Students from Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate won the 2013 Eisenberg Foundation (HEEF) Midwest Real Estate Challenge, which took place on April 6 at The Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago.

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Seven other schools competed in this third Eisenberg Challenge including Indiana University, University of Pennysylvania, University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, Marquette University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Notre Dame to receive a trophy and a $5,000 scholarship for the University.

The Roosevelt team was comprised of real estate students: Moruf Animaushaun, Karlen Beitman, Jessica Caffrey, Holly Kavis, David Lambiaso, Nida Mehtab, Chase Morris, Sarah Rothman, Andrew Savoy, and Drakia Wilkins.

Dean Terri Friel, dean of the Heller College of Business, had nothing but praise for the winning Roosevelt students. “I am really proud of this accomplishment. We competed last year for the first time and were edged out by Marquette. We came back strong this year and came in first place. This is a great accomplishment for the real estate program, the business college, and the entire university.”

In addition to the trophy and scholarship, the victorious students will be recognized in October at HEEF”s Annual Dinner, which draws hundreds of leading real estate executives and leaders from around the country.

The Roosevelt group’s winning plan, known as The Marquette Park Promenade, envisioned retail and grocery stores, educational and health facilities and community sports areas to be developed over a ten-year period on former industrial and abandoned retail sites. The sustainable and community-driven development would boost the culture, economy and sense of community in the surrounding neighborhood, the Roosevelt team said. One of its innovative design features was the utilization of railroad shipping containers (the site is adjacent to the massive CXS 59th Street intermodel yard) for shop and office spaces.

James Wilson of the City of Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development called the Roosevelt team’s concept realistic and said, “it shows that you truly thought about the good of the community.”

Held each spring, the HEEF competition provides students with hands-on opportunity to apply what they have learned in university courses to the real world of real estate. The competition challenges students to create a complete development plan for a selected site in the Chicago area. This year’s site was proposed by the Sears Holdings Corporation around the existing Sears store at 62nd street which would anchor redevelopment on a total of 38 acres in total. Sears is proposing similar innovative redevelopment in other urban locations in the U.S. with one of the first being in St. Paul.

The competition judges were Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest: Cortez Carter, managing deputy commissioner at the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation; Micah Maidenberg, a Crain’s Chicago Business Reporter; and Alfred M. Klairmont, President, Imperial Realty Company and Chairman of the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Education Committee.

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