Midtown Atlanta Site Selected as Study Area for 2016 ULI Hines Student Competition
January 11, 2016
Graduate Student Teams Challenged to Design a Market-Feasible, Sustainable Vision that Bridges Midtown and Downtown
For more information, contact Robert Krueger at 202-624-7051
WASHINGTON (January 11, 2016) – The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced the selection of an area in Atlanta’s Midtown South neighborhood as the study site in the fourteenth annual ULI Hines Student Competition. The ideas competition provides both full- and part-time graduate-level student teams the opportunity to devise a comprehensive design and development program for parts of a real, large-scale site. The team with the winning proposal, selected in April, will receive $50,000.
The 2016 competition kicks off today and gives each team of five students – that must comprise at least three different disciplines – a full 15 days to design and submit a masterplan proposal that includes presentation boards with drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data. The competition is designed to simulate an actual urban planning and development scenario, with certain details changed for the purposes of the competition.
It is based on a hypothetical situation in which key area landowners have reached out to owners of smaller parcels and have come together as a group with a common strategy supporting the vision for building mixed-use sustainable and vibrant neighborhoods. Under the competition scenario, this group, the Midtown South Development Partnership, has selected a master developer to provide a vision and growth plans to create a comprehensive environment that is programmed, designed, built, and operated with all the elements necessary to promote a successful sustainable mixed-use experience for its residents, workers, and visitors.
In this competition scenario, teams are tasked with transforming this transitional area and completing the vision for Midtown Atlanta—by taking advantage of its proximity to Downtown and Technology Square, as well as its adjacency to Peachtree Street, public transportation, and strong regional access —into a thriving sustainable, mixed-use, walkable, and transit accessible neighborhood. The landowners are seeking a master development proposal that includes an understanding of the market and nonmarket factors at play in building such a neighborhood and to explore the value proposition of building and operating with this long-term vision.
While based on a hypothetical situation, the 2016 Hines Student Competition does reflect many real-life concerns of Atlanta. In recent years, the City of Atlanta has supported increased market demand for urban real estate products with strategies to attract investment in its urban core and along key commercial corridors. Most of the competition study site is located in what is commonly known as Midtown Atlanta, the second largest business district in the city, after the commercial and financial districts of Downtown to its south and Buckhead to its north.
The Hines Student Competition is part of an ongoing ULI effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities, improving development patterns, and increasing awareness of the need for interdisciplinary solutions to development and design challenges. The competition is strategically structured to encourage cooperation and teamwork—necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities—among future land use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. It is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at universities in the United States and Canada, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture.
The competition has been funded through an endowment from Gerald D. Hines, chairman of the global Hines real estate organization and a recipient of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. A legend in the land use industry, he is widely known as a leader who pioneered the use of high-quality planning and architecture as a marketable feature of development in office, residential and mixed-use projects.
In February, the jury will select four student teams as finalists. These teams are then requested to expand their proposal and present it to the jury in Atlanta. A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the winning team, with $5,000 of the total going to the school. Each of the remaining three finalist teams will receive $10,000. This year, applications were submitted from 140 teams representing 59 universities in the United States and Canada. Included are 700 participating students, 141 academic advisors, and 41 professional advisors. Since the first competition was held in 2003, over 6,700 students on over 1,100 teams have participated, representing schools in the U.S. and Canada.
The teams will be expected to submit proposals that illustrate innovative approaches to five general elements: 1) planning context and analysis, 2) master land use plan, 3) urban design, 4) site specific illustrations of new development, and 5) development schedule and finances. Participants have received project briefing materials, including a comprehensive problem statement; background information on the site; market information; relevant existing design proposals; site maps and photos; and other details, along with a list of materials required for team presentations. The competition is designed as an exercise; there is no intention that the students’ plans will be implemented as part of any revitalization of the site.
The teams must complete their project proposals and submit them to ULI headquarters by January 25, 2016. A jury will review all proposals in compliance with the deadline and select four finalist teams and several honorable mentions. The finalist and honorable mentions will be announced to the public on February 22. In mid-March, the final phase of the competition, the student finalist teams will have the opportunity to expand their original schemes and respond in more detail. During this time, a member of each team will be brought to Atlanta to tour the site and revise their presentations. On April 7, finalist team members will present their schemes to the competition jury members during a public forum in Atlanta. The event will culminate with the announcement of the winning team.
Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the competition, ULI will select 11 jurors from diverse backgrounds in real estate development to join Jury Chairman Tara Carter Hernandez, president of JCH Development in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jurors represent a strategic mix of land use experts, including developers, brokers, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, urban planners, and policy officials, among others.
NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: For more information on the ULI Hines Student Competition, visit: http://americas.uli.orghines. The competition briefing book is also available to the public.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 36,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.