New Faculty Q&A: John Loper
John Loper was appointed Associate Teaching Professor of Real Estate at the USC Price School in fall 2017. He has more than 25 years of real estate development experience including retail, residential, master planned communities, mixed use, office, and hospitality; and is currently the president of Palm Tree Communities Consulting Inc.
In addition, Professor Loper has taught in Price’s graduate and undergraduate real estate programs since 2012, and for two years led the Price School’s Learning to Excel Academically and Professionally (LEAP) capstone lab trip to Detroit, providing real-world training for students interested in urban real estate development, urban revitalization, and private, public and nonprofit sectors. He also earned his master’s degree in real estate development from USC Price.
What are your areas of interest, and what inspired you to pursue those topics?
I am a Teaching Professor, so I teach six classes per year instead of pursuing major research projects. I also have an active real estate development consulting business, which I enjoy. I just finished obtaining Planning Commission and City Council approval for a specific plan I wrote in Palm Desert. I am currently working on the design of a 250-unit, market rate apartment project along a transit corridor in South Gate and a renovation of a historic Googie-style mixed-use redevelopment project in Whittier. Almost all of my clients have a USC connection. Several are alumni I met when I came back to USC to speak, others I have met through USC connections and one was my dorm roommate at Pardee Tower. The Trojan network really works!
What courses will you be teaching this fall?
I am teaching three classes this Fall – two sessions of RED 375 – Real Estate Development Analysis, which is the second in the series of classes RED students take, and RED 437 – Advanced Finance and Investment for Real Estate Development – which is the final RED class. It’s going to be fun to help the students start their Real Estate education and then help another group finish their undergraduate education.
What’s the most rewarding part of teaching?
I enjoy the observing the “AHA! moment” with my students when they discover how the design, entitlements and financial modeling of a project are all interrelated. Also, I enjoy helping students discover how to build their first spreadsheets — which is a tool they will be using throughout their careers. It’s been very gratifying to run into former students and hear about the projects they are working on in the “real world.”
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I am a news junkie so I spend time listening, watching and reading about current events. I also devour real estate journals and online real estate magazines.
What show, on TV or Netflix, do you enjoy following right now? What’s the most recent movie you watched?
I am a fan of The Big Bang Theory. I recently saw the movie Hidden Figures for the second time — it’s a great movie on many levels. A couple weeks ago I attended a Colbie Caillat concert at the Orange County Fair — and yes, I had a bacon-wrapped fried chicken drumstick at the Fair.
Interesting Lewis Hall Trivia…
It’s fun for me to move into an office at Lewis Hall. Around 20 years ago, I was an alumni representative on the Lewis Hall Building Committee helping to raise money to build the building — so I am so happy to be able to teach in the classrooms in the building I had a very small part in raising money for.
Ralph and Goldy Lewis gave me my first real estate development job as an intern at Lewis Homes while I was an undergraduate at USC. I learned so much from Ralph and he was an incredible mentor. He encouraged me to obtain my MRED degree and I was fortunate to start as a part-time student in the first MRED class and graduate in the second MRED class. The Lewis Family have done so much for the real estate program at USC including funding the school’s building. It’s gratifying to have personally known Ralph and Goldy — they were truly special people and incredible real estate developers that cared about the projects they built and cared about the communities they developed in. I feel honored to be able to teach in Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall.