Biz School Dean: Memphis Is A Real Estate City

By Eric Smith

Rajiv Grover said his message to the Memphis Metropolitan chapter of CCIM at Tuesday’s monthly luncheon won’t reveal anything real estate professionals don’t already know about their business.

“This city is a real estate city,” said Grover, dean of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis. “A lot of people made wealth over the years through real estate and banking.

“Earlier it was cotton and all those things that disappeared,” he said. “Corporations, there are a handful (people) know – FedEx, AutoZone, Smith & Nephew, Medtronic – but the actual wealth that has been created over the years has been through real estate and banking.”

CCIM Monthly Luncheon:

“Perspectives on the Development of Memphis”
Rajiv Grover, dean of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis
Tuesday, June 15, 11:45 a.m., U of M Holiday Inn
No charge for paid members; guest fee is $25.
Call 218-0782 for more information

Even the school where Grover works – the Fogelman College – is named for a prolific real estate family, whose patriarchs and offspring rank historically and presently among this city’s high-profile real estate investment and management executives.

Grover’s presentation is set for Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. at the U of M Holiday Inn, and his speech is presented by the local CCIM chapter.

CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. Commercial real estate practitioners who have earned that designation are among the most important investors, brokers and developers in the city, and Grover as much as anyone understands their role in the city’s economy.

“If the economy does well, these folks stand to gain the most, the developers of commercial real estate,” Grover said. “They should harness their energy and influence the political landscape so that these folks do the right things. That’s something we’ll need to talk about as to what are the right things to do to get businesses to locate over here rather than elsewhere.

Grover noted that both real estate and banking have “suffered tremendously” during this current economic downturn, which makes his speech next week especially timely.

“The only way commercial real estate will survive is if local companies grow or we get new companies in,” he said. “So what do we do to encourage this kind of growth? It’s either organic or enticing people to come here.”

Grover said his keynote is tentatively titled “perspectives on the development of Memphis” because Commercial Advisors president and CEO Larry Jensen told him to share his views on Memphis – and the city’s economy – and what business leaders can do to move the economy forward.

“What I’m going to do is paint a very simple picture of what an economy is, and then throw it open to the audience that if is how an economy grows, what do you think we are doing in Memphis that is right for the economy and what do you think we are doing that is not right for the economy,” Grover said.

“You as members of CCIM, what can you do to promote this? If the economy doesn’t grow, real estate doesn’t grow.”

The Memphis CCIM chapter has about 200 members.