Event Round-Up: SMPS CO Developers 8 on 8 – Private, Retail, and Housing

The Unfound Door_SMPS Developers Luncheon

By: Julie Wanzer, LEED AP

Denver, COSMPS Colorado invited several local developers to participate in their November luncheon, Developers 8 on 8 – Private, Retail, and Housing, which took place last week at the Denver Athletic Club. The round-table formatted event allowed attendees to gain one-on-one interaction with the developers that rotated through several tables at the sold-out event.

The Unfound Door_SMPS CO Developers LuncheonThe diverse group of developers representing both private and public development and redevelopment included:

– Brian P. Wynne, Managing Director in Denver for Mill Creek

– Emilie Baratta, Founder of Turnbuckle Development

– Sean Campbell, CEO and founder of FORMATIV

– Cyndi Thomas, Partner and executive vice president of Etkin Johnson

– Sean Sjodin, Founder of Sjodin Consulting, LLC

– Celeste Tanner, Chief Development Officer and Co-founder of Confluent Development

– Dan Cohen, SVP Community, Development & Acquisitions at McWhinney

– Jeremy Durham, Director of Real Estate Development at Boulder Housing Partners

Market Perspectives/Outlook: Senior Living and Multifamily 

The Unfound Door_SMPS CO Developers LuncheonSean Sjodin, who mainly focuses on the multi-family and senior housing markets, cited several challenges in the current marketplace including the vast number of these types of projects that are currently in the pipeline versus how many more are coming to fruition, as well as interest rate risks in financing. He also noted Denver’s need for affordable housing where barriers to entry for developers include a lack of viable financing and construction cost increases. “Denver needs to find our identity,” commented Sean, who is seeing a great deal of money coming into the market from out of state investors.

The Unfound Door_SMPS CO Developers LuncheonCeleste Tanner described her firm as a ground-up developer with a diverse portfolio of product types from single-tenant retail to office and industrial. She noted that senior living dominates their current pipeline with $150 million in development of Confluent’s current $300 million. Celeste shared Sean Sjodin’s sentiment that there is currently a vast supply of senior living housing and she anticipates that continuing into 2017, despite the fact that senior living is viewed as highly volatile real estate. “We’re at the peak of the market,” commented Celeste, who is focusing on mitigating cost escalations to keep projects up and running.

The Ideal Project Team

The Unfound Door_SMPS CO Developers LuncheonJeremy Durham offered a unique perspective and focused on best practices for project teams that wish to work with Boulder Housing Partners, which currently has about 1,100 units of both affordable and market rate housing in the pipeline. He encouraged prospective firms to not only familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the state tax credit programs, but also establish personal relationships with the various housing authorities. Jeremy emphasized that their organization is more interested in the value-adds a project team can offer, including creativity, proven ability for problem-solving and suggestions on how to save time and money on projects. He also mentioned there are two projects with RFP’s coming out in 2017 – one rehab and one new construction, with several more in the pipeline for 2018.

Photography by The Unfound Door

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