Team of real estate students again wins regional case competition


April 27, 2015

A team of four Marquette Business undergraduate real estate students recently took first place for the second year in a row at the 2015 NAIOP Minnesota University Challenge in Minneapolis. The team won $5,000 from NAIOP and the Opus Foundation, as well as the right to bring the traveling trophy home once again.

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. The Minnesota chapter each year hosts the university case competition, in which student teams pitch commercial real estate development plans for a specific site.

This year’s site was a vacant parcel in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. The Marquette team, which included Isabela Carrasco, Charles Houser, John McMahon and Evan Weiss, and led by adjunct instructor Kris O’Meara, proposed a mixed-use project consisting of multi-family, affordable housing, hotel and parking. The team worked over the preceding few months to vet ideas, work with industry professionals, analyze data and assemble their final proposal.

Another team of five undergraduate real estate students recently competed in the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Midwest Real Estate Challenge in Chicago. The 2015 team, also led by O’Meara, consisted of Westin Kane, Michael Leon, Anthony Serrecchia, Stephen Sevenich and Xuelin Zhou.

The challenge focused on the “Cap the Kennedy” Project over the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) between Lake Street and Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. The Cap the Kennedy Project has been proposed by Fifield Companies in an effort to establish a more functional connection from Chicago’s west Loop neighborhood to the to the downtown Loop/Central Business District. The Marquette team carefully examined the incremental increase in value for the surrounding area and proposed a well-supported financial structure and creative ideas for the site.

“They gave an outstanding presentation that made all of the Marquette real estate alumni and students in attendance very proud,” said Nina Schuerman, associate director of the Center for Real Estate. “Throughout the case competitions, the students were able to network and learn from industry professionals, it will be an experience that will carry with them throughout their careers.”