The NAIOP National Capital Challenge is an intercollegiate real estate case study competition organized once a year by the Maryland/DC Chapter of NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association). Each year, this prestigious competition is sponsored by a developer, who provides a parcel of real estate the company is in the process of developing. The teams of students representing each of the region’s best real estate masters programs spend the next six weeks to formulate a winning development strategy for the designated parcel.
The NAIOP Capital Challenge has always seen fierce competition amongst the schools. This year, along with the usual suspects: University of Maryland, Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, you guessed it, George Mason University’s MS in Real Estate Development program is also a contender.
William C. Smith Company, a prominent real estate developer deeply rooted in the Washington D.C. area provided two sites in the booming Capitol Riverfront area in South East D.C. for the teams to work on. During the competition, students get to step into the shoes of a major developer, use their imagination and analytical skills to devise a project that is both creative and economically viable. In return, WC Smith will benefit from the focused and creative efforts of all the competing teams.
Real estate development is an interdisciplinary sport. In addition to playing developer, each team is provided with a group of world-class consultants in the various fields that are necessary to making any real estate development project successful. Working with the George Mason team are WDG Architecture, Cassidy Turley (Brokerage), Charles P. Johnson & Associates (Civil Engineering), Balfour Beatty Construction (Construction), Trammell Crow Company (Development) and Eagle Bank (Finance). In addition to these consultants, each team also reaches out to experts in retail, marketing, hospitality, urban planning and government to gain specialized knowledge in order to develop a project that is creative yet grounded in economic reality.
This intense competition is already underway. On March 29th, after reviewing written submittals and oral presentations, a panel of distinguished judges selected from the region’s real estate industry will pick a winner.
Students representing George Mason University are Alexandra Bettius, Ken Jonmaire, Roger Lin, Jeanne Skinner, Erik Taylor, Parks Underdown, Malcolm VanDeRiet and John Zemlan. The team is advised by faculty members Mark Hassinger and Robert Wulff.