On Location: Creston Point, Seattle

Stefanie Rice, investment manager for Creston Point knew that local homeowners and residents of nearby apartment communities were concerned about the new community.

By Daniel Adler, Contributing Editor

Stefanie Rice, investment manager for Creston Point, a family-friendly HNN community with 476 units, recognizes the impact a new property can have. Knowing that local homeowners and residents of nearby apartment communities were concerned about “the dynamic of occupancy, how many people are living in the area,” and how these would affect issues like rezoning and school enrollment, Rice and her team preemptively addressed concerns by opening the property’s doors to the community.

The gym, community room, and game room have been used for holiday toy drives, after-school clubs, E.S.L. classes, summertime block parties and discussion forums to address residents’ concerns in areas like public school policy and traffic safety. Arranging these events is an organic and transparent process. In almost every case residents or members of the neighborhood approached Creston Point staff with ideas of what they wanted to do and how to do it. Rice says, “we listen to what they need, and we try to bring it to them.” Most of the time, she is able to provide these spaces for free. It’s no wonder the property is seen as a neighborhood hub.

In addition, Rice joined the West Hill Business Association and is involved with the Chamber of Commerce to better allow Creston Point to be a “positive [force] in the neighborhood, not just that huge complex over on the other side [of the hill].”

Many on-site functions are pivotal to resident retention. And when new residents have just signed a lease, or when continuing residents renew a lease, they are invited to participate in games like “Wheel of Fortune” and “Deal or No Deal” to win discounts on rent, cable, and laundry, or certificates to local business and services. They are management’s way of saying “thank you for choosing us” in these challenging economic times, without having to bear the full impact of incentives like discounted rent.

If community programs are the backbone of Creston Point, then its impressive hillside location and clubhouse are its face. “Curb appeal is everything,” says Rice. “Without curb appeal I have no marketing strategy.” Creston Point resident Trina Griffin recounts her first time entering the clubhouse as a prospective resident. “Coming into the building, [seeing the] foyer was awesome—the fireplace, the color scheme, the furniture. There were coffee and cookies laid out, and the staff was so welcoming. I felt like I was walking into a four-star hotel.”

Community-building is a wise business decision that assists the resident retention process at

Creston Point in Seattle.

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