Blackwood Department of Real Estate students dominate national competition
Although it’s February, real estate students from 24 universities went head-to-head in a March Madness-style competition with two teams from the Pamplin College of Business’s Blackwood Department of Real Estate taking first and second place.
The competition, the 15th annual Mulroy Real Estate Challenge, attracted 33 teams who had one week to develop a project plan, market analysis, and financing strategy for a waterfront ground-up development site in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The panel of judges included senior real estate executives from top commercial real estate firms.
In a competition first, the judges named only 12 semifinalist teams to compete onsite as opposed to the traditional “Sweet 16.”
Collegiate Assistant Professor of real estate Jeffrey Robert was tasked with preparing the teams before the competition case was released. Once the case was distributed, however, the student teams had to work independently to develop their submissions for the competition.
“The Blackwood Department of Real Estate prepared our students by delivering an applied education grounded in practical skills,” said Robert, who served as faculty advisor. “Our innovative curriculum equipped our teams with the ability and knowledge to produce two award-winning real estate developments from vision to disposition.”
The first place Virginia Tech team, C&C Partners, was made up of seniors Jonathan Braun, Rachel Connolly, Renzo Sanio, and Ayden Yates. Virginia Tech’s second place team, Million Investments, included seniors David Delacruz and Brooke Kleber and juniors Raghab Kharel and Ethan Magne.
The two teams received cash prizes totaling $8,000 and plaques commemorating their wins. A team from the host Villanova University took third place, while a team from the University of Georgia was fourth in the final round. After taking first place in the 2022 competition, the Blackwood Department of Real Estate returns now to the top spot.
Both winning teams constructed mixed-use developments incorporating ground-floor retail and luxury condos. The C&C Partners team also added a 154-room hotel to its design.
“After reviewing the comprehensive plan of Asbury Park, there was an obvious emphasis on ensuring that future developments provide a balance of land uses and diverse housing options while also supporting a thriving arts community and an outstanding quality of life,” according to members of C&C Partners.
Million Investments opted to focus on the retail improvements as it “brings life to a desperately underserved boardwalk experience, besides the popular casino building.”