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Faculty Insights

WSB’s Mark Eppli and Alumna Jill Hatton Discuss COVID-19 and the Future of Real Estate

UW Now Livestream Series for Alumni Examines Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Wisconsin School of Business

July 2, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is a “black swan event,” a rare occurrence that we did not expect, says Mark Eppli (BBA ’83, MS ’84, PhD ’91), director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate and a faculty associate in real estate and urban land economics at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Given the uncertainty, “economic growth will be the inverse of the coronavirus infection rates, and therefore, we’re somewhat at a loss as economists to guess the direction of things,” Eppli says.

But one thing he will predict even in the current upheaval is that America’s urban areas will prevail as centers of innovation and vitality.

“Cities are places where talent and firms cluster and they learn from each other, and I think that will continue,” he says, citing Amazon’s HQ2 search as an example.

Eppli shared these and other perspectives during the virtual series, “The UW Now Livestream: The Future of Real Estate.”

He was joined by real estate industry leader and WSB alumna Jill Hatton (BBA ’81, MS ’82), who shared her insights on the pandemic’s impact. An expert in the real estate investment advisory business with more than 35 years of experience, Hatton is an active proponent of women in the real estate industry and is a recipient of UW–Madison’s Distinguished Real Estate Alumni Award.

The event was particularly notable for alumni, as both Eppli and Hatton were students of legendary real estate professor and pioneer, James A. Graaskamp. Graaskamp founded the University of Wisconsin Center for Real Estate in 1971. It was later renamed in his honor, becoming the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate in 2007.

The live YouTube event was hosted by Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) and former WSB dean. Read the WFAA recap and watch the full video: