15 markets. During the coronavirus pandemic, the companyproved its agility, pivoting to support employees and operations. Itquickly launched a wellness program, TRIVE, to support physical,mental/emotional, and financial wellbeing for employees. Thecompany also built on existing technology to launch virtual tours,ultimately producing a 7% increase in leasing activity over 2019.The firm was named one of the fastest growing companies inAtlanta in 2018 and this year, it was named one of the best places towork in multifamily. The RADCO Cos. is also an established marketleader, serving as a frequent resource for industry publications, likethe Financial Times and Bloomberg.
While Trion Properties originally launched in 2005 as an entrepreneurial venture between two friends—Max Sharkansky, managing partner, and Mitch Paskover, managing partner—the company is now a major investment manager on the West Coast. Triontargets value-add multifamily opportunities in emerging markets,including the East Bay market in California and WashingtonCounty in Oregon. To date, the company has closed more than$600 million in multifamily transactions, and it has a current portfolio of 1,648 units totaling $360 million. The value-add strategyhas been successful, generating 30% annual returns for investors.Trion Properties is a vertically integrated firm with in-house property management. This year, Trion launched an investor portal,part of a digital strategy to create a direct channel for investors toparticipate in the company’s open fund and any other offerings.In addition, Trion is embracing technology with a blog, You Tubechannel and social media platforms to connect with both residents and investors.
In less than a decade TruAmerica Multifamily has grown into oneof the leading investors, owners and operators of apartmentbuildings in the country. Partnering with Guardian Life InsuranceCo. of America, the firm’s workforce housing and value-addinvestment strategy has built a $10 billion portfolio totaling
43,000 units. Last year, TruAmerica closed $1.3 billion in apartment acquisitions, a total of 22 properties and 7,467 units locatedin Atlanta, Orlando, Denver, Las Vegas, Tampa, Seattle, Phoenix,Raleigh and San Diego. In the same year TruAmerica entered theAtlanta market, rapidly building a five-property portfolio totaling
1,600 units. This year, the company has expanded into Texas,opening a new office in the market, with plans to grow its portfolio in the state and Midwest region. CEO and president, RobertHart lives by the mantra, “You can do good while doing well andmaking a profit.” As such, the company is involved in finding solutions to the housing crisis and plays an active role in local charities and organizations.
Universe Holdings is one of the most active investors in the
Southern California market. The investment firm targets off-
market value-add deals in major metros and coastal submarkets
using proprietary market analytics to make informed investment
decisions. Most recently, Universe Holdings bundled small
value-add deals and large core assets together into a single port-
folio, creating a large and diversified portfolio. Before the pan-
demic hit, effectively shutting down investment activity, Universe
Holdings closed five deals this year. In addition, it has turned its
attention to the Inglewood market, which is poised for signifi-
cant growth because of the development of SOFI Stadium and
Entertainment Complex, which will serve as the home stadium
for the Los Angeles Rams football team. Universe Holdings has
acquired a portfolio of 10 properties in the submarket. The
firm’s agility and ability to respond to market demand has
helped to drive its growth.
New York City-based URBN Playground is pioneering live-work-play spaces and the amenity experience in apartment communities. The company brings together built space, staffing space,and technology space to curate a cohesive experience for residents. URBN Playground does this through its white-label concierge app that gives residents access to a wide range of lifestylesservices and amenities, including housekeeping, delivery or fitness and programs and events that include wine tastings, children’s parties, movie nights and themed parties. While there is aclear benefit for residents, landlords are also seeing the tremendous upside of the program. Residents are willing to pay higherlease rates and stay longer in the building, and overall they arehappier. As a result URBN Playground is already being used in 60apartment communities across the country. The company is alsocurrently exploring institutional relationships, which wouldbring the program to hundreds more properties.
Vero Leasing is a New York-based tech company that allows property owners, brokers and renters to lease a property digitally byexpediting the process, verifying applicant information andeffectively mitigating risk. In the last few years, Vero has built upthe platform, securing $4 million in funding to write algorithmsand automate the leasing process. In the last two years, Vero haspartnered with MNS Real Estate, an owner that manages $10 billion in apartment assets, and Bold New York, which adds 11,000units to the company’s New York virtual leasing portfolio. Inaddition to growing its platform, Vero has launched Income andAsset Verification, a patent-pending technology that will verifythe financial information of renters impacted by the coronaviruspandemic. The platform was born of demand from apartmentowners who feared that some residents were taking advantage ofthe health crisis to avoid paying rent. This is just one example inhow Vero can play an integral role in bringing more technologyto the market.
Launched in 2000, Virtual Doorman was one of the first companies to bring technology to the real estate market with the concept of a virtual doorman. It leverages security, telecommunications and audio-visual technology to create the experience of adoorman at a more affordable cost. Today, the company is amarket leader for virtual doorman services and works with everyone from developers to existing owners. The company currentlyservices 400 buildings and more than 35,000 residents. Recently,Virtual Doorman has launched an On-The-Go Mobile App andthe new Welcome Station, which uses touch video to create aninteractive experience. The technology has proved to be especially useful during the pandemic, when apartment buildingswere limiting access to residents’ guests. The Virtual Doormanhelped residents continue to manage visitors and other peopleentering and exiting the building. For that reason, VirtualDoorman is setting up for another growth spurt.