A team of UBC Sauder Bachelor of Commerce students took home the top prize at the 14th Annual Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge, a competition that tasks student teams with planning a high-profile development in a major metropolitan area – with the chance of it being implemented some time in the future.
UBC Sauder’s team – consisting of Stephanie Yeargin and Winnie Lyn – competed against students from Portland State University and the University of Washington to design a mixed-use community around Coquitlam’s Central Station, a 5.5 hectare block complete with parking, a bus loop, and SkyTrain and West Coast Express stations.
“We’re very happy to have won because all of us are eager to pursue careers in real estate, so this competition was important to our team,” said Yeargin. “It provided us with an opportunity to create a comprehensive development proposal and present it to a panel of industry leaders.”
Yeargin and Lyn first teamed up in mid-December 2016. Later that month they received Translink’s Request for Proposal and then toured the Coquitlam site on January 14. On March 9, each team presented its plans to a panel of judges, Translink officials and members of the commercial real estate industry at the NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association) Vancouver Breakfast Event.
UBC Sauder won for its development titled “Chrono,” a pedestrian-focused design with seven condo towers, three rental towers and an elevated public plaza that will be home to a variety of entertainment and retail offerings. One condo will become the development’s “statement tower,” a striking 55-storey landmark that could make it a focal point in Coquitlam. The project is a five-phase development set to be completed by 2038, at a cost of almost $2.7 billion.
"We decided from the start we wanted to separate pedestrians from cars to cultivate the feel of a European city, similar to Whistler Village", said Yeargin. "Chrono, meaning ‘relating to time,’ captured our concept for the site – a place where family and friends can go to make the most of their time together".
To build their design, Lyn and Yeargin drew on lessons from UBC Sauder courses like Urban Land Economics and Real Estate Development, and received support from industry and academic mentors on a weekly basis, including Associate Professor Tsur Somerville, the team’s advisor. Yeargin and Lyn said this assistance was “instrumental to their success.”
UBC Sauder’s team was awarded the Bob Filley Cup and a chance to have their plan implemented by Translink.
UBC Sauder is a longtime competitor in the Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge, and last won first place in 2015. This year marked the first time the competition was hosted in Canada, thanks to a partnership between Translink and NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development of Metro Vancouver.