In 2003, fresh from earning a Business Certificate from UC San Diego Extension, Christopher Sohaey made his first real estate purchase: 550 Park Boulevard. The six-story building stands at the corner of Park and Market Street, an area that at the time was greatly in need of revitalization.
The East Village became home to Petco Park the next year, and today it’s an exciting mix of breweries, restaurants, shops, and condos. In 2021 the area will get an even bigger boost when a familiar neighbor sets up shop across the street from Sohaey’s property: UC San Diego’s much-anticipated center in the city.
Today, 550 Park is one of 15 properties Sohaey owns in San Diego. It contains 172 condos, as well as Duck Foot Brewing Company, the East Village Market, his property management office, and City Dog groomers—a good tenant, Sohaey says, for a building that’s home to more dogs than people. He adds, “It’s been fun investing in these urban areas and watching them blossom. I’m so excited to see UCSD becoming part of the downtown community.”
Sohaey now holds an MBA, but the Business Certificate he earned while working full-time was an invaluable tool in that first deal, which solidified the former leasing agent’s status as a real estate investor. “I was able to underwrite the deal very well,” he says, “a process that consists of researching the area and making good spreadsheets. A lot of that came from the case studies I did in my classes. It gave me a competitive advantage over a lot of people who do the same thing as I do.”
The 42-year-old has made about 50 more real estate deals since. His success and business acumen have also propelled him to get involved in civic life, working with the police department, the Metropolitan Transit System and other government agencies.
“The certificate program introduced me to a set of ground rules and various aspects of business I never knew existed. It was crucial, in my first investment, to gain exposure to these things I never learned in college.”
You can follow Christopher Sohaey @mmcrealestate on Twitter.
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