It's very hip these days to talk about affordable housing. But the words of Alan Greenwald, the new president and CEO of A.F. Evans Co., carry a different weight than the average person. Perhaps that's because of his background. Greenwald holds a bachelor's, a J.D., and a master's of city and regional planning, all from the University of California at Berkeley. He's worked for Fannie Mae, serving as its director of multifamily structured finance. And he now will be taking the spot of Art Evans, honored has Executive of the Year in 2001 by Multifamily Executive for his work at A.F. Evans Co., a real estate development and property management company based in Oakland, Calif. But Greenwald, who's worked on different sides of the industry, brings both thoughtfulness and a multifaceted multifamily experience to his new role, as his answers below show.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
A: I would like to help A.F. Evans Co. to accomplish three goals: to develop successful projects that act as a catalyst for positive community change; to help meet the need for low- and moderate-cost housing in our targeted markets (San Francisco's Bay area, Pacific Northwest, and Nevada); and my personal goal is to lead the company through its current expansion without losing its heart.
Q: After the economy, what do you see as a significant challenge for the multifamily industry in the coming year?
A: Providing housing affordable to below-market renters and buyers, acquiring well-located and/or existing properties at a feasible price, and managing properties effectively with increasing expenses and limited opportunities for rent increases.
Q: What was your first job in the multifamily industry?
A: I was a vice president of finance for a national apartment builder/manager. I led a team that was responsible for financing and refinancing apartments first in the Southeast and then in California. It was a stimulating job with bright people, and it provided a valuable lesson in working with the sometimes conflicting goals of development and property management.
Q: What would you change if you could?
A: Enlighten communities about the social and economic value of providing decent, well-located housing for all socioeconomic groups, and make it economically feasible to build new market-rate rental projects.