November 22, 2018

UCLA Excels in Local and National Real Estate Case Competition

Los Angeles (November 20, 2018) — UCLA graduate student teams won the 2018 NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge and placed second in the 2018 National Real Estate Challenge hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. Both case competitions took place on November 15, 2018, at UCLA and UT Austin, respectively.

NAIOP team (left to right): UCLA Anderson Professor Paul Habibi, Jeffrey Eigenbrood (’19), Daniel Polk (’19), Ben Morrison (’19), Robert Anthony (’19), Nicholas Marino (’19)

The NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge team consisted of Class of 2019 UCLA Anderson MBA students Robert Anthony, Jeff Eigenbrood, Nick Marino
and Ben Morrison, and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture student Daniel Polk. The annual event, sponsored 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 time frame, the competition is designed to showcase the talents and creativity of the next generation of real estate professionals.

This year, the NAIOP Challenge involved two undeveloped parcels on 11 acres of land located at the southwest corner of Del Amo Avenue and Newport Avenue in Tustin, California. The city acquired the property in 2007 and it has been vacant since that time. The site is a highly visible infill adjacent to the 55 freeway and near the massive Tustin Legacy, the 1600-acre former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, which is currently being redeveloped. The site sits in an area of the Pacific Center East Specific Plan, which is a major employment center in Tustin that will continue to grow.

UCLA’s team proposed a project they titled Solana (Spanish for solarium or sunny spot) that was inspired by strawberry farming that had once taken place on the site. Solana is a natural extension of the nearby Tustin Legacy project, which involves the transformation of 16,000 acres of raw land into a massive master-planned commercial and residential community.

Video fly-through of the UCLA NAIOP “Solano – Tustin” Development

UCLA’s Solana consists of two select service hotels (305 keys), 240 multifamily units, 10,000 square feet of retail, 75 units of 80 percent affordable housing and more than 150,000 square feet of community space. “I am enormously proud of our NAIOP Challenge team,” said Tim Kawahara, executive director of the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “Our students proposed a very thoughtful project that provides both commercial value and community benefits to the City of Tustin.”

In its 21st year, the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge celebrates the rivalry between USC and UCLA and illustrates the robust real estate programs at both universities. The winning team is awarded the Silver Shovel, which is inscribed with all past winners’ names. In addition, a $5,000 contribution is made in the name of the winning school to the Challenge for Charity (C4C), benefiting the Special Olympics.

National Real Estate Challenge team (left to right): DaJuan Bennett (’20), Austen Mount (’20), Anne Sewall (’20), James Blake (’20), Robert Walls (’20)

The National Real Estate Challenge team from UCLA consisted of Class of 2020 UCLA Anderson MBA students DaJuan Bennett, James Blake, Austen Mount, Anne M. Sewall and Robert Walls. The challenge, held annually at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, is an invitation-only case competition for student teams from the nation’s top-ranked business schools. The case competition involves the analysis of a recent real estate transaction consummated by a leading global real estate firm. Judging panels consist of senior executives from leading real estate companies across the U.S., creating outstanding opportunities for learning, networking and recruitment.

This year, the case centered on a hold/sell analysis for a recently delivered, eight-story office building in “River Valley” (later revealed to be Austin, TX). The property had been a successful 80-percent leased development for the fund. Teams were given the following options: sell the building immediately; hold on to the property with the existing debt; re-finance the property at a higher leverage point (either 65 or 75 percent LTV instead of the 50 percent LTC loan in place); or sell the property and use the proceeds to pursue another office development in “West Hamilton” (later revealed to be Santa Monica, CA). Student teams were prompted to model the two investments to determine the quantitative benefits of each option, but also to look at the national office market, consider the impact of interest rates on cap rates and determine whether co-working and remote working would impact leasing either of the projects.

The UCLA team recommended holding on to the existing property and refinancing the building at 65 percent LTV. The thought process was, while the base case scenario provided was likely to occur, the team wanted to ensure a comfort level with the investment in a downside scenario, which made the pipeline investment and 75 percent LTV financing options too risky. Conversely, the team suggested that selling the property now or maintaining the 50 percent LTC loan were too conservative given the quality of the property and the strength of the “River Valley” market.

“The UT Austin McCombs School of Business National Real Estate Challenge is among the most prestigious real estate case competitions in the nation, so even to place is a huge accomplishment,” said Tim Kawahara. “The team’s success represents the caliber of students at UCLA Anderson and the strength of our real estate curriculum and programs.”

About UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate
The Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate, a joint center of the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Law, was formed with a mandate to create and administer UCLA’s activities surrounding the topic of real estate. The mission of the center is to advance thought leadership in the field of real estate by generating influential research, educating the next generation of leaders and providing meaningful forums for industry professionals and policymakers. Through its various programs and activities, the center employs a multidisciplinary and global approach to addressing the most critical real estate challenges facing our society today and in the future. Follow the UCLA Ziman Center @UCLAZimanCenter on Twitter and Facebook.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is among the leading business schools in the world, with faculty members globally renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Located in Los Angeles, gateway to the growing economies of Latin America and Asia and a city that personifies innovation in a diverse range of endeavors, UCLA Anderson’s MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Executive MBA, UCLA-NUS Executive MBA, Master of Financial Engineering, Master of Science in Business Analytics, doctoral and executive education programs embody the school’s Think in the Next ethos. Annually, some 1,800 students are trained to be global leaders seeking the business models and community solutions of tomorrow. Follow @UCLAAnderson on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact Information: UCLA Anderson Office of Media Relations, (310) 206-7537, Media.relations@anderson.ucla.edu

Contact Information

UCLA Anderson Office of Media Relations, (310) 206-7537, Media.relations@anderson.ucla.edu

Media Relations