Developing a Real Estate Business Case

Under a new Partnership for Michigan project, MCA students will study whether the unique business model of The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan can be successfully replicated in west Michigan and other markets.

Student-Business Cooperative Work
The project, developed with Calvin College’s Calvin Action Projects (CAP) program, joins a group of Calvin College business students acting as “student consultants” with Hestia, a southeast Michigan-based real estate development company focused on vendor management for financial institutions, distressed asset management, real estate development and operations of hospitality properties.

The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan represents a unique hospitality model of interest to Hestia. The resort, built on the grounds of a historic seminary in the suburbs of Detroit, features classic Romanesque architecture, 118 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, several ballrooms and gardens, a 5-star restaurant, state-of-the-art conference facilities, a chapel, and a challenging 27-hole golf course, creating an ideal, comprehensive destination for weddings, conferences, major events and more.

Students will first learn about the business model for the Inn at St. John’s directly from Hestia. The company will provide the team with informational resources, including copies of business plans, financial statements, market data, industry information, reference materials, training materials, etc. that will help the student consultants get up to speed quickly and understand both the business and the markets.

Students will supplement these materials with their own research and analysis of the hospitality industry and the niche that the Inn at St John’s occupies. Student consultants made formal presentations and recommendations to Hestia at the end of the fall semester, 2010.

Focus on Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
True to Calvin College’s philosophy, CAP teams are not typically given well-defined problems and asked to choose from several obvious alternatives.

Instead, the CAP experience leaves the sense-making phase to students, which forces them to develop both problem-solving and opportunity-sensing skills. The problem-definition and project-scoping phases of this project are important to the overall CAP project experience and give the students a better sense of the real-life uncertainties and dynamics of the business world.

This project is therefore designed first and foremost to be a transformational learning experience for the students. We also aim to provide real, fact- and data-driven solutions and recommendations for Hestia, which will stimulate thinking and provide fresh insights and possibly even actionable directions.

To learn more, call MCA at 248.356.3114.