July 2005 Table of Contents

Caught in the Crunch Caught in the Crunch

Cost fluctuation for raw materials is nothing new—it's a reality of our business," says Glenn Ferguson, president of Clark Realty Builders in Bethesda, Md. "Price increases simply make it more challenging to predict costs, particularly for longer-term projects. It seems like every year it's a different material's turn to shoot up in price." Read more

Sight Unseen Sight Unseen

Open up the real estate section of any daily paper and you'll see the ads. They feature an attractive woman doing yoga with a promise of "Tranquility in the City," three twenty-somethings enjoying a gorgeous day outside, or a young couple relaxing in their modern living room. Read more

California Creatives California Creatives

It's been two years since City Lights at Town Center opened its doors high in the hills of Aliso Viejo, Calif. And in ever-trendy, ever-changing Orange County, two years might as well be an eternity. But this luxury apartment property, which still catches the eye of discerning developers across the country, is far from yesterday's news. All for good reason: The project revolutionized the prototypical apartment property in southern Orange County. Read more

Vegas, Baby! Vegas, Baby!

Programming a conference is a lot like publishing an issue of a magazine. You want to offer a diverse mix of topics, provide the chance to hear from industry leaders, and include a few provocative comments that will get people talking. And I think we've done all of that with this year's Multifamily Executive Conference. Read more

Looming Issue Looming Issue

Although we usually focus on American markets and economic indicators, it really is a global world. But it doesn't always seem like one. Read more

Total Exposure Total Exposure

High home prices in hot markets like Southern California and Washington, D.C., are destroying the dreams of many wannabe homebuyers. But some apartment owners are reveling in these sky-high price tags, which help fuel business for the rental market. Read more

Condo Control Condo Control

If you're looking for a vital, growing community, Jacksonville is a great bet. If you're looking for an active economy, it's Jacksonville again. If you're looking for a relatively low cost of living and quality of life among beaches and oceans, rivers, and estuaries, Jacksonville has these as well. Read more

Starting Over Starting Over

In January 1998, Gregory T. Mutz posed for the cover of Multifamily Executive holding a globe in his hand. And at the time, the world might have indeed been in the enthusiastic Mutz's hands. Mutz, then the CEO of AMLI Residential in Chicago, had just been named Builder of the Year and was building a company poised to dominate seven Midwestern markets. Read more

No Free Rent No Free Rent

Patio furniture, a trip to the Caribbean, a flat screen TV. Wedding presents? Housewarming? Hardly. Welcome to apartment leasing 2005. These are marketing tactics offered by multifamily owners and management companies whose applicant pool is no longer persuaded by "free" rent. It represents a new turn for apartment firms as they learn to become better marketers and observers of local demographics. Concessions have historically been a lure, but in a market environment where even four months' "free" rent still produces only a negligible number of leases, multifamily owners and operators must better understand the demands of their prospective residents. Read more

Body Work Body Work

Maybe parents don't always know best. Robert Montagne's dad was skeptical when he saw his developer son's newest purchase—an auto body shop in downtown Washington, D.C., that he envisioned as authentic loft-style condos. Read more

New Leader New Leader

It's very hip these days to talk about affordable housing. But the words of Alan Greenwald, the new president and CEO of A.F. Evans Co., carry a different weight than the average person. Perhaps that's because of his background. Greenwald holds a bachelor's, a J.D., and a master's of city and regional planning, all from the University of California at Berkeley. He's worked for Fannie Mae, serving as its director of multifamily structured finance. And he now will be taking the spot of Art Evans, honored has Executive of the Year in 2001 by Multifamily Executive for his work at A.F. Evans Co., a real estate development and property management company based in Oakland, Calif. But Greenwald, who's worked on different sides of the industry, brings both thoughtfulness and a multifaceted multifamily experience to his new role, as his answers below show. Read more

Remaking a Legend Remaking a Legend

Once upon a time, the Biltmore Hotel catered to famous Hollywood actors such as the Rat Pack—and a hotel napkin with Frank Sinatra's autograph now sells for upwards of $600. Today, developers of the Biltmore Colony in Palm Springs, Calif., say the mix of single-family and multifamily housing will preserve the legendary hotel's look and luxury. Read more

Calculated Risk Calculated Risk

At first glance, Archstone-Smith's purchase of Oak Creek Apartments in Agoura Hills, Calif., was just another $99.6 million deal. Sure it was a lot of money, but the 24-building, 336-unit luxury multifamily community seemed a clear winner. Agoura Hills' median income of $85,000 and median age of 32 years old made it "a strong market for luxury multifamily product offering high-end amenities and the latest technology," according to Curtis Palmer of Colliers Seeley International, who represented Archstone-Smith in the transaction. What was groundbreaking about this particular deal was its timing. Archstone agreed to buy the property when it was less than half-leased, something unheard of at the time. Read more

Got Fiber? Got Fiber?

Talk about pressure. Many multifamily companies have barely completed their switch to Web-based property management software, and they're being faced with a new technology challenge: fiber. Read more

Panel Discussion Panel Discussion

Structural panels now come in almost as many flavors as ice cream. In fact, there seems to be a specialty panel system for nearly any situation a multifamily builder might confront. Depending on your location, investing a little more in one of these can save time and money, reduce liability, and even turn down the volume on resident complaints. Read more

Maple Terrace Apartments Maple Terrace Apartments

At first glance, the Maple Terrace apartments look pristine, regal, and steeped in rich history. It's easy to see why. Read more

Exit Strategy Exit Strategy

While newspapers and magazines have been marveling at historically low mortgage rates, the story to watch in multifamily has been the incredible slide of cap rates. Despite weak apartment fundamentals, cap rates have fallen from their historical levels to lower than 5 percent in some hot markets. Such trends have resulted in new strategies at many apartment firms, as they assess the best ways to operate in such an environment. In this edition of Conference Call, you'll hear the stories and strategies of three high-level multifamily executives: Keith Oden, president and COO of public REIT Camden Property Trust; Leonard Wood, CEO of Atlanta-based Wood Partners; and Keith Harris, executive vice president—investments of the Chicago-based Laramar Group. Read more

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