Industrial Site Makeover Wins Over Judges in MBA Real Estate Challenge

  By Angela Steele, MBA 16
The Win: Tied for 3rd place in the 2016 UNC Real Estate Development Challenge 
The Team: (left to right) Breck Baird, EWMBA 18; Angela Steele FTMBA 16; Sam Grubner, JD 17; Michael Sullivan, EWMBA 18
The Field: Sixteen teams from the U.S. and Europe's top MBA programs had four days to create a development plan for a former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) manufacturing site in the borough of Ealing, West London. Teams flew to UNC to pitch their plans to a panel of judges—including the site developer, Greystar—in a tournament-style competition on February 19th.
The Pitch: Our team proposed a high-density residential development with 500 condos for sale, 900 apartments for rent, and ground floor retail. We preserved the character of Greenford Ward by activating the Grand Union Canal with green space, an amphitheater, and a new pedestrian bridge. We also improved transit access by building two new roads and bike paths through the site.  To accommodate demand for housing from students at nearby universities, our rentals included 100 student units. We recommended an equity investment of 84 million pounds to purchase the land.
The Clincher: Our team conducted the most thorough feasibility analysis and met the needs of all stakeholders. Our plan rejuvenated the GSK site—a priority for the Ealing City Council; gave Greystar an opportunity to set the standard for new residential development in Greenford; satisfied the market demand for high-quality rentals and affordable condos; and provided equity investors a sizeable return. The judges from Greystar commented they would even be taking some of our findings back to London to present to the Ealing City Council!
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