Jeff Fenner
Denholtz Properties Jeff Fenner

As Denholtz Properties continues to expand its multifamily portfolio across New Jersey and the Southeast, the firm tapped Jeff Fenner to oversee its operations as director of multifamily.

In recent years, Denholtz has bolstered its Southeast portfolio with the acquisitions of 5150 JB Drive Apartments, a 384-unit community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Vida Apartments, a 289-unit community in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Excited about the collaborative and innovative environment at Denholtz, Fenner says the company is positioned for further expansion this year. To find out what Denholtz has in the works for 2024, MFE caught up with Fenner to learn more.

What strategies do you plan to implement as director?

An entrepreneurial spirit underscores every aspect of our company. We are continually focused on improving, and I am excited to build on this in my new role in two main areas: ensuring better consistency in our reporting/forecasting and streamlining our revenue management processes. These initiatives will provide our team with the insights they need to quickly make data-driven decisions as we look to grow our portfolio.

How do you hope to increase scalability and efficiency for Denholtz?

As anyone who has worked at a growth-oriented company knows, there are endless opportunities to increase scalability and efficiency. My work to update our reporting, forecasting, and revenue management processes will allow us to better scale our operations as our portfolio grows while also having the information we need to quickly capitalize on emerging opportunities in the market.

In addition, we are looking at ways to streamline our leasing processes to ensure that we can continue to hit the ground running on lease-up as we add new residential properties to our growing portfolio.

What do you think 2024 will bring for Denholtz’s multifamily portfolio?

Obviously, there are lots of unknowns across the multifamily sector in 2024, but I can confidently say that we have the team, experience, and strategy needed to excel in a market like this.

We have several development projects underway in both our home state of New Jersey and North Carolina. We are also always looking at potential acquisitions where we can deploy our asset management approach.

Beyond adding to our portfolio, we continue to look at avenues to enhance our existing properties whether through capital improvements or operational enhancements.

What does Denholtz have in the pipeline?

We broke ground in early 2023 on The Rail at Bound Brook, a 143-unit Class A multifamily community located in Bound Brook, New Jersey, that is scheduled to come online later this year. We are also on track to complete Southbank at the Navesink, a 10-unit luxury waterfront condominium building in Red Bank, New Jersey, in the first half of this year.

In the South, we are working in a joint-venture partnership with Lansing Melbourne Group to construct three lifestyle-branded mixed-use buildings in downtown Concord, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. We celebrated the completion of Novi Flats, a 48-unit mixed-use community that is the first building in the portfolio in 2023. We are hoping to wrap up the construction of Novi Rise and Novi Lofts to bring an additional 256 units to Concord later this year.

Is there a particular market within Dentholtz’s portfolio that you foresee a lot of growth?

The company made a decision several years ago to aggressively target acquisitions across asset classes in the Southeast. We have looked at both multifamily and industrial properties within secondary markets connected to major population cities. Locations like Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or Concord, North Carolina, generally bring lower barriers to entry compared to their nearby cities but can feed off the same dynamism and population growth to support robust commercial real estate markets. We will continue to look at these markets to identify both new, yet underperforming, assets or opportunities for ground-up and redevelopment.

Are there any markets you’re particularly watching?

Since it’s our backyard, New Jersey is always going to be a focus for us. The most attractive markets in the state are often those with transit access, so we will continue to prioritize transit-oriented development and redevelopment sites across the state. Although TOD-oriented opportunities are growing scarcer by the day, we can often find creative ways to execute projects where other developers might not.

We also remain committed to continuing our Southeast expansion as well. North Carolina is a market that is particularly exciting to us where we already have a bit of experience. The Triangle and Charlotte areas are two markets that we see great promise in, and we will continue to look for ways to bolster our portfolio in each of those markets.

What are some of your concerns for the multifamily market this year?

The rate environment and economic uncertainty continue to place pressure on new multifamily development, and it remains difficult to ink deals that might have worked two or three years ago. During times like this, less experienced or over-leveraged developers and managers will struggle as the cost to construct, improve, and finance their properties will rise. While the environment is no doubt challenging, these market conditions are the times when experienced and strategic operators can truly showcase the attributes that make them stand out among their peers.

What would you like to see Denholtz’s multifamily achieve by the end of year?

I think the adage right now for many in the industry is “survive ‘til ‘25,” but we aren’t looking at it that way. We see great opportunities in the market right now to continue to grow our portfolio and position ourselves to capitalize on emerging opportunities as we enter what we hope is a more certain financing environment. We are confident that we will continue to grow our portfolio throughout the year while also optimizing our internal operations to increase our scalability and efficiency in 2025 and beyond.

Keep the conversation going—sign up to our newsletter for exclusive content and updates. Sign up for free.