August 13, 2021
Hunton Andrews Kurth and Savanna Serve as Mentors to Students in Project Destined Virtual Internship Program
By: Hunton Andrews Kurth – Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and Savanna have completed their mentorship in Project Destined’s recent internship program, during which City University of New York students learned the fundamentals of commercial real estate.
Partnering with leading real estate executives and professionals to deliver the program through CUNY and other local colleges, Project Destined introduces diverse high school and college students to business and real estate fundamentals. During the eight-week virtual program, the New York students participated in biweekly “Shark Tank”-style competitions, presenting a live, local real estate deal to a panel of industry leaders.
Hunton Andrews Kurth attorneys Laurie Grasso, Brett Gross, Matthew Halal, Douglas Hoffmann, Peter Mignone, Farah Alhaddad, Sarah Eskreis and Johann Pavri, as well as Savanna team members Valerie Kitay, Cooper Kramer, Anthony Faustini and Angela Qiao participated as mentors for the CUNY students comprising Team Savanna X Hunton Andrews Kurth. Savanna is a New York City-based, vertically-integrated real estate investment manager, owner/operator and developer.
The mentors helped the Project Destined students analyze and present an investment opportunity centered around 141 Willoughby Street, Savanna’s new Class A building in Downtown Brooklyn. 141 Willoughby is a ground-up development project designed as a state-of-the-art, WELL Health-Safety Certified and LEED Gold Certified 400,000 square foot Class A office and retail building with outstanding access to transportation and neighborhood amenities. The interns have been able to learn valuable lessons about development, finance, capital raising and office leasing while gaining valuable market intelligence about Brooklyn’s growing office market. To give the interns a hands-on experience and to invigorate the team before the final competition, Savanna conducted a hard-hat tour with its construction arm SavCon at the 141 Willoughby construction site last week. See attached photo [rendering available, attached].
“Project Destined’s platform has presented the opportunity for the Savanna and Hunton teams to establish excellent connections with our Intern Team and share our collective experiences and knowledge with the group. The mentor sessions have been exciting and lively, with the Interns doing an incredible job of absorbing complex real estate concepts.,” said Cooper Kramer, Managing Director at Savanna. “We believe that the Project Destined Team has experienced an intensive course in what it means to develop and invest in real estate through the real-lifeexample of 141 Willoughby, a current development in the Savanna portfolio. We think this experience will surely help spark a lifelong interest in real estate development and ownership.”
This program further builds on Hunton Andrews Kurth’s longstanding partnership with Project Destined, serving as their sole legal partner. Grasso, who recently joined the Project Destined Advisory Board, helped spearhead the firm’s connection with the organization. The firm has been actively involved ever since, volunteering in its New York internship program in 2018, serving as coaches in its inaugural Los Angeles program and coordinating a veteran’s program in its Washington, D.C., offices in 2019, as well as acting as mentors in virtual internship programs in 2020 and 2021.
“It is an honor to once again partner with Project Destined and serve as mentors in the organization’s incredible internship program,” said Laurie Grasso. “Not only are we able to work with a talented group of students to nurture a pipeline of diverse leaders in commercial real estate, but we’re also able to bring a wonderful long-standing client like Savanna into the partnership.”
Project Destined was co-founded by Cedric Bobo, a former investor and investment banker, and has trained over 1,000 students nationwide since its founding in Detroit in 2016.
We are excited to expand our partnership with Hunton Andrews Kurth and Savanna to prepare this incredible group of students for a career in commercial real estate,” said Project Destined Co-Founder Cedric Bobo. “This is a powerful example of leading firms translating words into action by providing diverse undergraduates with the skills and access required to build a great career while also impacting their community and their city.”
Hunton Andrews Kurth’s real estate group advises clients on matters involving the full spectrum of commercial, industrial, retail, multifamily, hospitality and mixed-use properties. With more than 80 real estate development and finance lawyers in seven major markets across the United States, the group has handled transactions valued at almost $50 billion in the past two years. The firm’s lawyers are consistently recognized by publications such as Chambers & Partners USA and Legal 500 as leaders in the fields of real estate, real estate finance and construction law.
About Project Destined
Project Destined is a leading social impact platform that provides training in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate. Project Destined partners with corporations, schools and nonprofits to deliver training using its proprietary e-learning platform and live courses. Project Destined leverages a work-based learning approach where students work with executives to evaluate live deals in their community and present them in a pitch competition to industry leaders. Scholars emerge with the skills, confidence, experiences and networks that prepare them to secure a solid first job and to become stakeholders in their community. For more information, please visit projectdestined.com.
Savanna, formed in 1992, is a vertically-integrated real estate investment manager based in New York City and focused on strategic property investments throughout the City’s five boroughs. The firm pursues real estate equity and debt investments, including ground-up development and major repositioning projects. Savanna’s equity investments target value add/opportunistic returns by adding value through asset management and/or property development, redevelopment, and repositioning, deploying a team of more than 50 experienced investment, asset management, construction, and leasing professionals. Savanna also selectively invests in real estate debt instruments that have the potential to generate equity-like returns, including preferred equity instruments, high yield bridge and mezzanine loans, and B-notes. Since 2006, Savanna has invested over $5 billion in total capital across approximately 17 million square feet of real property.
About Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
With over 900 lawyers in the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP serves clients across a broad range of complex transactional, litigation and regulatory matters. We are known for our strength in the real estate, energy, financial services, and retail and consumer products industries, as well as our considerable experience in more than 100 distinct areas of practice, including privacy and cybersecurity, intellectual property, environmental, and mergers and acquisitions. Our full-service litigation practice is one of the largest in the country, with particular depth in key litigation markets such as Texas, California, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic.