A team of five Leeds Real Estate MBA students won the 10th Annual NAIOP Rocky Mountain Challenge on May 2, 2012. The development team from Leeds beat a team from the University of Denver before a crowd of 700 real estate professionals. This competition gives graduate students the opportunity to prepare a proposal to develop/re-develop a site in the Denver metropolitan area. This year’s site was a 65-acre track containing the former Mile High Greyhound Park in Commerce City, Colorado. This site is particularly challenging because it is surrounded primarily by industrial uses and has limited vehicular access.
The Leeds Real Estate team developed an economically and financially feasible plan for the re-development of the very challenging site. Second-year Real Estate MBA students have been working on their proposal with Leeds faculty and real estate professionals all semester as part of the Real Estate Project Competition class. The plan included uses supported by the local market: a boys and girls club, two technical schools, affordable housing and retail. The proposed development will be financed primarily by Commerce City and by private sources of debt and equity.
The development team did a remarkable job creating a market-driven proposal that meets the needs of the local community while providing market rates of return for the debt and equity capital. Following the competition Sean Ford Sr., the Mayor of Commerce City, said: “We look forward to working with the development community to refine these ideas and make this project a reality.”
Please join me in congratulating John Bauknight, Matt Ferguson, Tyler Field, Blake Ottersberg and Craig Townsend. I would also like to thank the instructors for this class, Kim Koehn and Sherm Miller, and Katie Latier for managing the entire process. This year’s competition is Kim’s and Sherm’s first experience with the NAIOP Rocky Mountain Challenge and they did a remarkable job preparing our students for this event. Well done.
CU Real Estate Center
University of Colorado Boulder
April 6, 2012
A revitalization project for downtown Houston combining residential, retail, and entrepreneurial business elements has secured the first place grand prize of $50,000 in a national urban design competition for a joint team from the University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard University.
The 10th annual Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition pits graduate level teams against each other based on a hypothetical proposal for a redevelopment project. Student teams act as a master developer by proposing a master land use plan for a development site, as well as supplying financial projections needed to support the master development plan. This year’s site is the 16.3 acre landmark United States Postal Service facility in downtown Houston.
The winning proposal, “Bayou Commons,” was strategically designed to be downtown Houston’s first residential district celebrating cultural diversity and urban lifestyle. The master plan, originally named “Downtown Bayou,” was re-branded after the team considerably refined and expanded their initial proposal following University of Colorado/Harvard University team’s final four selection and site tour in early March.
The Bayou Commons design focused on attracting a mix of ethnic and socioeconomic individuals through its enhanced Buffalo Bayou waterfront, variety of residential product, connection to adjacent districts and the University of Houston-Downtown campus, safe community environment, entrepreneurial office space, and new commuter rail station. The scheme’s distinctive features for the site include: an iconic pedestrian bridge spanning the bayou, unique architecture and amply-shaded sidewalks that create comfort and re-establishes downtown outdoor enjoyment in the hot and humid Houston climate, a new cultural center for exhibits and performances. The team designed Bayou Commons to be market-driven and phased to ensure each chapter of development creates a desirable place to live and interact. In addition, the master plan celebrates Houston’s culture while fulfilling the city’s desire of catalyzing residential development and future downtown revitalization.
“People have a growing desire to live downtown,” Murphy said of the team’s design. “This is a unique opportunity where some of the strongest real estate oriented people in the country come together in one multidisciplinary competition. It’s amazing and humbling to have been a part of it.”
The winning team took on challenges faced in many cities looking to find new ways to transform blighted areas and address economic issues. “From an experiential learning perspective, the team has had to analyze different product types from affordable housing, to mixed use with retail, office, and had to deal with many engineering and traffic flow issues,” said Miller, who added that the real estate program at the Leeds School of Business is known for its academic depth and practical training.
Established in 1936, the Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute with a mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
Date & Location
- March 8, 2012
- Grand Hyatt, Denver
Our annual conference featured Colorado real estate luminaries reflecting on the state’s real estate history. The panel also featured emerging leaders who looked forward to developing trends and provided insights into the direction of Colorado real estate markets and opportunities.
Keynote: Economic Overview
Asieh Mansour, Ph.D.
Head of Americas Research, CBRE, Inc.
Global Research and Consulting
Asieh is a real estate economist with over 22 years industry experience. She currently serves as the Head of Americas Research for the CBRE Group. In that role, she is responsible for directing CBRE’s Americas based commercial real estate market analysts, advise the Americas leadership and professionals on economic issues, serve as a key spokesperson on the commercial real estate environment and work closely with her CBRE research colleagues around the world. Asieh also sits on CBRE’s Americas Operations Management Committee.