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NAIOP University Challenge


5/13/19 – USD Students Win NAIOP University Challenge

By Daily Transcript Staff Report

A student team from the University of San Diego's Burnham Moores Center for Real Estate submitted the winning redevelopment plan for the SPAWAR site during NAIOP San Diego's ninth annual University challenge on April 25. The USD team included Alex Barachini, Zachary Burns, Mitch DiLorenzo, Claire Hunn, Alex Spangler and Ryan Todd. They presented their mixed-use redevelopment plan for the 48.7-acre eastern portion of the SPAWAR property, located along the west side of the I-5 freeway in Old Town.

Teams from San Diego State University's Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate and UC San Diego's Department of Urban Studies and Planning also competed. The teams consisted of up to six students with the objective of creating a development plan exemplifying the highest and best use for the proposed site. "Considering that SPAWAR has recently issued an RFP to professional development firms for the redevelopment of this site, a lot of people in our industry were very interested to see what the students devised this year, and they weren't disappointed," NAIOP San Diego President Adam Seery said in a statement.

The USD team's $1.6 billion, 4.15-million-square-foot plan, called Delta District, was intended to provide "an innovative, multi-purpose center that promotes San Diego culturally, socially and economically." The mix of uses included housing (market rate, affordable, co-living and military transitional), hotel, retail, and office. The proposal also included the "Patriot Outpost," a hub for veteran services and micro rental units marketed toward military personnel. Additionally, the students included a 154,000-square-foot Innovation Center with space to accommodate education and technology uses as well as a gaming theater.

On behalf of the judging panel, Mike McNerny of Lowe Enterprises commented that Delta District, stood out particularly for its public benefits and celebration of San Diego's military history. Entries were judged by San Diego real estate luminaries McNerney; Dennis Cruzan of Cruzan; Casey Brown of Casey Brown Co; Yehud Gaffen of Gafcon; Kevin Heinly of Gensler; Kelly Moden of Murfey Company; Mike Paris of U.S. Bank; and Mike Mahoney of Ryan Cos., as well as SPAWAR's Capt. Brien Dickson.

San Diego City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell provided the student teams with context for the surrounding area and community plan. She described the SPAWAR site as a "perfect mix of what San Diego was in the past and what's going to become," and told the students that "outside-the-box thinking is what we need." Throughout the competition, the teams had access to volunteer architectural experts from LPA Inc., Ware Malcomb, and SGPA Architecture & Planning.

They also were allowed to turn o professionals at Turner Construction; Mark McGovern of CBRE Group, Inc. for finance questions; Dave Davis of DF Davis Real Estate, Inc. for appraisal information; Michael Leake of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton for legal questions; and John Keating of LLG Engineers about parking issues. USD's staff advisors were Jake Schwartz and Stath Karras. This marked USD's second win in the nine years of the University Challenge.

The University Challenge was moderated and organized by committee leaders Charlie Abdi of Finest City Realty, Chris Pascale of CBRE, Gary Katz of Presidio Property Trust, Murfey's Moden, and Kevin Heinly of Gensler. Proceeds from University Challenge go to the NAIOP San Diego Foundation, which supports its annual scholarship programs.

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