The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation’s 11th Annual Real Estate Challenge is tasking 14 collegiate teams from across the country with creating a hypothetical master plan for a five-parcel site in Chicago’s Woodlawn community. The land assemblage, in an historically under-invested Chicago corridor, can leverage the excitement and energy of the adjacent future home to the Obama Presidential Center.
A virtual kick off earlier this month introduced the 2021Case Challenge and site tour, and presented key stakeholders that included Commissioner Maurice Cox of the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), and Leon Walker, Managing Partner of DL3 Realty. Michael Strautmanis, Chief Engagement Officer of the Obama Foundation, was a featured guest.
Last March, the Eisenberg Foundation’s Annual Real Estate Challenge was successfully transformed into a completely virtual format. After transitioning their year-long educational programming online, the Eisenberg Foundation went on to host their inaugural week-long virtual event, the REAL Bright Summit in January. Building on the energy of the 700 students worldwide who attended the Summit, and the valuable learning opportunities that come with remote events, the Eisenberg Foundation eliminated any geographical boundaries blocking participation in this year’s challenge, resulting in participants from across the nation.
The end result is that the 2021 Challenge is the most geographically diverse challenge yet with a total of 14 teams (4 graduate, 10 undergraduate) including first-time teams hailing from Texas, Florida, New York, and Michigan. As part of this Challenge, the teams will create a new vision for Stony Island Avenue as a Great Street of Chicago and emphasize the re-establishment of 63rd Street as a neighborhood destination with a unique sense of place that builds upon the community’s history and character. Students will present their academic proposals to top industry-leader judges on Saturday, April 10 via video conferencing technology.
The Real Estate Challenge affords graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to act as general partners of the joint ventures created for these hypothetical developments. The result is a unique, six-week educational experience.
The stakeholders of the five separate parcels are Chicago Public Schools, Mt. Carmel High School, the YMCA, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and DL3 Realty. DPD and DL3 Realty united for this academic exercise to request hypothetical master plan development proposals for the assemblage of their sites. More specifically, they’re tasking students to create proposals for a mixed-use, mixed-density district to link the Woodlawn community to Jackson Park and the future Obama Presidential Center, while also aspiring to continue the rich Chicago culture of dynamic development along the urban edges of the city’s great parks.
The five parcel assemblage totals approximately 15.5-acres or 675,000 square feet of land. Currently, the Site consists of a single-story retail center, surface parking lots, a vacant, unimproved site, and a community recreation center with ample outdoor green space and play space (YMCA).
Throughout the process, students will have the opportunity to work alongside top industry professionals. The final result: an in-depth yet hypothetical analysis considering asset- and market-level dynamics, pricing, timing, fit within the neighborhood and surrounding uses, and sustainability.
Judging criteria includes financial, social and environmental feasibility for the development. Teams must consider a long-term transformative nature with equity, inclusivity and connectivity as essential priorities.
The winning team will earn a $5,000 scholarship towards their university’s real estate education program made possible by Wintrust Commercial Real Estate.
Members of the CRE community, in Chicago and across the country, can demonstrate their support for the Challenge and The Foundation with various Sponsorship Opportunities and industry leader mentorship roles. For more information, contact Kelly Candotti, Director of Development.