LOS ANGELES-Last year at NAIOP’s SoCal USC vs UCLA Real Estate Challenge, UCLA took home the title in front of nearly 400 guests at Town & Gown on the USC campus in a networking event that was both entertaining and upbeat. This year, USC took home the coveted Silver Shovel.

It was a tie-breaker year for the graduate student teams from Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and the Lusk Center at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Price School of Public Policy. Each team had seven wins coming into the competition. The USC team’s winning presentation focused on development of Olympic Commons, a community-oriented and interactive town center, as its solution to the 2012 challenge.

The challenge site was a Los Angeles County location, where, for many years, residents surrounding Slauson Ave (from La Brea Ave to Angeles Vista Blvd) have advocated that the Slauson corridor be upgraded to reflect the purchasing power and stature of the surrounding communities.

The Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has employed a three-pronged strategy focusing on branding, public improvements and economic development to promote revitalization along the corridor, according to a prepared statement. Each student team presented their proposals demonstrating the highest and best use of the property to the judges, a diverse group of real estate industry and community leaders.

The event’s celebrity line-up featured honorary team captains Terry Donahue, former UCLA football coach, and John Robinson, former USC football coach, who provided pre-game football insight and commentary. Richard S. Ziman, chairman, AVP Advisors/Rexford Industrial was the event keynote. James “Watty” Watson, president and CEO, CT Realty Investors, served as guest emcee. More than 300 people were in attendance at this year’s event.

Photos from event:

USC team with the silver Shovel and center is Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County, Second District.

Emcee: James “Watty” Watson, president & CEO, CT Realty Investors

A shot of the UCLA team during presentation.