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A New Blueprint

There may be nothing original about converting a 96-acre plot of open land in the middle of New Jersey—that is, until a team of ire@l students develops a mixed-use plan that earns them national accolades. 

Philadelphia Inquirer business reporter Al Heavens knows a thing or two about mixed-use real estate. It’s a reason why he helped judge a recent national collegiate real estate competition. 

“After 45 years as a reporter, I’m not easily impressed, and I learned the hard way at my first newspaper not to review amateur productions,” wrote Heavens. “But some of the presentations—and the judges’ questions—were phenomenal.” 

The most phenomenal? Lehigh, whose team provided a thorough analysis of a 96-acre property—and what problems developers could expect along the way.

“They got my vote without a moment’s hesitation,” wrote Heavens. “I’ve seen too many empty lots marked with rotting advertising signs because no one had the sense to consider what might go wrong.” 

The winning team consisted of four Integrated Real Estate at Lehigh (ire@l) students, including returning senior finance majors Allie Zamfir ’13 and Lucy Zhang ’13. It’s just the latest honor for a program with strategic connections along the I-95 corridor, from Boston to Washington, D.C.

“Our curriculum emphasizes teamwork,” Stephen Thode, director of the Murray H. Goodman Center for Real Estate Studies at Lehigh. “That’s because successful real-estate development is a team effort involving designers, builders, architects, lawyers, financial people and environmental experts.” 

Developing Leaders for Global Impact

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