Q&A: What’s Driving Mountain States Development Market?
KTGY Architecture + Planning recently tapped Bill Ramsey, AIA, NCARB, to lead the expansion of the firm’s for-sale residential practice. Based in Denver, Ramsey will manage an architecture and planning team dedicated to expanding design services for new for-sale residential developments in Colorado and the surrounding states, while complementing the multifamily and mixed-use expertise.
Connect Media asked Ramsey to share a few insights into the region’s design and development trends, what opportunities and challenges he sees on the horizon, and ways investors are approaching the market in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.
Q: What are the most significant trends that you are seeing in design and development of new residential for-sale communities throughout Colorado and the Mountain States? A: We continue to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor. A strong connection between traditionally livable and outdoor spaces became increasingly popular in California and other warm climates over the last few years. We’ve learned that connection is equally desirable, and just as likely to be used in colder and more temperate climates. Small things, like covering a patio or providing protection from wind, make them much more comfortable. People enjoy feeling connected to the outdoors, and these spaces make that possible. I have had a few conversations about roof decks lately, as well. While we need to be cognizant of snow and other climatic concerns, the potential benefit of such a space is inarguable.
Q: What do you see on the horizon for this sector in terms of opportunities and challenges? A: Price increases, both in land and construction costs, continue to make projects more challenging. The buying public has a limit on what they can afford, so price increases can only go so far. This creates the need, or opportunity, for more creative solutions. Whether it be through land planning that increases density without reducing desirability, or design that leads to efficient construction, we have to make sure our projects remain attainable. Neither of those adjustments require that projects be insipid or undesirable, rather they require a team that looks for innovative and creative solutions at all stages of a development.
Q: What are some project examples that reflect how developers/investors are approaching the market? A: It seems that nearly every project has a wrinkle or two that makes it challenging. We like to joke, “all the easy projects have already been done.” These challenging projects require an entire team, including the developer, to look for creative solutions. These often lead to a better overall project. Vitae in Southern California found a way to meet a guest-parking requirement in a way that also created shared common space between neighbors. The land plan and building plotting allowed more units to fit on the site, while creating an internal common space for neighbors to congregate together. Sales reflected how positively the idea was received.
Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services.
In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company.
In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix.
Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator.
Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements.
Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.