Merit Winners

High-Rise

  • ICON in the Gulch
    Nashville, Tenn.
    Submitted by: Bristol Development Group and MarketStreet Enterprises

ICON in the Gulch is Tennessee’s largest and most prominent luxury residential project and initiates mixed-use redevelopment in the Gulch district, Nashville’s only true urban, mixed-use redevelopment district.
The 22-story glass and brick mixed-use tower, which was developed by Bristol Development Group of Franklin, Tenn., features 418 luxury residences, 26,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and structured parking for more than 800 vehicles, both for public and private use.

Located on a challenging corner lot totaling 2.81 acres, ICON in the Gulch sits at the “front door” to the Gulch on land that previously housed an industrial rail yard. It was designed by Cleveland-based Ka Architecture and offers one- and two-bedroom loft units ranging from 660 square feet to 1,338 square feet.

Condo homes in the $100 million project, which was financed in part with tax increment financing, offer private balconies, concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and panoramic skyline views. Residents can also enjoy a 9th floor sky deck and ultra lounge. Unit prices range from $149,000 to $1.9 million, with designated affordable units.


  • 717 Olympic
    Los Angeles
    Submitted by: RTKL Associates

Located on the corner of Olympic and Figeroa in Los Angeles’ sports and entertainment district, 717 Olympic is a modern, luxury residential high-rise that anchor the district and provides a transition to the commercial and residential districts to the north and east.
The 151-unit rental project, developed by Houston-based Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership, underpins a master plan objective for upscale housing in the city center.
The building offers a range of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 660 square feet to 3,076 square feet. Monthly rents begin at $2,499 and top out at a jaw-dropping $19,999.
 
Designed by RTKL Associates local office, the 26-story tower harmonizes with the adjacent 1920s-era Romanesque-style building, yet brings an appropriate urban density to the small site, which is just .4 acres. To reinforce the relationship between the two buildings, the firm included details of the podium such as its mass, rhythm, and organization to create a sense of architectural balance. The tower achieves a sense of layering and detail by articulating deep setbacks and shadow lines.

Residential levels, boasting private balconies, are raised above the podium to provide views for tenants extending past the entertainment and sports district. Carved out areas on the 8th and 26th floors provide space for high-end tenant amenities including a pool deck, fitness area, gourmet kitchen, outdoor grilling area, and screening room.


Mid-Rise

Lucky Strike Lofts is the final residential project of River Lofts at Tobacco Row, a 15-block area of former tobacco warehouses and factories in Richmond, Va., that is the largest cluster of privately-owned historic buildings in the country. Cleveland-based Forest City Residential Group is the master developer of the project, which includes 15 buildings totaling 1.5 million square feet.
Situated along the James River and the Kanawha Canal, Lucky Strike Lofts was designed to be the most luxurious and sophisticated of all the residential units at the River Lofts at Tobacco Row development. The project features 131 one- and two- bedroom units ranging from 751 square feet to 1551 square feet.

Norristown, Pa.-based VLBJR Architects worked on the adaptive reuse of the building, which was originally developed on 1.5 acres in the 1800s. The building suffered significant water damage and required a new structural flooring system. During the course of the renovation, all exterior and interior brick was thoroughly cleaned; new windows were fabricated to match the original industrial designs; the marble lobby was cleaned and restored to its original luster; and hundreds of Lucky Strike logo medallions were recreated and meticulously fastened to the pillars and columns, replacing the originals that were stolen or damaged over the years.
 
Unit interiors feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and cherry wood cabinets. Lucky Strike’s signature design features include hardwood floor, exposed brick walls, and wood ceiling decks with original beams and metal duct work.


A former parking lot dotted with dilapidated buildings along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is now a trendy apartment community with structured parking that appeals to young and fashionable renters. Designed by Irvine, Calif.-based Thomas P. Cox: Architects, 7950 West Sunset emulates a luxury boutique hotel. The 183-unit project was developed by Legacy Partners, also of Irvine, Calif., to attract the booming Generation Y market.  
Situated on 1.7 acres, the project features units ranging from 591 square feet to 1,318 square feet. Environmentally-friendly products and materials were used throughout the project, and units are well-appointed with upgraded cabinetry, 19-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, wool carpet, and either stained concrete or stone floors.

The common areas were designed to reflect the upscale tastes and preferences of the demographic group. Four outdoor sky terraces all have views of either downtown L.A., Sunset Boulevard, or the Hollywood Hills, while a bar and entertainment lounge connect to the rooftop infinity edge pool.

Artwork commissioned from local artists enhances the project, which has an average rental rate of $3,132 per month. The project is 92 percent occupied.


Low-Rise

  • Paseo
    Dallas
    Submitted by: Beeler Guest Owens Architects

Inspired by Spanish Colonial courtyard homes and the romantic Southern California residences built in the 1920s and 1930s, Paseo is a collection of individually-crafted condos situated on just under one acre in a thriving Dallas neighborhood.
Within walking distance of restaurants and shops, Paseo offers 24 total units with a mix of one- and two-bedroom floor plans. Developed by Dallas-based Henderson Avenue Condo, units range from 885 square feet to 2,040 square feet and are priced at $300,000 to $525,000.

Designed by Beeler Guest Owens Architects of Dallas, Paseo’s courtyard is a visual paradise with palm trees, tiled fountains, wood balconies, red tile rooflines, ivory adobe walls, and graceful archways. The façades feature thick walls with deeply recessed doors and windows, loggias, tile chimneys and towers, wrought iron gates, private alcoves, and colorful tile accents. Larger units feature verandahs and balconies with custom iron railings and scones that offer downtown views.
 
Interior units feature upscale finishes typically found only in custom homes such as hand-scraped walnut hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, 9-foot ceilings, soaking tubs, and exposed wood ceiling beams.


Archstone Smith had its work cut out when it developed the 884-unit Archstone Gateway apartment community. Because the site straddles the cities of Orange and Anaheim in Southern California, Englewood, Colo.-based Archstone was forced to obtain all entitlements, design approvals, plan checks, inspections, and occupancy permits in each jurisdiction.  
The 20.8-acre project, located in the Platinum Triangle near Anaheim stadium, was designed by Architects Orange of Orange, Calif. It is organized around a central linear park that anchors the northern end of the project with a 7,500-square-foot club. Each of the four-story residential buildings wrap around above-grade parking.

Archstone Gateway’s architectural style is Italianate with a contemporary flair. The exterior elevations feature varied roof and wall planes, windows, balconies, and awnings. Exterior façades are comprised of concrete roofing tiles, rock veneer, stucco, and metal railings.

The units, which are a mix of one- and two-bedroom floor plans ranging from 729 square feet to 1,111 square feet, were designed for a professional lifestyle and feature high-end finishes such as recessed lighting, granite countertops, and upgraded flooring. Units rent for an average of $2,047 per month.


Affordable

Low-income seniors and homeless veteran looking for housing in the Hillsdale Town Center area of southwest Portland have a new option: The Watershed at Hillsdale. The apartment project, situated on a former brownfield site, offers 51 units ranging from 615 square feet to 832 square feet in a pair of three- and four-story buildings connected by a bridge.

Tigard, Ore.-based Community Partners for Affordable Housing developed the project, which anchors the lower west end of the Town Center, with the help of an EPA Cleanup Grant. The developer is the first nonprofit recipient of such a grant in the state.

Designed by William Wilson Architects of Portland, Ore., The Watershed also is sustainable, receiving LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building is 30 percent more energy efficient than Oregon code requires and features Energy Star appliances, energy efficient windows, and reflective roofing. It achieves 30 percent water savings with low-flow faucets, showerheads, dishwashers, and dual-flush toilets. 

The Watershed is located within walking distance to 8 bus lines, restaurants, retail shops, health care, and other support services. It was funded by 15 different funding sources including low-income housing tax credits, energy tax credits, and various grants. Forty units are subsidized by Section 8 housing vouchers, while rents average $681 per month. 


The Meridian, a mixed-use, mixed-income project located in New Orleans, is part of New York-based Domain Cos. efforts to rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. Located on 1.25 acres in the Tulane Avenue Corridor, the 72-unit rental community was developed with the help of $15.7 million in GoZone tax credits.
The community, designed by Humphreys & Partners Architects of Dallas, provides affordable and special needs housing comparable to luxury Class A housing. It blends architecture from nearby industrial buildings and historic New Orleans homes, and features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 700 square feet to 1,100 square feet. The Meridian features diverse layouts, high-end traditional kitchens with warm chestnut cabinetry, Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting, washer and dryers, and balconies.

Twenty percent of the units are set aside for very low-income households earning 20 to 30 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), and 15 percent are set aside for Permanent Supportive Housing, which are available to households with the following challenges: serious mental illness, addictive disorder, developmental disability, physical, sensory or cognitive disability, frail elderly, or a homeless household.

The project, which was oversubscribed prior to opening, was 100 percent occupied within two months of opening. It has acted as a catalyst for the immediate recovery of the area, which was under four feet of water for nearly two weeks after Katrina.


Mixed-Income

The Preserve, a 183-unit rental community in New Orleans, is one of the first mixed-income projects to be built in the city. Despite the fact that many critics did not believe the mixed-income model would work in New Orleans and the model was relatively untested, New York-based The Domain Cos. moved forward with the project.
Designed by Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners, The Preserve is located on 2.5 acres in the Tulane Avenue Corridor—an area that suffered extreme devastation from Hurricane Katrina. It offers a mix of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 700 square feet to 1,100 square feet. Residents include higher-income medical district workers, downtown white collar employees, university support employees, and civic employees.

Five percent of the project was set aside as permanent supportive housing, and affordable units rent from $424 to $760 below area market rates for a one-bedroom unit and $655 to $1,059 below area market rates for a two-bedroom unit. Furthermore, market-rate rents at The Preserve are 25 percent lower than comparable Class A product located five minutes away in the Central Business District or French Quarter. The project is 90 percent occupied.


Obsolete public housing in the heart of San Antonio has been replaced by San Juan Square Apartment Homes, a mixed-income property that offers 143 public housing, affordable, and market-rate rental units.
Situated on 7.51 acres in a distressed part of the city, San Juan Square is a three-phase revitalization initiative. It was developed through a public/private partnership between Cleveland-based NRP Group and the San Antonio Housing Authority and was funded in part by 9 percent low-income housing tax credits.

Dallas-based Womack & Hampton Architects designed the three-story community to complement existing single-family homes in the area. It features a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units ranging from 787 square feet to 1,234 square feet. It also has several live/work units that can be used as both living spaces and business storefronts to encourage economic development along Zarzamora Street. The project also offers comprehensive resident programming including dental cleaning for children, fire safety and awareness, and academic tutorials. 

Rental rates range from $594 to $824 per month, with affordable housing units set aside for residents that make 30 percent to 60 percent of the AMI.
 

Senior

Towne Club Peachtree City is the first age-restricted apartment community in Peachtree City, a 50-year-old planned community with more than 90 miles of golf cart paths used by residents both young and old.
The 11-acre, 146-unit project was designed to integrate into the existing community, which has been recognized as one of the best places in the country to retire. Developed by Almquist Hansen of Kennesaw, Ga., and designed by Atlanta-based Niles Bolton Architects, Towne Club is restricted to people 55 years or older. It features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 688 square feet to 1,437 square feet with an average monthly rental rate of $3,300. Units include several design features specifically for older residents such as cast iron showers that resist punctures from shower stools; self-closing drawers and doors; raised electrical outlets to minimize bending; and comfort height toilets. 

Towne Club includes hospitality-inspired services such as private chefs and dining staff, an on-site activities director, chauffeured transportation, masseuse and hair stylist, personal trainers, technology support, and even room service. The project’s amenity package includes a resort-style pool with swim-up bar, outdoor pavilion, outdoor putting green, 36 underground golf cart parking stalls and charging stations, indoor hydrotherapy pool, business center, and an urban vegetable garden.


Designed to pay homage to Colorado’s mountain lodge legacy, The Residences at Balfour is an 87-unit seniors housing community situated on 2.7 acres within a larger project developed by Balfour Senior Living, a boutique senior living company based in Louisville, Colo., just outside Boulder.
With a wood and natural stone exterior, The Residences at Balfour relates especially well to the two existing buildings on the Balfour campus. Designed by Form Studios and Carey Design Studios of Boulder, Colo., the project features three variations of one bedroom units. Units range from 750 square feet to 1,040 square feet. Rental rates range from $3,500 to $4,000.

Common amenities include a luxurious dining room with separate bar and buffet, as well as an outdoor eating area with a fire pit. Residents can also enjoy a spa with waterfalls, hydrotherapy pool, steam baths, hot tub, and an on-site doctor’s office.


Student

The Gateway at Maryland Institute College of Art is not only a place to create art, but it’s also an iconic piece of architecture for the Baltimore campus.
Designed by RTKL Associates of Washington, D.C., the building features 63 three- to four-bedroom units for a total of 215 beds. The project originally began as a hypothetical assignment for RTKL’s annual internal design competition. The college was so impressed with the winning entry that it asked RTKL to develop the concept for feasibility and ultimately hired the firm for full design.
 
The primary objective was to create a building that encouraged self-expression and the creation of art. Located on just three-fourths of an acre, the drum-shaped building is organized around a central point with no clear front or back, allowing the structure to become “art” from all angles.

The 360-degree design features a pixilated glass façade comprised of 16 different types of glass that reflect diversity, motion, and interaction among floors. A 10-story fritted glass studio tower anchors the northern side of the building, partially shielding noise from the highway while functioning as a billboard for showcasing student art.

The building offers 16 different units plans ranging from 600 square feet to 900 square feet. Each apartment includes a kitchen, bathroom, and communal living area.


  • Vista del Sol
    Tempe, Ariz.
    Submitted by: American Campus Communities

Vista del Sol, a student housing project featuring twin mixed-use residential towers and an urban retail plaza, successfully achieves Arizona State University’s objectives to keep upperclassmen on campus.
Developed in partnership with American Campus Communities, an Austin, Texas-based student housing REIT, Vista del Sol is situated on nearly 20 acres on the university’s main campus in Tempe. The acreage previously housed a disorganized collection of outdated housing and undeveloped land parcels. The project, with its prominent use of colors and a shaded urban plaza with 22,000 square feet of retail space, now serves as the symbolic entrance to campus.

Designed by DWL Architects of Phoenix, Ariz., the project offers 613 units in five floor plans. The average unit measures 932 square feet and features single bedrooms with adjoining baths and shared living area suites. A small number of independent single room deluxe suites offer maximum privacy.

Along with a four-level parking structure, Vista del Sol includes a fitness center, theater/auditorium, computer/business center, and social study lounges. Not surprisingly, it opened at 100 percent occupancy and has a waiting list of 200 students.


Best Reuse of Land

  • The Uptown
    Oakland, Calif.
    Submitted by: Forest City Residential Group

A designated brownfield site with lead contamination in downtown Oakland has been cleaned up and reincarnated as The Uptown, a 14-acre mixed-use project. It also is a transit-oriented development within the city’s arts and entertainment district, located just two blocks from a Bay Area Rapid Transit regional station and 15 transit bus lines.
The project, which is LEED Silver-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, offers a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 525 square feet to 1,535 square feet. Developed by Cleveland-based Forest City Residential Group, The Uptown includes 665 apartment homes, 25 percent of which are affordable rentals for low- and moderate-income residents.

Covering three city blocks, the project features three architecturally-distinctive buildings: The William, The Telegraph, and The Thomas Berkley. The project, designed by Oakland, Calif.-based MVE & Partners, also includes 9,000 square feet of street-level retail. The buildings’ exteriors feature brick, concrete, metal, and glass that recede and protrude from the façade to mimic surrounding structures and create a seamless streetscape that appears to have evolved over decades instead of months.

The Uptown, is a public/private partnership with the city of Oakland and includes a new 25,000-square-foot public park. The city’s redevelopment agency managed the site remediation.


  • Lavender Court
    Carpinteria, Calif.
    Submitted by: ON Design Architects

The Craftsman-style that was popular in the early 20th century has been revived at Lavender Court, a 40-unit rental project situated on the former site of a contaminated junkyard that contained auto repair shops and a car lot.
Today, the 2.4-acre site features narrow row-house style units developed by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Cloud 9 Homes. Designed by ON Design Architects, also of Santa Barbara, Calif., the units offer an expansive interior green space reminiscent of a 1920s bungalow-style courtyard. Covered porches face this courtyard, creating visual interest, offering neighborly interaction, and providing a strong sense of community. Craftsman-revival details include knee brackets, saw-tooth outriggers, shed dormers, tapered columns, and copper gutters. Craftsman details are carried through to the interiors with flared window trim, deep crown molding, and tall baseboards to hide outlets.

Lavender Court targets medium-income residents. Five of the project’s units are affordable and three are live-work space. Units range from 993 square feet to 1,300 square feet, while monthly rental rates range from $1,600 to $2,700. The project also includes a commercial component of roughly 4,672 square feet that faces the street. 


Apartment Renovation

With a 1970s-era exterior and small, outdated units, Gayton Pointe Townhomes needed extensive renovations. The owner, Highland Ranch, Colo.-based UDR, renovated the 253-unit project and managed to increase the average unit rent by $500 per month, which nearly doubled the property’s net operating income.
With a renovation price tag of $79,409 per unit, UDR tackled the community’s exterior, modifying its dated mix of Colonial and Tudor façades, asymmetrical chalet roofs, and second-story mansards. Seven different elevations were created including the alternation of the rooflines and the introduction of gables to add visual interest. Additionally, window sizes and configurations were changed, with new windows grouped together and more vertical in proportion.

In addition to the exterior modifications, UDR increased the average unit size. Prior to the renovation, the average unit size was some 25 to 40 percent smaller than its competitors. In addition, only 15 of the 253 units had more than a single bath. UDR addressed the small unit sizes with the construction of additions to the existing homes. These additions, which averaged 300 square feet, were added to either the front or rear of each home, increasing the average unit size from 784 square feet to 1,040 square feet. New three-bedroom units were also added to the mix.

Rents now range from $966 to $1,894, and the project is 97 percent occupied.


With a prime location in vibrant Hollywood, the newly renovated Avalon Sunset represents all that is unique to Hollywood in style, color, and design and appeals to people in the entertainment industry.
Owned and renovated by AvalonBay Communities of Alexandria, Va., the 82-unit Avalon Sunset features a highly visible exterior that was updated with a five-color palate featuring bold blue, rust, and gold tones to make the building visually unique. Colorful mosaic tile was used to accent the entry façade.

Avalon Sunset offers a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units with an average unit size of 886 square feet. Unit interiors were upgraded with new fixtures including cherry cabinets, black appliances, laminate countertops, carpet, wood plank flooring, a new lighting package, and two-tone decorative paint scheme. Bathrooms also received an upgrade. Additionally, the fitness center was redesigned with new equipment, lighting, mirrors, and flooring.

In total, AvalonBay spent $41,112 per unit, or a total of $2.8 million, to renovate the project. Today, the property generates an average rental rate of $2,105 and is 93.9 percent leased.


Adaptive Reuse

Lucky Strike Lofts is the final residential project of River Lofts at Tobacco Row, a 15-block area of former tobacco warehouses and factories in Richmond, Va., that is the largest cluster of privately-owned historic buildings in the country. Cleveland-based Forest City Residential Group is the master developer of the project, which includes 15 buildings totaling 1.5 million square feet.
Situated along the James River and the Kanawha Canal, Lucky Strike Lofts was designed to be the most luxurious and sophisticated of all the residential units at the River Lofts at Tobacco Row development. The project features 131 one- and two- bedroom units ranging from 751 square feet to 1551 square feet.

Norristown, Pa.-based VLBJR Architects worked on the adaptive reuse of the building, which was originally developed on 1.5 acres in the 1800s. The building suffered significant water damage and required a new structural flooring system. During the course of the renovation, all exterior and interior brick was thoroughly cleaned; new windows were fabricated to match the original industrial designs; the marble lobby was cleaned and restored to its original luster; and hundreds of Lucky Strike logo medallions were recreated and meticulously fastened to the pillars and columns, replacing the originals that were stolen or damaged over the years.
 
Unit interiors feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and cherry wood cabinets. Lucky Strike’s signature design features include hardwood floor, exposed brick walls, and wood ceiling decks with original beams and metal duct work.


Green

 Low-income seniors and homeless veteran looking for housing in the Hillsdale Town Center area of southwest Portland have a new option: The Watershed at Hillsdale. The apartment project, situated on a former brownfield site, offers 51 units ranging from 615 square feet to 832 square feet in a pair of three- and four-story buildings connected by a bridge.

Tigard, Ore.-based Community Partners for Affordable Housing developed the project, which anchors the lower west end of the Town Center, with the help of an EPA Cleanup Grant. The developer is the first nonprofit recipient of such a grant in the state.

Designed by William Wilson Architects of Portland, Ore., The Watershed also is sustainable, receiving LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building is 30 percent more energy efficient than Oregon code requires and features Energy Star appliances, energy efficient windows, and reflective roofing. It achieves 30 percent water savings with low-flow faucets, showerheads, dishwashers, and dual-flush toilets. 

The Watershed is located within walking distance to 8 bus lines, restaurants, retail shops, health care, and other support services. It was funded by 15 different funding sources including low-income housing tax credits, energy tax credits, and various grants. Forty units are subsidized by Section 8 housing vouchers, while rents average $681 per month.


Ashworth Cottages is the first project in Seattle to achieve LEED for Homes Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Developed by Pryde Johnson Urban Developments, the project includes 12 cottage-style units and eight carriage-style units surrounding two connected common spaces on .79 acres.   
Seattle-based Runberg Architecture Group designed Ashworth Cottages, which offers units that range from 1,246 square feet to 1,636 square feet. Units are priced at $550,000 to $750,000. The project’s design was inspired by Danish co-housing and works to integrate higher-density development into a single-family neighborhood. 

The project features numerous sustainable features including its location one block from Green Lake Park, which promotes pedestrian activity and reduced vehicle usage. The homes use as much as 50 percent less energy than similar sized homes and are both BUILT Smart and Energy Star certified. Recycled content materials used in the home construction include custom concrete countertops with recycled glass, tiles, and carpets. All paints, countertops, brick masonry, and framing materials were locally sourced. Homes use an instantaneous hot water tank, while low-flow fixtures reduce indoor water use.

Additionally, rainwater runoff from the roofs is collected in gutters and carried through to underground pipes to a large concrete cistern, which irrigates all landscaped areas on the site. Drought tolerant landscaping and a zoned irrigation system reduces the amount of water needed for landscaping.


Community Service

Denver is home to some of the greatest charities in the nation, but the economic downturn has forced these charities to turn to the local businesses for assistance. The Breakers Resort Apartment Homes, owned by the Irvine, Calif.-based The Bascom Group, stepped up to the call and has become involved in a number of community service projects ranging from charity drives and resident tournaments to philanthropic events and auctions.
The Breakers embraces the concept of “community helping community” and has brought local leaders, vendors, church groups, and nonprofit organizations together along with its 3,000 residents.

The endless community service activities include a Valentine’s Day date auction, which raised $2,800 for the American Heart Association; a flower and plant sale with 10 percent of the proceeds donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; a silent auction event raising $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; a coat drive where residents donated more than 1,000 pieces of winter wear; and a toy drive for the Denver Santa Claus Shop.

Additionally, in an effort to show support for youth development and enrichment, The Breakers sponsored an art show in which half the proceeds went to the United Artist Coalition for Kids. The Autistic Research Fund has also benefited from the community’s altruistic efforts as has the Denver Domestic Violence Shelter.


The Domain Cos. is heavily invested in the redevelopment of Tulane Avenue Corridor in New Orleans, and part of that redevelopment includes the New York-based firm’s community service efforts.
The keystone of the firm’s community service work is St. Patrick Park, a city-owned facility located in the heart of the Tulane Avenue Corridor. Nearly 100 years old, the park has played an important part of community life for generations of New Orleans residents. Hurricane Katrina caused severe damage to the park, but Domain provided more than $30,000 of funding to completely rebuild the park. As part of the park’s renovation, Domain retained Ya/Ya, a renowned New Orleans nonprofit that works to expose at-risk youth to art-related fields, to paint a unique mural for the park. Domain plans to continue using Ya/Ya on original artworks and installations throughout its projects in the city.

With the park open again, Domain launched a “Movies in the Park” program. The company serves as an ongoing sponsor of the program, which offers outdoor movie screenings for the neighborhood every Saturday evening. The screenings have become a huge success, drawing a strong following and attracting a substantial number of people into the area.

In addition to St. Patrick’s Park, Domain has provided financing for the first community garden, and one of the firm’s principals, Matt Schwartz, serves as a director of Liberty’s Kitchen, a New Orleans nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of at-risk youth through a culinary setting.


Marketing and Advertising

For The Domain Cos., which has invested $125 million in mixed-income product in New Orleans, rebuilding the city after Hurricane Katrina has taken more than just nails and wood. It’s taken a comprehensive marketing and advertising effort to get the community and greater city excited about the firm’s vision to bring new life to the Tulane Avenue Corridor.
Class A quality product had never been available in the downtown core, and Domain  was looking to attract the renter-by-choice who had traditionally rented from a large pool of single-family homes and doubles. Moreover, the perception of affordable housing in New Orleans was very negative because of the mismanagement and blight of the public housing in the city prior to Katrina.

The New York-based developed launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to reverse perceptions of the Corridor, while simultaneously marketing an entirely new housing product for the area. The campaign, called “The Rebirth of Tulane Avenue,” included two phases. The first phase rebranded Tulane Avenue and reversed perceptions of the area. Lasting 18 months during planning and construction, the campaign consisted of a massive and diverse advertising effort, an active PR effort, and an intense program of community outreach and events.

Phase two of the program was designed to market each of Domains’ three large developments individually. The campaigns for Crescent Club, The Preserve, and The Meridian were launched approximately 60 days prior to commencement of leasing. The property campaigns included brochures, Web sites, flyers, site wraps, billboards, print media, and extensive promotional materials.

What proof of the campaign’s success? The city has identified the area as a target recovery area and several other developers have planned projects in the Tulane Avenue Corridor.


Gables Residential “Your Shade of Green” branding and collateral design was developed to market the company’s new sustainably-built properties, which were specifically designed to appeal to environmentally-conscious renters. As such, the company felt these properties required a marketing campaign distinct from its established corporate branding and marketing efforts.
The “Your Shade of Green” campaign consists of a distinct tag line and logo, property brochures and floor plans, outreach marketing collateral, and ad templates. (“Your Shade of Green” was trademarked and established as the main tagline.)

Marketing materials highlight the high standards of the project and promote a green approach and the distinctive lifestyle of the communities. All printed collateral pieces and direct mail pieces have the Forest Stewardship Council’s stamp of approval, using soy-based ink and recycled papers.

The campaign also cleverly features a seeded marketing outreach card that was printed in full-color with community information. When planted, the card yields a collection of colorful wildflowers. The cards were distributed at events and to local employers, retailers, and other businesses.
 
The “Your Shade of Green” campaign now serves as the template for the marketing of all Gables’ future green developments.


Best Use of Technology

One of the biggest challenges multifamily owners face is selecting good candidates for the leasing consultant role. Simpson Property Group has created the online tool People Assessment Selection System (PASS) to make the hiring process easier.
PASS helps managers make hiring decisions for leasing consultant positions based on specific behavioral factors, rather than subjective perceptions. Managers are led through a detailed hiring process that aids in the successful selection of a well-matched applicant.
 
During the initial setup of the Web site, current employees who have been highly successful were profiled, and a customized pre-employment survey was created based on those findings. The result of the candidate screening profile identifies applicants who have similar traits based on their responses in the survey.

The process includes providing recommendations for the selection of the top handful of candidates based on behavioral screening and resources such as interview questions generated from the results of the screening. Overall, the selection process includes a pre-screening, job preview, survey/behavioral interview, and, lastly, a hiring decision.