On the Red Carpet at the 2017 MHN-CPE Awards Event

Real estate professionals from around the country gathered at the 2017 MHN-CPE Awards event to celebrate the industry's top projects, people and companies. Between the festivities, experts offered an outlook for 2018.

At the MHN-CPE Awards party, held on Oct. 19 at Resource Furniture in New York, Shaw Floors’ Director of Marketing & Design Christine Slaughter, who also participated in a panel discussion at the event, has observed a few trends that are shaping the multifamily industry: “It’s more about storytelling and the experience of the end user. It’s less about the amenities themselves, but how those amenities affect the whole experience.” In the coming year, she believes that there will be even greater emphasis on designing environments that support health and well-being.

No longer relegated to warm-weather locales, outdoor living is another feature that has become increasingly attractive to all of Shaw’s diverse end users, Slaughter noted. And, with pet-friendliness topping many apartment-hunters’ wish lists, amenities such as pathways, walking trails, outdoor dining areas and pergolas have become more coveted and will likely continue to gain popularity.

Instead of relying on do-it-yourself television shows, Slaughter encourages renters to be bold in their design choices. She has noticed that the design industry has become somewhat homogenized and is hopeful that the current will shift soon.

Richard Broder of Broder & Sachse Real Estate voiced his concern that the oversupply that has cropped up in coastal markets could lead to higher financing costs throughout the country. Although his primary market, Detroit, is showing steady improvement, Broder reasoned, “If the coasts slow down and tighten up, it makes it harder for us to build, develop and finance, even if there’s positive traction in our particular market.

Incorporating 199 luxury units along with 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and dining, Broder’s firm’s The Scott at Brush Park—which earned the Development & Design Community Impact Gold award—uncovered an important demand driver. “There was a desire for exceptional service to be delivered to discerning customers paying the higher end of market rents in a community that had not (previously) existed in Detroit.

Delivering The Scott at Brush Park required Broder to seek buy-in from appraisers and lenders, many of whom were skeptical that the firm would be able to achieve market rents at the first development of its kind in Detroit in more than 40 years.

Celebrating the winners

University Student Living General Manager Morgan Stokes won the Property Manager of the Year, Rising Star Gold award for achieving 36 percent renewal and 100 percent occupancy—eclipsing the 90 percent local average—at The Vue in Fayetteville, Ark. The judges took noted of Stokes’ success in overcoming competition from newly opened communities and obstacles related to construction.

Also of University Student Living, Dale McCullough, director of corporate marketing, beamed after receiving the Development and Design: Student Housing Silver award for Holly Pointe Commons, a 303,000-square-foot, 742-units and 1,415-beds community in Glassboro, N.J., serving Rowan University students. Developed through a public-private partnership with the school, University Student Living opened the $133 million community in Fall 2016.

Business Manager of Broadstone Coronado on the Bay Kristina Brown took home the Property Manager of the Year Gold award. Her more than 10 years of hands-on management experience—including four with Alliance Residential Company— have earned her numerous promotions. Judges lauded Brown’s successful repositioning of an outdated Class C property with 549 units in a $25 million value-add deal that resulted in a per-unit rent increase of $815 and elevation to Class A status.

For more on this years awards program, check out our full coverage in the MHN Excellence Awards roundup.

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for information about the 2018 awards! If you have questions, email Managing Editor Jessica Fiur.