Post Properties' urban mania continues Atlanta-based Post Properties Inc. has begun construction of Post Peachtree, a $30 million, 16-story apartment building that will be the company's first high-rise project in Atlanta. The first units will be available in fourth-quarter 2001, and completion of the entire 121-unit facility is slated for second-quarter 2002.

Located in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood, Post Peachtree will feature apartments ranging from 677 sq. ft. to 2,907 sq. ft. The project will include flats, two-story apartments and four penthouses. Amenities will include a 24-hour concierge, exercise room and rooftop terrace with outdoor fireplace.

In other Post news, the company has completed Post Block 588, a $22 million, 127-unit complex of loft-style apartments in Dallas' Uptown neighborhood. Units will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and 18-foot ceilings. Both Post Peachtree and Post Block 588 will feature the PostSmart.net technology package, which includes high-speed Internet access, community Intranets and an in-unit surround sound system.

PW Funding lends a hand to Northern California units Mineola, N.Y.-based PW Funding has provided two mortgage financing loans totaling $19.7 million for two Northern California apartment complexes. Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae's Delegated Underwriting System (DUS) program funded the transactions. The 10-year loans carry a 7.65% interest rate amortized over 30 years.

Specifically, PW Funding loaned $10.9 million for Gateway Apartments, a 236-unit garden apartment complex in San Leandro, Calif. Built in 1987, the community features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include picnic areas and in-unit fireplaces. The debt-service coverage on the loan is 1.59x, and the loan-to-value is 51%. The property was 98% occupied at the loan closing.

PW Funding also loaned $8.9 million for Austin Commons Apartments, a 208-unit garden apartment complex in Hayward, Calif. Similar to Gateway, Austin Commons was completed in 1987 and offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The debt-service coverage on the loan is 1.64x, and the loan-to-value is 49%. The community was 99% occupied at the loan closing.

Affordable apartments open on Florida's ritzy Atlantic coast

The Vestcor Cos., based in Jacksonville, Fla., has opened Madalyn Landing Apartments, a 304-unit affordable apartment community in Palm Bay, Fla. The units are reserved for residents whose income does not exceed 60% of the area's median income. Low-income housing tax credits issued by the Florida Housing Finance Corp. helped fund the complex.

Amenities include a pool, computer room and community center. The complex also offers activity programs for both youth and adults, and a down-payment assistance program to help residents purchase a home.

Charles E. Smith adds Reston Landing to arsenal Arlington, Va.-based Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Inc. has purchased Reston Landing, a recently completed 400-unit apartment complex in Northern Virginia's Dulles Technology Corridor, for $44 million. The seller was an affiliate of Rockville, Md.-based Foulger Pratt Cos. The deal was completed pursuant to an agreement established between Charles E. Smith and the seller prior to the start of the complex's construction in 1998. Charles E. Smith funded the deal in part by selling Worldgate Centre, a 231,000 sq. ft. retail center in Herndon, Va., for $41 million.

Reston Landing, which is 99% occupied, is within a 15-minute drive of the offices of America Online, Sprint, Intel, PSI Net and NextLink.

TVO Realty moves into St. Louis with latest purchase Chicago-based TVO Realty Partners has purchased Heatherton Estates Apartments, a 256-unit, 258,910 sq. ft. complex in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, for $8.6 million. The seller was an undisclosed group of local private investors. The property is TVO's first in St. Louis.

The average unit size at Heatherton Estates is 1,011 sq. ft. The complex includes a swimming pool and fitness center. TVO has announced that the facility will undergo an exterior and interior renovation over the next year.

Levine Builders goes to work on Manhattan apartments Douglaston, N.Y.-based Levine Builders will begin construction this month on 311 W. 50th St., a seven-story, 102-unit apartment building in Manhattan's Clinton neighborhood. Occupancy of the $25 million project, which will include 5,200 sq. ft. of medical offices, is slated for fourth-quarter 2001.

The building, located at the intersection of West 50th Street and Eighth Avenue, will offer studio and two-bedroom apartments, with units ranging from 475 sq. ft. to 1,100 sq. ft. Rents will range from $1,800 per month to $3,300 per month. The complex will feature a honey- and burgundy-colored brick exterior, and a 60-car parking garage.

Morgan Group makes it four in Houston The Morgan Group Inc., based in Houston, will begin construction this month on The Estates at Memorial Heights, a four-story, 437-unit complex near downtown Houston. The facility will be the company's fourth in-fill development in Houston. Completion is slated for fourth-quarter 2001.

The community will offer one- and two-bedroom units. It will also feature a 9,000 sq. ft. clubhouse with a half-sized indoor basketball court and a movie room with a large-screen television. Other amenities will include a pool, spa, garden-sized bath tubs and high-speed Internet access.

In other local news, Dallas-based Quantum First Capital has closed a $10 million permanent financing loan for Spring Park Apartments, a 240-unit complex in Spring, Texas, a northern suburb of Houston. The loan was funded through Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae's Aggregation Program.

Completed in 1993, Spring Park Apartments was 93% occupied at the loan's closing. The average unit size is 871 sq. ft., and the average rent is $736 per month. The community features fireplaces, built-in computer desks and garages.

Historic Philly building to be converted into apartments New York-based Related Capital Cos. has arranged $10.5 million in equity financing for the rehabilitation of a historic Philadelphia building into a high-end apartment facility. Two Fortune 500 companies provided the financing by investing in a Federal Historic Tax Credit fund sold by Related Capital.

The 282-unit, $58 million complex, which will be named The Left Bank, will be located in the former General Electric Building, which was originally the Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Building. Narberth, Pa.-based Dranoff Properties is the developer of the community, which will also include 90,000 sq. ft. of office space rented entirely to the nearby University of Pennsylvania and 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Occupancy of the Left Bank is slated for January 2001.

JPI brings Mediterranean touch to Atlantic Coast Irving, Texas-based JPI has begun construction of Jefferson on Camino Real, a 235-unit apartment complex in Boca Raton, Fla. The first units will be available in summer 2001, and completion of the entire community is slated for March 2002.

The Mediterranean-style complex will have a section of 32 townhomes and flats. The remaining 203 units will be in a nine-story tower. Camino Real will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans, with an average unit size of 1,142 sq. ft. Rents will range from $1,180 per month to $2,600 per month. The apartments will have garden tubs, and washers and dryers. A courtyard will feature a 4,000 sq. ft. clubhouse next to a pool and spa, and other amenities will include a fitness room, sauna and indoor racquetball court.

ARCS funds Colorado apartments, opens new office Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based ARCS Commercial Mortgage Co. has closed two mortgage loans totaling $10.2 million for Stratford Station Apartments, a 192-unit affordable housing complex in Englewood, Colo., that was built in 1985. The $8.6 million first mortgage is a Fannie Mae Bond Credit Enhancement for bonds issued by Arapahoe County in Colorado. The 24-year, 7-month loan carries a variable interest rate amortized over 30 years. The $1.6 million second mortgage loan carries an 8.32% interest rate and is fully amortized over an 11-year period.

In other ARCS news, the company has opened a new branch office in Vienna, Va., the organization's 17th branch facility nationwide. Bill Cozzens, a vice president of ARCS, heads the new office.

LandSouth unveils its latest work: suburban Atlanta's BridgeMill (have photo) Macon, Ga.-based LandSouth has opened Preston Glen at BridgeMill Apartment Homes, a 236-unit luxury apartment community in Cherokee County, Ga., in suburban Atlanta. The complex is part of BridgeMill, a 1,700-acre master-planned development.

The complex features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with units ranging from 900 sq. ft. to 1,500 sq. ft. Rents range from $675 per month to $1,150 per month. Selected apartments will have a sunroom or fireplace. Other amenities include lighted tennis courts, a business center and fitness room. The community also has 54 detached garages available for a monthly fee.

Yes, Virginia, there is a $10.7 million loan from AMI Bethesda, Md.-based AMI Capital Inc. has processed a $10.7 million construction and permanent loan for Malvern Lakes, a 150-unit complex to be built in Stafford, Va. Completion of the community is slated for 2001. The loan was provided through the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) 221 (d) 4 program. The 40-year loan carries a 7.75% interest rate. The debt-service coverage is 1.17x, and the loan-to-value is 89%.

Malvern Lakes will feature one- and two-bedroom units, which will include fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. The complex will also have a pool, volleyball court, tennis court and walking/jogging trail.

Armstrong Mortgage: Busy in Ohio Columbus, Ohio-based Armstrong Mortgage Co. has provided a $10.6 million construction loan for Village at Cloud Park Apartments, a 216-unit complex in Dayton, Ohio. Columbus-based Sentry Development is the developer of the community. Completion of the project is slated for March 2002. The loan, which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), carries a 7.65% interest rate amortized over 40 years.

In other Armstrong news, the company has also provided a $2.6 million construction loan for Abbots Cove Apartments, a 56-unit complex in Columbus. The Developer Cos., which is locally based, is the developer of the project, which is slated forcompletion in March 2001. The loan, which is also insured by the FHA, carries an 8.15% interest rate amortized over 40 years.

At times, the broiling summer sun and stifling Gulf Coast humidity slowed the pace of life in most parts of New Orleans to a crawl. But the energy never seemed to let up in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, site of the 2000 National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Conference and The Real Show, held June 22-24.

Multifamily industry members were treated to a full array of networking opportunities and seminars, many of them dealing with the effects of the strong economy.

With so many companies in all industries struggling to hire and retain good workers in the midst of unprecedented economic expansion and record unemployment levels, it is only fitting that many of the seminars focused on employee issues. One session focused on how to motivate and manage Generation X workers, while another one was entitled simply, "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em - Attracting and Keeping Good Employees." There was even a seminar on handling drug abuse in the workplace.

Meanwhile, L.D. Moran, president of Dallas-based Achievement Tec, an employee personality and drug testing company, cautioned industry members against simply hiring for hiring's sake. Hiring new employees without having them take an objective, written personality test to determine whether they are truly the right fit could result in big headaches down the road, he said.

"Ten years from now, everybody will be doing [these tests]," he said.

While the dynamic economy is creating employment issues, it is also increasing tenant demand for more amenities. Stephen Matre, vice president of portfolio management for Chicago-based Benj. E. Sherman & Sons Inc., taught a seminar that highlighted amenities that apartment properties can offer without hurting their bottom line. Exercise classes, wine tasting classes, intrusion alarms, and pet and plant sitting services are just a handful of amenities that can be added to a property for relatively small costs, he said.

New rent payment options, such as automatic bank drafts set up through the Web, are another feature that can increase an apartment's appeal, Matre added.

"So many communities have similar service packages," Matre told the audience. "Search for ways you can make yours unique." When selling amenities and services to residents or prospective residents, it is important to "underpromise and overdeliver," he added.

Other topics covered during the convention included successful marketing techniques, new industry regulations and handling work-related stress.

The convention was far from an all-work and no-play affair, however, as attendees had ample time to sample the famed New Orleans nightlife. Speeches by Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Gen. Colin Powell, and a performance by pianist Jason D. Williams also added to the fun.

All in all, industry members had a big time in the Big Easy, courtesy of the NAA.