Editor’s Note: Managing Up


Suzann Silverman, now editorial director of both MHN and CPE, sheds light on her perspective from more than 20 years in the industry.

SSilverman_675x420In my 20-plus years with MHN sister publication Commercial Property Executive, most of them as editor, I’ve watched the commercial and multifamily real estate industry evolve tremendously. Advances in technology, cycle-driven shifts in the regulatory environment, availability of research and data, interest in sustainability and increased visibility as an institutional asset class are just a few of the significant factors that have influenced property design and development, transaction structure and financing, and building operations. Of course, the strong preferences of the two huge demographic groups at either end of the age spectrum—Millennials entering the workforce and renting apartments as Baby Boomers start to retire and move into senior housing—are a big consideration, the more so due to the amount of data available about their habits, desires and differences.

In my new role overseeing both MHN and CPE, I look forward to witnessing further industry advancements and helping you evaluate new ideas, especially as you and other investors and service providers extend into more sectors, solidifying fragmented ownership and applying greater efficiencies of scale. The results are already being felt in student and senior housing, and some interesting pilot efforts are aimed at improving affordable housing, implementing features typically offered in more upscale communities.

Property management, the focus of this issue, offers substantial opportunity for experimentation. Do you tailor a property for a particular demographic group? Introduce community-unifying activities or amenities? Appeal to residents’ greener side with a rooftop garden or water-collection devices? Implement energy-saving elements that reduce not only your building expenses but residents’ energy bills, as well? Install an online program or set up a procedure that ensures prompt attention to problems?

Taking a step beyond these frequent pursuits, non-profit Shelters to Shutters is partnering with property owners like Waterton Residential and Brookfield Property Group to provide housing for homeless individuals and families in conjunction with employment as property managers, as discussed in “A Hand Up for the Homeless.” And as institutions increasingly enter the multifamily space, they are exploring the right mix of improvements and return on investment, as some top investors discuss in “High-Caliber Operations.” When Greystar buys older properties, for instance, it may open up the common areas, while Origin Investments looks at modernizing amenities—within reason.

It’s important to attract residents that represent a good fit for a property’s objectives, and even more important for those people to renew. What are you doing at your properties to achieve those goals? Email me at [email protected] and let me know!

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