Phillips_250The 2015 ULI Fall Meeting, set for October 5–8 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, is shaping up to be one of the most successful convenings in the organization’s history. As we finalize preparations for ULI’s marquee gathering, I am pleased to tell you that this year’s event is already breaking Institute records in terms of support from sponsors (it has generated more than $3.3 million in sponsorships), and it is also tracking very well for attendance (more than 4,300 members and guests have registered so far).

Perhaps more than any other ULI event, the Fall Meeting represents the best of the Institute. There is truly no better gathering for networking with and learning from so many peers, all of whom share a passion for building communities that improve people’s lives. It is an event that reflects the guidance of many members whose premeeting involvement and input help ensure a successful, meaningful event for all attendees. A tremendous thank you goes out to the 2015 Fall Meeting leadership: Steering Committee cochairs George Marcus, chairman of Marcus & Millichap Company; Michael Covarrubias, chairman and chief executive officer of TMG Partners; and Hamid Moghadam, chairman and chief executive officer of Prologis; as well as Meeting Strategy Committee chairman Mary Ludgin, director of global investment research for Heitman; Host Committee cochairs Michael Jameson, managing director for Prudential Mortgage Capital, and Amy Neches, partner at TMG Partners; and Sponsorship Committee chairman Constance Moore, a board member for BRIDGE Housing, TRI Pointe Group, and Civeo.

With rapid changes in technology affecting every sector of the real estate industry, it is particularly fitting that the 2015 Fall Meeting is being held in the technology capital of the world. The mobile workshops set for Monday, October 5, include the headquarters of world-changing tech companies Facebook, Google, and Twitter, plus the breakthrough lodging alternative Airbnb; not surprisingly, these tours sold out very quickly. Also sold out are tours of creative multifamily properties in the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood, and the massive Mission Bay infill development. Tickets are still available (but selling briskly) for the rest of the tours, including visits to Oakland, Walnut Creek, the Port of San Francisco waterfront, the Transbay District and Hayes Valley neighborhoods, and Market Street, where historic buildings have been converted into high-tech space.

The developments showcased on these tours affirm the San Francisco region as a perennial favorite for real estate investment and development. They exemplify “building for change,” a theme we explored at ULI’s Mid-Winter Meeting and Spring Meeting, and which we will continue to discuss in San Francisco. This year, we will be following the same schedule we introduced at the 2014 Fall Meeting in New York City, with an agenda that reflects greater sensitivity to your time constraints and allows for more flexibility to take advantage of the programming and events that matter most to you. Following the mobile tours on October 5, the first full day of programming will be Tuesday, October 6, and real estate sessions run through the day on Thursday, October 8.

Based on the positive feedback we received regarding changes to the format, we again will devote each day of the Fall Meeting to a specific area of focus. Tuesday’s program will be focused on leadership in times of great change; the day will start with Airbnb cofounder and chief executive officer Brian Chesky speaking on disruptive technology and the sharing economy, and it will end with California Governor Jerry Brown offering insights on leadership in an era of fiscal constraint.

Wednesday will combine Council Day with the ever-popular ULI Stan Ross Real Estate Trends Conference, which will be kicked off with an early-morning discussion of the U.S. edition of Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2016, copublished by ULI and PwC. Other Wednesday highlights include “Regionalism in a Global Economy,” featuring San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Related California chairman and chief executive officer William Witte offering perspectives on thinking regionally in a globalized economy, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice taking a look at global political, economic, and social issues that are affecting our industry.

Thursday’s sessions will focus on deal negotiations, including a perennial Fall Meeting favorite, “Shark Tank,” where actual development proposals get a quick thumbs up—or down. John Stumpf, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, and Hamid Moghadam will add to the day’s discussions with thoughts on capital availability.

As always, we will be offering several opportunities for you to connect with friends and colleagues throughout the week, including a ULI Foundation fundraising gala at San Francisco’s City Hall honoring George Marcus (net proceeds will support UrbanPlan, our popular design and development course for high school and college students) and an all-attendee cocktail reception at the city’s beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens. Throughout each day, you will have plenty of time for informal face-to-face networking at ULI Central, our lively gathering place outside the main hall housing the general sessions. You will be able to connect virtually with members through the ULI Events app; you can accrue points by interacting through the app and might win a prize if you are among the top ten contributors each day of the meeting. In addition, you can add to the meeting dialogue by using the hashtag #ULIFall when posting from your Twitter account.

Our 2015 Fall Meeting promises to raise the bar in terms of member engagement, dynamic speakers, and valuable takeaways, with San Francisco’s iconic cityscape as the backdrop. We are continuing to add details on speakers and content at If you have not yet registered, I encourage you to sign up now, and I look forward to seeing you in the City by the Bay!