December 9, 2022

Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate Names Inaugural Faculty

A partnership between the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the new Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate draws faculty from both schools to provide innovative instruction that will advance the field.

AAP Communications

Woman examines architectural model of an urban streetscape.

image / courtesy of the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate

Seven inaugural faculty members have been named to the multicollege Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate, an innovative collaboration between the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business designed to advance real estate education and research at the university. The department was established this summer with a $30 million gift from Paul Rubacha '72, M.B.A. '73, and CRP Associate Professor Suzanne Lanyi Charles currently serves as Acting Chair.  

Six of the announced faculty members hold tenured positions at Cornell through either AAP or the Nolan School of Hotel Administration and have now been jointly appointed to the department, retaining their original college or school as their primary home. Additionally, Cody Danks Burke, Visiting Professor of the Practice and Acting Director for the Baker Program in Real Estate, is an affiliate member of the department. The appointments went into effect earlier this semester.

"The Rubacha Department of Real Estate brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to address the most important issues facing real estate practice and research, opening up possibilities for innovative collaborations around research and teaching across colleges," says Charles. "Moving forward, we look forward to adding additional faculty, including a search for an inaugural chair of the department."

The inaugural faculty members include:

Suzanne Lanyi Charles

Associate Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning; Acting Chair and Associate Professor, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Suzanne Lanyi Charles's teaching and research examine physical, social, and economic changes in older inner-ring suburban neighborhoods. In particular, her research addresses infill redevelopment and mansionization, the financialization of housing, and single-family rental housing. Charles was a recipient of a 2021–2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to Belgium to collaborate with the Real Estate Financial Complex research group at KU Leuven on her comparative study of institutional real estate investment in housing and its effects on tenants, neighborhoods, and housing markets in the EU and the U.S. Her research has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell, and the President's Council of Cornell Women. Previously, she worked as an architect at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris, as a Vice President at Booth Hansen Architects in Chicago, and as a real estate consultant at the Weitzman Group in New York City. 

Charles holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture and received her doctorate in urban planning from Harvard University in 2011.

Sara Bronin

Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning; Professor, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American architect and attorney whose interdisciplinary research focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. As a leading voice on historic preservation law and related land use practices, Bronin was recently confirmed by the Senate to chair the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). In addition to books and treatises on preservation law, she has written more than two dozen law review articles on renewable energy, climate change, housing, urban planning, transportation, real estate development, and federalism. She created and leads the National Zoning Atlas to translate and standardize tens of thousands of zoning codes across the country into a single, online public resource. Outside of academia, Bronin has worked as a consultant, expert witness, and project manager for real estate development projects (and related litigation).  She has advised the National Trust for Historic Preservation, founded Desegregate Connecticut, and led the award-winning zoning overhaul of Hartford, Connecticut.  Her forthcoming book, Key to the City, under contract with W.W. Norton Press, will explore how zoning shapes our lives.  

Bronin holds a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and a Master of Science from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), as well as a B.Arch. and B.A. from the University of Texas–Austin.

Daniel Lebret

Senior Lecturer, Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; Senior Lecturer, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Daniel Lebret's teaching responsibilities have included undergraduate and graduate courses on real estate finance, real estate statistical modeling, urban economics, and securitization & structured finance, as well as coaching teams of students for real estate case competitions. Recently, Lebret’s teaching has shifted entirely to real estate financial modeling. His research interests reside in bringing a long-term mindset to real estate market analysis and urban economics. His work seeks to demonstrate how careful planning, along with better financial and economic policies, may help diminish increasing local inequalities and therefore help present a more adapted and sustainable usage of the land. Lebret's focus is to identify and analyze existing policies that could be modified so that the short-term benefits are not significantly outweighed by longer-term costs. Forgoing immediate profits in exchange for a more sustainable outcome is a trade-off that must be evaluated, and Lebret finds academic research to be the most natural environment for this work.

Lebret received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 2008.

Crocker H. Liu

Robert A. Beck Professor of Hospitality Financial Management, Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; Professor, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Crocker H. Liu's research interests are focused on issues in real estate finance, particularly topics related to agency, corporate governance, organizational forms, market efficiency, and valuation. His research has been published extensively, and from 2001 to 2014 he was coeditor of the top academic real estate journal Real Estate Economics where he continues to serve on the editorial board. Liu also previously served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Real Estate Finance and EconomicsJournal of Property Research, and Journal of Real Estate Finance. The recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, Liu previously taught at New York University's Stern School of Business, where he was the Associate Director of Real Estate, and at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, where he held the McCord Chair in addition to being the Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice.

Liu earned his B.B.A. in real estate and finance from the University of Hawaii, an M.S. in real estate from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in finance and real estate from the University of Texas.

Peng (Peter) Liu

Associate Professor, Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management, Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; Associate Professor, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Peng Liu is an active researcher and an editor of the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management, the official journal of the American Real Estate Society. His research focuses on the interaction between the financial market and the real economy, with a broad interest in real estate, hospitality management, securitization and REITs, commodity pricing, and market analysis in retail, airline, hotel, and recreational industries. An award-winning researcher and educator, Liu has published extensively in top-tier journals. He previously worked for Goldman Sachs Asset Management in New York City and held the position of Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Beijing. Liu is also a respected securitization expert in China and currently serves as the expert advisor to Shenzhen Security Exchange, China Insurance Asset Management Association, and the Global Asset Allocation and Securitization Forum.

Liu earned a Ph.D. co-majoring in finance and real estate from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, an M.A. in financial economics from Peking University, and a B.S. in engineering from Tsinghua University, China.

Alexei Tchistyi

Associate Professor, Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; Richard J. and Monene P. Bradley Director of Graduate Studies; Associate Professor, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Alexei Tchistyi's research focuses on various topics related to real estate finance and corporate finance: mortgage design, asset-backed securities, banking regulations, dynamic contracting, and executive compensation. His papers have been published in The Review of Financial Studies, The Journal of Financial Economics, The Journal of Finance, and The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. Before joining Cornell University in 2020, he was an Assistant Professor of Finance at the New York University Stern School of Business, an Assistant Professor of Real Estate at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business where he also served as cochair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, and an Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Office of Real Estate Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Tchistyi received his Ph.D. in Business from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2005.

Cody A. Danks Burke

Acting Director, Baker Program in Real Estate; Visiting Professor of the Practice, Paul Rubacha Department of Real Estate

Cody A. Danks Burke's teaching is focused on real estate transactions and deal structuring, as well as equity and debt investing in real estate. In addition to his academic responsibilities, he is a Managing Director of The Agnew Company, a West Coast family office where he originates, underwrites, and manages the company's real estate investments. He also serves as a Strategic Advisor to Velocis, a Dallas-based real estate private equity firm. Previously, Danks Burke was a Senior Investment Officer at Cornell University's Investment Office where he managed a $1.5 billion portfolio of endowment investments in real estate and natural resources from 2006 to 2020. He has also held positions as an Associate at the Partnership Fund for New York City, a private debt and equity fund that makes investments in New York City-based businesses, and as Special Assistant to the President of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also served as Press Secretary and later Deputy Chief of Staff in the Washington, DC offices of Colorado Congressman David Skaggs and his successor Senator Mark Udall.

Danks Burke earned a B.A. in International Affairs with a focus on Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an M.B.A. from Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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