By Matt Giannuzzi ’21
On Friday, April 16th, second-year MBA students took part in the 22nd annual Alexander Bodini Foundation Competition. The competition is the final project of the Real Estate Private Equity course taught by Professor Andrew Jacobs ’96. The participating students were divided into eight teams, each of which worked on one of four distinct, real-world investment projects.
Over the course of the semester, the students worked directly with a sponsor to complete quantitative and qualitative analyses and ultimately develop a comprehensive business plan and investment committee memo. The top four teams, each representing a unique project, were selected to compete in the final round of the competition.
The final presentations were conducted virtually and reviewed by a panel of judges, including three distinguished alumni of Columbia Business School. The panel included Jane Yang ’10, Director at Meadow Partners, Joseph Smith ’99, founder and CEO of 1754 Properties LLC, and Robert Stern ’88, Founder and Managing Partner of Castle Hill Investors.
First Place: The team of MBA students which included Victor Salama ’21, Lisa Weingarten ’21, James Wang ’21, and Peter Gross ’21, developed a strategy for acquiring two partially rent-stabilized residential portfolios in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn for their sponsor Remy Raisner ’08 of the Raisner Group. The team recommended a light renovation to free market units in the assets with a 10-year hold period. Their presentation included an outlook on New York City, an analysis of the Bushwick market and its competitive set, along with a deep dive into potential mitigants for the relatively new rent regulations in New York.
Second Place: The team of MBA students Colter Illich ’21, Rivers Hughes ’21, Michael Oster ’21, and Matt Giannuzzi ’21 worked with their sponsor Jordan Sarick ’00 of Eastwood Development to analyze a complex redevelopment project in the ski town of Snowmass, CO. The asset in focus was the Snowmass Center, a centrally located shopping center that serves as a key commercial node for the community. Eastwood had obtained entitlements to allow for residential units to be developed alongside the existing center, so the team explored different options to sell, hold, or re-develop different portions of the site. After modeling seven unique scenarios, the group ultimately recommended a plan to continue operating the asset as is and sell the residential land to another developer to minimize complexity and maximize risk-adjusted returns.
Third Place: The team of MBA students Shivani Goolab ’21, John Burke Kleinheinz ’21, Juan Luna ’21, and Doug Johnson ’21 worked with Shawn Lese ’98 and Randy Giraldo ’04 of Nuveen Real Estate to determine the highest and best use of an existing asset in San Carlos, CA. The team proposed converting the property to a Class A Life Sciences building with the intent of securing a tenant prior to expiry of the incumbent lease.While the group also explored converting to office or industrial space, the chosen strategy provided additional portfolio diversification and was supported by strong tailwinds in the Life Sciences sector.
Fourth Place: The team of MBA students Mark Gately ‘21, Syed Ali ’21, Becca Bendetson ’21, and Ben Bullock ’21 worked with Jeff Organisciak ’13 of Eastdil Secured to explore the sale of three mixed-use assets in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The team was tasked with valuing all three properties, exploring zoning and permitted uses, and identifying the best disposition strategy in the current market. After assessing whether the team should sell immediately, renovate and re-lease, or redevelop into condominium units, the team recommended selling the properties to a mid-sized private equity firm as is to maximize returns at speed with minimal investment for the owner.
The Columbia Business School faculty, staff, and students extend sincere gratitude to Ambassador Daniele D. Bodini ’72 for graciously supporting the Alexander Bodini Foundation Prize Competition. Through the support of Ambassador Bodini and the Foundation, this year’s competition marked the twenty-second edition, a signature offering of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate and theMBA Real Estate Program.
Matt Giannuzzi ’21 is a second-year student at Columbia Business School focused on real estate. Prior to school, he spent 5 years with Deloitte Consulting’s Real Estate and Location Strategy practice, helping corporate clients think strategically about their portfolios and individual assets. Over the summer, he interned with Hines in their Southeast development group. At CBS, he is the Co-VP of Education in the Real Estate Association and the Co-VP of Treks for the Hospitality and Travel Association. Matt is originally from Charlotte, NC and graduated from Duke University in 2014 with a BA in History.