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photo: Nina J. Gruen   Nina J. Gruen
Executive Vice President
Principal Sociologist
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Nina J. Gruen has been the Principal Sociologist in charge of market research and analysis at Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) since co-founding the firm. Ms. Gruen applies the analytical techniques of the social sciences to estimating the demand for real estate and to understanding the behavior of the groups who determine the success of development, planning, and public policy decisions. She is a pioneer in synthesizing the results of behavioral research with quantitative time-series data to forecast market reactions. Market evaluations and programming studies led by Nina Gruen have resulted in the development and redevelopment of numerous retail, office, industrial, visitor, and residential projects, varying in scale from a single building to large single- and mixed-use projects.

Her work has led municipal clients to adopt public policies and infrastructure programs that revitalized areas of California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. She has worked with private groups to successfully develop home-grown projects like The Flats - transforming a once-abandoned industrial area into a crowded arts, entertainment, and retail district on Cleveland's waterfront. Large development entities, like The Irvine Company, Catellus, UPland Industries, PG&E, and The Prudential Insurance Company of America, as well as many public entities have used her market studies to decide between alternative product, scale, and timing options for the development of large land holdings. She serves as Special Master with her husband, Dr. Claude Gruen, for the United States District Court, Northern District of California, for the remediation, enhancement and redevelopment and stewardship of the assets of the 84-acre formerly contaminated Pacific States Steel site in Union City, CA. The site has been remediated and has already developed into a 745-unit residential community that has kick started an adjacent transit oriented development.

Ms. Gruen has authored two books: Low- and Moderate-Income Housing in the Suburbs: An Analysis for the Dayton, Ohio Region (Praeger Publishers, Inc. 1972), co-authored with Claude Gruen; and Believe It or Not: The Challenges Facing One Professional Woman a Half Century Ago (© Nina J. Gruen,, December 2015).

Ms. Gruen has lectured at major universities and published over 80 articles. Her publications on real estate market conditions and the use of demographic analysis to make profitable development and location decisions include: "Urban Divide," co-authored with her husband, Claude, was published in Urban Land in 2001. “Urban Divide” discusses how the U.S. will be divided into gateway and non-gateway communities based on America’s changing demographic paradigm. “Born to Shop … Elsewhere” (February 2004) and “The Wal-Mart Effect: Déjà vu All Over Again” (April 2005) were both published by The Institutional Real Estate Letter. “Consumer Preferences (October 2007) and “Replanning Small-City Downtowns,” co-authored with son Aaron Gruen, were both published by Urban Land. In May of 2011, she co-authored “Boomers, Echo’s and X’s: Generational and other Structural Shifts and Their Impacts on Future Demand for Real Estate in the Coming Decade” with Alan Billingsley. Her most recent article, "Why Women Need a Sense of Humor when Crashing an All-Male Organization" was published in the November/December 2015 issue of Urban Land.

Since January 2014, she has been the industry’s Dear Ms. Real Estate for ALM Real Estate Media Group, publishing two columns a month on that also appear monthly in Forum Magazine. She is also serving on the REM Editorial Advisory Board.

In 1982, Ms. Gruen became the first woman elected to the Urban Land Institute's Board of Trustees, where she served until 1997. In 1997, Ms. Gruen was designated an honorary member of ULI. She is currently a member of the ULI District Council Executive Committee.

Ms. Gruen was Chair of the State of California Transportation Commission Airspace Advisory Committee from January, 2002 through May, 2005. The AAC made recommendations to the California Transportation Commission concerning the use of Caltrans property not required for transportation or other departmental needs. During her 15-year tenure on this Committee, she was instrumental in encouraging the Division of Right-of-Way to prepare a 5-year Airspace Business Plan with built-in criteria to measure success. This was a first for the State of California Department of Transportation. She served on the CTC Real Estate Advisory Panel from 2005-2008.

Ms. Gruen is past president (1995-1996) of International Women’s Forum – Northern California, the Bay Region affiliate of the International Women’s Forum. The forum fosters association among preeminent women leaders throughout the world. In 1984, she was the first woman to be elected President of the Western Regional Science Association. She is also a member of Lambda Alpha, an honorary land economics society, and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). Ms. Gruen is a frequent speaker at real estate groups and is cited in the January 1993 cover story of the national real estate publication Forum as one of the country's 30 leading women in commercial real estate. She also serves on the Board of the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers.

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