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By Musashi Liu ’20
This year marked the twenty-first anniversary of the Alexander Bodini Foundation Competition, which was held virtually due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s competition was graciously supported by the Alexander Bodini Foundation and Daniele D. Bodini ’72.
Four teams competed for the Alexander Bodini Foundation Prizes on Friday, May 1, 2020. The competition served as the final project of the Real Estate Private Equity course taught by Andrew C. Jacobs ’96—a course which brings four real estate firms into the classroom as sponsors for eight competing student teams.
Under the founding idea of the competition, students were split into groups to come up with a business plan and investment committee proposal. This years’ project sponsors included Avanti Properties, Urban American, Buckingham Companies and Washington Place Equities. From the eight student teams who presented in the first rounds on April 22 and 29, four teams advanced to the final round.
The panel of judges was comprised of a distinguished group of real estate alumni including Matthew Baron ’06, Founder and President of Simon Baron Development, Joseph Smith ’99, founder and CEO of 1754 Properties LLC, and Robert Stern ’88, Founder and Managing Partner of Castle Hill Investors.
1st Place: The Washington Place Equity team helped their sponsor come up with a strategy to develop land and renovate buildings on 5 acres next the Christina River in Wilmington, Delaware. The property is in an opportunity zone, a federal flood plain, and on a brownfields site. The students considered all quantitative and qualitative considerations for the site and the investors, including return objectives, partnership structure, municipal considerations, as well as design, environmental and construction issues. This team included MBA students Ross Brewer ’20, Jeremy Holder ’20, Ethan Woo ’20, and Leah Zulkoski ’20.
2nd Place: The Urban American team was recognized for their value-add strategy of a portfolio of four small, well occupied apartment buildings in El Paso, Texas. Through a value-add rehabilitation program, the team worked with Urban American to create a plan to re-let the apartments to achieve significantly higher market rents. This team included MBA students Michael Barkman ’20, Thanassis Chysas ’20, Adam Kietz ’20, and Jason Segal ’20.
3rd Place: The Buckingham team was rewarded for their development analysis of a parking lot site in the downtown Nashville area by looking at mixed-use options to build a high-rise tower. They conducted a highest and best use analysis for the property, making assumptions around density, use, construction method and identified any entitlement, rezoning or land use challenges. The students also contemplated the appropriate capital stack for this project, balancing the use of Buckingham’s finite balance sheet with its desire to drive value for its shareholders. This team included MBA students Federica Burelli ’20, Musashi Liu ’20, Noor Pahlavi ’20, and Caitlin Wischermann ’20.
4th Place: The Avanti team worked with their sponsor to understand the best use of the Devonshire community development which was planned and entitled for 2,500 homes located in Forney, TX. The students were able to accomplish Avanti’s goal of determining the proper value that Avanti should consider paying for this partly built and growing community. This team included MBA students Arianne Angers ’20, Dean Oliver ’20, and Jeff Turner ’20.
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 twenty-first edition, a signature offering of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate and the MBA Real Estate Program.
Musashi Liu ’20 is a second-year student at Columbia Business School and will be joining Tishman Speyer in NYC post-CBS. He is a VP of Careers for the Real Estate Association. Prior to CBS, Musashi worked as a Senior Associate focusing on capital markets/M&A/strategy for Mill Creek Residential Trust, a vertically integrated real estate developer/investment manager/operator ranked as the 2nd largest US apartment developer. Most recently, he spearheaded Mill Creek’s $650MM M&A transaction with the Arizona State Retirement system and, in the past, has contributed to the successful completion of more than $1 billion of US, Asian, and Middle Eastern capital investments in multifamily, retail, office, and land development. He has prior experience in real estate investment banking and global foreign exchange at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BlueGate Partners. Musashi graduated from Georgetown University, Bachelor of Arts in Chinese/Business Administration [Sidwell Friends High School], studied abroad at Minzu University in Beijing becoming fluent in Mandarin, and was a student-athlete on the Georgetown University Men's Rugby Team. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, the Georgetown Real Estate Finance Initiative, The Real Estate Council, and a core volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.