Chicago-based brokerage Kiser Group last week hosted a Mid-Market Summit, drawing approximately 175 professionals to the City Winery in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Attendees heard industry remarks and panel discussions from seasoned veterans as well as disruptors all working to enhance Chicago’s multifamily market.
Lee Kiser, principal and managing broker, opened the remarks. “This is an inaugural event that we hope will be annual,” he said.
The first panel featured Vijen Patel, co-founder and CEO of PressBox, Marc Rutzen, co-founder and CEO of Enodo and Matt Schaefer, chief of operations officer for ParqEx discussing revenue enhancers for multifamily. Kiser Group broker, Danny Mantis, moderated the discussion.
PressBox is an on-demand dry cleaning service that installs drop-off lockers in small, unused spaces in apartment and condo buildings. Landlords often forgo profit sharing with the lockers, content with the added value they provide in both attracting and retaining tenants.
An automated underwriting platform for multifamily real estate, Enodo aims to help users analyze more deals in less time and make better, science-backed investment decisions. Building owners, operators, developers and even lenders use the platform to design an amenity package that is competitive with nearby properties and that can maximize value.
ParqEx is a private parking space trading app, where parking spot owners can lease out their space to others when not in use. The company’s GuestParq app is tailored for property managers, helping streamline the process of guest parking while both increasing transparency and improving security.
For the second panel, Sandy Albert, director of real estate acquisitions for Common, Reserve Rentals president and operations manager Tony Ferrara and Alex Samoylovich, founding partner, CEO and CFO of CEDARst Companies joined moderator Matt Halper, a Kiser Group broker, in a look at the cutting edge ideas for apartments.
Common is a co-living space designed for new transplants to a city who are eager to plug into a community but that perhaps don’t have a local social network to utilize. Short-term housing provider Reserve Rentals matches business travelers or others who are in town for extended stays with high-end rental units. CEDARst pioneered the micro apartment movement in Chicago with conversions of former SROs into apartments 350 square feet on average. All three companies are expanding the universe of rental possibilities in the city.
There were two industry remarks presentations from David Lizak, senior director of commercial development at Xfinity Communities and Clint Darby, managing director at Greystone. Lizak discussed how owners and operators can use the proper technology package to attract tenants with have ever-increasing data demands. Darby spent his time on the admittedly unsexy topic of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financing, aiming to show the brokers in the room the ins and outs of multifamily lending.
Noah Birk, senior director at Kiser Group, moderated the final panel, which looked at chasing yield and finding higher returns in emerging markets. Rounding out this panel were Eric Green, principal at WPD Management, Michael Obloy, principal at 3F Construction and Sandeep Sood, principal at Nautilus Property Management.
Both WPD and Nautilus focus their efforts on the city’s South Side. Green and Sood agreed that perceptions can be skewed about the challenges of dealing with tenants in this area, though anyone looking to become active on the South Side should properly set their expectations and expect to work hard, as a mismanaged property can go sideways quickly without proper oversight. 3F Construction specializes in acquiring and renovating distressed assets, enhancing the value of existing multifamily properties in neighborhoods such as Pilsen.