Ep. 69 Richard Vogel
About Richard Vogel, Senior Vice President, Related Companies
Richard Vogel is a global real estate executive with a proven success record in establishing vision, defining strategy, and executing large and complex projects in both developed and emerging markets. Recognized globally for his disciplined approach to real estate investment, he is a comprehensive strategist with experience managing real estate development, investment and operations in the US, Asia and the Middle East.
Mr. Vogel joined Related in January, 2017 to lead the Grand Avenue Project, a 1 million square foot landmark mixed-use project located in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to joining Related, Mr. Vogel was President of Silverstein Asia, a subsidiary of Silverstein Properties out of New York City, Senior Vice President and General Manager with Ivanhoe Cambridge and Vice President with Hines.
Mr. Vogel received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and his Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and completed post graduate studies in economics and finance at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) where he has chaired various ULI committees.
Chris Rising (00:00:00):
Welcome to The Real Market with Chris Rising, the only podcast that brings the real estate conference panel to your headphones. You'll hear from superstars from every realm of commercial real estate, the biggest brokers, the most well known architects, the largest investors, and the most visionary developers. You'll learn what they do, how they do it and what drives their success. We'll discuss the latest trends across regional markets, capital flows, both national and global, and we'll explore technology's role in shaping all of it. We'll take a clear eyed look at where we've been, where we are now and what's to come. Real conversations, real experts, real insights. This is The Real Market.
Chris Rising (00:00:49):
Welcome to The Real Market with Chris Rising. I'm really pleased to have a long time friend, Rick Vogel, on the podcast. Rick has had quite a career and we haven't really had on the podcast as of late, a true real estate developer. We've had a lot of people within PropTech, and we've had a lot of people talking about business that are a part of real estate, but Rick is kind of a broken mold in the sense that we don't see many people who have this kind of experience around the globe building really big projects. So Rick, I'm really excited to have you on The Real Market. Thanks for being here.
Rick Vogel (00:01:23):
Great. And thank you, Chris, it's an honor to be here. I'm a big fan of what you do on your podcast and I'm just really happy to be on it with you now.
Chris Rising (00:01:31):
Well, it's exciting given that we're coming close to two years of COVID and we're an owner up on Bunker Hill here in downtown Los Angeles. You are building one of the most exciting projects in the city's history, connected with some really legendary people in the business. You are a senior vice president, Related Companies. Steve Ross obviously is a well known figure in our business, but you've partnered with Frank Gehry. And I just think this is an exciting project, it gets me back to the roots of what I grew up with, and I hope we can talk about what you're doing with The Grand and talk about how someone gets to the point in their career where they get to be the lead person on such a great project, so this will be exciting.
Rick Vogel (00:02:19):
Well, if I would tell you it took all 30 of my years before The Grand to get ready for this one, so you have a lot to look up.
Chris Rising (00:02:25):
Where in your career path did you write, I'm going to have to endure a global pandemic with a building that's going to come to market right during it.
Rick Vogel (00:02:33):
Yeah, exactly. But just as a little foreshadowing for that and maybe we can talk a bit about my time in China, but my wife and I were in China when SARS actually broke out and we saw people masked up in Hong Kong on our way back not even knowing what it was at the time, but the experience we had over there actually prepared us for this quite well. I think I was the first one going to the Walgreen to downtown LA pulling all the sanitary wipes off the shelves and the rubber gloves and the mass. You thought I was crazy, but I was really actually just ahead of the game.
Chris Rising (00:03:05):
Yeah. Well, I mean, it's an amazing story, this project The Grand, and I've been around it on the periphery, because there was a period of time when Eli Broad really was the driver of this public/private partnership that led to this. He then handed the reigns to my father, Nelson. And when they went through a process and Related was picked as the master developer and people will say, "Oh, that makes sense." But what people don't know or often recognize is this was all done pre-GFC, this was done right before the global financial crisis, so it was an economic jolt ago, not just during the pandemic.
Chris Rising (00:03:48):
Could you give a little history on what you do with Related, on Related, and Related's involvement with The Grand, and just a little bit of how you've got to where we are today, where you're about to open a brand new hotel and some amazing residential units and an unbelievable project, across from the most dynamic project probably in downtown LA until this one, which is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. So there's the floor. I tried to set the table for you there.
Rick Vogel (00:04:18):
Thank you. Perfect. Perfect set up. So let's just talk a little about the history and I'll fold in when I got involved. So this project was a vision of Eli Broad, the well known philanthropist and the namesake on the Broad Museum. He had this vision of creating Grand Avenue as one of the great streets, one of the great urban centers in the world. And he recognized the fact that every city needs to have its cultural center, and he identified Grand Avenue as being that. This is even before the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Related didn't come along until we started to respond to an RFP that was put together in 2004, again, under the guidance of Eli Broad. Eli realized there were three vacant blocks of land in downtown LA, right in the heart of the civic center and what we now call Grand Ave Arts or what we used to call Bunker Hill.
Rick Vogel (00:05:06):
They were left undeveloped and no one seemed to have interest, so he thought there might be a way to combine three government authorities, the city, the county, and the CRA, all of whom had some interest in either the land or the right to away, to put together one massive single project that could be developed by a private developer in concert with and in a partnership with those three agencies in a joint power authority. And that was really the nexus of the project. Related, just was among several developers competing for it. We had Frank Gehry as our architect and I think at that time, I wasn't here at the time, but I understand Frank's vision, the idea of how to bring Grand Avenue to life is what helped secure it for us. But that got us just started on the beginning of the process, which as we all know as developers, you have to go through about a three year process for environmental approvals and working with the city to put final documents together, so all this took place from 2004 to 2007.
Rick Vogel (00:06:00):
Related spent about $75 million putting together construction drawings in 2008... I'm sorry, through 2007. And then I have a set of drawings down the hall here for me, dated January 1st, 2008, ready to build The Grand. And we all know what happened later that year, and we didn't have any capital to keep us going, nobody did.
Chris Rising (00:06:21):
Rick Vogel (00:06:22):
So we had to put it on ice for a few years, and it wasn't until about 2012 when things were starting to look better and we started talking about getting going again, and this project was always envisioned to start with Grand Park. We basically contributed $57 million to the city to build Grand Park, and so we went off and undertook that, opened the Grand Park in 2012. And then we followed that with The Emerson, which is our 270 unit mixed income residential property, which is adjacent to the park.
Rick Vogel (00:06:55):
At the same time, we were working with the Eli to organize a portion of that first site for him to build his museum, which we thought was just incredible to have the Broad Museum. Probably, I guess most people would say the best post World War II collection of modern art anywhere in the country.
Chris Rising (00:07:14):
Rick Vogel (00:07:15):
So the part that I'm working on right now is called The Grand. It's the centerpiece of the project, it's about 1.6 million square feet. And to give a little history of my involvement, I got a call from a friend one day, a guy named Todd Anson, who was a lawyer/developer in San Diego where I had my permanent home. We'll come back to what a permanent home means in my life. And Todd wanted to introduce me to Stephen Ross. I met Stephen in May of 2016, along with Ken Himmel, who's the head of his urban development group. And they said, "Rick, we need someone to come build The Grand. We need someone who's got the energy, the passion and the history working with a Chinese investor," which they had on board at that time, and I had just come back a year and a half prior to that from a 11 year career in China.
Rick Vogel (00:07:57):
And although I was running platforms was at the time, it interested me mainly because of Frank Gehry. Also, because I understood what was happening in downtown LA. My oldest daughter, Emily, was going to USC at the time. I had visited LA multiple times while I was in China, while she was in school and I saw what was happening. But the idea of working with Frank was like a one time, one lifetime opportunity to work with someone who I consider the best in the business, and so I told him I would do it. That was at the end of 2016. So I started beginning of 2017 with new concept from Frank, different than the original concept, he didn't like the old design anymore, and that's where I started and that's where we getting started building The Grand.
Chris Rising (00:08:39):
Well, that is a perfect launching point for what we're going to go to. And I'm going to go back just a little bit, because you hit on a couple pieces that I think probably have been missed in the last. You know, you got COVID and then you've got what the wonderful Broad, which is an amazing building. But you talked about the key piece being Grand Park. The park was something that Mr. Broad felt was missing from downtown LA, that we didn't have a place to have a New Year's Eve party, we didn't have a place to have a festival, and he really, really believed that was important. And what can get lost is that in order to win the RFP, whoever it was, whether it was yourselves or some of the competitors out there, the requirement was a 50... I it was a $56 million deposit, and then when it sat there, it built up.
Chris Rising (00:09:31):
These numbers are so astronomical. It's hard for, I think, most people to understand that, "Wait a second, we're going to win a project, we're going to put $56 million down, give it to the city to build a park, and then we're going to start." By the time you got to it and looked back and said, "Okay, I have this wonderful park, but I have $56 million invested that's growing to 58 or whatever it is, we've had all the construction drawings and all, why didn't you just go, "This sounds like a great project, but way too much headache, way too many bodies behind me?" You sitting here in 2016, you got the park, you've got an investor who's come in and out and all that, what made you so excited? Was it Steve Ross and his vision? Mr. Ross's vision? Was it Eli? You said it was and it had a lot to do with Mr. Gary who, which I get, but still, that's a lot of carnage for you to step in here.
Rick Vogel (00:10:27):
Well, let me start with the story of the $56 million.
Chris Rising (00:10:31):
Rick Vogel (00:10:32):
So as I heard from Stephen Ross, apparently he got the call from Eli Broad at the end of the competition and he said, "Stephen, congratulations, you won. But here's the deal, you've got to put down..." At that time, it was actually $50 million, you have to put down $50 million, the balance would be an interest, day one. And Stephen told him, "I've never done that before." And Eli said, "Well, this will be the first," and he agreed. And I'll tell you what, this is what speaks a lot to Mr. Ross, he's a visionary and he runs on the theme of, "I like to be where everybody else isn't." I mean, look at what he did in Hudson Yards. Nobody believed in the West Side of New York and of West Side and Midtown in New York. Same thing happened at Time Warner Center and Deutsche Bank Center, nobody believed in that part of New York when he went in there, but he saw it.
Rick Vogel (00:11:20):
He sees the same thing in The Grand. He saw it then, he still sees it. Anybody else would've quit along the way, they would've thrown in the towel. He kept coming back and he kept coming back with bigger and better ideas. I think he brought me in to try to add a little new vision for how it really would be executed and maybe the tenacity and energy to just push it across the finish line, because now we had the equity. We didn't have the debt financing, that was a big part of my role, was secure the debt financing. But now we had a new world, markets were doing well, downtown was growing. I mean, look at the history of downtown. Since 1999, year after year, population growth of like 7.6%. Incredible growth in downtown sales in general. Just remarkable growth in the residential front, like it was time for The Grand when I arrived here.
Rick Vogel (00:12:12):
But when you looked at the numbers... You know, when I first looked at that proforma, I kind of winced, I said, "Really? We're going to get these rents, we're going to get these ADRs?" And we're like, "Look, this is how it works." These big projects define their own markets. The underwriting at Hudson Yards never made sense. The underwriting at Time Warner Center never made sense. These projects create their own markets. Why? Because they created a destination that doesn't exist, and when you create a destination doesn't exist, there's this multiple effect. And although I teach at USC and I'm always asked, what's the formula? There is no formula, you got to believe in it. You can go back and you go extrapolate what these other projects have done historically, and they're historically slow starters. The Grand is going to be a slow starter, but it is going to make it.
Rick Vogel (00:12:53):
So I looked at the numbers, I looked at the vision and I added one twist to it. I said, "Mr. Ross," I said, "Look, we've all been focused on The Grand, what it is internally. And we can talk about the architecture here shortly, but what we're missing here is, we're not taking advantage of these cultural assets we have in Grand Avenue." We have the largest collection of performing arts facilities and visual arts facilities anywhere in the country, even more so than Lincoln Center. Nobody knows that. And we get 3.6 million people a year that come to the existing facilities, but they only come once or twice. Imagine if The Grand could become a 24/7 neighborhood and a first or a second or a third choice of anybody in LA or visiting LA to go on a weekend or weeknight, like, "Let's just go down to The Grand and see what's going on."
Rick Vogel (00:13:38):
And when they get there, all of a sudden you've got this incredible urban room that Frank Gehry's designed, we become the concierge of the neighborhood, we promote what's happening in these other cultural assets, both through visual and through information, and now people start to get it. They start to see what these other offerings are and they come twice a year. Now you've got 7 million people coming to a city center, that's pretty significant. And then-
Chris Rising (00:14:02):
But I love this-
Rick Vogel (00:14:05):
Chris Rising (00:14:05):
I love this pitch. We're developers and we're optimists. I know there's a portion of my audience going, "What is he talking about? We went through the pandemic, we had the BLM movement, we had cardboard everywhere, there's homeless in LA. What are you selling?" Before we talk... Because I think the project, we'll get over that, but just you sit here right now with a project about to open and we have challenges here in downtown LA, but there's some green shoots. Let's address it, because I just know there's a bunch of people listening to this right now as they're going through their walk or whatever, going, "Oh, my god. You got a couple of LA guys trying to sell us on downtown LA."
Rick Vogel (00:14:46):
Yeah. So let's look at what's happening in downtown LA, both pre-pandemic and post. Okay, so pre-pandemic, we were the fastest growing residential center in the country. We had a stable office occupancy, it wasn't growing real fast, but it wasn't going down. We had some great new names that were coming to downtown, may end going into your buildings. We were short of hotel rooms with a convention center that couldn't compete with other large convention centers in Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, who didn't have enough hotel rooms, so we were looking at markets where demand was there. With all the cranes and all the residential units, we were producing like two to 3,000 units a month, those were getting absorbed. We were holding at about 90% occupancy in the residential.
Rick Vogel (00:15:37):
When the pandemic hit, couple things happened. First of all, unfortunately we were forced empty out our office buildings. That had a significant impact on downtown, because you took 500,000 people that were coming to the city during the day, no longer here. Okay. We're only a downtown population of 75,000. That's a big impact when those folks aren't there during the day. Secondly, a bunch of us started working from home, a lot of young people who lived downtown, moved back home to save some rent. Where they chose to go somewhere else for a little while, we lost occupancy. Like at the Emerson, for example, we went from over 90% down to close to 80%. As did almost all of the people in our competitive sect. So now you've got a downtown where there's less people living there, nobody's working there, no one's shopping and no one's dining. And of course, the people that were here, homeless, some of the unfortunate, the criminals we have living downtown were starting to come out of the woodwork.
Rick Vogel (00:16:40):
Like all urban centers, it became a little scary. I was here, we were still working. We kept working on a grant, we never stopped. I saw this happening and it was scary. So now let's go post-pandemic, what's happening now. First of all, the good news is residents are back. We are back over 90%. The Emerson, our mixed income property, we're at 100% occupancy for the first time. Right? The idea of living downtown, the demand for living downtown has not left. Now, some of those folks are banking on offices reopening and we hope that's going to happen soon. It will happen, I think we're probably up around 40% occupancy and you could probably tell us better in most buildings, so it is coming back. I see that in our building here as well, and so that's coming back. Hospitality is coming back. So we can start to see the pathway out of this thing.
Rick Vogel (00:17:22):
Will it be the same as it was pre-pandemic? It can't be, because we're not going to have the full office occupancy downtown that we had before anytime soon, but downtown's going to continue. Okay. It's going to continue, we're going to address the homeless problem. It finally for the first time, in my opinion, is getting the attention it needs, both from the government and others to try to find workable solutions. It's a complex problem to solve, but I think it's going to happen. What we offer at The Grand in the context of all of this, because I still believe downtown is fractured. You could walk down one block and feel good and another block and not feel as good. You look at what used to be called Bunker Hill, which we now call Grand Ave Arts, it's a wonderful, beautiful, safe, clean, sunny part of downtown. And that's our pitch to retailers and restaurants, "This is where you want to be coming to downtown."
Rick Vogel (00:18:09):
Beyond that, downtown is going to continue to grow and with that growth, we're going to solve these problems, and with that growth, we're going to become a major city center and this trajectory is going to continue. So yes, there's a lot of optimism, but there's also a lot of progress and a lot of caution along the way.
Chris Rising (00:18:25):
And I think there's a couple other points, because I'm obviously an enthusiast too. We are seeing a couple things of the millions of square feet we own, are projects at or near Bunker Hill or Grand Avenue, are seeing multiple tours in ways we hadn't, we don't see it at other projects. I think there is a sense that being around Grand Avenue is a safe place to be. The second thing that we are seeing, is that traffic... I know that people aren't always going back to their office buildings, but traffic is back in Los Angeles and ridership is up on Metro, and the hub of it all is here in downtown LA, and so that is bringing people back. And we have evidence of two things that, it's not during work hours, but our occupancy at our projects are up in the off hours. That means people are coming downtown to socialize. We're getting off hour parking, that's gone up. So they're people who are coming back, not necessarily to work, but to socialize, which is a very important reflection on how safe people feel.
Chris Rising (00:19:26):
And then the last thing I'd say is that Los Angeles is the largest concentration of government workers between state, city and federal, of anywhere outside of Washington, DC. Those offices have all been closed, including most of the courts, only limited courts. That's all been announced coming back in January, that all those things are coming back. So I think you're going to see a lot of things market rather quickly. And we're not quite at 40% across our portfolio of daily activity, we're about 30, 35. A lot better than when we were at 20. So all those things say you're going to have more eyeballs on a project that is unbelievable. So why don't I give you the floor to explain what the project is, why it's so unbelievable and why? I think you're right, I think between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion down to the Broad, down to the Colburn Center to MOCA, there's so many reasons to come downtown and your project is going to be the beacon. I really believe that.
Rick Vogel (00:20:30):
Right. So yeah, numbers wise, The Grand is again, it's a 1.6 million square foot mixed-use project, two towers. There's a 45 story residential tower that has 436 residential units in it. We broke that unit block up into two categories. There's an ultra premium group of 113 units at the top, they're basically condominium units. Downtown LA today does not support the purchase price to make sense for us to sell those units yet, but people will pay very high premium rent. We've seen that through other properties in downtown LA. The bottom two thirds of the building, the 323 units, those are standard luxury units, but interspersed with there, we do have 20% residential, 20% across the whole tower, but they're intermixed within the lower two thirds of the building. We're big believers in mixed income buildings. We believe you should offer affordable housing solutions. We all have to solve this affordability problem and we like to do it with these mixed income buildings, because it creates great community.
Rick Vogel (00:21:34):
The other tower is a 28 story hotel with 305 keys. We brought Hilton Conrad in to be our operating partner on that. Conrad is a wonderful brand. When I lived in Asia, it was one of the dominant luxury brands. It hadn't made it to the US back then, it has now, and we're going to be their flagship property here in the US. We'll also have 12,000 square feet of meeting room space and maybe more importantly, we have a 16,000 square foot outdoor amenity deck with an outdoor full service restaurant, a pool area, an outdoor bar. It is going to be the coolest rooftop venue anywhere in LA. Both of those towers sit on top of a three story retail podium. It's only 164,000 square feet leaseable area for the retail. 26 doors, but very carefully curated and heavily anchored in food and beverage.
Rick Vogel (00:22:26):
We know that today, the only way you're going to get substantial and sustainable foot traffic to a retail center is to have a really great food offering across a wide variety of price points, but you also have to bring in something that other people don't have access to in LA, and that's going to be through some very well known celebrity chefs. And then a couple announcements coming in the beginning of next year will really excite people. So those are the numbers. Okay, but here's the magic. The magic comes from Frank Gehry. So Frank takes a program like that and he starts to organize it in ways that he thinks look great architecturally. He follows very good direction from a developer as far as what you want to accomplish, but then he starts to challenge you because he's fearless. Right?
Rick Vogel (00:23:09):
So he took like your standard downtown building you see in LA with a very tall parking podium above grade, an amenity deck on top of that and a tower, and he gutted it. Right. He went in and he carved out what he calls the urban room right in the middle of this project. Right in the middle of the retail, he basically scooped out an area that's about 35,000 square feet and he created this incredible room with terraces around the perimeter where the retail, the restaurants are, and his incredible center bar scene with spectacular views of the Disney Concert Hall. And when you stand in this room, you can see the genius that Frank brings in the form of scale, proximity and intimacy, and then the relationship to the other buildings across the street. It's just a wonderful place to be. And then along with the building to reduce the density from the outside, again, he added these terraces, which we're using for these restaurants.
Rick Vogel (00:23:58):
So now what you have is something that feels right for Grand Avenue. It gives you a place that's cool and for fun to hang out. It's not just a building, but it's an outdoor space as well, and that's the magic. Because as Frank points out, you give people a place that they like to go, that they're comfortable, that they can enjoy, they're going to go back again and again. But it doesn't just stop at the architecture, now I've got to program it with the right combination of retail and restaurants, and hotel experience and residences, and it's all coming together, it's going to be really phenomenal, but it's really because we've combined a great architectural solution with a great occupancy plan.
Chris Rising (00:24:36):
Let me ask you this, so Frank is a legend and I've been fortunate to know him most of my professional life. He also has a reputation of being such a visionary, that it's very difficult to take that vision and get them into construction drawings and then have those construction drawings executed. What challenges have you all faced in dealing with a visionary architect who is doing something that isn't just 90 degree angles and what support team did you put together to execute, to actually build the vision?
Rick Vogel (00:25:07):
That's such a great question. First of all, it's a myth that Frank Gehry buildings are expensive, because what we're paying for The Grand is a little more expensive than what you would normally pay, but not that much. And the key to it and the answer to your question most directly is, you have to surround him with a team of resources to help him kind of stay on the mission. Okay? Without constraining him, you don't want to constrain Frank, you want to let Frank do what he does, that's what you're paying him to do, but you can help him. So for example, if you look at the exterior of this building, it looks like a series of tumbling blocks. Very complicated, lots of ins and outs, complicated windows. That skin didn't cost any more than any skin on any other downtown building, because we put together some rules of the road for him as far as the kit of parts that he could use.
Rick Vogel (00:25:52):
I said, "Frank, here's all the shapes and pieces and parts you can use. Put them together any way you want, but we need to standardize what we're producing in these pieces and parts," and that's what he did. And what you see is what looks like tumbling blocks, it's just an optical illusion. What he did was very clever and he basically just kind of staggered the window line, staggered the emollients, and it makes it look like these blocks are literally moving on the building, it's fascinating. Now, where are the premiums? Well, those were hard to see in advance. One of the premiums was when you look at the building with these blocks, there's a transition between the blocks. The blocks look like toy blocks sitting on top of each other, it looks really simple. It turned out that we had to use what they call these slip and slide decks to create the space, the room you needed to create the architecture, which was lots of offsets of MEP, additional structure and most importantly, a disruption to the flow you get on site when you're building something.
Rick Vogel (00:26:44):
Those of you who have ever bought a... Let's say you bought two end tables at Ikea and you get them home. That first one takes you about an hour to build the second one about 15 minutes, because you get the rhythm, you know the pieces and parts, you know what goes where, you've solved all the problems once, you don't have to repeat that. Same thing when you're building a construction. You get the same deck going, you get a rhythm going. Steel, drywall, painting, everything, right? So we would get to go about eight floors and then we'd have to shift everything and start all over, the second end table, so that was a little bit inefficient. But back to Frank, you never know where he is headed, but you always know you're going to a better place. And there are a lot of times where Frank insisted on changing the design of building at a time that most developers would never let him do it, but we did, because we hired him to do something great for us.
Rick Vogel (00:27:34):
And we adjusted and we may have lost a little time and we may pay the little more, but the results are phenomenal. When you walk around that building and you feel it, you'll understand why it's going to be successful for you.
Chris Rising (00:27:44):
What were the challenges that you could see that he dealt with, with the fact that across the street is one of the great buildings ever built in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and one of the most iconic buildings ever built? What challenges do you think he dealt with? Or how did you see it to try to build something across the street that could at least equal or more so enhance what he built 25 years ago?
Rick Vogel (00:28:09):
Well, I wish Frank was here to answer that, because it's such a great question, but I'll tell you what, I've heard him say that. First of all, for Frank, it was all about the relationship with these buildings across Grand Avenue. He talks about how the buildings didn't to talk to each other. Okay. And he had to be careful, he wanted to make sure that he respected what the concert hall is and he had to keep the finishes and the forms in concert with that, but The Grand had to kind of stand on its own too. And it's a commercial project, we couldn't have those beautiful stainless steel sails on our side of the street. So when you look at the architecture, you'll notice that the hotel tower, which sits a little bit closer to the concert hall than the residential tower just pushed back, the hotel tower is basically the same color and it looks similar and finish. Although I'll tell you, it's a little less expensive than the concert hall. So he reflected the finish of the concert hall in that regard.
Rick Vogel (00:29:06):
The residential tower has completely different finishes. It's precast concrete, hand troweled plaster and glass window wall, but they act like a family. Right? But here's the trick and here's the solution, what Frank realized and what we realized is, this concert hall is such a great asset, and so he organized The Grand in a way that you'll always see it from different angles, different views. And what you'll notice when you're on site, which I find so fascinating, you can move up one level and that concert hall looks different. You can move a little to the right, it looks different again. And it always looks beautiful, it's magical in the way it is. So he tried to design it to compliment each other, allowing each to be its own, but at the end of the day, it's really about the concert hall.
Chris Rising (00:29:55):
Well, the interesting thing and for those who aren't familiar with Los Angeles, is this is all built basically on the side of the hill, of Bunker Hill. We grew up, those of us in Los Angeles, driving by that... It was an erector set, an erector set of a parking garage and that's where you'd park going to the courts and if you're on the juries and all that. I mean, this is not some flat piece of land that this building was designed on. Can you talk about some of the challenges of how you build basically into a hill and allow people to not feel like they're going up and down a bunch of stairs?
Rick Vogel (00:30:34):
So I've always believed in this, something I learned from Gerald Hines. Gerald Hines used always tell me, "The most complicated sites create the best architecture." It's the flat, simple sites that never seem to get to a really unique solution, and so this was another example of that. First of all, the benefit of a sloped site is it gives you multiple access points, so you could come in at different levels of the parking as you go down the hill. It also created some in interesting spaces. If you look at the project when you're on Olive Street, there's a large opening between the towers and a circuitous stair and terraces to go up with the concert hall in the background. It's an incredibly... To me, it's one of the most stimulating views of the project and it's from Olive Street, so he created these architectural opportunities.
Rick Vogel (00:31:21):
But to get down to the question itself from a technical perspective, it was very difficult to build that foundation. We had to do a massive excavation with a shoring wall that supported Grand Avenue that went down about 75 feet. That's a very tall shoring wall, I've got some incredible pictures of this when we were building it. We got to the bottom, we fortunately had very good soil conditions, very little water, very solid soil. We still had to sit on top of a very large mat foundation, but the excavation was tricky. But once you get the excavation down, the shoring walls are in place, building it from the bottom up, it's like you build any building, floor by floor, column by column, all the way up. So building it once you got to the foundation, wasn't the challenge. The challenge was the shoring wall along Grand Avenue, and then of course, how to fit all these pieces and parts so it all works well on a slope, and Frank of course, he turned it into an opportunity.
Chris Rising (00:32:19):
Well, how does someone get to the point in their career where they can take on a project like this? Can you talk a little bit about your experiences when you were in your twenties that led to a point where Stephen Ross and your investors would say, "We trust him to take a project that has been stumbling and stumbling and make it happen." Can you talk about that?
Rick Vogel (00:32:44):
Sure. Well, first of all, I mean, if you look around this industry and you look at the people like yourself and others who are running companies or running big projects like this, we've all come from different backgrounds. There is no given, as far as where you start, it's where you end. I happened to come into this industry from the design and construction and engineering side. I have an architectural engineering degree from Penn State. I knew how to design structural, mechanical, electrical, all kinds of architectural systems for buildings, and I did that for a year and a half, but I really wanted to be a builder. And so from there, I actually went to work for general contractor and I had to end up building something I actually designed, which is an education. Any of us who are interested in that, should go through.
Rick Vogel (00:33:26):
I love being on the construction site, I love being out there, I love planning the work, I love seeing the results, I love organizing the crews and schedules and the cranes, and I did that for six years. But along the way, I ended up building a high-rise office building for Gerald Hines in San Francisco and I got to know his development team, and I was so impressed with how professional they were, how well they knew everything about the design and construction of the building, how they could integrate that with the marketing efforts, how they arranged the financing, it was fascinating. So I decided I want to try that for a while, so I went to work for Mr. Hines, first as a construction manager and then I started really getting fascinated with the finance and investment side. And I would literally steal the models from the analysts and take them home at night and reverse engineer them to understand how it worked, understand how they model cash flows.
Rick Vogel (00:34:14):
And then literally just kind of sat around with them and showed them construction, they showed me analysis and we all figured out a benefit together. Then from there, I just kind of raised my hand along the way every time something new and interesting would come up. For example, again with Hines, development had slowed down in the mid 1990s and I asked if I could get involved with their acquisitions team, like going in, doing the due diligence, structuring the deal to buy a building. To me, again, it's just solving little problems along the way. So what happened was I ended up getting exposed to so many different aspects of this industry. I was involved with everything from financial, to legal, to design, technical, marketing, leasing, everything, and I loved every bit of it. I've just never became an expert in any of it, I'm kind of a generalist.
Rick Vogel (00:35:02):
And so by the time I got to The Grand, I had not only kind of worked in all these areas, but I also had a couple big projects under my belt, and I think that was probably what really gave Stephen Ross and Ken Himmel confidence that I could do this. And I guess the other thing was my experience in China, which we can talk about at some point as well. I remember Mr. Ross... Well, first of all, it's a funny story, I ended up interviewing with Stephen Ross on a Monday morning, the weekend after the NFL draft. [inaudible 00:35:33]. I'm thinking to myself about how do I break the ice with this guy, because he's a pretty intimidating figure, a big personality in the industry. So I decided I would ask him about the draft like, "How do you do, how do you feel and how does it all work?"
Chris Rising (00:35:45):
Rick Vogel (00:35:45):
So sure enough, I start the conversation that way. Well, the conversation about the NFL draft goes on for 45 minutes during a one hour interview.
Chris Rising (00:35:51):
Rick Vogel (00:35:52):
Finally, I said, "Steve," I said, "Look, I only have 15 minutes left. What can I tell you about myself?" He says, "Rick, I know enough about you. You've been in China for 11 years. You made money for everybody you worked for over there. If you could figure that out, you'll figure out how to finish building The Grand. Welcome aboard." I mean, that was basically the interview. Right?
Chris Rising (00:36:08):
Rick Vogel (00:36:09):
But you know, my message to everybody out there is, get out there and learn as much as you can, never stop learning, raise your hand, try different things. All those experiences are going to end up helping you in life and eventually when you pull it all together, you're going to be sitting on top of a dream job like I've had the last five years running The Grand.
Chris Rising (00:36:29):
Do you think that your experience in China was more important to Mr. Ross? Because what I'm going to get at is, we got lots of young people in their twenties and thirties listening to this, was it that the fact that you were willing to take risks when you were younger and go to China and see things happen in a way that were different? Do you think that was a major reason for Mr. Ross being excited about having you join this project?
Rick Vogel (00:37:00):
Well, first of all, he knew a lot about China. They had a business over there for about the same time that I was there, they were over there as well doing different things than I was doing. And I think he understood the challenges over there to get things done and I think what he realized was, anybody who could get something done over there, that they could pretty much get anything done.
Chris Rising (00:37:19):
Rick Vogel (00:37:19):
I think that was the real nexus that he saw. What was interesting was and again, I want to encourage our listeners, especially the young people, to really think about and pursue an overseas experience, it changes you entirely. I happened to go over married with two children, which was incredible for them. I mean, my kids will benefit forever where we were all Mandarin Chinese speakers when we were there, you had to speak Chinese to get around. But as a business person in China, you learn a different way to solve problems. You also learn the Chinese or the Eastern Asian way of solving problems, which is different than what we do in the West. In the West, we see the problem and we go right at it and we try to walk right through the middle of it. In Eastern Asia, you don't do it that way, you kind of go around the problem a little bit, you don't immerse in the middle of it. And what happens is solutions starts showing up that you never would've anticipated and it provides... You require, is patience.
Rick Vogel (00:38:19):
And so take that and combine it with a market that has a lack of transparency, you'd have to triangulate from a variety of different data points to try to understand what the answer might be. And then there's this little bit of a game over there you play, about how you solve all these problems and so it requires a lot of creativity. So what happens? Is you create somebody who's got a lot of agility, a lot of flexibility, a lot of humility, because you don't know the answers, and a little different way of solving problems than just blowing through a wall. And I think Mr. Ross saw that, because nobody else did. When I came back from China, I was working for Larry Silverstein in New York. I desperately wanted to get back to California, I'm interviewing with all kinds of companies, I'm talking to headhunters, everyone's like, "Rick, wonderful resume, but you don't know anyone in the US. What could you possibly bring back here that's going to be a benefit?"
Rick Vogel (00:39:07):
Well, Mr. Ross saw it and I think the results are in, because I think The Grand's going to be a big success as the result of me building a team, representing the brand and executing. And this is all skills I learned over 11 years in China.
Chris Rising (00:39:21):
Let me ask you this, I think one of the challenges we face and I think we're hearing this in this work from home debate and people saying, "Well, I brought my work life balance back because I didn't have to do an hour commute each way." I think one of the challenges that I find at my age and when I was younger, is how do I work as hard as I possibly can and go, go, go, and not have my body and my relationships and my everything fall apart? You're been extraordinarily successful, I think any young person who gets to spend time with you sees the man who's been dedicated to your career as well as your family and all, but I'm always amazed, you're a very self-disciplined person. How do you keep a life balance so that you don't die of a heart attack too young and all the other things that come with a stressful work driven life?
Rick Vogel (00:40:09):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's a great question and I'll start out by saying this, to get to the top of the industry, to be a business leader at the level that you're at and a lot of our peers are at, there is no such thing as perfect life balance. These jobs require a lot of dedication of time and a lot of hard work. But what you can do is, you can structure your days and your weeks so that you can have a life too. And for me, I've always been a big advocate of exercise and taking care of myself. It started back when I was in high school, I was not a student athlete, I was a really tall, skinny guy and I was a little bit embarrassed by that. And I actually ended up getting into weight training when they first invented the Nautilus gym. Chris, you remember when those Nautilus gyms came out [inaudible 00:40:55] and all them balls?
Chris Rising (00:40:56):
Rick Vogel (00:40:57):
Unless you were a gym guy on his sports, you would never have experienced this. So my friend Ralph Miller and I, Ralph was by the way, the smallest guy in my high school class, I was like the skinniest guy. So Ralph and I started working out together and we got pretty buffed out and it built a level of self-confidence, and it really helped my performance, it helped my thinking, it helped a lot of things. So exercise had become kind of a mainstay in my lifestyle, but I was a workaholic most of my life. So yes, I was exercising, but I was working all the time and I was getting really, really burned out. And I got to the point where I started trying to take more time for myself, particularly for my family. I mean, look guys, your family comes first. I started trying to find time for my family and just saying, "Look, I'm going to have to find a way to get my work done in less time."
Rick Vogel (00:41:45):
And you would think that working harder, longer hours is how you get more things done, it's quite the contrary. If you balance your life and you get the proper exercise and the amount of free time, especially with your family, away from your office... Like I do not work on Saturdays. Unless there's some emergency, nobody gets me in the office or on a call on a Saturday, that's my day with my family and I use that day to recover. So if I get my Saturday and maybe part of my Sunday, on Monday morning, I am ready to rock and I think clearer, I think faster, I think smarter. And with the exercise and the diet and the sleep, I'm a better person and I get more done in less hours.
Rick Vogel (00:42:28):
I have a routine. I wake up, I'm an early morning guy, not everyone's early morning people, so you might be a late night person, you could do this at night. But I get up at about 4:30, I'm in the pool at about 5:00 swimming laps or lifting weights or going on long walks. I've got a variety of things I do. I'm into meditation, meditation's been one of the greatest gifts that someone taught me about five years ago. It's really centered me, it's calmed me down, it's helped me focus tremendously better than I was before. I do a few other things in the morning, I bring my wife coffee in bed, it's one of the great things I can do for her, I'm not even a coffee drinker. So I really don't get to the office until about 8:30, but I've been up since 4:30. Right?
Chris Rising (00:43:09):
Rick Vogel (00:43:10):
Getting myself ready for the day. Well, let me tell you from 8:30 and until I start really winding down the day at around six o'clock at night, I get a ton done. And had I worked all morning and the weekend prior, I would be burned out, I wouldn't be making good decisions, I'd be creating more problems than solving them. So it's really about getting balance and believing that if you take care of yourself, treat your body like a temple, treat your family like the highest priority, those on their own will help you be a better businessman.
Chris Rising (00:43:41):
Well, let me ask you this, a lot of people today are really into hacking their life and using technology, what role does technology play for you personally? Are you an addict to email or Slack or any of these other technologies that are supposed to make us more efficient, but distract us endlessly? How do you deal with that?
Rick Vogel (00:44:00):
A couple things. First of all, we always talk about first movers. Well, I'm the last mover. Okay? I tend to be the last guy to move to a technology, but let me tell you what, when I move, I move and I do not go back. I'm just a little bit hesitant going into it to get there, but technology's made life more efficient for me, for sure. I like to use certain software and things to keep myself well organized and all, but the one gift that I had, I have to say, is when I was in China, you could not get the social media. If Facebook was coming out and Instagram... Well, Instagram came later, but you know, LinkedIn, everything, you couldn't do it. My youngest daughter somehow found a way to get a VPN on her computer and basically worked around the true Chinese wall to get to Facebook and have a page up and do lots great stuff.
Rick Vogel (00:44:52):
We didn't do it. When I came back to the US in 2015, I set my very first social media account many, many years after everybody else. So I kind of missed that wave, I kind of joined when people realized you can't just spend your whole life on social media interacting. So I kind of came in at a little different point in time, so I don't spend a lot of time doing that, I just don't. I find other ways to stay social and do all those things. But for me, I try to use technology to stay efficient. I manage my email this way, it's very basic. I get through every single email every day. I try to keep up with it during the day, but I do not go to sleep until all my emails answered or at least put it in a place where I can get to it easily.
Rick Vogel (00:45:29):
I have a little system I use where I can flag things or keep things I know need more time, and I'll get to it when I have more time. I know that there's times when I can focus and solve problems, and there's times where all I can do is consume information, and I bifurcate my day around that. I think that on its own creates the efficiency that I need to be productive rather than me trying to solve every problem as it shows up in my inbox. I will organize it in a way to address those things that we need to address right away to keep the day moving along and then find time when I got to do the critical thinking it takes to solve complex problems.
Chris Rising (00:46:07):
Yeah, you sound exactly where I am in my life, which is really an inbox zero, get things done kind of mentality, because I just can't deal with it. And I find the most successful professional people really organize their life that way, so just a kudos. I think that's... People, when I'm around them, who have 500 emails that are unanswered and all that, it makes me very nervous about how you can get things done in a world we live in today. As you were looking at technology for your life, you also have to ask the question, what is this project doing in order to meet the demands of a world where people don't want to take keys out of their pocket, in a world where they want things seamless, where we're in a world where people... I mean, the fact is for all those restaurants in this project to be successful, Instagram's going to be important and a lot of the social media. So as you strategically look at launching this project to the world, which is coming in rather quickly, what is the role that technology plays with The Grand?
Rick Vogel (00:47:08):
Well, let me start with the role it plays with Related. Related is probably, I feel, one of the industry leaders in adopting technology, investing in technology. We have built out a technology group that I think is probably unrivaled, including our digital marketing teams. We realized as we started to get into the world of information and data analytics, that we like many companies had all our data in separate silos. Right? Basically, our data base was everybody's spreadsheets and everybody had their own way of keeping their information on their properties, their development projects. There was no integration, no common database. So we started initially, by just starting to break down those walls between the silos, get everybody's data into one place where we could analyze it, share it and benefit from it. Okay.
Rick Vogel (00:48:02):
But I think where we really separated ourselves was what we did at Hudson Yards. We actually hired a guy named Scott Evans, an leader in digital marketing and digital technologies. He built a team and we literally, from the ground up, built our own system of collecting data from people that visit our property, whether they're doing it just by simply opting in when they join our wireless or coming to our website, and start building databases about the people, to the point where we knew enough about certain clients that we could start directing messages to them like any large social media marketing platform. That's proven to be very, very successful. You can imagine at a project like Hudson Yards with 15 million square feet and residences and people in office space and people visiting to retail restaurants, the amount of data and amount of marketing opportunity that you get. We integrate that with our digital advertising, the digital out of home advertising partners who bring in the advertising dollars that helps to fund a lot of this stuff through our digital marketing stuff on site.
Rick Vogel (00:49:08):
So at The Grand, what we're trying to achieve here is continuing with what we learned at Hudson Yards in a very highly kind of current technology way. For example, from an infrastructure perspective, we have a converged network, which is one network for everything, whether it's Wi-Fi, whether it's our BMS system, whether it's any other data gathering system, our digital marketing, everything resides on this converged network, so it's very efficient in the way we built it. Beyond that, we have lots of different ways to plug and play into that depending on what our goals are. So we are already starting to build our database right now on Salesforce, we already know a lot of people who are in interested in The Grand. That will expand to people who start visiting the property, who stay at the hotel, who have residences.
Rick Vogel (00:49:55):
We want to literally help people learn more about what's going on through that as well, and that takes a lot of technology partners also. But the key thing for us at The Grand is something we learned during COVID. We learned how to become a frictionless, cashless, touchless property, meaning that you walk in, they know you're there, they take you to the right floor in the elevator, you don't have to take anything out of your pocket. You know? I've got a couple different fobs on my chain right now, for the current property I'm in, and a different one for my office building, like at The Grand, you're basically going to be able to walk around and everything's going to happen because it's going to know who you are and where you need to go. People want it to be easy. Right?
Chris Rising (00:50:38):
Rick Vogel (00:50:38):
And so I think that's where The Grand's going to differentiate itself, it's going to feel like you're in a new property by the way you're going to interact with it.
Chris Rising (00:50:46):
So as you look at the challenges that bringing any retail to downtown LA, I have to imagine to make it engaging, technology is going to be a big piece of it. But what's been the pitch to some of the non-restaurant retailers, shops, that, that activity piece of your retail? What's been the pitch to them and what is the result going to be? What do you foresee right now when you all open the project?
Rick Vogel (00:51:16):
The message has been and will continue to be that this is going to be one of the great destinations in LA, both for people from out of town, as well as people in town. If you look at my trade area, if you just take say, a standard 10 mile radius for a semi-regional shopping destination like The Grand, we should be able to pull people from 10 miles away. Well, that 10 mile trade area captures all the really wealthy San Gabriel Mountain Foothill communities, but then starts intersecting with West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, of course out to Santa Monica.
Rick Vogel (00:52:09):
Well, there's so many great retail offerings out there, it'd be hard for me to compete with that. I'm hoping that my restaurants are going to differentiate some of those offerings to help bring people in from the West Side of LA, but I believe we're going to own the market here on the eastern side of Central LA and really, if you look at the location we're in, we're literally at the hub. When you look at the map and you draw all the main arterials and freeways, it all ends up in that Northern corner of downtown LA. There's multiple access ramps and we're within two blocks of all those ramps coming off, so we are like the first stop when you're coming from those communities. So once I get people convinced that people will come here, then what's it going to be? Right? And so, so much of it's going to have to be the experience that people are going to have when they're here, the interaction they're going to have with these other cultural assets.
Rick Vogel (00:52:59):
Like I can go to a restaurant operator and say, "Look, you're going to get two seatings that night. Before and after these great shows at these cultural assets." The retailers are going to benefit, because people are there to dine, there's going to be events in the Plaza, there's going to be people coming and going for that, but there's no real retail anchor other than the restaurants, so I don't have that story. So the story that remains in for the retailers is this, downtown LA's growing. I can give them that pitch I gave you earlier about why we think it's going to continue to grow and I believe they believe in that. The question is, is it time for them to come into downtown now? And I offer to them that I am the kind of cleanest, safest, sunniest part of downtown, the easiest entry point to come into downtown, into a very well curated project.
Rick Vogel (00:53:47):
Not an individual storefront on a street, a high street that might be forming now or maybe in the future, you're coming into a perfectly curated project anchored by a Conrad hotel, wonderful residences and an incredible collection of performing arts and visual arts assets. That's the pitch and it hasn't resonated perfectly with some of the big national retailers, but our focus now is getting a little bit more on the local and they get it.
Chris Rising (00:54:12):
Yeah. You know, one of the things I'd like to go back to, because I think it's the essence of what we do as developers, is the fact when you were talking about the magic, that synergy that comes. I don't know a proforma that ever generated synergy or ever generated an excitement, but we've just spent almost an hour talking about a project that the end of the day, if the track record is passed, is prolonged in the future, this project is going to be unbelievably dynamic, it has all of these elements that other projects around downtown LA don't necessarily have. But let's go back to that vision, if we're sitting here five years from now, what do you think that magic is of The Grand that people are going to be talking about?
Rick Vogel (00:55:07):
I think if you look five years from today, people are going to see The Grand as kind of like an entertainment destination, as much as anything. I think they're going to understand there's going to be a lot of different offerings, but I think it's going to be an entertainment destination. I think that the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the LA Philharmonic and all the other resident companies at the Music Center are going to be better well known. I think you're going to find that Grand Avenue is going to meet Eli Broad's vision, that it is where we're going to celebrate our sports team wins, it's where the marathon's going to start and stop every year, it's going to be where the food and wine festival's going to be every year. We already have the largest New Year's Eve party on the West Coast at Grand Park and I think the largest gathering of people for the 4th of July, so imagine that now, coming out and coming down Grand Avenue.
Rick Vogel (00:56:00):
The vision I put out for everybody when I got here and I just came from New York City, and one of the cool things in New York, those of you who have been there or lived there, especially in the summer, you always hear music. Right. But you just don't know when you walk in the direction of the music, whether you're going to find out it's just a street musician trying to collect some tips or it's an organized concert in a park or whatever, but it's always cool. There's something special and neat about that. I want that, I want Grand Avenue to feel like that. I want people to stand on Grand Avenue and hear a performance up at Jerry Moss Plaza, or maybe it's after a Philharmonic concert and Gustavo and friends came across to kind of mash it up with some pop artist, something cool happening there.
Rick Vogel (00:56:43):
Like just all these cool little things happening so that you as a resident in LA are going to sit there on a Friday and say, "What are you guys doing tonight? Oh, no, let's go to The Grand, we'll find something. There'll be something happening either at Grand Park or Jerry Moss Plaza or in the concert halls or in the Plaza at The Grand." Wouldn't that be cool if we all just knew that there's that place go that you know you're going to have fun?
Chris Rising (00:57:05):
That's terrific. Well, you know it's so exciting to talk with a developer who's a developer in his veins. You know? I grew up with one of those and to hear these things, and I really appreciate you sharing what it takes to be successful and how you keep things organized. The one area I haven't really gotten into that I'd like to just hit on before we end, is you spend a lot of time mentoring and being a part and giving of your time, whether it's through ULI, through being engaged in homelessness and also mentoring kids, what's your view, why is that an important piece of who you are and what drives you to do that?
Rick Vogel (00:57:46):
You know, about 10 years ago, I'd say I was about 25 years into my career and it started to occur to me that I've been gathering all this information and knowledge, but the only way for anyone to benefit from that is to pass it on to the next generation. If it stays in my head when I pass away, it's a waste of all this great stuff that I've acquired over the years, so I started to mentor young people. This was when I was still in China, I was actually using it at the time as a retention tool. When I was there, you can imagine back in late 2000s, early 2010s, the growth in China was just off the charts, and as an employer over there, very difficult to retain talent. Talent was constantly kind of getting poached from you for multiples of what you were paying them.
Rick Vogel (00:58:38):
But I found that my Chinese employees really valued attention from the boss in the form of mentorship, and coaching and training, and that's what I offered. And you know what? I retained my teams, almost all of them, I had a very high retention rate, and most importantly, I really enjoyed it. When the US MBA programs would come to China, myself and maybe three or four other US guys over there running businesses, would often get the call to speak with them, and so we'd have these mini classes and I developed this passion for teaching. So when I got back to the US and I ended up back here on the West Coast, and my daughter was at USC, my MBA was from USC, I decided to go over and see if there's something I could do to help in either the MBA or the EMERALD Program and they said, "Well, listen, what would you like to teach?"
Rick Vogel (00:59:25):
And I said, "Well, what I know best is large-scale, urban, mixed-use projects." I said, "Well, put together a class." So a couple years ago, I really started three years ago, I basically got out my library of stuff I've saved over the years and I started putting it into slide decks. I ended up acquiring or putting together about 500 slides that takes a class over a 15 course... Or it takes a course of over 15 classes from the beginning of a development project to the end, everything you kind of need to know along the way with tons of case studies from things that I've developed over the years, and it's really kind of a soup to nuts development class. I've taught it now for two years, I'm looking forward to teaching it again next year, and it's been awesome. The relationships I've built with these young people have been amazing. Young people are just incredible. I mean, Chris, you would have to agree that, to me at least, the serious of success is finding younger people that are smarter or harder working than me kind of boost me up. Right?
Chris Rising (01:00:17):
That's exactly right.
Rick Vogel (01:00:17):
Exactly. Right, it challenges me. And so I teach on a regular basis now at USC and I always have about, gosh, at least 10 mentees going on at some time or I have regular calls, some of them weekly.
Chris Rising (01:00:37):
Rick Vogel (01:00:38):
I coach among where they are in their career and it's been so rewarding to me. And so I really think all of us as we acquire all this great knowledge, the only way that anyone's going to benefit from it is to give it away.
Chris Rising (01:00:43):
Yeah. I think that's really important. I spend a lot of time on the hashtag or the tweet world and a lot of young, passionate people who are trying to make their mark and make a lot of money, I don't hear a lot about what they're doing to give back. And I think it's important that the audience and people who listen to this understand that, that's a really fundamental piece of what makes you successful, because if you don't mentor young people, you're not hearing the big ideas, you're hearing what's popular in culture, and quite frankly, it keeps you young.
Chris Rising (01:01:15):
So I love hearing that pitch from someone who's had so much success in the business. Rick, you know you're a friend and the vision for this podcast originally was, I thought that young people weren't getting access to the ULIs of the world and hearing people who had great experience and great stories. They just weren't because the tickets were too expensive and life was busy and then COVID hits. And at the end of the day, you're being on the podcast and talking about this project and talking about your life is really the vision for the podcast, so thank you for doing it. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. It may not be a hard date, but when do you expect us all being able to walk through and see The Grand project?
Rick Vogel (01:01:58):
I'll see you guys in April of 2022, we're going to open the hotel, the residences, and then we'll follow in the Fall with the retail.
Chris Rising (01:02:05):
Rick Vogel (01:02:06):
I look forward to sharing with everybody. Chris, this has been wonderful. Really great chatting with you. Thanks for having me on the show and look forward to seeing you soon.
Chris Rising (01:02:16):
Chris Rising (01:02:16):
Please don't forget to follow us. We'd really appreciate it if you subscribe to the podcast. You can do that on apple iTunes or on any of the other podcasting services. It's The Real Market with Chris Rising. Follow us on Twitter @ChrisRising or @RisingRP. And please follow our blog, chrisrising.com or risingrp.com. Thanks so much.
This episode of The Real Market is brought to you by Rising Investor Platform> The platform provides accredited investors with exclusive real estate investment opportunities on a deal-by-deal basis across various asset classes, including office, industrial, hospitality, multi-family and data. The platform also provides an inside look at deals in our pipeline, while giving investors the chance to indicate interest before it's too late. We recently funded our acquisition of 9320 Telstar, a mixed-use office/industrial property in El Monte, California, using our investor platform. To learn more about how accredited investors can join the Rising Investor Platform, please visit risinginvestorplatform.com.