With the military in her DNA, it came as no surprise when Maria Pietroforte decided to join Corvias Military Living (formerly Picerne Military Housing) nearly three years ago.
Growing up with a Marine for a father, Pietroforte witnessed firsthand the effects a military lifestyle can have on service members and their families, an experience that influenced her choice of employer. One thing she noticed in particular was the lack of housing for single military personnel.
“Family housing was truly family, no single people,” says Pietroforte, senior vice president of Fort Meade, Md.–based Corvias.
The privatization of military housing more than 15 years ago enabled developers to provide comfortable housing for soliders with amenities they hadn’t been accustomed to. “Now, we have the opportunity to do the same thing for a single soldier, one who’s unaccompanied,” Pietroforte says.
And it’s safe to say that her market-rate background is influencing a change.
As former president of rental divisions at San Jose, Calif.–based Move.com and senior vice president at San Diego–based LeaseLabs, Pietroforte was on the cutting edge of multifamily marketing. And she’s trying to bridge a gap between the two worlds of market-rate and military living.
“What you find in the market rate world is that sometimes we’re a bit more focused on the bottom line or the net operating income,” she says. "But [Corvias'] entire mission was to enhance the life and the residential experience of military soldiers and their families."
That starts with Reece Crossings at Fort Meade, the first instance of apartment-style homes available for single service members – not to mention, it’s the first of its kind public-private partnership with the U.S. Army to develop barracks style housing .
Typically, junior enlisted unaccompanied soldiers would be housed in dormitory-style barracks on base, or they’d use their housing allowance to find an apartment. Now, instead of providing a security deposit or following the average path of renting a unit, soldiers can live in apartment-style communities dedicated solely to their demographic.
This emerging trend will only continue to grow, Pietroforte adds, as the military faces dwindling budgets. And while occupancy isn’t a big concern, finding ways to enhance the residential experience every day is an added challenge to her learning curve.
Pietroforte’s understanding of the market has helped the company draw a parallel between the two industries, enhancing the technology on site to match members’ needs and creating a more social space for young service members.
“That’s the first time we built a product like that,” Pietroforte says. “And it perfectly matches my background.