UM students take first place in Real Estate Impact Investing competition

UM students take first place in Real Estate Impact Investing competition
UM students take first place in Real Estate Impact Investing competition
Pictured (l-r) are Brandon Sultanik, Erin Sutherland, Professor Andrea Heuson and Karl Thomson.

A team of University of Miami students took first place in the second annual Impact Investing in Commercial Real Estate competition hosted by the UM School of Business on Apr. 6 at the Conrad Miami.

Brandon Sultanik, MBA ’18; Karl Thomson, MBA ’17, and Erin Sutherland, a graduate student in the School of Architecture, captured the $12,500 award for their innovative “NoBe Town Center” project for North Miami Beach.

“All four finalist teams gave excellent presentations, including innovative approaches to public-private financing,” said Andrea Heuson, professor of finance, adding that a Cornell University team took the $7,500 second place award, a Rutgers University team received the $5,000 third place award and a New York University team took fourth place.

The UM team presented “NoBe: A Sustainable and Resilient Plan for North Beach,” a $280 million five-block pedestrian-friendly town center with four residential towers, office and retail space, and a central plaza with a 50,000-square-foot community center. Of the 476 apartment units, 96 would be leased at below-market rates for lower-income North Beach residents.

Heuson organized the case study competition, which concluded on Apr. 6 with the judging followed by a reception at the Conrad Miami for participants and members of the Real Estate Advisory Board, which sponsored the competition.

“Impact investing to improve communities, as well as deliver financial returns, is a vital issue in commercial real estate, and we look forward to another exciting competition next year,” she said.

The judges were three experienced real estate professionals: Ryan Bandy, vice president, Clarion Partners in Dallas; Katarzyna Pozniak, chief judge, investment analyst for PGIM Real Estate in New York, and Marcelo Kingston, managing director, Multiplan, a Brazilian retail real estate company.

To address the threat of rising sea levels, NoBe Town Center would be built on three-story plinths with flexible retail and parking space on the first and second floors that could be adapted to changing environmental conditions. NoBe will aim to achieve LEED Gold rating, incorporate a “green” roof, and a small solar panel roof area for heating and electricity, as well as energy-efficient interior system features.

“This competition took the knowledge we gained from our classes into the real world,” said Thomson.

Sultanik said it was exciting to watch the NoBe plan unfold, while Sutherland appreciated the collaboration between real estate development and finance students on a multidisciplinary project.

For more information about next year’s contest contact Chrystie Gonzalez del Valle at For information about the Miami Business School, visit online at

Connect To Your Customers & Grow Your Business

Click Here


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here