Adding value to multifamily developments is an important component in the construction process. For many developers, it’s just as important to strategically and creatively add value as it is to be able to deliver quality projects on time and within budget.
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But how can you add value to your project? Real estate investor and developer, book author, opera singer, and founder and CEO of Aria Development Group Joshua Benaim shares some creative ways that his company has done it. From renovations and remodeling distressed apartment projects to designing affordable housing that showcased their design skills in a high-quality living environment, Joshua talks of some interesting and unique opportunities that come out of multifamily developments.
Listen to our conversation and learn more.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Joshua gives a background about his path to real estate success – from finance, opera singing, business school, private equity, setting up his company.
- His firm’s initial focus on renovating distressed buildings.
- Why Joshua enjoys renovating buildings and consider it the best training for ground-up development
- What motivated Joshua to become a developer?
- Why Joshua believes that providing meaning and the right feel of the place satisfies people rather than square footage
- Joshua gives examples of how to infuse beauty and creativity into properties.
- How even minor elements can create beauty and amaze and delight clients.
- Joshua advises that knowing your customer is crucial when adding value to a property.
- Joshua talks about various ways to get to know customers to be able to satisfy their needs and wants in housing.
- Joshua advocates for neighborhood transformation i.e. finding parts of the community that are broken, can be transformed and add value
- Why is it important for developers to stay up-to-date about government-funded infrastructure in their development areas?
- Joshua shares his thoughts about real estate trends in the next 12 months.
- Joshua campaigns for zoning changes in big cities to enable private businesses to create and fulfill housing needs
“For anyone who’s taking multifamily projects, I think there’s an opportunity to do something creative and differentiated.” [0:09:17]
“It doesn’t take an enormous amount of square footage to make people happy if you do it right, sometimes you can do it with meaning and gestures, and the right feel of a place can make the numbers work great.” [0:08:31]
“You’ve got to actually go live it, drink it, eat it, meet the people, hang out, and then you’ll get a sense of what kind of demographic. There’s no substitute for throwing yourself in there.” [0:12:00]
“The other best way to get to know your customer is with your stomach. Go eat or drink in the neighborhood.” [0:11:30]
“Multifamily often follows jobs. Look at places where jobs are being created. A lot of the time it is where multifamily is being built.” [0:12:42]
“Understand who your customer is. Then, translate that into your floor plans and into the whole design and experience of living in that place.” [0:13:30]
“There’s love and work. If people can fall in love in your neighborhood or stay in love, and they can also find work in your neighborhood, those are going to be places that will make people happy and they’re going to stick around.” [0:13:55]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
About Joshua Benaim
Joshua Benaim is a leading real estate investor and entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Aria, an award-winning real estate company whose mission is to humanize the experience of living in our great cities. He is also an operatic baritone who has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera and performed widely across the United States, as well as the author of Real Estate, A Love Story: Wisdom, Honor, and Beauty in the Toughest Business in the World. Benaim founded Aria Development Group in 2009 to create a different kind of values-driven real estate company, one that would marry value investment philosophy with traditional real estate principles of location, scarcity, and beauty. Since then, it has cultivated an expertise in next-generation multifamily housing and is currently developing more than 1,500 affordable luxury and mixed-income apartments in neighborhoods across the United States.
Prior to founding Aria, Benaim was a Managing Principal at Square Mile Capital Management LLC, where he focused on the New York, Washington, DC, South Florida, and San Francisco markets. Benaim began his career at Credit Suisse First Boston in the Mergers & Acquisitions group and subsequently Principal Transactions.
Benaim also has a passion for mentoring the next generation of real estate talent. He served as Co-Chair of the Harvard Business School Real Estate Alumni Association during the initial development of that organization and as an advisor to Professor Arthur Segel in the creation of HBS’s first online real estate course. He recently partnered with Project Destined to help foster the next generation of real estate developers. He received his A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.
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