About this Episode – The Birth of a Building with Ben Stevens

Welcome to the A.CRE Audio Series! On this episode, I am here once again with the creators of the Adventures in CRE website, Spencer Burton and Michael Belasco. Today we have a special guest Ben Stevens.

Today we are actually continuing a previous conversation. We are picking up where we left off from the last episode with Ben. Towards the end of Ben’s time working on his MBA, he began writing a book called The Birth of a Building. He continued that effort following graduation and eventually published the book. It is now used as part of the curriculum of several top business programs in the U.S. to help teach real estate development. In this episode, Ben shares a lot of great perspective and talks more in depth about his book.

Show Notes – S2E6: The Birth of a Building with Ben Stevens

  • The Real Estate Game [1:54]
    • This is written by a professor at Harvard.
    • This book simplified complex real estate concepts so someone new could grasp those concepts. Its around the investment in real estate.
  • Ben’s genesis for writing a book [3:28]
    • When he got into development, he was coming from a different career.
    • What he really wanted to do was help stakeholders in a deal understand the other stakeholders in a deal.
  • Walking through the book in 90 seconds [7:18]
    • He starts the book with his son’s birth as a metaphor and the birds and bees and why people birth a building. It’s basically in a developer’s head.
    • Part two is pregnancy and delivery. Now you must get into doing a specific model or the asset c lass you want to do. You must get a design, form legal entities, financing, etc.
  • What Ben learned while writing the book [10:38]
    • The importance of understanding the workflow.
    • Get the perspective from other people’s eyes.
  • Learning from a new perspective [13:49]
    • Is there a thread we agree on but diverge in different ways?
    • The feelings that great spaces develop are so valuable people will pay great value for them.
    • The balance between the objective and subjective.
    • People buy based on emotions and justify with logic.
    • When you see things from your perspective, you have a duality.
  • Understanding the value of everyone’s contribution [17:18]
    • Make the result better than it would have been.
    • Replace frustration with fascination.
  • A particularly impactful story from Ben’s book [20:18]

Resources from this Episode