Real estate profile: Christopher Laurent

market president, Wisconsin division, Gorman & Company

Title: Market president, Wisconsin division
Company: Gorman & Company
Education: Bachelor of science from UW-Madison
Family: "Two daughters – Jordan (13) and Emma (10). Against my better judgment we got a cat, small and gray."
City of Residence: Sun Prairie
Hobbies and Interests: "I bought myself a decent SLR digital camera so I think I’m a photographer now. Sort of like that obnoxious aunt who takes pictures of everything. Also re-discovering classical guitar and trying out the mandolin. Enjoy travel in the Pacific Northwest. Rain is a myth. The weather is always beautiful and the coffee and wine make for great full days. Looking forward to a trip to New Orleans. Haven’t been there since Katrina. I’ve also made exercise (cardio and weight training) my friend again."
What are you working on? "Final preparations on Building 9 of the Pabst Brewery redevelopment. This will be an arts and entrepreneurial live/work development following up our tremendously successful Park East Enterprise Lofts across King Drive from the new Manpower building. Friday we’re celebrating the opening of State & Main, a mixed-use development in Racine that targets active adult rental housing, condominiums, and retail in a joint venture with Johnson redevelopment, a subsidiary of S.C. Johnson."
How does the market look to you? "We’re pretty bullish on the market. Our strategy is that there are always opportunities for new, innovative ideas. We work with some amazing people who help bring our concepts to reality. We’re finding the slowdown in the condo market to have enhanced folks’ interest in our communities."
What was the best deal you’ve ever been involved in? "Two, actually. The first was when I was at WHEDA. I was on a site visit in the evening looking at a 14-unit senior development in Strum, Wis. The developer – a great, earnest guy – took me through every unit at about 7:30 at night. The deal was a rehab, and everyone on site was bursting to show the improvements that had been made in their homes – and, consequently, their lives. The other was Avalon Madison Village abutting Madison’s challenged Allied Drive Neighborhood. I drove through the development at dusk and was struck by the people on porches and kids playing in the green area – something they clearly couldn’t do where they’d lived before. Most significant was the Halloween decorations people hung on the trees. We’d created more than just a building. We’d helped build community. Both of these developments keep me humble and remind me what this business is about."
What was the funniest moment of your career? "On my first day in my first job out of college I worked for a service department for two hospitals that had just merged. In my first professional meeting with my boss and two somewhat hostile departments frustrated by the stresses of merger I spilled coffee down the front of my shirt. I never really overcame that."

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