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Real estate development entrepreneur to share secrets of making it in real estate

Thursday, November 9 2017 12:00am

What do 163 of the world’s billionaires have in common? Real estate investment as a core part of their careers or portfolios.

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By: Elizabeth Harper

John McNellis, a successful real estate developer from northern California, set out to write a book with one goal: to make advice about real estate development readily available to those looking to enter the field.  The book acts as a friendly mentor for young people who may think about owning, developing or investing in real estate someday.  Aspiring developers can get advice in person when McNellis visits Ohio University Nov. 29 from 5 – 7 p.m. in Baker University Center Rm. 240/242 as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s guest lecturer series.

McNellis will talk about his book, “Making It In Real Estate: Starting as a Developer,” beginning at 5 p.m. with a networking reception, followed by his presentation at 5:30 p.m., and a question and answer session afterward. A limited number of complimentary copies of his book will be available at the event, with book signings by McNellis immediately following. 

Paul Mass, director of Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, has known McNellis for 10 years and can attest to the value of his advice and experience. 

“John is not only one of the smartest, most experienced, and practical entrepreneurs I know, he is also one of the most talented and engaging writers about business I have ever read. John is funny, candid and extraordinarily insightful.  Students and other members of the campus and community who consider making money in real estate should treat themselves to John’s appearance here on November 29.”

The book is filled with tips and information based on McNellis’ 35 years of experience as a developer, as well as his training in real estate law. He shares the lessons he learned and mistakes he made while explaining why real estate development is a great side endeavor that can yield significant financial benefits over time. McNellis understands that for the everyday person, becoming a successful developer can be a challenging and costly venture. He shares the realities of the business to make potential developers aware of the kind of issues they may face.

“My desire is to leave you with the same admiration, caution, and healthy respect for real estate development that a zookeeper has for his lions,” McNellis said of his book.

McNellis started his real estate business in his 20s, and his company, McNellis Partners, has been going strong for more than 30 years. The company, which primarily redevelops shopping centers and office buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area, works on a limited number of projects at a time so it can focus on the quality of each project. That approach has earned McNellis Partners a reputation for thoughtful development and strong working relationships over the years.

This event is organized by the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between Ohio University’s College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.