The Bachrach Group: Real Estate Leaders

Stephen E. Roulac – Roulac Global LLC


The world’s leading authority on the economic productivity and strategic importance of the places in which we live and work, Stephen Roulac’s work bridges construction sites and high finance, the academy and the boardroom, intellectual innovation and entrepreneurism. His background includes serving as a trusted strategy advisor, investment manager, and preeminent real estate expert plus the highest academic credentials—graduate degrees from Berkeley, Harvard and Stanford—innovative award-winning research, and teaching at leading universities.

His work is global in scope, and includes all property types, debt and equity positions, securities forms and specialized interests in real property, combining leading strategic management consulting skills with four plus decades experiences in addressing the implications of trends in the real estate property and capital markets. Dean Dilip Dasgupta, ICFAI Institute of Financial Studies stated, “Stephen Roulac is to finance as Einstein is to physics” His work is informed by insights derived from over four decades of significant entrepreneurial roles and as primary advisor to major decisionmakers in all facets of business, government, real estate and investing.

Retained by governments and also the savviest, most sophisticated and highly successful companies, entrepreneurs, and investors throughout the world, he and his team have worked in 20+ countries, evaluating and investing in more than 100 countries, advising 1,000+ clients involving in excess of $50 billion real estate interests and creating billions of dollars of value for his clients. Dr. Roulac organized, led and had a major impact on developing the real estate consulting practices for two of the four largest accounting firms.

How did you get exposed to real estate and the basis for your learning about real estate?

My initial exposure to real estate was through my family’s real estate development and construction business. I learned through visiting job sites with my father, sitting with him at open houses, while waiting for buyers to show up—and then observing how buyers toured and responded to the property offer, and discussions over dinner—and then after the dishes were cleared, going over plans, contracts, marketing information and financial schedules.

Initially, my learning was by exposure, observation, experience, osmosis. In high school I started working in construction labor and did every function in real estate construction and development: including financing, leasing, property management, and investment.

Subsequently and concurrently, my learning has extended through academic study, attending hundreds of continuing education programs and conferences, implementing thousands of property analysis and strategy assignments, conducting hundreds of research studies, advising and learning from thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, investors, and public officials throughout the world.

Growing up, touring places and properties was a busman’s holiday family experience, which learning process I continue to this day.

What has been the focus of your personal professional involvements in property?

Growing up, I was fascinated by three questions:

  • How do people make decisions about properties? Why do they choose a particular place? What criteria do they employ? What is their decision making process?
  • How do developers and those involved in creating properties make their decision? What is the place-making process? What motivates and guides real estate development decisions?
  • How are real estate projects—which inherently are very capital intensive—financed? Where does the money come from? What motivates investors? How do investors make their decisions?

Exploring, working with, and advising clients concerning these three decisions has been the focus of my life’s work

What influences real estate decision-making, what are the most important things you have learned concerning the real estate business and these questions?

The concept of place choice is the most important idea that distinguishes modern society from earlier times. Experiences of and decisions that people make about place ultimately drive society. Place choice has shaped the evolution of the contemporary, dynamic, rapidly changing property markets.

Several hundred years ago, the majority of people had no choice about their places—and therefore limited choices about their work and their relationships. The advent of place choice made possible more individual expression, direction, and control of their lives. Although the expansion of place choice evolved gradually following the Renaissance, it was accelerated by the Industrial Revolution. If I had to pick a single date driving the expansion of place choice, I would isolate 1776, the Declaration of Independence, which codified certain place motivation that were central to establishing the United States of America.

Place choice changes, can change everything. And, the choices that people make change places, and therefore change the people already in those places. Significantly, every issue in contemporary society reflects some aspect or tension or conflict concerning place choice. And as a consequence, places are under extraordinary pressure and challenges, which pressure and challenges change those places.

What choices do people make?

Everyone wants three things in life: fulfilling relationships, rewarding work, and being in the right place. People make significant place choices concerning the places in which to:

  • Live
  • Work
  • Meet and Connect
  • Eat
  • Learn
  • Exercise
  • Play
  • Shop
  • Heal and Recover
  • Travel
  • Worship
  • Prosper
  • Rest

Everything that the economy involves is reflected in these thirteen place choices.

What types of clients does Roulac Global LLC work with?

The common consideration is that our clients are concerned with the objective to be in the right place. The clients we work with include:

  • INDIVIDUALS – concerning their personal place decisions and real estate and investment involvements
  • ENTREPRENEURS – starting, growing, and building businesses
  • EXECUTIVES – concerning enterprise strategies and major capital commitments, marketing and place issues, and corporate real estate considerations
  • PROFESSIONALS – including lawyers, business advisors, marketing advisors · INVESTORS – including investment managers and their advisors
  • PUBLIC OFFICIALS – in various government agencies

Given the nature of the issues we address, the stakes involved, and their complexities, necessarily our work is most often concentrated at the C level and Board of Director/Trustee levels.

How do you and your team work with clients?

Our work with clients may range from

  • One-on-one strategy and coaching,
  • Contract research, such as white papers,
  • Major financial economics and property analysis,
  • Significant strategic management undertakings, which could range from leading a strategy retreat through an ongoing retainer relationship, whereby we take care of a significant senior management function on an outsource basis, and
  • Professional speaking,
  • Training and seminars.

Concurrently, we provide considerable resources to help individuals be in the right place and make better decisions through a variety of media. Soon, our PLACETYPE and PLACE POSITION profiles will be accessible for free on smart phones, tablets, and computer screens. Plus, a number of our knowledge and learning resources are available through many different media.

What issues are you concentrating now on your work?

Why are these of interest? Among the topics that my team and I currently addressing are:

1. Real estate knowledge – There is ample real world evidence—and a number of research studies have shown—that a major reason for some of the country’s biggest economic problems are tied to real estate miscalculations. Real estate miscalculations, in turn, result from deficiencies in knowledge about decisions, generally, and major shortfalls in the actual quality of real estate education. Our view is that real estate problems start with a weak learning and knowledge foundation. Just as you cannot have a solid building if you do not have solid foundation. If you lack a basic learning foundation, all that which is built will be at risk. In our view the Introductory to Real Estate Principles textbooks leave much to be desired. Soon we will be announcing a new real estate knowledge learning system, that will be intended to represent the state of the art for learning real estate in colleges and universities, for professional practioners, community education programs, and for individuals, entrepreneurs and executives who want to make more informed, confident, rewarding real estate decisions.

2. Place choice – We have developed the PlaceType profile, which is the real estate equivalent of a personality test as Myers Briggs, Big Five, and DISC. Soon, this will be available on smart phones, tablets, computers, etc.

Those who have been exposed to the beta version have been very enthusiastic about how extraordinary contributions this makes for people to have better personal knowledge, more nurturing and rewarding personal relationships, more satisfying work circumstances, etc. etc. etc. The Bachrach Group Headquartered in Manhattan, with an additional office in San Francisco, The Bachrach Group represents firms nationally across the real estate industry. The Bachrach Group, Ltd. firmly believes that our continued success is directly related to our deep commitment to excellent customer service. Since 1974, The Bachrach Group, Ltd.’s philosophy has ensured unmatched quality service to our clients and our candidates alike. 39 West 37th Street, 5th Floor • New York, NY 10018 • 212.279.7777 225 Bush Street, 16th Floor • San Francisco, CA 94104 • 415.689.8460 www.bachrachgroup.com

Shortly, we will be conducting a substantial national survey that will generate significant information about individuals’ place preferences, which derive from their place position which reflects the motivations that inform and drive their place preferences, the means by which people make decisions about places and the criteria that they utilize in making their place decisions.

While much information is devoted to selling property interest and real estate, plus promoting places, comparatively little attention has been devoted to the buy side of the transaction: specifically how people can make informed decisions about their places, where they live, and how they can make better decisions in consuming property goods and services. By applying cognitive science and decision theory, classic psychology to our pioneering research, proprietary models, we can offer a powerful suite of resources that can enable individuals to make informed decisions about their metros, communities, neighborhoods and property selection.

3. Tangible and virtual place strategies – Extending and building on the work concerning individuals’ decisions about places, we have done considerable work concerning reconciling the important virtual places—think Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many other social networks—and tangible physical environment. This work is so critically important because virtual places represent both powerful innovations that disrupt conventional tangible environments, offering the viable substitutes for real world presence, interactions, and experiences.

Because place is one of the most important but too little considered aspects of marketing, understanding the role of place, both real and virtual in marketing is integral to understanding the economy, the prospects for new employment opportunities, individual career strategies, government finance, and any number of related subjects. This place marketing work connects to our research concerning virtual environments and is closely related to our work concerning knowledge and learning, as considering the places of education generally, and the role of the campus in higher educational learning, specifically, are critical factors that influence national competitiveness, metro viability, and personal career decisions.

4. Entrepreneurs – The role of the entrepreneur, crucial throughout history as never been more important than today. As traditional, established ways of doing things are increasingly challenged, every individual must employ an entrepreneurial mindset, for relying on what was one tried and true and worked before is no longer a reliable, safe, even prudent course of action.

The challenges of rampant creative destruction, as promulgated by Joseph Schumpeter as the essence of market economies, confront escalating threats to cultural continuity generally.

Today more than ever before, we are living in times of hyperdiscontinuity. The presumption of continuity no longer applies. Indeed, continuity is being challenged at an ever accelerating place.

5. Capital flows – As the essential elements of the economy—innovation and creativity, labor and work, operations and management, and capital—are increasingly fungible, everyone is challenged to comprehend the meaning and implication of what these dynamic conditions mean. The profound magnitude of change now underway can be most accurately described as hyperdiscontinuity. With so much change, decisions about capital commitments are especially daunting.

Comprehending what these change forces mean for capital requirements, the risks associated with those capital commitments, and the prospective rewards that may result from successful investing decisions, has never been more daunting and significant than today. Our proprietary strategy work concerning capital flows extending over several decades provides a uniquely valuable foundation for economic policy and investing strategy.

The Bachrach Group

Headquartered in Manhattan, with an additional office in San Francisco, The Bachrach Group represents firms nationally across the real estate industry. The Bachrach Group, Ltd. firmly believes that our continued success is directly related to our deep commitment to excellent customer service. Since 1974, The Bachrach Group, Ltd.’s philosophy has ensured unmatched quality service to our clients and our candidates alike.

39 West 37th Street, 5th Floor • New York, NY 10018 • 212.279.7777 225 Bush Street, 16th Floor • San Francisco, CA 94104 • 415.689.8460 www.bachrachgroup.com

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