August 2006 Table of Contents

Hit List Hit List

Dan Haefner, the chief information officer at Atlanta-based Lane Co., had a decision to make. With an ever-growing number of projects on Lane's technology to-do list, his own team was already stretched from rolling out a new Web-based property management system at the company. Then, a new request came into his office from CondoLane, the firm's condominium sales team, asking if Haefner's crew could develop much-needed reporting tools for that unit's business operations. Read more

Foreign Investors Still Feel Comfortable in the U.S. Foreign Investors Still Feel Comfortable in the U.S.

In the past, buying multifamily properties in the United States was a no-brainer for foreign investors if they could afford it. The selling point: stability. With political and economic stability, foreign investors can feel secure about putting their money in American apartments, according to Wayne Vandenburg, chairman of TVO Groupe, a Chicago-based firm that acquires, develops, and manages apartment communities internationally. Read more

Back to School Back to School

Four days. Two thousand-plus anxious students and all their frantic parents. 110 degrees. Twenty-five Place Properties' employees and 60 university staffers. Welcome to move-in week for students at Kennesaw State University, outside of Atlanta. Read more

Vanishing Act Vanishing Act

I saw the successions of signs while I was on the road, just as their posters must have planned. But these real estate-related signs didn't capture my attention because of their glossy photos or glowing promises; they were notable for their stark and emotional appeal to those driving by. Homemade and written in Spanish, the simple signs challenged the pending demolition of a nearby affordable apartment complex for new luxury housing. Read more

On Alert On Alert

Is your apartment community prepared in the event of a terrorist attack? That question is top of mind in the real estate community as next month marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11. While it's difficult to discuss the possibility of future attacks, the anniversary underscores the need for multifamily firms to strengthen and develop disaster response plans and test their preparedness strategies. Read more

Split Decision Split Decision

If you've read any newspapers or business journals in formerly hot condo markets across the country, you'll know that condo developers, converters, investors, and the real estate agents selling these properties probably aren't too happy. Sales have slowed and values are stagnant. Read more

Perfect Shape Perfect Shape

No one was more excited to see The Octagon's debut than the 80-plus-year-old alumnae of the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing. The 1941 through 1958 graduates recently gathered at the site of their former school in Roosevelt Island, N.Y., to see its transformation into a 500-unit mixed-income rental community. "We have our home back," exclaimed Lilian Kovarik (class of '48) as she saw the newly restored building, which had been reduced to eight single walls after two fires and years of abandonment. Read more

People Person People Person

Cynthia Y. Thompson is banking on her past to enhance her future. With nearly three decades of experience in the regional banking industry, she brought her human resources expertise to Mid-America Apartment Communities in May, when she was named the company's senior vice president and director of human resources. Read more

Family Style Family Style

Even with its unusual challenges–namely, building a part-rental, part-for-sale housing development for both seniors and foster children on 47 acres of wetlands–Pam Goodman, president of Boston-based Beacon Communities Development, just couldn't say no. Read more

Dealing in Dreams Dealing in Dreams

Former Hollywood resident Darin Beebower remembers when Tinseltown wasn't on the A-list. "When I'd get home from work, guys would be asking me if I wanted to buy drugs," recalls the multifamily division director for Los Angeles-based Madison Partners, a full-service commercial brokerage. "You were kind of concerned when you walked out the door." But those days are gone. Today, Hollywood is back–with a bullet–and is the star of Los Angeles' blockbuster residential real estate market. Demand is especially high for residential properties in Hollywood, with 18 apartment properties and four undeveloped multifamily parcels changing hands since January 2005. Read more

Maxed Out Maxed Out

We know how you feel. When it comes to broadband Internet connectivity at your properties, ever-changing technology can leave your head spinning, while draining your wallet. First, you had to hard-wire your buildings to keep up in the amenity race. But much of that effort seemed pointless when DSL became available over existing phone lines. Then came wireless and Wi-Fi, so that your laptop-toting tenants demanded "hot spots" in your lobbies and club areas. Now, the tech guy in your office is starting to talk about WiMAX, an emerging wireless broadband technology that promises to pump information faster, and further, than Wi-Fi ever dreamed of. While that sounds great, it probably also makes you wonder if the whole ugly technology upgrade cycle is about to begin again. Read more

Universal Appeal Universal Appeal

Do you associate a bathroom grab bar with grandma? Think again. These bars are making their way into conventional multifamily communities as developers realize that everyone can use a little more support. Read more

Montclair Lofts Montclair Lofts

Montclair Lofts, located in the heart of Miami Beach's famous South Beach, is a fusion of old and new. The original building was a post-war apartment structure, but it was transformed into a larger condominium complex by local architectural firm Oppenheim Architecture + Design, which surrounded it with three new buildings. Read more

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