New ULI Book ‘Making It in Real Estate: Starting Out as a Developer’ Gives an Insider’s View on Achieving Success as a Real Estate Entrepreneur


California-based author John McNellis draws from decades of experience in development

WASHINGTON – November 2, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — A new book published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) offers practical advice on becoming a real estate entrepreneur and specifically, on owning and operating one’s own development firm. Written in a conversational style and light-hearted tone, Making It in Real Estate: Starting Out as a Developer serves as a “how-to” guide on the nuts and bolts of development: brokering deals; working with architects, brokers, bankers and other professionals as well as negotiating with local governments and citizen groups to move forward with a project.

John McNellis

Woven throughout with humorous anecdotes, pop culture references, and personal experiences, Making It in Real Estate is an approachable entry point into real estate for those starting out their careers or transitioning from another field. Taking a view distinct from the impartial style of an academic textbook, author John McNellis engages audiences with practical advice and wisdom gained from a 30-year career in commercial real estate development. Principal and cofounder of McNellis Partners, a commercial real estate development firm, McNellis and his partners specialize in developing grocery-anchored retail centers in Northern California. Formed in the mid-1980s, the partnership has executed about seventy-five commercial, retail, and mixed-use projects throughout California.

McNellis says he wrote the kind of book he wishes had been available to him when he began his own career. “Had there been a practical book on development when I started out, I would have read it,” he writes. “Because while we do sometimes appear doomed to make our own mistakes, we can occasionally remember the advice of others and spare ourselves the first-degree burns our own inexperience would have failed to prevent.”

Published by ULI, Making It in Real Estate is one among several new offerings from the ULI Leadership Network, which offers tools to help members become better leaders within ULI, their communities, and their career journeys. The book will be used as part of the Institute’s Real Estate Entrepreneur Programs, workshops and forums for individuals who are interested in transitioning to the role of developers as well as current development professionals seeking to improve their business operations and development product.  These programs take a comprehensive approach to sharing the fundamentals of real estate entrepreneurship—from project finance and entitlements to planning and design to marketing and leasing.

The book has received praise from several distinguished ULI members and real estate entrepreneurs. George Marcus, cofounder of Marcus & Millichap, one the country’s most successful commercial real estate brokerage firms, said of Making It in Real Estate: “McNellis’s wit makes the book an easy read. I would highly recommend this book to both experienced and beginning real estate developers and investors.”

ULI will include the book with registration in ULI’s Real Estate Entrepreneur Programs. McNellis will be a featured speaker at six events hosted by ULI’s district council network. The book is now available for purchase through Amazon.

About the ULI Leadership Network
The ULI Leadership Network fosters relationships, facilitates industry collaboration, imparts knowledge, and prepares members to become leaders at multiple professional levels and as individual influencers within their communities. Within the Leadership Network, ULI currently offers seven programs specific to leadership development.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has nearly 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

contact: Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086
by Robert Krueger

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