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.
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.