ULI Triangle News

What are Raleigh apartment hunters looking for?

A behind-the-scenes look into the planning and development of 401 Oberlin and The Berkshire Cameron Village

On May 21, 80 ULI Triangle members gathered in Cameron Village to tour 401 Oberlin and The Berkshire Cameron Village apartment buildings. Tours were led by representatives from the two buildings, as well as from Taft Development Group and JDavis Architects (who designed and constructed 401 Oberlin) and Cline Design and Crescent (who designed and constructed The Berkshire.)

The guides offered insight on the current market, including successful unit mix, area demographics, desired amenities, zoning and entitlement and the advantages to being in the mixed-use environment of Cameron Village.

For more information about the content of the program, check out the tour talking points below:


 

401 Oberlin

Q. Overview – when did you open? What are your rents? How many units?

A. We opened our first phase on June 6, 2014, second phase on July 15, 2014 and our final phase on Sept. 25, 2014. We have 244 total units over 2.97 acres, so that’s about 82 units/acre. The rent per square foot is $1.77. The average rent is $1,550.

  • Studio apartments: $1,051- $1,300
  • One bedroom apartments: $1,225- $1698
  • Two bedroom apartments: $1,459- $2,550
  • Three bedroom apartments: $2,765
  • 5 Townhome Floor Plans

Q. What is your occupancy rate and how does that compare to your projections?

A. As of May 2015 we are occupied at 70% and preleased at 76%. We are right in line with our projections.

Tell us about your unit mix – studio to three bedrooms.

Q. Which units are most popular?

A. Our most popular units have been our larger two and three bedroom apartments and our studio apartments or lower priced one bedrooms (the Wade floor plan in particular). We have also had great success with our townhome floor plans as well.

Q. What are the demographics of your renters?

A. 401 Oberlin is a 22 and up community.  We have a diverse group of residents from just graduated young professionals to empty nesters.

Q. What is surprising about your renters? (For example, mix of millennials vs boomers?)

A. We have experienced a lot more empty nesters selling their homes and moving into larger apartment homes than anticipated. They do not want the headaches that come with home owning. The idea of a walkability and ease of living is extremely attractive.

Q. If you could redo the mix of units, what would you change?

A. We have had a lot of interest in our one bedroom with studies and larger two and three bedroom floor plans. With the empty nester demographic we are seeing a lot more interest in larger floor plans.

Q. What kinds of concessions are you offering to renters?

A. We are currently offering one month free on a 12, 13, or 14 month lease.

 Q. Tell us about your amenities.

  • Apartment features:
    • Granite Countertops
    • GE Stainless or Silver Series Energy Star appliances
    • LVT wood plank flooring in living room & dining room
    • Private patio or private balcony
    • Pre-wired for internet and cable, fiber options
  • Community features:
    • Gathering space for resident events
    • Above-ground parking garage
    • After-hours emergency maintenance
    • Community business room and conference space
    • Roof top terrace with gorgeous views of downtown Raleigh
    • Minutes from restaurants, shopping, and much more
    • Fitness studio
    • Free fitness classes including: yoga, pilates and group fitness
    • Extra storage available for rent, $50-$125
    • Package acceptance
    • Completely smoke-free community
    • Outdoor cabana, complete with fireplace, TV, and gas grill courtyard
    • Easy access to public transportation
    • Elevator access through community
    • Saltwater pool with sundeck

Q. What are your most popular amenities?

A. Fifth floor and roof top lounge and 24-hour gym.

Q. What amenities do you wish you had built?

A. Larger rooftop entertainment lounge with grilling option. Extended ground floor grilling space to include full outdoor kitchen, fridge, sink.

Q. What amenities are not used as much as you anticipated?

A. Most areas are regularly used; the foosball table on floor two does not get much use.

Q. Have the retail/restaurant tenants in the building helped with leasing?

A. Yes, our main retailer, Tupelo Honey, is a well-known, local North Carolina restaurant and has given us great free PR and increased excitement in the community. We have also had prospects stop by coming or going to eat at Tupelo Honey.

Q. What challenges has the mixed-use environment presented?

A. The biggest challenge has been with the logistics of the trash from the restaurant and the noise from deliveries to the restaurant at early hours.

Q. What is the current market like? (Units delivered within past year, units coming online)

A. Annual supply is at 7,432 units. Annual inventory change is 5.4%. Five year supply is at 18,791. The one-year forecast for supply is 4,531 units.

Q. What is the depth of the market?

A. The annual demand for the area is 6,169 units with supply being at 7,431. The one-year forecasted annual supply is 4,531 with demand at 6,368. Expected one-year occupancy is at 95%, a change of 1.5% and rent change of 4.1%. Annual job change is set to be 30,000. (Details from 2015 MPF Research Report).

Q. Tell is about the zoning and entitlements for the building.

  • Rezoning was required. Allowable density was 40 units/acres. PBOD required to increase density.
  • Met with three Citizen Advisory Councils (University Park, Wade Ave, Hillsborough) which have voice in planning and development issues.
  • Their issues – NIMBY, give an inch take a mile, neighborhood political struggles.
  • Their concerns: height, density, retail, traffic, workforce housing, appearance
  • Why we were approved: Community engagement, pedestrian friendly, TOD, targeted urban growth corridor, Cameron Village business owners, high ROI for the city.

 

The Berkshire Cameron Village

Q. Overview – when did you open? What are your rents? How many units?

A. We opened on Oct. 21, 2015. Our rents range from $1,075-$2,997. We have 282 apartments.

Q. What is your occupancy rate and how does that compare to your projections?

A. We are currently at 38.3% occupancy and we are right on track to close the month (May 2015) at 43.6%. We hope to be 93% occupied by end of the summer. Our main competition seems to be Skyhouse, which just started leasing.

Tell us about your unit mix – studio to three bedrooms.

Q. Which units are most popular?

A. Larger units went first to empty nester couples, followed by studio apartments and finally 1-bedrooms. The larger two bedrooms leased up immediately. Right now, the studio, specifically the Dobbins, is leasing at the greatest rate followed by one bedrooms. We are renting top to bottom, i.e. those on top floor go first.

Q. What are the demographics of your renters?

A. At this time, empty nesters and business professionals are the majority of our residents. A few students, but not many.

Q. What is surprising about your renters? (i.e. mix of millennials vs boomers?)

A. We have a large amount of empty nesters and those wanting a change from home owning.

Q. If you could redo the mix of units, what would you change?

A. We would like to have three bedrooms and more of the larger two bedroom units versus the large amount of standard one bedroom units.

Q. What kinds of concessions are you offering to renters?

A. At this time we are offering a one month free special for 14 month leases and $500 off if you sign within 24 hours.

Q. Tell us about your amenities.

  • Apartment features
    • Wall painting service- $150 paints wall and “unpaints” when you more
    • Nest Learning thermostats controlled by phone and can follow you room to room
    • USB ports in kitchen island
    • Maintenance puts light fixtures up for free
    • Storage $35/month for a 5x6x9 space
    • Loading dock for move-ins
    • LEED certification in progress
    • Parking: 1 space per bedroom, per leaseholder = if 2 people live in a 1 bedroom
  • Community features:
    • Demonstration kitchen
    • Wine cellar with private wine lockers
    • Resident lounge with business center
    • Saltwater pool with fire pit and outdoor grilling kitchen
    • Fitness center with cardio and strength training equipment
    • Interior and exterior storage available

Q. What are your most popular amenities?

A. The demonstration kitchen, resident lounge and the pool.

Q. What amenities do you wish you had built?

A. A rooftop terrace overlooking Cameron Village and the Raleigh skyline and a dog run/park.

Q. What’s not as used as much as you anticipated?

A. The Wine Cellar

Q. Have the retail/restaurant tenants in the building helped with leasing?

A. Yes, as people have to park in our garage and walk by our pool and fitness center amenities to get to the retail.

Q. What challenges has the mixed-use environment presented?

A. The loud noise that the traffic brings. They walk by the pool area that interior unit balconies face, and you can hear the noise from the retail traffic late at night in the apartments.

Q. What is the current market like? (Units delivered within past year, units coming online)

A. The Central Raleigh submarket consists of 5,619 units. This represents 4.8% of the Raleigh’s total Metro inventory of 114,874. There are reported to be 63,449 Class A units, with 1363 of those newly completed. Vacancy rate among Class A stabilized communities was at 4.3% for the last quarter. Currently there are 8600 under construction in the Raleigh Metro area. In the Central Raleigh sub-market, there have been 1169 new units completed, with 2115 under construction and 2467 units planned/proposed.

 

 

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