CRE Midwest

The Habitat Company credits Hubbard Place’s successful first year to “dream team”

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Hubbard Place

The Habitat Company, a leading property manager and developer, recently announced the one-year anniversary of Hubbard Place, and the tremendous success of the apartment community in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

The Habitat Company, a leading property manager and developer, recently announced the one-year anniversary of Hubbard Place, and the tremendous success of the apartment community in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

“It really was a signature accomplishment for Habitat,” said Sheila Byrne, Executive Vice President of Property Management. “We have a long list of successes, however with the Hubbard Place, based on the time of year that it was delivered and taking into consideration the number of new deliveries that were also coming out of the ground at that time, it presented challenges that we were prepared for.”

Residents began moving into the 450-unit, 43-story glass tower apartment community in October 2013. Habitat noted that 70 leases had been signed at the time—when the Chicago rental market was extremely competitive, with 2,086 apartments added to the market. In just one year, Hubbard Place achieved 95 percent occupancy, six months ahead of schedule, and exceeded pro-forma by 23 percent.

“We came out of the gate with a strong, aggressive, marketing strategy and opened up pre-leasing across the street from the building,” Byrne said. “We did it six months ahead of time so that we could get our name out there in the marketplace. I think the space itself was really impressive. Prospects came in, sat down, took pictures, and we posted them on social media.”

Byrne pointed out that Habitat also built a whole kitchen and bathroom, used common hallway carpet, lighting, and wall covering so that prospects truly had a good feel of what life would be like at Hubbard.

“I think that really helped us achieve the accomplishments and successes that we have had,” she said. “It’s been a tremendous feeling. We did so much better than we thought we could do because of some of the timing, construction, and delivering of other units at that time.”

What really helped Habitat achieve all of their success, according to Byrne, was the company’s “dream team”.

“At Habitat we promote growth and development for all of our team members,” said Byrne. We are always looking for new opportunities and ways to invest a lot of time into our team members, and want to make sure we are providing them with a career path. So by opening up a new development like this, that’s certainly allowed new opportunities for some of our existing team members—from our community managers and leasing team, right up to our chief engineer.”

“For the most part, many of the members were existing Habitat members,” she added. “We went outside of Habitat and hired a few new people as well. All of the team members go above and beyond what’s expected of them each and every single day. To me, what speaks best to that is the flurry of unsolicited reviews from residents and prospects.”

Last fall, Hubbard Place also forged partnerships with neighborhood merchants in the River North area to create an impressive branded resident incentive program called HubStops.

“We established strong connections with our neighborhood business partners, and secured an impressive collection of incentives for our residents,” Byrne said. “Those discounts range from local restaurants, salons, a local dentist for teeth whitening, and spas, amongst other things. The residents definitely take advantage of it. The HubStops program has legs because it stays in place for as long as Hubbard Place has residents. It helps forge the connection that the resident has with the neighborhood they choose to live in. This incentive helps give them an opportunity to get out and get into the neighborhood, and still support the local businesses.”

Throughout the development of Hubbard Place and today, Habitat notes that 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. Hubbard Place 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. Habitat also installed a distributed antenna system (DAS) throughout Hubbard Place in order to enhance cell phone reception for residents.

“It’s all because residents have choices,” she said. “There is a lot of competition in the marketplace. Even when we were developing Hubbard Place, we really did our due diligence, and we spoke to many different people—both internal and external. We even had our Chairman and Founder, Daniel Levin, involved in some of our finish selections.”

Byrne said Habitat collaborated with many people, and in the end, came up with a package of finishes and amenities that speaks to—what she thinks—the renter was looking for, as they were able to deliver on those expectations.

It’s clear that many people certainly agree, as 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. 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.

“We have been fortunate over the last 41 years that we’ve been in business,” Byrne said. “I think that The Habitat Company just has a solid reputation in the industry. These awards that we have achieved speaks to our experience, professionalism, and our developments that we manage all across our lines of business. We couldn’t be more proud.”