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UC Berkeley Team Wins in Low-Income Housing Challenge

UC Berkeley students in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Real Estate (IGCRE) program have tied for first place with CSU Calpoly in the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Housing Challenge.

In response to rampantly escalating home prices and rental rates that are sweeping the Bay Area, CalBUILD (UC Berkeley team) has partnered with Resources for Community Development (RCD), a well-established affordable housing developer, to bring HEARTWOOD COMMONS, a 145-unit development including 120 new affordable rental and 25 for-sale units, to West Oakland.

The project is designed to serve large-family households while also meeting the needs of Oakland’s creative class, which has struggled to retain affordable housing and workspace in the current market, by providing 15 dedicated artist live/work lofts and over 11,000 sq. ft. of programed community art space. The site is conveniently located just one mile from the West Oakland BART station providing regional connections, a mere 6 minutes away from the heart of Downtown Oakland and only 7 minutes from Downtown San Francisco.

The interdisciplinary student team is comprised of  Genise Choy (MCP ’16), Alexandra Stein (MCP ’16), Ashley Weinstein-Carnes (JD ’16), Daniel Rodriguez (MBA ’17), Orintheo Swanigan (EWMBA ’16), and Joseph Magsaysay (BA Architecture ’16); Faculty Advisors include: Carol Galante, I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor of Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and Michael Smith-Heimer, Adjunct Professor of City and Regional Planning; The Development Partner for the project is: Resources for Community Development.

About the Competition

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Low-Income Housing Challenge is a team ‘business plan’ competition whose goal is to inform, educate, and attract the next generation of affordable housing professionals. The teams in the challenge are from universities on the West Coast. For twenty-five years, undergraduate and graduate students have been challenged to envision new and innovative models of housing for low-to-moderate income residents. The proposals are required to be forward-looking but also feasible in the current economic and fiscal climate. A jury of affordable housing professionals with development, finance, planning, architecture, and government expertise judges each proposal.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is proud that many of the proposed projects have been built and many of today’s leaders were introduced to affordable housing via the Challenge.

About the  Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Real Estate

The IGCRE introduces interdisciplinary training in real estate, including real estate investment, real estate law, and the role of real estate development in the built environment. One of the hallmarks of the program is that the students come together as a group to do a real estate project.

The IGCRE is available to graduate students in the College of Environmental Design (CED), the Haas School of Business (Haas), and Berkeley Law and is jointly sponsored by the three Colleges. The program provides the opportunity to supplement graduate student’s major areas of study with courses that specifically focus on real estate. As part of the IGCRE, students may undertake specialized, multi-disciplinary courses in city planning and design, learn about the process of development and gaining entitlements, and gain skills in financial and asset market analysis. The program also provides instruction about the legal foundations of construction and real estate transactions and explores housing and land use policy.

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