It was an evening of celebration recently as the NAIOP Arizona Developing Leaders Mentor Program hosted graduation for the 2014-2015 class at The Gladly.

Mentors and protégés gathered in a private dining room for a reception, presentations, and a dinner. The 12 protégés, grouped into three teams, pitched development proposals on three sites: 59th Avenue and Van Buren Street, 32nd Street and Indian School Road and Priest Road and Rio Salado Drive.

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Projects ranged from mixed-use, office, retail and multi-family to industrial. The teams presented market analysis statistics, architectural site plans, market studies and marketing plans, construction budgets, and exit strategies to three judges.

The team of Derek Buescher (Irgens), Katie Bush (Phoenix Design One), Alex Wentis (CBRE) and Russell Fine (Marcus & Millichap) won for most creative concept and best use of the Priest and Rio Salado site for a mixed-use development.

“I was very impressed by the quality of the projects and presentations from each of the teams,” said Megan Creecy-Herman of Liberty Property Trust, past NAIOP Arizona Chairman and 2014-2015 mentor program graduation judge.

NAIOP’s Developing Leaders group also announced its charity partner for 2015, forging a new relationship with St. Vincent de Paul. Serving Arizona since 1946, St. Vincent de Paul has been dedicated to feeding, clothing, housing and healing individuals and families in the community who have nowhere else to turn for help.

As a charity partner, DL members had the opportunity to volunteer during the group’s Family Evening Meal on June 11 and 25. Nearly 3,500 hot meals are served at St. Vincent each day. Members were also paired with youth ages 4 to 13 and tasked with encouraging and supporting their summer reading goals, while becoming a mentor and friend for the evening. Each child was rewarded with stickers for accomplishing certain reading goals.

Applications for the 2015-2016 NAIOP Mentor Program will be available in August. All NAIOP members who are age 35 or under qualify to participate in the Developing Leaders program, whether they joined through the DL membership category or as part of a corporate membership.

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