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Konrad Wos ’76 Uses History to Teach Baker Students about Creating Real Estate Value

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Matthew Farrell

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In early October, students of the Baker Program in Real Estate had the privilege of welcoming Konrad Wos (B.Arch ’76), of Wos & Wos Development, to their weekly Distinguished Speaker Series. The insights and vision that Wos shared with students reflected the expertise he has garnered in over 30 years of developing and consulting on real estate projects in New York City.

Nueva York desde el Top of the Rock
Empire State Building (Guillen Perez, via Compfight)

Drawing upon examples from the history of New York, his message focused on finding and creating lasting value within real estate investments. Wos taught a variety of principles that have helped bring about some of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan—principles that he believes can still be applied to real estate today. In one memorable example, Wos traced the history of the Empire State Building back to the 1700s, when the land was purchased from a farmer for $2,500.

One of the key takeaways for Baker students was the message Wos shared about creating value by harnessing change. Essential to this process is the ability to identify and discern future needs, and then find a way to meet those needs through innovation and construction. Wos shared an example of how this process was followed by Cass Gilbert in the creation of the iconic Woolworth Building. A truly visionary project in its day, the “Cathedral of Commerce” was the tallest building in the world, a title which it held for nearly 20 years.

For students of the Baker Program, the message was informative and inspiring. The history of New York City that Wos shared and his deep understanding of the development process were a valuable contribution to this semester’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

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