Belfiore Real Estate Consulting

Years in CRE: 21
Years at Belfiore: 8

What first attracted you to commercial real estate?
The diversity in real estate attracted me to the business. No two properties are the same; every project differs because locations differ, the characteristics of structures often differ, and amenities, whether natural or man-made, differ, too. These differences keep the work fresh and fun.

How has the industry changed since you started?  
Finance is really different today than it was 20 years ago. If you look deep into how projects take form, in the beginning they are heavily influenced by finance because without financing they are never built. The biggest single influence over growth in the housing market over the next three years will be driven by changes in the finance industry.

What are three qualities of a great executive?  
To me, a “great” executive is a great leader. To be a great leader, you must show you are willing to make the tough decisions when they come up. Leaders are charged with determining the direction of the company, creating a productive and healthy company culture and recognizing when a need to change course arises. Great executives are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in at every level; they must demonstrate a constant willingness to pitch in to make the company successful, and this means getting their hands dirty. Finally, I believe great leaders know their business better than anyone. They study their competitors, are in touch with their clients and are always looking for the next opportunity. They are working on the next “big thing” because they are always a student of the business.

Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
I’m proud that I have built this company, Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, through one of the most difficult recessions this country has ever faced. Of course, I’m fortunate to have had my family, great friends, absolutely phenomenal employees and a core of close clients that helped me do it.

What’s one of the biggest market changes or areas of growth you predict happening in Phoenix’s near future?
I believe people are going to be thoroughly surprised at how fast the residential market grows in the next few years. More than 40,000 new jobs are being created in Phoenix annually, driving population gains of 100,000+ each year. These people will need places to live. Last year, homebuilders constructed 12,500 homes; over the course of the next five years, I think the residential market is going to go from 12,500 new homes annually to more than 30,000. This growth is going to create a wonderful opportunity for those in real estate.

What’s the most influential professional advice you’ve received?
Hard work can get you through anything. My mother worked her way out of every bind she had while I was growing up; she has been the single-greatest influence on my life, fighting through every challenge (there were many!) that came her way.  While in high school, the hard work theme was further kneaded into my fabric by some close family friends I worked with. These friends, the Taylors, owned an RV park, small motel and restaurant that catered to summertime tourists. Laying concrete, replacing roofs, painting hotel rooms and waiting tables, I learned that hard work and “doing it right the first time” was the clear path to success.


Leadership spotlight: Jim Belfiore

Jim Belfiore
Belfiore Real Estate Consulting

Belfiore has 15 years experience in real estate research and analysis. During the last eight years, he and his team have helped Arizona developers, homebuilders, lenders, investors, and brokers understand buyers, macro and micro-level supply and demand conditions, and potential outcomes of community development and building strategies.

Biggest challenge: “The downturn. My business was started as the real estate downturn took hold of the Arizona housing market.  Hard work, innovation, and the support of family and friends allowed the company to emerge from the downturn as a leading AZ research firm.”

Best advice to offer: “An honest assessment is often one of the most difficult but necessary evaluations to move beyond challenges. Whether evaluating yourself or a property you’ve fallen in love with and don’t want to give up on, a thorough and honest assessment will help you find the path to success.”

Surprising fact: “A buddy and I consider ourselves the foremost Arizona authorities on Fourth of July pig-roasting. I think those that visit our party every year would agree — our pig rules.”


ULI's UrbanPlan Program Teaches High School Students Importance of Community Building

Leaders from RED Development and ULI Arizona hosted nearly 25 Desert Vista High School students for an afternoon of hands-on learning with the Valley’s real estate best.

The students represented the winning teams of ULI Arizona’s UrbanPlan program, a realistic, engaging, and academically demanding classroom-based curriculum in which students learn about the fundamental forces that affect land use and real estate development.

“These students are tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, leaders, colleagues and public officials,” said Jim Belfiore, UrbanPlan Chair and president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting. “Urban Plan teaches the critical tools they need to understand the importance of community building.”

As a part of the curriculum, the students explored the thriving urban community of CityScape and its development path. The project case study allowed students to experience the challenging issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics that arise in real estate development.

“The tour of CityScape provided students the opportunity to hear details of the process through the perspective of the very people who planned and constructed CityScape,” said Brett Heron, Vice President of Finance for RED Development. “One-on-one time with the city’s experts in development gives them the hands-on experience that will benefit them far into the future.”

UrbanPlan is developed for high school juniors and seniors in economics and government classes.  Student development teams respond to an RFP to redevelop a 5 1/2-block site from a mythical city.

Since its inception, ULI’s UrbanPlan program has reached more than 20,000 high schools and universities across the country since 2003 and in October of 2010, The George Lucas Educational Foundation selected UrbanPlan as one of only 20 programs in the U.S. for grades K-12 in its “What Works in Education Series.”

RED Development, a commercial real estate company and the developer of CityScape,  hosted the event for the winners and was the primary UrbanPlan program sponsor this year.