Annual University Real Estate Challenge Is Key Real Estate Event in Colorado
By: Kathie Barstnar, executive director, NAIOP Colorado
The future of the real estate industry lies with the next generation of professionals set to graduate from university degree programs. In order to attract these students to real estate, the industry must find ways to engage them and increase their interest. NAIOP Colorado has developed a program that does just that — and has done so for the past 10 years.
The Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge (RMREC) is an annual event designed to be a learning tool for students in the graduate real estate programs at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.
The concept is simple. A local property is selected as the competition site. Each school forms multiple teams, choosing from among the students enrolled in their real estate programs. Each team is then tasked with creating a vision for the property. Teams must conduct market research on uses for the property, work with a local architecture firm (which has been pre-selected by NAIOP Colorado) to develop a property design, and perfect the final vision based on zoning and entitlements carried by the property.
In 2012, this four-month long competition consisted of 80 students, who analyzed more than 100 potential redevelopment ideas for the 65-acre Mile High Greyhound Park in Commerce City, CO. Aided by real estate professionals and architectural/engineering experts — all members of NAIOP — five student teams spent more than 8,000 hours working to deliver a redevelopment proposal that determined the highest and best use for the site.
The finalists from each school were judged by a group of seasoned real estate professionals and the winner was The University of Colorado for their proposed master-planned community of Carrera.
The master-planned community features two educational centers (community and technical colleges), multifamily residential uses, and a new Boys & Girls Club, situated across the street from the elementary school. The community also features a viewing tower co-located with the Club, overlooking downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains. Additional features include retail as well as bicycle and walking paths.
NAIOP Colorado had clear goals for the competition in 2012. The chapter wanted to expose students to the “real world” profession of real estate, as well as create a formal educational platform that provides students the opportunity to build relationships with local real estate leaders.
The RMREC has been such a success since its inception that it now has become a permanent event on the calendars of development and commercial real estate professionals in Colorado. The University of Colorado now features the RMREC as part of its standing curriculum for real estate focused-MBA students and the University of Denver offers the competition as an elective class.
As the executive director of NAIOP Colorado, I am ecstatic that the Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge has become such a key event in the eyes of the local real estate and university communities. Each year we strive to improve upon what was done the year before and I am looking forward to seeing what the 11th annual competition will generate in 2013.
NAIOP Chapters holding Real Estate Challenges
Nashville – every other year
San Francisco Bay Area
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