UW Runstad MSRE Takes the 2016 Real Estate Challenge Trophy [March Breakfast Recap]

The winning team poses in Bellevue. Source: UW Think Runstad blog.

One of NAIOP Washington’s most eagerly anticipated Breakfast programs is the Real Estate Challenge (REC). The 2016 REC Breakfast was sponsored by:

  • City of Bellevue
  • Sound Transit
  • Microsoft
  • Vulcan
  • GLY
  • Avidex
  • Baylis
  • LBA Realty
  • Pacific Project Management
  • Schuchart

We sincerely thank them for their continued support. John Teutsch began the meeting and introduced Brian Neville from Van Zandt Development to describe the project and the process. The project, located in Bellevue, is the Sound Transit TOD site located at 130th Ave in the Bel-Red corridor.
Teams from Portland State University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Washington competed in this year’s challenge. Each team presented a brief overview of their approach to this development.

Kevin Wallace of Wallace Properties and a City Council member in Bellevue moderated a panel that discussed the project in depth. The panel included:

  • Maria Royer of Real Retail
  • Sarah Lovell, TOD Manager with Sound Transit
  • Ed McGovern of Security Properties
  • Dan Stroh, Planning Director, City of Bellevue

Dan spoke of the infrastructure requirements that are being brought to bear on this project. He also talked about how the development must breathe life into the site. Additionally, he spoke of Bellevue’s plans for the infrastructure including roads and counselled patience! Sarah talked about how to foster more development around the station. She also spoke about the long-term goal of reducing housing and transit costs. Maria spoke of the challenges in a retail buildout at this station and made comparison to the Pearl District in Portland, and how related retail can create an 18-hour district. Ed offered his thoughts that this particular station would benefit greatly from a catalyst tenant such as the GIX University that is going to be located at the Spring District station. He also talked about population density as being a key driver in the success of this TOD. Ed opined that the potential for lower-cost office developments could be a possibility for this site.

Guy Akester from Translink Canada in Vancouver, B.C., talked about the challenges that each team faced as they sought to provide a viable solution to the City and Sound Transit. These included:

  • The transition of this site from light industrial usage to a TOD
  • Competition from other TODs
  • Code requirements favoring automobile transportation
  • Optimistic financial assumptions
  • Parking requirements
  • Creating critical mass
  • Understanding all the transportation connectivity options

Finally, Ed commented on each team’s proposal and announced the University of Washington as the winner.

We thank our panelists and participating teams for this year’s Real Estate Challenge. The energy, enthusiasm, and quality of all teams was wonderful to see and experience.

Congratulations to all participants!

This article was written by NAIOP Washington State member Edward Scherer, Account Executive, Avidex Industries, LLC.

Download PDF presentations and information from this meeting: 

Share this post: