This Apartment Manager Should Be On Your Radar
Instead of scouting at spring training, we’ve been searching the country for the hottest new property managers. Over in Atlanta, CFLane (created by Cocke Finkelstein and Lane Co’s merger last April), ended the year with 40,000 units under management and continues to grow.
The firm took over 50 assets in Q4 alone, CFLane executive director Dan Haefner tells us. (About 75% of its portfolio is fee managed and 25% is owned assets.) Focused on the full spectrum of multifamily properties and manufactured housing, CFLane picked up large concentrations in Texas, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, and Georgia, he says. The latest: Cocke Finkelstein (CFI), the parent company of CFLane, paid $49.5M for The Park at Vinings (below), a 484-unit community in Smyrna, Ga. In Florida and the DC area, CFI likes the barriers to entry (in Florida, that means an alligator by the doorway), strong economic indicators, and demographics. Over in Houston, they're seeing great momentum in the medical, transportation, and utility sectors.
CFI stays fairly opportunistic, Dan says, with a recent focus on some of the thousands of units of former Cardinal Industries’ modular housing product. Recycled through the industry a number of times (a large chunk once owned by Equity Residential), the “great little assets” are B and C workforce housing around the country, he tells us. The properties are several years old with 100 to 150 units, meaning they’re not core assets for REITs or larger players. But the economics have proven to be favorable based on CFLane's management skills, Dan says.
Dan has noticed ancillary income opportunities (wireless, utility management, renters insurance) becoming a much larger focus for apartment managers, along with reputation management. Not taken seriously in the past, sites like ApartmentRatings.com and Yelp are now a priority for renters and managers, he says. (We did our part by writing a vicious assault on a poorly managed lemonade stand seemingly run only by children.) Outside of the office, Dan spends time as a professional fan of his daughter’s lacrosse team and an innocent bystander to his other daughter's college search. He also loves to play tennis.