The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation announced its 11th Annual Real Estate Challenge. Student teams will be tasked with creating and conceptualizing a hypothetical development plan for a site on Chicago’s South Side in the Woodlawn neighborhood near the historic Jackson Park. The site is a short walk to the Museum of Science & Industry and the future Obama Presidential Center.
Since 2011, the Eisenberg Foundation has held this annual competition that challenges undergraduate and graduate collegiate teams to assume the role of developer to create a plan to invest in a notable site or neighborhood in Chicago. Past challenge sites include the former Cabrini Green public housing projects, the former US Steel Southworks site, the former Marshall Fields/Macy’s Warehouse just north of downtown Chicago, and several additional historically significant locations.
Because this year’s Challenge will be virtual, organizers are encouraging teams from across the country to participate. This is the second year the challenge is being held virtually in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Eisenberg Foundation is partnering with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and DL3 Realty on this program. The foundation’s co-chairs for the initiative are associate board members Stefani Gutmann, Brookfield Development, and Jaron Kleiman, Shapack Partners.
“This year’s competition presents an opportunity to capitalize on the excitement and energy of the future Obama Presidential Center, as well as prompt students to heavily consider the impact their strategy will have on the surrounding community” said Kleiman. “The challenge will focus on renewed real estate programming to bolster the vitality of the neighborhood and make an anchor investment in a historically under-invested corridor.”
Teams for the challenge will consist of four to six undergraduate or graduate students and one faculty advisor. Colleges and Universities can field one graduate and one undergraduate team. Interested teams are invited to register on our website by February 28.
“We’re strongly encouraging student teams from across the country to participate in this year’s challenge,” said Gutmann, “We believe that the proximity of the site to the future Barack Obama Presidential Center and the virtual nature of the challenge make it appealing to groups nationwide.”
On March 2, the official challenge package will be released including comprehensive details as well as judging criteria. Teams will have until April 6 to submit their full written reports, which are expected to include comprehensive analysis and conclusion of how to maximize the potential of the property from both a quantitative (financial) and qualitative (feasibility) standpoint.
The foundation will arrange for a virtual site tour and pair real estate leaders with teams to provide mentorship on their plan development. On April 10, virtual presentations will be delivered in an open format for judges, sponsors, mentors, donors and students to hear these inspiring concepts for our city, which the Eisenberg Foundation has called home for over 20 years.
Winners of the challenge earn their university a scholarship of up to $5,000 for the next academic year. Additionally, the students are encouraged to leverage the foundation’s education programs, which include a mentorship program, job opportunities, and ample networking events.