The Solomon Organization has no misconceptions about its market focus. Since 1977, the Summit, N.J.-based value-add owner/operator has concentrated on mismanaged or undervalued suburban garden apartment assets with obvious renovation or occupancy improvement upshot. “I like to think we have been a leader in providing luxury multifamily housing to the Northeast at affordable prices, catering primarily to what our founder Marc Solomon called the biggest part of the market—the middle,” says Solomon managing director Marshall Rosen. “We focus on creating additional value by acquiring and improving apartment communities in B-plus locations. Over the past four years, we’ve invested in excess of $100 million to that end.”
Most recently, the firm entered the Hudson Valley, N.Y., market with the acquisition of the Hudson Harbour Apartments in Poughkeepsie and Chelsea Ridge Apartments in Wappingers. The two purchases from Denver-based AIMCO in November 2009 pushed The Solomon Organization portfolio to more than 11,000 units at 41 communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The purchases marked Solomon’s first buy from a REIT, and with Wall Street continuing to demand that public real estate companies refine portfolio holdings, Rosen ventures that the AIMCO deal likely won’t be their last REIT acquisition.
“It’s not a criticism, but REITs have largely become a product of what Wall Street wants them to be,” Rosen says. “In many cases, they have shifted focus to an almost singular notion to own and operate in primary markets. Frankly that has created a huge opportunity for us. We flourish in secondary markets.”
With the AIMCO acquisition, The Solomon Organization is considering a dry run at revenue management technology to complement recent additions to the company’s Web platform, including a back-end search engine optimization (SEO) investment and front-end rent e-payment functionality for residents. Moreover, the firm is intent to continue improving on the curb appeal of its asset base as it seeks additional acquisition opportunities up and down the East Coast.