McKinley has rebranded several buildings in the Tampa Bay area to appeal to baby boomers.
McKinley has rebranded several buildings in the Tampa Bay area to appeal to baby boomers.

As the baby boomer generation ages, multifamily managers and developers are trying to crack the code on how to capture as many as renters as possible.

But Albert Berriz isn't looking for massive volume. Instead, he's focused on a specific niche.

So Berriz and his team at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based McKinley came up with a new branding initiative to target affluent, baby boomer women in the Tampa Bay area. The new concept includes two lifestyle brands, McKinley Beach and McKinley Hyde Park.

"But it's not a question of money," he says. "It's a question of lifestyle. They're health-oriented. They want to be on the beach for health reasons. They may be working full time or maybe they're not working full time. Most of them are coming from New York and relocated to the Tampa area."

That's where the McKinley Beach brand comes in. The beach brand offers a bayside lifestyle with all the amenities a woman could want. The buildings, which range in size from 50 to more than 100 units, have been renovated with high-end finishes and appliances to match the sophistication of an upscale South Beach condo, but with Tampa Bay prices.

"We are purchasing older communities, 1940s or 1950s-built, and what we're doing is gutting them and bringing them back to life as ultra-luxury apartments," Berriz says.

It's different from any of the new construction being built, the buildings are considered boutique and foster communal living.

"What we've found is these people don't want to live in those brand-new, ground-up buildings," Berriz says. "They don't want a 200 unit building or a brand new project because they're looking for something that matches their character…they want something that is more eclectic and sophisticated on a smaller scale."

The McKinley Hyde Park brand includes even smaller buildings, on average about 20 to 40 units, in the Hyde Park area of Tampa.

These buildings are designed for a resident who wants to be near all of the shopping and high-end dining options Tampa has to offer, says Mary Williams, McKinley's managing director for sales, marketing and relationship management.

Another trend that is growing as the leasing team continues to fill apartments, is women looking to live near their friends, Williams says.

"She's sent her last kid off to college," she says. "And her friend moved to Ibor and she's downsizing and selling her house and now she says ‘it's all about me. I've raised my kids and now it's about me and the life I want to live.'"

The buildings in the neighborhood have been branded as McKinley Hyde Park and when potential residents walk through the area, they're able to identify which buildings they'd like to live in based on location.

And more often than not, they're baby boomer women looking for apartments in the neighborhood and end up walking into the office to lease an apartment.

"Our customers find us because they come here and decide they like it, then they walk around or drive around and end up in our office because they've seen something they liked," she says.

The Hyde Park brand includes about 15 buildings with several more going through the acquisition process.

"We have enough critical mass in the area that we want to declare a brand," Berriz says. "While it's not huge compared to our other businesses, it's important enough to brand."