Alliance Residential Co. – 422 At The Lake
For Alliance Residential Co., the key to success has been the ability to forecast its market. “We’ve got some high-energy development partners that are able to see product needs early,” Vice President of Construction Mike Chambers says. “We go into the right marketplaces with the right product.”
Based in Phoenix, the real-estate company acquires, owns, develops and manages multifamily properties nationwide. Since its start in 2001, Alliance has become a leader in its industry thanks to its number of units and its staff, Managing Director of Austin and San Antonio Brandon Easterling says.
“That’s because of the direction of our president and CEO, Bruce Ward,” Easterling says. “He has put together a team that’s been extremely competitive, active and aggressive in pursuing quality from the ground up. We’ve never been told we can’t do anything at the market level if there’s something that we think would make a great multifamily project.”
After the recent recession, Texas was the first state to enjoy a recovery, Easterling says. “In Austin and San Antonio, the markets are extremely attractive,” he says. “I see opportunities for investment groups to allocate capital in these two markets.”
The company’s current projects in Austin include 422 At The Lake, an eight-story multifamily project that will have 207 units when it is finished this April. Chambers notes that the apartments will feature 10-foot ceilings, eight-foot doors, hard wood floors and stainless appliances.
The building also will feature a rooftop deck. “That is going to be a nice place for the residents for a happy hour or a Fourth of July viewing party,” Easterling says.
With its location in downtown Austin, “We’re looking to compete with the more high-end projects in the city,” Easterling says. “We really feel like our project will target the same demographic that wants a downtown lifestyle, but wants to save a little bit of money every month. It is likely our residents will enjoy an average savings of $400 to $500 per month, compared to the high-rise product next door and across the lake from us.”
The city of Austin designated 422 At The Lake as a two-star green building. “We’ve implemented quite a few green initiatives,” Easterling says, noting that these include a roof collection system that will regenerate water.
“We also have some rain gardens out in front to help with water runoff and the removal of many contaminants before the water goes into the storm system,” he says. The project team also is looking into adding solar shades for the windows in some units.
Green features were essential to getting the project underway. “It was part of our agreement and negotiation with the city to get this project approved,” he recalls.
Alliance has used its own, in-house general contractor to build 422 At The Lake. During the process, Chambers says, the company has coped with the difficulties of working in a busy area of downtown Austin.
For instance, “We were challenged with installing an underground duct bank in that routes the power, phones and cable, and coordinating it with the existing infrastructure,” he says. “It’s also a challenge with all the events Austin has.”
Additionally, Alliance has coped with difficulties involving the weather, construction costs and changes in municipal code. However, it adapted well to all of these, Easterling asserts.
“Fortunately, on the front-end, we prepared and planned for a lot of these,” he explains. “It hasn’t had a huge negative impact, and we’ve been able to absorb all the negative challenges.” Although the company is a few months behind schedule, “This project is still at the top,” he says. “We’re really on par to deliver a project that is a great investment for Alliance and our investors.”
Easterling joined Alliance nearly four years ago, and credits the company’s success to the autonomy it gives its associates. “They allow their managing directors like myself to act as an entrepreneur in their designated markets,” he says. “We’re definitely not micromanaged. We have some oversight, but it’s very much an entrepreneurial attitude that Alliance emanates.”
Easterling sees a strong future for Alliance. “Honestly, I really think Alliance is just now hitting its stride,” he says, noting that when the company started operations, the market was coming out of a recession. “What we’ve been able to achieve in this market cycle has been very phenomenal.”
He adds that Alliance had its best year in 2014. “That’s likely to be followed up with an even better year in 2015, with the construction of new units in the pipeline,” he says. “Alliance is in a really great position to continue moving forward at the level we’re at now.”