Age Exclusive Communities
Dave Loeffel is the founder and CEO of Highlands Residential, an apartment development company that primarily targets a demographic of recently-retired individuals, aged 55 and older. Highlands builds age exclusive developments designed for empty nesters, and most of their marketing efforts are focused on that profile.
Before starting his company, Loeffel spent sixteen years in the multifamily space and has seen a lot of changes in industry trends. The Highlands team works diligently to stay ahead of the curve and meet new demands. Experiential living is one of the more prominent trends to take off in recent years, transcending all demographics regardless of age. But since Loeffel can focus on one specific type of customer, he can create a destination that is unique to them.
Like any industry, customer experience carries a lot of weight for your brand. For the design and construction industry, it is important to consider how your customer interacts with your product and what makes you successful as a developer. For a community to thrive, you want to maintain occupancy over time, and the initial impression that you make on your customers plays a major role in establishing those long-term relationships.
Enhancing the Surrounding Community
But many of these multifamily developments are being introduced to communities that are already thriving. It can be useful for signing leases and building brand perception, but there is potential for the project to be met with opposition. The main focus should be on conveying a development that is desirable to the target demographic while enhancing the existing community it will reside. Municipalities play a significant role in communicating that message to the public as they are a presiding authority responsible for creating a desirable place to live. There are a lot of complexities involved on that level, but the main takeaway is that developments will not sink a community, especially with the level of thought that companies like Highlands are putting into the brand experience.
How to Win Work With Highlands
Loeffel and his team have a less formal selection process for AEC partners, but they prioritize quality whenever they source their inputs for a new project. They seek out design partners who can articulate what they want and can contribute to a project based on specific needs. Highlands is looking to build lasting relationships, so failing to produce consistent quality work can lead to deselection. The nature of Loeffel’s work is highly speculative, and he is seeking partnerships, not client-vendor relationships.
Regardless of the discipline your firm specializes in, during the selection process, Highlands wants to see relevant experience in the building type. They want you to ask questions about partner expectations and want to see a reasonable degree of humility in the interview process. Empathy, trustworthiness, and passion are the primary traits that Loeffel looks for in his AEC partners. If you are interested in winning work with Highlands, show them how your team can balance out their skillset and approach the project with an open mind. These complimentary relationships go a long way in Loeffel’s eyes, and the synergy refects in every finished project he takes to market.
About Dave Loeffel
Dave Loeffel is the CEO of Highlands Residential. Highlands Residential develops, owns, and manages age exclusive rental communities. As a board member of the Atlanta Real Estate Collaborative (AREC), Loeffel has been integral to addressing the housing needs of homeless individuals in Atlanta. As part of that effort, he spearheaded Open Doors’ Limited Rent Guarantee to reduce risks and increase program participation by owners. His strong ties in Cobb and Gwinnett counties helped Open Doors enter those difficult-to-penetrate markets.
Loeffel began his real estate career at Walton Communities, starting in property management and maintenance before working with the chief financial officer in all financial activities. Loeffel created Walton Communities’ affordable housing business platform by creating partnerships with various housing authorities in the state. He also serves on the Georgia Affordable Housing Coalition and the PTF Board of his children’s school. He is involved in the mentor programs at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory’s Goizueta Business School. Loeffel received an MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School in 2011. He earned a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). He lives in East Cobb with his wife Laura and three kids, Nate, Luke, and Sophia Kate.