Last night, my colleague Kelly Smith and I had the pleasure of attending the final round of the MIT Center for Real Estate Alumni Association’s Sixth Annual “The CASE” International Real Estate Development Competition.

Participants were given less than a week to complete a comprehensive proposal to acquire and redevelop a site located in the shadows of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. As part of a $1 billion project, the largest tunnel-boring machine ever built has been digging under downtown Seattle in order to eventually bury a section of that highway and enable the removal of the viaduct structure. Once completed, this project is expected to radically transform downtown Seattle and have a similar impact to that which Boston experienced following the Big Dig.

Thirty-eight teams of graduate students from the top global real estate programs have been competing since January in the sixth annual competition. Many of the real estate world’s top leaders have participated in The CASE as competitors, mentors and judges. This year’s judges included Jonathan Davis, CEO, The Davis Companies; Dick Friedman, President & CEO, Carpenter & Co.; John Fowler, Executive Managing Director, HFF; and Mark McGowan, Director of Development, Skanska Commercial Development.

2015 The CASE Winners from Cornell University: Jason Henderson, Daniel Gualtieri, Stephen Porter & Martin Moser. The competition is a great example of superb hands-on learning to make the next generation of real estate developers learn from those who are shaping skylines around the United States.