Region/SOUTHWEST Q: What opportunities have you found in the Texas market?
A: As commute times become longer and people move back into the central core, we have been able to go into neighborhoods that have been down on their heels for some time and participate in their rebirth. In Austin, we were the first major project to go on the east side of I-35. We built a Class A apartment project there called Robertson Hill, thanks to development incentives from the city to encourage us to go on that side of the freeway. That project has turned out extremely well.
Q: What demographics do you target?
A: Gen Y and empty nesters. Someone who can afford to live in one of our one-bedroom apartments would be a clerical secretary or someone working in the medical field, all the way up to lawyers, doctors, and engineers making well into the six figures. We build all Class A and A-plus properties.
Q: What guides your strategy to remain a regional player?
A: By being of a regional size, we can pay a lot of personal attention to our projects. Therefore, I can individualize a project for the city, for the neighborhood, and for the location, while spending a lot of time on the details that can make the difference between a project being exceptional versus being average.
Q: How does Texas' economy stack up against the rest of the country?
A: Houston, in particular, is doing very well compared to the rest of the country. Although we're somewhat affected by the slowdown nationally, we are still creating 70,000 jobs a year. The year prior, we created almost 100,000 jobs, so we are slower than we were a year ago but still doing very well. That's because of energy, of course, and also because we have the Port of Houston, which is a tremendous economic driver in the area, as well as the Texas Medical Center.