October 2006 Table of Contents

Disappearing Act Disappearing Act

Imagine 2 million houses and apartments just disappearing from the American landscape. As dramatic as that sounds, that's exactly what happened between 1993 and 2003, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Read more

Failed Luxury Failed Luxury

The condominium market is cooling, and even a star as hot as actor George Clooney can't heat it up again. Read more

2006 Executive of the Year 2006 Executive of the Year

Everyone has a story to share about Ron Ratner. One business associate recalls how Ratner stayed up nearly all night reviewing every single floor plan of a new property and reworking the plans until each one was absolutely perfect. Another colleague remembers how Ratner completely changed a building's design halfway through the construction process. Read more

Online Endeavors Online Endeavors

Who can live without the Web these days? I check the weather, look up phone numbers, research stories, and book entire business trips via the Internet, thanks to a few swipes of the mouse, a handful of clicks, and a long list of site-specific passwords. (So much for The Weather Channel, the Yellow Pages, the library, and travel agents.) If I belonged to Generation Y, I apparently also would be sending instant messages, visiting online "social networking places," and reading a lot more blogs, according to Forrester Research, which in July released its annual technology adoption study. Read more

Demo Report Demo Report

Chicago has faced a bit of criticism for its groundbreaking and controversial plan to tear down its collection of dated and dangerous high-rise public housing properties and replace them with lower-density, mixed-income housing built by private developers. Read more

Closer Look Closer Look

Imagine losing half of your employees every year to turnover. For many multifamily companies, that's a stark reality, according to the National Multi Housing Council. Even worse, the relationship was probably doomed from the start. Researchers at Harvard Business School found that more than 75 percent of turnover could be traced back to poor hiring practices. Read more

Room Service Room Service

Ah, the 1920s. Back then, The Florida qualified as one of the grandest structures in Lakeland, Fla. With its bell tower and Spanish Revival-style architecture, the 180-room hotel stood out at the center of downtown. It entertained famous guests such as inventor Thomas Edison and architect Frank Lloyd Wright. During World War II, it did its patriotic service for the country as The New Florida Hotel; Red Cross volunteers used the bell tower as a lookout for enemy planes. But over time, the formerly illustrious building evolved into a senior residence and then finally became vacant in 1991. Read more

Career Designs Career Designs

By his own testimony, Rob Orme started at the bottom of the multifamily industry–cleaning toilets as an apartment community maintenance man. Ah, but how far he?s come: Today, Orme is the regional director for the new Phoenix office of Humphreys and Partners Architects. Previously a principal architect at Mark-Taylor, Orme has a bachelor?s degree in architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and did some graduate work at Arizona State University. Read more

Rural Revival Rural Revival

Rural is where it's at if you're considering affordable housing projects, according to Simpson Housing Solutions, which is using federal tax credits to build affordable apartments throughout California. Read more

Borrowed Ground Borrowed Ground

Unfortunately for multifamily buyers today, apartment properties in good locations remain difficult to find at yields that work. So, if you really want to own something in a top market, you may have to take a second look at something you wouldn't have considered before. Case in point: land leases. Read more

Pod Power Pod Power

Observers say that kind of short, hip production style is exactly what a good podcast, or any Internet presentation, should entail. "You don't want to make your audience download too much," says Ross. "Podcasting is a short cut, a quick shot. Everything about it is abbreviated. And that's the way it should be when you use it in multifamily. Your inclination is maybe to show every room, but I'm not sure that's as useful as a basic interior and exterior shot." Don't forget to cover the basics of location, price, and amenities, as well. Read more

See the Light See the Light

For years, compact fluorescent lighting has gotten a bad rap, with a reputation for its harsh white color and ever-annoying buzzing sounds and flickering motions. But these once-true characteristics are history, thanks to new technologies and savvy manufacturers who are designing better products. Read more

Central Station Central Station

Memphis' Central Station was once the heart of the city, serving as the main passenger rail hub for the region. With so much activity streaming in and out, the station quickly became the economic pulse of Memphis, fueling the construction of hotels, retail stores, and restaurants nearby. Built in 1914 by the Illinois Central Railroad, the station also housed the headquarters of several railway companies and other offices. Read more

Big Winners Big Winners

Ron Ratner, president and CEO of Forest City Residential, was named our Executive of the Year in the 2006 Multifamily Executive awards contest. Plus, more than two dozen multifamily firms also were honored last week at the Multifamily Executive Conference in Las Vegas for their architecturally distinctive communities, innovative reuse projects, marketing and advertising efforts, and their community service programs. Read more

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