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Who Took Home the Coveted Golden Shovel at the 31st Annual Real Estate Challenge?

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NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NAIOP SFBA) the premiere commercial real estate development association, announced today that the University of California, Berkeley’s team, Golden Vine Collaborative, has won the organization’s 31st Annual Real Estate Challenge.

The Real Estate Challenge, NAIOP SFBA’s version of the Big Game, is a real estate development competition between legendary rivals Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (Cal). The unique program is designed to give graduate students hands-on experience in real estate development. Teams are charged with devising and successfully pitching a solution to a complex real-world real estate problem. Participants embark on an intensive ten-week journey in which they engage with a large number of project sponsor representatives and city officials as well as real estate industry professionals for guidance and mentoring along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic raised the bar even higher on this year’s competition necessitating all presentations be conducted online.

Coaching the Cal team to victory for the third year was Bill Falik, Managing Partner of Westpark Community Builders. The team members included Courtney Bell, Brendnan McKeon, Austin Rosso, Alysia Vigil and Logan Woodruff. In addition to bragging rights, the Cal team took home the coveted James W. Brecht Memorial Golden Shovel and a $2,000 check for charity, compliments of Mechanics Bank.

This year’s site sponsor was Justin-Siena High School in Napa, the first school site and the first site in Napa County to be featured. The task for teams was to help the private Catholic school’s administration and board explore new and creative ways to develop and monetize its 40-acre campus located adjacent to Highway 29 just North of downtown Napa.

The Cal team wowed the jury with Siena Village, a mixed income housing community connecting the campus to the surrounding residential neighborhood and featuring 403 rental units including 41 affordable, eight for staff and 30 for boarding students. The proposal also includes 10,000 square feet of neighborhood serving retail, an emergency shelter and resilience hub, open space, a community garden and a connected bike and pedestrian network. 

The deal would entail an innovative ground lease with a master developer and a finance structure that would include a mix of equity, donor funds, and debt from tax exempt bonds. Projected master developer returns include a 15.09% IRR, return on cost of 5.06%, and an equity multiple of 2.59x. The proposal also includes 130,000 square feet of reimagined academic facilities designed for versatility and sharing agreements with local non-profits, as well as a new performing arts center and a new aquatics and tennis center. 

“Congratulations to the Cal team! We are so inspired by your bold vision, your hard work and the way you engaged our community in the process,” said David Holquin, President of Justin-Siena High School. “Both teams came up with many creative, forward-thinking ideas that will help us leverage our largest asset to benefit our student body today and into the future. We are most grateful!”

Stanford University 2020 Golden Shovel Team was coached by Todd Regonini, President and Chief Development Officer, Residential Development, Sares Regis. Team members included, Auja Little, Eleni Alexandraki, Joe Tobin, Mona Li and Travis Melvin.

This year’s esteemed Real Estate Challenge Jury was Chaired by Paul Stein, Managing Partner, SKS and included: Thomas Siewert, Partner, Terence J. Rose, Inc.; Michael Mulligan, Vice President, Real Estate Industries Group, Mechanics Bank; Tamsen Plume, Partner, Holland & Knight; Kelly Kline, Economic Development and Land Use Officer, City of San Jose; Chris Birdwell of Harlan Estate.

NAIOP SFBA Real Estate Challenge Chairman Dennis Williams, Managing Director, Northmarq Capital, who has served in a leadership role since 1992, once again lead the entire process and was back by popular demand for his 20th year as event Master of Ceremonies. Williams was supported by Co-Chairs and Challenge alumni, Lauren Young, Partner, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, PCCP, LLC. and Alexandra Stoelzle, Director of Development and Land Planning, Kilroy Realty Corporation as well as committee members Lauren Pressman, Director of Investments, Hillspire and Charlie McEachron, Chief Operating Officer, Drawbridge Partners.

Click here to view the Challenge Program and presentation materials from both teams.

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