ASU Students Test Their Development Acumen in 1st ‘Zoomed’ REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge


The 7th REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge will again offer a cash prize to a winning team of graduating students from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program – with a new twist.

This year’s competition will be held via Zoom because of the stay-at-home restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event is May 6 and begins at 4:15 p.m. The presentation is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. with voting and announcement of the winning team at 5:30 p.m.

“Zoom in, watch, and vote. REIAC’s Program Committee and Board were determined to find a way to hold the Challenge,” said REIAC Southwest President Dave Kross.

This year the focus is on Danelle Plaza. Located at SWC of Mill Avenue and Southern in Tempe, it is a subdivided, 1960s retail center known for the Yucca Taproom with numerous individual building owners. It is partially owned by the City of Tempe.

The MRED students were asked to make proposals for redevelopment of the10.8-acre center area that includes 3.1 acres of vacant land Tempe owns and 7.07 acres encircling the city-owned property which is common area under control of the Danelle Plaza CC&Rs. This area is owned by all Danelle Plaza owners as an undivided interest making a solution very complicated.

“This is their thesis – their culminating experience requiring use of all they have learned,” said Mark Stapp, Executive Director of the MRED program. “There are wicked problems that test them and would challenge anyone, even the most experienced of us.”

The Novus Innovation District in Tempe was the focus of the three teams competing in last year’s challenge. Capturing top honors was the Original Company for its project, Karsten. Original Company garnered $1,000 each for team members Jason Wagner, Lindsey Campbell, Tanner Weekes and Wade Troeger.

Each team is allotted 10 minutes to present a development solution for a storied piece of Arizona commercial real estate, followed by questions from the audience. Audience members will vote to choose the winning team after the presentations, awarding each winning team member a $1,000 check up to $6,000.

“The Rockefeller Group is honored to participate in what has become an annual tradition that has provided additional motivation for MRED students to be selected as one of the top three teams to compete in the Challenge,” said Mark Singerman, Past President of the REIAC Southwest Chapter and Vice President/Regional Director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group, the event’s title sponsor.

“The inspiring and creative solutions the teams have presented at the Challenge over the years demonstrate what a fabulous job Mark Stapp and his staff have done in preparing the students for careers in real estate development and investment,” Singerman said.

The 2020 event is free for public viewing. Registration is required for the REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge by visiting or logging in to


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