2011 MFE Conference Highlights

More than 600 people were in attendance at the annual Multifamily Executive Conference, held Oct. 3-5, 2011. The program brought together leading executives from across the country to discuss the true opportunities and challenges in the new “Renter Nation” economy.

The event, held at the ARIA in CityCenter, allowed attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to enjoy a future-forward program at Las Vegas’ most cutting-edge hotel and casino. The CityCenter complex is also home to two condo towers.

Multifamily Executive publisher Rob Britt thanks the sponsors of the conference, including Platinum sponsors Time Warner Cable and Yardi, for their support.

The moderated breakfast roundtable discussions, like this one on affordable housing, were a huge draw for attendees looking for a more intimate conversation with their peers about hot-button topics.

Being able to discuss the ins and outs of issues such as student housing trends, the return of the condo market, and the continuing impact of the shadow market gave attendees added value for their attendance.

Multifamily Executive editor-in-chief Shabnam Mogharabi fired off a lightning round of questions to the CEO Power Panel that kicked off the second day of programming at the conference. Across the board, panelists were optimistic and bullish about multifamily fundamentals.

The annual CEO Power Panel exuded optimism about the future of multifamily, predicting solid growth in fundamentals and transaction and development activity through 2014-2016. The panelists included (from left) Henry Cisneros, former HUD Secretary and chairman of Los Angeles-based CityView; Ric Campo, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Camden Property Trust; Bob Faith, CEO of Greystar Real Estate Partners in Charleston, S.C.; and Tom Toomey, CEO of Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based UDR.

Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, now head of Los Angeles-based investment vehicle CityView, indicated that reason will likely prevail in the debate over the future of the GSEs, though he doesn’t anticipate any changes in the status quo until after the 2012 election.

As multifamily development continues to grow, more manufacturers were on-site with their products and services for new projects. Here, attendees examine the forceful, yet water-saving features of these showerheads.

Most of the attendees were interested in finding products that enabled them to offer a luxury look at a fraction of the cost. Vinyl and laminate faux materials are extremely effective in delivering that effect.

In a session moderated by Multifamily Executive senior editor Les Shaver (far left), portfolio managers and speakers from AvalonBay Communities, Waterton Residential, and Drucker & Falk discussed the importance of diversification, not distress, in shaping the asset acquisition and disposition decisions they were making.

Breakout sessions followed three tracks—leadership and finance; management and operations; and design and development. Rooms were filled, as attendees took advantage of the peer-to-peer educational opportunities across the various sectors of business.

At the “Final Cut” pattern, which included representatives from Gables Residential, Riverstone Residential Group, and Alliance Residential Co., panelists indicated that value-add investments are taking more of the center stage in cap-ex and operational decisions going forward.

The annual Multifamily Executive Awards luncheon included the unveiling of dozens of design awards, as well as the winner of the Rising Star of the Year, Executive of the Year, and Editor’s Choice Awards. Judges selected the winners from more than 200 entries during a day-long judging process in Washington, D.C.

Multifamily Executive senior editor Chris Wood joined editor-in-chief Shabnam Mogharabi on stage to present the winners of the annual MFE Awards.

Rising Star of the Year winner Kenneth Naylor, COO of Miami-based Carlisle Development Group, impressed the judges with his tax credit and development acumen.

Toby Bozzuto (left), president of Bozzuto Development Co., accepts the Editor’s Choice Award for The Fitzgerald from Multifamily Executive publisher Rob Britt. The Fitzgerald, an impressive and transformative mid-rise project in the heart of Baltimore, is a project that Bozzuto believes will redefine the future of multifamily housing in the Mid-Atlantic.

Mark Alfieri, COO for the multifamily platform of Dallas-based Behringer Harvard, won the MFE Executive of the Year award for his work in transforming Behringer Harvard from an unknown entity five years ago to one of the premier names in multifamily today. Judges were impressed with his leadership, management, and dealmaking abilities. As one colleague put it, Alfieri just “grinds out deals.”

Attendees were able to take advantage of numerous networking opportunities, including coffee breaks and receptions, in order to meet their peers and other attendees.

At the end, attendees walked away with new knowledge, ideas, and contacts. As one attendee said, “This was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in years. The people who are here are the right caliber. They are the people I want to be talking to.”

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