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Winners announced in this year’s ULI Hines Student Competition – Europe


The Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Hines, the global real estate firm, have announced the winning team in the third annual ULI Hines Student Competition – Europe.

Four students from ESSEC Business School, France, were named as the victors following the final of the prestigious pan-European student competition for integrated and multidisciplinary urban regeneration. This year’s competition tasked a total of six teams to devise plans for the redevelopment of a former dairy factory located in a changing district of northern Madrid, Spain. 

The multidisciplinary and diverse student teams, all of whom were drawn from an eclectic mix of universities, business schools and further education establishments, were challenged to create a vision for the regeneration of the factory and the wider site that would lead to a positive impact in the area. 

The winners of the competition will each receive a fast-track to the Hines internship application programme, a guided tour of an existing development project, participation in project meetings in Hines’ European offices, and complementary access to bespoke in-person opportunities within the ULI programmes.  Additionally, all the finalists from the six teams have already received a one-year ULI membership.

Antoine Sgar, Marie Lucille, Marion Decloux-Carré and Théo Roché from ESSEC beat five other teams from institutions including London Business School (UK), INSEAD (France), IE University (Spain), LSE/UCL/Oxford Brookes (UK) and London Business School/University of Glasgow (UK) to win the coveted prize.

The final, which took place in a hybrid format on 24 May, consisted of a whole day of virtual sessions, where the finalist teams had to tackle the challenge of redeveloping a site that included a listed and celebrated monument to modern architecture, to minimise environmental impact while generating a positive community impact, create connections to the various surrounding districts, and enhance social cohesion.

Their plans had to include a site plan and overall mix of uses and amenities; an innovative brief for the reuse of the factory that would benefit the wider community; and measures to ensure a strong focus on ESG principles balancing positive societal outcomes with reasonable financial returns. Proposals needed to demonstrate a vision for the redevelopment that understood the challenges of placemaking, enhanced the existing urban fabric, and acted as a catalyst to spurn redevelopment in the wider urban area. Responses addressing finance, investment, design, planning and sustainable development, and ESG were all essential for the proposals.

The finalists were asked to present their plans to an esteemed jury of senior pan-European real estate leaders, including: Lars Huber, CEO, Hines Europe; Brian Moran, Head of Ireland, Hines; Irina Stefanova, Global Head Real Estate and Facility Services, Novartis; Jorge Pérez de Leza, CEO, Metrovacesa; Virginia González Montes de Oca, Senior Architect, Community of Madrid; Iñigo Ortiz, Co-founder, Ortiz Leon Architects; and Lisette van Doorn, CEO – Europe, ULI. 

Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, said:

“The ULI Hines Student Competition in Europe is designed to inspire the next generation of real estate leaders to rise to a real-life challenge and address the multi-layered issues and complexities of urban development and placemaking. Our judging panel was hugely impressed by the innovation and ingenuity, grounded in pragmatism, of all the finalists this year, particularly their awareness and sensitivity in addressing the ESG challenges and community impact dimensions of the case study project.” 

“It’s imperative the industry makes a collective effort to make young people aware of the broad range of exciting career paths that real estate has to offer, and I’m proud this competition continues to grow every year and is a clarion call for the sector to students across Europe.”  

Lisette van Doorn, CEO of ULI Europe, added:

“Congratulations to our winning team, and to all the participating teams, in what has been an exceptional third year of the Europe competition that has seen a very high standard of responses from among our competing teams. It has been exciting to see that, once again, tomorrow’s diverse talent can deftly meet critical real-world challenges, including all aspects of ESG, with such innovative and creative solutions, that many active in the industry today can learn from.”  

“The principles behind this competition are laudable, reflecting the need to collaborate and work collectively to find innovative solutions to the urgent challenges that we all face, and share knowledge and best practice. This also perfectly reflects ULI’s own global, multidisciplinary, and multigenerational focus, and our mission to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.”

“Finally, I would like to thank Hines, a key corporate partner, for their collaboration to deliver this competition and for their generous support, which will I’m sure once again provide a launch pad for our next generation of leaders to begin their careers in the industry. I hope that everyone that has participated in this year’s competition will consider joining the industry and continue to engage with ULI to develop their careers, leveraging our global network and content.”    

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