Organization: Virginia Commonwealth University

Location: Richmond, VA

Express Interest

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA is seeking an entrepreneurial real estate professional with strategic foresight, collaboration, optimism, and intelligence as his/her defining qualities to be its first ever Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Capital Assets and Real Estate. The AVP will provide strategic leadership to VCU and VCU Health vis à vis academic, research, commercial, retail, residential, and mixed-use real estate projects. The AVP will lead the Real Estate Services department and will report to the Vice President of Administration.

Virginia Commonwealth University:

The University takes its founding date of 1838 from the year the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) was created as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College. MCV became independent in 1854 and state-affiliated in 1860. The VCU Medical Center was recognized as the top hospital in the Richmond metro area for 2016-2017, and is a comprehensive academic medical center with Schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus began in 1917 as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health. In 1925, it became the Richmond division of the College of William and Mary; and in 1939 its name was changed to the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI). It separated from William and Mary in 1962 to become an independent state institution.

In 1968, Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr. signed Virginia Commonwealth University into existence, based on recommendations set forth in a 1967 report developed by a legislative commission. Since MCV and RPI merged to become VCU in 1968 it has grown to be the most comprehensive urban university in Virginia. VCU’s Richmond campuses provide a unique setting, blending the old and the new and encompassing a mix of state-of-the-art facilities with Victorian mansions along tree-lined streets. In addition to the Richmond campuses, VCU has a center of excellence for education and research in art and design in Doha, Qatar. The Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, located between Richmond and Williamsburg, is VCU’s field station devoted to a broad array of environmental research, teaching, and public service.

VCU offers over 220 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities, including programs in sculpture and nurse anesthesia that are the top ranked programs in US News and World Report. Additionally, 52 of VCU’s programs are unique among four-year institutions in Virginia. One of the key attractions to VCU is the diverse and vibrant undergraduate population, 32% of whom will be first generation college graduates. VCU is proud to educate more Virginians than any other Virginia university and its current enrollment is over 31,200 students.

VCU has over 2,200 full-time faculty members, over 900 adjunct faculty, and over 22,000 employees at VCU and VCU Health. The faculty at VCU are active scholars, and generated over $270 million in sponsored research in FY 2016.

Historically, VCU has been a strong partner to – and economic anchor for – Richmond and the surrounding area. Combined, VCU and the VCU Health System constitute the largest employer in the Richmond metropolitan area and the 6th largest employer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additionally, VCU’s investment in the Broad Street corridor has catalyzed private developers to revitalize this neighborhood located between the two campuses.

The VCU and VCU Health total budget for its educational enterprise in FY 2016 was $3.6 billion. VCU, VCU Health, and its affiliated foundations had a combined endowment of $1.6 billion as of June 30, 2016. VCU continues to operate on two campuses in Richmond — The 99.8-acre Monroe Park Campus is located in Richmond’s Fan District and the 57.8-acre MCV Campus is adjacent to the State Capitol. VCU occupies 245 buildings, 41 of the buildings the University owns were built before 1900 and 56 are designated as historic or lie within a historic district.

Richmond, VA and the Richmond Region:

Richmond is the state capital of Virginia and is home to just over 205,000 people. The greater Richmond region has a population of 1.2 million. The median home value is $204,500. The Richmond region is centrally located along the East Coast and within a day’s drive of more than half of the United States population. The region, located in the low, rolling hills of the Piedmont region of Virginia, lies between the low level Tidewater region and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The city of Richmond is at the highest navigable point of the tidewaters of the James River, the Falls, which is renowned as one of the best in the country for urban white-water rafting/canoeing/kayaking. Seven rivers flow through the region including the James, Appomattox, Chickahominy, South Anna, North Anna, Pamunkey, and Little. Travel + Leisure magazine recently named the Richmond region as one of five top wine regions to visit.

The nationally and internationally renowned Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Richmond Ballet, Center Stage, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s number one ranked School of Fine Arts anchor a vibrant and diverse community of professional and avocational artists. Sports enthusiasts enjoy baseball, ice hockey, and soccer professional sports affiliate leagues. The VCU men’s basketball team is a top-ranked Atlantic-10 conference and NCAA power. Richmond has NASCAR, dozens of golf courses, and world-class regional amusement parks (Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg).

For those passionate about the great outdoors, the region offers year-round runs, walks, bike rides, canoeing, river regattas, white water rafting and ice-skating. Foodies find Richmond area restaurants irresistible, and festival lovers have many from which to choose throughout the year. Richmond boasts over 20 craft breweries and several have received national acclaim including Veil Brewing Company and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. Residents say that traffic is nearly nonexistent in Richmond and that the city and the surrounding region support a variety of lifestyles; urban, suburban, and rural.

It goes without saying that history and heritage enthusiasts have plenty to explore in the many historic neighborhoods, museums, monuments and significant Revolutionary and Civil War era sites throughout the region. As one of the nation’s oldest cities, the region’s rich history extends long before the English arrived. A large Native American civilization thrived here and left an indelible imprint of their culture that endures today. Richmond is home to St. John’s Church where Patrick Henry gave his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech in 1775, The American Civil War Center at Tredegar Iron Works, The Museum of the Confederacy, and the Valentine Richmond History Center.

The Opportunity:

The Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Capital Assets and Real Estate is responsible for developing the overall real estate strategy for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the VCU Health System, and its affiliated Foundations for the acquisition and disposition of buildings and lands for VCU under the guidance of the Vice President for Administration and of the University’s Facilities Executive Sponsors. The AVP in concert with senior management in the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Budget develops and manages partnerships and/or joint ventures between the University, its affiliated Foundations, and outside developers in relation to academic, research, commercial, retail, residential or mixed-use real estate projects that support the University’s strategic goals. Teaming with the University Treasurer, University Counsel, and others, the AVP leads the University’s team in the negotiation of the terms and conditions of a variety of real estate development projects. The AVP is also responsible for overseeing these projects through completion, performing financial analysis and financial due diligence on prospective projects, assisting with project planning and zoning approvals with local governmental entities, assuring that assigned projects satisfy the University’s financial and operational objectives, and coordinating project implementation with various University offices and community stakeholders. This positon reports directly to the Vice President for Administration. The current portfolio for which the AVP will be directly responsible oversees about 1.025M square feet in leased facilities – this is in addition to a variety of parking facilities and residential leaseholds serving the Qatar campus faculty and staff. The VCU Real Estate Foundation manages leases that comprise about 464,000 SF, of that about 26,000 SF is retail space (includes one retail space owned by VCU – Subway).  Total revenue derived from the Foundation portfolio and the Subway lease is almost $8M annually.  The VCU Health System manages an additional $4.5M worth of leases and the AVP will serve as a trusted advisor and assistant to VCUHS in this realm.

The AVP will:

  • Conceptualize, create, and plan potential development or re-development of academic, healthcare, research, commercial, retail, residential, or mixed use projects involving current or potential University, Health System, or affiliated entity owned properties. He/she will serve as an advisor and resource for VCU Health System;
  • Develop project pro-forma budgets. Analyze the financial soundness of potential acquisitions or development projects for review and potential approval;
  • Consult with University leaders to negotiate and foster leases, partnerships, and joint ventures with real estate developers to help facilitate real estate development projects that advance strategic University goals and initiatives. He/she will build strong collaborative partnerships throughout the city, region, and state;
  • Provide strategic partnership vis à vis the VCU and VCU Health System’s master planning efforts – planning, executing, and assisting with the acquisition and development of projects in concert with the plans;
  • Serve as asset manager and owner’s representative for select University, Health System and/or related entity owned properties, which may include academic, healthcare, research, office, retail, hospitality, student housing or other strategic land holdings. Directly oversee asset management functions for each property and manage relationships with the selected operating companies where applicable. On an annual basis, he/she will develop (or coordinate with operating company) each property’s budget, capital expenditures, distributions, and expansion/renovation plans. He/she will manage and grow relationships with key University stakeholders, building occupants, community, lenders, etc.;
  • Coordinate the acquisition of applicable planning and zoning approvals related to real estate development projects and operationalize and manage these projects through completion;
  • Present real estate strategy, negotiations, approvals to the VCU Board of Visitors and the VCUHS Board of Directors on an ongoing basis;
  • Ensure integration of the University’s capital plans with the VCU Real Estate Foundation and other Foundations that support University real estate development joint ventures and partnerships;
  • Serve as an officer with the VCU Real Estate Foundation; and
  • Provide oversight and supervision of a team of real estate professionals. This includes establishing strategic performance goals and objectives, monitoring progress toward goal achievement, providing mentoring and counsel to team members, and managing individual and unit-level performance.

Qualifications:

The ideal candidate will have at least ten years of increasingly responsible senior level experience in structuring the development of large, mixed-use real estate developments; negotiating and financing complex real estate transactions, including ground and space leases, public-private partnership transactions, and other complex/creative financing structures; or experience overseeing large commercial real estate operations. He/she must have proven experience in designing and implementing a strategic real estate plan with particular attention paid to financial and legal risks. The successful candidate must possess outstanding leadership skills and demonstrated results in team building, collaboration, communication, customer service, and project management. The AVP should possess a keen understanding of project guidelines and be able to anticipate and plan for challenges and opportunities. He/she should have experience in project conceptualization and development, negotiation, working collaboratively with counsel, financial analysis of project cash flows, and knowledge of local government planning and zoning issues is essential.

A Bachelor’s degree is required, with significant and long-standing experience in commercial or institutional real estate or a similar field. An advanced degree is strongly preferred. Experience in higher education, foundations, or a similarly complex setting is preferred. Experience in an urban setting is preferred. The selected candidate must demonstrate a genuine interest in and appreciation for a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Background checks will be performed on all final candidates. Applications, expressions of interest, and nominations should be sent to:

Liz Neumann and Tom Phillips
Koya Leadership Partners
(As of June 1, Neumann Executive Search Partners is now part of Koya Leadership Partners’ higher ed practice.)

vcu_realestate@neumannsearch.com.

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing access to education and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.