Current student Mark Simpson (photo: far left), part of a multidisciplinary team of UCLA graduate students won the 2014 NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge held on November 20th at the Covel Commons Grand Horizon Ballroom on the UCLA campus.

This year, the challenge focused on the former Los Angeles Times printing facility, an iconic 21-acre site located in Costa Mesa and owned by the Tribune Company. The teams were challenged to create and present the highest and best use for redevelopment of the site. UCLA's team proposed The Platform, a thoughtful mixed-use development that aims to serve the changing preferences of the Millennial Generation by satisfying an underserved demand for rental apartments and creative office space. The development program also includes daily-needs retail, including novel food trains that activate a defunct rail spur, and six acres of much needed green space and other rich amenities.

"The team was presented with a challenging low visibility, mid-block site neighbored by a hodgepodge of existing uses, but one that presented a compelling opportunity to introduce a sense of place in north Costa Mesa" said Paul Habibi, UCLA Anderson lecturer and team advisor. "They crafted a thoughtful program that caters to the underserved needs of the Millennial Generation, through the delivery of 400 rental apartments and an adaptive reuse of the Times printing facility that preserves authenticity and character, while providing a welcoming, highly-amenitized offering to prospective tenants. The team presented their program in a very compelling, analytical fashion, and was one of the most poised, articulate teams I have coached in the eight years that I have been involved in this competition."