In Memoriam J. Frank Miller III, one of the multifamily industry's top executives, died unexpectedly last month due to heart disease at age 55. Miller had served as chairman and CEO of JPI Cos. since he founded the Dallas-based development firm in 1989. Under Miller's leadership, the company has become one of the largest rental developers and managers in the country. With an $8 billion portfolio under management at current market value, the firm landed the No. 29 spot on the 2006 MFE Top 50 list of the largest multifamily managers and the No. 22 spot on the builders list.
Miller will be remembered for his optimism toward life and for reaching out to his employees anyway he could, says Ronald Ingram, JPI's senior executive vice president and COO. “We are certainly going to miss Frank a lot around here,” says Ingram. “We will lean on his legacy to carry us forward.” Miller was instrumental in securing Hunt Realty Group and GE Capital Services as strategic capital partners for JPI. He also served on a number of community boards, including the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents, and UT Southwestern University Hospital—St. Paul. —R.Z.A.
Good Will The old Falconi Honda Building on West Tropicana Avenue in Las Vegas is scheduled to be demolished to make way for an $850 million new condo-hotel called Pinnacle Las Vegas—but not quite yet. Falcon Group temporarily donated the building to the local fire department for training exercises and drills. Pinnacle Las Vegas is expected to open in mid-2009. —R.Z.A.
Family Values Two joint ventures coupled with an outright sale of holdings is expected to divest Colonial Properties Trust of $1.7 billion in office and retail assets. As part of a broader strategy to increase the Birmingham, Ala., REIT's core focus on the multifamily market, the joint ventures with DRA Advisors and OZRE Retail are expected to bring a special dividend of $10.45 to Colonial shareholders. —C.W.
Pet Friendly While the entire 10th floor of the planned 55-story Austonian condo complex in Austin, Texas, will be devoted to resident amenities, likely the most unique perk will be an auto-cleaning dog toilet. Complementing a lap pool, billiard room, and movie screen will be an indoor urban garden and a dog park for walks, complete with said canine commode. According to the Austin American-Statesman, prices for the condo units are slated to run between $550,000 and $3.8 million. —C.W.
Working Man Former HUD chief Henry Cisneros' CityView real estate investment firm has jumped into a $90 million workforce housing project in Marina del Rey, Calif., as the development's major equity investor. In partnership with L.A.-based developer California Landmark, CityView is aiming to complete the project's 119 lofts by fall 2008. “We think this is a great location,” Cisneros said in a statement, “especially given its close proximity to world-class job centers in West Los Angeles, where workforce housing is in short supply.” —C.W.
Q: What kind of product do you think wil lperform the best in the post-subprime era? Chris Finlay, CEO and managing partner, Mission Residential: "[New renters] are looking for good school districts, larger-than average unit sizes, and places close to their employment at a reasonable price. These people need a clean, safe, well amenitized place to live, and that's the type of apartments that will really outperform over the next five to 10 years."
Mark Fogelman, president and COO, Fogelman Management Group: "I see the recent tightening of mortgage underwriting criteria having a meaningful, positive impact on our industry as many newly formed households will turn directly to rental housing and not even have the ability to make a choice between the two alternatives."
Matt Wanderer, principal, Alterra Capital Group: "The subprime debacle has had clear and measurable benefits throughout our workforce housing portfolio already. As more subprime loans are called into foreclosure, the workforce housing sector is poised to enjoy historically high and stable occupancy levels."