The Habitat Company, a leading property manager and developer, is proud to announce the one-year anniversary of Hubbard Place, and the tremendous success of the apartment community in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. In just one year, Hubbard Place achieved 95 percent occupancy, six months ahead of schedule, and exceeded pro-forma by 23 percent. Hubbard Place also forged partnerships with neighborhood merchants to create an impressive branded resident incentive program. Lastly, the success of Hubbard Place has been recognized throughout the property management industry with multiple awards, and a 4.5 (of 5) star rating on Yelp.
Residents began moving into the 450-unit, 43-story glass tower apartment community in October 2013. Seventy leases had been signed at the time - when the Chicago rental market was extremely competitive, with 2,086 apartments added to the market. The opening also took place during a non-peak leasing season when competitors were offering significant rental incentives, such as up to two months free rent. The financial impact of the accelerated lease up and careful monitoring of expenses at Hubbard Place was significant. As of September 2014, the net operating income had a positive variance of 260 percent.
Last fall, Habitat created a resident incentive program called HubStops. Through the program, the Hubbard Place team established strong connections with more than 25 River North businesses and merchants, offering discounts and incentives to residents. The Habitat Company also offered resident incentives with partners like the East Bank Club (EBC), and employees of Motorola Mobility and Google. For example, Hubbard Place residents will have their $500 EBC initiation fee waived, or receive a $500 gift card.
"At The Habitat Company, our focus is on creating the most appealing, comfortable and convenient living experience for residents," said Sheila Byrne, Executive Vice President of Property Management. "We attribute much of the success of Hubbard Place to our exceptional and professional staff who, through attention to detail and going the extra mile for residents, have made Hubbard Place the premier luxury apartment community in Chicago."
Throughout the development of Hubbard Place and today, resident preferences are a priority. Hubbard Place was designed to be LEED Silver, with an emphasis on providing open spaces for both the residents and larger community to enjoy. The apartment community offers 12 different floor plans, which include designer kitchens, generous walk-through closets, solar shades, full-sized washers and dryers, a 29,000-square foot amenity level, complete with a rooftop sundeck, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, entertainment space, pool, etc. The Habitat Company also installed a distributed antenna system (DAS) throughout Hubbard Place in order to enhance cell phone reception for residents.
The thoughtful design choices at Hubbard Place have received award recognition. The Friends of Downtown's Best of Downtown Awards presented Hubbard Place with the "Best New Building" award, and the National Association of Home Builders recognized Hubbard Place with the "Best Overall Leasing or Sales Campaign for a Multifamily Community" award.
Hubbard Place was developed in a joint venture between The Habitat Company and Bentall Kennedy, a large real estate investment advisor.
Three months after the departure of its top executive, Habitat Co. has promoted one of its own to replace him.
Matt Fiascone, 51, is taking over as president of the Chicago-based real estate firm after working for three years as its senior vice president of finance and investment. Fiascone is filling a hole created when President and CEO Mark Segal resigned in September.
Since joining Habitat in 2011, Fiascone has overseen more than $500 million in transactions, including the acquisition of 1,200 apartments and $140 million in development, the company said in a statement.
"Matt's proven professional expertise and dedication have been instrumental to Habitat's exceptional leadership, growth and success," Habitat Founder and Chairman Daniel Levin said in the statement.
Before joining Habitat, he was senior vice president at Oak Brook-based Inland Real Estate Development. He has a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Bradley University.
Fiascone expects to be busy as he settles into his new job. Habitat, which specializes in apartments, is working on a big multifamily development opportunity in another Midwestern market, he said, declining to say where.
Locally, Habitat is close to announcing a big property management assignment covering an apartment property in the city and one in the suburbs, he said. The firm plans to submit a proposal to the Chicago Housing Authority to develop the Harold Ickes Homes site west of McCormick Place and another one to Tribune Media to develop the newspaper publisher's property at 700 W. Chicago Ave., along the Chicago River, he said.
Fiascone also aims to boost Habitat's image in Chicago. He wants to "remind people that Habitat is a vibrant member of the Chicago real estate community," he said. "We have an unbelievable history and sometimes it gets overlooked because we're too quiet."
Founded in 1971, Habitat has built or managed more than 20,000 residential units across six states, including Hubbard Place, a 450-unit apartment tower at 360 W. Hubbard St. that opened last year. Segal was Habitat's president and CEO for more than five years.
Fiascone is not assuming the CEO role, which the company is leaving unfilled, he said. Habitat decided it could handle the same duties with one president and two executive vice presidents, he said.
Fiascone remains optimistic about the downtown apartment market, though he acknowledges that a construction boom that will add thousands of units over the next two years could take some of the oomph out of the sector.
"Next year will certainly be challenging," he said. "But demand (for apartments) has consistently exceeded the naysayers' expectations, so we feel pretty good."