MSRED 2016 Thesis and Exemplar Award Recipients - MIT Center for Real Estate

MSRED 2016 Thesis and Exemplar Award Recipients

In The News

The Center for Real Estate is proud to announce the recipients of the Center for Real Estate Director’s Award for Thesis Excellence and the Exemplar Award. Both awards are nomination-based, and reviewed by committees made up of the Center’s faculty and staff.


The Center for Real Estate Director’s Award for Thesis Excellence

This award is presented to the student who has prepared a thesis which is recognized as achieving a level of excellence above and beyond the high standards of MIT.  Creativity and originality will be considered as well as analysis, execution, and presentation of the final thesis product.

Presented to Yifei Lu ’16 and Jason Andrew Tilley ’16


Transforming Industrial Heritage Sites in Major Chinese Cities: Reintegrating Minsheng Wharf into the Life of the City, Yifei Lu


China is a nation evolving through post-industrialization towards a cultural and innovation-based society. In turn, its urban form is grappling with a number of preserved industrial heritage sites in major urban centers such as Beijing and Shanghai. The People’s Republic of China has implemented policy through a culture-led approach in preservation and reuse, resulting in artist communities, museums, and creative offices. However, these sites have either become artifacts frozen in time or heavily commercialized tourist attractions that threaten to displace the creativity within. This thesis investigates alternative approaches to preservation and reuse of these sites, especially how to integrate 21st century productive uses as a means of urban regeneration. The spirit of industriousness can be preserved within these sites by allowing new productive activities to occur. There is potential to bring high-tech industries into these sites which can benefit from the existing creative environment while increasing the long-term economic viability and promote innovation. Collaboration is needed between the government and private developers to control the development direction of the site while allowing flexibility for innovative solutions. Opportunities exist in industrial heritage sites in major Chinese cities today that can bring them back into the life of the city.

The Value of Mixing Uses: An Empirical Analysis of Mixed-Use Developments in Boston, MA, Jason Andrew Tilley


Modern mixed-use development has gained significant popularity since its conceptual introduction in the 1960s. Numerous benefits and risks have been elaborated on throughout the literature, but even today little empirical evidence exists to support these suppositions. Additionally, major data providers to the real estate industry, such as NCREIF, NAREIT, RCA, and CoStar, do not currently provide comprehensive data that identifies mixed-use developments. As such, financial analysis associated with mixed-use developments often segregates the project into its constituent uses and evaluates each use’s performance individually, without much consideration, if any, for potential synergies.

This study creates a database that allows for evaluation of transaction prices against different use mixes for Boston, Massachusetts. We analyze this data for a better understanding of how and where premiums exist in this market, and to confirm the overall validity of our approach so that the methodology can be expanded to other markets. With over 2,200 commercial property transactions from Boston, Massachusetts in the database, we conclude the following: First – location matters, and better-amenitized neighborhoods (i.e. mixed-use neighborhoods) are well correlated with higher property values. Second – value in mixed-use buildings is likely derived from higher density and/or lease-up speed rather than operational premiums (e.g. higher NOI or lower perceived risk). Third – larger master-planned, mixed-use developments with 3 or more uses tend to be located in less amenitized (i.e. less desirable) locations, and benefits associated with the mix of uses provided is insufficient to completely overcome the negative externalities of the general location. As such, these developments typically underperform against the general market.

Lu and Tilley Excellence Award
Yifei Lu (center) and Jason Tilley (right) receiving the Director’s Award for Thesis Excellence, presented by CRE Director Albert Saiz (left)

The Exemplar Award

This award acknowledges a member of the MSRED class with great potential for industry leadership. Key qualities considered by the award committee are: authenticity, integrity, academic focus, leadership, ethics, perseverance, positive attitude, responsibility, commitment to the Center and classmates, vision, and a strong team attitude. MSRED students, faculty, and staff are invited to nominate students for this award.

The winner is acknowledged as someone who exemplifies the mission of the Center to foster the highest standards of academics, ethics, and professionalism in the real estate industry.

Presented to Jason Andrew Tilley ’16

Tilley Exemplar Award
Jason Tilley receiving the Exemplar Award, presented by Career Services Director Karen Kelsey

For more information about Fellowships, Scholarships, and Awards, please click here.

MSRED 2016 Thesis and Exemplar Award Recipients