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Desire For Connection With Others Could Change Apartment Development

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BMC Investments CEO Matt Joblon recognizes that he can’t predict the future, but one thing he knows for sure is that big changes will come to the multifamily housing market in the next 20 years.

Desire For Connection With Others Could Change Apartment Development
BMC Investments is developing The St. Paul Collection in Cherry Creek North.

Joblon, who will be a panelist at the Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference 2018: Rocky Mountain Series on Sept. 13, describes the physical multifamily asset as the hardware and the programming and experiences as the software.

“You’re going to see the software evolve quicker than the hardware,” Joblon said. “Co-living is a real possibility where people are sharing kitchens and common areas and just having bedrooms. I think that will evolve. Things will get smaller and tighter, and it will be more about the experience.”

Similar to Facebook, where people seek a digital connection, co-living will provide apartment dwellers with a way to connect with one another. Already, residents in traditional complexes are seeking out ways to interact with their neighbors. With his Steele Creek apartment project, Joblon has found that tenants have formed a tight community through gatherings in the clubroom or at the swimming pool, an experience he hopes to replicate with The St. Paul Collection, a luxury apartment project in Cherry Creek North.

Desire For Connection With Others Could Change Apartment Development
Residents at 255 St. Paul will be able to connect with each other in the lounge.

Technology also will play a key role in the apartments of the future. Renters will increasingly be able to run their apartments using their smartphones. They will be able to lock doors, order groceries and have food prepared and delivered. Autonomous cars also could impact the way apartment projects are developed.

“Major disruption is coming,” Joblon said. “Technology is about to start exponentially evolving and impacting our lives. You have to adapt to disruption and change to stay relevant. The person who takes the risk and gets ahead of it is going to be the one to nail it.”

Though he doesn’t anticipate the Front Range becoming a megalopolis, a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas that merge into a continuous urban region, he does predict there will be greater density in Cherry Creek and at the Denver Technological Center.

Desire For Connection With Others Could Change Apartment Development
Pinyon Pointe is among the multifamily projects McWhinney has in the works.

McWhinney CEO Chad McWhinney said he can see the Front Range becoming megapolitan — another word that encompasses a widespread urban region — stretching from New Mexico to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and he believes multifamily properties are a great investment, especially for a long-term owner.

“We believe that people are always going to need a place to live,” said McWhinney, who also will be speaking at the multifamily event. “Apartments are a great long-term real estate asset class to own. The key is to make sure that you have a lot of debt that is long term. The key in this business is to make sure we don’t have a lot of short-term debt at any given time when real estate markets change. A banker will give you an umbrella, and when it rains, they ask for it back.”

McWhinney has expanded its multifamily portfolio in response to the population boom along the Front Range. It has multiple projects in the works in Fort Collins, Loveland and Denver totaling 866 units ranging from luxury residences to micro-apartments.

McWhinney said because of Colorado’s onerous construction defects laws and more people choosing to rent rather than buy, very little for-sale multifamily product has been developed in the last few years. But, he said, some of the apartment projects that have been built in recent years could be converted into condominiums.

“You could see some apartments that are five to 10 years old get converted into for-sale housing,” he said. “Optionality is key. Make sure that you separately meter each unit so that down the road if you want to convert them to for-sale, you could.”

Find out more about what is going on in Denver's multifamily market at the Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference 2018: Rocky Mountain Series Sept. 13 at Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek.