NAHB Names Michaels MF Development Firm of the Year

NAHB honors Michaels Development Co. for leadership in the multifamily housing industry and successful achievement of the company's vision and goals.

Michael J. Levitt, chairman and CEO; Robert Greer, president of Michaels Development Company; and John O’Donnell (standing), CEO of The Michaels Organization

The National Association of Home Builders has named Michaels Development Co. its 2010 Multifamily Development Firm of the Year. The award recognizes “superior leadership in the multifamily housing industry and honors excellence in development strategies and practices, financial performance and innovation, and the successful achievement of the company’s vision and goals,” according to NAHB.

Based in Marlton, N.J., Michaels is an active affordable housing developer, with 54 projects currently in development and a development pipeline of 11,000 units. The company’s portfolio consists of 331 properties–about 33,000 units–in 31 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Michaels Military Housing is also developing and managing housing for the U.S. Department of Development at four Army bases and two Air Force bases.

Getting projects out of the ground is no small feat in the current climate. “Michaels has raised the bar for affordable and mixed-income housing developments in this country,” notes NAHB’s senior staff vice president Sharon Dworkin Bell in a statement, adding that “despite the economic downturn, [the company] secured financing when others couldn’t and, as a result, successfully helped its housing agency partners across the country meet their housing needs.”

In presenting the award, NAHB also said its judging panel of multifamily housing experts found that Michaels had a focus on building self-sustaining, financially viable communities, as well as a commitment to social services programs for its residents. They noted that Michaels was the first affordable-housing developer to completely rebuild and reopen all of its housing sites in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Michaels offers educational scholarships to those who live in housing owned or managed by the company. All residents may apply, and the scholarships can be used towards higher education at any accredited college, university or vocational program in the country. Thus far Michaels has awarded $2.5 million in grants, benefiting more than 1,200 students.

In short, the company sees affordable housing development as more than building structures whose units cost less than most other apartments. “We not only develop affordable housing, we’re a leading force in the development of social service programs, and contribute to the success of the neighborhoods where we own and manage residential properties,” Robert Greer, president of Michaels Development Co., tells MHN. “Providing lower-income families with social services, including educational opportunities for children and adults, helps to create a sense of empowerment among our residents.”