Jeff Friedman, chairman, president and CEO of Associated Estates Realty Corp. (NYSE: AEC), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview in Chicago at REITWeek 2013: NAREIT’s Investor Forum.
Associated Estates Realty Corporation is a multifamily REIT with 51 apartment communities containing more than 13,000 units in 10 states.
Friedman discussed his company’s expansion efforts, including recent expansions into West Coast markets in 2012. Associated Estates acquired a parcel of land a year ago on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angles and more recently acquired a parcel of land in the southern San Francisco area.
“The plans and anticipated start date for our development on Wilshire is planned for the end of the first quarter of 2014, and things are coming in just as we hoped,” he said. “With regards to the expansion plans, we’ve been very patient. We’ve worked through our West Coast team and have recently entered into a joint venture in downtown Los Angeles to develop and build 272 units in a five-story building downtown.”
Friedman said the company’s sustainability efforts are centered on three distinct areas, which he described as those that “you can see,” those “you can feel” and those that “hit your pocketbook.” He said initiatives like a recycling program, a paperless leasing office and energy-conservation projects are important parts of the Associated Estates sustainability initiative.
“We have done water conservation shower heads, programmable thermostats and have been very sensitive to things like landscaping plans to conserve and minimize the use of water,” he said.
He also discussed whether or not the talk of a recovery in the single-family housing market is impacting the multifamily sector.
“We can both co-exist very well. As someone said, this is ‘nirvana,’ so to speak, for both the single-family home business as well as the apartment business,” said Friedman. “But what’s good for America and good for American households is certainly good for the apartment business and for Associated Estates.”