Doug Wiele, BS 76

Founding Partner and President
Foothill Partners, El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Doug Wiele, BS 76, has covered a lot of ground, literally, since he earned his degree in real estate and urban land economics.

 

Though he prefers a low profile, Wiele has affected how countless people live, shop, and play through the development or redevelopment of 30 shopping centers in Northern California, Nevada, Montana, and the Philippines, including California's first silver LEED-certified green building shopping center.

 

"I stopped counting square footage years ago," says Wiele, who cofounded Foothill Partners in 1996. His company of four employees develops the sort of small, specialty shopping centers that are typically a developer's nightmare. They serve affluent, educated, "left-leaning" residents who react strongly to conspicuous changes in their midst.

 

"My upbringing, the education at Berkeley, my own politics—I know how to get along in communities like this," says Wiele, who grew up in Oakland.

"In places where it's easy to get development approved, markets get overbuilt and property values decline. And I found nobody else was doing what
I was doing. His strategy has paid off: "When the market collapsed in 2008, I had no vacancies. We didn't have exposure in any soft markets."

 

Wiele's profile swelled when Uptown Monterey, California's first silver LEED-certified shopping center, opened in 2008. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) Wiele developed the shopping center—anchored by Trader Joe's, Pharmaca, and Peet's Coffee— through a public/private partnership with the city.

 

When his project manager suggested LEED certification, Wiele resisted. The budget and schedule were already final. "Good developers should be good stewards of the land, and yet this business is primarily about the value of an investment. Is it going to make money?" he says.

 

But then Wiele consented, saying, "If you can deliver on budget and on schedule, we'll do it." The project manager did both, proving that fiscal and social responsibility are compatible.

 

"How do I define success? When my kids tell me they like the spaces I've created," says Wiele. "I can't think of anything more gratifying than having kids, who are the future, say you did well. Success is legacy." —Jeanne Howard

 


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