Green Competition Move over, LEED—NAHB is launching its own national green building program. Set to start in February, the program will be based on the national green building standard, a model for residential construction and renovation written by builders, architects, environmentalists, and product experts. NAHB's offering will feature an interactive, Web-based certification system, tools and resources, and a national registry of green builders and homes. Initially, the program will only include single-family homes; multifamily communities will be able to participate in the near future. —R.Z.A.
Universal Site Spanish-speaking renters are in luck. UDR (formerly United Dominion Realty Trust) is the first major apartment property management company to offer a 100 percent Spanish Web site for the entire apartment search and online apartment reservation process. Laden with user-friendly features, the newly designed site uses Americans With Disabilities/Section 508 Web design standards to help visually impaired customers. Plus, mobile device users can access the information through a special Web site address. —R.Z.A.
Yahoo! Apartments.com will now power nationwide rental listings on Yahoo! Real Estate. Users can search for apartments on the Apartments.com database of more than 3 million apartment listings. Visitors to Yahoo! Real Estate can search the listings by geographic location on either a map or in list results and narrow the results based on price range and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. —R.Z.A.
In Memoriam David Mandl, president of Meltzer/Mandl Architects, died August 4 at the age of 53. Mandl's architectural work in residential, educational, and adaptive reuse projects are seen all over his native New York, particularly in the city's Financial District. He put his regulatory expertise to work as a member of the NYC Model Building Code Program and was a graduate of the Pratt Institute.
Urban Explosion More than half of the world's population—a full 3.3 billion people—will live in cities by 2008, according to “State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth,” a landmark study released June 27 by the United Nations Population Fund. Urban population growth will largely be fueled by births as opposed to migration, and will be felt most significantly in smaller urban areas as opposed to established metropolises, the study noted. In an interview with the New York Times, study author George Martine said the urban surge is unstoppable and demanded that critical attention be given to affordable housing and infrastructure. —C.W.
Hot Sales The developer of Verge hit the jackpot. In just one day, Verge Living Corp. sold 229 of the 296 units at the Las Vegas condo community. The developer took reservation deposits for 10 weeks, and on selection day, the buyers selected and purchased their units. “I think the success of Verge has been a result of us providing upscale finishes, open floor plans, and plenty of amenities that fit well with the Las Vegas market,” says Darren Dunckel, president of the company. The project is expected to open in the winter of 2008. —R.Z.A.
Q:What's the most innovative financing scheme you've used on a recent deal?
A: “[We] recently completed a pre-sale transaction with a national real estate buyer for a to-be-built class A garden apartment project. Concurrent to closing, we executed a [land] buy-back provision upon the construction loan closing. This saved us the cost of purchasing the land with a third-party investor.” —Greg Bonifield, partner, Woodfield Investments
A: “[For] the purchase of a 400-plus unit mid-rise in Denver, the financing involved a credit line for 80 percent of our financing needs, asking the seller to carry an interest-free note for two years on the remaining 20 percent of the debt. After one year, we replaced all initial financing with a three-year, interest-only loan.” —Jamie Thompson, financial services officer, RedPeak Properties
A: “On a recent acquisition, our team put together bridge financing [using] 12-month first and second mortgages comprising 97.5 percent of the total capitalization. This gives us flexibility to recapitalize the deal at a later date without the burden of typical acquisition time constraints.” —Derek Kahn, CFO, Lane Co.