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June 18, 2024
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UCLA Bruins Claim the Silver Shovel at NAIOP SoCal’s USC vs UCLA Real Estate Challenge


The UCLA graduate student team took home the coveted Silver Shovel for its winning proposal at the 24th NAIOP SoCal USC vs UCLA Real Estate Challenge, just held November 18.

At the annual competition, five-member graduate student teams from the Ziman Center of Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and the Lusk Center at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Price School of Public Policy compete head-to-head to determine the highest and best use for a unique parcel of land.

The Fall 2021 NAIOP SoCal Challenge project was a 1.46-acre urban infill site with extensive frontage along Beach Blvd in the center of Huntington Beach, one of Orange County’s largest and densest cities.

The winning proposal, titled “The Boulevard at Huntington Beach”, was a 175-unit age-restricted (55+) apartment community as presented by UCLA students Lucas Jones, Charlie Lee, John Richards, Max Richley and Cheng Zhang. The team further cited that the LEED gold property would deliver a Class A living experience paired with more than 24k sf of engaging indoor and outdoor amenities. Named in honor of the historic Beach Boulevard on which the property sits, The Boulevard proposed much-needed rental housing in a highly-desirable area, while aligning with the explosive growth of the population of older adults who are increasingly looking to downsize and rent.

“I want to congratulate both of our student teams for their creativity and intelligent approach to our infill site,” said Eric Paulsen, NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge chair. “Each proposal reflected the countless hours spent and numerous industry interviews conducted by the graduate students over the course of six weeks in order to develop their solutions to the challenge. They do a fantastic job in the origination of the development plan, the underwriting of it, and the eventual written and oral presentations of their findings. Their efforts and commitment are why this challenge leads directly to employment opportunities for many of these individuals.”

USC and UCLA are now tied at 12 wins each heading into NAIOP SoCal’s 2022 Real Estate Challenge which will be the chapter’s 25th anniversary of its iconic competition event. To claim the Silver Shovel each team develops a written proposal for review by an industry-leading panel of judges. Each student team also delivers an oral presentation to the judges while responding to questions on their proposal during the live event.

“Both proposals presented in this competition were top-notch and demonstrated high levels of expertise by the students. The teams were polished and professional. That is why Prologis, the owner of the last competition site, is incorporating the most recent winning proposal into its redevelopment of an 8.3-acre Greyhound Bus Terminal site in downtown Los Angeles,” said Tim Jemal, NAIOP SoCal CEO.

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