UAlberta business students win prestigious real estate award

    After a three-year drought, the Alberta School of Business reclaimed the coveted “Golden Shovel” award after beating out the University of Calgary in the annual NAIOP Battle of Alberta.

    By Alberta School of Business on April 1, 2019

    The annual NAIOP Battle of Alberta event is a joint challenge program presented by the Calgary and Edmonton chapters of NAIOP. Students from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary School’s of Business compete annually while showcasing their talents and creativity through unique development proposals. The competition is part of NAIOP’s commitment to engaging and supporting students interested in the commercial real estate industry.

    The challenge this year was sponsored by Pangman Development Corporation, John Day Developments, MACLAB Development Group and Probus Project Management and was focused on a 15,000 square foot site on the southeast corner of 108th Street NW and 102nd Avenue. The University of Alberta students proposed a private student-housing complex with retail on the ground floor.

    2019 NAIOP Battle of Alberta winners

    The Graeme Young Gold Shovel was a gift of Kevin McKee, CEO of Pangman Development Corporation and named for the founder of Avison Young, an international commercial real estate brokerage and services firm. The presenters for the winning U of A business team included Scott Bailey, Melinda Chisolm, Parker Hertz and Haya Masri, all BCom students and Kristopher Banner, an MBA. The case competition is always focused on an actual parcel of land, which has development potential. The students must undertake a feasibility study proposing to a team of adjudicators the highest and best use for the site. This includes site, regulatory and market analysis as well as massing, design and site planning, construction cost estimation and financial analysis of the project including deal structure.

    The case study offers the students an opportunity to pull together much of what they have learned in other real estate and business courses as well as oral and written presentation skills. The students this year made a 20-minute oral presentation to a team of eight adjudicators who then grilled the team for 40 minutes. In the evening at a reception at Enbridge Centre (developed by Pangman in partnership with John Day), a 10-minute public presentation was made followed by questions from the attendees. Business undergraduate and MBA students in the School’s Real Estate Program participate in the competition as part of a Real Estate Development, Business Economics 457/613.

    A common assessment of the competition experience is that it provides the best single learning experience of the respective business degree program. It is a capstone experience for the real estate program and arms the students with a marketable skill set. According to Bernard Streeper, MBA '16 who was on the 2016 team, "The most real life class you can take during your university education. If you want to work in the Real Estate Industry, this class is a must."

    The Battle of Alberta Real Estate Development Challenge began in 2015. Throughout North America there are other such contests between the likes of USC and UCLA, UBC and UW, University of Colorado and the University of Denver, SDSU, USD and UCSD and so on. NAIOP, a commercial development industry organization originated the idea of a development case competition between or among neighbouring competing university real estate programs. David Dale-Johnson, Stan Melton Executive Professor in Real Estate at the Alberta School of Business, had been involved in one of the early competitions between rivals USC and UCLA when Director of the Real Estate Program at the Marshall School of Business at USC. Since coming to the U of A in 2012, Dale-Johnson had wanted such at contest here in Alberta. It took a while as NAIOP Edmonton was not formed until 2013 and the organization had to create some capacity before being able to organize and sponsor the case competition. It came together in 2015 with the idea that the competition would go back and forth between Calgary and Edmonton with the subject site for the case study in the host city. NAIOP Edmonton hosted the first Challenge won by the University of Alberta. The subsequent three challenges were won by University of Calgary, but this year, the Gold Shovel was finally returned to Edmonton.