Archive for November, 2013

Winston-Salem Council Approves Downtown Business Improvement District

The Winston-Salem city council approved a downtown business improvement district that could cost property owners nine cents for every $100 of assessed value. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

The district won’t go into effect until July 2014, the beginning of the 2014-15 fiscal year. The area will be called the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District.

The district consists of about 61 blocks downtown roughly bounded by Church Street and Patterson Avenue on the east, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Sixth Street on the north, Broad and Spruce streets on the west and Business 40 on the south. The district excludes such historic residential neighborhoods as Holly Avenue and West End.

The council did not approve a tax rate for the district – that won’t happen until next summer – but proponents have advocated a rate of 9 cents for every $100 of taxable property. The tax could bring in about $470,000 per year, according to estimates.


November 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

A World Without Doorknobs?

The city of Vancouver is banning doorknobs in new construction:

In Vancouver, the doorknob is heading into a setting sun. Its future has been date-marked, legislated out of existence in all future construction, a tip to society’s quest for universal design and the easier-to-use lever handle.

And as it goes in Vancouver, so will it go in B.C., Canada, and perhaps even the world.

So here’s a question for our developers out there – what percentage of your doors have handles vs. knobs? If this type of code were to be implemented here what kind of impact would it have on multifamily developments?

November 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Weathering Craig’s Changes

New policies at Craigslist have rocked apartment managers’ marketing world and Peter Schuh at Multifamily Insiders has some advice on how to react:

Yes, these annoying Craigslist changes are hear to stay. Yes, tracking is dead. No, there is not one weird trickthat will get your html back onto Craigslist.

But there are things that can be done. This is my second list of options. You’ll find the first list here

We’ve all heard the adage about Google: if you use a free service, then you are the product. Well, Craigslist is a free service, and the only difference in using it is that your business becomes a plaything of King Craig. That doesn’t mean we should abandon Craigslist, but we certainly cannot rely upon it either.

November 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

Secrets to Managing Single Family Rentals

MultiFamily Executive interviewed some executives working in the single family rental space to try and crack the code for effective management. One critical factor? Geography.

MACK follows the general rule of thumb that assets are no more than 30 minutes away from each other and its central hub. By setting this specific geographic focus, it’s able to cut down on extraneous costs, like having property managers drive across town for emergency maintenance. Similarly, Oakland-based Waypoint American Homes abides by geographical rules, with properties located all within a 25-mile radius, at most.

“We buy thoughtfully,” says Doug Brien, Co-CEO and founder of Waypoint American Homes. “If we’re going to start buying, we’re committed to buying enough of critical mass to operate it efficiently. You see costs get out of control when you spread different homes spread across different markets.”

Another benefit of managing 10 properties on the same block or buying into a master plan community, is in forging relationships with the neighborhood. Buying in bulk also helps with insurance costs.

November 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

Negotiating Tax and Insurance Rates Can Significantly Impact NOI

MultiFamily Executive has an easily digestible post about negotiating with tax assessors and insurance companies and how it can positively impact your NOI:

The county assessor tends to measure property valuations at higher levels, while the owner, obviously, wants the opposite. It’s a timeless dance. But through diligent preparation, and the ability to come to a fair compromise, owners can save hundreds of thousands of dollars on a typical 100-unit property…

Typically, the assessor will need to be educated about what the property actually looks like, and its condition, or else the owner will get a very general valuation that doesn’t speak to the property’s individual strengths and weaknesses. By maintaining a thorough inventory on the property and documenting the cost necessary to put it in appropriate shape as valued by the assessor, an owner stands a good chance of lowering their property taxes…

The same negotiation skills need to be applied to insurance, as well. Owners can easily become over-insured, resulting in higher premiums, if they don’t pay attention to the coverage.

By providing solid evidence that these insurance standards are flawed, generally by speaking with architects and contractors, you can get your evaluation down, thus dropping the insurance premium, which can add more than $35,000 in overall value to a typical 100-unit community.


November 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Winston-Salem Home to One of Country’s Largest Economic Development Projects

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem is one of the largest economic development projects in the country and includes a variety of uses including housing:

Eric Tomlinson is President the Innovation Quarter. He says more than $500 million will be invested in the project by the end of 2014.  

“When you add it all up together, by the end of 2014, we expect there to be about 2,800 people working in Innovation Quarter, compared to about 1,000 today. We expect there to be in addition about 2,200 accommodation units in and around this research park, so that means a town, a community suddenly is developing within downtown Winston-Salem,” says Tomlinson…

Tomlinson says Innovation Quarter will eventually become a destination, with a park and Greenway. The Greenway would link with the Salem Connector and Salem Lake.  Overall, Innovation Quarter has 140 developable acres. Tomlinson says only about one-sixth will be completed by the end of next year.

November 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Real Data: Piedmont Triad Seeing Lower Vacancy, Rent Growth

Real Data’s latest report shows that things are pretty good in the Piedmont Triad apartment market. Here are the major numbers compared to the same point last year:

Average Rent per Square Foot: $0.752, up 2.3% from $0.735 in 2012

Vacancy: 7.3%, down from 8.7% in 2012

Units Under Construction: 1,105, up 6.25% from 1,040 in 2012

Units Proposed: 3,458, up 36% from 2,539 in 2012

You can order a full report here.

November 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

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