• Property: Lynnfield Place Apartments
  • Owner: Lynnfield Gardens Associates, an affiliate of Harbor Group International
  • Location: Memphis, Tenn.
  • Renovation Cost: $5.5 million
  • Length Of Renovation: 18 months
  • Scope Of Project: Extensive rehab of a 400-unit 1974 apartment complex

Harbor Group International means business. The value-added real estate investor finalized its renovation plan for Lynnfield Place Apartments just 60 days after purchasing the property. "The sooner we put a plan in motion, the sooner we can see results that bear out on our investment objectives," says Alan Dworetzky, the company's director of construction and development.
Harbor Group purchased the rundown Memphis property in late 2003 and hit the ground running, giving the dated 1970s garden-style complex a fresh, contemporary look in just 18 months– six months ahead of underwriting projections.

Harbor Group International updated the look and feel of this outdated 1970s apartment complex six months ahead of underwriting projections. The most striking change is the replacement of damaged wooden catwalk railings with a steel system.
Harbor Group International Harbor Group International updated the look and feel of this outdated 1970s apartment complex six months ahead of underwriting projections. The most striking change is the replacement of damaged wooden catwalk railings with a steel system.

The team's speed secret: Instead of hiring an architect, the project manager and the contractor designed the upgrades using digital rendering software. The shortcut shaved two months off the planning process. "We spent less than half the time and a fraction of the cost compared to a traditional process where you hire an architect," says Dworetzky. "I am really proud of the speed with which we started creating a new look."

Time for a Change

Harbor Group, based in Norfolk, Va., acquired the 400-unit Lynnfield Place Apartments in November 2003 for approximately $10 million. Sporting a host of deferred maintenance issues and cosmetic blemishes, the Brady Brunch-era property desperately needed to be brought into the 21st century.

Though the complex's problems scared off several potential buyers, Harbor Group eagerly jumped at the opportunity to purchase the property. Lynnfield Place fit the company's ideal acquisition criteria: well-located 1970s vintage product in need of a facelift.

The project team quickly developed a game plan for the $5.5 million renovation, sequencing a wide array of interior and exterior upgrades. The construction crew focused its initial energies on the buildings facing the road to maximize curb appeal. "You might experiment in the back, but then we will insist that we can decide what order [of construction] to get the most bang for our buck," says Dworetzky.