A merger between academic real estate centers at the University of Washington and Washington State University will broaden the reach of the Runstad Center in Seattle, say people connected to the agreement.
Glenn Crellin, 61, who directed the WSU center, has become associate director of research for the Runstad Center, which is part of the UW College of Built Environments. He brings years of experience in residential real estate to Runstad, which has heavily focused on commercial real estate.
Crellin also hopes to leverage academic research, offering it in white papers, a newsletterand other formats more accessible to real estate professionals.
“We want to make sure that industry can take advantage of the work we do,” Crellin said.
“This merger elevates the role of research at Runstad,” said George Rolfe, who directs the Runstad Center. “Glenn also has a broad reputation, and there has never been a more important time for the Center to understand the economics of residential real estate. This merger makes us more relevant in the largest real estate market in the Pacific Northwest.”
Crellin, who holds a masters degree in economics from the University of Maryland, became interested in residential real estate in the early 1970s, when asked to forecast housing starts for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Later, at Arthur Young & Company, Crellin advised government clients on economic impact statements, then spent16 years as a research economist for the National Association of Realtors.
He liked research on the home market. “Residential housing touches everybody, whether they live in apartment or a single-family home,” Crellin said.
Runstad board members are pleased about the blended centers. “This merger will give the Runstad Center a well-rounded research platform,” said Larry Remmers, board chairman, who is also senior vice president and manager of commercial real estate for Wells Fargo Bank in Portland, Ore.
“With changes in the economy and in academics, as well as the rise and energy of the Runstad Center, the merger makes sense. The synergies between residential and commercial studies could mean that two and two equals five,” said Seattle commercial real estate attorney Anne Lawler, who was chairwoman of the Washington Center board of trustees and now serves on the Runstad board.
The WSU centers website, as well as its research, will be available until transition to the Runstad Center is complete.
The Runstad Center supports the master of science in real estate degree offered by the Department of Urban Design and Planning. It is a two-year program that includes courses in finance, investment, development and sustainability.