Development Challenge February 18, 2022

The UNC Real Estate Development Challenge is a case competition hosted by the Leonard W Wood Center for Real Estate Studies at Kenan-Flagler Business School. An invitation-only event, the Challenge convenes 16 teams from the US’s top MBA programs to compete.

2020 Development Challenge 2nd Place Winners

Challenge ROI

  • $20,000 in total cash prizes for top finalist teams
  • Top industry judges
  • Amazing networking opportunity
  • Bragging rights and a resume highlight
  • Recognition from industry, alums, peers and potential employers
  • Earn Challenge swag
  • Visit Chapel Hill!

Drilling Down

The Case Challenge officially begins with the distribution of the challenge case on the Thursday before Challenge week. Until the Monday morning of Challenge week, teams work furiously to put together the best comprehensive solution to the development case.

By Thursday evening, teams gather in Chapel Hill for a welcome reception and dinner. The next day, the challenge competition begins in earnest. Using four presentation rooms simultaneously, teams present their case solutions in a 20-minute presentation, followed by 5 minutes of questions from judges who are experts in the real estate industry.

Only after lunch the teams learn which four teams will move to the finals in the afternoon. The “Final Four” present again in the afternoon to the entire judging pool and the remaining teams. Cash prizes are presented and teams celebrate a job well done at our social that Friday night in Chapel Hill.

2020 Challenge Judges

2020 Challenge Case

  • The 2020 Challenge Case focused on a 13,000-acre property owned and operated by Johnson Development.  The time had come for Johnson Development to decide whether their next step for this tract made it a candidate for a large master-planned community. While favorable factors were in favor of such a project, complicating factors included water & sewer service needs; large wetlands on the property; initial work would necessitate an expenditure of $750,000; the capacity of state of local schools along with fire, police, other service infrastructure needs and the lack of retail and professional services.  Teams were asked to consider whether the economics of the first phase were attractive to merit investment while overcoming the complications mentioned and how to best finance such a venture.  Team final projects would include a site design, a development budget.  Like most of our cases this one was not without it’s many moving parts and constraints.
  • The winning teams for the 2020 Challenge:
    1. First Place: NYU, Leonard Stern School of Business
    2. Second Place: UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School
    3. Tied for Third: UCLA, Anderson School of Management and U of Texas, McCombs School of Business
  • Companies represented on our 2020 panel of judges included: Liz Anderson of Wells Fargo,  Michael Eskra of  The Dilweg Companies, Joe Fadel of Nuveen real Estate, Laurie Ford of Lomonaco Investment,  Sylvia Gross of HQ Capital Real Estate, Jackie Hamilton of Macquarie Bank, AJ Jackson of JBG Smith, Ken Kupp of Boyd Development, Erica Leatham of M/I  Homes, Patrick Melton of South Street Partners, Casey Nolan of CRC Companies, Jami Passer of EDENS, Roger Pratt of Elite International Investment Fund, randy Roberson of Highwoods Properties, Dave Sears of Pacific Reach Partners, Scott Selig of Duke University, Erin Smith of Bank of America, Ann Stoddard of Grubb Ventures, Zac Vuncannon of The Fallon Company and Stan Wall of HR&A Advisors.