On November 15, 2018 our graduate student teams from the Ziman Center for 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 competed head-to-head in our real estate competition to determine the highest and best use for a unique land site in the city of Tustin.

Last year’s challenge involved two undeveloped parcels on 11 acres of land located at the southwest corner of Del Amo Avenue and Newport Avenue in Tustin. The city acquired the property in 2007 and it has been vacant since that time. The site is a highly-visible gateway infill location adjacent to the 55 freeway and near the massive Tustin Legacy, the 1600-acre former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, which is currently being redeveloped. The site sits in a planning area of the Pacific Center East Specific Plan which is a major employment center in Tustin that will continue to grow.

The students presented their ideas for the highest and best uses that are feasible for this unique Orange County site that sits near a major airport, freeways and beach-proximate neighborhoods. And while the students were planning, our committee was finalizing the list of high-profile industry leaders who then reviewed the student’s presentations and determined the winner of the coveted Silver Shovel! 

It all took place at Carnesale Commons on the UCLA campus and congratulations to our 2018 Real Estate Challenge Winners: Team UCLA!  Great job to both USC and UCLA on bringing the fierce competition and thank you to all our sponsors and the City if Tustin for your always amazing support.  And we can’t wait for this year’s event.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars now for this year’s Challenge, November 21st, 2019.


Each year, USC and UCLA students compete in NAIOP SoCal’s Real Estate Challenge. Competing teams from the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Price School of Public Policy and UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate at the Anderson School of Business prepare comprehensive development proposals for a location chosen by a committee of NAIOP SoCal members. The students spend six weeks in intensive research and preparation before presenting their cases before a panel of local real estate veterans and an enthusiastic audience of over 250. Learn what drives the students to compete each year:

The Real Estate Challenge is a valuable opportunity for the students who participate to gain hands-on, real-world experience in the industry; it’s a hallmark of NAIOP SoCal’s commitment to motivating, educating and engaging the next generation of real estate professionals. In addition to the student competition, the event is a great way for the real estate community to cheer on their favorite Bruins and Trojans. The event lines up with the fall football season and the historic match-up between USC and UCLA. To increase the competition, the Real Estate Challenge features commentary from well known former athletes on the upcoming football game.

Keep reading for more information on the Challenge and its importance to the schools, as well as the benefits of having your site be the subject of the Challenge Project.

The Real Estate Challenge has become one of NAIOP SoCal’s hallmark events, and the success of past student presentations is now evident in many sites that were previous subjects of the competition – and are now thriving, go-to locations.

Stay tuned for more information to come for this year’s Real Estate Challenge 2019!

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Thank you to the following Sponsors who have shown their support!





Have some great ideas?
Want to get involved with the Real Estate Challenge Committee?
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Mark Mattis
Madison Marquette

Real Estate Challenge Advisor
Susan Orloff