Villanova takes home crown at NAIOP NJ case study competition

The state’s COVID-19 social distancing restrictions couldn’t stop commercial real estate development organization NAIOP New Jersey from holding its sixth annual University Challenge Case Study Competition — by ZOOM.

The team of students from Villanova University took home the crown and the $5,000 prize, and will be recognized at the NAIOP NJ President’s Awards Dinner, slated for November.

Villanova’s team of Hunter Cuthbertson, Kyle Keenan, Elliott Eyring and Matthew Winschuh presented concepts for site sponsor Blue Onyx Cos.’ redevelopment of a Paterson silk mill. They went up against teams of students from Baruch College in New York City and New Jersey schools Monmouth University and Montclair State University.

“This annual competition serves as a platform for educating local officials and students on development challenges, while promoting engagement of our student members with municipal leaders and providing innovative designs that have real value for sponsor companies,” NAIOP NJ President Gene Preston said in a prepared statement. “Each of the student teams and their advisers are to be applauded for the hard work and considerable creativity they put into their projects.”

Case studies focused on incorporating historic and regulatory requirements into the plans for 24½ Van Houten St., to include a mix of live/work, experiential retail and dedicated creative space.

“We’re so honored to have been part of this year’s NAIOP New Jersey University Challenge,” Paterson-based Blue Onyx’s CEO, Levi Kelman, said in a statement. “The opportunity to see the fresh perspective these students brought to the process was inspiring, and we were truly impressed by their efforts.”

Judges included Kelman, Jeff Schotz of Newmark Knight Frank, Adam Pasternak of Russo Development, Matthias Hollwich of HWKN, David Nuse of the state Economic Development Authority and John Cote of Langan Engineering and Environmental Services.