The NMHC Top 25 Developers list ranks the most active multifamily developers in the U.S. by their total multifamily units started in 2019. Alliance Residential remains at the top of the list for the second consecutive year with 8,009 new units started in 2019, up from 6,935 in 2018. Greystar Real Estate Partners moves into second place, with 7,010 new unit starts, while Wood Partners moves into third, with 6,757 new starts.

J. David Heller, CEO, The NRP Group
Eric Mull J. David Heller, CEO, The NRP Group

The Cleveland-based NRP Group moves from No. 9 with 3,463 new starts in 2018 to No. 7 with 4,161 new starts in 2019. The company has developed over 42,000 new apartment units since 1994, including affordable housing, an expertise which CEO J. David Heller intends to expand upon following the economic shocks of COVID-19. MFE spoke with Heller about The NRP Group’s successes and future strategies, as well as the company’s approach to development in the past, present, and near future.

MFE: What were The NRP Group’s greatest successes in 2019? How have they contributed to your rising rank on the Top 25 Developers list?

Heller: In 2019, we closed a record 4,161 units, 25% more than ever before in our history, with 100% of the 2019 pipeline financed with low-risk, common equity, including new institutional partners like AIG, PGIM, and other top-tier partners. NRP Construction serviced this increased NRP unit production, and added 1,079 unit starts through third-party clients, for a total of over 5,200 construction starts in 2019. In all areas of the business we have continued to make significant progress and improvements.

There are several reasons why we believe our growth has continued to accelerate. NRP has a very strong culture with our mission and core values at the foundation. We’ve increased our footprint over the past three to five years by entering new markets, including New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Boston, and the D.C. metro, as well as expanding our presence in Austin, Houston, and North Carolina. We have steadily broadened our debt and equity partner group as we have consistently delivered on financial targets and underwriting assumptions over time. We control the end-to-end process from development to construction to management and have developed centers of excellence along the property life cycle. Finally, we focus exclusively on new multifamily construction and don’t attempt to work in other asset classes, not even acquisition/rehab.

MFE: What are your goals for 2020, and how have you achieved them so far
this year?

Heller: The U.S. has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis for quite some time, and now with 16 million people filing for unemployment in a three-week time frame, we know that the problem will only get worse. We envision forward-thinking municipalities and government agencies will be developing programs for people across the income spectrum, including for the lower end of the middle class. We will be working with our industry associations and plan to be on the front lines of activating these programs and turning them into a steady stream of safe, high-quality affordable housing for people in need.

Over the past five years, in addition to standard tax credit and bond deals, The NRP Group has actively expanded partnerships and financing structures that could provide an industry road map to accelerated affordable housing production nationwide. This includes new kinds of public-private partnerships that have the potential to change the landscape of affordable housing. … Projects like The Martingale, a 270-unit community that will be developed in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, with 50% of the units reserved for residents making below 80% of the area median income, will deliver true workforce housing options for Austin residents without compromising location or quality.

We firmly believe that creative solutions with new public-private partnerships can dramatically expand the breadth, depth, and production of affordable housing in the U.S.

1. Alliance Residential Phoenix, AZ Bruce Ward and V. Jay Hiemenz 8,009/6,935 1
2. Greystar Real Estate Partners Charleston, SC Robert A. Faith 7,010/5,758 3
3. Wood Partners Atlanta, GA Joe Keough 6,757/5,796 2
4. LMC, a Lennar Company Charlotte, NC Todd Farrell 6,726/4,585 6
5. Trammell Crow Residential Dallas, TX Kenneth J. Valach 5,011/4,105 7
6. Mill Creek Residential Dallas, FL William C. MacDonald 4,949/4,860 4
7. The NRP Group Cleveland, OH J. David Heller 4,161/3,463 9
8. Lincoln Property Company Dallas, TX Tim Byrne 3,695/4,626 5
9. Fairfield Residential LLC San Diego, CA Gregory R. Pinkalla 3,624/2,622 16
10. RangeWater Real Estate Atlanta, GA Steven Shores, CEO & President 3,589/1,598 new
11. Toll Brothers Apartment Living Horsham, PA Charles Elliott 3,452/2,786 14
12. Hanover Houston, TX Brandt Bowden 3,064/2,591 17
13. JPI Irving, TX Brad Taylor 3,040/3,577 8
14. The Michaels Organization Camden, NJ John J. O'Donnell, CEO 3,031/2,547 18
15. Continental Properties Company, Inc. Menomonee Falls, WI James H. Schloemer 2,980/1,844 new
16. Fore Property Company Las Vegas, NV Jonathan Fore 2,912/2,689 15
17. The Bainbridge Companies Wellington, FL Richard Schechter 2,897/3,165 10
18. LDG Development Louisville, KY Chris Dischinger/Mark Lechner 2,855/2,800 13
19. Trinsic Residential Group Dallas, TX Brian J Tusa 2,595/1,564 new
20. Pennrose Philadelphia, PA Mark H. Dambly 2,560/847 new
21. The Calida Group Las Vegas, NV Eric Cohen 2,538/1,480 new
22. Northwood Ravin Charlotte, NC David Ravin 2,419/3,016 11
23. AvalonBay Communities, Inc. Arlington, VA Timothy J. Naughton 2,377/2,154 23
24. Crescent Communities Charlotte, NC Brian Natwick 2,200/2,027 new
25. Bridge Investment Group Salt Lake City, UT Danuel Stanger 2,138/346 new