PRESS RELEASE: APRIL 28, 2023                   

University of Denver’s Cottonwood Development Team Receives
NAIOP Cup at 21st Annual
 Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge

DENVER, COLO. – In late April 2023, graduate students from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and the University of Denver Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, Daniels College of Business competed in the 2023 Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge, presented by  Land Title Guarantee Company

DU Winning Team: Mitro, Riedy, Laughery, Considine, FrankHosted by NAIOP Colorado, this year’s Challenge site featured the highly anticipated  62-acre The River Mile Project, developed by Revesco Properties and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. New for this year’s competition, sponsored by the  U.S. Forest Service and Impact Finance Center (IFC), student competitors incorporated the use of Mass Timber in their proposals to help showcase this sustainable product and how this new category of wood product can revolutionize how American builds. 

After four-month period of working with industry professionals and project sponsor representatives, student teams presented their final development plans to an audience of over 600 commercial real estate professionals on April 27th at a hotel in downtown Denver. The University of Denver team, Cottonwood Development, presented by Drew Considine, Adrian Frank, Clare Laughery, Andrew Mitro and Alex Reidy claimed victory as winners of the 21st annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge by envisioning a mixed-use, multimodal development featuring a 500,000 SF build to suit office building, an activated retail pavilion, a hotel, and a mix of residences providing both serviced luxury and apartments (View DU's Executive Summary). 

The runner up, FloWest Development form the University of Colorado, presented by Juan Arriaga, Jeff Loucks, John Ahlering, Ezra McPhail, and Kyle Hartman, included over 1M SF of office with a STEM school, public library, affordable for sale and for rent residential, and transformational housing in a walkable neighborhood promoting wellness and fostering affordability (View CU's Executive Summary). Both teams were recognized for their understanding of the challenge and creative approach to placemaking. Scholarships were awarded to both the winning and runner-up teams totaling $10,000, courtesy of The Opus Development Company’s Foundation grant. 

For more information regarding the Annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge or to submit a project for the 2024 competition, please contact 2024 Challenge Chair Troy Peterson of Prime West, or Challenge Site Selection Chair Al Colussy for more information.                                                   

To view all pictures from the 2023 Challenge event, Click Here

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PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 15, 2023                           

The River Mile Project in Downtown Denver Selected for the 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge, Highlighting the Use of Mass Timber 

Media Contacts:
Stacy Stout, BRANDiac Strategies · 303.829.9001| Email
Jayma File, NAIOP Colorado · 303.518.4289 | Email

DENVER, COLO., March 15, 2023 ( – Land Title Guarantee Company and NAIOP Colorado (the Commercial Real Estate Development Association), are thrilled to announce the highly anticipated The River Mile Project, developed by Revesco Properties and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, will be the development site for the 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge (the Challenge). The Challenge, to be held on April 27, 2023, is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and Impact Finance Center (IFC), whose goal is to educate the next generation of MBA students and the real estate development community about the benefits of mass timber.                                                             

The Challenge is the premier real estate competition that pairs graduate-level students from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver with industry leaders in the Colorado real estate community to evaluate development opportunities. The focus of the 2023 competition is the 62-acre The River Mile project located on the current home of Elitch Gardens amusement park. A truly one-of-a-kind project and the largest in downtown Denver, The River Mile is envisioned as a sustainable, walkable downtown neighborhood. It will feature state-of-the-art residences with public parks and promenades, and a variety of shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural destinations all located along one mile of renovated South Platte riverfront. The project will also include build-to-suit workspaces ranging from business incubators to regional corporate headquarters, all with access to two light rail stations. 

“Adjacency to the South Platte River plays the integral role in the development of this important urban area,” said Rhys Duggan, CEO of Revesco Properties. “So much so, that before the first building foundation is poured, the river is being revitalized along The River Mile and far beyond. It’s a major undertaking we’re committed to in partnership with The Greenway Foundation and the City of Denver to reaffirm the importance of the South Platte as an essential part of the regional ecology. The restoration will add 27 acres of waterside parks and open space, and it will help to energize this new downtown neighborhood emerging at the river’s edge.” 

The 62-acre The River Mile project is located along the South Platt River and adjacent to downtown Denver’s Central Business District. Within this 62-acre parcel, student teams are tasked with determining where at the project is the best location to start development and to attract users and subsequent residents and visitors. While creating a sense of place in this initial phase, student teams will need to comply with The River Mile zone district, including affordable housing requirements, as well as maximizing the use of Mass Timber in their proposal with a minimum of 20% of proposed buildings using mass timber for construction. 

“New for this year’s competition, students will need to incorporate the use of Mass Timber in their proposal,” said Dr. Stephanie Gripne, founder and executive director of the Impact Finance Center. “We are excited about the opportunity to showcase this sustainable product and the need for sustainable forestry to such a wide audience. Mass timber is a new category of wood product that can revolutionize how America builds. It’s a strong, low-carbon alternative to concrete and steel and is a viable alternative for broader use based on the new code that allows mass timber buildings up to 18 stories tall.” 

In January 2023, student teams began a four-month period of working with industry professionals and project sponsor representatives to analyze every aspect of the site. The student teams are tasked with determining which parcels within the project site are best situated to start development, while creating a sense of place that will attract users and subsequent residents and visitors for years to come. The student teams compete against one another for scholarships and the NAIOP Cup, which is awarded to the winning school each year. 

“We are honored to be the major presenting sponsor for the 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge for the 11th consecutive year," said John E. Freyer, Jr., president of Land Title Guarantee Company. "The River Mile promises to be an impressive new development leveraging the awe-inspiring South Platte River. What is especially intriguing about this year's Challenge is the required incorporation of affordable housing, as well as the expectation of using a sustainable and innovative product in the students’ development plans. As a Colorado-based company since 1967, we believe our state has the opportunity to continue to lead the way in incorporating sustainable practices in commercial real estate development that will benefit generations to come." 

The Challenge culminates with the largest real estate event in Colorado on April 27, 2023, where student finalists present their recommendations to the Project Sponsor Team and an audience of real estate professionals. The 2023 final competition will be held at the Hilton Denver City Center. More details regarding ticket sales for the event are available on the NAIOP Colorado website

“As we embark on the 21st year of the Challenge and evolving the program, we are excited about the variety of considerations that this year’s program incorporates,” said John Bauknight, chairman of the 2023 NAIOP organizing committee. “By allowing student competitors to define the specific project site within this high-profile development in an urban setting, the project sponsor is sure to see a variety of approaches that will provide them great value from their participation and ideas on how to move their project forward. Layering that with the introduction of mass timber is going to provide an exciting event for attendees at the April event.”

For more information or to register for the 2023 NAIOP Colorado Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge, Click Here.  


About Impact Finance Center

Founded in 2012 Impact Finance Center is a multi-university nonprofit academic center that identifies, trains and activates individuals and organizations to become impact investors, helping them better align their assets with their values. We are working to move more money to social ventures by creating the infrastructure for a Nationwide Impact Investing Marketplace by 2030. Our center is dedicated to delivering world-class education and expert advisory services. To learn more, visit


About the U.S. Forest Service

The Forest Service manages a system of 154 national forests, 20 national grasslands, and 222 research and experimental forests, as well as other special areas, covering more than 192 million acres of public land. The Forest Service has evolved into a 30,000 employee agency that manages the national forests for a number of multiple uses, including recreation, timber, wilderness, minerals, water, grazing, fish and wildlife. The National Forest Foundation, chartered by Congress, engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests.


About Revesco Properties

Formed by principals Rhys Duggan, Scott Lee and Chris Wood, Revesco Properties is a boutique real estate investment and management firm, focused exclusively on well-located yet often underperforming real estate assets in targeted U.S. and Canadian markets. Revesco knows retail real estate. Its three principals have over 100 years of experience in the retail real estate sector. They utilize their extensive network of tenant and industry relationships to access, analyze, purchase and manage assets in select target markets. For more information, visit


About Land Title Guarantee Company

Land Title Guarantee Company is the largest locally owned and operated title agency in Colorado, delivering unsurpassed transaction excellence since 1967. Land Title's Commercial Team is recognized for consistently insuring more than $10 billion annually in commercial transactions. Land Title's experienced Commercial title, closing and sales teams deliver the best of both worlds: the benefit of working with the nation’s strongest underwriters coupled with the team's deep knowledge of Colorado real estate laws, customs and markets. For more information and to view a sampling of commercial closings, visit our website at



NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 18,000+ members in North America and advocates responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit

 For more information or to register for the 2023 NAIOP Colorado Rocky Mountain Real Estate ChallengeClick Here