May 16, 2019 / By Donna Reist, Corporate Marketing

Proud to Sponsor the UD School of Business Administration Everest Real Estate Challenge

Building Community Connections: The Everest/Miller-Valentine Real Estate Challenge
An incubator for opioid treatment. A home for workforce development initiatives. A culinary arts program. Office space and affordable housing units. These are just some of the promising ideas envisioned by University of Dayton students for the 93-year-old West Side Chevy building on Dayton’s west end.

The vacant 50,000 square foot facility was the focus of this year’s Everest/Miller-Valentine Real Estate Challenge. Housed in the University of Dayton’s L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the semester-long program invites teams of UD students to develop, define, and pitch their ideas to redevelop assets in the Dayton region.

As they compete for cash prizes, the students gain real-world skills and develop tangible solutions to bolster the region. More than 180 students have participated in the Everest/Miller-Valentine Challenge since its launch in 2006. For nearly a decade, Miller-Valentine Group has had the privilege of providing both financial and mentoring support for this outstanding program.

From Ideas to Action
One of the most appealing aspects of the Challenge is the opportunity to tackle actual real estate challenges that are close to home. Students research a selected property, analyze the competition and make recommendations for improvement. As they develop their plans, they take into account feasibility factors, including financial options; renovation costs; and city, state, and federal tax incentives. They must then present their ideas to a panel of local economic developer leaders.

The program provides students with a deeper understanding of real estate development and asset repositioning. They also hone skills that will benefit them no matter what career path they choose, such as the ability to analyze data, collaborate with others, and present to the public.

But the program’s goal is much more ambitious than that. Challenge participants connect with an asset and its surrounding neighborhoods at a level that can’t be achieved in a typical classroom. In the process, the students develop strategies to address very real local issues. Sometimes those ideas are put into action; the Arcade Innovation Hub, the anchor tenant for the Dayton Arcade, is the fruit of an Everest/Miller-Valentine Challenge project.

Those of us who partner with the program see this as a potential solution to brain drain for rising talent. Ideally, the connections that students build with local organizations and leaders during the Challenge will encourage them to stay long after they graduate.

West Side Momentum
Which brings us to this year’s project, the West Side Chevy building at 300 W. Third Street. Also known as the Central Motors Building, the facility was built in 1926 as a car dealership with a showroom on the main level and a service department on the second level. Later, the building housed a recycling company. Today it sits vacant, a gem in the rough at the edge of the West Third Street Historic District.

We chose the West Side Chevy building for this year’s project because of the tremendous potential it holds. The area is alight with energy in both the commercial and residential redevelopment sectors. The West Side Chevy building could become an anchor that puts an added charge behind the area’s revitalization.

The four teams did not disappoint with their transformative ideas. Solutions included using the space to house a culinary kitchen, along with a community center, housing, and community garden; creating a mission-based start-up incubator to tackle such issues as poverty, the opioid crisis, and sustainability; and transforming the building into a workforce development center.

As they do every year, the students amazed us with truly innovative ideas. We’ve shared their proposals with a number of community leaders and organizations. Hopefully, in a year or two, the West End Chevy building will have new life thanks to the brilliant ideas that were sparked by this year’s Everest/Miller-Valentine Real Estate Challenge participants.