Eastwind Development knows it’s all about location when it comes to developing successful multifamily housing communities in Florida.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers
Eastwind Development prides itself on being a small and nimble firm when it comes to the acquisition and development of multifamily housing throughout Florida. “We are a local shop with a focus of developing entirely in Florida,” Vice President Ron Roan says. “I was born and lived my whole life in Florida and our president, Jack Weir, has been here for approximately 30 years. We understand our markets.”
Eastwind, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, was founded Weir in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in 2007. After serving as senior vice president for a privately held Florida multifamily development group, Weir saw the potential for a better company. Eastwind Development and its affiliate, Eastwind Acquisitions, focus on the acquisition and development of new multifamily housing.
Being intimately familiar with its markets allows the company to make quick acquisition decisions. “We have strong local knowledge of the products, rents and where there might be issues,” Roan notes. “Jack and I can assess quickly whether a site will work for us, which sellers appreciate. Sometimes the smaller products give us an opportunity to pursue sites that aren’t for everyone, which means we don’t have intense competition and get better pricing.”
Choosing a property may be a fast decision for Eastwind, but the company is in no hurry when it comes to the development. “We spend a considerable time designing our product,” Roan says. “We look at the market, who we are renting to and the trends. We spend time on the details of what will make the community outstanding.”
After development, Eastwind does not have a timeline for selling its properties. “Some you might sell in a year or two after stabilization,” Roan says. “There isn’t one particular strategy. We are opportunistic with the market – when it’s the right time to sell we look to do that.”
Appealing to Residents
Eastwind’s residents range from millennials to seniors and each property targets a specific demographic based on goods and services in the area. “With each development, we identify the core demographics; who lives, works and shops nearby, and that comes back to picking the right locations and determining who your community will best serve,” Roan explains.
When choosing a new location, Roan says he puts himself in the resident’s shoes and thinks about where he or she would shop, what the traffic patterns are like and whether there are employment centers nearby. “Those are the early things to consider when looking at sites to determine future residents and what types of rents the market will support,” he adds.
Eastwind says technology and amenities are crucial aspects of its developments because residents now want Wi-Fi, electric car stations, walkability to public transportation and pet-friendly housing. “We are constantly reviewing emerging trends in the multifamily industry and we are cognizant of the changing needs of our residents,” Roan says.
With a number of good areas to choose from and a booming multifamily housing sector, Eastwind is cautious of areas it knows can become over built. “One benefit of being local is that we know if there are going to be three or four projects coming online within a five-mile radius,” Roan explains. “Generally, we won’t try to go in and jump into that area if we feel there will be a saturation of new development.”
In April, Eastwind acquired a 9.8-acre site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., located on the east side of University Drive between Memorial Hospital Pembroke and the Walnut Creek neighborhood. The company recently began construction of a $41.6 million, 206-unit apartment complex on the site that will feature two four-story and two five-story buildings, five detached garage buildings, a 5,800-square-foot clubhouse and a pool, along with a cutting-edge amenity package.
Eastwind expects Ventura Pointe to be completed in early 2018. “There will probably be a fair amount of young professionals and millennials living there,” Roan says. “It’s an urban mid-rise project with a two-story clubhouse that’s amenitized with an outstanding exercise facility and social rooms for gatherings on the second floor. We are expecting it to be very successful.”
Moving forward, Eastwind’s goal is to remain active in south and central Florida while keeping an eye on new markets. “We are hoping to expand into Tampa-St. Petersburg this year and we are considering Jacksonville,” Roan says. “We are primarily looking at Florida markets and continue to be very selective in our properties. We are a small, nimble, experienced group that looks to continue to stay ahead of trends, find a few strategic per year and produce high-quality multifamily housing developments.”