Development Challenge February 20-21, 2020

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.

2019 Development Challenge Winners

Challenge ROI

  • $20,000 in 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.


2019 Challenge Case

  • The 2019 Challenge Case focused on a family owned 3.57 acre marina south of Fort Lauderdale.  While still throwing off cash flow, the marina was showing its age.  The time had come to consider how best to redevelop the entire site.  Constrained by density and verticality among other considerations, teams were asked to consider what makes the best sense and fit for the site.  Team final projects would include a site design, a development budget with a five-year hold analysis.  Like most of our cases this one was not without its many moving parts and constraints.
  • The winning teams for the 2019 Challenge:
    1. First Place: UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
    2. Second Place: University of Wisconsin at Madison
    3. Tied for Third: Duke, Fuqua and UCLA, Anderson
  • Companies represented on our 2019 panel of judges included: John Clarkson of JBG Smith, Tommy Craig of Hines, Stephen Cumbie of NVCommercial, Sylvania Gross of HQ Capital, Clay Grubb of Grubb Properties, Erica Siegel Henning of Apexone Investment Partners, Bill Jordan of Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate, Brian Leary of Crescent Communities, Chris McGibbon of Nuveen, Bob Murphy, MRP Realty, Kelly Nagel of AIMCO, Roger Pratt of Elite International Investment Fund, Donna Preiss of Preiss, Gregg Sandreuter, David Sears of Pacific Reach Partners and Justin Siemens of STILES.