ULI Northwest Blog

Chris Nelson with Capstone Partners Named New ULI Northwest Chair for Oregon/SW Washington

Chris Nelson, Principal

ULI Northwest is pleased to announce that Chris Nelson with Capstone Partners will Chair ULI Northwest in Oregon/SW Washington, starting in July 2019. Chris will succeed our current Chair, Eric Cress with Urban Development (Chair 2017-2019).

We had an opportunity to talk with Chris about work, his vision for ULI Northwest, and what he likes to do outside the world of CRE.

What is your favorite thing about being in CRE? 
My favorite thing about being in CRE is the creative process of development. Converting an idea and vision into a hard asset that contributes to the built environment, has a positive economic impact to a community and creates a compelling investment opportunity – I think that is very cool!

What is your favorite project that you’ve done and why?
The Leland James office redevelopment in Slabtown because it is a great example of our firm’s partnering culture on execution and the end-product. We co-developed the project with our friends at Cairn Pacific and were able to re-purpose a tired and ugly 1970’s vintage corporate HQ into a new state-of-the art, Leed certified creative office development with curated ground floor retail that serves as an amenity to the building occupiers and the Slabtown neighborhood (Orangetheory Fitness and Good Coffee, for example).  The project received the NAIOP/Commercial Association of Brokers 2018 Office Development of the year award, which was a great honor for our team!

What is your favorite city (other than Portland) and why?
Zurich.  In many ways it’s Portland’s Swiss Sister City.  Zurich has a similar scale to Portland, is very walkable, has great architecture and culture, a large river running through it (the Limmat), a high-quality rail transit system, and is a great launchpad to incredible outdoor adventure in the mountains, like we enjoy in the Pacific Northwest.

What are some things you like to do when you’re not working in real estate?
Hang out with my wife and friends at our weekend home in Hood River. We love to mountain bike, hike, sup, and ski. I also love craft beer. The Hood River area is an outdoor adventure paradise, with a great historic downtown, active waterfront district, and it has some of the best beer and wine producers in Oregon.

Share with us one disruption that you think will change real estate in the coming years.
Our society has fully embraced the shared economy with AirBNB, Uber/Lyft, WeWork, urban scooters etc., particularly in urban areas. I expect we will see more of this innovation in the office sector and I think in a big way in the housing sector with co-living, for example.

 What is your favorite thing about ULI?
The ability to interact with other CRE market participants, (including my competitors), discuss shared experiences, challenges, and to problem solve for the Portland area’s benefit.

Over your two year term as Chair, what is the one thing you’d like to accomplish?
I would like to really lean in and tackle one important issue to our industry in Portland (and ideally Seattle, as well). That could be resiliency, affordable housing, or homelessness. ULI is uniquely positioned to convene our local and regional CRE brain trust, partner with the public sector and tap into the ULI network nationally to leverage best practices from other communities.

Share something interesting that our members might not know about you.
I was Student Body President at UC Davis. While that was a great growth experience, I learned quickly that being an elected official was not my jam. However, I was the student representative on a campus development RFP, which led to an introduction to and my first job with Trammell Crow Company in Reno, Nevada!


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