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Roosevelt University won in the graduate division for this year's Chicago Real Estate Challenge by the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation

Marquette, Roosevelt Universities Win 12th Annual Eisenberg Foundation Challenge 

Marquette University and Roosevelt University in Chicago won the 12th Annual Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Chicago Real Estate Challenge in the undergraduate and graduate divisions, respectively. The winning teams will receive a scholarship of up to $5,000. 

The 2022 event was held in late April and hosted by Wintrust at its Grand Banking Hall in downtown Chicago. This marked the first time since 2019 that the competition took place in person. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the competition, the judging panel for the Challenge consisted entirely of women in real estate. 

The focus of this year’s challenge was a high-profile development/redevelopment project in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. This year’s Challenge Case Site is Johnny’s IceHouse East, the former home of the Chicago Blackhawks’ practice rink, which has the potential for adaptive reuse of the existing structure or a new ground-up development. 

The Marquette University undergraduate entry, submitted under the name Marquette Development Company LLC, proposed a 176,000-square-foot, 141-unit multifamily tower with a golf simulator lounge, named the “Howitzer Tower.” Among the key features of the proposed developments included a 20% allocation of onsite affordable units, a variety of environmentally sustainable elements, and extensive community benefits that included artwork and events.  

Under the name Windy City Development, the Roosevelt University graduate team proposed the “Capsule,” a redevelopment of the existing building into an esports area that functions as an event space for tournaments and casual gaming combined with a crypto mining and learning center. Windy City Development secured a letter of interest from a future restaurant tenant, Tasso’s Greek Restaurant, and sponsorship from EA Sports. The development group focused on community benefits, the growing esports and crypto industries and speed to market. 

“It is very exciting to be able to create a Challenge that encompasses truly iconic properties, land sites and/or assemblages,” said Jaron Kleiman of Roofstock, co-chair of the Real Estate Challenge, and Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation associate board member. “We’ve been fortunate over the life of this event to secure case challenges that have ranged from an assemblage in close proximity to the Obama Presidential Center in 2021 to parcels near the Moody Bible Institute in 2020.” 

The six judges for the 2022 Real Estate Challenge included Regina Stilp, principal, Farpoint Development; Suzanne Kahle, senior director of development, Farpoint Development; Erin Lavin Cabonargi, managing director, URBAN ReSOLVE; Navi Sandhu, SVP of acquisitions, finance & development, Fifield Companies; Ciere Boatright, VP of real estate & community development, CRG; and Katie Jahnke Dale, partner & co-location head, Chicago real estate practice, DLA Piper. 

Pictured, at top: The Roosevelt University team. Below: the Marquette University Team.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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