Impact Investing in Commercial Real Estate Competition

Ideas to Foster Beneficial Social and Environmental Impact

The Impact Investing in Commercial Real Estate Competition is hosted annually by the Miami Herbert Business School and sponsored by the School’s Real Estate Advisory Board.

Impact investing refers to investments made in commercial real estate projects with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside an appropriate financial return. The case competition tasks teams with identifying such projects and presenting a plan for bring them to fruition.

The 2020-2021 competition is in the books! This year, final case presentations took place virtually and the judges chose three equal winners. The teams from the University of Chicago, the University of Miami, and the University of Pennsylvania all shared the $25,000 first prize.

Competition Goals and Guidelines

  • Bring attention to worthy projects in or near communities that host important academic real estate programs
  • Allow students at the academic institutions that participate to interact with members of their advisory boards and local commercial real estate firms to learn about market conditions and under-utilized properties in their areas.
  • Provide teams with feedback on their preliminary work by a panel of judges who are experts in assessing the risks and rewards of opportunistic investment in commercial real estate.

Each team of students must first identify a vacant or significantly under-utilized commercial property. Properties that are currently for sale or those that have been for sale in the past year will be particularly useful as targets for the case because offering memorandums will be available for these sites.

Alternatively, students may identify an appropriate property and determine if ownership would be willing to assist in providing building specific information to assist in the preparation of the case study. Once a site has been chosen each team must propose a use or uses for the site that includes at least one component that is socially impactful or environmentally impactful.

More facts, in brief:

  • We are looking for teams of three to four masters'-level students (up to two undergraduate students may be included if necessary to form a team). Multiple teams from the same school are possible.
  • Projects will focus on a site of the team's choice, which is currently vacant or under-utilized, and can be developed in an impactful way, under financially feasible parameters.
  • Total Prize Money available will be $25,000. Travel funds for selected finalists may also be available, as necessary.

Key dates:

  • Initial submission deadline: December 12, 2021.
  • January 31, 2022: Initial Submissions Returned with Preliminary Judges’ Comments, Finalists notified.
  • March 27, 2022: Final Revised Submissions Due from Finalist Schools by Midnight.
  • Mid-April 2022: Top Three or Four Teams Present to Judges and Industry Participants in Miami or on Zoom.

Click here for the full official case brief (PDF).