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USF CRED program to honor graduates

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Community Real Estate Development (CRED) program at the University of South Florida will be holding a reception for program graduates from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Ella at Encore Senior Residential Complex.

The USF CRED program is a professional development certification summer institute for current real estate professionals and students in business, urban studies and architecture who are seeking hands-on experience in project-level real estate financial analysis in community real estate.

The facilitator of the 2013 program, Jim Carras of Carras Community Investment, Inc., had many goals for the 2013 program.

"The 2013 CRED program attained its goal of teaching real estate development skills within the context of community development values," said Carras. "Students successfully applied these unique skills to six development projects, all with the potential of being implemented in their communities. The combination of classroom instruction and real-time project development has provided students with the knowledge and experience to better their communities and enhance their careers."

A total of 17 graduates completed the program this year coming from Sarasota, Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk and Pinellas counties and varying professional backgrounds from ministry to community-based nonprofits.

The program is comprised of a three-tier workshop curriculum. Program participants begin by learning basic skills in real estate development, move on to workshops on real estate finance and complete the program with by managing one of six current real estate development project in the Tampa Bay area varying from transitional housing projects to health care and research centers.

Former student like Jason Dickens, who graduated from the program in 2011, has found great success with his company, Design Styles Architecture through the CRED program.

“During the summer of 2011, we found a building for sale with plenty of room for parking and room for growth," Dickens said. "1708 East Columbus was a diamond in the rough and fit our vision perfectly. The demolition phase of the project was intense, and took some time, but something very interesting starting happening as we completed construction.

"On the day of our closing for the building, we stopped by the site and looked around from our front door and saw that every house surrounding our building was boarded up, or in one case half burned out. By the time we completed our project all of the buildings surrounding ours were fixed and were being used. Our vision for the neighborhood was working much quicker than even we had expected."

The projects for this year’s program were Bayside Reserve, Berith House of Hope, Standing Ovation Health Center, Health Plex at Marian Anderson Place, East Tampa Business Exchange and The Core.

The CRED Program would like to acknowledge their sponsors the Tampa Housing Authority, Pinellas County Housing Finance Authority and Housing and Finance Authority of Hillsborough County.

For more information on the CRED Program and how to apply to the 2014 summer institute, contact Becky Clayton at


Filed under:Arts and Sciences John Dailey Scott Florida Institute of Government    
Author: Justine Figueroa