Region/SOUTHEAST Q: What opportunities have you found in the Atlanta market?
A: There's been a rebirth of living in the city. People can now go within a few miles [of their homes] and go to a grocery store, Target, Wal-Mart, and cool restaurants. Atlanta is very livable, coupled with the fact that traffic [commutes] have gotten so bad. In '96, we did the first condos in Atlanta in [nearly] 15 years and everyone said, ‘You are stupid; you are going to lose money.' That was actually our best deal. People thought I was stupid doing 89 units then, and now they're doing 1,500 to 2,000 units.
Q: Who do you consider your toughest competitors?
A: One that I think does as good a job in terms of quality and execution, if not better, would be Wood Partners. I consider them the benchmark and am impressed with anything they do. We are building a project close to them in the Poncey Highland area, a mile east of Midtown, and I consider them true competition.
Q: What demographics do you target?
A: Gen Y mostly, but it depends on the property. We target price points. If we look at the affordability pyramid, we want to be between 5.5 and 7. That has different meanings depending on what submarket or market you are in.
Q: How do you compete against national players?
A: We typically buy sites that are not on the market. We target areas and then we target a [specific] property. That's how we end up buying versus getting a package from a broker. Also [unlike the national players], each project we do is completely different from any project we have done in the past. For example, The Manhattan condominiums is very modern. Directly behind it we built a very traditional brownstone community called The Gramercy Townhomes. We tie our properties into their surroundings.