Andrea Mullins of Irgens Shares Career Advice with Women in Real Estate (WIRE) Club
On April 6th, the UW-Madison Women in Real Estate (WIRE) Club welcomed Andrea Mullins, Development Director at Irgens to speak with the students about her career and current projects. Irgens is a developer based in Milwaukee that develops primarily office, along with other asset classes, in Southeast Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arizona. Andrea is a UW-Madison alum, who earned her BBA in Finance and Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business.
Andrea began her presentation by discussing the significance of her first position on the Prudential Lending Team in Chicago. She emphasized the value of understanding the real estate industry from the perspective of loan origination, and how that has helped her understand how to secure debt as a developer. When the great recession hit, Andrea decided to switch gears as lending was significantly hindered. She then joined Corvus Group to advise the FDIC on their troubled real estate assets from failed banks.
After working at Corvus Group, Andrea joined DBRS as the VP of Securitized Loan Pools. She analyzed a broad variety of real estate assets backing pools and gained a wide basis of knowledge from rating such diverse assets. She noted that working at a ratings agency is a unique opportunity to gain insight into multiple markets.
At her current role as a Development Director at Irgens, Andrea is able to utilize her background in lending, advising, and ratings to successfully navigate development projects from inception to completion. Her role includes capital allocation, construction budgeting, entitlements, and all other processes that development encompasses.
During a Q&A break, a student asked Andrea about essential skills for those interested in a development career. Reflecting on her personal experience, Andrea reiterated the importance of gaining knowledge from different perspectives. She also noted that an outgoing personality will aid any development professional in working with the multitude of players involved in a project including investors, creditors, local governments and more.
After the Q&A, Andrea discussed Irgens’ new development in Wauwatosa, WI. On April 2nd, Irgens announced the development of Phase I at the UWM Innovation campus site: two office buildings totaling 250,000 square feet and a parking deck with a 40,000 square foot green roof. Phase II will add two additional office buildings to the site. The project boasts ample parking that will be publicly available during non-business hours, architecture sensitive to the adjacent butterfly protection area, and LEED certified buildings. Andrea also mentioned notable community benefits such as increased annual tax revenue for Wauwatosa of nearly $2 million, as well as high quality construction and office jobs.
The announcement of this office development sparked a question from a student. “How is Irgens differentiating their office assets during COVID-19, when many are working from home?” Andrea explained Irgens’ perspective that while working from home will continue to be an option for many working professionals, the increased demand for more square feet per employee will likely offset this trend to some degree.
Thank you to Andrea Mullins for providing such valuable insight and advice to WIRE!