After more than a year of hunkering down, a number of multifamily firms have announced some changes at the top. That’s been readily apparent in the past month as firms have begun to ramp up for future opportunities.
Take Atlanta-based Lane Co., which recently named 25-year industry veteran Cindy Pfeifer as its new president to “help us identify new opportunities to grow the business,” said George Lane, CEO and chairman of Lane. Pfeifer says the company has moved past some of its issues of being overextended in development and will focus on service to clients through property management and making acquisitions through debt purchases. Like other builders, it’s also focusing on asset management. Pfiefer says the company has asset management responsibilities of more than $1 billion dollars.
“My primary goal is to make sure we define direction of the company,” Pfeifer says. “One the biggest challenges is shaking off the bad stuff that real estate companies have had to deal with, trying to turn that corner, and shooting into a very good positive direction.”
Pfeifer, who was chief operating officer and chief investment officer of Dallas-based Place Properties, consulted with Lane Co. for several months before accepting the post. At Place, she oversaw the placement of more than $250 million of investor equity while leading the development, construction, acquisition, property management, and asset management teams.
Lane and the company’s former CEO Bill Donges split last year when George Lane returned from Chairman role. “Cindy brings operational experience,” says Dan Haefner, executive director of multifamily management for Raleigh-based Drucker & Falk and a former Lane executive. “It’s like Donges in a different environment. Everybody there seems to like Cindy.”
Pfeiffer isn’t the only former Place employee to find a job elsewhere recently. Former head of student housing Brent Little recently landed with Buckingham Cos., an Indianapolis-based developer and manager, in a similar role. There, he plans help ramp up the company’s student housing business by starting three new university-adjacent projects this year.
Alexandria, Va.-based REIT AvalonBay Communities, which has stated that it wants to rev up its development engine, took a big step in that direction by naming Bill McLaughlin and Steve Wilson executive vice presidents. McLaughlin will have responsibility for development and construction for the Northeast, while Wilson will have the same role in the West Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The company also promoted Sean Breslin to handle redevelopment and asset management nationally, including market research responsibilities, as the company looks to grow.