KCG Development is focused on identifying the needs within a community when developing sustainable multifamily housing.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers
KCG Development strives to set the standard for excellence in the multifamily industry and be the partner of choice for community redevelopment. The company was formed in 2015 to develop, acquire, rehabilitate and own apartment communities along the East Coast, in the Midwest, South and Southeast.
Marvin Wilmoth and Anthony Ceroy, both vice presidents of development, oversee the company’s East Coast development division from Florida, focusing on property development from Florida to New York and west to Louisiana. KCG Development’s team in Texas manages development in the Southwast, and its headquarters in Carmel, Ind., focuses on the Midwest operations.
KCG Development sets itself apart as a developer by understanding that vibrant communities must have connections to all who live and work there. “We approach community development a little different,” Wilmoth says. “We start by identifying housing needs with the local municipality.”
For example, The Exchange is a new mixed-income apartment community under construction in Winder, Ga., which will target educators in Barrow County. “Barrow County in general and Winder more specifically have been growing at a positive pace,” Wilmoth explains. “As such, the K-12 population has increased rapidly, resulting in the opening of a new middle school and proposed new high school in 2019. The issue there is teacher retention because those coming out of college aren’t able to immediately afford a single-family home in the affluent area.”
KCG Development worked closely with the Winder City Council and mayor, as well as the Barrow County school board to identify its target demographic and build an apartment community to fit their needs. “We hope to retain teachers in the brand-new residential community that is steps away from amenities so they can live, work and play in Winder and Barrow County,” Wilmoth says. “We identified that need and designed around that need.”
By mid-2015, KCG Development had determined the housing need in Winder with city officials, and The Exchange is expected to be completed in summer 2018. The company is about 60 percent through construction.
The Exchange will include 120 garden-style apartments and 10 townhomes. Located on Exchange Circle, the community is in the center of a blossoming commercial corridor off of Highway 316. “The Exchange community is poised to become the next premier multifamily housing development in the growing city of Winder,” the company says.
Amenities at The Exchange include a large community gathering space with a business center, a central laundry facility, fitness center, pool, playground and green space for pets. “We want our amenities to be highly attractive to working individuals, seniors and young families,” Wilmoth says. “We create communities by designing the shared space to encourage resident interaction.”
Each unit will be wired accordingly to handle the fastest internet speeds, but KCG Developments also equipped its community space with Wi-Fi to bring everyone together. “The goal is to create community by centralizing residents around a central amenity, whether that be the green space, playground or the community center,” Wilmoth explains.
KCG Development’s Florida office is also developing AP Lofts at Larkinville in Buffalo, N.Y., a mixed-use, mixed-income, historic adaptive re-use that will offer modern loft-style apartment homes to the Larkin District. “By converting the historical industrial building to loft-style apartments, we focused on the young millennial who is just starting out their career in addition to the workforce housing needs that were identified in collaboration with the city of Buffalo,” Wilmoth says.
The lack of workforce housing, which KCG Development describes as targeting those who earn more than 60 percent of the median income but less than 120 percent, is a major focus for the company as the need continues to increase. “It’s teachers, firefighters and nurses, for example, who earn too much to live in affordable housing, but not enough to afford $2 per square foot,” Wilmoth explains. “We are seeing that it is more and more difficult for those in the middle class to create wealth because they are spending 40 to 50 percent of their income on housing alone in some areas.”
To meet that need in Buffalo, AP Lofts are poised to become the next premier mixed-use housing and commercial development in the ever-growing Larkin District. “AP Lofts are located at the corner of Hamburg and Swan streets, the building and site is home to the former Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. warehouse that was built in 1910 and was a major distributor at that time,” Wilmoth says.
AP Lofts will include 147 apartment homes and two stories of interior mezzanine parking within the existing historic warehouse. Construction began in summer 2016 and is expected to be completed fall 2018.
Fulfilling the Need
KCG Development believes that with every project there is a learning curve. In terms of The Exchange, Wilmoth says it was eye opening to hear from the school board about how dire the need was from an educational perspective.
“Anywhere we build communities, the bedrock of that community is whether children have access to quality education,” Wilmoth notes. “When you think through the decisions individuals make when deciding to live in one town or the other, the top factors are proximity to work and a quality school district.”
Moving forward, KCG Development plans to engage with school boards and local colleges in every new community to determine the housing needs. “We want to see communities that are socially, environmentally and financially sustainable,” Wilmoth says.
“The senior members of KCG come from finance backgrounds, so we look at development, community, the bottom line and sustainability differently than others,” he continues. “We have the ability to leverage state and federal investment in a way that other groups may not be able to achieve by leveraging our financial relationships and experience.”