Twelve teams from top graduate schools across North America gathered at the Schulich School of Business on March 4 to compete in the sixth annual Developers’ Den, a grueling one-day real estate case competition.
The teams were challenged to prepare a new strategy for the ailing Astorton City Centre Complex, and sell their new vision to the Developers’ Den judges – a group of senior leaders from Toronto’s real estate industry.
Teams from MIT, Schulich and Rotman made it to the final round of competition in front of a live audience of 150 fellow competitors, alumni, recruiters and other industry representatives. All three stressed revitalizing the suffering downtown core by renovating and repurposing the buildings, thereby creating a space where people could work, live and play.
The judges preferred MIT’s exit option of re-permit and sell, which allowed for moderate investment and higher valuation without development risk. The team took home $5,000 in first place prize money.
The team from Schulich – Kelvin Kwok, Michael Guo and Ela Tabaku – were praised by the judging panel, led by Michael Emory, CEO of Allied REIT, for bringing a humanistic, creative approach to both their ideas and presentation. The other judges on the final round panel included: Jane Domenico, president and CEO, Partners REIT; Peter Senst, president, Canadian Capital Markets, CBRE; Michael Turner, senior vice-president, Real Estate Management, Oxford Properties Group; and Blair Welch, partner and co-Founder, Slate Asset Management.
“This year’s competition was the strongest yet,” said Christopher Edey (MBA ’11), the chair of the Schulich alumni volunteer group that organizes the competition. “The amount of work that the teams accomplish and the quality of the presentations that they create in only four hours shows how talented these students are.”
“Competition, collaboration and creation define the process and indeed the very purpose of what we do in this business,” said Andre Kuzmicki, executive director of Schulich’s MBA Program in Real Estate & Infrastructure and director of the new Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure, at the evening reception. “I applaud all the competitors for taking on this challenge and thank the judges and our alumni for creating yet another outstanding real-world learning opportunity for the students.”
Developers’ Den is presented by RealNet and AltusGroup, and is supported by the Schulich Real Estate & Infrastructure Student Experience Fund. Other major sponsors of Developers’ Den include Matrix Search Group, Campus Suites and Forum Equity Partners.
Other teams represented at the case competition included Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Queen’s University, and the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.