Founded in 1977 by a Dutch oil company executive who targeted Florida for real estate investment opportunities, ZOM Living is today an award-winning U.S. multifamily development company. ZOM has joint ventured or directly developed more than 15,000 apartments.
ZOM began by investing in land and developing single-family residential and commercial, office and retail projects. Although its focus has changed, ZOM has successfully built off of that legacy.
The company’s focus on multifamily development began in 1990 with several multi-family projects in and around Orlando. As the turn of the century approached, ZOM’s focus on multi-family development grew in Florida in major markets such as Tampa Bay, Orlando, Miami, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.
In 2000, ZOM expanded beyond Florida. The company now has regional development offices in Texas and Washington, D.C., in addition to its Florida offices in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
“Today, we focus on multi-family residential projects in mainly urban areas,” President Greg West says. “We believe in the urbanization of cities, and our core mission is to source and execute housing projects that have that characteristic.”
Among the announcements ZOM has made in 2015 is the development of Banner Hill Apartments, a 349-unit luxury residential apartment community in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. It is centrally located between several pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, including the Inner Harbor, Historic Federal Hill and Harbor East.
Banner Hill Apartments is also within easy walking distance of many shops, restaurants and cultural and entertainment venues. Banner Hill Apartments will feature a main amenity level on the first floor where residents will have access to a spacious e-lounge, a membership-quality fitness center and a sports simulator. Other amenities include landscaped courtyards surrounding a resort-style pool on the second floor.
This year, ZOM also announced it has started construction on Solitair, a 438-unit, 50-story luxury high-rise in the heart of the Brickell neighborhood, a block between Brickell City Centre and Mary Brickell Village at 86 SW 8th Street in Miami. Located across the street from a primary pedestrian entrance into Brickell City Centre, Solitair residents will have a covered walkway to Metro service, offering convenience to shopping, dining and entertainment. Solitair will have sweeping views of the downtown Miami and Brickell skyline as well as Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach and beyond. The building’s design and orientation avoids direct sunlight and solar radiation. Interior materials, such as paint, carpets, adhesives and sealants, will be low emitting to maintain optimum indoor air. Green features, such as low-VOC paints, recycled glass, wood and quartz will be used throughout the building. This is one of several designs led by the Miami office of Stantec.
Additionally, 2015 saw ZOM announce commencement of construction on The Residences at Palm Aire, a 404-unit luxury residential apartment community in Pompano Beach, Fla. Located on Atlantic Boulevard in Broward County, the project site is adjacent to Florida’s Turnpike. The Residences at Palm Aire will feature spacious apartment homes housed in 19 three-story buildings with two-story end sections in select buildings. Its spacious three-bedroom units feature direct access two-car garages, and additional single garages throughout provide breezeway access to living units. Floor plans range from 655 to 1,545 square feet. Interior unit finishes will feature well-appointed island kitchens, granite countertops, contemporary cabinets, stylish flooring, walk-in closets and private patios. The large community center will feature a membership-quality fitness center, e-lounge and resort-style pool.
The company has constructed a local presence in the markets where it does business. This helps ZOM to understand the nuances from one market to another.
ZOM looks to determine what kinds of projects to build based on collaboration with market research specialists. This helps the company to analyze market conditions so it can tailor each project to satisfy the needs in its markets.
“The development process in urban environments takes years through design and permitting,” West says.
“We work across a broad product spectrum, and we focus on managing development,” he continues. “We work with outside architects, engineers and contractors rather than keep those disciplines in-house, and our objective is to create the best product for each market.”
Creating strong ties with external partners is extremely important for ZOM. It works with highly skilled contractors and consultants, engaging in repetitive business with firms that provide a good service.
“We want to end up with a product and design that is on the leading edge and has a high level of quality,” West says. “Vetting a vendor’s ability to provide that is very important to our business.”
Among the companies ZOM has worked with is Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK), which has become one of the most respected full-service architectural, planning, environmental and interior design firms. Like ZOM, LRK takes a team approach to working on projects in order to participate in the design of great places and to develop lasting relationships.
“I believe that we listen and to and serve our clients in order to become a team with them, both public and private,” LRK Principal Mike Sullivan says. “This has allowed us to participate in the design of great places, to develop lasting client relationships and to serve the public by giving back great public spaces. We also understand different building types and the market factors or programming issues that our clients are dealing with in order to make a project become a reality.”
LRK tends to work on a wide array of project types. This includes mixed-use, higher-density residential, single-family residential, and office and civic buildings that are part of a strategic master plan or urban design effort. Although it sounds like a broad spectrum, LRK’s practice is focused on integrating building types with urban design to make better places.
“We have had the opportunity to work for ZOM in several major markets such as Orlando, Tampa, Houston and Dallas over the past 15 years, working in multifamily high-rise, mid-rise and mixed-use projects integrating retail and office with residential,” Sullivan says.
“We’ve tried to serve the ZOM organization over the years by becoming part of their team and understanding their development strategies for a given project,” Sullivan adds. “They are very detail-driven and understand the value of designing within a context of a city or neighborhood. I hope that our work for ZOM, and for all of our clients, will stand the test of both time and trend. We hope that we can continue to grow as designers and to help our clients, both private and public, create successful projects and better cities and neighborhoods.”
Looking ahead, ZOM will continue to focus on providing the kinds of projects that consumers’ value. West says people want to live in areas with nearby amenities so they can put their feet to the pavement and limit their commuting times.
West says that people also want amenities in their buildings that facilitate social interaction. Inflation in construction costs will be one of the company’s large challenges going forward, but ZOM is confident about the future.
“Inflation is the big obstacle,” West says. “Fortunately, the markets are healthy virtually everywhere we build. There is strong demand, product being absorbed and need for more development.”