ASU MRED Students Test Their Development Acumen in 2021 REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge

8th annual event lets teams compete for bragging rights and cash

The 8th REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge will again offer a cash prize to a winning team of graduating Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) students from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

This year’s competition will again be held via Zoom because of safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event is April 28 and begins at 3 p.m. The presentations are from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. with voting and announcement of the winning team at 4:30 p.m.

“The REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge has become one of our most anticipated and attended events. REIAC’s Program Committee and Board are proud to continue the relationship with ASU’s MRED program and look forward to this year’s event,” said REIAC Southwest President Dave Kross.

This year the subject property is 30 vacant acres at the southwest corner of 43rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road. It’s a portion of the ASU West Campus earmarked for potential commercial development that would benefit the surrounding community and the campus. Students will make proposals to University Realty and ASU to act as co-developer with University Realty.

“This is their thesis – their culminating experience requiring use of all they have learned,” said Mark Stapp, Executive Director of the MRED program. “These projects are wicked problems that test students’ knowledge and would challenge anyone, even the most experienced of us.”

Danelle Plaza in Tempe was the focus of the three teams competing in last year’s challenge. At the end of the presentations, all of which included various mixed-use solutions, the audience voted on Zoom. New Borough Developments was voted the 2020 winner for its proposed $16.7 million project with retail, multifamily and a fabric fashion incubator.

Each team is allotted 10 minutes to present a development solution for a storied piece of Arizona commercial real estate, followed by questions from the audience. Audience members will vote to choose the winning team after the presentations, awarding each winning team member a $1,000 check up to $6,000.

“The Rockefeller Group is honored to participate in what has become an annual tradition that has provided additional motivation for MRED students to be selected as one of the top three teams to compete in the Challenge,” said Mark Singerman, Past President of the REIAC Southwest Chapter and Vice President/Regional Director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group, the event’s title sponsor.

“The inspiring and creative solutions the teams have presented at the Challenge over the years demonstrate what a fabulous job Mark Stapp and his staff have done in preparing the students for careers in real estate development and investment,” Singerman said.

The 2021 event is free for public viewing. Registration is required for the REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge. Register here.