Jeff Elowe

By on Oct 16, 2013 in People

Last month, The Laramar Group announced a major acquisition in Southern California. With the purchase of Los Angeles-based JB Partners Group, the company assumed management of 7,000 new third-party owned units, adding 77 properties and 170 emJeff Eloweployees with the merger.

It’s the latest significant uptick in what has been a steady several years of national growth in inventory  for the Chicago-based firm. CEO Jeff Elowe, who was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young for the Mountain Desert Region, took the time to speak about the company’s strategy and give us his take on the multifamily industry now.

Elowe has worked in multifamily since 1989, and has charted the course for Yardi client Laramar as the firm  invested $3 billion in real estate, primarily multifamily and retail assets.

MHN: The Laramar Group came out of the economic downturn in a strong position as a third-party manager and owner. How has the last year been? Are you still seeing growth, and in what asset sectors and markets specifically?

Elowe: We used the downturn as an opportunity to grow, especially our third-party management business. We grew by two and half times. We really took on a lot of meaty assignments that led to a more institutional third-party management business.

We’re in 26 markets, so we expanded from about 15 to 26 markets, with a distinct focus on major market, such as Los Angeles, where we now manage  in excess of 8,000 units. It’s a very big target market for us, and we acquired a property management firm there. We really grew on a national basis and established Laramar as a highly recognized, go-to property manager for institutions, lenders, and servicers.

MHN: Denver has been an especially strong multifamily market as of late, and that’s your home turf (the company’s property management team is based there, with corporate headquarters in Chicago). Give us the rundown on what’s happening on the ground there with development, demand and rents?

Elowe:  Denver’s a great, high-demand market. There’s a fair amount of supply that is now being delivered and coming out of the ground. Interestingly, it is getting absorbed quicker than was originally projected. It’s top five in rent growth year-to-date, which is a pleasant surprise, and it seems to counter the original fear that all the units coming online downtown was going to be a problem. Having said that, rents are slowing a bit. It’s nothing at this point to be concerned about.

This interview was produced for Multi-Housing News online magazine. Read the full transcript of the conversation with Jeff Elowe on MHN.