USC Takes the Silver Shovel at 2019 UCLA vs. USC Real Estate Challenge

On November 21, 2019 NAIOP SoCal held its iconic UCLA vs USC Real Estate Challenge at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The annual competition features five-member graduate student teams from the Ziman Center of Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and the Lusk Center at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Price School of Public Policy who compete head-to-head in a real estate competition to determine the highest and best use for a unique parcel of land. For 2019, the USC students took home the Silver Shovel for their proposal, The Block on Beach.

This year’s competition was a 15-acre site at the intersection of Beach Blvd. and Katella Ave. in the City of Stanton that has been owned and used by the owners of ORCO for almost 70 years.

The USC proposal “The Block on Beach” honored the rich history of the ORCO Block site while establishing a vision for the future that maximizes long-term value for ORCO’s founding family. The Block on Beach creates a dynamic town center for the community of Stanton while simultaneously creating a destination for Orange County to eat, play, shop and live, establishing a phased mixed-use development of for-sale townhomes, multifamily residential, and dynamic retail organized around ORCO Yard, a central public plaza.

The UCLA presentation, titled Arbor Commons, was a creative, mixed-use devel­opment born to provide attainable, quality housing and vibrant retail in the heart of Stanton.

First-time judge Mark Montoya of Snyder Langston said, “ In terms of analyzing a ‘real ‘site with an actual long-term land owner, this competition gives students from both teams a better understanding of real world dynamics, from land cost, to entitlement time line, market demographics, construction costs and scheduling, etc.; a very real look at a very real site.” He further added, “My experience as a first-time UCLA vs USC NAIOP Real Estate Challenge judge was both fun and impressive. I enjoyed meeting the students of both teams ahead of their oral presentations and I liked the interaction and discussion of each submittal with the other judges during the judging session. What was most impressive was the students. Both teams put in a ton of time, energy and effort into what turned out to be two distinctly different proposed solutions to the same problem.”

The evening’s emcee was Paul McDonald, a former USC quarterback who led the university to a national championship in 1978. McDonald also spent six seasons as a Cleveland Browns quarterback

The event also featured commentary from former football players who serve as honorary captains for each student team. This year, the audience heard college highlights from John Sciarra, quarterback for the UCLA football team who graduated Cum Laude from UCLA in 1976 as one of four outstanding seniors to be honored for overall excellence and achievement.  USC was represented by Mike Salmon. While at USC, Salmon was on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll, four-year letterman on both the football and baseball teams, and a team captain on the Co-Champion 1993 USC football team.

Each year, the judging panel, comprised of industry leaders from various disciplines and backgrounds across the commercial real estate spectrum, reviews the written proposals and presentations which include architectural calculations and financial analysis. Special thanks to the 2019 judging panel that included: Dan Almquist, Managing Partner, Frontier Real Estate Investments;  Angela Azizian, Director-Debt Team Lead Los Angeles Regional Office, MetLife Investment Management; John Condas, Partner, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis; BJ Delzer, Chief Executive Officer, Melia Homes, Inc.; Allison Lynch, President, Watt Properties; Allen Lynch, President, The Lynch Group; Mark Montoya, Vice President Multifamily, Snyder Langston; Robert Peddicord, Executive Managing Director, CBRE; “Rocky” Rockefeller, Senior Partner, Rockefeller Kempel Architects; and Evan Slavik, President of Real Estate, Mark IV Capital.