You are here

GlobeSt: UCLA Takes Home NAIOP Challenge Silver Shovel Award

November 27, 2018

The UCLA team won the annual challenge with a proposal to transform 11 acres at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station into a campus with hotels, multifamily, affordable housing and retail.

By Kelsi Maree Borland


The graduate student team from the Ziman Center of Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business has won the Silver Shovel at the annual NAIOP SoCal UCLA vs. USC Real Estate Challenge, defeating the graduate team at the Lusk Center at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Price School of Public Policy. This year, the challenge focused on placemaking, asking teams from both schools to reimagine an 11-acre land site on the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station. UCLA’s winning proposal included two select service hotels, 240 multifamily units and 75 units of affordable housing with 10,000 square feet of supporting retail as well as a common-area community space with garden courtyards and outdoor movie theatre.

“Both schools presented similar visions in terms of product type encompassing a hotel use, housing and supporting retail,” Mark Mattis, SVP at PMRG and the NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge Chair, tells “UCLA’s proposal, called Solanna, included two select service hotels, 240 multifamily units and 75 units of affordable housing with 10,000 square feet of supporting retail. The site encompassed a central common-use community space with garden courtyards and outdoor movie theatre.   All in all both schools presented amazing development plans which took into account the City’s objectives. I think the caliber of thought and implementation in the planning underscores the strength of both schools’ real estate programs.”

Like every year, the scoring was extremely close as both teams presented creative and innovative ideas to transform the site. This year’s challenge was unique in that it focused on placemaking and dealt with a municipality as the client. “The owner of this year’s subject site is a municipality, the City of Tustin,” says Mattis. “They are basically the “client” at this event and the students present to them along with the judges who score their proposals. Although we have worked with other cities in past competitions such as the City of Inglewood in 2016, municipalities have unique goals for their projects that typically differ from a developer.   This year the students had to focus not only on financial viability of this 11-acre site off the 55 but they also had to incorporate the goals of the City which included increasing and diversifying revenues while creating high quality jobs and housing.”

The student teams were also sensitive to current real estate needs, like affordable housing, which was incorporated in the proposals. “The need for additional, quality housing coupled with an affordable housing component seems to be a hot button for everyone in our industry throughout Southern California and the State,” says Mattis. “These young adults are clearly sensitive to that challenge.  Ten years ago, housing would not have been even remotely considered at this location. Even the construction of a hotel would have been unlikely.”

Attendees at the event were impressed by the quality and professionalism of the students’ proposals, on both teams. “For those who were “first timers” at the Real Estate Challenge, the response was typically, ‘I can’t believe graduate students can generate such creative and quality development proposals,’” says Mattis. “Of course the die-hard alumni and fans want their respective teams to win but that is what makes the USC and UCLA rivalry so much fun—whether it’s in the classroom or on the football field.”

 The original article can be found here.