Winning Idea: Housing Foster Care's Young Adults

A winning proposal for mixed use: a medical clinic and affordable housing, including apartments for foster care's young adults

The Competition: Bank of America Low Income Housing Challenge, May 2012

The Outcome: First place, tied with Cal Poly

The Team: Ed Parillon, MBA 13, Full-time MBA Program; Greg Lukina and Pontus Lindberg, both MBA 13, Evening & Weekend MBA Program; Jacob Bintliff, MCP 12; and Gwen Fuertes, Liz Kee, and D'Genaro Pulido, all M. Arch 14.

The Challenge: Develop a proposal for affordable housing, choosing a site, finding a development partner, and detailing design approach and plan for financing construction and ongoing operations.

The Winning Approach: The Golden Bear Partners chose two parcels near Balboa Park BART in San Francisco, currently used as employee parking for Muni and as a drop-off area for BART. "We proposed combining the parcels and constructing a mixed use project with 124 affordable apartments and a neighborhood clinic on the ground floor," says Parillon.

Won Because: "Of the affordable units, 16 would be set aside for young adults formerly in the foster care system, and at serious risk of homelessness. Close to City College of San Francisco (CCSF), the site gives these youth access to a strong post-secondary education opportunity." Parillon says the team also impressed by choosing active community partners, like the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (an affordable housing developer). "The judges noted that that gave our proposal a lot of additional credibility."

The H factor: "We were able to leverage deep real estate expertise at both Haas and the College of Environmental Design, with Nancy Wallace and Michael Smith-Heimer as advisers, as well as alumni in the industry," says Parillon. "The cross-pollination made possible at Berkeley meant having students from the City Planning and Architecture schools be part of our team, which added immensely to the quality and realism of our proposal."

Defining Principles at Work: Putting a priority on larger interests, the team deliberately designed a project that brought an underserved population into the neighborhood. Going beyond themselves added complexity to their proposal, but "we thought that it was crucial given the location near CCSF and the advantages that provided."

About The Author

From 2011-2013, Valerie Gilbert focused on sharing stories of Berkeley MBA student achievements and connection to the Haas Defining Principles. At Haas since 2004 and now Associate Director of Content Marketing, she still enjoys revealing the different facets of life at Berkeley-Haas to a variety of audiences.