Forrest Stuart MacCormack

As a sunshine-loving, Southern California purebred, I loathe the weather in Washington, D.C. Most of the year in the Capitol, there are two settings on the barometer: frigid and humid. The “nice” days of late spring are few and far between. But when they come, the whole city descends en masse upon the streets and parks and downtown haunts. I am always one of those people. After every stir-crazy winter, I am eager to break out my flip-flops and sunglasses and take to the streets. Some afternoons, I will sit on a tree-lined street with a copy of my favorite magazine and feel the branches and leaves blossom around me. There’s a reason so many cultures of the world (including my Persian one) celebrate their new year in conjunction with the first day of spring. There is something fundamentally rejuvenating about this time of year.

It’s the season for starting anew. For some, that comes in the form of spring cleaning—out with the old, in with the new. For others, it’s about planting fresh seeds in the vegetable garden. For business managers, it’s the right time to put the past year to bed, file taxes, print annual reports, and focus on finding the best ways to navigate the remaining months of the year.

At the magazine, we decided that this spring was the right time for us to start something new as well. You hold in your hands Multifamily Executive’s 2009 Top 50 issue, which contains our annual ranking of the country’s largest multifamily owners, managers, and developers. New to this year’s package, however, is a list of the Top 25 Renovators in the industry. Since the vast majority of the country’s 17.5 million apartment units (roughly 15 percent of which are owned or managed by the folks on these lists) are 20-plus years old, we wanted to find out which companies are on the leading edge of rehabbing that stock. And this list is especially timely when you consider that new development activity in every real estate sector has stalled in its tracks.

But we didn’t stop there with our “rebirth.” This month, we also unveil a newly redesigned and completely revamped Web site. Months of sweat, tears, and agony—along with fun-filled days of deciphering tech acronyms such as CMS, RSS, and XML—have paid off in spades. The new is rich with content and special features: breaking news and Web-exclusive articles; multimedia presentations such as slideshows, Webinars, and video interviews; up-to-the-minute national and regional market research direct from the leading multifamily data providers; aggregated news feeds from every industry source on the Web; blogs written by a variety of multifamily experts; and much more.

And of course, you can still get 100 percent of the magazine’s content online. In fact, starting this month, subscribers will have access to the first digital version of MFE, where they can flip through a virtual version of the print magazine. So if you accidentally leave this issue on the plane, rest assured you can find it online looking exactly as it did in your hands.

Yes, it’s a lot to take in all at once, but we think you’ll love it. So grab your laptop, iPhone, or Blackberry, and hop online. And while you’re at it, might I suggest finding a shady nook outside where you can enjoy the new site and the fleeting days of spring—before they both pass us by. [M]