The Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance
Uniquely positioned to deliver academic programs of the highest possible quality.
REIS - 2023 Real Estate Symposium
Developers, investors, government officials, and real estate experts will address the dynamics of population growth and real estate development on September 21st.Learn More
Featured Research Projects
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, rental rates across the United States have soared to record highs. To help demonstrate the rise in rents, the interactive tools on this page rank the most overvalued rental markets from among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. Past leasing data from Zillow's Observed Rent Index (ZORI) is used to model the rental trend for each measured metro.
The Southwest Florida Real Estate Report is a quarterly publication made possible through a collaborative effort between the Regional Economic Research Institute and the Lucas Institute, both housed within the Lutgert College of Business. The report analyzes a wide range of real estate data from the five-county region of Southwest Florida. The report is updated once a quarter and has been issued since 2023.
About the Lucas Institute
The FGCU Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance was established in the summer of 2003. Two primary factors motivated the establishment of the institute. The first factor was the important role that real estate development plays in the economy of Southwest Florida. The second motivating factor was the need expressed by participants in the development industry for a top-quality degree program that would prepare students for the challenges they will face as they advance in their careers in this highly competitive industry.
In the fall of 2003, an advisory committee composed of industry leaders from real estate development and related fields was formed to guide the development of the institute and its programs. Preliminary discussions with the advisory committee resulted in several significant conclusions. First, the establishment of a graduate degree program would add tremendous value to Southwest Florida. Second, because of the unique nature of the real estate development industry in Southwest Florida and the willingness of the leaders of various local firms to lend their expertise to our academic programs, we have an opportunity to build a program of nationally recognized quality. Finally, while the establishment of such programs requires tremendous investment of time and money, the returns to future students, their potential employers, and the region fully justify this investment.
In December 2003, David and Linda Lucas donated $2,000,000 to endow the institute. In recognition of the extremely generous gift the institute was renamed the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance. These funds were subsequently matched by the State of Florida and, as the result of carful stewardship and a number of subsequent smaller gifts, today the institute’s endowment is approximately $5,000,000.
Today the institute facilitates the continued development of academic real estate programs at FGCU and serves as the primary linkage between the institution and the real estate industry. Current academic offerings include a Real Estate Finance concentration within the finance major and a Real Estate Minor which is open to all FGCU students. The institute partners with a wide array of professional real estate organizations to provide opportunities for students to interact with industry leaders both in and outside of the classroom.
The generosity of David and Linda Lucas is inspired by a lifelong commitment to help others wherever possible. They have touched the lives of thousands of people throughout Southwest Florida through their extraordinarily generous contributions of time, money and leadership. Their belief that it is everyone's responsibility to help make Southwest Florida a better place in which to live and work has motivated a contagious spirit of giving among The Bonita Bay Group staff and the residential communities that the company develops.
David and Linda have made Fort Myers their home for twenty years and have raised three children here. David serves as Chairman of the Board of The Bonita Bay Group and Linda is a homemaker involved with numerous volunteer activities.
The Lucas' philanthropic work is often quiet, information about their personal giving is not often shared and in many circumstances the people affected by their generous contributions of time and money are unaware of their assistance. In addition to their contributions to Florida Gulf Coast University, other contributions that are on the record include United Way, Bonita Springs Community Foundation, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Canterbury School and Lee County Public Schools. David and Linda Lucas consistently exhibit an uncompromising commitment to their core values of integrity, ethics and making a difference in the life of others. They are extraordinary role models for our community.
Director of the Lucas Institute
Dr. H. Shelton Weeks was a member of the inaugural faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University where he currently serves as the Lucas Professor of Real Estate and Director of the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance. He earned his BS, MS and PhD in finance from the University of Alabama. He teaches in the areas of corporate finance, investments and real estate. His research focuses on pedagogical issues, corporate governance, and real estate. Dr. Weeks has extensive industry experience in valuation of real property with an emphasis on senior living projects. He is a member of the American Real Estate Society and the Real Estate Investment Society. Dr. Weeks serves on the academic review panel of The Appraisal Journal and is the former Managing Editor of the Journal of Housing Research and former co-editor of the Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education.
Lucas Research Fellow
In January of 2022 Dr. Daniel Huerta was named the Lucas Research Fellow. In this role he facilitates real estate research by FGCU students and faculty through the identification and acquisition of real estate data and other resources. Additionally, Dr. Huerta serves as the primary liaison with the American Real Estate Society (ARES) and other academic real estate organizations. He facilitates the participation of FGCU students and faculty in these academic organizations where real estate research is produced and disseminated. Dr. Huerta also arranges and coordinates presentations by leading real estate scholars at FGCU.
- American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association
- American Real Estate Society
- Southern Finance Association