The inaugural class at Concordia University’s Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate begins its studies in interesting times. The new base for teaching and research on commercial and residential real estate comes in tandem with the opportunity for students pursuing a degree through the John Molson School of Business to earn a minor in real estate.
“The Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate is going to add great momentum for Concordia because of its uniqueness and because of its relevance,” asserts Concordia president Graham Carr.
Already, the centre’s name and leading patron stand out in the Canadian real estate industry. Jonathan Wener, founder and chairman of Montreal-headquartered Canderel Inc., a developer, owner, manager and multi-faceted real estate services provider, bestowed $10 million in seed funding via a donation to the university’s ongoing campaign to raise $250 million to advance programs in nine strategic directions for the future.
“Real estate is a very sophisticated industry, requiring an awful lot of talent and knowledge from the people who enter the workforce,” notes Wener, who is also Concordia’s chancellor and an alumnus. “My hope is that our centre will provide the education and backing that our students need in a very demanding world.”
Faculty brings wide-ranging experience and research interests to that task. The Centre’s director, Michel Deslauriers, spent much of his career in real estate related finance before joining the John Molson School of Business last year, and continues to act as a strategic advisor to several real estate developers.
He and his colleagues are preparing to steer students toward an evolving industry, now called on to respond to demographic trends, technological advancements and environmental and health imperatives. For example, assistant professor Chongyu Wang recently co-authored a paper examining COVID-19’s impact on commercial real estate prices.
“There has never been a greater need for industry leaders, teachers and innovators to work together,” Deslauriers maintains. “The Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate is going to allow our students to enter the industry with a great deal of the knowledge they need to start adding value to their profession right away.”