Paul McDermott, chairman, president, and CEO of Elme Communities (NYSE: ELME), participated in a video interview during Nareit’s REITworld: 2023 Annual Conference held Nov. 14-16 in Los Angeles.
McDermott said Elme is still seeing lending activity despite ongoing market financing challenges, although it’s “coming at a higher cost.”
“When I look at our balance sheet, we really have no maturities coming up until 2025,” he said. “So we feel like we’re in a good position there.”
Looking ahead to initiatives underway at Elme that McDermott is excited about, he said the REIT is working on vacancy day reductions, fee income opportunities, and a centralization process that will involve collections, leasing, and account management.
“We’re also adopting AI in all of our accounting practices as well as how we will lease our space,” McDermott said. “Most importantly right now for our investors, we have value creation opportunities through our renovation programs, both in Atlanta and in our Washington, D.C. portfolio.”
McDermott said that when he reflects on Elme’s current platform, he is most proud that the REIT got out of office and retail in 2021 and that it transitioned its platform to become a multifamily owner and operator.