Guest speaker Emile Haddad, Chairman and CEO of FivePoint Holdings, LLC and Gary Hunt, board member, shared insights on leadership and life lessons at the third class of the popular Urban Land Institute Leaders and Managers Program on Planned Communities, Urban Infill and Residential Design. The company’s mixed-use master-planned communities are located in California including the Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine, Newhall Ranch in Valencia and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Emile Haddad grew up in Beirut, Lebanon during civil war. He realized at an early age that life does not wait for anyone and it is up to you to give your life meaning. Emile wanted to find out how people become great leaders and set his path accordingly. As testimony to his efforts, dedication and leadership, Emile founded FivePoint in 2009. Previously he served as Chief Investment Officer of Lennar Homes, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders.
Emile wants to be known as a builder of communities, as opposed to a master developer or homebuilder, and create great places for people to live. He has analyzed in depth why cities become great and has applied those principles to communities created and developed by his company. “Today, the challenge is to find innovative ways to build, shaped by technology, and the only way to do that is to understand trends,” said Emile.
Always a student of trends, Emile believes that Millennials will be recognized as one of the greatest generations in history. “Millennials are blind to issues that were hindrances to the baby boomer generation such as race, sexual orientation, power and wealth,” said Emile. “They have the ability and desire to live intergenerational.”
Emile also offered his insights into reaching the affluent foreign buyer. “Affluent foreign buyers want to live the American way while maintaining a connection with their culture,” Emile stated. “In California, they realize they can operate in a global environment while looking for a safe haven for their children with good schools in a walkable, urban environment. Urbanized living is something we need to think a lot more about.”
Co-speaker Gary Hunt, formerly Executive Vice President with the Irvine Company, is on the board of directors of both FivePoint and William Lyon Homes. Sharing key messages on leadership qualities, Gary believes careers stay solid through a strong foundation and sticking with one discipline to become good at it, along with the ability to recognize and adapt to change quickly.
The Great Park Neighborhood in Irvine is a strong testament to the leadership of Emile Haddad, and the innovation of FivePoint to develop great communities. The strategy was to create a community where multiple generations can live together. After a 10-year approval process, 30,000 people showed up for the grand opening of Pavilion Park, followed by the successful opening of Beacon Park. When completed, the Great Park will include the largest sports complex in the country including 24 soccer fields and a stadium where the Ducks will train and can be used as an Olympic training center. A K-8 and high school will open in September 2016.