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Fall 2016 Coffee with an Advancement Board Director

September 27, 2016

The Fall 2016 Coffee with an Advancement Board Director featured Russ Davis, founder and president of Davis Property Group and Urban Homes, LLC. Russ, current vice-chair of the Advancement Board, was accompanied by Lisa Lanni of McMillan, Pazdan, Smith Architects. Both guest lecturers discussed their professional careers and lessons learned with the MRED students. Davis transitioned from a large corporate entity (Trammell Crow Residential) to become a highly respected developer who has partnered with development icons such as Ron Terwilliger and Henry Faison. Lanni joined a small architectural firm (Pazdan Smith) after graduation from Clemson University to become a principal of McMillan, Pazdan, Smith that has grown into a 300-employee firm with multiple offices. Davis and Lanni also had an open discussion of their mixed-use and multi-family projects. Davis and Lanni first worked together on McBee Station, a highly successful, mixed-use development in downtown Greenville, SC. Davis assembled a unique site that included the acquisition of a subsidized housing project that required the successful relocation of residents and overcoming a difficult site with topographic challenges. Davis’ interaction with the neighborhood residents and Greenville’s city planning and community development officials was a lengthy and difficult process. His explanation of the relocation process and the benefits of having a good private-public partnership was a meaningful lesson for the students. Lanni’s discussion of the design challenges and working with a developer to achieve a cost-effective but well-conceived plan was insightful. Their collaboration has continued with other projects in Greenville and throughout the Carolinas. Davis and Lanni also discussed current development and architectural trends. At the conclusion of the session, they offered advice and suggestions to the students covering a wide range of professional and personal perspectives.

 

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