To open the 2023 ULI Spring Meeting in Toronto, members of the Institute’s global leadership team gathered for a fireside chat. ULI Global CEO Ron Pressman, global chair-elect Diane Hoskins, and outgoing global chair Peter Ballon, who also serves as the global head of real estate for CPP Investments, discussed the future of ULI and the broader industry over the next two years. Hoskins begins her two-year term as global chair starting in July 2023.
The co-CEO of global architecture and design firm Gensler, Hoskins said that growing up in Chicago—a city known for its architecture and placemaking—inspired her to get into the architecture industry. “I wanted to be part of creating places that shaped people’s lives,” she said.
“Eighteen years ago, the founder of Gensler asked me and Andy Cohen to lead the firm, which has grown to do more than $1.5 billion in revenue each year.
“This is a big tent,” said Hoskins, pointing out that ULI represents designers, financiers, and owners. “No other organization is equipped to do that.”
Pressman agreed. “That big tent is full of knowledge and content and expertise,” he said, then listed ULI’s three global mission priorities: the net-zero energy transition, increased access to attainable housing, and educating a diverse workforce.
Created in 2021, Ballon said the priorities were chosen where ULI can have an impact, leveraging where the Institute is strongest. “That was absolutely critical in choosing these priorities,” he said, particularly climate change and decarbonization. “From a capital markets perspective, this freight train is coming. There are enough players—whether it’s government, investors, or tenants—it will impact you whether you think the issue is imminent. Most of the large investors are paying attention to this and have the resources to tackle the issue.”
Climate change will also result in smaller players who will be left behind, Ballon said, adding that this is also where ULI can play a role, approaching decarbonization as a non-competitive issue where everyone will win.
“This is a massive time of transformation,” said Hoskins, who also pointed out that the under-35-year-old segment is the fastest growing among ULI’s membership, which bodes well for the future of the Institute and the industry. The challenge will be how to finance and design to transform oversupplied property types for the next 100 years.