Q: How has the apartment industry changed in the past 10 years?
A: This is a very exciting time to be a part of the apartment industry, and it is incredible to see just how far we have come in such a short time. Not that long ago, it was unheard of for real estate companies to talk about things like consumer branding or using technology to develop sophisticated operating platforms. Today, the leading apartment companies are doing more than just talking—they are making real progress to improve the business in these areas, and these efforts are having a profound impact on our industry. Real estate companies have become respected members of corporate America and, in fact, 11 real estate investment trusts are included in the S&P 500 Index—three of which are apartment companies, including Archstone-Smith.
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Charles Mueller is the chief financial officer for Archstone-Smith, an Englewood, Colo.–based REIT that owns and operates more than 350 multifamily apartment communities.