The keynote speaker at the event was alumnus Alexander Knapp MSRED ’08, a former architect with Renzo Piano and currently director with Hines London, exploring the effectiveness of design in creating economic value. Covering a range of material from ‘starchitects’ to neighborhood business improvement districts, from the Eiffel Tower to One World Trade Center, his talk addressed how the intangible ‘soft qualities’ of design influence the hard facts of financial performance.
The forum also included finalist presentations in the 2013 real estate CASE competition, an annual contest created and hosted by alumni from SA+P’s Center for Real Estate. (Sponsored by Boston Properties, Ropes and Gray, LLP, Skanska Commercial Development and The CoStar PPR Group.) Graduate students in real estate and finance from across the country, and as far away as Hong Kong, were invited to make their own proposals for the J. Edgar Hoover Building site on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Thirty-two teams entered the competition at the end of January with only five days to underwrite, design and propose a development. The field was narrowed to twelve in March and to three in April, with teams from MIT, Cornell and Georgetown emerging as finalists. In Boston on April 5, when the finalists made their presentations to a judges’ panel of top real estate executives, the MIT team took second place with Cornell in first and Georgetown third.
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