Market Spotlight: What Fuels Tampa’s Growth

Chase Pattillo, vice president of Fore Property Co.’s Tampa office, examines the market from a developer’s perspective and sheds light on what’s attracting new projects to the metro.
Chase Pattillo, Vice President, Fore Property Company. Image courtesy of Fore Property Company

Favorable demographic trends and positive job growth are keeping Tampa’s multifamily market active by attracting investors and developers. Although Tampa was once viewed as a ghost town, relocating businesses together with ambitious constructions such as the multibillion-dollar project Water Street Tampa are reshaping the city’s landscape. Fore Property Co. has recently entered the Tampa market and appointed Chase Pattillo as vice president of the new office. Multi-Housing News reached out to Pattillo for fresh insights on the metro’s multifamily business and his new role.

How would you characterize Tampa’s multifamily market? What are the main trends?

Pattillo: Tampa’s multifamily market is on solid ground. The city has been one of the top rent growth markets in the country, absorbing all the units delivered and unable to keep up with the growing demand. The combination of job growth, population growth and increased renter demand continue to draw significant interest in the market by capital sources. With over $2 billion in investment over four straight years, we see the path of growth continuing.

What makes Tampa an attractive market for multifamily development?

Pattillo: Jobs. The Tampa Bay region has been the beneficiary of strong population growth emanating from a wave of corporate relocations, the growth of homegrown companies, a well-renowned university system, and a terrific lifestyle and climate—popular for Millennials and empty nesters. In fact, Tampa forms the western end of the Interstate 4 corridor, which spans the central part of the State of Florida, crossing through Lakeland, Orlando and Daytona. That corridor alone would be the fourth fastest growing state in the country adding 440 people per day according to Cushman & Wakefield. Tampa Bay itself would be number 11.

What sets Tampa’s multifamily market apart from other markets Fore Property Co. has a presence in?

Pattillo: Headquartered in Las Vegas and Washington D.C., Fore Property Co. has developed in 18 states across the U.S. Over the last several years, Fore’s markets have experienced tremendous growth. As a national company, the addition of the Tampa market further diversifies our portfolio, provides a high growth market potential for our investors and builds upon our existing Orlando operations. We believe the dynamics of Florida’s residential and commercial growth in general, and in Tampa in particular, will continue for the foreseeable future.

What can you tell us about the current multifamily financing environment? Any signs of a slowdown in the near future?

Pattillo: There is still plenty of capital chasing deals, including debt and equity. Barring any unforeseen circumstances in the financing markets, Tampa should continue to be a target for institutional and private capital. The influx of new development has raised some caution from construction lenders, but the market fundamentals continue to support the delivery.

Tampa was known as a deserted city. How did it turn into the place of opportunities?

Pattillo: That is certainly no longer the case. Tampa and its’ surrounding counties have risen from the recession in a big way. Through great cooperation with business and municipalities and a favorable biz climate, the area is now actively in top choices for corporate relocations. In fact, Amgen, Bristol Meyers, Axogen, Baker McKenzie as well as Johnson and Johnson, USAA and DTCC have increased their presence in the area. Tampa was voted as top liveable city and hasn’t lost its local flare even with 150 people per day moving to Tampa, according to Bloomberg.

Tell us about Fore Property’s plans for Tampa. What are your next projects and goals for the market?

To start, building one or two multifamily developments in the Tampa Bay region. The Fore team has developed a broad range of products—from urban infill, wrap, podium, or mixed-use projects to garden style suburban product. 

What are the main challenges in the market? How do you overcome them?

Competition for sites and differentiating our project from others. To overcome the challenges, we will maintain active involvement with municipalities, and be very conversant regarding issues affecting the local communities and the success or failure of the project. Our experience in all facets of the development and capital markets process will sync very well with our colleagues from Orlando.