Capturing the Market With Nationwide Branding
Nadel Architects executive vice president Dale Yonkin identifies how developers and operators can benefit from creating a national brand for their apartment communities.
As homeownership rates continue to decline at a slow but steady pace, apartments are certainly in the spotlight. Some say this is a result of current economic pressures, from skyrocketing home values to the significant student debt many are still reconciling. Others cite a change in values, as many of today’s would-be homeowners are putting their money toward expenses such as travel and enjoy the mobility of not being tied to a specific geographic location. Whatever the case may be, multifamily developers are cashing in on the shift toward rental housing.
Most of today’s ground-up rental apartment projects are one-off developments that take advantage of specific markets or site availability. Each of these projects must sell itself to potential renters on its own merit, and no synergy is created by the operator’s management reputation or the cachet of a recognized quality lifestyle. As such, developers must also bear the full cost burden of branding and marketing the property upon completion.
Rescore Property Corp., a privately held REIT in Boca Raton, recently introduced a new approach to apartments. Inspired by proven techniques in the hospitality industry, the REIT is partnering with experienced local developers in hot urban markets around the U.S. to create a national brand for apartment developments. Under this umbrella, each project follows similar guidelines for design and operation. Just as national hotel brands reap the benefits of a recognizable name and guaranteed experience, this new line of apartments is expected to:
- Garner higher rents, as consumers attach higher values to predictable brand experiences;
- Accelerate the lease-up process through desirable offerings;
- Decrease turnover rates by creating living environments that satisfy renters long-term; and
- Reduce branding and marketing expenses for the development teams.
Case in point
The ground-up projects are all named “The Rise” and further identified by their specific locations. In the Rise model, sites are chosen to provide an urban experience, with hotel-quality amenities enhancing the social interaction of its residents. These amenities include restaurants, social rooms, gyms, landscaped roof decks, swimming pools, bike facilities, dog runs, washing stations and “jam rooms” where musicians can rehearse. Each development also provides a range of unit sizes to meet a variety of resident price expectations and space needs.
Rescore’s first project in Los Angeles, The Rise Hollywood, is currently under construction at Cahuenga and Fountain, two blocks south of the famous Sunset Boulevard. Partnering with local developer Cal-Coast Cos. LLC and funded by a $100 million loan from Bank of the Ozarks, Rescore is meeting its new national standard for amenities, finishes and services, tailored to the local market’s needs.
Nadel Architects designed the 368-unit, seven-story community to display the open plan, casual lifestyle for which Southern California is known. Storefront live-work units surround the asset at street-level, linking the buildings to pedestrian life and enhancing the walkability of this addition to Hollywood’s changing urban environment.
The project is divided into five building elements, linked by open bridges, and the spaces between these buildings allow views into and out of the central courtyard. Each of the five buildings is designed in a slightly different architectural motif to reduce the scale of the overall massing. Building elements are angled and tilted, creating an unpredictable geometry.
When complete, The Rise Hollywood will be the latest in Rescore’s nationwide brand extension. Time will tell how this ultimately impacts developers’ return on investment, but as the hotel industry has shown, a trusted brand name goes a long way.
Dale Yonkin is executive vice president and multifamily studio director at Nadel Architects.
Images courtesy of Nadel Architests and Rescore Property Corp.