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The Final Practicum

The Final Practicum—A Real Deal Competition


Two capstone classes on commercial and residential community development (usually combined for a mixed-use development) pit three to four, competitive internal MRED student teams against each other to prepare a detailed feasibility analysis and proposal for real development sites in conjunction with developers in Charlotte, Atlanta, Asheville, Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and other regional locations. Professional juries evaluate student team proposal presentations. The curriculum concludes with this significant 6-credit practicum as a real feasibility study for a real deal with developers, financial institutions, brokers, economic development officials, and designers on the jury—a synthesis of their academic career. 

Since 2004, The Carolinas Chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR®) and the SIOR Foundation® (SIORF®) have awarded an annual scholarship fund for the graduating students, based on this annual competition. 

The Capstone Practicum Course has three-four competing internal teams preparing a complete feasibility package presented to an investment jury for a site; these are usually mixed-use sites in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Asheville and other regional locations. The curriculum concludes with this significant 6-credit practicum as a feasibility study for a real deal, synthesizing the two-year program.

In November 2018 five teams presented redevelopment proposals on the Cone Mills/U.S. Finishing Plant in the Sans Souci community of Greenville, SC. Redevelopment proposals comprised approximately 50 acres of the former mill site and historic outbuildings.

August 2018 brought two team presentations in two upstate cities: Spartanburg, SC and Pendleton, SC. Aimee Adams, Mark Crowley, and Jason Hull presented their redevelopment proposal, "Magnolia Gates", an approximately 2 acre site on 578 North Church Street in Spartanburg, SC. Their proposal included retail, multi-family, restaurants, a fire station, and parking. 
Shelley Pelliccione and Lawrence Black presented on the Pendleton Oil Mill site, located in the historic town of Pendleton, SC. Design concepts for the project included a residential pocket neighborhood and other outdoor and social adventures to enhance user experience.

In 2017 three teams presented redevelopment proposals on three different comparable sites in the Village of West Greenville. Now an upcoming arts district, in the early 1900s, West Greenville was home to the textile mill “crescent.” Everything in the crescent at that time revolved around the mills, in a true live, work, play community. Each team presented their master plans to a five panel jury.

In 2016 four teams completed their capstone project on a technology-based project for the Upper Peninsula of Charleston. The students proposed innovative approaches were proposed to activate the social realm and a mixture of uses to spur the redevelopment of an eight-acre, underutilized site on Morrison Drive that was owned by Charleston County. The teams presented to a jury comprised of County officials, the City of Charleston and professionals from the local real estate community.

In 2015, four teams completed impressive transit-oriented redevelopment proposals for the former Chadbourn Mill on the extension of the Charlotte Lynx Light Rail System. In 2014, we prepared feasibility analyses for redevelopment of five parcels, which are a strategic gateway to the Pettigru Local Overlay Historic District, close to Downtown Greenville and adjacent to a future extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The properties are vacant or underutilized and have considerable potential for retail, residential, or mixed-use development. The jury was comprised of property stakeholders including Spinx Corporation, and Central Realty as well as various alumni from the lending, brokerage, and development perspectives. 

In 2013, we prepared feasibility analyses for approximately 105-acres adjacent to the Biltmore Park Town Center, a nationally recognized mixed-use development in Asheville, NC.  The  jury included Hugh H.V. and Jack F.A.V. Cecil of Biltmore Farms, Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson, Asheville Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice-President Ben Teague, Wells Fargo Senior Vice President Hugh Allen, prominent architect Terry Shook (Shook Kelley, P.A.) and Research Triangle Foundation President and CEO Bob Geolas.

In 2012, we evaluated a 31-acre infill mixed use redevelopment proposal at the present site of the Greenville County SC Administrative Bldg., the former Furman University campus and a former mall site. The property is adjacent to the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and near downtown where development pressure is moving.  The jury included McMillan Pazdan Smith principal and architect Joe Pazdan, Greenville County Manager Joe Kernell,  Bogue Wallin (Blue Wall Investors) and Dr. Terry Farris of the MRED program.   

We evaluated two key downtown Columbia, SC sites in 2011 and 2009.  The 2009 Practicum subject site was the former Klein Ironworks, a 20-acre downtown Columbia SC redevelopment mixed use development in The Vista historic area adjacent to the South Carolina State Museum of History. The Vista is a popular area of Columbia for mixed-use development, dining and entertainment.  The jury included two members of SIOR including a leading sponsor of the Carolinas Chapter of SIOR, Mr. Bill Smith of Red Rock Development, George McCutchen with Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler, property owner Jerry Klein, and a city economic development official.  And we prepared a feasibility analysis and redevelopment plan for Hughes Development, Master Developer of the abandoned 165-acre Bull Street State Mental Health complex including historic structures in Downtown Columbia into a $100 million mixed-use, neo-traditional community including a new minor-league baseball stadium--initially planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk.

An early practicum was a redevelopment feasibility analysis for the Morris Brown College area in Atlanta; we also prepared feasibility analyses for housing and mixed use development opportunities for Presbyterian College in Clinton SC as part of its new pharmacy school.  We also prepared two feasibility infill/redevelopment studies in Charlotte: an 86-acre, mixed-use development competition just north of downtown near the NoDa Arts District and approximately 20-acres on Hawthorne Lane near Central Avenue, adjacent to the planned CATS modern streetcar line.

All of these competitive practicums showed the abilities of our students to a wide array of real estate industry executives; furthermore, the feasibility packages and experience are very useful in seeking employment. 

Proud Recipient of SIOR® Funding—Towards the Annual Practicum Competition

Since 2004, The Carolinas Chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® and the SIOR Foundation® have awarded an annual scholarship fund for the graduating students of Clemson University’s Master of Real Estate Development Program. 

The MRED program has been very active with the Carolinas Chapter including the program’s founding director being involved annually as Moderator and Presenter in the Upstate Market Trends Forecast since 2004. These students have contacts with numerous Carolina SIOR® members during their program.

The Carolinas Chapter is one of 48 chapters of the prestigious international association. Commercial real estate professionals must meet rigorous requirements to earn the SIOR designation.  Founded in 1941, The SOCIETY OF INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE REALTORS® is the leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association, based in Washington D.C. With more than 3,000 members in more than 630 cities in 34 countries, SIOR represents today's most knowledgeable, experienced, and successful commercial real estate brokerage specialists.

SIOR has certified thousands of members with the prestigious SIOR designation, a professional symbol of the highest level of knowledge, production, and ethics in the real estate industry.  Real estate professionals who have earned the SIOR designation are recognized by corporate real estate executives, commercial real estate brokers, agents, lenders, and other real estate professionals as the most capable and experienced brokerage practitioners in any market. SIOR designees can hold the following specialty designations: industrial, office, sales manager, executive manager, or advisory service.

SIOR also consists of associate members who include corporate executives, developers, educators, and others involved in the commercial real estate industry. Dr. Farris is an active SIOR Educator Associate.

A professional affiliate of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, SIOR is dedicated to the practice and maintenance of the highest professional and ethical standards. SIOR maintains a commitment to business and industry by providing outstanding professional services, publications, and educational programs.

The SIOR Foundation’s mission is to promote and support initiatives that expand, educate, and enrich the commercial real estate community.  Established in 1962 to publish the industry’s first graduate level textbook on industrial real estate, SIOR Foundation has maintained its dedication to expanding understanding of the commercial real estate industry.  The Foundation has a matching scholarship program available to the local SIOR Chapters.