LOS ANGELES -- A multidisciplinary team of UCLA graduate students won the 2014 NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge held on November 20th at the Covel Commons Grand Horizon Ballroom on the UCLA campus. The UCLA team consisted of second-year UCLA Anderson MBA students Ian O'Neill, Reisa E. Bloch, Patrick Devitt, Jack V. Agresta, and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Urban Planning student Mark Simpson. The annual event, presented by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), presents a specific real estate case challenge to a team of students at UCLA and USC. In addition to providing a rich learning experience that requires participating students to produce high-quality professional work within a limited timeframe, the competition is designed to showcase the talents and creativity of the next generation of real estate leaders.
This year, the challenge focused on the former Los Angeles Times printing facility, an iconic 21-acre site located in Costa Mesa and owned by the Tribune Company. The teams were challenged to create and present the highest and best use for redevelopment of the site. UCLA's team proposed The Platform, a thoughtful mixed-use development that aims to serve the changing preferences of the Millennial Generation by satisfying an underserved demand for rental apartments and creative office space. The development program also includes daily-needs retail, including novel food trains that activate a defunct rail spur, and six acres of much needed green space and other rich amenities.
"The team was presented with a challenging low visibility, mid-block site neighbored by a hodgepodge of existing uses, but one that presented a compelling opportunity to introduce a sense of place in north Costa Mesa" said Paul Habibi, UCLA Anderson lecturer and team advisor. "They crafted a thoughtful program that caters to the underserved needs of the Millennial Generation, through the delivery of 400 rental apartments and an adaptive reuse of the Times printing facility that preserves authenticity and character, while providing a welcoming, highly-amenitized offering to prospective tenants. The team presented their program in a very compelling, analytical fashion, and was one of the most poised, articulate teams I have coached in the eight years that I have been involved in this competition."
"I am immensely proud of our NAIOP Challenge team," said Tim Kawahara, executive director of the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. "Case competitions like the NAIOP Challenge are an important part of the real estate curriculum at UCLA. They provide students with a very practical and hands-on approach to learning, which enriches their classroom experience.”
In its 17th year, the NAIOP USC vs. UCLA Real Estate Challenge celebrates the rivalry between the two schools and illustrates the robust real estate programs at both universities. The winning team is awarded the Silver Shovel, a silver shovel inscribed with all past winners, and a $5,000 cash prize.