A team of four Monmouth University juniors recently won a real estate competition sponsored by NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, competing against schools such as Rutgers University and Villanova and winning $5,000.
The competition involved performing a complex analysis of a 116-acre redevelopment site in northern New Jersey. The team, consisting of business administration students Jacqueline O’Dor, Lindsey Florio, Sam Perrelli, and Christopher Fitzsimmons, prepared a detailed planning and site evaluation, and a financial analysis of the project.
Peter Reinhart, Director of Kislak Real Estate Institute and a specialist professor, said, “Monmouth has participated in this NAIOP competition the past three years. This is the first time we finished first. The team members are selected by me as the Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute based upon my evaluation of their academic talents and their availability to participate.”
“With the project being as large as it was, we all had to work together to accomplish the task at hand,” said Perelli. “We each participated in all aspects of the project and collaborated to decide which idea made the most sense. At times when the entire group count meet, the rest of the group made sure everything got done.”
“Jackie was our team captain and had the responsibility to give the intro and set us up while presenting,” said Fitzsimmons. “We each had our strengths and leveraged our different backgrounds to our benefit. Everyone brought unique skills to the table.”
Perrelli said, “The team consisted of four students who are all real estate majors at the University. After receiving an email about the competition in November, I was eager to let Professor Reinhart know I was interested in participating. All four of us responded quickly and were chosen by late November.”
“The real estate program here at Monmouth is extremely close knit,” said Fitzsimmons. “We have all had classes with other and knew Professor Reinhart well. We were made aware of the opportunity from Professor Reinhart and we each expressed interest. He selected our group to compete and to work we went.”
The students were given a four-week time frame to develop their proposal for this project. After presenting their work to a panel of real estate industry judges which included the judges included the owner of the site as well as the mayor of the municipality and other real estate professionals, including an architect and engineer.
Reinhart said, “The students did an excellent job in recognizing the owner’s desire to maximize the financial returns as well as develop a campus that would be attractive to millennials and be supported by the two municipalities. The team proposed to expand upon the announced new medical school on the property by the Hackensack Meridian Health organization and Seton Hall University. They proposed additional health related buildings. One big challenge was how to provide sufficient parking for the thousands of new employees. They dealt with this by proposing several parking garages in addition to traditional surface parking lots.”
Fitzsimmons said, “We began at the macro level with a big picture idea. Then we began to decide upon what developments we should go with. Then we decided where everything should go. We spilt up the responsibility in terms of who would write what and calculate numbers based upon our comfort level with the respective development. All in all, we really have to give a lot of credit to our Professor Reinhart and others who guided us along the way. Could not have done this without them. Total team effort.”
“I’m very proud of the team for being able to utilize the knowledge we gain here at Monmouth University,” said Perrelli. “The Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth enabled us to learn various important tools that were used in this project. Classes that we currently take were relevant in the competition which helped us to accomplish everything we did. A special thank you goes out to all the professors who helped us with this project.”
“It is a tremendous feeling as it was something that matter to us and the program. We devoted an immense amount of time to this and were excited about what we put together. Of course, coming out on top over those schools (Rutgers and Villanova) is great. Those are two top notch schools who bring it every time,” said Fitzsimmons.