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Launching in Winter 2019

The Sprott School of Business in partnership with the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism is excited to offer a new joint Certificate in Urban Real Estate Development.

The curriculum will address elements of policy, law, finance, marketing and design, structured in 3-day blocks throughout the calendar year for a total of 96 hours. Each block will comprise two distinct courses taught by leading practitioners and academics.

Who should take this certificate program?

  • Developers who are looking to deepen their understanding of development processes, manage risk, and improve their grasp of roles and responsibilities of the various players involved with land development.  
  • Architects and other design professionals wishing work more effectively with developer clients and/or to expand their expertise to include real estate development
  • Planners who engage with public/private development negotiations, and who are part of the decision-makers on how new development proposals affect their city.
  • Property owners who are looking to gain a better understanding of the benefits and risks of development and redevelopment
  • Investors interested real estate as a new category of asset, and wishing to engage third party developers
  • Professionals in service to the development industry, including legal counsel, accountants, bankers who want to broaden their understanding of their clients’ needs

What makes this program unique?

  • Partnership between Business and Architecture professional schools; financial acumen coupled with design thinking and creativity.
  • Keynote speakers & lead instructors are subject matter experts from major Canadian cities, including experienced professionals from both public and private sectors.
  • Mentorship opportunities are built into the learning process – from instructors, guest lecturers and fellow students, with time scheduled for informal networking.
  • Limited class size, affording opportunities for interaction and discussion.
  • Conveniently scheduled.  Packages into four compact modules of 3-days each.

Top 5 Reasons to Register:

  • Access to leading real estate and design experts and speakers from across Canada
  • Unique program exploring the complex interdependent relationships of all parties involved in the lifecycle of real estate development
  • Convenient class modules in a part-time format, receive your professional development hours
  • Great networking & sharing of experiences to reinforce your learning
  • Designed to advance your career growth opportunities


Tentative Schedule:


1st Block: February 19, 20, 21, 2019

City Building by Policy

The first course in the series explores the history and role of policy in regulating the built environment. Comparisons are made between highly regulated cities like Vancouver, and those like Houston where regulations don’t exist. How effective is the marketplace in determining what gets built and where?  What are the advantages, limitations, and unintended consequences of regulation? 

Planning and Zoning Dimensions

What are the processes through which development applications are made? How does zoning work? What’s involved with challenging and/or changing zoning? Considering that all cities are chartered by their provinces, what happens when local bylaws contradict provincial policies?


2nd Block: May 2019

Legal Dimensions in Real Estate Development

Following an overview of property ownership, the course will cover basics in Corporate Law, Contracts. Municipal Law & Remedies, Real Property Fundamentals and Real Estate Transactions.  The latter will include information on negotiating the deal (LOIs, due diligence, etc.), mortgage financing (collateral vs. conventional), construction loans, leasehold financing, dealing with tenants, etc.

Finance Fundamentals

This course will cover the basic understanding of both financial statements and project evaluation tools to allow for rational decisions on projects and to have intelligent discussions with financial people. An in-depth analysis and interpretation of Financial Statements including Income Statement (Revenue, Cost of Sales, Gross and net profit, capital and operating expenditures), Balance Sheet (assets, liabilities, equity, current and fixed assets, Short / Long term liabilities, Depreciation and retained earnings), Using Ratios to analyze and Interpret Statements (financial strength, viabilitiy, liquidity), Relating leverage levels to risk, Cashflow and working capital management, Breakeven analysis, Real Estate specific ratios / metrics (capitalization rates, ROI, Payback period, discounted cash flow)


3rd Block:  August 2019

Real Estate Finance

The course will cover best practices in investment analysis, financial projections, risk assessment for loans and partnerships, and basic information on how underwriters fund and administrate mortgages.

Marketing and Transactions

The course will cover analyses of various market strategies by building type, transaction fundamentals, and case studies involving unique transaction circumstances.


4th Block:  October 2019

City Building by Design

Returning to the theme of city building, this course explores development initiatives in a broader urban context. Topics include community consultation, infrastructure, public-private synergies, development fees, density bonussing and other mechanisms of financing improvements to the public realm. The course examines the role of design in achieving the “triple bottom line” of economic, environmental and social sustainability. As a bridge back to the February courses, “City Building by Design” reexamines the limitations and possibilities of policies and by-laws.

Capstone Project: The Pro Forma

A pro forma analysis is a unique tool in assessing the viability of real estate projects, a set of calculations that projects financial return of a proposed development. It describes the project costs in quantifiable terms like land acquisition, consultants, and cost of construction, and then estimates revenues that the project will generate. These calculations yield a net financial return that the developer can expect to achieve, and is the analysis that developers use to decide whether to move forward with a project. As a final part of this Certificate program, instructors will guide candidates in the writing of a pro forma for a hypothetical project.

More information

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