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By Daniel Liu ’17
On Friday, December 9th, students in Adjunct Associate Professor Andrew C. Jacobs’ ’96 Real Estate Project Class presented their final presentations as part of the Alexander Bodini Foundation Competition held in Uris Hall. This year’s class was divided into eight teams with complimentary backgrounds and each team focused on one of four projects sponsored by a prestigious real estate investment management firm. The sponsoring firms, H/2 Capital Partners, Thayer Lodging / Brookfield, Investcorp and Centennial Real Estate Company, asked students to provide creative solutions to various problems within their respective portfolios. The students then spent the entire semester gathering data, conducting primary research and committing themselves to solving complex real estate-related problems. Overall, feedback from students was extremely positive, as they were given a chance to work with real-world practitioners to understand their investment strategies.
MBA students Brian Feldman ’17, Andrew Greenberg ’17, Sophie Haas ’17 and Augustus Haney ’17 won first place in the Alexander Bodini Foundation Prize Competition. The winning team worked on behalf of project sponsor, the Centennial Real Estate Company (“Centennial”), a real estate company specializing in the investment, development, management and operations of retail properties, including community shopping centers, enclosed malls and urban mixed-use areas. Centennial recently purchased the Hawthorn Mall, a 1.3 million SF mall located in a northern Chicago suburb and was looking for creative solutions to address the mall’s tenancy (anchor tenants: Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s and local department store, who each owned their respective parcels) and potential redevelopment opportunities. The team proposed revitalizing the mall with a capex project and buy-out three of the four anchor tenants to build a 210,000 SF outdoor village retail concept. The judges were impressed with their creativity and overall presentation.
Second place was awarded to Jacob Chang ’17, Daniel Liu ’17, John Pollock ’17 and Joe Noon ’17 for their approach towards maximizing value for a 22-acre mixed-use investment in Yountville, California at the heart of Napa Valley. Their sponsor, Thayer Lodging / Brookfield, recently purchased the Vintage Estate, which is comprised of two luxury hotels, Yountville’s premier retail center and several award-winning restaurants. Thayer Lodging asked the students to create a detailed business plan to extract additional value from this irreplaceable destination. Overall, the students recommended (i) installing institutional third-party property management, (ii) renovating the existing hotel inventory, (iii) re-positioning the retail space (iv) and developing additional hotel rooms on the existing site.
Durrell Mack ’17, Morgan Mann ’17, David Shapiro ’17, and Ryan Trainor ’17 took third place on behalf of their sponsor, Investcorp, an alternative investment manager with real estate transactional volumes exceeding $1 billion per year. The team was tasked with finding opportunities for core-plus investments throughout Europe. Investcorp’s investors demanded geographic diversification within their portfolio and the team set out to find the best European markets to launch their core-plus strategy. Ultimately, the students recommended investing in Germany to capture the best risk-adjusted returns.
In fourth place were Anthony Feenick ’17, Nick Mellis ’17, Conor O’Neill ’17 and Tom Strand ’17. This project was sponsored by H/2 Capital Partners (“H/2”), who is one of the largest dedicated real estate credit investors in the country. H/2 asked students to maximize value for the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, a property in which H/2 was the senior mortgage lender. The students believed maintaining the Four Seasons Hotel franchise affiliation was instrumental to maximizing value and centered their unique project around creating a high-end guest experience and thinking through a potential exit scenario.
This year’s competition was judged by Joseph Smith ’99 of 1754 Properties, Robert Stern ’88 of Castle Hill Investors and Jane Yang ’10 of Meadow Partners. The judges raised some challenging questions and provided guidance for how they would approach these problems. The students found the feedback to be very relevant and appreciated their deep real estate investing experience.
After the presentations, the students and the judges along with Professor Jacobs and Professor Chris Mayer continued their discussions over dinner. After dinner, Professor Jacobs presented the awards to each team.
The Columbia Business School faculty, staff, and students extends our sincerest 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 eighteenth edition of the competition, a signature offering of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate and the MBA Real Estate Program.
2016 – 2017 Alexander Bodini Foundation Prize Winners – Real Estate Project Class Final presentations, December 9, 2016.
1st place: Hawthorn Mall - Sophie Haas ’17, Brian Feldman ’17, Andrew Greenberg ’17, Augustus Haney ’17
2nd place: Vintage Estate - Joe Smith ’99 (Judge), Jane Yang ’10 (Judge), John Pollock ’17, Jacob Chang ’17, Rob Stern ’88 (Judge), Daniel Liu ’17, Professor Andrew Jacobs ’96, Joe Noon ’17
3rd place: European Core-Plus Real Estate – Joe Smith ’99 (Judge), Jane Yang ’10 (Judge), Rob Stern ’88 (Judge), Morgan Mann ’17, Ryan Trainor ’17, Durrell Mack ’17, Professor Andrew Jacobs ’96
4th place: Four Seasons New York - Joe Smith ’99 (Judge), Jane Yang ’10 (Judge), Professor Andrew Jacobs ’96, Nick Mellis ’17, Tom Strand ’17, Conor O’Neill ’17, Anthony Feenick ’17, Rob Stern ’88 (Judge)
Daniel Liu ’17 is a student in and Teaching Assistant for the Real Estate Project Class. He is Co-Vice President of Education for the Real Estate Association (REA). Prior to CBS, he worked at Glenmont Capital Management, and he interned at KAUST Investment Management over the summer.