2018 Real Estate Case Competition

Two teams of real estate-focused students took advantage of opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience in the field, as they participated in a pair of national case competitions.

Fisher students Seth Brennock, Zachary Turner, Ray Herrera and Michael Knerem, and Thomas Castro, a student at Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture, finished second at the eighth annual Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Real Estate Challenge in Chicago.

The competition brought together students from six other universities and tasked them with creating a plan to redevelop 11 acres located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Waukegan, Illinois. Each team presented proposals to persuade an investment committee to purchase and redevelop the site into a dynamic project.

In the simulation, Fisher’s team created a plan utilizing old shipping containers for sustainable and affordable housing.

“We knew this was going to be a transformative redevelopment project, and one of our ideas was to use shipping containers to lower our construction costs and qualify for HUD special financing by building multifamily apartments for workforce living space,” said Herrera, an accounting student. “In addition, we proposed building higher-end townhouses that were energy efficient and sustainable with solar panels to maximize our returns on cost.”

The team from Fisher finished ahead of Indiana University, Saint Louis University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Missouri and the University of Notre Dame.

“The most important skills we needed to be successful in this competition were ingenuity and creativity,” Herrera said. “When providing an analysis and recommendation to a panel of real estate experts, we needed to make sure the uniqueness of the project was supported with strong market data and financial projections that are within realistic development guidelines.”

A second team of Fisher students — Eric Kulbacki, Justin Markowitz, Joe Yoder and Alex Smith — represented the college at the Villanova Real Estate Challenge in Philadelphia, where they finished fourth out of 16 teams.

2018 Real Estate Case Competition - Villanova
Fisher's team of Eric Kulbacki, Justin Markowitz, Joe Yoder and Alex Smith finished fourth at the Villanova Real Estate Challenge.

As part of the Villanova Real Estate Challenge, teams were responsible for creating a redevelopment plan for a downtown parcel of land that would increase long-term shareholder wealth for the partnering Real Estate Investment Trust.

The students’ participation in these competitions, and a third — the University of Guelph Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition in Toronto — was made possible through their ongoing engagement with The Ohio State Center for Real Estate.

“The Center for Real Estate is proud to offer students from across the university valuable opportunities to gain hands-on experiences in unique competitions across the country,” said Mary Beth McCormick, executive director of the Center for Real Estate. “These experiences go a long way in helping future real estate leaders apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to projects and simulations led by professionals, while gaining an important perspective on the industry.”