On May 22, 2019 a record number of representatives from the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association visited the North Carolina General Assembly and visited with over 30 state legislators as part of the Apartment Association of North Carolina’s 2019 Lobby Day. Here’s a link to AANC’s Legislative Packet which will provide you with an overview of the issues we discussed with legislators, and below you’ll find just a few of the many pictures we took with our state Representatives and Senators.
Two apartment industry professionals from the Triad were inducted into the Apartment Association of North Carolina’s (AANC) Hall of Fame this week. During a ceremony held at AANC’s 2019 Education and Legislative Conference in Raleigh, Sue White and Peter Placentino, both of Greensboro, along with seven other apartment professionals, were inducted into the 2019 AANC Hall of Fame.
Sue White, President of Donathan Properties based in Greensboro, has been a member of Piedmont Triad Apartment Association for 39 years, serving as President in 1989-90. She has also been a member of AANC since it was founded in 1986 and served as AANC’s first president, not from the Charlotte area.
Ms. White has been involved in multi-family housing development since 1977. She began her career with McCoy Development, which later changed its name to Kenyon Investment Group. Kenyon subsequently merged with Sunstates Corporation of Raleigh, North Carolina. While with these organizations, Ms. White was responsible for the development of several luxury apartment projects that were pre-sold to Balcor/American Express. In addition, Ms. White operated Kenyon’s management company prior to the merger with Sunstates.
Ms. White left Sunstates Corporation in 1983 to start Donathan Properties, Inc. Bainbridge in the Park, Donathan Properties’ first development project, was a joint venture with 1st Home Federal Savings and Loan of Greensboro, North Carolina and was presold to a real estate investment banking firm headquartered in Westport, Connecticut. Donathan Properties developed and owns Briarleigh Park Apartments, a 216-unit community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which opened in July 1987.
Ms. White’s expertise includes the identification and purchase of sites, site layout, unit mix, project sales, marketing and lease-up, as well as overall construction management. Donathan Properties, Inc. is a HUD approved management company.
Projects in Ms. White’s development portfolio include: Marchwood (264 units), Greensboro, NC The Hedges (188 units), Greensboro, NC The Forest (264 units), Durham, NC Cooper’s Pond (172 units), Raleigh, NC Drayton Quarter (206 units), Charleston, SC Bainbridge in the Park (216 units), Durham, NC Briarleigh Park (216 units), Winston-Salem, NC Hyde Park (216 units), Cary, NC Southern Village Apartments (250 units), Chapel Hill, NC Brookberry Park Apartments (252 units), Winston-Salem, NC Skybrook Apartments (268 units), Huntersville, NC Haven at Regents Park Apartments (288 units) Fort Mill, SC
Peter Placentino, Senior Vice President of Property Management at Brown Investment Properties based in Greensboro, has been an active member of PTAA, AANC and the National Apartment Association (NAA) for over 35 years. He is the only person to serve as President of AANC twice, he also served as President of PTAA in 1990-91 and as Secretary of the National Apartment Association in 2000.
At Brown Investment Properties Mr. Placentino optimizes assets for each property owner. He believes in and supervises hands-on, detail-oriented management of physical assets, operations, and personnel. His extensive experience covers all types of tenant-occupied property – multi-family, retail, office, and industrial. He has many years of experience in construction, development, and legislative matters of the multi-family housing industry. This knowledge base brings additional benefit to property owners. Peter has been involved in distressed asset management since the 1980s and is an expert in stabilization and disposition of these properties.
Peter started with Brown Investment Properties in 1983 and has worked in property management since 1979. He is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and a licensed Real Estate Broker in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The Greater Charlotte Apartment Association (“GCAA”) has named Kim S. Graham as its new executive director.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Kim as our new executive director,” said Jennings Snider, president of the GCAA board of directors and Chief Financial Officer with SYNCO Properties. “Kim is an outstanding fit for us, given her strong background in housing, public policy, community engagement and nonprofits. Her management and interpersonal skills are peerless. This is a landmark day for the GCAA.”
Graham most recently served as senior vice president of outreach and fund development with The Housing Partnership, a Charlotte-based housing nonprofit corporation. She will assume her duties on December 1, replacing Ken Szymanski, who will retire at the end of 2018 concluding an illustrious 32-year tenure as GCAA’s executive director.
“I’m honored to have been selected by the board to lead this dynamic organization. I look forward to building on the foundation created by Ken, the professional staff, engaged board and members at the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association,” said Graham.
During her time with The Housing Partnership, Graham doubled the organization’s grant revenue while implementing place-based programs to protect seniors from tax lien foreclosure and expanded access to resources for neighborhood improvement projects. Graham’s experience also includes stints with United Way of Central Carolinas as its public policy manager and with the NC Parent Teachers Association as a regional program manager. Prior to that, Graham worked in the private sector for national and mid-market public accounting firms.
Graham holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master of Public Administration degree in urban management and policy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“This is an exciting day for the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association. Kim has the consensus-building tools, insight and resolve to ensure that we grow and stay relevant. Her skills and demeanor are such a good fit for the GCAA,” said Szymanski.
About The Greater Charlotte Apartment Association
Established in 1977, the GCAA is a trade association of multifamily rental housing developers, owners, managers and suppliers. Collectively, its members house over 300,000 persons in every income strata, every geography, and every ethnicity of the Charlotte region.
Inclusionary zoning measures don’t result in an abundance of affordable housing. Although there’s a clear housing-affordability problem in Charlotte — the average monthly rental rate is above $1,000 — putting in extra zoning or land-use regulations doesn’t result in more affordable housing. In fact, Olsen said, it often leads to fewer overall affordable units than if fewer regulations were in place. “Construction is very important to maintaining affordability,” Olsen said. “The places that build market-rate stuff faster, their naturally affordable (apartment communities are) younger and larger. That’s an important point when we think about policy — it’s hard to communicate to people that it’s actually good that we’re building higher-end apartments. It will eventually help all segments; it just takes a little bit of time.” She added that instead of inclusionary zoning, housing vouchers are a better option to address affordability.
Charlotte is seeing less naturally occurring affordable housing than other U.S. markets. Naturally occurring affordable housing is in older, outdated communities (a one- or two-star property, out of five) with non-subsidized, market-rate units that, because of newer development (four- or five-star properties) in the market, automatically have lower rents, according to Amon. Charlotte’s apartment inventory has only 14% naturally occurring affordable housing, while nearly half are four- or five-star properties, which represent the highest echelon of rent and amenities. Many older properties across the city have been torn down to make way for new — and often high-end — apartment development, which eats away at naturally occurring affordable housing. It’s creating a “drastic dichotomy” between older properties that are more affordable and luxury apartments. “As we keep building high-end properties, the difference between high-end and naturally occurring is just going to increase,” Amon said.
Why are we not building affordable housing? Porter focused his presentation on common questions the industry is asking. As Olsen and Amon addressed in their presentations, affordability continues to be a problem not just in Charlotte but nationally. He echoed Olsen’s comments that less building and more restriction will ultimately result in fewer affordable units. “If we want to produce housing at 60% (Area Median Income) or less, we’re going to need to subsidize,” Porter said. “A more restrictive environment for housing production always makes housing less affordable. When we want more roads and asphalt, we have to deal with stormwater and trees — all the things we talk about making livability better in the city costs more.” He called on those in the industry to help city leaders in coming up with ways to make housing more affordable and to consider opportunities in terms of rehabbing properties, value-add deals and development that can be done on existing zoned land.
The general sentiment among panelists was that Charlotte’s multifamily market is dropping off from 2015, when it hit an all-time high, but the current pace of growth is more in line with the national rate of growth and historic norms. And, because of strong population migration and demographic shifts, demand for apartments will be sustained over the long term, especially as members of the generation after millennials graduate from college and land their first jobs.
Homeownership is expected to pick up, but younger demographics won’t abandon renting altogether. In fact, as Olsen pointed out, the for-sale housing market at price points affordable for first-home homebuyers is very competitive. As a result, many younger populations — who are already delaying homeownership — will likely end up renting for longer, until they can save up to spend more on a house or until the for-sale market offers more affordable options. “Even if I hit those major life events as a millennial and want to buy a home, I have incredible barriers,” Olsen said. “If I’m a first-time homebuyer, there’s even less for me. This inventory constraint (means) the housing market ins’t friendly to the first-time homebuyer, putting pressure on the rental market. It goes to show how much extra room we have in housing, both for-sale and rental.”
Rental rate is growing faster than median income for the renting population. Amon said the average median household income for Charlotte’s renting population is $36,500 — with current rental rates, apartment dwellers are putting an average of 34% of their income toward rent every month. That in itself isn’t alarming but, Amon noted, that rate has increased dramatically in the past few years, meaning rental growth is outpacing wage growth for many renters.
When designing new apartment communities, stay flexible and think about generational needs. Zella led a presentation about the latest in multifamily unit and community design — what renters today and in the next few years are seeking and how to design a property to maximize those desires. Staying on top of technology and “going green” when possible are known to most, but Zella also advised incorporating unique unit features (such as a wine cooler in the kitchen or a built-in valet bench in the entryway) and keeping color palettes neutral and design flexible — after all, trends are changing more rapidly than ever. “We have the broadest array of ethnicities and generations vying to live in the same spaces,” Zella said. “Having the broadest generational appeal without being generic provides challenges but a great opportunity.” Boomers are seeking social spaces and pet amenities (much like their younger counterparts), while those in Generation X value design, convenience and healthy living. Millennials, many of whom work remotely or from home, are looking for spaces for productivity, so Zella encouraged developers to think about adding micro-offices or smart conference rooms in clubhouses.
From the desk of Apartment Association of North Carolina Executive Director Will Brownlee comes news of a significant legislative victory for the apartment industry in North Carolina:
Thrilled to report that S326 HAS PASSSED THE SENATE this afternoon by a 42-1 vote and is being sent to the Governor for his signature. When signed, it is set to become law effective January 1, 2017.
This is an enormous victory for the NC apartment industry, a culmination of nearly 5 years of effort – enacting laws that will help protect our industry from invasive and overreaching inspection and registration schemes and restore a reasonable balance between the interests of landlords and cities/counties moving forward. Many thanks to those of you who reached out to your Representatives and Senators this week; based on reports received from Colleen and her team, several reported back that they had heard from you, and that your information had a strong impact on the final outcome.
On that note, AANC and our industry owes a huge thank you to AANC Legislative Counsel Colleen Kochanek and her team, as well as industry allies such as the NC Association of Realtors, for their tireless and creative efforts in securing necessary stakeholders and finding ways to resurrect the original H530 bill in the closing week of the legislative session and have it reborn as the now-passed S326.
We’ll have more about what this means in follow up posts.
PTAA member BSC Holdings’ Southeastern Building has been nominated for a Great Historic Rehabilitation award and you can support them by voting, and unlike presidential elections you can vote early AND often. Here’s the info and please go and vote…often:
The historic renovation of the Southeastern Building located on the corner of Elm and Market Streets in downtown Greensboro has been chosen as a finalist in the APA-NC Great Places People’s Choice – Great Historic Rehabilitation Contest! This is a program of the American Planning Association , North Carolina Chapter.
Voting will run from Monday, May 2, at 8:00 a.m. to Friday, May 13, at 5:00 p.m. Each person is allowed to vote for their favorite historic rehabilitation project once per day per device (your computer, your phone, your tablet, etc…).
Please help us earn this recognition for Greensboro by voting here each day:
The Southeastern Building, located at the corner of N. Elm and Market streets, began its life as the American Exchange National Bank Building and was the tallest in Greensboro when constructed in 1920.
Local developers Barry Siegal and Willard Tucker began restoration of the building in 2013 following City Council’s approval of an Urban Development Investment Grant of $273,347 for the project, which is now nearing completion. The building features 51 apartments, as well as office, retail and restaurant spaces.
The Southeastern Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as part of the Downtown Greensboro Historic District and it was awarded the Landmark designation in 2010.
The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association (PTAA) is supporting the Connect NC bond referendum that will appear on the March 15 ballot, and the reasons why were very well articulated by the Triad Real Estate and Business Industry Coalition (TREBIC) of which PTAA is a member:
The ($2 billion) bond is focused on the strength of our economic future: infrastructure, economic growth, and public education in the state of North Carolina. These well-vetted projects are critical to economic development, and therefore the health of our industry as well. There will be no tax increase due to NC’s financial strength and favorable interest rates and timing.
The Basics and Background
– $2B Statewide Infrastructure Bond
– Referendum March 15th
– First statewide bond since 2000
– Proactive investments in economic development/future jobs and emergency readiness
– Impacts 73 counties directly, all 100 indirectly
– No tax increase based on
NC’s strong financial position, low debt
Historically low interest rates
Lots of bonding capacity available, even after passage
– Since last bond, NC has added 2 million people, so our needs are growing
– Started at $6B from Governor
– Lots of vetting to get to final project list
– Ultimately won broad support from House, Senate, Democrats and Republicans
– It won’t meet all needs, BUT there is no current debate on future or serial bond issues
What’s In The $2B Bond?
– All projects are needs that can’t be met by annual operating budgets
– New construction and renovation, but also deferred maintenance
$980M for Universities
– Focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) buildings
– New construction, renovation and repairs
$350M at 58 Community Colleges for new construction/repairs/renovations
– 40% of NC workers have attended a community college in the past 10 years!
$100M for Parks, including $25M for Zoo, with a focus on attracting visitors/economic impact
$3M for Disabled Children & Veterans parks infrastructure
$309.5M for Water & Sewer Competitive Grants and Loans
– Utilities will have to apply to DENR
– Expected focus is repairs and improvements to mostly rural, existing systems
$78.5M for 3 National Guard & Pub Safety Centers, including 1 in High Point
$179M for Agriculture – largest single state investment ever in farms and agriculture
– mostly at NCSU
new Plant Sciences Research Complex
Agriculture and Consumer Sciences Lab for veterinary, food, drug, and motor fuel testing
$349M (21%) In The Triad (plus possible Water & Sewer grants/loans)
– $230M in Guilford County
NCA&T: $90M Engineering Building
UNCG: $105M Nursing School
GTCC: $9.5M for Medlin Admin Building Modernization
Multi Housing Advisors (MHA) has brokered six sales of apartment communities in North Carolina’s Triad Region totaling $37.1 million. Marc Robinson, Jordan McCarley and Watson Bryant of MHA’s Charlotte office represented the sellers in all six transactions. The transactions included WB Ventures purchasing the 204-unit The Morehead in Greensboro from Midway Investors for $11.2 million; QR Capital purchasing the 120-unit Battleground Oaks in Greensboro from Carlisle Residential for $6.7 million; Harvest Investments purchasing the 140-unit The Colony in Burlington from Titan Capital for $6.3 million; Tallahassee Apartments LLC purchasing the 160-unit Ridgewood in Greensboro for $5.4 million; a private individual purchased the 108-unit, 324-bed Collegiate Commons in Greensboro for $4.2 million; and Engineering Partners purchased the 80-unit The Hedges from The Hedges of Greensboro LLC for $3.3 million.
At the end of 2015 Ken Szymanski will step back from his role as Executive Director of the Apartment Association of North Carolina (AANC), after serving as the chief executive of both the AANC and the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association (GCAA) concurrently for the last 28 years. He will continue as the Executive Director of GCAA after 2015, but AANC needed to find a new chief executive as of January 1, 2016.
So it was with great excitement last night at the PTAA trade show that Jody Longwill, President of the AANC, announced that Will Brownlee – who is familiar to so many apartment professionals in North Carolina through his legal work on behalf of the industry – will be the organization’s Executive Director starting January 1.
Here’s a video of the announcement last night. Unfortunately due to my fat thumbs I missed the early part of the announcement during which Jody lauded Ken’s incredible work on behalf of AANC for the last 28 years, but please take my word that it was a worthy tribute for a great guy. Here’s the announcement.
Here’s a press release from AANC:
For Immediate Release October 28, 2015
Apartment Association of N.C. names new Executive Director
The Apartment Association of North Carolina (“AANC”) is a trade association of multi-family rental housing developers, owners, managers, and suppliers. It is affiliated with both the National Apartment Association and seven (7) local Apartment Associations throughout North Carolina. AANC is pleased to announce its selection of Will Brownlee as its new Executive Director and General Counsel effective January 1, 2016. “We are extremely pleased that Will will become AANC’s executive leader”, said its Board President Jody Longwill, of Greensboro-based Burkely Communities. “The Board, in making this selection, has expanded the Association’s commitment to its work, as the Executive Director position becomes full-time. For the past 29 years, Ken Szymanski has served the AANC with distinction as its part-time Executive Director. Ken will continue to serve in his role as Executive Director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association”.
“Will brings a wealth of experience, energy, and commitment to the AANC’s work. We look forward to Will’s joining and working with AANC and its associates to advocate for legislation that encourages affordable housing, quality construction and professional management.”
Will Brownlee is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina and is the founder of Brownlee Law Firm, PLLC and co-founder of Loebsack & Brownlee, PLLC. He has served the apartment industry for the last 18 years, including serving on the AANC Board of Directors and as author of the AANC Lease and Legal Handbook. He holds degrees from The Citadel and the N.C. Central University School of Law.
“AANC and its affiliate members have a rich and accomplished history of advocacy for the N.C. apartment industry, particularly through the tireless efforts of its Board of Directors, its volunteer members, and the consistent leadership of Ken Szymanski over the past 30 years,” said Mr. Brownlee. “I am proud to be part of such an organization and look forward to the opportunity to work with the AANC Board of Directors and the diverse affiliate and volunteer members of AANC in continuing their advocacy for the apartment industry and finding new ways to serve the AANC membership.”
For further information: Ken Szymanski, (704) 334-9511 x- 108