This year’s AHF 50 owners hold an impressive 6,351 developments with 590,989 affordable housing units across the country.
That’s a 4.8% increase in developments and a 5.5% hike in units over last year’s list of the top owners.
Once again, The Michaels Organization leads the list, with 357 properties and 42,883 units. The Marlton, N.J.–based firm recently named Gary Buechler as president of the company’s development arm, The Michaels Development Co. He brings more than 25 years of experience in both development and business operations management to his new post. He previously served in a number of roles, including managing director of development at Lendlease Americas.
The owners rankings are based on the number of affordable units owned as of Jan. 1, 2016, with only general-partner owners eligible. Approximately 100 firms completed surveys to be considered for the annual list.
In addition to sharing their numbers, the AHF 50 owners told us how they’re working to serve their residents. Making their housing developments more healthful is a big trend.
Beacon Communities, a large national owner headquartered in Boston, reported that its entire portfolio became smoke-free in 2015. Atlanta-based Hallmark Cos. is also pushing to convert its properties to nonsmoking and has been building outdoor covered smoking pavilions as part of that effort.
Vitus Group plans to include “active-design” amenities such as community gardens, indoor and outdoor activity spaces, and improved pedestrian pathways at all the properties it closed financing on in 2015. The Seattle-based company also said residents will have access to on-site health programs.
Several firms also reported offering vital services for children living in their developments, including after-school programs. The NRP Group has included at its properties community space designed specifically to accommodate such programming.
MidPen Housing Corp. in Northern California reported hosting a six-week interactive program that employed science, technology, engineering, and math educational principles and opportunities to inspire its young residents.
And TM Associates Management in Rockville, Md., has several properties that have teamed up with a local food bank to offer free lunches during the summer for children who ordinarily would receive a free lunch at school.
This year’s top owners also reported working to make their companies more environmentally friendly. Beacon, for example, established a green committee to look at ways the company can be more mindful of environmental issues.
Likewise, in drought-stricken California, Eden Housing said it was committed to beating water-saving benchmarks by an additional 5% through an internal effort called Water Warriors. Year to date, Eden has saved 13% across its whole management portfolio of more than 130 properties.